John Ary here with a quick look at a few action figure lines that are making headlines this week...
Ultrabuild Avengers from LEGO
Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America make up the Marvel Super Heroes side of LEGO’s Ultrabuild series. Each Avenger is fully customizable with swappable parts and multiple points of articulation. If you want to see what one of these Ultrabuild figures looks like in action check out my LEGO Batman review. These will arrive in May.
Captain Action Thor and Loki from Round 2
This toy line from 1966 allows kids to transform a base action figure into almost any superhero. Here’s a vintage commercial that explains the concept perfectly:
A company named Round 2 has taken the license and produced new versions of Captain Action along with updated Marvel superhero accessory kits. Last fall Toys R Us began to sell costume sets featuring Spider-Man and Captain America.
This fall we can expect new kits to transform Captain Action into Thor, Loki and Dr. Evil. Thanks to Steve Forde over at Go Hero for pointing these out to me.
City Hunter Predator from Hot Toys
King Willie said, “You can’t see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin’.“ I would say this 1/6 scale Predator 2 figure is knocking on the door of awesome. It features 22 points of articulation, a newly developed head with rubber head, an expanded mandible, netting on the body, an interchangeable cut-off forearm, six interchangeable hands, an extendable spear, an extendable disc, a detachable mask with LED light-up function, a detachable oxygen mask, forearm armor with an extendable metal blade, trophy skull, detachable med kit with tools, and a figure stand. It’s up for pre-order now. We have more pics of this guy posted over on the Articulation Times toy blog.
Predator Series 5 from NECA
We're not done talking about Predator 2. At the end of the movie, we see the lost tribe; a group of distinct predator aliens that gives Danny Glover an antique flintlock pistol. For its latest wave of Predator action figures, NECA has created three new figures based on the lost tribe members. The Guardian, Snake and Stalker predator should arrive at retail sometime this month.
Temporal Blast Combat Set from Underground Toys
Oh no! Mini-Daleks and mini-Cybermen are using Temporal Shielding to damage time itself. Now the mini-Doctor must stop them by firing small projectiles at their plastic shields. Perhaps these temporal shielding bubbles factor into a seventh season episode? Each set includes one spring loaded blaster weapon, one micro-figure, and one Temporal Shield. The various packs include: CYBERMAN VS ELEVENTH DOCTOR, CYBERMAN VS DALEK DRONE, CYBERMAN VS DALEK SCIENTIST, DALEK VS RIVER SONG, DALEK VS RORY WILLIAMS, & DALEK VS CYBERLEADER. These are available for pre-order here.
Mattel's Troubles with the DC Universe
It sounds like Mattel is having a tough time with its DC action figure license. It has officially announced the cancellation of the Young Justice 4-inch and 6-inch line. That doesn’t bother me too much. I have never really liked the smaller Young Justice figures. The DC Universe Classics line on the other hand was great. Unfortunately its second coming in the form of the troubled DC Universe All-Star line will die as well. Confirmation of its demise is supported by this reply posted by Matty in its forums:
“DC Universe is going away after 2012 and there’ll be one more wave of 4. In 2013, we’ll be relaunching our 6″ with complimentary offerings on Matty and at Mass. You guys will be able to complete your collection and I hope you’ll like what we are doing. We’ve taken lessons from DC Universe and Legacy. Overall, we need to adjust to retailers, consumers and what’s selling in volumes that can be supported. As far as the character that we showed but haven’t released, most of them have been tooled so we’ll be looking for a way to release them in one form or another. However, I can’t 100% guarantee that.”
Poe Ghostal, a toy blogger who has written about toys for IGN.com and ToyFare magazine gives an excellent analysis of why Mattel has had trouble with the DC license recently:
“I am frustrated with Mattel, but I’m really frustrated with DC Comics. DC’s inability to market itself is what has brought about the Relaunch in the comics. DC’s inability to market itself is why Mattel has been reduced to selling figures online, directly to consumers while Hasbro is pumping out two scales of comic-based merchandise for Marvel.”
You can read the rest of his article here. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2013 to see a decently priced 6-inch DC Universe action figure from Mattel sitting on the pegs of our local retail outlets.
Hunger Games Barbie from Mattel
Is anyone surprised by this? Seems like perfect corporate synergy to me. The Hunger Games Katniss doll wears a hooded jacket, top, and military-style pants inspired by the film. She also comes with her trusty bow, arrows, quiver and her mockingjay pin. She will run you around $30 when she arrives in the fall. She’s also up for pre-order here.
Battle Beasts from Diamond Select Toys
We have been hearing about the return of the Battle Beasts since 2010. Diamond Select Toys and IDW have teamed up to tell the story of a group of renegade animal men that return to Earth to protect the ultimate weapon (and the human who activated it) from an armada of their violent brethren.
Both companies previewed their new Battle Beast action figures and comics at C2E2 this weekend .Some attendees of the Chicago comic con got a free translucent Minimate of the ram Vorin and an 8-page teaser of the comic. Both IDW and Diamond Select will hold off on the release of the first comic and the reveal of the full toy line until San Diego Comic Con in July.
The action figures are based on the Minimate design, standing two-inches tall with 14 points of articulation. They will come in two-packs include a gameplay feature. You can learn more about the new comics and the action figures at www.BattleBeast.com.
And finally this week, I would like to showcase the talents of Jon3.0 Bailey. Not only does he do a mean Peter Cullen impression, but also reviews Transformers toys.
That's it this week. For more action figure news, you can follow my toy blog on Twitter and Facebook.