It’s that time of the year again; the time when we deck out our Super Dimensional Fortress in blinking colorful lights, cut out of work early, use up the last of our time off and spend far more money than we probably should this month. Yep it’s the Holiday Season. Being here, reading this article right now more than likely means, you are a fan of some form of Japanese toy (or just great toys in general) or you are a friend, relative or significant other of one. Being fans of great toys in general ourselves we know that it can be frustrating when relatives and loved ones don’t listen to the subtle hints or innuendo and insist that they get you Pink Bunny PJ’s when you really want that Red Rider BB Gun.
So in an effort to help you avoid the Pink Bunny PJ’s of Death this holiday season I gathered our writers to come up with their picks for a shopping guide to the collectibles we cover here at CollectionDX. The best of the best in the past year and half be it domestic or imported is listed below, hand picked by the writers as held to their admittedly high standards.
Everything from cheap to holy-cow-I-won-the-lottery expensive is represented so there is something here for all budgets. It is, after all, not how much you spend but the thought that truly counts. So if you have ever heard that special someone utter words like Kaiju, Chogokin, Die-Cast, High Metal, Mecha, Super Robot, Transformable, Sentai, DX, Jumbo, Tokusatsu or know what those terms mean then this is the buying guide for you.
Josh's Picks The creator of all things CollectionDX, Josh’s knowledge of Japanese toy culture is rivaled by few. His taste in toys is vast and you never know what surprises he’ll pull out for a review.
"With over 40 different toys available at about $20 each, you absolutely cannot go wrong. You can pick from mecha, super robots, transformers and even girl figures. There's something in this line for everyone." For more pictures and details be sure to read all of our Revoltech reviews by clicking here
Hasbro G1 Starscream
"Hasbro G1 Masterpiece Starscream. We all balked at the Takara color scheme, but Hasbro brings this to the US as a Wal-Mart exclusive. This is the way it should have been done all along."
Yamato 1/60 YF-19
"Nothing says "I love you" like a 1/60 YF-19 Valkyrie from Yamato toys. They took the crappy old version and tweaked it for the larger scale. Get the version with the booster for extra points."
Sanjeev's Picks The King of Glow, Sanjeev brings impeccable taste with varied interest. “I collect what I like.” is his mantra and what he likes is quality. Sanjeev will never steer you wrong.
Hasbro's Force Action Lightsabers
"Okay, it's not a robot toy. It's not even Japanese. And hell, while we're at it, I'm not even a big Star Wars fan...so what gives!? It's a lightsaber. It's THE lightsaber. I don't care who you are, where you're from, or how old you are...you NEED this toy! It's a tough, rugged plastic lightsaber hilt containing a durable, spring-loaded "blade" that extends automatically at the push of a button. The telescoping blade is translucent and glows while active thanks to a bulb housed in the hilt. What's even better is the motion-sensitive sound effects! Activating it, swooshing it around, and smacking it against your hapless little sister all triggers movie-accurate sounds. Oh, and these things are tough enough for some pretty violent duels! All for only $20...what fun!"
Soft Garage Giant Robo
"In 2007, Soft Garage released three gokin toys of robots from the tokusatsu classic, "Giant Robo": the eponymous Giant Robo, GR-2, and Calamity. In the States, the show was called, "Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot", so fans may recognize these characters as Giant Robot, Torozonn, and Cleopat. At any rate, the toys produced by Soft Garage are my pick for Toy of the Year, regardless of price. And speaking of price, these guys are pretty hard to wrangle: while they originally retailed for 6,090 yen, some have paid close to $150 in the US for these! Are they worth it? Oh yeah! On one hand, these toys are highly-playable, with excellent articulation and really strong joints...but on the other, their artistic details are superb. The figures are nearly all diecast with flawless glossy paint and the joints are shrouded in flexible plastic--absolutely faithful to the look in the original show. There aren't many gimmicks or additional accessories, but what you get with these toys is close to artistic perfection." Special thanks to ToyboxDX's JB for use of his photos, to see more of his great photos click here
Fewture 1969 Great Mazinger
"Well, not a lot you can say about a toy that costs over $300 that isn't even out yet! All we can say about the Fewture Great Mazinger, and companion piece, Mazinger Z, is based on the official images of the toys released so far and the on the existing EX Gokin releases. I happen to like the way these figures look--much more so than the previous Taku Sato (RIP) sculpts for Fewture. And based on what we know about the quality of these toys (see kidchuckle's review of the previous EX Gokin Getter 1, and 2), you bet I'm looking forward to these guys!"
Nekrodave's Picks Dave is our resident vintage Jumbo and Vinyl expert as well as a fan of classic Horror films. His reviews are always eclectic and informative.
Marmit Sky Devlier
"Released as an 2007 San Diego Comicon exclusive, the Sky Deviler is the first soft vinyl toy based on a character from the popular wrestling kaiju show, Kaiju Big Battel. Cast in green vinyl with blue and silver paint spray, the toy measured 10" tall and retailed for a mere $50. However, since it was an exclusive you can expect to have to pay more than that to get one on the after market." To find out more about Kaiju Big Battel read our SDCC07 coverage here
"Having trouble finding a Sky Deviler? Fear not, there's tons of great kaiju toys out there and not all are exclusives. Max Toy Co's "Kaiju Eyezon" is an impressive piece and is readily available from Max Toy for only $60." For more pictures and details be sure to read our full review by clicking here.
Soul of Chogokin Irongear
"Every year it seems Bandai raises the bar a little higher with their SOC line and 2007 was no different. Irongear is a massive hunk of metal that is ready to play right out of the box, but also features tremendous play value with an intuitive transformation gimmick and TONS of extra accessories. Robot, vehicle and playset all in one, every chogokin collector should have an Irongear." For more pictures and details be sure to read our full review by clicking here.
Brave Gokin Goshogun
"After the year they had, CMs Corporation must have industry giant Bandai looking over their shoulders in the race for your diecast dollar. Their Goshogun release was hailed as a masterpiece by most everyone who bought one. Though not as jampacked with extras as Irongear, Goshogun is cheaper and another must-have gokin." For more pictures and details be sure to read our full review by clicking here.
Gigabyte Great Mazinger
"Fewture's improbable line of enormous GIANT (over 30" tall) robots continued this year with probably their nicest looking release to date, Great Mazinger. Made out of soft vinyl, these things weigh a ton and are very impressive displays. They carry a hefty price tag (around $250each, plus about $125 shipping), but if you want something similar to a vintage store display without paying the thousands it would cost to get one (assuming you could find one), these things are a great alternate."
1/3500 Space Battleship Yamato
"Though it's huge, with flashing lights, sounds and great detail, I never took the plunge on this one because of it's massive cost (over $500 shipped) and because I didn't want to spend that much on a model kit that I might break (I've built a few, but I'm no expert!). But if you've got a Yamato fanatic in your life, he/she would love you forever if you got this for them. Just don't drop it on them!"
Eva's Picks Super Sentai and Lego expert and all around Transformer fan. As Josh says, “He’s a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.
Deluxe-class Decepticon Dropkick
"Dropkick is perhaps the best representation in the entire line-up of transformable figures from the film to represent the controversial style used for the alien Cybertronian robots... even though he does not appear in the movie! He is actually a Decepticon drone in 'Transformers: The Game', one of several to be made into Deluxe-class toys; though the toy version lacks the circular mono-eye of the other drones. Before I got him I was repulsed by his awkward-looking leg design, but then I realized how detailed he was and that overrode my previous doubts. Getting my hands on him, he quickly became a favorite despite the quirks in poesabillity or lack of a real Automorph feature other than spring-loaded doors. Even though he doesn't appear in the film itself, Dropkick certainly looks like he belongs in it. (I bet that he could give Autobot Jazz a run for his money style-wise in both modes!) And so, I think that this figure is a must-have from the world of Transformers in 2007." For more details and pictures be sure to read the full review by clicking here.
LEGO Exo-Force Aero Booster
"Unlike most of the Battle Machines from the second year of Exo-Force, the Aero Booster does not sacrifice or depend on gimmicks like most of the others as its selling point. Basically, if you take the Cyclone Defender (my favorite in the 2007 line, BTW), change the details up a bit like color or removing the hand-held weapons, and then stick an over sized rocket pack on it's back, then you get the LEGO equivalent of the Gundam Dendrobium. In addition to the single spring-launched missile on top, the small blue Battle Machine piloted by a gleeful Ha-Ya-To can be separated from the three-engine backpack, and one of those large cannons affixed to its hand! The pack itself also has five air brakes that can be posed, the two cannons on their own rotating arms that can point in any direction, and two of the three huge (hollow) rocket engines can be moved around for hovering or heavy maneuvering! The Cyclone Defender was great, the Aero Booster surpasses THAT. You get awesome deal here, so get it soon before they disappear from the shelves for good!"
Super Sentai Robot Toy History
"In 2002, just after the 25th-Anniversary series 'Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger' had ended and 'Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger' was just starting up, a soft-cover book was released containing pictures of all of the deluxe-sized transformable mecha toys and associated production & concept drawings. Well, in early 2007, to celebrate the end of the 30th-Anniversary series 'Gougou Sentai Boukenger', a new book was released containing both old and brand-new material, as well as updates to cover the additional five shows and even part of the current show 'Juuken Sentai GekiRanger'. Like the first book, this one flew under the radar, and I only found out about it a few months ago. I had a chance to flip through it, and- despite STILL not being able to read any of it!- I was thoroughly impressed with the selection of pictures and toys in it- some of which I never even knew existed! If- like me- you generally avoided the 'GekiRanger' toys this year, this is a good filler, and will be my only Super Sentai recommendation of 2007."
Adam's Picks Then there is me, Adam. I’m a jack of all trades and master of none. Like Sanjeev I collect what I like, sometimes it’s domestic sometimes it’s imported. But I’m all about my “toys” being playable first and a collectible second.
Transformers Classic Jetfire
Transformers are big this year and yes the toys are hard to find on the shelves. So much so that retailers are stocking older lines from the last year to fill the demand, some of which are truly junk and not worth your hard earned money but mixed in the mess are a few “domestic gems” to be had this holiday season... Not sure what the difference is between Galvatron, Megatron, Optimus Prime or an All-Spark then you should keep an eye out for the Transformers Classic line of toys. These figures feature all–new sculpts of “classic” characters (that’s the one from the 80’s) with top notch engineering at a great price point, averaging $10 to $20. Any figure with the Classic tag on it is excellent but the one that came to the head of the pack this year was the release of Jetfire. Jetfire is not only an excellent toy but a beautiful redesign of a real fan-favorite character. Japanese toy fans will appreciate the nods to the Japanese Macross Valkyrie toy the original character was based on. It makes a great gift for younger or older collectors alike. For more pictures and details be sure to read our full review by clicking here.
CM's Brave Gokin Mospeada's
Anyone who was really into Robotech loved Cyclones! Motorcycles that transformed into mechanized battle armor for the rider. In Japan that part of Robotech was called Mospeada and as we approach its 25th anniversary CM’s Corp is adding the beloved transforming motorcycle to their fabulous Brave Gokin line of high detail, die-cast constructed robots. Like Nekrodave mentioned in his picks the Brave Gokin line rivals Bandai’s Soul of Chogokin line. A Mospeada is sure to warm a loved one’s heart, be warned though it’s not slated to release till late December (which means it may get delayed till February).
Attakus Millennium Falcon and Death Star Hall Set
This is THE Millennium Falcon playset we ALL wanted when we were kids. Weighing in at over 300 pounds and measuring 70 inches long, 27 inches wide and 17 inches tall, this is a completely movie accurate Millennium Falcon done to the scale of the classic 3 3/4th inch size Star Wars figures we ALL grew up with. Add to that, the Death Star Hanger diorama it comes displayed in and you have a gift any Star Wars fan would flip for. Just make sure they have room for it, it’s HUGE. At $3200 it’s expensive but limited to only 400 worldwide. For more pictures and details be sure to read our full Toyfair 07 article by clicking here.
So where can you buy all this fine product? By using any of the sponsors to the right of the page. We have dealt personally with each and they are all attentive retailers with reasonable prices and by using the links to the right you indirectly help to support us. No matter what you get under the tree this holiday season whether it is made of metal, fires missles or glows in the dark just be careful with it because you can most certainly do worse than shooting your eye out...
I’d like to remind you that the holiday’s are about spending time with friends and family and not the stuff that comes under the tree so no matter how you celebrate this season, from us and ours to you and yours we wish you the best this holiday season.