Thursday, September 18, 2014

イマジネックストのバットマン(とロビン!): Imaginext Batman (and Robin!)

This is why I love Fisher-Price. I know I've said it before, but it needs saying again. They know how to release toys in a way that doesn't leave kids (and older collectors) behind.

batman dc comics Fisher-Price imaginext super heroes  バットマン  イマジネックスト

I found this toy on the shelves last week. It a new release of the now several years old Batmobile. The most affordable of the recent Batmobile toys. But the awesome thing in case you are like "so what!" is that this set has more stuff than prior releases. Originally this toy was sold with just a Batman figure, like any typical basic vehicle is. Shortly later on a special "Bonus" set was released at select stores. This bonus version included a Robin figure. In the time since then the line has moved on and expanded adding 2 more Batmobile toys at higher price points, and eliminated the single figure pack Robin from assortments.

The picture above gives away my ending but doesn't detract any of the message, and that is that Fisher-Price is awesome (of course!). With this new release we have the cheaper more budget friendly Batmobile back in rotation, but also the single pack Robin & cycle set, and what's great is that they are sold together at a lower price than buying them separately! So for anybody who missed out on these earlier releases, FP has your back.

batman dc comics Fisher-Price imaginext super heroes バットマン イマジネックスト

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[私のホビー生活] 私を変更した玩具: [My Hobby Life] Toys That Changed Me.

About this time 30 years ago I would have been taking my then current favorite toys to school and been deep into conversation with the other kids who were also discovering the awesomeness of the Transformers and Gobots. I wouldn't be typing this blog post right now without them. For better or worse, these toy lines changed me for life.

Gobots Tank Transformers Huffer MiniBot ポピー マシンロボ タカラ ミクロマン ミクロチェンージ ミクロロボットカーTransformers Bumblebee MiniBot タカラ ミクロマン ミクロチェンージ ミクロロボットカー

I first found out about Transformers in an ad that Marvel ran in an issue of the G.I.Joe comic. When the Transformers comic started I grabbed the first issue (and many subsequent issues). I bought my first Transformers toys before the cartoon aired, those first toys were the Minibots Huffer and Bumblebee. Just a few weeks later I got my first Gobot, Tank. To this day Tank is still my favorite Gobot toy.

Gobots Tank Transformers Huffer MiniBot ポピー マシンロボ タカラ ミクロマン ミクロチェンージ ミクロロボットカー

Something clicked inside me with these toys. It wasn't so much the comics, or the television shows, it was the toys. The design, the concepts, the sheer genius of the engineering that went into them. As a kid who just missed out on Shogun Warriors and Micronauts, the only robots I really had any great exposure to before Transformers and Gobots were R2-D2 and C-3PO, which to be honest I had always thought at the time were kinda lame. Had I been brought up a few years earlier when Japanese robots hit in the 70's I wonder if I would have been nearly as taken with Transformers and Gobots. Doesn't matter of course, I'm quite happy with how things turned out.

Gobots Tank Transformers Huffer MiniBot ポピー マシンロボ タカラ ミクロマン ミクロチェンージ ミクロロボットカー

Monday, September 15, 2014

新しいおもちゃの日 2-1(ミクロマン、マシンロボ、様々なタカラ物): New Toy Day 2-1 (Microman, Machine Robo, Takara stuff)

This week brings about another new toy day posting. I didn't get much this time around, so no stringing this out over 3 days. Money has been tight the past few months so the toy buying budget has been at a bare minimum. Luckily I am an expert bargain shopper.

Bandai Diaclone Gobots Microman Takara マシンロボ ミクロマン タカラ

Picked up a batch of Microman reissue figures, half of which I already have, but it was a bundle buy so not much I could do. The thing is, this is the second time around picking these up having bought them on their initial release 12-13 years ago. Another reminder to not sell my stuff off cause I'll regret it later. Reissues don't bother me, and I'll get into that at a later time, I'm just glad to have some Microman M11X and M12X figures back in my collection. Also picked up the last Takara Mech Warrior I need to finish off a complete set. I could have done it much sooner as I have been working on these for years, but I was not going to pay $250 for 1 robot off ebay. That price range is insane, and just a symbol of the pure greed involved with sellers on ebay who offer Microman, Diaclone and other early Takara (as well as Bandai/Takatoku) items and stupidity and ignorance for those buyers who pay it. Sorry dumb buyers, but fact is you only hurt other collectors with your ignorance.

Moving away from Takara and onto Bandai, I got  set of Machine Robo test shot/first shot prototypes. One of the toys, the Jet Robo is strikingly different than the normal retail release, and the Super Car Robo just a slight bit different. The Battle Robo was why I really bought the lot, but so far the only real difference between it and the normal store release seems to be plastic quality. That's a bummer as it's my favoite Machine Robo and Gobots, so was hoping for something a bit more special. Word is still out on the Devil Invader as I don't have the original 80's one to compare it to.

Rounding out this lot of new items is a few Japanese books including a crazy rare Takara 1983 marketing guide. LOTS of awesome info in here and a bunch of prototype pics, very cool stuff.

Bandai Diaclone Gobots Microman Takara マシンロボ ミクロマン タカラ

"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts"- Han Solo

Yeah, it's a pretty beat up box, but the contents all mint and unused. This is one of the last Takara Blockman toys I needed from the 1984 series. It was priced right, and the outer package damage doesn't affect the look too bad. There's no heavy ripping, or sun damage so it could have been much worse. All that's left for me in the 1984 range is a few of the small A-Series toys, oh and one what shouldn't be expensive but it is expensive gift set. But as with all Blockman stuff, I'll get it in good time. And when the price is right.

マシンロボ ミクロマン タカラ Bandai Diaclone Gobots Microman Takara

Now to finish, a note on how to NOT ship packages internationally. Please don't use crappy boxes folks (and bidding service companies!!), it only raises the chances for damaged items that are already present with careless postal workers being involved. The package here contained the items in the pic at the top of this post. I could have easily lost a few of those items through this giant hole in the side of the box, luckily I didn't. Because I didn't lose anything doesn't excuse the poor packaging here however.

Bandai, Diaclone, Gobots, Japanese Robots, Microman, Mech Warriors, toys, Takara, マシンロボ, ミクロマン, タカラ, vintage toys

Sunday, September 14, 2014

すすめ!オクトノーツ! パート2: the Octonauts, part 2!

This is the post in which I dream about all the cool stuff I want to buy on my next visit to the toy store. It's like being 6 years old all over again. In the roughly 1 year I have been picking up the Octonauts toys I have maybe 13-15 items. It's not much, and I'm seriously lacking some of the main stars of the t.v.series because they have gone out of production here before I started collecting. Thanks to Fisher-Price's forethought that kids continue to get into toys through finding them in stores or exposure from other kids, they continue to release items in different ways and recycle older products.Fisher-Price does an amazing job of this with their Imaginext brand,and are doing it with the Octonauts as well.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Octo-Crew Pack 8 pack Fisher-Price toys ダシー クワジー キャプテン・バーナクルズ トゥイークthe Octonauts オクトノーツ Octo-Crew Pack 8 pack Fisher-Price toys ダシー クワジー キャプテン・バーナクルズ トゥイーク

The first few items I picked up of the Octonauts were the small basic figure sets of Barnacles, Shellington, Kwazii, and Peso. The store I got them from didn't have Tweak, Dashi, Tunip or Inkling, and what I didn't know at the time was no store was stocking them, they were not n any current U.S. assortments. I could of course have check online shops, or bought from overseas where they were still available, but I wasn't that invested in the brand just yet. But thanks to a special Octonauts Octo-Crew Pack 8 pack gift set (that as far as I can tell is a shared store exclusive with one of the stores being Toys R Us), I can grab the whole Octonauts crew for about $20. This is great for me, even owning the first 4 figures I already purchased it keeps my costs for getting the 4 I don't have down.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Octo-Crew Pack Fisher-Price toys ダシー シェリントン ペソ トゥイーク

The U.S. may not be the only place the Octonauts have seen some assortment changes, this gift set is an exclusive to Target stores in Australia. It does make me wonder if the girl figures were just not as popular in the basic single packs and sell better in bundles. Here you get Shellington, Peso, Dashi and Tweak. This set would be even more perfect for me since I really only want Dashi and Tweak for my collection, but I can mange taking in Tunip and Inkling too.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Octo-Crane with Tweak Fisher-Price toys トゥイーク Gup-O with Dashi Fisher-Price toys ダシー

Speaking of Dashi and Tweak, both are being released in vehicle set assortments for this year. These sets include new versions of the figures. Dashi is coming withe the Octonauts Gup-O basic vehicle and Tweak can be found in stores with the Octonauts Octo-Crane. The Tweak set is the cooler of the two because it has 2 companion pieces. Along with the Octonauts Octo-Crane with Tweak, is the Octo-Claw with Tunip and Octo-Saw with Peso. The 3 vehicles connect to form the Ultimate Octo-Repair Vehicle, pretty nifty.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Tweak’s Octo Max Suit Fisher-Price toys トゥイークthe Octonauts オクトノーツ Tweak’s Octo Max Suit Fisher-Price toys トゥイーク

Tweak is also getting some added attention with a second release in the Octonauts Tweak’s Octo Max Suit set. This set is a Octonauts Kwazii's Octo Max Suit recolor, but the more cool robotic suits the better. Both these sets include exclusive figures.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Shellington’s Arctic Adventure Pack Fisher-Price toys シェリントンthe Octonauts オクトノーツ Shellington’s Ice Saw Fisher-Price toys シェリントン

Now the girls don't get to have all the fun, Shellington is being released with a new arctic themed pack, Shellington’s Arctic Adventure features a special arctic Shellington, a snow rover and some accessories. The Shellington here is really cute, and if you only want the figure than Fisher-Price has done you a favor, they are releasing the Shellington on his own as the Octonauts Shellington’s Ice Saw basic figure pack.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Barnacles Deep Sea Octo-Buggy Fisher-Price toys キャプテン・バーナクルズ

Good ol' Captain Barnacles is also getting a few releases of his own. They will finally be releasing the Octonauts Barnacles Octopod Steering Deck, which is awesome. I think that's a super cute feature in the show, so glad to add that to my growing Octo-Pod playset. Barnacles will also be found in the Octonauts Barnacles’ Deep Sea Octo-Buggy. It looks like a recolor/remold of an older vehicle, but doesn't matter it's still a new way to grab Barnacles, who is the face of the brand.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Barnacles Deep Sea Octo-Buggy Fisher-Price toys キャプテン・バーナクルズthe Octonauts オクトノーツ Barnacles Octopod Steering Deck Fisher-Price toys キャプテン・バーナクルズ

The Octonauts Barnacles’ Deep Sea Octo-Buggy features a deep dive suit Banacles, and fish companion. The Octonauts Barnacles Octopod Steering Deck can be seen above mounted to the top of the Octo-Pod for those few times when the Octonauts team are in a jam and only the skills of the Captain can steer them clear.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Shellington Deep Sea Octo Lab Fisher-Price toys シェリントン Midnight Zone

One of the newest play sets that has come out this year is the Deep Sea Octo Lab. This set falls under the Midnight Zone series and comes with a special Shellington figure. I love the Midnight Zone stuff cause it's brighter and more eye-poping, and I dare say very close to being neon colored. Yes, neon, that awesomely awful range of colors that makes me cringe when I saw people wearing it in the 80's and now again 30 years later but looks awesome on toys. The Deep Sea Octo Lab looks to be another fun play set for the Octonauts figures, my wife will probably not be happy if I get this one already have the larger Octo-Pod, but who knows.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Kwazii’s Shipwreck Fisher-Price toys クワジー

The other really cool play set out this year is the Octonauts Kwazii’s Shipwreck. Kwazii is without doubt my favorite character on the show, he's just a nut ball, and it's cute. Another fun looking set, with what I think is an exclusive Kawazii figure and some extra ocean buddies for him to mingle. This one I may have to sneak into my collection when my wife isn't looking. :P

Octonauts Octo-Crane Tweak Gup-O Dashi Octopod Steering Deck Shellington Octo Max Suit Kwazii Barnacles Deep Sea Octo-Buggy オクトノーツ キャプテン・バーナクルズ クワジー ペソ シェリントン ダシー トゥイーク インクリング ターニップ ディズニー Fisher-Price mattel the Octonauts

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

すすめ!オクトノーツ: the Octonauts!

I've mentioned it before, either on Facebook or in a Pinterest note that I didn't ever intend to collect these toys. I knew of the show and thought it was cute, and was thinking about grabbing some for my nephew. A call to confirm it was okay was met with some hesitation by my brother, but I couldn't pass the clearance sale a grocery store was having and I liked them enough to buy them for myself. I'm the type of collector who is sometimes at odds with myself on whether I should collect what I like, or try and focus on a more practical but narrow field of items. Clearly, when it came to the Octonauts I was letting my enthusiasm for the toys make that choice.

I started small, only a few basic figure packs, and some DX figure packs. A trip to a 2nd grocery store would net me a few of the smaller vehicle & figure sets.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Barnacles Kwazzi Fisher-Price toys キャプテン・バーナクルズ  クワジー

Having the smaller vehicles I noticed figure variants with them, that always sparks a collector's interest. I checked out the larger vehicles and yes, there were more cool and unique figures included with those. I grabbed a couple of the cooler larger toys. So far at this point of collecting the toys I amassed a good chunk of the current items, not buying a single one at full retail. Having started just before Christmas season I was getting deals of up to 60%, something that made my wife extremely happy. She wasn't at all thrilled with the space these things were eating up.

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Barnacles Gup D Fisher-Price toys キャプテン・バーナクルズthe Octonauts オクトノーツ Barnacles Gup D Fisher-Price toys キャプテン・バーナクルズ

Now I was all in, next up was the larger OctoPod play set.I got one on clearance at -Mart for $16, maybe just a bit more than half off.  I had noticed the add-on On-the-Go-Pods at Toys R Us, and when a 20% off sale was in effect grabbed 2 of them. These pods are great little room attachments for creating an even larger Octo-Pod play environment.  I had picked up Peso and Kwazzi's Pods, and still need to buy Shellington and Barnacles their own Pods. And I should stress need, cause as a collector you can't just buy 1 or 2, you have to collect them all!

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Barnacles On the Go Pod Fisher-Price toys キャプテン・バーナクルズthe Octonauts オクトノーツ Shellington On the Go Pod Fisher-Price toys シェリントン

the Octonauts オクトノーツ Shellington Barnacles OctoPod On the Go Pod Fisher-Price toys シェリントン

Naturally as you can see above, only a well stocked Octo-Pod will do! But again, at this point I have quite a few things in my modest collection, but there's so much more to part 2!

Octonauts Octopod Shellington Kwazii Barnacles オクトノーツ キャプテン・バーナクルズ クワジー ペソ シェリントン ダシー トゥイーク インクリング ターニップ ディズニー Fisher-Price mattel the Octonauts

Friday, September 5, 2014

Random Rambling Picture Dump #1 (Microman, Machine Robo, Transformers)

Sometimes I create pics for this blog with no idea of where they are going. I just store them in a  folder for future use, and they tend to build up. Going through the folder recently I couldn't even recall what articles or stories some of these photos were created to pair with, so I'm just gonna dump them in a new feature called, well....Random Rambling Picture Dump. Pretty much sums it up.

ミクロマン アクロイヤー X2 アクロファントムMicroman AcroPhantom Micronautsミクロマン アクロイヤー X2 アクロファントムMicroman AcroPhantom Micronauts

The Microman AcroPhantom from 2004 features one of the most striking designs from pretty much any Microman era. The actual figure though is lacking a great deal when it comes down to playing with it. No doubt this was geared towards teen/adult collectors, and likely just stood on toy shelves looking amazing. But for me to even take some dynamic photos of the toy, it was a hassle. Most of the stylish bits are burdensome to the posing of the toy, and then the thing breaking didn't help. Some of the Micro figures from the era were made with really inferior plastics for the intricate joints they made up. Seeing as hot this toy now sells (and I mean really sells at,not just some d-bag on ebay asking it) for $80, please take care with him, his leg joints are horribly fragile.

Mattel Hot Wheels ホットウィール 自動車 おもちゃ die cast carsMattel Hot Wheels ホットウィール 自動車 おもちゃ die cast cars

I've mentioned it before, I'll likely mention it in the future, and right now again, I wouldn't think I'd be collecting Hot Wheels as an adult. I loved them when I was 3-5 years old, and now my stupid translucent plastic fetish reeled me back into them. Yeah, it's true, I only buy the clear plastic bodied cars from How Wheels.Or in the case of the pics above, multi-packs that contain clear cars. These 3 packs here I got for only 80¢ a set. Not bad at about 27¢ a car.

Diaclone Fairlady Z Patrol Car Transformers Prowl ダイアクロン カーロット タカラ

I love Takara's Diaclone brand, and respect them even having being subjugated into the Hasbro credited brainchild of many*, the Transformers. As much as I love Diaclone however, it's the Transformer Prowl itself that really makes this character for me. I think it's part the toy being cool (thanks to Takara), and part the animated series character being cool (as little as he was used) that got me to like him. And I never owned him as a kid. I was in my early 20's before I had one in my collection and even then it was pretty much a junker. Once the Takara re-issue hit I grabbed one.

I'd still like to pick up the original Diaclone Fairlady Patrol car, but given that I sold off nearly all my Diaclone stuff that doesn't seem like it make much sense. The cost of that toy could fund many others, because in case you didn't know, idiocy has taken over pricing in Diaclone toys that were taken away for use in Transformers and the prices are fucked beyond belief.

*-Yes, more tongue in cheek than factual reporting, settle down.

Diaclone Cherry Vanette ダイアクロン カーロット タカラ 1971年 おもちゃ

 When I want to waste time, this is what happens. Found a pic of a 70’s era mobile toy shop that Takara operated. Of course I digi-bashed a Diaclone (or Transformers) toy version right away. I love throw backs and nostalgia based products, and something like this recolor would be just the thing I'd pick up.

1984 80's Bandai Diaclone Gobots Japanese Robots Microman Takara Transformers ダイアクロン トランスフォーマー バンダイ マシンロボ ミクロマン