Saturday, April 19, 2014

ミクロマン「ミクロデビルマンMD-601ダゴン」: Microman Micro Devilman MD-601 Dagon

ミクロマン ミクロデビルマンMD-601ダゴン Microman Micro Devilman

First things first, I didn't want this toy.

I got the Micro Devilman in a lot with some other Microman toys,I would never have bought this on it's own. While I am a fan of Go Nagai's robot creations and some of his other characters, Devilman never really appealed to me. I remember when this figure was being promoted in toy magazines by Takara and just being completely unaffected. I was also really waning off of Microman buying at the time, and releases like this assured me at the time I was doing the right thing.

The other day I grabbed the Micro Devilman to take a few pics in order to sell him. I looked at the package for a bit, really studied the toy from through the package window. Now, 12 years after I thought this was something I never needed to own, I felt compelled to open this up and take a closer look. I am so glad I did, this figure is fantastic.

ミクロマン ミクロデビルマンMD-601ダゴン Microman Micro Devilmanミクロマン ミクロデビルマンMD-601ダゴン Microman Micro Devilman

 The Micro Devilman series is what I had always hoped would come from the re-issue series started by Romando, and then taken over by Takara, a series of new sculpt vintage homage figures. While some parts are re-used, the body and attachments are new. The torso and head are enough to really differentiate the Micro Devilman from the M-10X series figures they share limbs with. The styling really captures the old vintage Takara look, feel and design of the old "O" ring figures, right down to the 5mm socket on the back. There are a few missing details, like a 5mm foot socket, but all in all, these are very much in the spirit of the 70's Microman line.

The Microman story with the Micro Devilman line as best as I can understand is kinda cool. These are normal Microman beings that have been transformed into the powerful Micro Devilman group with the assistance of the Microman friend Dr. Katagai.

ミクロマン ミクロデビルマンMD-601ダゴン Microman Micro Devilmanミクロマン ミクロデビルマンMD-601ダゴン Microman Micro Devilman MD-601 Dagon

The head sculpt is also really awesome. The detail is so spot on for the old manga/anime look. Although chrome sometimes hides details,with just the right light you can really bring them out.

I am super happy to have this toy in my collection now, and I can't believe I didn't give it a chance years ago.

Monday, April 14, 2014

新しいおもちゃの日 1-4 (タカラとトミーと...): New Toy Day 1-4 (Takara & Tomy &...)

This last New Toy Day post for the month kinda wraps up the stuff I got from Japan, and adds in a bunch of other things from all over that I've gotten in the last 2 weeks. So we have a Japanese Takara Jeeg, a Tomy R.A.T.S. base from Europe, Hasbro Kre-O figures and the Octonauts! An eclectic mix to say the least.

Tomy RATS R.A.T.S. European Starriors www.gangustars.com

I'll start with the most exciting toy of this post, the 1985-86 Tomy R.A.T.S. Combat Command Centre. Among collectors there's really only speculation on where this was offered, but in broad terms I can say Europe. How much of Europe seems to be debatable. The Combat Command Centre was released in a second wave of R.A.T.S. toys which included a few more re-colored Starriors figures, the Starriors Cosmittor set, and then this brand new original to R.A.T.S. base mold. The Combat Command Centre is the only toy in the R.A.T.S. toy line that is unique and exclusive to it. It's pretty tough to find, and the last few I've seen offered for sale have been pricey. Whether they sold at those extremely high prices I don't know, but they are not on the market any longer.

I did open this. I know upon reading that some MISP collectors may shriek. But I'm not a big advocate of collecting sealed toys. The toy is kinda small, much smaller than the Starriors Armored Battle Station. It does however feature a similar trait with the Starriors base, an animal design theme. The Starriors base is a cobra snake design, the Combat Command Centre  features an eagle/bird head motif. As a fun little outpost for R.A.T.S. figures it will do. It features a small vehicle sled and launcher, and a disk firing cannon, pretty cool gimmicks for kids to play with.

Takara Kotestu Jeeg Mech Warriors Mini Spies www.gangustars.com

Next up is a few items I either already own, or owned in the past. The picture above left is also off-shoot of Starriors, I'll go on about these at another time. I am sorry to say that I took the picture without adding it's weapons and projectile disks, so it looks a little weak there.

On the right we have a few Takara vintage and re-issue toys. In the late 90's Takara re-issued their old Magnemo Kotetsu Jeeg toy. I like Jeeg's old anime designs, I liked the Takara Magnemo toy design, I just didn't feel a strong enough need to buy anything Jeeg related. Until of course Takara issued it in clear plastic. Just before my first trip to Japan the Clear Jeeg had hit store shelves so I made it a must buy item. A few years later it was sold along with my Microman toys. A tingle of regret lingered on through the years and when I saw one priced really cheap, I snapped it up. Opening it up I am in awe all over again.

Pictured along with Jeeg is Takara's old Mech Warrior toys. I love the TF Mini-Spies, and when I found they were a small line of their own in Japan I started to pick them up when I could. Surprisingly, I don't have a full set yet, one last toy eludes me. One other thing of note, like the TF Mini-Spies, the blue Mech Warriors succumb to yellowing, so watch out.

Hasbro G.I.Joe Kre-O Transformers Kreons www.gangustars.com

Kre-O! It's a sleazy LEGO rip-off, but it features characters I like. I feel a little guilty buying into such a lame brick market cash grab but some of these are so cute. After buying the G.I.Joe Scrap Iron Kreon I needed to pick up the Firefly Kreon, which came with the Check Point set. A cheap set made cheaper with a 20% coupon. I also bought the single pack wave 2 Flash Kreon. That same day at Kohls I bought the Transformers Kre-O Ultimate Kreon Collection. This is a set of 5 Kreons with Optimus Prime, Sounwave and Megatron. A bonus Starscream Kreon is also included. For $5.99 (and on sale for about $5 at the time) the 5 pack collections are a great deal if you can find them.

Octonauts Kwazii's On the Go Pod Fisher-Price www.gangustars.comOctonauts Peso's On the Go Pod Fisher-Price www.gangustars.com

I think I have a lost post somewhere here about my new found love of the Octonauts Fisher-Price toy line. I had caught these on t.v. two years back and found that my nephew liked them. I saw them on sale this past Christmas and thought maybe I should grab some, for my future kids. Any collector who buys things for kids they may or may not have later on is really trying to fool themselves. I loved these characters myself, and the t.v. show they were on was great. The two sets above are just the most recent buys. I'm still telling myself these are for the future, which is why they are not opened yet. The anti-MISB voice in my head is screaming "OPEN THEM UP!!", and it's getting louder daily.

Octonauts Kwazii's On the Go Pod Fisher-Price www.gangustars.com


I don't like cats. At all. But a cat pirate, with a patch, in a workout dojo of sorts? Even I can enjoy that. One of the best things about the Kwazii set is the exclusive figure.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

新しいおもちゃの日 1-3 (マシンロボ): New Toy Day 1-3 (Machine Robo)

I was all in for the 2003 Machine Robo revival line, Machine Robo Rescue. The other big name transforming robots line wasn't doing anything for me in style, toy design, or even name. In my opinion, it was a dreadful follow-up to Car Robots/Robots in Disguise. To have a line as fun as Machine Robo Rescue (MRR) come about was great. I had been collecting a bunch of toy lines up until 2003, but not really playing with any of them. They sat around on shelves, some still sealed in what became their plastic coffins. MRR really had me playing with toys again, and that's just what I needed. Not only were they enjoyable, they were well made, held a bit of a nostalgia value and were pretty well priced. For the rest of 2003, this was a great line to buy.

MRR had a t.v. series, and was also fairly well promoted. The show didn't do any worse than a TF series, but it was among the more middle ground groups of shows. That didn't really cut it, and it never got a follow up anime series. The toys did however get a second series, Mugenbine. The Muginbine toys were awesome, a great continuation of the interchangeable format that MRR had, it just lacked characters. And shortly before it was 7 months old I kinda stopped collecting Mugenbine and Machine Robo toys in general again. I had stopped before I even got to buy some of the toys I really wanted.

Machine Robo Best 5 Rescue Bandai robots www.gangustars.com

Late in 2003 Bandai released what could be the closest thing to a vintage Machine Robo Best 5 release in MRR, the MR Variation Special X Combination sets. Two sets were created, the Burning set which featured reds, yellow and warm colors, and the Blizzard set which had cool blues, white and purple. I liked both of these but only needed one, At the time of their release they were pretty expensive to import and the window to get them at retail closed pretty fast. Over the years I've seen them, but not at prices I'd like to pay. Patience paid off, because this year I finally got the set I really wanted and at a bargain price.

Machine Robo Best 5 Rescue Bandai robots www.gangustars.com

The MRV Blizzard set has a blue recolor of the MRR Jet Robo which is a updated 80's Jet Robo and Gobots fans may recognize as Fitor. I love the blue, maybe more than the original red. But as cool as he is, it was the updated MRR version of Battle Robo that I wanted in this set. While I feel he deserved a brand new mold all to himself and not to be just a reused mold, I am happy all the same. I love the original Battle Robo from Machine Robo. The Gobots version Tank is one of my favorite toys ever. And yes this new version isn't blue (he's purple here), he still resembles the tank he always was and changes modes almost the same way.

Machine Robo Best 5 Rescue Bandai robots www.gangustars.com

The other figures in the set are cool as well, just heavily overshadowed by the two I like best. The other great piece to this set is the instruction booklet.It's an actual booklet and features info on alternate modes like the "Mad Chain Gunner Robo" and "Snow Keeper Robo" which are fun. It's also got a few pages of graph paper at the back to draw in and design your own new alternate modes. Again, pretty fun stuff. I don't know how to describe what MRR was other than that one word, fun.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

新しいおもちゃの日 1-2 (ミクロマン): New Toy Day 1-2 (Microman)


My list of most wanted vintage Microman toys is pretty short. The top of that list got checked off when I picked up Microman Rescue Base in January. The 2nd slot just got crossed out this week when I received a Rolling Thunder toy. While my infatuation with the Rescue Base started over 20 years ago I didn't learn about the Rolling Thunder till around 1997-98. My first thought was it had a great color combination, red, white and blue. The chrome wheels really added a sci-fi feel that Microman toys are known for, and the fact that it functions with the use of magnets added a very interesting gimmick for a toy.

I'd seen them for sale a few times, and always way out of the range I was comfortable spending. I didn't think it would ake16 years to find one at a decent price. One the toy above came about, I didn't hesitate. Yes, it's missing a couple key parts, the missile for the launcher and well, the magnets. I don't care much about the missile, but the magnets being missing is killing me. I'm either going to have to hunt them down, or try to replicate them. On the bright side, the toy is in such great shape, and was such a deal that even without the magnets I am ecstatic to have it.

The third thing on my vintage Microman list should be in hand within a short time. It's nice to finally be picking these most wanted items off. I didn't think that the top 3 would be acquired in a matter of 4 months after having been looking for up to 20 years.


Now onto some re-issue series stuff. First I have to say, everything but the Hyper Hobby Hyper Microman 2-pack was just purchased for the second time. In 1996 I started to collect Microman, real Microman not just toys that became Transformers. At first it was tough, prices were pretty crazy for certain items. When the re-issues started I was really able to enjoy so many of the figures I had wanted at prices I could afford. Monetary values on toys mean very little to me, so what a vintage figure is worth in money doesn't trump the value of a re-issue to me. I love the design of toys, the marketing of toys, the idea behind the toys, are-issue still holds the same meaning as the original.

When Takara went full on into getting Microman product out in 200-2002 I was grabbing all that I could. A few years later I had to scale back on buying and even cut out large portions of my collection. Microman was part of this forced purge. And I hated to do it. I kept thinking that at some point I could go back. I didn't think it would take as long as it did.

This week I finally got my hands on a slew of Acroyear figures again. Such great figures, which I know many Micro collectors outside Japan had in their youth as Micronauts toys. I was too young for Micronuts sadly, but was very happy to have Takara re-issue them. I also got the Arden Lucifer figure again, which is an absolute favorite of mine. As for the actual Microman figures, they are mostly the more oddball ones, but ones that I very much like. The Clear Mode Spy Magicians are some of the best Clear Mode figures. The Command Complete set take one figure from each of the four Command assortments and features it in a chrome colored body. These figures look spectacular i chrome metallic finishes. The Azone Intl. exclusive Lady Command Azone was in the lot, a cool figure, but kinda dark and dull compared to the other figure in the Lady Command series. The last figure I bought for a second time was the Tokyo Toy Festival exclusive. The figure is a grey body barefoot M10X Microman that was limited to just 500 figures.

The last item in my Microman lot was the Hyper Hobby exclusive Hyper Microman set. Or rather, one of the sets. At the time of pre-order for these I just didn't see the point in them. they are so close to the originals that I felt the $100+ price wasn't worth it. Of course shortly after the mail-in promo expired I wanted them. I think the going rates kept me from ever grabbing the sets off the secondary market. To get a set now is pretty cool. I wish it was the set B with Hyper Jesse, but set A is awesome as well. I'm even more happy to have all this knowing that it cost me 1/3 the price to buy them the second time around.

Here's to hoping there won't be a third time I have to buy these.

Friday, April 11, 2014

新しいおもちゃの日 1-1: New Toy Day 1-1


For a collector, there's a real rush of excitement in getting new toys. It's always fun to go out and grab an item from the store. It's great to have an item or two arrive in the mail. But when it comes to getting ginormous boxes shipped from overseas, well that's a unique bit of special. 

I had a box dropped off yesterday after work. I'd maxed out on my storage limits and had to have what was sitting around in Japan shipped. I tend to wait out my storage times to the end in order to get the best shipping costs. Waiting in some cases up to 2 months is not fun, but then again isn't that really all the fun? The anticipation in waiting to get those toys and open them just builds and builds to a bursting point. Once shipped, the constant tracking begins, checking online multiple times a day as the package travels. Then when if finally arrives you spend hours just opening and playing with, or displaying it and even photographing it all in a period of plastic intoxication.

I got a good bit of stuff this week, Microman, Machine Robo, Tomy Rats, CG Robo,and a few other Takara toys. Over the next few days I'll go through a bit of it here. New toy day, it's really such a great time for collectors.

Monday, April 7, 2014

特撮ヒーロー「電人ザボーガー」まんが: Tokusatsu Hero Denjin Zaborger manga.

This is the first in I hope a run of Japan manga being fanslated here. This is the last part of a short run manga for young kids featuring DenJin Zaborger. DenJin Zaborger was a tokusatsu t.v. series broadcast from 1974 to 1975. The reason this comic adaptation series caught my eye was that it was drawn by Yoshihiro Moritou. Moritou would go on to do the long running Microman manga a year later.

I have admired his Microman art for some time, so it's always cool to see him render other characters. This is a short and very simple manga aimed at about 3-5 year olds. If you like this, and want to see more manga presented here in English let me know.

電人ザボーガー まんが Tokusatsu Hero Denjin Zaborger gangustars.com電人ザボーガー まんが Tokusatsu Hero Denjin Zaborger gangustars.com電人ザボーガー まんが Tokusatsu Hero Denjin Zaborger gangustars.com

Saturday, April 5, 2014

トミー「Starriors」チェックリスト: Tomy Starriors checklist.

With the approval from Botch who runs the great website starriors.com, I am offering this checklist for the Starriors toy line here. I used images from Botch's starriors.com site and compiled them into a form that you can download, print and keep track of what you've collected.


If people like this, please let me know, I may make more for other lines and do a series of these.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ロボテックのG.I.ジョープロトタイプサンプル: Matchbox HG G.I.Joe sample prototype.

From the Matchbox/HG promotional video:


I can guess that the G.I.Joe Barbecue figure was used because it has as close to a sci-fi look that they had at the time of making these presentation pieces. But how lazy to not even paint it up or alter it even a little bit. Still a great bit of lost G.I.Joe toy history.