Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thunderbirds LADY PENELOPE!

The Pinkest Secret Agent Ever - Thunderbirds' Lady Penelope - Matchbox 1994
Gerry Anderson's 1965 Supermarionation series Thunderbirds is a classic sci-fi adventure romp.  It aired on cable channels regularly all throughout my childhood in the 80's and 90's.  I found the style of it difficult to enjoy at first, but I eventually caved in and became a fan.  Thunderbirds centers around an ex-astronaut, Jeff Tracy and his five sons who pilot the Thunderbird and work for a secret organization known as International Rescue.  Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward also works for International Rescue as their London agent.  She is a beautiful socialite spy who is constantly chasing bad guys in her fancy pink Rolls Royce (which is all decked out in 007-type gadgetry).  Thunderbirds inspired lots of other projects, including an Anime series, live action TV and film, and is apparently being revived into a new series right now by Gerry Anderson himself.  Matchbox did an awesome job bringing some of these great 60's characters to the toy shelves almost 30 years later.  I will be reviewing more in the coming months.  Let's check out Lady Penelope!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Neopets: Legends of Neopia ILLUSEN!

Neopets: Legends of Neopia - Illusen the Earth Faerie - by ThinkWay Toys 2004

Neopets is an online virtual pet website from 1999 that took popular elements from some Japanese properties like Pokemon and Digmon and added a Sims-like customizable/playable twist.  The concept was very popular and is still successful (and often imitated by newer mega-brands like Webkins).  My perception of the Neopets characters were very cute little anime-styled critters (ie.. very Pokemon), that why I was surprised to discover this line of action figures featuring very humanoid characters.  These figures are very hard to find.  Apparently they barely made it into the market and were most often found in discount stores or clearance sections.  I don't know much about Neopets or Illusen, but I have discovered that she is an Earth Faerie that lives in her tree-top sanctuary in Meridell.  She also apparently played a big part in the PS2 game Neopets: The Darkest Faerie.  It's amazing how little information I can find about her considering the sheer amount of images you can find.   Just google her and you'll see.  On to the the Review!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Realm of the Claw's ZYNDA!

Realm of the Claw's Zynda from Stan Winston Creatures 2001
Man do I love a good cat-person.  Animal-themed properties are always popular in the action figure market and I'm frankly surprised we don't see more.  Continuing my topic of Stan Winston Creatures (from yesterday's Kaela post), this toy company had only a brief period of production but managed to put out a lot of really great toys in that short time.  As you would expect from a master of special effects, the figures are hyper-detailed and lean toward darker or more violent themes.  After Realm of the Claw, my favorite series of his is Extreme GargoylesBlood Wolves was pretty awesome, too.  Unfortunately the only females made were the two I have reviewed and the She-Creature.  I would have loved to get a female gargoyle or werewolf in this style.  I bet there are concept sketches or prototypes hidden away in some vault that we will never see.  The ladies notoriously get the axe in fantasy lines.  Zynda is my favorite character from this series.  I love that's she's a Lynx.  I love that she didn't require a ponytail to express her femininity.  And I love her armor and swords.  On to the review!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Realm of the Claw's KAELA!

Realm of the Claw's Kaela from Stan Winston Creatures 2001
What would happen if ThunderCats went a little more tribal?  That question was my initial reaction to these figures when they started popping up in Toys'R US stores a little over 10 years ago.  I became obsessed and quickly tracked down the entire series (and read the subsequent comic books).  These figures are large and heavy, extremely well made, and very detailed.  Stan Winston was one of the modern-day masters of special effects.  He is well known for his work in Terminator, Aliens, Jurassic Park, Edward Scissorhands, Predator, Avatar, etc etc.. basically he had worked on every movie ever (my personal favorite being She-Creature.. I love evil mermaids).  Sadly, Stan passed away in 2008 at the too-early age of 62.  I love his imagination and creativity and I'm saddened that we'll never get to see what else he was dreaming up.  Stan Winston Creatures was a genius idea of a toy company that let his non-film creations take on new life.  I'll continue this rant in tomorrow's post (on another female cat from this line), but for now let's check out Kaela!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Princess of Power NETOSSA!

Masters of the Universe Classics - Netossa - Mattel 2013

She-Ra Princess of Power has some of the best character names ever.  They are quite possibly the cheesiest monikers full of unintentional puns and very surface-level "cleverness."  My favorite name in the rebellion is Castaspella.  It's just ridiculous, but that's the charm of She-Ra.  (I must confess that cheesy names were a major part of my "Create-a-Character Contest" submissions from last year.. someday I might get over my embarrassment and post them here).  My second favorite name is Netossa.  Yes, she is a master net-tosser.  Ha!  (It's just an added bonus that my sister's name is Natasha).  The naming cleverness extended to the packaging too where she is called a "Captivating Beauty."  I'm giving my most patient and endearing eyeroll.  Seriously though, I love Mattel for making such a cheesy, fantastic character.  She's also significant for being the only Black character in She-Ra.  She appeared in 4 episodes near the end of the series.  Check out Darah's page for more info on Netossa.  Let's check out the figure below!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Play Arts Kai - Arkham City CATWOMAN!

Play Arts Kai Arkham City Catwoman - Square Enix 2013

Square Enix's Play Arts Kai action figures have officially blown my mind.  I honestly never expected to see this level of detail and articulation on such a sturdy well-made figure.  I guess I had been burned a few times after saving my hard earned dough for a high-end collectible figure, only to find the same old problems I would find from figures at retail.  The Arkham City Catwoman is my first Play Arts Kai figure, but definitely not my last.  My first impressions upon holding this figure was that she was heavier than I had expected and her joints were impressively tight.. they even click like gears as you move them.  My second wave of awe came when I began inspecting the detailed, well-planned articulation.  This is actually the first female figure I've ever seen with articulated lats (a "shrug" joint if you will).  This Arkham City version of Catwoman is getting a lot of play.  I normally don't buy video game versions of toys, but this Selina is so similar to her comic appearance that I don't mind.  Let's check out this amazing figure!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VIRAL!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward - Viral - Playmates 2006

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have gone through many transformations over the years.  Then the animated series that aired from 2003-2007 really complicated things by having multiple sub-series' within the main title.  The 2006 season of this show was titled Fast-Forward and featured the Turtles in the year 2105.  The thing I liked most about this story arc was the interesting villains that were introduced.  The standout for me was Viral, a living computer virus and totally wicked nemesis to the Turtles.  She often took the form of different techno-organic beasts (giant insects, water serpents, etc) but they always looked like her.. ie reddish orange alien-like forms with a single blue eye.  Viral was so powerful in this future NYC because of the incorporation of virtual reality environments into everyday life.  The setting is also interested because the human population is also now intermingled with many different anthropomorphic species, so the turtles don't need to hide or don disguises.  Cool :) Let's check her out!

JoeCon 2013 Exclusive CRIMSON ASP Revealed!

GI Joe Convention 2013 Night Force: Nocturnal Fire Boxset - by Hasbro

These GI Joe convention exclusives are killing me.  I still don't have Daina from JoeCon 2012 or either Jinx from SDCC.. not to mention all Collector's Club ladies starting to pile up on eBay.  I may actually have to call it quits with my Joe collection, which is a major shame because until Daina, I had every single female GI Joe (Including Glenda).  Anyway, despite my reluctance to shell out $60 a pop for these figures on the secondary market, this reveal of a brand new Cobra female is very exciting news.  When I read the announcement last week, I googled her name and found a concept drawing by artist Jimbo Salgado, I didn't know if it was legit or not, but based off the product images we now have, I'll say it was pretty authentic.  The figure makes a great re-use of existing parts with an original headsculpt.  The upper body and waistcoat come from Resolute Baroness and the legs come from Resolute Scarlett.  She will be available at JoeCon April 4-7 in Indianapolis, IN.  Check out the pics below!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winx Club Magic Gardenia FLORA!

Winx Club Gardenia Magic Garden Playset - Jakks Pacific 2013
Winx Club is an Italian Magical Girl animated series that is quickly starting to take over the toy aisles in the United States.  Reviewing these toys kind of goes against my mission statement of focusing on female characters with "boy" brands, but I give Winx Club a pass because at it's core, it's an adventure series, with cool villains, magical powers, and great characters (think modern-day She-Ra).  This playset is a little disappointing to me because it doesn't highlight any of the action/adventure themes.  Flora is the fairy of plants in the group and I really wish this set would have included some snared ivy or a snatching venus fly trap for combating the evil witches.  Instead, we get a tea party.  Oh well.  The figure is a great addition to my little collection and it is my first in-person look at the new tooling incorporated in all the 2013 figures hitting the shelves right now.  There are seven additional new figures showing up (although none have been officially announced): 4 Fairies in Harmonix form and 3 Witches.  I found one of them at TRU almost a month ago and am eagerly awaiting (ie hunting) the rest.  On to the review!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vintage Goodness: SilverHawks STEELHEART!

The "Partly Metal, Partly Real" SteelHeart - Kenner's SilverHawks 1986
SilverHawks was one of those fantastic late-80s properties that combined toy and cartoon culture and became an instant hit.  Rankin & Bass created SilverHawks as an outerspace counterpart to ThunderCats.  (Rankin & Bass also developed 1987's TigerSharks, which is a personal favorite of mine, but unfortunately produced no female action figures).  The SilverHawks were a team of cybernetically-enhanced heroes in the galaxy of Limbo who fought against the evil Mon*Star (yes, he has a star instead of a hyphen).  SteelHeart is the codename for Emily Hart, the sole female of the group and twin sister of Will Hart, aka SteelWill.  She is the technician of the team and is often seen tinkering with their spaceship(s).  All the SilverHawks have cybernetic wings, facemasks, and a robotic bird companion.  Unfortunately these figures don't display their masked variations, but all-in-all, they are some of the best 1980s cartoon-based toys out there.  The likenesses are great, the action features make sense, and the sheer playability is amazing.  On to the review!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Speculations for TOY FAIR 2013!

A 2013 Wish List of Some Deserving Ladies

New York Toy Fair 2013 is almost upon us.  February 10th-13th is just a few short weeks away and we will eagerly get a glimpse of what the toy industry will producing in the coming year.  Each year there is a lot of speculation, false hopes, and rumors leading up to the show.  It's always fun to imagine all the various toy companies reading our minds by displaying our dream prototypes in their perfectly-painted splendor... only to be followed by months of holding our breaths hoping they actually make it to production.  (There's nothing quite like a hobby so inundated by first-world problems!)  Join in the game and post your own wishes below! - By the way, yesterday marked the 1-year anniversary of this website.  It's been a lot of fun documenting and sharing this hobby.  Here's to many more years!  Thanks for all the feedback (and traffic).. tell all your friends! :)

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones ZAM WESELL!

Zam Wesell - Star Wars: Attack of the Clones - Vintage Collection - Hasbro 2011

Zam Wesell is a shape-shifting Clawdite bounty hunter from the planet Zolan who appeared in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones as part of the plot to assassinate Senator Amidala.  Her natural form is that of a reptilian humanoid, although she usually appears as a human female.  I've seen Episode II a few times but honestly can barely remember her character.  The reason why I felt compelled to pick up this figure (besides it being on clearance) was that I had picked up this one-shot comic years ago titled Star Wars: Zam Wesell (because it was drawn by one of my favorite artists, Ted Neifeh) and I really began to like the character and her backstory.  There have been multiple figures of Zam Wesell produced by Hasbro, but this figure with its alternate head and numerous accessories seems to be the fan-favorite.  You can find out a lot more about this character over at Wookiepeedia.  There's a lot of information about her if you're interested.  But in the meantime, let's check out the toy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Street Fighter: Revolution RAINBOW MIKA!

Street Fighter: Revolution, Series One - R. Mika - from SOTA 2008
Street Fighter has a lot of great female characters.  Chun-Li is arguably one of the most recognisable female video game characters out there (probably tied with Lara Croft).  Cammy, Sakura, and Ibuki add to the diverse group..... and then there's R. Mika.  I honestly never knew anything about this character before I purchased the toy.  I was really intrigued by the SOTA Street Fighter figures, but didn't want to invest a ton of money just to get a hands-on assessment of the production quality.  What I'm saying is, you can get this figure cheap (while all the other characters are fairly pricey).  I understand why she might be the shelfwarmer of the group.  For starters, she looks pretty ridiculous.  The hearts on her chest just confuse me.  She has insane pigtails, a ruffled jester collar, and an eyemask just to tie all the odd ends together.  She looks like an inappropriate Sailor Moon reject.  So why do I like this figure so much?  It's the well-planned articulation, good plastic quality, overall attention to detail, and, yes, the utter ridiculousness of her appearance.  I'm a sucker for weirdos.  Check her out below.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

ThunderCats Mega-Scale CHEETARA Revealed!

ThunderCats Mega-Scale 14" Cheetara - from Mezco 2013

Toy news is always a little stale leading up to Toy Fair.  You get occasional announcements, but for the most part, the time between Christmas and NYTF in February is the duldrums of this hobby.  That's why I was doubly excited to find this beautiful Cheetara action figure listed on BigBadToyStore today.  I love love love Cheetara and we've been teased with a lot of products lately that we will likely never see.  Bandai mentioned an 8" classic Cheetara as the final figure in the line, but we haven't heard anything in roughly 18 months so I'm assuming it's scrapped.  Pop Culture Shock had released images of a decent Cheetara statue earlier this year that has also now been cancelled.  These Mega-Scale ThunderCats figures from Mezco are pretty awesome.  I see them at Toys'R Us all the time.  They are 14" tall with roughly 10 points of articulation and usually run from $30-$40.  So far we have, Lion-O, Panthro, & Mumm-Ra (with variants of Mumm-Ra & Lion-O).  Cheetara is due in June 2013 and I can't wait!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Godzilla Force's MARGARET O'BRIEN!

Godzilla: King of the Monsters - G-Force - by Trendmasters 1994

We've been a little spoiled in the past ten to fifteen years by very well-made, well-proportioned, beautiful female action figures.  That definitely wasn't always the case.   A lot of early plastic ladies had the unfortunate origins of being a male buck with add-on breasts.  I don't have any proof that this kind of corner-cutting actually happened, but I do know I have a lot of figures from the 90's that certainly look the part.  This figure of Margaret O'Brien is a prime example.  Godzilla Force is a team of monster-fighting experts whose sole purpose is to protect the human population from the wrath of Godzilla and other Kaiju.  I have seen versions of this team in movies and comics, but I think this specific roster was created by Trendmasters for this toy line.  I think this is also the first time that I've seen a Godzilla-fighting team not wearing matching outfits.  This group ends up looking a bit like the Power Rangers when all lined up.  Check her out in detail below!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Transformers: Universe CRYSTAL WIDOW!

K-Mart Exclusive Transformers: Universe Crystal Widow from Hasbro 2004

Crystal Widow is an Autobot.  I know I know, good guys don't turn into venomous spiders.  But the catch is that she's a former Decepticon.  I'm a little unsure if she's from the comics, cartoon, or just toylore.  Apparently she was included in the TransTech canon, which was the cancelled successor to Beast Wars.  In short summary, she is a former bad guy who became a good guy during the Universe War and now owns a bar called the Widow's Cafe Cybertronian.. which I think has a similar reputation to the Mos Eisley Cantina.  This action figure is a repaint of the Beast Machines Deluxe Blackarachnia, which (until the Transformers: Animated figures hit) was one of the nicest fembots in the TF Universe.  I know that is a subjective claim, but I honestly think she is the first female Transformer to even remotely resemble a female.  She's had 4 repaints over the years so someone must agree with me, too.  On to the review!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Poison Ivy, Talia Al Ghul, Catwoman, and Batgirl from Hasbro 2003

This is one of those boxsets that I continually passed over at Toys'R'Us for years - only to go on a mad hunt for it after it disappeared from the shelves.  In my defense, I was not collecting animated figures at the time so this set seemed like a colossal waste of money.  In retrospect, I see that this set gave us the nicest Poison Ivy animated figure ever made, along with a long-overdue re-release of Talia Al Ghul (Originally in the Shadows of Gotham set).  The Catwoman was a straight re-release of an okay figure (but nothing to write home about), and quite possibly the worst Batgirl of all time.  Honestly though, the Poison Ivy is worth it - she's stunning (note: she also comes in the Frozen Assets box set).  This set was a Toys'R Us exclusive from Hasbro.  There aren't many DC figures out there under the Hasbro label, of course Kenner was fully merged into Hasbro by 2000, and Kenner ruled the DC licenses for many years leading up to that.  Anyway, let's check out the ladies!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Akiba Yellow and Akiba Blue from Bandai's S.H.Figuarts 2012

Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger is a popular spoof of the decades long Super Sentai Series from Japan (aka Power Rangers).  This 2012 parody series is geared toward adults who were fans of Sentai as children.  In short summary, the three main characters are cosplayers who fight bad guys (which are figments of their imagination), of course, the bad guys begin to take real form and the zany action skyrockets from there.  Bandai's S.H.Figuarts is an amazing high-quality, competitively priced action figure line.  The amount of detail, accessories, and poseability is unparalleled at an under-$50 pricepoint.  The prices can be inflated depending on where they are exporting to, but for the most part they are pretty reasonable for the level of collectible you're getting.  The character design in Akibaranger is spectacular.  I love the armored hair.  I love the clear chestpieces.  I love the fun alterations on the standard Sentai look.  I love it all.  Check out the full review below!

Monday, January 14, 2013


Your Pinup Princess from Dragon's Lair 3-D:  Series One - AnJon 2002

Dragon's Lair 3-D was the fourth video game in the epic Dragon's Lair series which started in 1983.  One thing that made this series stand out from the rest was the princess.  Animation for the game was provided by Don Bluth, the ex-Disney animator responsible for such non-Disney classics as The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, and The Land Before Time.  Bluth created Princess Daphne as a decidedly more sexual character than similar damsels in distress, even reportedly using Playboy pinups as inspiration.  Needless to say this provided major encouragement for all the adolescent gamers out there.  Over the years, this property has inspired plenty of games, comics, cartoons, and merchandise, but surprisingly very few action figures.  Then in 2002, the company AnJon produced an amazing set of action figures based off the Dragon's Lair 3-D: Return to the Lair game for Xbox, Gamecube, and PS2.  AnJon did the characters justice with this high quality lineup.  On to the Princess Daphne review!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sea Monkeys MOTHER!

A Brine Shrimp Like No Other - from Majestic Studios 2004

I love a good novelty toy.  Especially a novelty toy based on a novelty toy.   Sea Monkeys were first marketed in 1957 in response to the success of the Ant Farm from a year prior.  In those early days, they were marketed as "Instant Life" and didn't adopt the name Sea Monkeys until 5 years later in 1962.  Then came many many years of comic book advertising.  Harold von Braunhut, the creator of Sea Monkeys, estimated that he bought 3.2 million advertising pages in comic books each year (don't quote me!  It's from Wikipedia!).  I know I found the images of happy anthropomorphic underwater families inescapable throughout my youth in the 80's.  I always wanted them so desperately but my father insisted they were a scam.  Then one year a classmate of mine did an experiment which involved multiple Sea Monkey tanks lined up on my gradeschool classroom windowsill.  I was still enthralled, but I quickly learned that the illustrations that drew me in were a far cry from the gritty reality.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Battle of the Planets PRINCESS (and Variant)!

June the Swan Princess - Battle of the Planets Series 1 - Diamond 2002

Battle of the Planets goes by many names.  Suffering a similar fate as other imported Anime (Voltron and Robotech come to mind), the original Japanese Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972) was re-edited to become the 1978 US series Battle of the Planets and once again re-edited to become G-Force: Guardians of Space in 1986.  There were a lot of changes between the versions.  Most obvious is the setting.  In Gatchaman, the G-Force team was on Earth (fighting a transgendered/hermaphroditic foe).  In BotP, the adventures took place in space and the main villain was split into two characters (Zoltar: Male; Latroz: Female).  But the consistent heroics of a five-member bird-themed superteam fighting a villainous baddie is what made all iterations successful.  Battle of the Planets had a major nostalgia resurgence in the early 2000s.   They had new comics, DVD releases, and of course, a series of action figures.  Luckily the characters' looks have never changed, so whichever edit you love, these toys will fit the bill.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Destiny Angel and Harmony Angel from Vivid Imaginations 1993

Captain Scarlet and Mysterons is a classic British Supermarionation series produced by Gerry Anderson in 1967.  Younger generations are familiar with Supermarionation as the retro-looking puppetwork in movies like Team America: World Police and MTV's Super Adventure Team series.  However, the genre was a well-established sci-fi/adventure artform all throughout the 1960s.  Thunderbirds, Stingray, and Terrahawks were all very popular in their time and featured a similar stylized "puppet" look.  Captain Scarlet, however, featured very humanlike puppets with correct proportions and almost mannequin-like visages.  The series focused on the conflicts between the extra-terrestrial Mysterons and the international defense team Spectrum.  Spectrum's headquarters were an airborne ship called Cloudbase, and protecting Cloudbase were five female pilots (the Angels): Destiny, Harmony, Melody, Rhapsody, and Symphony.  Unfortunately only Destiny and Harmony got the toy treatment.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Herculoids TARA!

Hanna-Barbera's Herculoids Heroine from Toynami 2003

The Herculoids are quintessential 1960's Hanna-Barbera.  I wasn't exactly born yet when the original episodes aired, but I was around for their reincarnation in 1981.  This early era of Hanna-Barbera adventure titles spawned such classics as Birdman, the Galaxy Trio, Space Ghost, Mighty Mightor, Blue Falcon, Jonny Quest.. the list goes on and on.  I'm rather addicted to these old classic cartoons and pretty much buy every box set they release on  The Herculoids star a family of (seemingly primitive) adventurers on the planet of Amzot and their beastly companions as they defend their world from various threats.  It's simple adventure entertainment at it's best.  Toynami is an amazing toy company.  Every toy I have from them is extremely well made, playable, and perfect likenesses of the characters they are meant to represent.  Some of their brilliant past licenses include: Voltron, Robotech, Thundarr, and of course, Hanna Barbera.  Check out the full review below!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Transformers: Animated DRAG STRIP!

2011 Botcon Exclusive Stunticon from Hasbro 2011

It took me forever to get this fabulous lady into my collection.  The toy collecting world has been plagued with exclusive females in the past few years and it will take me forever to catch up (JoeCon Daina, and SDCC Jinxes are currently high on my list).  This figure of Drag Strip was especially sought after by me because she reuses the Transformers: Animated Arcee mold which is quite possibly my favorite fembot of all time.  The original Drag Strip was a male in a team of 5 Stunticons that could combine to form the giant Menasor.  This BotCon Exclusive Stunticon set did not combine, but instead used clever repaints and retooling of existing Animated figures to create the original members.  Drag Strip was the most shocking of the reveals just because of the gender change, but I didn't hear a single complaint from the fan community because the final product was such a solid figure.  Her colors and application patterns really differentiate her from Arcee and make  a welcome addition to any fembot collection.

Lord of the Rings ARWEN (Coronation Gown)!

Arwen in her Green Coronation Gown from Toy Biz 2004

This second figure of Arwen is not nearly as detailed as the Light Up Evenstar version reviewed earlier this week, but she certainly has her charms.  This figure was released three times in 2004.  Once as a single-packed figure, once in the Elves of Middle Earth Gift Pack and once in the Coronation Gift Pack - all from the Return of the King toy lines.  The pros to this figure are that she is in scale with the rest of the females in the line and also that she is another very good likeness to Liv Tyler.  The cons are (1) really weird slippers, (2) Slightly awkward pose, and (3) inability to stand on her own.  She actually shares an almost identical body to Galadriel (although Galadriel has a sculpted sash coming down the front of her skirts).   Galadriel is barefoot and has gigantic hands in comparison to Arwen, but somehow the body in general is much more natural on Galadriel.  All that aside, this is still a great figure that deserves a place in any LOTR collection.  On to the review!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lord of the Rings ARWEN!

Middle-Earth's Half-Elven Noble Maiden from Toy Biz 2001

Arwen Undómiel is one of the many characters that were given more prominence in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy than they had in either the books or earlier adaptations.  In the book, she played the minor token "princess-type" role and was written out of the 1978 animated movie altogether.  But Peter Jackson saw the potential in the beautiful Liv Tyler's portrayal of Arwen and elevated her to a major character in the trilogy.  Toy Biz released this action figure right away via a 2001 deluxe box set with her horse, Asfaloth.  This same set was re-released 3 years later in 2004, with a single pack release in-between in 2003 (As a part of Fellowship of the Rings, Series 2)  I think this figure is one of the best of all the Toy Biz Middle-Earth ladies, however she is terribly out-of-scale with everyone else in the line.  The detail of the sculpt (especially her hair and the woven embellishments of her coat) are stunning.  I also don't disapprove of the integration of real cloth skirts... and I'm usually a major cloth-hater.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lord of the Rings GALADRIEL!

Middle Earth's Lady of Light from Toy Biz 2003
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy produced a ton of excellent toys between 2001-2009.  The movies were epic and gave new life to many characters who shockingly had little to no merchandising before this.  I was always aware of Galadriel from the books and animated movie.  I viewed her as a voice of reason and guidance, similar to Sorceress in He-Man.  But when Cate Blanchett stepped into the role, Galadriel instantly became elevated to a goddess-like overseer.  Perhaps that is what Tolkien had intended all along, but it took Peter Jackson and Blanchett to make me see that vision.  I just saw the first installment of the new Hobbit trilogy last Friday and I am so glad to see this role reprised.. I just can't get enough of her.  Toy Biz was a pioneering company in the action figure world.  They picked up on the early success of Kenner and ran with it, pretty much dominating the 1990's and early 2000's.  Near the end of their streak (and shortly before being rebranded as Marvel Toys), they hit a second niche market for movie-based toys.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy seems to have been their most successful venture into this market by far.