Sunday, September 30, 2012

Diamond Select Toys Reveals New Battle Beasts on Facebook

  While it's a well-known fact that Diamond Select Toys will be cranking out some Toys R Us exclusive Battle Beasts Minimates in a few months, we haven't seen too many of them until Diamond posted a couple of them to Facebook.

To the left, the (as-of-yet) unnamed Bat, which will come packaged with a companion Moose figure.  Sadly depriving the world of a moose-and-squirrel set, these Beasts will both be exclusive to Toys R Us and from the look of things, ain't half bad.  I mean, its got a sword!  That's a plus.  I dig the fangly dude.

Also without a name as of yet for the character, this brown Scorpion will also be exclusive to Toys R Us, with the other version going to comic and specialty shops.  It looks pretty fantastic in the up-close shot, and I'm happy to see critter mini-figures at the toy stores that aren't Littlest Pet Shop for once.

...having said that, LPS had an exclusive giraffe for the toy giant.  Here's hoping synergy strikes again and Diamond sees fit to make a Battle Beasts Minimates Giraffe for the chain!  Great stuff, here, be sure to follow Diamond on Facebook for more stuff more often.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Onell Design Glyos Hades Mimic Armorvor Action Figure

The first one sold out quickly, and the Hades Mimic Armorvor (plus his clear companion) both sold out within minutes of their early September launch. Much like early Matty Collector figures, Onell Design has a few releases that basically require you make an appointment to be online to buy them. At least three more Armorvor figures are promised this year, so if you missed the ones featured here don't lose hope!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: Takara-Tomy Beast Saga Raioga Action Figure

Despite a two-year lead in the marketplace, the new Battle Beasts line due later this year or early next year seems to be facing some stiff competition which makes it tough to pick a favorite. The Armorvor has made the rounds, and now so has Beast Saga with Raioga (or more likely Lioga/Lio-ga), a lion which has no fewer than 4 unique releases planned so far. So far, there's this one, one with niftier gear in a 3-pack, one in a capsule toy collection, and a blind-boxed clear version in burning "fire" colors which is pretty damn sweet.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Battle Beasts IDW Interview, Comic #3 In Stores Now

Issue #3 of 4 of the Battle Beasts comic book is in stores this week, so if you haven't picked yours up just yet, consider a trip to the neighborhood comic shop.  Or perhaps someone else's neighborhood, if yours has no comic shop left.

You might also want to read this Bobby Curnow interview at The Comixverse, which provides some insight on just who designed the characters, and the ultimate fate of the comic book series.  (Spoiler: it really is slated to end at #4 right now.  That's some sad news.)

Be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beast Saga: BS-03 Blind Box Volume 1 Breakdown

The blind box breakdown!  Upon the toys' initial solicitation, the photographs lead us to believe that we'd get painted figures like a walrus in here.  Well, those were wrong.  Beast Saga BS-03 features clear, mostly unpainted repaints of figures from the single- and multi-packs, so those looking to collect one of each character could, in theory, skip these without guilt.

Each blind box seems to be devoid of markings, and the interior packaging is ridiculous.  The weapons, dice, figure, and trading card are each packed separately in black plastic opaque baggies.  There are multiple cardboard chunks - in addition to an insert - which seem more than a little wasteful.  Takara-Tomy went out of their way to make sure you can't guess which figure you get without cracking one open first.

Here's what we found in our case, and this corresponds to others who also purchased a case.

3x Lion (includes bat/single-carded Raioga weapons rather than 3-pack Raioga's gear)
3x Sailfish
3x Dolphin
3x Giraffe
3x Elephant
3x Shark (includes elephant weapons rather than 3-pack Killer Shark's gear)
3x Bat
3x Bird

The clear figures appear to have nearly-identical accessories to the painted ones, save for the exceptions above.  Same character face dice, but the "bonus" ones have other powers or numbers on them and may be random themselves.

There are 2 kinds of chase items in a 24-piece case.  1:12 have a gold die, and 1:12 have a gold foil-bordered trading card.

Interestingly, figures were sorted by layer-- so certain characters tended to cluster together.  The top layer of the case included the 3 Dolphin figures, a bat, a lion, and a shark, which just happened to include all 4 chase pieces for those looking to cherry-pick.  The bat had a gold die, the dolphin had a gold die, and the lion and shark each had a gold-bordered card.  This is pretty consistent with what we're hearing from other collectors.

The good news: there's no chase figures or chase weapons, just chase cards and bonus dice.

The bad news: those of us who preordered with expectations of unique characters did not get any. And there's no sign of the walrus yet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beast Saga: Photo and Info Dump For Your Amusement

 2012 seems to be the Year of the Beast!  Since Toy Fair 2010 when we were endlessly delighted to see the very first Battle Beasts figure in decades from Diamond Select Toys, the big question was "what's next?"  The roll-out of the Minimates has been slow and steady, giving other companies a shot at making similarly sized and themed figures of their own including Takara Tomy's Beast Saga which was released in Japan mere days ago.   They're roughly the same size as Diamond's line, although much simpler with a significant reduction in articulation and deco.   Still, they're pretty dang neat!

When it comes to size, it's really cool to see Takara Tomy's Beast Saga figures come in at about the same height as Diamond Select Toys' Battle Beasts Minimates.  The Onell Design Glyos Armorvor is by far the largest figure by about a head, while the vintage Battle Beasts are about a head shorter.   While Rise of the Beasts have yet to make their debut, we're hearing the final toys should be sized similarly to Beast Saga.

At launch, there are already over 20 figures in the main line plus 4 unpainted promotional unpainted beasts.  To the right, you can see a rundown of the sharks with the vintage Sawtooth Shark compared to Killer Shark from the Beast Saga 3-pack and his clear plastic redeco from the blind-boxed line.  It's notable that the clear Raioga (Lion) and Killer Shark figures have different weaponry than their 3-pack counterparts, so there are some interesting differences between each version of these characters.

While similar in size and aesthetics, these new beasts are larger.  How big?  Well, too big to be of much use on a vintage Battle Beasts Shocking Shark playset in most spots.  You can see the dolphin fits in the cell just fine, but the bat and other bulky figures simply will not squeeze in that tight of a space.  If you were like me and hoping Takara might dust off these old molds for a reissue, I'm not particularly hopeful it'll happen in the context of Beast Saga.

 The biggest change between these and 1980s Battle Beasts would be articulation and a new game element.  Long gone is the paper/rock/scissors game and sticker on the chest.  These have been replaced by dice and a launcher.  Each figure has at least 2 dice, while the blind-packed guys sometimes come with a bonus "chase" yellow die.

The launcher is really nifty, and the same mechanism is in every figure.  You can remove the launcher from the chest if you like, but doing so leaves an unsightly hole.

There's no spring-loaded mechanism here-- it's kid power.  If you push the plunger all the way in, the hole in the chest is filled but since it's clear plastic, you can see a hole of sorts in the torso.  It turns out there's a good reason for this.  The rod is cast in clear plastic with a mirror strip in the back, meaning light can shine through the die in the chest and "light up" the logo in the figure's tummy.  It's a simple, clever, and really brilliant little design... but that still means your figure has a big nasty mechanism in its chest.

The other new addition is the hip articulation, which honestly doesn't add a heck of a lot.  The clear elephant has looser hip joints, and while they usually don't hurt the figure any, the legs can't swing forward on most figures to allow them to fit in other, similarly sized vehicles.  It's nice to have the option of moving legs, but they don't bring much to the table here and don't have the range of movement seen on Diamond's figures.

I'm still photographing and opening figures as I write this, but I wanted to show you some early impressions in case you were considering getting these.  Each unique  beast line has its own pros and cons (not the least of which is customization and availability), but if you've got a few bucks to blow and don't mind dealing with Japanese instructions these are pretty neat.  If I were you, I'd suggest hopping on the 3-packs first as they're pretty cool for the price.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rise of the Beasts: An Update!

Originally pitched as a Kickstarter line, Rise of the Beasts has experienced a few delays since debuting online earlier this year.

Line curator/producer/nice guy JKARIS let us know there's some news!  For starters, this post on's forums has a much larger, full-body shot of the guy on the left (which looks vastly improved over the last incarnation) with the following dirt:

"I should be sending 2 of these to 80mm lions China for reference this coming week.  They can use the two to make 1 articulated version to make the metal mold from."

Hoorah! This is for the 80mm (closer to 3 3/4-inch) scale figure, and he sent in a message letting us know that work is indeed progressing on the smaller, 60mm figures.  Progress!

Beast Saga Arena BS-14 Includes This Robot Thing

Not speaking the language, I have no idea what the name of this training golem figure thing with the BS-14 Beast Saga Colosseum is, but I saw the picture on and thought you'd like to see it too.  The set is pretty expensive for what you get, but if you're collecting the figures it might be worth your while to go ahead and track this one down.

Japanese Galleries: Beast Saga Dolphin BS08 + eBay Blind Box Auction

As we're still waiting for our box to show up, let's look to Japan again!  At this Japanese image sharing site, there are tons of nifty pictures of custom Dolphin figures with flamethrowers for reasons I do not understand at all.  There's also the much more understandishable comparison of Pirate Lion, Raioga, and Transformers Bot Shots Optimus Prime.   There's a good sense of scale!

Another Japanese blog has a whole mess of shots of the Beast Saga Dolphin, or Dorufan, or whatever his name is.

If you scroll down, you'll see not only shots of the toy, you'll see some more customizations and a spliced-apart figure which reveals the reportedly Glyos-compatible (but not really purely Glyos) pegs, so some part-swapping might be possible. 

Also, if you're impatient and/or have lots of money, check out this eBay auction (which might be closed by now) for all 8 blind-boxed translucent figures for about $146.   Which reminds me, I need to get some trading card sheets and a 3-ring binder for the cards!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Interview: Beast Saga/Takara-Tomy's Mr. Takaoka

Being an American, it's no secret that linguistics are not my strong point.  Thanks to the miracle of Google's translation services, we can all share in the joy that is  Think about the animals you've got to figure became a battle "Beast Saga" animal pop?, an article over at Takara-Tomy which you can read in English here.
Translation services have the dual benefit of helping us gain insight into another culture through the use of technology reducing the barriers of communication while completely screwing up context and cultural idoms.  So Maybe the gorilla's name is Garrison G, and maybe it isn't-- but it's one of the many nifty things which I may or may not have learned in this article!

Japanese Beast Saga Photo Gallery: Land of Gloria 3-Pack

If you're anything like me, you're probably waiting on pins and needles for your Beast Saga toys to show up.  Maybe you're whipping out the Minimates, your vintage figures, or even an Armorvor or three.   But hey, who doesn't like to gawk at a nice photo gallery?
A Japanese blogger posted more shots of his purchases, specifically the Land of Gloria 3-Pack which shows off Big Serrrow, Jidam, and of course Raioga.  Click here to check it out, and of course we'll be reviewing these guys as they show up in the mail.  If you have any request of which character(s) you want to see reviewed here first, kindly leave us a comment!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beast Saga Chase Figures Found, Arriving at US Sellers

First up: US toy sellers like Big Bad Toy Store now have Beast Saga in stock.  Check your backorders!  Word on the street has it that the booster dice packs are delayed a few weeks, and it seems at least BBTS did not get the Dice Battle Colosseum just yet.

 In other news, Yahoo Japan auctions are revealing the first in-hand shots of clear figures from the blind-packed boxes, the exact contents of which are still something of a mystery.  (Has anyone found a walrus?)  Anyway, here are the three we've seen so far: a dolphin, a lion, and a bat.  We've shown official shots of some clear ones previously.  We've got a case coming, so we'll let you know more as soon as it shows up!

UPDATE: More images of all the clear figures, plus the two new promo figures, may be found in this Photozou Gallery.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

PSA + Ad: Battle Beasts Seires 1 Preorders Available Now

Battle Beasts Minimates Series 1 Mini-Figure 2-Pack Set 
It's time to order Battle Beasts Minimates Series 1 at Entertainment Earth!   The specialty ones are going to feature two shortpacked sets, so you may wish to order tis set to make sure you get all the characters.  Tate and Bliss are exclusive to specialty, and are paired with Gruntos and the Snake, respectively.

Pricing is currently set at $33.99 for all 8 figures (4x 2-packs) with an estimated January release date.  Click here to support this site and order yours now!

Friday, September 7, 2012

First Reviews of Beast Saga Getting Out... in Japanese

We'll be posting more Beast Saga stuff than is sensible over the coming days, largely because nobody knows what the heck it is.  Armorvors are fun Glyos figures. Diamond's Battle Beasts are awesome Minimates.  But these?  These are a mystery.

A Japanese blogger posted a review packed with new images and some details, but there's a catch: they're in Japanese.  Google Translate can help with some of this, although it's not a perfect match, it's still more English than you had before.  It looks like the figures are largely rubbery/soft plastic like the classic Battle Beasts, with a harder plastic plunger and dice launcher in the chest.  

Presumably importers will be getting them very very soon, and then you can expect to see an uncomfortable amount of English-language commentary from your fellow American man-children discussing the latest Japanese toy for kids.  Until then, check this out.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beast Saga Figures Hitting Japan As You Read This

Your pal and mine Sylvain posted pictures from a guy in Japan named Syncson, which show the first-ever look at packaged Beast Saga figures next to an old-school Battle Beasts figure.

At first glance the new Beast Saga lion looks larger, but if you cut him out in Photoshop and put him side-by-side with the Battle Beasts guy, the new figure seems only slightly larger.

American fans, it's not yet known exactly when the importers will have theirs but it's presumably going to be pretty soon.  Be sure to apologize to your wives and significant others before the credit card statements arrive in October.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Two More Glyos Armorvors Show Up, Sell Out

If you were looking to pick up the clear Stealth Armorvor or the black Hades Mimic Armorvor at Onell Design, we hope you got yours! The black version was gone in about 8 minutes, while the clear lasted under 15, selling through even faster than the red Venjorun Armorvor despite the numbers being reportedly higher.  (You'll recall, the red Venjorun figure was a surprise launch and it still sold out in under an hour.)

Some points to consider if you missed the Armorvors so far, at the risk of coming off Pollyanna-ish:
  • Onell Design rarely does a straight-up reissue of an existing product, but similar figures do get remade all the time.  The Glyan is an excellent figure which was introduced a few years ago, and so far three slightly different black versions of this figure have been produced.
  • The last all-new PVC Glyos figure before the Armorvor was the Glyan.  A couple of versions were made that sold out quickly over a couple of drops.  Then they did a drop of 7 new styles all at once, followed by another release of 6 more unique styles. Today, you can buy at least 3 different styles of Glyan in the Onell Design store with 1 new version and 2 from the previous release.
  • More Armorvors are coming! (Keep reading.)
In the Onell Design Glyos Transmissions Web Log, Matt from Onell also had this to say:
"We will have 3 all new styles available in mid October, and then a larger run of new styles in late November. Hopefully this will even the equation out."

So it looks like they may well build into an army by year's end!  But hey, don't forget there are lots of other Beasts on deck while you wait for an Armorvor.  Beast Saga will hit Japan in the coming week.   Diamond Select's awesome Battle Beasts are due out late this year or early next year, and there's a comic book you can go get right now.  And who the heck knows what The God Beast has planned in his mysterious plastic factory of wonders between now and the holidays?

So in short: don't overpay on eBay. Wait it out.  Reissues or similar figures should be making the rounds again in the future!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Promotional Beast Saga Figures Surface on eBay

Two unpainted figures, called prototypes or promos or whatever you want to call them, are making the rounds on eBay! The good news is you can see them, the bad news is the seller wants $200 for the pair.  Jidam and Pirazon can be yours if the price is right, and they seem to be similar to the fully-painted figures coming out in a few weeks, minus the paint.

Reader akum6n has this to say:
"There are two methods of release for these figures. First, they were given out to participants at Saikyou V Jump Festa at Makuhari Messe (in Tokyo) on 7/21 and at Intex (in Osaka) on 7/28. These are probably the ones showing up on auction sites now. Second, the figures will also be given out through coupons in the September issue of Saikyou Jump (for Jidam) and October issue of V Jump (for Pirazon) that can be redeemed for the figures. Both issues became available last month. So, I suspect we will be able to pick these up eventually without paying the premium prices attached to those on eBay."

...if you have a much cheaper lead on these, let us know in the comments or email us! We're interested!  (Well, if they're cheap or if you trade.)

Review: Hasbro Battle Beasts Pillaging Polar Bear

Most vintage Battle Beasts I've reviewed so far (aside form the Lasers) are treasured childhood heirlooms. Pillaging Polar Bear was one I bought in the last year, during a mad scramble to pick up as many vintage rubsign-era figures as possible before you people realized a new line was coming and the prices shot up. (I got mine in a lot at an average price of $2.78 or so. Now, it's about $12-$15.) This was one of the figures I wanted as a kid, due to my endless fascination with polar, aquatic, and extinct wildlife. It took me roughly 25 years to get one, and it was arguably worth the wait. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Armorvors Returning in Black, Clear

Did you miss the Venjorun Armorvor figure the other month?

The Hades Mimic Armorvor (black with aqua green) and Stealth Armorvor (clear colorless) figures will be going on sale Wednesday, September 5 at around 6:30 PM Pacific time.  (Maybe.  Watch the Onell site for details.)  Each figure is $8 plus shipping and there are many, many other action figures to choose from as well which are fun and worth a look.

You can buy these at the Onell Design store this week.  Or you can just read about them here.