9/29/99: Heart of Tarkness!
I suck. In the last few months I've fallen prey to one of the prime evils
of collecting: GREED. In an effort to increase my
chances of locating a MIB specimen, I've held back on publicly proclaiming
my love for one of the homeliest, sexiest lovable gokin of all time.
That's right, I'm talking about my buddy TARK!
I despise small-mindedness. There's nothing sadder then sucking down
a good shot of enthusiasm just because you're
worried someone else will horn in on the action. In the last
few months -- ever since the arrival of my hideously ugly
Juniormachinder Pegas -- I've fallen for the Italians.
The complete freedom with
which they've, um, "improved" on the designs of some of these toys
is astonishing. The groovy face of Tark strikes in fear the hearts of, well...
nobody. But the googly eyes give him an emotional gravity that the original
Nakajima Tekkaman can't touch. And check out the illustration on this box!!!
The character's actually rendered as a toy!
Anyway, I've faltered in my ToyboxDX mission, but am back on my feet.
Look for more bizarre stuff from our Euro-buds to be popping up shortly.
Alexchecks in on the Kaiyodo EVAs
"Well, let's be honest folks, the Evangelion series has NOT been privy
to many great figures. I mean yeah, you can buy some kits (e.g. the
Perfect Grade EVA-01, the Kotobukiya resins, and some others), but not
ready made figures. The best so far has been the Tsukada Hobby 17"
resin figures, but not everybody is ready to shell out that kind of
money. And moreover, you can't really play with them. The first stab
of quality figures were the Gainax/Sega line. Not to be TOO harsh, but
the figures are very plastic and NOT very detailed -- but at least they
came out! To my knowledge, up until the new Kaiyodo Evangelion figures,
there hasn't been any competition in this market
"The new Kaiyodo figures beat anything to date when it comes to
Evangelion figures. I just love them. They have EVERYTHING you want at
of a figure: articulation, detail, and accessories. Both the EVA-01 and
EVA-02 come with different assortments of hands and weapons (including
the mighty vibrating knife). The detail is INCREDIBLE with these
figures. They just seem to come alive. You have to appreciate the fact
that there isn't a whole lot out there in terms of Eva figures and
Kaiyodo spent a lot of time making sure that these figures were of high
quality. Note here, I believe that all of the Evangelions atleast was
designed by the original creator of the series, Yamaguchi. I mean what
more can you ask for if your an Evangelion fanatic like myself!
"Lastly, to make the figures appeal more to collectors (okay to make more
profit!), Kaiyodo has come out with special version of all of their
Evangelion figures. The EVA-01 has two additions, the clear purple
version and the bloody version. If you have to buy one, get the bloody
version. But be warned the special versions are limited to 3000 a pop!
The EVA-02 has a crystal version and one of my sources say that there is
a special black version that can be attained by sending in the green
points (hmmm, we'll see, mine is on order). Next month, EVA-00 comes
out with the blue (regular), special crytsal, and yellow version. And
if your a Rei fan, Kaiyodo has a whole line of Ayanami's for all the
'Now where is that Chogokin Hi-Metal EVA-01 Test Type with the removable
entry plug and vibrating knife?....(one can dream!)
"Final word: Go buy ALL of them, okay, at least one of them!"
Matt Alt with The News
"Now you can 'enjoy' Syd Mead's horrendous new Gundam design in luscious 3-D:
Turn-A Gundam is the first of Bandai's new 'Chogokin Nano' series. Although
the original samples displayed were finished pieces, Bandai has apparently
decided to let buyers paint the damn things themselves.
"Hey, at least it's
articulated metal (even if it is only 55mm high.) Release date: end of
September. Retail price: 1,980 yen (around $18).
"Also up in late September: a Chogokin Nano RX-78. Same retail price, same
"Bandai has announced a few details regarding the upcoming 'Soul of Popinika'
Hover Pilder: it will be 1/32 scale (in scale with the small metal figures
that come with the Black Mazinger diecasts), and it will feature a removable
pilot figure. Still no hard info as to a release date yet, though."
HAVE A BON-BON!
Comic Bon-Bon, a popular manga magazine in Japan, has announced yet another
Microman give-away promotion. This time it's 'Incandescent Microman,' with
details to be announced in the October issue of the magazine."
Tom the Greek gets a Lightan
"I recently got this piece at the Chicago Comicon and thought I would
share it with everyone. This is the Popy GB-41
from the Gold Lightan series, but I know nothing of the
show nor this characters name (Matt, can you read the box?) Now the
details about the piece:
"First, the piece is 100% diecast and is extremely heavy. His natural
state is in box form. His head, arms and legs flip out of the box on
hinges. But wait, he does even more. The top part of the box opens,
and inside is a working compass and magnifying glass. If that wasn't
enough, I then find a compartment that folds out of his stomach, and
inside are small removable maps on little plastic cards. Like small
floppy disks. The maps even come out of the compartment. This is just
way too cool.
"The other thing I find cool is the level of engineering. The
legs and such dont just pop out. They are built on retractable hinges.
For example, the legs fold outward at a 45 degree angle first, then fold
out straight the rest of the way. This prevents the legs from hitting
the box body. Also very cool.
"Lastly, one odd thing that came with the toy is the cardboard cutout
stand. It looks like you
erect this stand and display the piece under it.
knows more about the story behind this guy, please email me. Let me
just add one last thing. I typically wind up paying way too much for
this kind of stuff. I always hear stories of people finding stuff dirt
cheap. Well, it happens. In this case, I didn't pay a whole lot for
this piece. The toy gods were kind to me today. Thanks"
Tom the Greek
Shiloh on the Large and Pointy!
"It was early Saturday morning when retro-sleek, posterior-kickingly cool,
shampoo-bottle-plastic perfection showed up on my doorstep. The large
oblong box was labeled 'Noda-Ya,' which, like the popular herbal supplement
Gingko Biloba, sounds like a minor Star Wars character. With an almost
Steve Irwin-esque enthusiasm, I tore into the box to find the Cadillac of
Jumbo Machinders: the Uni-Five Gaiking! Thanks to the selfless efforts of
our ToyboxDX colleague, the Amazing Matthew Z, the Great Horned One now has
a place of honor in my collection. And speaking as a certified,
straitjacketed member of JumbAnon ("Jumboholics Anonymous), I can attest
that Info Minister Matt Alt was not exaggerating in his earlier praise of
this new machinder.
"Gaijin like myself should especially appreciate it because of its
improvement over the Mattel version. Don't get me wrong -- I still love my
stripped-down, no-bells-and-whistles Shogun Gaiking, as it was my most
desired toy as a kid. But as much affection as I may have for my
battle-worn Mattel, the Uni-Five version is its superior. Regard the
|Big ol' wing attachment!
||Aerodynamic as a 500-ton manatee.
|Golden horns of death!
|Flip-up-able dragon chestplate, revealing hidden missile cache!
||Chestplate only flip-up-able with the aid of power tools and
|Removable kneecap swords for brandishing in a threatening manner!
||Leg stickers. Sure, try fighting monsters by waving your leg
stickers at them. (Unless you happen to be fighting the Uni-Five Garada,
who is equally handicapped by the inability to hold his own scythes.)
|Transforms into big dragon head! All together now: "He's a
Samurai! He's a Robot-Skull!"
||Transforms into the dragon head only if observed while on codeine.
"Just so I won't sound like a slobbering fanatic, I'll admit the toy does
have a couple of minor defects: the arm-locking mechanisms. While the arms
do stay on securely, observation of the sockets reveals they are held in
place by little more than a thin ring of plastic and the owner's wishful
thinking. Any serious playwear could probably snap the arm sockets, and
then you'd be, as the old saying goes, 'up a creek without a two-foot
plastic robot.' But that's nit picking, considering Jumboholics aren't
likely to go slamming the big guys into each other anyway.
"In short, for the jumbo connoisseur, the new Gaiking is 24 inches of robot
coolness that sends out the unmistakable message: 'Don't mess with me, for I
am large and pointy.'" --
9/19/99: P.T.W. In The House!
Warren's site is working! ToyboxDX Superpatron and giant of collecting
Warren Schwartz shows off a smidgen scooped from his
insane robot mask collection.
(If you tried hitting his site before and couldn't get in, try it again!)
Meanwhile: welcome Phantom Toy Widow Steph to the Ramble. We're proud to present her first didactic
masterpiece The Phantom Toy Widow's Survival Guyd.
Toy-widowing is a serious problem in our line of interest. ToyboxDX is working with
communities across the web to insure that collectors and significant-others
can work together to understand issues like loss of appetite, missed auctions,
feverish robot dreams, and personal bankruptcy. So grab your loved-one and read-on.
You can thank us later...
Phantom Toy Widow Steph presents:
The "Sure-Fire" Way Back to Your Chogo-Lover's Heart
"Hello fellow toy widows. Welcome to the first edition of the Phantom Toy Widow's
Survival Guyd. If you feel like your previously normal-seeming guy has been
replaced by a drooling toy pervert, this Guyd is for you. These easy steps will help you
to turn even the most tarnished robot fondler into the MIB variety (for those
of you who are unfamiliar with the terminology, that means Mint in Box...hang in
there for the glossary)."
"So, the first step is, of course:"
1) Educate Yourself!
"The following is a glossary of terms and toys which are key to developing a basic
toy repertoire. Now I know this may seem tedious and boring, but whatever you do
DON'T LET ON! Showing disdain is the sure-fire way to send your guy running into
the waiting arms of another toy pervert!"
"And boy, are they hard to get back when THAT happens! So while you're
memorizing these important bits of information, it's a good idea to practice a
really winning fake smile
and a perpetual mask of fascination."
Chogokin - A mythical metal that toy perverts get hot for.
Gaiking - It's easy to understand why toy pervs like this one, since it's
pronounced 'Guy King.' It's a harmless delusion. Anyhow, the main thing about
this robot is that is has REALLY BIG yellow horns and a really pissed -off
looking face on it's tummy.
Grandizer - This robot looks a lot like Sam the American Eagle from the Muppet
Show. Please don't mention this to your man. He will NOT be amused.
Gundam - This is a fun one to say: 'Gun DAMN!' Say it with me! 'Gun DAMN!!!'
See, isn't that a blast? Your guy is sure to love it.
Mazinga -This one confuses even me. Just look at the picture.
Mint in Box (M.I.B.) - This means that the toy collector attaches a great deal of
sentiment to a particular toy, and has also spent way too much money on it, and
is consequently too much of a LOSER to actually PLAY WITH the damn thing!! (did
I say that?) Let's keep this part just between the girls, OK?
Tetsujin - A blue thing with a Romanesque hat. Comes in a 5 inch as well as an 8
inch size (my personal fav!) This robot also comes in a 'pot-bellied' variety
(you know how guys like to let themselves go...) This particular one is quite
svelte though, if I do say so myself...
Toy Summit - I've never been to these, but from what my guy tells me (and I trust
him implicitly), it's a male bonding workshop with a focus on expanding their
natural male hunter/provider instinct, and on getting in touch with their
Now that you've learned the lingo, you need to:
2) Know how to talk "Robo-Speak".
"This little guy is called 'Robocon.' Now I know your first instinct is to call
it 'cute' and 'adorable,' but proper robot etiquette dictates that you must
express your feelings by saying something more along the lines of 'Dude! this
piece is f@#%ing awesome! The curves are so f*&$ing expressive! And have you
seen the fists?! My God, the FISTS!'
"The last, and perhaps most critical step is:"
3) Get yourself one of these masks.
"You and your man will thank me later. If your guy is like most toy pervs, the
last time you saw him truly aroused was when he was playing with that King Kong
die-cast figure with the shooting nipples. Bring this mask into the bedroom, and
I guarantee, your chogo-lover will stray no more!"
on the SD Valk
"ToyCom Valkyries, Transformer Valkyries, original Valkyries. Bah.
"The best is Bandai's Super Deformed Valk. You wanna know why?
Because in the early 80's, it was the only one I could afford with my
allowance money! Hey, it fully transforms, and even comes with armor!
Most of my snobbish big-Valkyrie-possessing friends didn't have armor
for THEIR Valks!
"PLUS, it fit in my pocket for those long car trips.
"I wish I had kept the box, but it was probably left on the seat of an
Odakyu-line train along with the Ito Yokado shopping bag.
"Retractable landing gear, hand cannon, retractable cockpit shield,
body armor, jet boosters, fold-away tail pod, well-jointed arms &
legs, and swiveling head turrent. It transforms just like the big
boy, only smaller. Who could ask for more? Maybe an SD Macross?"
9/17/99: Happy Birthday Info Minister!
Yesterday was Matt Alt's birthday, and he was too stupid to drop hints in advance.
Send "Japan-boy" an email and let him know you care. Better yet, send him
some Jumbo Love and watch him swell like a juicy boil! (Left: quality comparison
between the butt-ugly Italian Juniormachinder Pegas, and an actual quality
Meanwhile: the rumours are true! Another quick and dirty East-coast Chogokin Summit
came and went. I finaly got the chance to meet a bunch of email@addresses for the first time,
including LEGO Purists Randall E. Barker and Steve Hartman, shadowy Alex001,
the elusive and infamous Ted Terranova, as well as the talented Marc Raley.
Other familiar faces included Mechaman Harkavy, Alt-san, Tom V, Bruce, Marc Sparagen
and Big Science.
The trip to Cape Cod and Tom V's groovy toy room was bracketed by some
cool Bostonian chilling: Phantom Toy Widow Steph was stoicly amused
by the beer-buzzed, toy-fondling cloud that hung over my pad.
The hilight of the hanging
occured Sunday morning during our Chinatown Dim Sum. Superpatron Warren Schwartz
had passed out masks, and we were making the register boy nervous. Suddenly,
Alt was claiming that he "looks just like [he's] Japanese"
when wearingsunglasses. A moment of silent disbelief occured.
Then, like Dairugger, each collector
around the table rallied around Raley's "YOU WISH!!!" to collectively dis on
the white-boy Nipponphile from Bethesda. Great fun!
For a more professional account, read "Japan-boy's" report
in the Gallery of Love's
World Collector Gallery. Thanks to Tom for organizing an exellent time!
(Above RIGHT, a C1 Bullmark diecast I scored from Ted T. Trashed and awesome!)
Ranma report on
"This is a styro store window display of Voltes V at a local
video shop here, taken a few weeks ago. Sorry, this is the
best photo I could come up with. The window isn't taking
too kindly to the flourescent lighting from my camera's
point of view.
"They had this as a display because they
are currently releasing the episodes of Voltes V on VHS
and VCD. They're up to volume 8 now, with 2 episodes
each. The kid in front isn't included in the auction...
he is just for scale. I repeat, he is not...
err.. umm... ooops, wrong site."
"The 3rd Collectibles Convention aka Collecticon was held here last August 28.
Unfortunately, it just gets crummier and crummier. The premier 'gokin booth I
was looking for wasn't there, and whatever was left were those selling Voltes DXs
and Daimos DXs. Some Gundam kits were also there. What was dominating the
convention however were Star Wars collectibles (it figgers), and Collectible Card
Games (of which I fortunately quit a few years ago). I would've gone home empty
handed (SW aside), if not for a Valk I spotted. It's a VF-17s Stealth Valkyrie,
1/65 scale, around 9 1/2" in battloid mode.
"Okay, okay.. it's not a Tak nor a
Bandai, but for around $10, I can't complain. No gokin present on the toy
though. I asked the seller if it was previously owned, and he said it was new.
He even showed me the unapplied sticker sheet.
"I'm really not sure what
company made this nor how recently it was released, so if anyone's familiar with
it, please tell me. Hope the next convention improves though."
on the Toy News
"For those of you who just can't get enough of the Machinder you love to
hate, ASS-tro Megazord was recently spotted on the Uni-Five
'NEW! Astro Megazord Jumbo!
Price: 5,000 yen
The giant robot from Power Rangers that's become a huge hit in America, the
Astro Megazord features the same incredible charm as the rest of the Jumbo
Machine lineup! Now you can own the robot that caused a sensation in
America!' -- UNIFIVE
marketing-speak...must inform...Japanese...of the
crappiness of this toy...no...will fading........."
"Meanwhile, good news for those of you cursed with missile-less Shoguns: the U5
six-missile-shooter accessory set is out, and it comes with a whompin'
TWENTY extra shogun missiles. It's a shame they don't fit in old Shogun
launchers, but hey, but you can still put 'em in the holders and PRETEND
your JM is mint. 5,000 yen ($45.)"
"Xebec / Kaiyodo's GETTA III is on the shelves, and it's (in my humble
opinion) the best of the three. And at under 3000 yen a pop, they're a
bargain-basement substitute for multi-thousand-dollar chogokin and
"Although it's being billed as a 'chogokin,' the actual amount of diecast in
the upcoming Bandai Daitetsujin 17 'self-transforming' toy has finally been
announced. It's the feet. That's it, kids.
"The rest is completely plastic,
unless you count the gear-shafts and screws. It's unclear who Bandai thinks
they're fooling here, but anyone buying this toy in the hope of satisfying
any sort of diecast-fix will find themselves sorely disappointed. Hey, at
least it LOOKS good -- and it's a good several inches taller than the old
Popy version, as well."
9/06/99: Open for Labor Day!
I know I know: it's been too long since I've updated the
Gallery of Love.
So quit your grumblings and
check out some new shelf shots
in the Digital Shelf section!
perverse and deviant deeds in Roger Harkavy's
of the Library!
Roger's Mechaman Makeover Contest challenges the ToyboxDX reader
[duh, that's you] to mix and match the best of robot love.
If you haven't experienced them
yet, you need to meet these bastard lovechildren of
Coop, C.W. Louis, Marc Raley, Ted Terranova, and Yappy.
(At right, 70's cheek collides with 80's chic in Coop's
While you're Mechamanning: don't forget to click around to find Robert Duban's
startling and moving rendition of Ghetto Robo G. "It was better than Cats!"
Speaking of Harkavy and Duban: they've generated
awesome new checklists for
Aura Battler Dunbine and
Nakajima Diecast Toys respectively. Live now in
the Data Files.
As always, send in your pics and contributions and let's fill these suckers in!
Mark Nagata shows off his
"I had to send you a pic of my latest purchase from the MAN, himself,
"Just above me in the photo is THE pride of my Ultraman
collection: a huge, and I mean huge Ultraman Jack bust made out of fiberglass.
"This sucker is more than 42" inches tall with a chest measurement of 60" plus
inches around !!! It was used in the 1970's on a child's vending
machine -- like a Banpresto type of vending machine .
"It arrived in a huge wooden crate weighing 150 pounds!!! Damn figure
almost didn't fit thru my doorway!!! If this guy had legs, he'd stand
over 7 foot tall...so, it's a good thing he never did have 'em !
"I sit here, still shell-shocked at not only the amount I paid for him,
but also at the incredible workmanship involved in this vintage piece.
The sculpting perfectly captures that toy-like quality, even at this
humongous size. In fact, my sense of proportions is all screwy now: my
biggest Ultraman figures now look puny compared to this monstrousity. I
don't know why Ultra Jack has one hand clenched and the other
open...maybe he's gonna sucker punch somebody in the gut...like me
"Anyways, I have to thank not only Masato Shono, but Jim Cirronella at
Club Daikaiju, for his help in shipping
this incredible item to me...Thanks Dudes!!!
Look for more pics of this bust on my site soon! Thanks!" --
MATT ALT GETS HITCHED!
"Secret Press Agent Hiroko and I tied the knot in Tokyo last
week, opting, of course, for a traditional Japanese ceremony. As you can
see from the shot, the pastor was pure Evil."
IGARASHI'S NEW BOOK!
"Koji Igarashi, the author of Green Arrow Graffiti: Chogokin and
Popinika, has come out with a new book: GUNPLA GENERATION. It's a
history of the Gundam plastic-model craze -- and while it mainly focuses
on the kits, there's also a full-color section highlighting all of
Clover's diecast Gundam offerings. Especially interesting are a
full-page shot of the prototype of the Clover DX Combination toy and a
three-page expose on 'Gundam MS-X,' a proposed (and abandoned) 1980's
sequel to the Bandai MSV series of model kits.
"Although the text is all in Japanese, there are plenty of
black-and-white and color photos. And the book contains quite a few
interesting revelations, such as the fact that most of Clover's toys
were actually produced in subcontracted Takara factories. Check it out
if you get a chance. The ISBN is 4-06-330074, and the retail price is
"The Uni-Five 'shin-go-kin' DX Yatta-Wan toy is on the shelves, and word
is that customers are none too happy. Complaints seen on the Kong Tong
BBS system included 'the paint is runny,' 'the fit-and-finish is rough,'
and 'the price was a real surprise -- why is it so high?' With a 9,800
yen (nearly $100) retail price tag, it's easy to see why customers are
getting bent out of shape over production quality..."
"Finally, Marmit has announced that they are releasing both black and white
versions of their 'Fierce Legends' Jeeg vinyls. The black piece features
gold highlights, and the white features blue. Yeah, I know, there's a
tradition of both white and black Jeeg toys. It remains to be seen if
anyone will care, however. Look for 'em in late October,