AFZ 10-31-03 by Rudy Panucci
It's Halloween, and to celebrate, we have one whole item about monster action figures. So it's not so scary, sue me! But there's plenty of other cool stuff, so just sit back, cram your face full of candy, and read on. Oh yeah .BOO!
JAKKS GOES MONSTROUS
Jakks Pacific has announced that they've snagged the license to produce action figures based on the classic Universal Monsters. My suspicion is that a law must have been passed that requires every toy company on the planet to hold this license at some point. This is a line that never really sold in great numbers, yet the toy makers keep trying. It's hard to understand why Jakks thinks they can succeed when even Sideshow Toy, who crafted some of the finest action figures ever for their take on the Universal Monsters, has backed off and only makes limited edition 12" figures based on the property now.
As you can see from the photos, these are good sculpts, but they're nowhere near the quality of the Sideshow Toy 8" line from a couple of years ago. And their Dracula looks a heck of a lot like TV chef, Emeril Lagrasse.
The first assortment of three
figures includes the most well-known and beloved classic monsters characters
- the Wolfman, Frankenstein and Dracula. It's hard to calculate how
many different action figures have been made featuring these characters
over the last six years. The Wolfman comes with an extra set of feet,
hands and even an extra head so he can be transformed into "Larry
Talbot" (Lon Chaney). Frankenstein, from the "Bride of Frankenstein"
movie, comes chained to a dungeon chair - but breakaway chains cannot
hold this figure for long! And Dracula comes with his famous black and
red cloth cape, an earth box and his rat and bat companions.
THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO .MAYBE
Bandai has announced that they have signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group as the master toy licensee for the upcoming theatrical presentation, Thunderbirds.
From Universal Pictures and Working Title Films, Thunderbirds is a live-action feature film based on the hit British television series of the 1960s, which followed the perilous exploits of the Tracy family. Thunderbirds, starring Bill Paxton and Sir Ben Kingsley, is slated for release on August 6, 2004.
Under the agreement, Bandai will develop articulated action figures (3" - 12") with related accessories including toy weapons, playsets, dioramas, role-play gadgets and vehicles, as well as candy toys, plastic model kits and capsule toys. Additionally, Bandai is licensed to produce stationary items, die cast toys, block toys and prize toys for Japan and Asia Pacific. The products are scheduled to hit shelves by June 2004.
Before you guys get all excited, you should know that Bandai has not decided if they're going to produce action figures for the North American market. They're said to be leaning against it, feeling that fans won't warm up to Thunderbird figures that look like the actors from the film, rather than the puppets from the TV show. Chances are that us collectors in the states will only get vehicles and playsets, while the rest of the world gets action figures. However, if the movie is a huge hit, then the action figures could hit our shores and store shelves by Christmas 2004.
NEW STAR WARS FIGURES
Hasbro's official Star Wars
site has broken the news about the next wave of Star Wars figures. Wave
3 of the 2004 3 ¾" figures. These figures are from Jabba
the Hutt's palace and will be available in
Wave 3 includes:
Lando Calrissian in Skiff
Guard Disguise: He comes with a blaster, helmet, Vibro-axe, and base.
Two new "Ultra" figures are:
Jabba the Hutt: This figure
comes with a removable tongue, hookah pipe, and railing.
Wave 2 of the Ultra line is also due out in Spring, 2004.
Action Figure Newswire
Wave Two of the GI Joe 40th Anniversary figures is now available from the GI Joe Collectors Club, so is Wave 7.5 of the 3 ¾" figures The GI Joe Willy's Jeep and also the Classic Collection Footlocker sets are on sale this weekend at K Mart .GI Joe 40th Anniversary Wave Two endcap promotions are set to start at Target this weekend. Many stores have jumped the gun and already have the figures out there Timeline movie figures from Dragon should hit by November 24. There are five figures that range from $35 to $50 dollars at most online retailers, and they look very impressive .Along those same lines, Ignite is producing a Knight Templar figure, which also looks very sharp .McFarlane will get Spawn back into Wal Mart with an exclusive repainted two-pack. This comes after an absence of a few years for the Spawn line, but other McFarlane Toys have been on Wal Mart shelves all along. Mattel is telling members of the toy press that they passed on toys based on the Teen Titans cartoon show, but Warner's licensing people insist that a formal pitch has yet to be made, but they expect Mattel to jump on board in time to show toys in February Stay tuned for further developments Construction Jack is now available from Sportsmansguide.com as are "Military Figurines" who starred in their own edition of Cheesy Toy Knockoff last year.
Power Team Elite: 32.5" Military Lookout Tower with 12" Military Action Figure by M&C Toy Centre. Available from Big Lots, Sears.com, KBKids.com and other online retailers. $30 to $40
Okay, like many other a kid
who always wanted the GI Joe Adventure Team Training Tower back in the
1970s, but never got it, I was thrilled to see something this close
hit the modern-day toy market. This is from M&C Toy Centre, as part
of their "World Peacekeepers" line, and it's a winner. This
set includes a HUGE tower with a load of decent accessories, a great
new Power Team super-articulated figure, and cool extras like a working
searchlight, and semi-working winch. The Tower fits together very well,
and assembly is quick and easy. There are also sound effects, provided
by a button on top of the tower, and a cool rope ladder.
This is a very cool assortment
of 1/6 scale diorama pieces, but it's not really a cohesive playset,
and you have to be careful where you buy it, because different retailers
have different versions of it.
Aside from the figures, there
are tons of little accessories. Many are just crap, like gas cans that
look like they might hold a quart of fluid, or radios that may, or may
not be complete. Most memorable among the bad
hard plastic sandbags
that look like toy shredded wheat biscuits.
And all the accessories aren't bad. There are some great crates and cases and several maps, along with an assortment of decent furniture (tables, cabinets, chairs, easels). Some of the guns are even passable.
You should be forewarned that one problem with this set is that it usually sells for thirty bucks, but there are at least two different versions floating around.
The version at Sears.com and KBKids.com features among it's two figures one African American soldier. It also comes with a tent but no electronic features.
The version available at JC Penney doesn't have the tent, features two Caucasian figures and has a light and sound feature that attaches to the building section.
There are also differences
in the smaller accessories included, but that'd take too long to go
HQIntelligence Headquarters with 2 Action Figures by Eversparkle.
So, you ask, why doesn't the JC Penney version of the training base come with the tent? Well, you can buy is separately, with two lame-O figures and a lot of crappy accessories for an additional seventeen bucks, that's why!
The notable feature of this set is the Eversparkle female figure that's included. She's not notable for being very good. She can't hold anything in her dainty little doll-like hands, and her articulation is okay, but not great. On the plus side, she does bear a slight resemblance to a less-fugly GI Joe Nurse from 1967. She's got the same hair-length, but doesn't have the "rode hard and put away wet" expression that the vintage Jane had. But as an action figure, she ain't much.
The guy action figure is as bad as most Eversparkle "Everfloppies", but has the added bonus of a really bad headsculpt.
Aside from the two figures, you get a tent, which comes with some versions of the training base that's reviewed above anyway. And while it's okay, as command tents go, it's not really worth seventeen bucks on its own. Better to buy the version of the Training Base that includes the tent, and save the money.
Essentially, this is a pretty lame playset.
That's it for this week's Action Figure Zone. Next week we'll have more news and scoops and review Sideshow Toy's recent Civil War figures.