Saturday, February 21, 2015

Exploring the Inner Workings of Giant Robots

I've always been fascinated by the giant robots that populate sci-fi movies, TV shows and comic books, so much so that I've regularly wondered what these fantastical machines look like under their metallic skins. I suppose part of that fascination came from the "used universe" aesthetic that George Lucas used throughout his Star Wars movies, where high-tech machinery was frequently juxtaposed with vehicles and robots that were on the verge of falling to pieces. Unfortunately, it's hard to provide a detailed look inside of a machine that doesn't exist; thus, viewing the arrangement of pistons, motors and joints that make a giant robot move was a rarity when I was growing up.

Thankfully, times have changed and Japanese model kit companies have gone to great lengths in recent years to satisfy sci-fi fan boy curiosity with kits that represent both the inside and outside of fictional giant robots. These are more than just intricate robot kits with multiple points of articulation; these kits go deep beneath the metallic surface so hobbyists can see what makes such mechanical titans tick. Click below for more details about these fascinating representations of technology that will never be.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Funko's ReAction Figures are Going Swimming with Jaws

Funko's line of ReAction figures have been a hit with nostalgic toy collectors who remember when Kenner-style action figures (i.e., 3 and 3/4 inch figures with durable, play-ready sculpts and only five points of articulation) were the dominant seller in toy stores across the country. Starting with recreations of Kenner's unreleased line of Alien action figures from the late '70s, the ReAction line has since expanded to included figures from films such as Back to the Future, Goonies and Pulp Fiction. Unfortunately, if you want vehicle toys and playsets that are scaled for the ReAction figures, you'll have to look elsewhere because Funko has produced mostly figures ... until now.

At this weekend's Toy Fair event in New York, Funko provided a preview of the new licenses it is adding to the ReAction line. New figures will be released for popular titles such as Breaking Bad, Karate Kid, and the original Star Trek TV series. Among the new releases are a set of figures from Jaws which will include Chief Martin Brody, Matt Hooper, Quint, and a scale-complementary Bruce the shark figure. Check out the pictures below, courtesy of Toyark:

To be sure, this shark toy isn't nearly as screen accurate as the mechanical shark replicas from Shark City Ozark, but Funko's Jaws merchandise will probably satisfy your deeply rooted desire to use toys to recreate scenes from Steven Spielberg's classic creature feature. Funko's shark figure is the largest item that has been released for the ReAction line so far, so hopefully the line will expand to include items for the figures instead of just more figures. Then again, if it were up to me, the ReAction Jaws toys would also include:

* The Orca playset, with spring-loaded harpoon guns, flotation barrels, a removable fishing chair, and a break-away rear deck;

* A Matt Hooper in scuba gear action figure, with a spring-loaded shark cage that flies apart when you ram the shark into it; and

* The deluxe Jaws 2 Cable Junction playset with the exclusive Brucetta shark figure that has cable-biting "electrocution" action (batteries sold separately).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bandai and Action Toys are Giving Classic Machine Robo Figures an Upgrade

What's really cool? Robot toys. What's cooler than that? Upgrading robot toys.

Bandai and Action Toys are teaming up to release a series of high-end action figures that are based on the Machine Robo series of robot toys. Even though Machine Robo has undergone many changes throughout its history (click here to read my Machine Robo retrospective), the new figures will be based upon several designs from the early MR-600 line as they appeared in the Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos anime series.

As you can see from the prototype pictures provided, the new designs look extremely impressive, although the new MR-01 Bike Robo design isn't quite as detailed as the DX9 Toys version that was released last year. It is also unknown if these figures will ever become available outside of Japan, or if Bandai and Action Toys plans to visit other areas of Machine Robo's long history if these figures are a hit.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Top Five Primetime Cartoon Comedy Favorites

The first few weeks of 2015 have been rough for me, and what better way to cope with the stress than with cartoon mirth and mayhem? Here are five of my favorite primetime cartoons, each examples of the kind of animated anarchy that soothes my unruly Id in times of uncertainty and worry. Read on ....