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Matthew Kaplowitz

Tomopop Review: Lost Planet 2 figures from Kotobukiya

Dec 20 // Matthew Kaplowitz
Figure Name: Lost Planet 2 PTX-140 Hardballer & GTF-11SR DrioFigure Maker: KotobukiyaFigure Price: US$34.99KotoUS.com It was a brisk autumn day, as I gathered my Domke bag and stuffed my camera and pair of Lost Planet 2 figures inside. I had liberated them from their packages already, and since I neglected to take shots of them, I can tell you that the packages are nice and simple. The package is pure clear plastic, and pretty sturdy plastic at that. Sadly, with that you do not have the option of taking the figure in and out of the box like if it was cardboard. With this item, it's either mint in package or loose for eternity. I am a loose collector, so it's no skin off my back.Once you manage to cut through the resilient plastic, you can yank out the molded plastic with the figure and begin the ten minute long process of extricating it from that. This thing had so many twisty ties and those barely visible rubber bands! It was a minor annoyance, but on the plus side, it kept everything very safe and secure. Each figure comes with a backdrop which doubles as the toy info. Overall, the packaging is minimal but that's fine for me. Easy to stack and dust if you keep it in box, a small chore to remove it, but very little mess afterward.  Behind the apartments where I live are some garages. Behind those garages are woodlands, at least as much as you can get in New York City. The most wildlife I get is a raccoon here and there and a squirrel eating a bagel. I patrolled the area until I found the right spot, much like Linus searching for the most sincere pumpkin patch to wait for The Great Pumpkin to arrive. I found a spot deep into the woods, which meant five minutes away from the garages. I put my canvas camera bag on the floor and set up the first toy, the GTF-11SR Drio.Kotobukiya did an excellent job on the likeness of this figure to its video game counterpart. The paint is smooth and has a worn look to it, like it just came out of a battle. The machine guns on the side of the Drio are detachable and adjustable with ball joints, while the smaller guns insert into the toy via a slot. If I had one gripe, it was getting this guy to stand, but then again, I did have him balancing on a log here. Even when he was on flat ground, making this guy stand up straight was a pain. Speaking of pain, my knees were beginning to feel it from kneeling on the rough ground. As I was shooting, I began to smell something ... animal feces. I figured, hey, I'm in the woods, it's only natural. I looked to around to see if there was any in the immediate area and did not see any, so I kept shooting. Then the small grew stronger. It was time to move I thought, so I went to put my camera back in my bag to relocate. That's when I saw it.Some woodland critter had dropped a soft mushy lump of leftovers into my bag. Well, that explains the smell, I thought to myself as I looked for some tissues to wipe it off. Little did I realize, when you wipe off animal feces on a canvas bag, all you end up doing is smearing the crap into the textured surface, lodging it deeper and deeper. I had no water or anything to throw on this, so I was stuck with a smelly bag.  Growing slightly frustrated, I went to grab my Drio figure. As I looked down, I realized why I was smelling animal feces. The same animal that was above me had been hanging out for awhile. The reason I could not find the droppings was because I was kneeling in them the entire time ... This is just my luck, people. I just happened to find the creature with the loosest bowels in Queens, but I also was fortunate enough to kneel in his diarrhea. Now I was mad. I snatched up my Drio and stomped out of the woods. How do you tell a Tomopop photographer from the rest of the world? He's the only one covered in animal crap.Screw this! I headed back to civilization and decided to fake it. Sure, outdoors combat is great and all, but urban warfare is the way of the future. Plus, it matched the Hardballer! I had been lusting over the Hardballer since New York Toy Fair 2010, and when I got him finally after months of waiting, I was not disappointed. Firstly, I was surprised at how balanced this figure was. Upon first glance, the feet on him looked like they could not hold any weight and he would be wobbly. Not at all - this guy stood his ground proudly, unlike his brother who took some posing. The two weapons on his shoulder are attached by ball joints like the Drio, while his jetpack is stuck to his back. Both of the figures have those jump jets, and are permanently attached to him. One nuisance that was not permanently attached was the shoulder guards on the Drio, which is a pro and a con. They pop out if you pose the Hardballer's arms too high, but that is the price you pay for mobility.  The gun and shield look great, and both do come off of his hands, although I would not recommend taking the shield off due to its positioning and how hard it is to get it back in his hand. I was impressed with the overall flexibility of this figure as well, from the legs to the arms and even elbows and knees.   I love the look of this thing and I still can't figure out why. The aesthetics of it are very appealing to me, maybe it is the symmetry of this oddly proportioned machine or how it looks like no other robot I have ever seen. Hardballer screams manliness, except manly things don't scream - they growl. Hardballer growls like a tiger in the jungle, and he is an excellent figure, top to bottom. This figure reaffirmed my faith in mankind, but not Mother Nature and her lactose intolerant animals. Which brought me back to the Drio ... Only inches from an uncomfortable concrete sidewalk, I posed the Drio in some grass. If it wasn't the fall and there were no dead leaves around, this figure might look pretty epic outside. At this point, I was tired of this naturalness and wanted to get back to the safety of my house, where I can keep squirrels and raccoons far away from flinging their wet turds at me.Drio is not quite as mobile as his brother, but he can be posed. The biggest problem is those flat feet, which made it hard for it to stand no matter how I posed it. Both figures do come with large flat bases, but being flat, they don't help the Drio that much.  The open cockpit is a neat addition, and I liked that the front piece did lift up to reveal the pilot's legs. The pilot is not articulated and is not meant to be taken out, but he looks pretty slick when you get a good look at him. It's all about the details here, and Koto does not skimp on those, even at this scale.  When I first saw both of these at NY Toy Fair, their booth representatives had to give me a towel to wipe up my drool. This time, I needed a towel to clean my bag and pants. Besides the planet Earth attacking me, these figures lived up to my expectations and beyond. My only real gripe was the problem with Drio standing straight, but beyond that I am very excited to have these pieces on my toy shelf. For US$35 a pop, they are definitely worth it, and they also come in two colors each, which designate their model number. The other Hardballer is a sandy, desert color, while the other Drio is a solid grey. These two were my favorites in terms of color, but all of them look great. Even if you are not a fan of the video game, I highly recommend these figures! If you don't like them, send them to me so I can build my army to destroy this so-called Mother Earth and her minions. You may have crapped on me this time, but the next time it will be the other way around! Thanks to Kotobukiya for providing us with these samples for review. Even if they hadn't I can honestly say I would have bought these in a heartbeat! Check out the gallery for many more images of both of these toys!
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This is a tale months in the making (namely because I admittedly took my sweet time writing this tale). Not without due reason. You see, nature is rebelling against me. Mother Earth has had enough of me and wants me to go the...

NYCC 2010: Xavier Lim shows us Gundams

Oct 14 // Matthew Kaplowitz
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Still more goodies from NYCC 2010! This time, Colette Bennett speaks with Xavier Lim to talk about the latest Gundam models on the way, including some from a certain Gundam movie that debuted this weekend at NYCC! We look at so many robots that it makes our heads spin and circuits overload! Hit the jump for the video!

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Stephen Donaldson had a chance to get behind the booth and behind the scenes with Steve Talkowski (at his first comic con appearance too), who spoke with us about his new Sketchbot vinyl figures, as well as what else is coming down the pipe for him and his Sketchbot, including more details on the pink Sketchbot!Hit the jump for the vid!

NYCC 2010: Jim Fletcher of DC Direct

Oct 13 // Matthew Kaplowitz
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Some reviewers may remember Jim Fletcher from Toy Fair 2010, and we are glad to see him back for NYCC 2010! I spoke with Jim at their booth to discuss all the hottest items from DC Direct, including new figures from Blackest ...


NYCC 2010: Shakin booty at Mimobots

Oct 13 // Matthew Kaplowitz
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It wasn't all just work at NYCC 2010! Colette danced her way into an interview with Jessica from Mimobots to talk about some of their hot new flash drives that are on the way, and gets jiggy with it about other upcoming releases!For those wondering, Colette was sober in terms of booze, but drunk on overwhelming NYCC juices! Hit the jump to check out the most rocking interview ever!

NYCC 2010: Raje Toys-From the UK to USA

Oct 12 // Matthew Kaplowitz
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Stephen Donaldson continues the video coverage at NYCC 2010 by speaking with Raje Toys, a new British vinyl company that is poised to make an impact across the pond in the United States. We learn more about their origins, working with Patricio Oliver and Doktor A, and more info about their G.N.O.M.E., Tenebrae, and Dr Brain figurines! Hit the jump for the video. Cheers!

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Erick Scarecrow and Colette Bennett... two star-crossed lovers or both just certifiably insane? You decide! Colette talks with Erick about what is coming out at NY Comic Con and beyond with so much awesomeness that the booth nearly explodes with an abundance of vinyl awesome sauce! Don't believe me? I bet you don't, you never do. Hit the jump so you can watch the video and I can prove you wrong!

NYCC 2010: Joe of Tonner Dolls

Oct 12 // Matthew Kaplowitz
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Continuining our video coverage of New York Comic Con 2010, Colette Bennett stops by the Tonner booth to get her doll on! We talks with Joe who tells us about the latest dolls on the way, including Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, and new DC dolls!  Hit the jump for the video!

NYCC 2010: What's new with UglyDoll

Oct 09 // Matthew Kaplowitz
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Now that we have you thoroughly teased and tantalized with our sneak peek vid, now you can begin enjoying the sweet fruit of our labor! First off, Colette Bennett chats with Alita Friedman of UglyDoll, to give us the lowdown ...

NYCC 2010: Tomopop has arrived!

Oct 09 // Matthew Kaplowitz
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Tomopop has arrived at NYCC 2010! Colette, Leah and Stephen have already been posting a few galleries from day one around the site, and my contribution will be some video action! So, here is a teaser for what to expect this ...

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Last week you saw my interview with Damon Lau of Round 5 MMA toys talking about the next batches of stylized UFC vinyl figures their company plans on releasing through the rest of this year. Now, here is the other end of the ...

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Yesterday, I showed you the interview I did with Damon Lau, owner of Round 5 MMA toys, at the UFC Fan Expo in Boston. Damon discussed the next upcoming vinyl UFC figures on the way out for 2010. Today, take a look at one of t...

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This weekend, the UFC Fan Expo hit Boston, and I was there to document all the madness! Beyond the fighters, my main interest was the toys! Round 5 MMA was represented at the show, along with their exclusive three-pack set wi...

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On this tomopop.com exclusive VIDEO review (as in no reading required), we look at Jakks Pacific's TNA Deluxe Impact Wave 1, which features AJ Styles, Sting, Samoa Joe, Suicide, Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle. Last time I looked...

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Sports toys and vinyl do not seem to go together whatsoever. In fact, the typical sports toy we get falls into two categories. First, photo-realistic figures like the ones produced by McFarlane Toys that are more sculptural t...

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SDCC 2010 Mattel WWE Overview


Jul 29
// Matthew Kaplowitz
Mattel had plenty of awesome stuff at the expo as we already saw, including the amazing Ghostbusters toys that made me ectoplasm in my pants. Another major highlight for me was their unveiling of many new WWE figures, ranging...
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SDCC 2010 Mattel Ghostbusters Overview


Jul 28
// Matthew Kaplowitz
Being the biggest Ghostbusters fan on staff (proof of it is in my review of the Mattel Peter Venkman figure), I was kicking myself for not being in person at SDCC this year to see all of Mattel's latest GB items. Moreso since...
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SDCC 2010: Macho Man Randy Savage among others in new WWE Legends line


Jul 23
// Matthew Kaplowitz
Mattel has done the unthinkable! They did what Jakks Pacific could not do for years with their WWE Classic Superstars line, and they even got the man himself to appear and cut a promo!Mattel announced yesterday at SDCC their ...

Tomopop Review: Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat from Mattel's WWE Legends Line

Jul 23 // Matthew Kaplowitz
Here is the figure in package, ignore the odd yellowness in this pic, they get better. I like the packaging look with the way the blister pack forms this shape. Like all Mattel figures, this one is no exception when it comes to those annoying little rubber bands that hold the figure down when you open it, but that is the price you pay to keep these figures from being stolen in stores. The pose in the packaging is nothing special, if anything it is ambiguous and confusing. I do not know what he is supposed to be doing. I guess he is punching the air but he could be offering that alligator an invisible ice cream cone. Upon closer inspection, you can get a good look at the illustration of Ricky Steamboat, as well as the logo for this line. I must say, I like the logo and I LOVE the illustration of Steamboat. It really adds life to the packaging and gives it a classic feel like those vintage GI Joe cards with the paintings of the soldiers. I like it so much, here is another photo of it from the back of the box, as well as the other illustrations of the other wrestlers in this wave:   See, I told you the photos get whiter! Anyway, these illustrations are spectacular and I wish I could get a poster of them for my room. Are they copied from photos and possibly traced over to make these digital paintings? Most likely, but they still look great. See them up close in a store to really get a good feel for them. Enough talk of the packaging, let's get to the meat of this dish and get Steamboat out of the box!  Standing 6" tall and weighing in at 4 ounces, hailing from a factory somewhere in China, here is Riiiicky "The Dragon" Steeeeammmbbooatttt!!! This figure has a perfect likeness, with the focused face of one of the most popular babyface wrestlers from the good ole' days of NWA, WWF and WCW. Without taking a look at the unclothed body yet, since he is wearing his entrance outfit, I could notice the articulation as I stood the figure up for the shots. The figure also felt very proportionate as opposed to the older Jakks figures, which tended to be very exaggerated and often times completely different from the body of the wrestler they were portraying.   If there is one thing Mattel is known for, it is its Barbie doll line, which has produced fashion-oriented dolls for decades. Pro wrestling fans owe a great debt to Barbie, because it is thanks to Mattel's knowledge of fabric that they can produce these amazing clothes. Steamboat's gi top has a great feel and fits him very well. The screened-on decals on his outfit are seamless and smooth and very detailed when you consider the scale of the figure.     The boots on Steamboat are another great feature of this figure. Again, excellent attention to detail emerges from this toy. Boots are one of the few items a pro wrestler can customize in a world of tights and elbow pads, so giving these items their honor in toy form is much needed to make this heap of plastic into something more. The bright and colorful dragon on his boots continues to add character to this figure, but let's talk about another character now — that little alligator dude that came packaged with Steamboat! So what does a crocodile or alligator have to do with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat? I was unsure, too. The back of the package described a feud Ricky had with Jake "The Snake" Roberts where Steamboat produced a Komodo Dragon from a canvas sack to fight against Jake's slithering friend. So logically, you would include a Komodo Dragon with the toy, right? Nah. They gave you an alligator instead. But my research discovered what they were going for and I found this piece of history below ... That's Steamboat using this alligator on Roberts, who is holding his snake in his hand. Epic. Truly epic.So anyway, the alligator. His tummy is a shade of yellow, his skin is green, and his mouth is manacled by a red ribbon. Cute accessory and I always enjoy a little pet with my toys. Is it weird, absolutely, but so is pro wrestling at times. The sculpting is nifty on the little critter with rows of scales and beady little eyes. This gator is made from hard plastic, so he is not the cheap bendy kind of toy he might look like. That still does not make it any less peculiar, though.  While we are on the topic of accessories, Steamboat also comes with a black plastic base with a peg for his feet and a little die-cut cardboard label that you stick in the base. Despite it looking sort of cheap, it works well, so I can not complain too much here. The only problem is I had issues keeping Steamboat balanced on that peg, and found it easier to make him stand without it, so just hide the base in a drawer and forget about it.Now, let's strip Steamboat down and take a look at him in his wrasslin' gear!  Dig that articulation! Look at all them joints! That man right there is going to have a good match with another figure someday! Mattel is still early in their production but the body was a good choice and perfect fit for Steamboat. One thing I do want to add is Tomopop owes me big time! When I took off Steamboat's top, I had to untie that little lacy belt thing to do it. After the shoot, when I went to tie it back on, I found it impossible to make that same knot on the figure. Apparently, something like this requires the tiny fingers of 7-year-old children in Asia to do, so instead I was left faking it, as you will see in later pics. In other words, my knot will never be the same again. The things I do for you, Tomopop!   No strings attached! Let's take a look at this Mattel figure against some other wrestling toys from their rival, Jakks Pacific: Here is Steamboat standing next to a Jakks Pacific "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith. The Jakks figures are taller and have larger builds with much less articulation. In fact, the only ball joints that the Jakks figure has is in its shoulders. Steamboat has ball joints in his shoulders and legs, and has a bendable torso, as well as a more streamlined body to fit that articulation better. To be fair, Smith got quite large later in his career, but Steamboat, despite being smaller than other wrestlers, was still no midget. Let's take a look at Steamboat against a more articulated Jakks figure:  Here is Triple H, or HHH if you prefer, from the Jakks Deluxe Aggression line, the line that deals with more articulated figures. These two are equal in points of articulation; the difference is the application. The joints of Triple H are bulkier and therefore do not move nearly as well, especially in the upper body. The arms are laughably oversized and make it even more difficult to pose with other figures. Steamboat is a smaller figure and is easier to pose and just looks less goofy. I was never a fan of the DA line and I am grateful that Jakks has improved upon it with their TNA and UFC figures, but comparing WWE vs. WWE, Mattel has the edge no matter how you stack the odds.    I was hesitant to buy this figure at first, not because I did not like it, but because I did want to get addicted to buying pro wrestling toys again. Ultimately, that may be what happened with this purchase. This figure was better than I expected and a huge improvement over just about any pro wrestling figure I have ever bought, be it Toy Biz, Jakks Pacific or even San Francisco Toymakers (not that there is much competition there).  Seeing these tiny photos really do not do the figure justice; the amount of detail is impeccable here and for a debut line, things can only get better. That is a frightening thought when you consider how nice this toy is. The next wave will have Terry Funk, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and The Iron Sheik to name a few, and I have a feeling they are going to end up on my shelves as soon as I see them. Fina verdict: pick this figure up if you are a fan of pro wrestling, old and new. Conversely, if you are not a fan but just like a good figure, this one is a step above the rest out there on the mainstream market and will make you a fan of the line thanks to their great sculpting, amazing fabric, high articulation and just overall being an excellent addition to any collection. Don't forget to check out the rest of the photos in the gallery!
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There were two figures that pro wrestling fans have been clamoring over for years: "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. For years, Jakks Pacific, the former licensee for WWE, was una...

Tomopop Review: Peter Venkman from MattyCollector's Ghostbusters line

Jul 20 // Matthew Kaplowitz
 First things first, let's take a look at the packaging. It is nothing we have not seen before - same box, different figure. The packaging is spacious and the figures are well-protected. One thing I have missed in all the figures (and literally missed at that) was the packaging that came with last year's SDCC Egon Spengler. The figure was able to removed and put back in the packaging quite easily. Since then, Mattel has foregone that and went with traditional blister packs. In other words, once the figure is out of the box, it's out for good. It would be a nice addition to have, especially since Mattel insists on sending a cardboard box to hold every figure that you order.   The back of the packaging has some great tidbits about Venkman! It includes one of the most famous GB quotes, "It slimed me", as well as facts such as being the first Ghostbuster to come into physical contact with a ghost, his loathsome nature to junk food and his rule of never getting involved with possessed people. I enjoy this running gag on the back of all the packages, but would not mind some small variety in there overall appearance. Nitpicking? Yes, a bit, but I did just spend $32 on one 6" figure. Amuse me, Mattel! Now let's take this bad boy out of the box!  From a first glance, this figure screams Peter Venkman. From his unkempt pants legs to his nonchalant facial expression, this toy has captured the essence of Bill Murray and will require some form of exorcism to get him free. The articulation is the same as the other figures, since it is essentially the same figure with a new head and some minor changes which we will talk about in a moment. Peter is the second figure in this line to be "slimed", which is an additional coating of some goo on his face and uniform. Last year's SDCC exclusive Egon was the first and fetches a pretty penny on eBay. How I regret not buying him then! Another note is that the hose that attaches to Venkman is a different shade of yellow. Previous figures had a more translucent tone of plastic while this one has a much brighter color. Maybe it is reacting to the ectoplasm or maybe Peter just peed his pants and the tube is disposing of his urine (and now we have solved the mystery of the tube!).  The facial sculpt is pretty good and quickly recognizable. If you want to complain, you can say that it is missing the classic Bill Murray pizza-face, but this is a six-inch Mattel figure, not a 12-inch Hot Toys figure. Imagine if they got the license instead of Mattel? *drool* No difference in the pack, but it sure looks good. I prefer the 12-inch packs myself, but these still look good. There is no such thing as a bad proton pack, except for the Minimates version, but at 2", it is hard to make a comparison. It's like comparing Murray the Mantis to the Grundel: two very different entities, but both from the same show. One "Real Ghostbusters" reference down ... let's see how many more I can sneak in!  I was prepared to moan about the lack of difference between all four Ghostbuster figures, but then Venkman came along and briefly shut my mouth. In Exhibit A above, Peter demonstrates one of the new features to this figure - gloved hands! It was as simple as adding a cuff to the sleeves and painting Peter's hands black, but it is effective and adds some much-needed variety to the line. Venkman also sports a new set of legs as mentioned earlier, and I am very grateful they added that. It would not be Venkman without that minute detail. Beyond that, you are getting much of the same - only with a light covering of slime.And speaking of slime ...  Peter comes with an alternate version of Slimer. Once again, the memory of the SDCC Egon that I will never have haunts me, as that figure was the first to have this disgusting blob, but Venkman has a closer relationship with the ugly little spud and this version has his tongue sticking out. I was very impressed with the articulation of this, considering this is an accessory. The color looks great and the expression is on point again. This Slimer is hungry and wants to take a bite out of Venkman, whether he likes it or not!  The figure comes with a stand, which actually makes it quite difficult for him to stand. It took much posing to get Slimer steady on that thing, and it has been the bane of these figures since day one. The curved stands are meant to counter-balance the asymmetrical weight of the figures, but they seem to only work half the time. The only solution I can think of is making the base heavier, which would raise production costs, leading to them raising distribution prices. I think I spend enough on these, how about you?  He sure has some junk in the trunk! OK, now let's take a look at Venkman compared to some other figures from this line! Here is Venkman with his good buddy, Walter Peck, wiping some slime off on his shoulder. One of these figures should have cost less than the other - can you figure out which one it is?   Here is Peter with the three other Busters that I own. Need I lament once more about the absence of Dr. Spengler? Here you can see the difference in the color of tube on his leg, and also notice the differences with the gloved hands and legs. If it was not for those two minimal changes, you would be looking at three nearly identical figures. When it comes to guys wearing a uniform, there is not much you can do to differentiate them. You can change their poses, but these figures revolve around their consistent articulation. The only other option is very small things like this, so I look forward to seeing what else Mattel can do to make these look different (although I get the feeling if we see Ghostbusters II figures, we can look forward to many repaints and part-swapping).   So there you have it, Peter Venkman and Slimer. I was very pleased to see Mattel do something different with this figure, even if it was just something small like the gloves and legs. I am hoping that the company will release a new Egon at some point so collectors who never got the SDCC figure can complete their collections, but I get the feeling I am going to be waiting a long time for that.The final verdict is a happy Ghostbusters fan! If you did not pick this up when it first came out, you are going to be paying some asinine prices to get him, but the figure is good so if you really feel the need to spend, be my guest. While you are spending, want to get me that SDCC Egon?More photos of the figure in the gallery! Any of you folks pick this figure up? If so, what did you think of it?
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The fourth Ghostbuster has been released by MattyCollector.com, and finally I am getting around to writing the review! Peter Venkman has joined the previous three boys in brown to round out the most feared middle-aged men eve...

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Round 5 'Versus' Series Prototype Images with Brock Lesnar and Chuck Liddell


Jul 13
// Matthew Kaplowitz
I like MMA. I like toys. You like toys, but might not like MMA that much. Round 5 has found a way to bridge that gap with the vinyl collecting world and their latest product is sure to turn some heads. We previously spoke wit...
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TNA Legends Of The Ring Wave 1 Figures unveiled


Jul 02
// Matthew Kaplowitz
Jakks Pacific has released images for their first wave of TNA Legends of the Ring Wrestling figures. This big reveal shows what collectors of Jakks wrestling figures were initially wondering, and that is if they will be using...

A Boy and His Blind Box: Lego Mini-figures Wave 1

Jul 02 // Matthew Kaplowitz
At $2.50 a pop, I ended up with six of these little suckers. I expected them to be slightly pricier, but I was not complaining when I got the receipt. Before I bought them, I did the usual tradition of feeling around the bags in a lame attempt to identify who was in the packages. Generally, you can gauge them by weight but that is easier said than done. In this case, I did my best to poke around and feel any nice-sized parts that were easily recognizable, and as you will learn, that might have worked against me here.The packaging is pretty fun and I felt bad ripping these apart since they were so cool. The front image is what I imagine a modern version of The Village People would look like... in Lego form! These happy yellow faces invited me in to tear into their contents and assemble my ragtag army of misfit Lego things.  Before we look at the figures, let's take a look at a poster that comes with each figure. This is one side which includes shots of all sixteen characters featured in this premiere wave. They include a ninja, a zombie (which was obscured by light in this shot), an astronaut, a luchador and an awesome caveman! My top picks, if I could choose, would be the zombie, luchador, Native-American Indian, killer robot dude and Robin Hood. The ones I can live without would have to be that crash dummy. It's just a naked Lego figure with a wrench. The clown also must go... as in go away to a bottomless pit filled with snakes and crocodiles and never resurface. Clowns... shudder. Here is the other side of the poster, which gives you a rundown of the various pieces you can acquire if you spend enough money and get all the Lego mini-figures. Not being Donald Trump or his spawn, I bought six and was happy with that. Nonetheless, I do like the looks of that skateboard and caveman club. Ok, enough teasing, let's rip into sacks and unload our Legos! There you see it, readers! The first bag is torn open and Lego pieces are strewn about like a dog just tore them apart. On the bottom you see the poster I just showed you, and on top, the pieces. Each mini-figure also includes a plain black base to stand your character on once they are assembled. The characters also all seemed to come with a spare part or two. I guess they figured these pieces are so small that they are going to lost eventually, might as well save money on our customer service line and just give them extra pieces to start with. Bravo, Lego, bravo!Let's take a look at the six figures I got now!First up is the nurse. She's an attractive brunette with a job, and I do love women who pursue goals and careers. Female Lego's are a rarity, so it is refreshing to see not just one, but two in this line. Lego is not a misogynistic company, and generally race does not exist either in the Lego world. Everyone is equal and yellow! The nurse comes with two syringes and one chart with some poor Lego's vitals, which seem to be very erratic. Rest in peace, little Lego dude.  The nurse was not my top pick, but she is not bad either. Furthermore, I think she is only the second female Lego ever in my collection. Second! Speaking of second, who's next? How about two killer robots? As I said before, feeling around those bags might have caused this since I was checking for big parts thinking they would be awesome. Instead, I cursed myself to a fate worse than a lame figure - two of the same. Luckily, the killer robot is cool and since he has a giant helmet, I can have one displayed with the helmet and one without. The face is scary enough, but with the helmet he is mysterious and menacing, especially with that hook hand. There are a few close-ups of them in the gallery so check that before you finish reading! Next up is the luchador, which was one of my top picks next to the zombie. This little luchador is great, down to the painted muscles on his body to the championship belt around his waist. He comes with a red cloth cape which is a great touch and really completes the figure. The grimace on his face is priceless and he truly looks ready to grapple with the best of them. Would have been made better with a Lego sized steel chair but even without that, this is still a winner to me! Let's see who is next? That would be... the clown! No, not the clown! Anyone but the clown!You... you set this up, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU? Wipe that smile off your face. You're not as innocent as you look. I'm onto you... What are you doing? Stay back! Get away from me! GET OUT OF MY HEAD, CLOWN! STOP SMILING AT ME! I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE! I KNOW WHAT'S UNDER THAT PAINT! GET AWAY! NOOOOOOOOO!!!   Ok, I took some... pills... and I am alright now. So, the clown... yup. There he is. He comes with a horn that he uses to lure children out of their homes to... ahem, excuse me. He comes with a horn which is one of the larger accessories in this line, befitting his large head of fiery red hair... LIKE THE FLAMES OF HELL! Sorry, sorry. His whimsical outfit gives him that authentic look that screams clown, and boy does he make me scream. Despite being a minion from the underworld, this clown is pretty good and I do not mind him being part of my collection. As in the part of my collection that I keep in a shoebox in my closet. Clowns... why did it have to be clowns?Lastly, we have the the cowboy.I thought it was Indiana Jones at first, but the belt buckle told me otherwise. If you use your imagination though, it could be Indy! Lego cowboy came with not one, not two but THREE revolvers! Enough to put 18 holes in any clowns... I mean villainous goons that get in his way! He also has that snazzy hat and squinty Clint Eastwood eyes to go with his cowboy scruff. Despite being well-armed, he is still smirking and pleased with himself. He is a very confident Lego and he makes me feel confident too. He makes me think that I'm good enough, that I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. Thank you, Lego cowboy, thank you.So there you have it, six blind-packed Lego mini-figures, all in a row. Not a bad haul, despite the two robots and the one hideous abomination to mankind that some refer to as "clown." Even though I did not get all the ones I was hoping for, I was very happy with what I got and would definitely buy more to get the rest. The entire first wave is all very different and unique and I look forward to future lines with more crazy characters.For a price as low as that, there is no reason not to take a risk and see what you get. A great addition for any collector, be they hardcore or casual, and a nice piece to give to a friend who does not collect toys or a co-worker who can put it on their desk. I say grab these diminutive pieces up and share them with the world, you will not be disappointed, even if you end up with the clown.   
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Wandering through the aisles of Toys R' Us one lazy afternoon, I found myself lost in the Lego aisle. It happens from time to time. Quickly, you become enveloped by the rows of huge Lego sets, be it a Star Wars Rebel Blockade...

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Predators figures packaging revealed


Jul 02
// Matthew Kaplowitz
NECA has revealed the first images of their action figures from the soon to be released "Predators" film, starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo and the tongue twister of a name Mahersh...
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Green Hornet Mini-Mez-itz with Black Beauty coming soon


Jul 02
// Matthew Kaplowitz
Based upon “The Green Hornet” radio series created by George W. Trendle, Columbia Pictures’ big budget tent pole feature film The Green Hornet, starring Seth Rogen as the vigilante crime-fighter, is getting...

Show and Tell: AJ Styles Prototype figure from Toy Biz

Jun 25 // Matthew Kaplowitz
I don't win things. Ever. Does that stop me from entering? Nope. I'm a member of a pro wrestling figures forum/community and every now and then, the site holds contests. This time, there was a contest for some TNA prototypes, courtesy of Toy Biz. Toy Biz used to make all the Marvel Comics action figures, as well as some much older DC Comics figures. The company first started to work on wrasslin' figures after San Francisco ToyMakers dropped the license to WCW and Toy Biz scooped it up. In 2004, Toy Biz obtained the rights to Total Nonstop Action, or TNA, Wrestling and began to produce figures starting in 2005. The first wave included Abyss, Jeff Jarrett, Raven and AJ Styles. The AJ happens to be the one you saw in the header image. So long story short, the forum I belonged to held a contest and I entered, not expecting anything.Lo and behold, my name was chosen as one of the winners. I would receive a random prototype from the TNA line. I would not know until it arrived, and I waited impatiently for that day. And one day, this arrived ...  This mysterious manila envelope contained the enigmatic TNA prototype. I still keep it to this day, although it is also hidden somewhere else in my room safer than this flimsy compartment. I dug through the mailing tape and pulled out my confirmation letter.   Say whaaaaat? A winner is me! By the way, I never used that discount code, I was and still am a cheapskate so sadly that code expired before I even dreamed of using it. Nestled next to this, was a heap of bubble wrap holding the spoils of my victory.  Underneath this pile of bubble wrap was my prize, and yes, this was the original bubble wrap that was mailed to me. Much like the envelope and confirmation letter, I kept this too. I am sure I could package it better but meh, nostalgia has a cobra clutch on me. Now let's get this bad boy out of the wrapping!  Keep in mind, when I won this, I did not know who I won. When I discovered it was AJ Styles, one of my favorite wrestlers at the time, I was shocked and amazed. More importantly, this AJ was the AJ from the first wave, so this was a super big deal to me. The head you see next to him is exactly that — his head. Being a prototype, this figure was not meant for play or posing. It was used for production purposes and this early on, parts are often times hanging loose or not even glued on. That is also why his feet are akimbo in every which way but straight.   Here he is with his head on. Much better, eh? Let's take a closer look at the Phenomenal One!     AJ got back! The lever on his back was meant for an action feature, which in his case was his arms moving up and down like a gorilla press. This being a prototype, the feature does not work, but it is there to serve a purpose for placement, so there ya go. You might notice that the paint is very choppy, and that is because this is hand painted. This guy is also pretty much one layer of paint, since there are bits of it chipped away revealing the plastic underneath it. The paint is your average acrylic paint, and I tend not to handle this figure much, especially with bare hands, since I do not want the oils on my hand ruining this (the paint is sticky, too). Truth be told, this might be the third time I have ever taken it out of its bubble-wrapped coffin to show it off, so feel honored, Tomopeeps!Let's take a closer look at the face!    The likeness is dead on, more in the prototype than it is in real life I would say. That hand-painted touch really makes a big difference to the realism, since one artist worked on this with his own set of brushes, adding personality and life to it rather than being a mass-produced figure void of any feelings.   Toy Biz went under not long after I won this, and fans of TNA were left with a long emptiness. Fans like me are waiting to see what the new figures will look like, now that Jakks Pacific has the rights to make TNA figures, which look eerily like their WWE figures. I was a big fan of the Toy Biz TNA figures and still am, as I am with most of the Toy Biz figures I owned. I grew up with this company and all their lines, so to own a piece of history like this is pretty amazing for me! So there you have it, one of my most valuable figures. Offers have been made to buy this from me, but I refuse to sell this. There is much profit to be found from selling it, but I never win things, and I am not going to sell the first thing I ever won, especially something as cool and unique as this!  Hope you enjoyed my Show and Tell!
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I am an odd man out on Tomopop. On a site that obsesses about limited edition vinyls and Japanese statues of adolescent girls (no offense intended for those who do), I collect action figures. Am I the only action figure colle...

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Ginormous Lego Imperial Shuttle is coming your way


Jun 20
// Matthew Kaplowitz
I bet you were just thinking to yourself, "Self, I sure want to build a Lego set with over two thousand pieces today, but what shall I build?" Worry no more, you bizarre little person mumbling to yourself, as Lego h...
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Jakks unveils TNA action figures at Slammiversary fan event


Jun 17
// Matthew Kaplowitz
TNA Wrestling Superstars “The Icon” Sting, “The King of the Mountain” Jeff Jarrett, “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, “The Samoan Submission Machine”...
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Mezco shows off 12-inch Leatherface figure


Jun 17
// Matthew Kaplowitz
Mezco’s done it again! They have made me poop my pants in fright with their latest 1/6th scale creation, Leatherface from the horror classic “A Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. This 1/6 scale figure captures all t...
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It's time to lock the cage door and get ready to rumble!In this video review, we take a look at Wave 2 of the UFC Deluxe Action Figures from Jakks Pacific. This wave includes new figures of Mike Thomas Brown, Nate Marquardt...


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