Showing posts from October, 2017

Machine Robo's Bike Robo Gets a DX Upgrade

If I've learned anything from observing the transforming Japanese robot collector community over the last few years, it's this: ANY transforming robot character can be redesigned and rescaled many, many times over.

Last year, Action Toys began releasing vintage Machine Robo MR-600 figures as they appeared in the ‘80s anime series, Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos. These figures are between four and five inches tall and, thanks to advancements in toy production technology since the '80s, their small sizes can accommodate intricate features and more complex transformation configurations than figures from the original Machine Robo line. The original MR-600 figures were known for their simple yet sturdy designs, which made them suited for rigorous play; the new, more complex figures are obviously aimed at the collectors market, those who are looking for more screen-accurate representations of their favorite Machine Robo 'bots.

Four figures from the Action Toys' Machine…

Coming Soon for Alien Fans: AR Xenomorphs and Weyland-Yutani Blueprints

Even though 20th Century Fox was not pleased with the box office performance of last summer's Alien: Covenant, this franchise’s many lines of merchandise seem to be moving along just fine. Home video sales for Covenant are good, NECA is selling action figures that are based on Xenomorph designs from Capcom's 1994 Aliens vs. Predator arcade game, and Eaglemoss has added Xenomorph designs from Kenner's Aliens toy line from the '90s to its ongoing series of collectible Alien franchise replicas. Furthermore, two reference books are coming out that look like must-haves for die-hard Alien fans like me: The Book of Alien: Augmented Reality Survival Manual by Owen Williams, which is being published by Carlton Books, and Alien: The Blueprints by Graham Langridge, which is being published by Titan Books.

Scheduled for release this November in the U.S., the official description of the The Book of Alien: Augmented Reality Survival Manual is that it was written for “new recruits of…

The Future at a Discount: Five Below's VR Headset

Pioneering cyberpunk author William Gibson once said, "The future is already here--it's just not evenly distributed." That quote ran through my head when I saw a virtual reality (VR) headset for sale for $5 at my local Five Below store. That's even cheaper than a Google Cardboard kit, which costs around $10.

This "VR Lesnse2 Virtual Reality Viewer" headset is nothing more than a plastic shell with a pair of adjustable lenses and elastic head straps; the user has to provide all of the necessary hardware and software. Nevertheless, I had to laugh at how frequently VR is hyped as cutting-edge technology, and yet here it is on sale for $5 in the year 2017 at a local discount store. To be fair, this isn't the first time VR has been used as a sales gimmick to move cheap and lackluster products, although at least this headset provides the option of adding the necessary technology so that some satisfying VR can actually happen.

Snide remarks about cost aside, t…

A Look at Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures

As someone who grew up during the '80s, I am all too familiar with cartoons that have been created for the sole purpose of selling a toy line. Sure, an occasional episode of these cartoons rose above the standard of a 30-minute toy commercial to actually tell a compelling story, but those were frequently the exception to the rule. Times have changed since then, and just because a cartoon has an explicitly commercial purpose does not mean that it is without entertainment value. Such is the case with Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, which currently airs on the Disney XD channel.

I heard about The Freemaker Adventures while I was browsing around some Star Wars fan sites. Given how other Lego-based media (the video games, TV shows and movies) have shown an impressive degree of wit and creativity, I decided to check this show out to see if it amounted to something more than a means to advertise a new line of licensed Lego Star Wars merchandise. I was pleasantly surprised--The …