Tag Archives: lead

“Thundercats Classic: Lion-O” Action Figure Review – Toy of the year?

Thundercats are on the loose once again in 2011, with their Cartoon Network reboot holding strong against the competition. Ban Dai has been making the figures from this show, and earlier this year decided to throw their hat into the nostalgic adult-collector world by creating their “Thundercats Classic” series. Sadly, the line has been cut short after only two figures were produced, Lion-O and Tygra, but more on that later.

It truly is depressing since the figure we are reviewing today, Lion-O is probably the best action figure of the year for me! I am not a hardcore Thundercats fan, although I did grow up with the series, but this toy very well might make me a changed person. What makes this action figure so great that I have given it that illustrious award? Read on and find out!

Packaging: Unlike his four-inch counterparts from the rebooted series, the packaging on this classic figures is more like a showcase box. At nine inches tall, it is an impressive looking package and focuses more on verticality rather than stuffing things horizontally so it can better fit on racks in stores. You get a clear view of everything that comes with the figure, as well as the many joints of it as well.

Taking him out of package will require more attention the four-inch figures, since the sides of the box have slits that are taped up in several spots. Once you get through the tape, you will be greeted by more tape holding some of the accessories in place. Keeping the figure itself in the package are five plastic strings (not twisty-ties, but plastic strings). Unlike twisty-ties, you can just cut these out of the plastic, but getting a pair of scissors in that tight space is a bit of a chore. I found the quickest way to get them out was to use the scissors to cut into the case itself, then gently pop the strings out.

Sculpting: This is Lion-O as we all know and love him. His mane caught in that bizarre windstruck pose (that, or he uses more hair gel than everyone on “The Jersey Shore”), his stoic muscular frame, right down to that cleft-chin of his. Lion-O has an iconic look of his own, just like He-Man or a GI Joe character, and this figures sculpt captures that feel to the tee.

It’s not a character that lends itself to much detail to begin with, but Ban Dai has paid attention to every minute aspect of the character to make this the definitive Lion-O figure. The beauty here is in the simplicity, since the character was one that had to be mass-produced back when cartoons were still hand-drawn (remember those times). This figure is exactly the way Lion-O looked in the original show, and just plain feels right.

Paint: Much of the figures good looks comes via the paint job on it. Ban Dai is not known for highly-detailed paint jobs like McFarlane toys, but for doing a very simple look done right. Lion-O does not have much fanciness to him to begin with, but what Ban Dai has done is made this figure feel like it was torn straight off of an animation cel.

There is a little sloppiness around the edges of his hair near his face, but it is nothing earth shattering and nothing else suffers from that issue. The cartoony appearance of Lion-O is dead-on here, and small nuances like painting his belt with a shinier paint add to that feeling. Most of the figure here is molded plastic anyway, so there is not much to paint, but what there is looks fine all-around and screams Lion-O.

Accessories: This classic figure includes a spare set of hands, the fully extended Sword of Omens, and the sword in dagger form. You could also count the Claw Shield as an accessory, so Lion-O is ready for action no matter what the situation. The sculpting on all of these pieces is on par with the rest of the figure, and maintains the style of the retro series completely.

The sword and dagger are made from sturdy plastic, although the blade of the sword can be a bit wonky (easily fixed by just flattening it out for a few minutes). The coolest part about the dagger is that it fits into the Claw Shield, just like in the cartoons.

There is also a handle attached to his belt, which allows you to easily slip the Claw Shield into it for easier carrying if you want to use his plain hands.

Lion-o is loaded with accessories, which includes an additional pair of hands, and the sword of omens in two sizes – dagger form and fully-extended form.

Playability: Lion-O is beyond flexible! I did not get as creative as I could have with my poses in the photos, but this figure can hold just about any pose because of his many joints, and the type of body he possesses. There are many other ball-jointed figures on the market, but due to various reasons (like molded clothes or body types), the figures are not as poseable as they should be. Ban Dai is great at making figures highly articulated without losing the integrity of the character, and Lion-o is a great example of that.

Lion-O has a whopping 25 points of articulation, meaning he can be posed in nearly any stance, no matter how dynamic, and still stay balanced. If you want him to be slashing at Mumm-Ra with one hand while pushing away Skeletor with his other as he climbs up the steps of Castle Greyskull, he can do that. If you want Lion-O to do a German Suplex to one of your pro wrestling figures, he can do that. The only limit is your imagination, and for a kid, that means there are no limits to how much fun they can have with him.

The downside of so many joints, especially the kind that Ban Dai uses, is that they can wear out with use a bit faster than other figures (I know from experience). But, if you keep your posing of him down to a minimum, he will last many years on your shelf. If you buy this for a child, it might get loose over time, but that will probably make things more fun for them anyway.

Final Verdict: I started this review by calling it the potential figure of the year, and I stand by that. As a fan of Mattel’s adult collector lines, such as “Masters of the Universe” and “Ghostbusters,” Lion-O does not reach the level of sculpting prowess that they have attained. However, what Ban Dai has done masterfully is capture the look, feel, and energy of the original series, put it into an action figure, and made the perfect blend of a toy for both adults and collectors. Best of all, their price point matches that, as this figure has a suggested retail price of around $16, and unlike Matty Collector toys, you can find this in brick-and-mortar stores.

It’s sad to see this line discontinued so early on, especially when they only released Tygra to accompany him. Fret not, as Ban Dai is forging ahead in 2012 by reviving this line, but now in six-inch size so that they will be perfectly compatible with Mattel’s MOTUC line and other high-end collector figures. The plus side is, once again, you can find them in stores and for much cheaper than what Mattel charges.

2012 is the the 30th anniversary of MOTU, so the pressure is on for Ban Dai to compete with their nostalgic line of “Thundercats Classics,” and if they can keep this quality up with their new figures, I think Matty is going to have some serious trouble on their hands.

You can buy ThunderCats Lion-O 8″ Collector Figure from Amazon.com at this link here. If you are a fan of the show, nostalgic for your childhood, or just plain like really great figures, this is an absolute must-buy!

Check out the gallery below for more photos of Lion-O!

“Legend of Zelda” history lesson in 60 seconds

PeanutButterGamer offers you a chance to catch up on the entire canonical history of “Legend of Zelda,” from the creation of the triforce to what it all means. Of course, how serious it is may be up for debate, but the important info is there, and now you can fake your way through any conversation with Zelda fans. If only they explained why all the creatures in that world have such bizarre names.

Sideshow Toys’ 22-inch tall “Baroness” figure is HAWT

Sideshow Toys has unveiled their next premium format GI Joe figure for release in the third quarter of 2012. It is none other than the always sultry and lethal Baroness from Cobra.

The Sideshow Exclusive version of the Baroness Premium Format Figure includes a unique feature available nowhere else: Additional hand with MAC-10 Machine Pistol for alternate display

Sideshow Collectibles is proud to present the next entry in our GI JOE Premium Format Figure line, Baroness. Cobra’s second in command is presented in stunning 1:4 scale featuring a detailed fabric costume and signature weaponry. Measuring approximately 22 inches tall, each piece is hand finished and painted, each with its own unique quality and attention to detail that is the trademark of a handcrafted Sideshow Collectibles product. The Baroness Premium Format figure captures the beautiful femme fatale in striking detail and makes an outstanding addition to any GI JOE or COBRA collection.
Continue reading Sideshow Toys’ 22-inch tall “Baroness” figure is HAWT

Racing Anime “Redline” Breaks Speed Limits & Blows Your Mind

In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, Anchor Bay Entertainment’s Manga brand is set to release one of the most highly anticipated animated films. “Redline” will have a limited theatrical run in Los Angeles starting December 2nd and in NYC starting on January 6th. On January 17, 2012, “Redline” will be released on Blu-ray™ and DVD.

“Redline” won the Audience Official Selection Award for Animation at Fantasia and the Outstanding Achievement in Feature Filmmaking – Animation Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival. It has received rave reviews even from those admittedly not anime fans.

“Redline” is a racing film created by studio Madhouse (Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars). “Redline” is about the biggest and most deadly racing tournament in the universe. Only held once every five years, everyone wants to stake their claim to fame, including JP, a reckless dare-devil driver oblivious tospeed limits with his ultra-customized car – all the while, organized crime and militaristic governments want to leverage the race to their own ends. Amongst the other elite rival drivers in the tournament, JP falls for the alluring Sonoshee – but will she prove his undoing, or can a high speed romance survive a mass destruction race?

Check out the trailer, this movie looks gorgeous and very creative. I can not wait to see the full version, and you can count on an in-depth review once I do!

Ben 10 “Ultimate Swampfire” Action Figure Review

Cartoon Network has been producing many great cartoon shows in the past few years for kids of all ages. One of their longest running franchises in recent times is “Ben 10,” the story is about young Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen, and their grandfather Max who discover a mysterious watch-like device called the Omnitrix during a camping trip. Like all 10 year old kids, Ben realizes the only course of action is to battle aliens and right the wrongs of the universe by transforming into aliens. It’s only logical.

It was not long before toys had to be made, and Ban Dai has been producing these figures since the show first debuted in 2005. Now, over six years later, the characters have all aged in real time and star in “Ultimate Alien,” where Ben now uses the Ultimatrix and transforms into even bigger and cooler aliens. Today, we look at one of those aliens.

“Ultimate Swampfire” is part of Ban Dai’s “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien” line, and first premiered on episode 53 in the episode, “Ben 10 Returns.” Hailing from the planet Methanos, Swampfire has pyrokinetic powers, a rotten scent, and a nasally voice, making him the Woody Allen of aliens. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at this figure.

Packaging – Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Swampfire comes on your normal blister card, which is a very compact nine inches tall. There are no frills here, as it’s very economic packaging. Since these toys are intended for kids who are going to rip them open immediately, the main event is the figure itself which is given the most space on this box.

The back of the box features a look at the other figures in this line, as well as the “Disc Alien Ultimatrix,” which we will talk a bit more about later. A character bio would have been nice to see on the back, but again, being for younger kids (many of whom probably can not read yet) there is not much of a huge need for that. It’s pretty straight forward, and it serves its purpose of being a window for a child to see and scream “GIMME GIMME GIMME!”

Taking him out of the package was very easy too. No twisty-ties or rubber bands, just one plastic case that he pops right out of easily. The plastic is pretty thin, but the figure is well-protected and snug in his molded coffin.

Sculpting – Swampfire captures the style of the cartoon dead on. He could practically pass for a model that the animators would use for reference. The character design reminds me of “Holocaust” from Marvel Comics (remember him), but unlike that character, Swampfire is a more balanced looking figure. For someone like me who knows Ben 10 only in passing, I can still enjoy this unique looking creature, and can figure out what he is all about just from looking at him.

He might not be the most detailed figure compared to more realistic lines, but this is a cartoon which focuses on style more than realism. There is no variety in the texture of the figure other than some indents on the muddy section of his body, but the figure seems to be more about the color combinations than it does about fancy sculpting. It accomplishes what it sets out to do, and looks good doing it – simplicity, and some times, there is nothing wrong with that.

Paint – As I said above, I think this figure is more about color than it is about detail. One look at the cartoon show will tip you off to that, and this figure is very accurate in terms of its color. At it’s core, it’s a blue and green color scheme with black highlights, and it works together in unison very well.

I am happy to report that there is no slop around the edges or any blotches. The paint is smooth all over the toy and gives it that feel that it came right out of your TV screen.

Accessories – Swampfire comes with only one accessories, a mini-disc thing with his alien symbol. This disc goes into the Ultimatrix accessory that your child (or you, I’m not judging) wears on their wrist, where it then lights up and spins into action.

To use it, you nestle the character down into the disc, then release it to see him and his arms pop out. The disc looks nice enough on its own, but without the Ultimatrix, this accessory does nothing except get lost when you put it down.

Playability – Swampfire has nine points of articulation, many of those joints hidden nicely, while his knees do have blatantly visible pins. At four inches tall, this figure is great for a kid and will fit in with most other action figures in that scale like Star Wars or the upcoming four-inch Thundercats figures.

The toy is made from sturdy plastic and feels pretty solid, so I would not be worried about your youngling dropping it and smashing it into trillions of pieces. If they own the Ultimatrix, they will have tons of fun roleplaying with it, making the single accessory great for kids, not so much for collectors. Then again, how many collectors are hoarding Ben 10 toys?

Final Verdict – When I asked how many collectors hoard Ben 10 toys, I did not mean that in a negative tone. Far from it, as Ben 10 really is intended for kids to play with. I wish there were more toy lines like this, since it seems nowadays companies are more interested in the adult collectors than they are in entertaining children.

Ban Dai keeps the integrity of the franchise as well as a high play factor for kids. They are still great for collectors too, but this is a toy that was meant to have fun with. So if you buy one, make sure to get yourself one to take out of the package too.

Check out the gallery below to see more photos of “Swampfire”

Stylized Mini-Thundercats figures, hooooo!

Coming out in Spring 2012, Ban Dai will be continuing their popular Thundercats figures in an all new way!

The Cartoon Network characters will be adding a new line of stylized mini PVC figures to their already growing line of figures. The first wave features Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara, Tygra, Mumm-Ra, and Slithe, and comes with a diorama style packaging. The figures will not be articulated, but you can get their other figures with a ton of joint mobility in their other lines.

This product will retail for around $24.99 when it hits stores in the spring. Check out hi-res pics of these mini figures below!

New poster for ‘The Avengers’ Movie hits the web

Recently on Yahoo! Movies and Moviefone, Marvel debuted two web banners bearing four members of “The Avengers” on each image for Joss Whedon’s upcoming take on the legendary comics team.

The first horizontal banner features Captain America, Bruce Banner, Iron Man unmasked as Tony Stark, and Thor. The second banner has Nick Fury, Loki, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow, looking sultry as ever.

The film stars Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, and Scarlett Johansson, and is set to premiere in theaters nationwide on May 4.

Review of Retron 3 NES/SNES/Genesis Triple Game System

I am a classic video game fanatic, but classic video games are not a fan of me. A retro video game is like a fine wine, aging with grace and dignity, and typically getting better with time. Their consoles, however, are more like that relative you locked up in a senior center and only visit on the day before major holidays (since why waste a holiday on a person who can’t even remember what year it is).

The frustration of attempting to play an old Nintendo game on its system knows no bounds. You can blow as much as you want in the cartridge, but if the system is just too old to work, you are wasting your breath. With older video game technology copyrights going up for grabs in the past few years, many “clone consoles” have popped up that offer you the ability to play older games on them, often two systems in one like the RetroDuo.

Then along came the retron 3, which offers not one, not two, but THREE different consoles in one! With this contraption, gamers can relive their favorite NES, SNES and Sega Genesis games in cartridge form. Many of its predecessors were mediocre, so how well does this system rank? Hit the jump and find out in the full review!
Continue reading Review of Retron 3 NES/SNES/Genesis Triple Game System

“Abobo’s Big Adventure” mashes up retro-game goodness – TRAILER

Are you a fan of “Super Smash Bros” but wanted to enjoy it as a side-scroller rather than just a fighter? I have, and now we have the chance, courtesy of I-Mockery‘s upcoming flash game, “Abobo’s Big Adventure!”

Starring everyone’s favorite baddie from “Double Dragon,” Abobo must rescue his son from the clutches of an evil group of classic gaming jerks, and battle his way through so many video game references, it will make your head spin.

No release date is official, but you can expect it very soon. You can play it for free on the game’s official website once it is out.

Frank Miller admits he knows nothing about Islam, despite creating “Holy Terror”

Frank Miller is a polarizing character in the world of comics. With the release of his latest graphic novel, “Holy Terror”, Miller has raised more eyebrows than before with this controversial piece.

Originally slated to be a Batman book (titled “Holy Terror, Batman”), DC Comics quickly dropped the book when its scandalous nature was revealed. Miller did not have to look far to get a new publisher, and the book has come out with much intrigue surrounding it, with many critics unhappy about Miller’s perspective on Muslims and the religion of Islam. In an interview with Newsarama, Miller had this to say about the creation of his book and a bit more on his political views:

“I’m not hearing from a lot of people that are telling me they are not afraid of trouble from abroad and homegrown trouble. The issue here is a message of killing. It’s not a religion. I, for instance, was born Catholic, and I can tell you very little about the mysteries of Catholicism but I can tell you a fair amount about the Spanish Inquisition. By the same token, I can tell you squat about Islam, I don’t know anything about it, but I know a Goddamn lot about Al Qaeda and I want them all to burn to hell.”

Many critics have noted that while Miller maintains his position that this book is not necessarily against Islam but against terrorism, the two topics seemed to meld together in his work with no difference between the two. At the end of the day, “Holy Terror” is a very personal and cathartic work by Miller that may not have been ready for the politically-correct public eye.

Miller also said that it was his choice to pull away the cowl of Batman for this book, since it became more about the conflict against Al Qaeda and became “unrestrained”, something the Bat is not suited for. Due to that, he rewrote the entire script, however certain pages of the actual comic seem lazily cropped to pull elements of the Batman costume out of certain scenes.