Toy News Roundup: 'Futurama,' 'Alien' And Transformers' Soundwave

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All right folks -- we are still in recovery from San Diego Comic-Con and sorting through the TONS of new news that came out of there.  So we are going to hit the ground running with all manner of super-sweet new toy announcements, pics, fundraisers, and a mini-review of what might be the TOY OF THE YEAR.

If this fails to excite you, then bah.

I WANT ONE SO BAD: Volpin Props has a pretty amazing look at how they made their very own "Futurama" holophonor, complete with lights and everything.  I am pretty sure they could have made it play real holograms if they had WANTED to.

Volpin Props   Holophonor, Futurama

I WANT MY ECTO-1, DAMMIT: MattyCollector's Scott Neitlich makes a blunt case that orders for MattyCollector subscriptions are not where they want them to be, nor are pre-orders for the "Ghostbusters" ECTO-1 -- which requires so many people to pre-order it at $215 a shot or it won't get made.  ORDER ORDER ORDER.  I not only want an ECTO-1, I also want Club Infinite Earths to get to Granny Goodness and mega-obscure DC characters like Brother Power the Geek.  And Masters of the Universe Classics fo' DAMN sho' better get to Ninjor!

Ghostbusters Ecto-1

SPEAKING OF FUNDRAISING: Our boy Kyle at Crowemag Toys tipped us off about this Kickstarter by David Lee to help create new Mego-style blank bodies for customizers to create all manner of crazy originals!  Help support them, and let us know if you wind up making some cool custom from their body -- we'd love to see the pics!

Type  S  40th anniversary Mego body by David Lee — Kickstarter

IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET TOO MUCH DARYL DIXON?  HELL NO!: Big Bad Toy Store has pre-orders open and a pic for an upcoming 10-inch "Walking Dead" figure with everyone's favorite survivalist, due out this November.

The Walking Dead TV Series Deluxe 10  Figure - Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead TV Series Figures

IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SOMETHING SOMETHING: Our friends at Super7 have their Kenner-style "Alien" ReAction figures available for pre-order this Thursday, August 1!  NAME DROP: At a thing for "Hannibal" at SDCC, the showrunner, "Wonderfalls"/"Pushing Daisies" creator Bryan Fuller, said that he could not wait to grab these.  So that's some extra encouragement or something.

alien_reaction_group

Okay, so, we actually have like a dozen more links and pics we want to share, but we need to save those for another roundup later this week to explore THE BEST THING EVER:

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MASTERPIECE SOUNDWAVE REVIEW TIME!

Yes, through some patience we were able to score this Toys R Us exclusive at Comic-Con.  Now, the figure is gradually showing up at Toys R Us retailers, but it's going to require some split-second timing and borderline stalking to get.  It's selling for about $200 on eBay after shipping, much more than its $120 retail price...but we say it's well worth forking over the extra coin.

Why?  Well, for one thing, that's actually LESS than you'd pay for the original Japanese version that came out earlier this year, and that one only came with a couple of tapes.  This one has FIVE tape-friends for Soundwave, along with tons of extras that make this the rare occasion when you should ignore Public Enemy and BELIEVE the hype.

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Now, I'm not a super-Transformers expert, but I loved the cartoon growing up, and Soundwave was one of my favorite characters and my favorite toys.  Why?  Well, he's one of the Transformers who's actually robotic, with his eternally blank face and emotionless voice.  Plus, his tape-crew means he's a bad guy filled with other bad guys.  A toy filled with toys?  That concept alone means this tape deck never goes out of style.

So let's look at some of the features of Masterpiece Soundwave, shall we?

One thing I love is that Soundwave comes with an Energon Cube.  In the initial episodes of "The Transformers" cartoon, Soundwave produced the blank cubes that the Decepticons would fill up with energy.  This cube has a detachable side that lets you affix the cube to Soundwave's chest for a very cool effect.

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There's also a screen-effect attachment to let Soundwave communicate info for the Decepticons.  You can put whatever graphic you want into this.

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In addition, there's a communicator-thingy that you can put in place of one of Soundwave's hands.  I had no idea what this was until some Googling turned up that he used this in the cartoon episode "Fire in the Sky," which introduced Skyfire, the cartoon version of Jetfire, who was himself a re-do of a "Macross" Valkyrie fighter...oh look, I've gone cross-eyed.

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What's super-cool about Masterpiece Soundwave is that he can actually store as many as three tapes in his chest-compartment.  You just have to push the tape-holder back.  I didn't realize this at first, but there's a lever on his back just below his head that lets the tape-holder snap back into place.  It took a few tries and got some tapes stuck, but it's a very cool feature overall.

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And of course, there's the transformation.  Like most modern Transformers, a very simple process from the 1980s takes...much, much longer for this new, updated figure.  I'll spare you the step-by-step, which took both a look at the instructions and some YouTube videos for me, but here's what Soudnwave looks like in tape-form.

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What's notable is that with some extra joints and folds, this actually makes a very solid piece with few visible transformation gaps.  There's even a headphone jack that holds your iPod earbuds...um, not that you can listen to actual music.

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Here's a few views around the figure, to get a sense of how solid the transformation is.

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And here's a view from behind -- not as solid, but still pretty cool.  Note how the shoulder-cannon and Soundwave's hand-cannon turn into batteries, like with the original figure, though these are on the back instead of in the battery case (something I never figured out as a kid).

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Of course, where would Soundwave be without tapes?  And that's what MAKES this figure.

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From L-R, there's Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Rumble, Ravage and Frenzy.  Each of these comes with their own cassette-holder case, but I want to talk about some of the individual features that really MAKE these for me.

First, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw are not only more toon-accurate in their design, but their lasers fold into their tape-mode, instead of being attached separately.  I miss the vacuu-chrome of the originals, but it's a great look -- plus, you can now pose their heads so they're more bird-like and  in line with their animated counterparts.

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Also, Rumble and Frenzy get a few features fans of the cartoon (read: me) have awaited for decades.  First, you can put their hydraulic pounders over their "regular" arms.  There are a couple ways to do this -- arms spread out (which reveals the figures' joints) or you can have their arms folded forward, though this dampens the effect a bit.  The hydraulics do not pound automatically and are not spring-loaded, but they are good for posing.

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Also, they can finally hold their own guns -- there is a fold-able change of pegs in the guns that fit on Rumble and Frenzy's backs, with one peg large enough to fit in their back-holes, and the other small enough to fit in their fists.

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I'd say Ravage was the only disappointment, actually.  The kitty looks a mite spindly when unfolded into robot-mode, and after the cool design of the non-poseable Ravage from the SDCC G.I. Joe/Transformers set, the design feels a bit lacking.  Still, it's good to have this memorable figure with the rest of the crew -- would rather have him than later tape-friends such as Ratbat.

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Overall, this is a pretty amazing piece.  It has tons of poseability, detail and display options.  As much as I loved my Soundwave figure as a kid, this version has all the features I wished the figure came with back then.  Whether you're a hardcore Transformers fan or just someone addicted to '80s nostalgia, this is the toy to beat for 2013.

Hope you enjoyed this -- and we'll be back soon with MORE toy news!