#1454: Phoenix Ikki



And now for another installment of “Ethan reviews a figure from a source he’s completely unfamiliar with.”

Knights of the Zodiac is…this thing?  Hang on, I can do better than that.  It’s actually a manga and an anime, originally titled Saint Seyia, which showed up in Japan in the ’80s and eventually made its way to the US in the early 2000s.  It’s a story that’s rather heavily inspired by Greek myths…and that’s really it.  Not sure where the whole Zodiac thing came into it.  I’m gonna go ahead and blame the French, since they’re the ones that stuck it in the title when they imported it.  It’s always the French, isn’t it? Odd blaming of an entire nation aside, today I’ll be looking at one of the many figures to come out of the property, based on Phoenix Ikki!


When the Knights of the Zodiac anime was imported to the US in the early ’00s, Bandai America picked up the license and put out few different styles of figures.  Phoenix Ikki comes from the deluxe line, which was larger scale a featured fancy removable armor.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation.  All of the deluxe figures were built on the same standard body.  It’s well articulated, though perhaps a little mannequin -like in its build.  Given that it’s really just meant to be the starting point of a much more complicated design, it’s not a terrible sculpt.  He gets a unique headsculpt, which is decent, I suppose.  It’s a little bit odd, since Ikki has long hair and they still have account for the helmet and other armor, which means the shaping is a little weird.  Not awful-weird, but still no-human-could-have-that-weird.  At the very least it’s unique.  To complete his look, Ikki includes several pieces of clip-on armor.  There’s a helmet, chest piece, skirt/belt, wrist bracers, and shin guards.  They’re a little bulky, and any gold sections are rather flaky, but otherwise, it’s pretty cool.  The chrome is certainly eye-catching, and I really dig the wings, which are individually articulated.  My figure is missing the skirt and one half of each shin guard, but I find I actually like him better without those pieces.  In regards to paint, the figure’s somewhat basic and a little bit drab for my taste, but the application is at least clean, and nothing notable appears to be missing.  The armor was the main extra here, so no real other accessories were included, but he did include a small dummy to store the armor in, which was pretty cool.


When I was much smaller, I watched this show called Mystic Knights, which had a toy line very similar to this one.  Many years later, I found a few of these figures on clearance at KB Toys, so I got them out of an odd bit of nostalgia.  I actually have several volumes of the manga, which I even read, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you what happened in any of them.  Nevertheless, this is actually a pretty fun figure, and I’m glad to have it.


#1386: Roy Fokker



“Heroic commander of the famed ‘Skull Squadron’ assigned the monumental task of defending SDF-1. He is the classic definition of a hero. He is also able to transcend his heroic mold to be human and compassionate. He likes to tease his friends especially Rick Hunter, and create a feeling of general camaraderie. His raw courage and skill as a fighter pilot is matched only by Maximillian Sterling.”

Once upon a time, Matchbox was more than just a brand of die cast cars.  They were actually their own toy company outright.  Around the mid-80s, they tried their hand at making action figures, offering up a rather eclectic selection of properties.  They never hit any major success, and were ultimately absorbed into Mattel.  Anyway, amongst their selection of properties was Robotech, a recent discovery of mine.  Last time I wrote a Robotech review, I looked at one of the cool fighter robot Veritech Fighters.  Today, I’ll be looking at that very fighter’s pilot, Commander Roy Fokker!


Roy Fokker was released in the basic series of Matchbox’s Robotech line in 1986 (a slightly tweaked version was later offered in 1992, as part of Harmony Gold’s re-release line).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Roy’s construction makes use of a rubber band assembly, similar to the style popularized by GI Joe’s A Real American Hero incarnation.  As Matchbox was not quite as established a player in the industry as Hasbro, the figure isn’t quite as strong an offering.  The articulation is more obvious and slightly more limited, and the proportions are a bit more off (slightly large head, small torso, long arms, etc.)  He’s definitely a dated looking figure.  Not a bad looking figure, of course, provided this sort of style appeals to you.  Fortunately, it’s the sort of style that’s right up my alley.  Stylization aside, he’s got a pretty respectable likeness of Roy from the show, which is really the most important element.  The paint work on this figure is fairly basic overall, but decent nonetheless.  Aside from his skin being a little on the pale side, the colors match pretty well with the source material, and the application is generally pretty clean.  There’s a bit of wear on my figure, most noticeably on the straps on his torso, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary fro a figure of this vintage.  Roy was originally packed with both his pilot’s helmet and a gun, but my figure lacks both of these pieces.


After finding the Last Stand VF-1S, I was on the lookout for some more Robotech.  Unfortunately, like I noted in that figure’s review, they aren’t the most common items to find.  I’ve been checking out my usual toy store stops, in the the hopes of finding a few more of the Toynami Veritechs, but so far I’ve had no luck.  I did, however, find this guy at Yesterday’s Fun while I was on vacation, which was pretty sweet.  He’s a goofy figure, but I like goofy figures, so he works for me.  Now I’ve got a pilot to go with the fighter!

#1359: VF-1S Roy Fokker – Last Stand



For someone who’s so hardcore into media that has to do with giant robot fighting suits, you’d probably assume that I’d be all about Robotech.  Truth be told, I only actually started watching the show a month ago.  I’ve absolutely been loving it; I can’t really say why I put off watching it for quite so long.  Anyway, there are a ton of Robotech toys out there.  They aren’t the most common items to find, since there’s a pretty big fanbase that collects them, but every so often you do find the occasional stray figure, and I was fortunate enough to do so.  Today, I’ll be looking at the Veritech fighter of my personal favorite character from the show, Roy Fokker.  So, let’s look at the figure!


In 2001, Toynami picked up the license for Robotech, and they put out a line dubbed Robotech: Veritech Super Posable Figures.  Roy Fokker’s VF-1S was from that line.  This particular version is dubbed the “Last Stand” version, presumably based on Episode 18 of the series, which contains Roy’s final stand and eventual demise (spoilers, I guess).  The figure was released as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine, as a way of promoting the line.  Sculpturally, the VF-1S is the same figure as the standard release, just with a tweaked paint job.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall (largely due to his splayed legs; he’d be closer to 8 standing straight) and he has 22 points of articulation.  It’s somewhat amusing to see this figure branded as “super-posable” in this day and age, given his lack of a number of joints that are kind of essential in this day and age.  The most egregious omission is the lack of anything beyond cut joints on the hips, which means he’s perpetually stuck in this slightly splayed-leg-pose.  It’s far from the worst thing ever, and there’s no denying that he’s highly posable in several other areas, but it’s still a little limiting.  For the time, though, it was actually pretty amazing, so credit where credit is due.  The sculpt on this guy is really solid work; he pretty closely follows the show’s design and the detail work is all really sharp and geometric, just like it should be.  The joints are also worked in very nicely, but that’s just a matter of keeping consistent with the character design (which isn’t exactly something that’s always done; looking at you, Hasbro!).  This is a non-transforming figure, so he’s always in robot mode (which is the cool mode), but the important elements that remain from the original mode are still there, and very nicely detailed.  They’ve even made his skull leader insignia a raised element, to help differentiate him from the other Veritechs.  There are a few mold lines that I wish were a little less obvious, but beyond that, I’m very happy with the sculpt.  The paint is what differentiates this from the normal release; where the basic figure was clean and shiny, this figure depicts Roy after he takes a beating.  There’s a bunch of heavy shading and burn marks, as well as some pretty amazing bullet holes and puncture wounds.  Those are all still just painted on, but are quite convincing as actual damage to the figure.  I find that all of this extra work really does a lot to bring out the strengths of the sculpt and makes for an all-around more visually interesting figure.  Roy’s VF-1S is packed with three sets of hands in fists, trigger finger, and open gesture poses, as well as his rifle, which has adjustable pieces, allowing it to be held in his hand or slung over his shoulder.


As noted in the intro, I only got into Robotech very recently, so I didn’t get this guy new (though I do recall when he was offered in ToyFare, since I was a subscriber at the time).  Instead, I found him just a few weeks ago at this awesome place around the corner from me called Lost In Time Toys.  My brother got their card at AwesomeCon and we went to check them out and just happened to catch them in the middle of a moving sale.  This guy was amongst the handful of items still yet to be moved, so I got him for half of his usual price, which was a pretty darn good deal.  I will admit, I was a little annoyed by the hips when I got him out of the box, but other than that small issue, I just can’t help but love this guy.  I foresee myself tracking down more of this line.

#0246: Inspector Detector




As an animation geek and a toy geek, Resaurus’s Speed Racer line has fascinated me for quite some time. It’s a slightly out there line, and it was easy to overlook at the time, but it’s probably one of the coolest toylines to come out of the 90s. And that’s coming from a guy who got into toys in the 90s! Anyway, they covered most of the pivotal cast members from the show, plus some more minor ones. Today I’ll be looking at one of the show’s recurring heroes, Inspector Detector, who both inspects and detects. What a value!


Inspector Detector was released in Series Two of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. He stands a little over 5 inches tall and features 8 points of articulation. He’s based on the appearance of the character on the show. As far as I know, Inspector Detector only had the one look, so it was a pretty clear choice. The sculpt was brand new to this figure, and it looks to emulate the character’s design pretty well. In particular, they really managed to get the Inspector’s oddly shaped beard down in three dimensions, which is really impressive. Like the rest of Series Two, the Inspector has a more basic pose than the earlier figures in the line, which works in his favor. The paint work on Inspector Detector is pretty good overall, though there are a few slight areas of bleed over. The figure is accessorized with a walkie talkie, a pair of binoculars, a hand gun, a pair of hand cuffs, a police badge, and a display stand.


When I got Captain Terror and the Assassin at Balticon, it occurred to me that I was only two figures short of a complete set of Speed Racer figures. So, I tracked down yesterday’s Grand Prix Speed and the good old Inspector from a seller on ebay for a pretty great deal. The Inspector isn’t one of my favorite characters from the show, but he’s a unique looking figure, and he rounds out the set nicely.

#0245: Speed Racer – Grand Prix




Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go! Yep, it’s time for more Speed Racer reviews. This time around, it’s the main man himself, Speed Racer!


Speed was released as part of the second series of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and features 8 points of articulation. The figure is NOT based on a look from the show, a trait unique to this figure. Instead, he’s a hypothetical figure, based on what the toymakers thought Speed would look like, were he to take part in the Grand Prix. The big difference between basic Speed and Grand Prix Speed is the latter’s spiffy racing jacket. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like the two versions of Speed share a torso and waist, with all the other sculpted parts being new to this figure. As a Series Two figure, he has a more subdued pose than his Series One counterpart, which actually works in the figure’s favor. The head also features a more intense expression, and generally has a better likeness to the character than the first version. The paintwork on Speed is pretty good, with no noticeable areas of slop or bleed over. I was also impressed by the Mach V logo on the back of his jacket, which looks really great. Speed includes his helmet (with a racing stripe), a hat, a hand gun, a trophy, and a display stand.


After picking up Captain Terror and the Assassin at Balticon, I figured I might as well complete my Speed Racer set. Grand Prix Speed can be a pricey figure, but I was able to track one down on ebay for a good deal. Grand Prix Speed was actually the version of the character I had wanted when I was younger, but I never saw one in person. I’m happy to have finally gotten a hold of one!

#0240: The Assassin




Continuing yesterday’s theme, today is another figure from the 60s cartoon Speed Racer. It’s another villainous figure, this time depicting the Assassin. Interestingly enough, they weren’t referred to assassins in the original Japanese version of the show. They were called ninja, the Japanese word for assassin. The group dubbing didn’t think the United States would get the concept, so they renamed them the more generic “assassins.” If only they’d known…


The Assassin was released as part of the second series of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. He stands 5 inches tall and features 8 points of articulation. The figure is based on the appearance of the assassins from the episode “Gang of Assassins.” I suppose it technically counts as an army builder if one were so inclined. The Assassin features an entirely unique sculpt. The second series featured less pre-posed sculpts than the first, so the Assassin features a more generic stance. This allows the articulation to be more effectively utilized than on the figures in series one. The sculpt is an accurate representation of the look from the show, simplistic but still full of character. The highlight of the figure is his head sculpt, which perfectly captures the exaggerated proportions and expressions of a Speed Racer character. The paint work is decent overall, though the figure does suffer from some bleed over around the line between his face and his mask. The Assassin includes a handgun, a machine gun, a backpack, a rope, and a display stand.


Like Captain Terror, the Assassin is a recent addition to my collection, purchased in the Balticon dealer’s room this past Memorial Day. I’d seen this figure a few times over the years, but never got around to picking one up. He’s a pretty cool little figure, and I’m very glad I decided to finally buy one.

#0239: Captain Terror




Like Ultraman, it might be a bit surprising to find out that I’m a pretty big Speed Racer fan. It’s a bit before my time, but like many other such things, I became a fan nonetheless. My dad was a fan of the show in its initial run, and this, coupled with the convenient release of Resaurus’s toyline in the 90s and my status as a bit of an animation geek led to my love of the series. Today, I’ll be looking at one of Speed’s wacky foes from the show, Captain Terror!


Captain Terror was released as part of the first series of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. He stands about 5 inches tall and features 9 points of articulation (if you count the moving head feather, which I totally do!). The figure is, obviously, based on Captain Terror’s design from the original Speed Racer TV show. He has a completely unique sculpt, which seems to capture the Captain’s design pretty well. He is a bit more detailed than his animated counterpart, but that’s actually a point in the figure’s favor. He has a cape add-on piece, sculpted to convey his cape in a windblown state. The character was depicted in such a way at least once, so it’s a nice touch. The paint work is superb. There isn’t any noticeable slop, and he has some nice washes to help bring out some of his details. Captain Terror includes a gun, a pair of binoculars, a walkie talkie, a roll of dynamite (with a working plunger!), and a display stand.


Captain Terror was a recent acquisition for me. I picked him up from the dealer’s room at Balticon just this past Memorial Day. I actually remember looking at this figure when it was originally released, but for whatever reason I never got one. I’m happy to finally have the figure, and it’s certainly a fun addition to my collection.

#0010: Keyop




Today, I look at the final figure from Wave 1 of Diamond’s Battle of the Planets line, Keyop.


The figure is the regular release version of Keyop.   As with the other two, there was also an un-helmeted one which I never acquired.  Keyop is about 5 ½ inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  His articulation is about the same ad Mark’s.  Like Princess, my figure broke fairly easily.  In his case, his arm fell off coming out of the package.  A quick dot of super glue later, he was good to go, but of course, the joint was frozen in place.


Like the other two, I bought Keyop after reading Dynamite’s Battle of the Planets comic, and because I found a set of the first wave for about $20.  Like with Princess, the breakage makes it difficult to fully enjoy the figure.

#0009: Princess




Today, I’m looking at another of Diamond’s Battle of the Planets figures.  This time it’s the token female of the team Princess


The figure is the regular release version of Princess.   Like Mark, there was also an un-helmeted one which I never acquired.  She stands just under 7 inches and has roughly 7 points of articulation.  Her articulation works better than Mark’s, especially her hips, which use a hinge style of joint, which creates a better state of movement.  However, my figure suffers from an issue that seems to have plagued the line: brittle joints.  My figure’s left hip joint snapped on its own, sitting on the shelf, which is not a pleasant thing.  My opinion of the figure would be higher, were it not for this issue.


Like MarK, I got Princess after reading Dynamite’s Battle of the Planets, and because I found a set of the first wave for about $20.  Its issues make it difficult to fully enjoy the figure.

#0008: Mark




So, I’m jumping forward a bit with the next few reviews.  Today, I’ll be looking at Marc from Diamond Select Toys’ Battle of the Planets line, based on the sixties anime of the same name.


The figure is the regular release version of Mark, the leader of G-Force.  This version is the helmeted one.   There was also an un-helmeted one, but I never got that one.  Mark stands about 7 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  Two of these points are virtually useless, however, as the v-cults at his hips do no good without any articulation below them.  The helmet is done well, especially the visor, which is really cool.  The sculpt and paint are pretty solid, though I do think that some of the airbushing on the white parts might be too heavy.


I bought this figure mostly because I had just finished the first volume of Dynamite’s Battle of the Planets, and because I found a set of the first wave for about $20.  It’s a decent figure, but I don’t have any large lasting attachment to it.