Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's regular round up of the latest and greatest things in toys. Like... Christmas? Yes, the holidays are already in full swing even as we swelter in climate change-induced heat waves, but that’s not all: we’ve got new Transformers figures of old Transformers, new Power Rangers figures of old Power Rangers, and some actually new toys too! Check it out.
We’re still coming to terms with Transformers figures that don’t actually transform, but Hasbro’s RED (Robot Enhanced Design) line continues to grow on us. Today Hasbro revealed two new additions available for pre-order from Walmart now for $20, but not shipping until December 1: Optimus Primal from Transformers: Beast Wars and a new Megatron based on the scene in Transformers: The Movie where Unicron reformats the character into Galvatron. (They couldn’t just give us a RED Galvatron figure?)
Ideally, one generation should strive to leave the world a better place for the next, so while ‘80s kids could only stare at iconic characters like Count Chocula and Franken Berry on their cereal boxes every morning, the current crop of youngsters now gets to actually play with these beloved sugar-pushers. Jada Toys has teamed up with General Mills for six-inch, fully articulated figures of Count Chocula and Franken Berry, who each come with an alternate head with a different expression, as well as a miniature box of cereal bearing their respective likenesses. Both are available for pre-order from Entertainment Earth right now for $25 each, with shipping coming in a few months in October.
Hasbro’s bringing back the old-school Power Rangers “flip-transform” action figures in style with another new addition to its revival of the head-flipping line. Instead of another ranger, however, the latest addition is Ninjor, the mystical creator of the power coins and also the robot hero who granted the original Rangers the ninja powers they needed to summon the Shogunzords. The press of a button on the figure’s back will flip Ninjor’s shoulders, lower his leg armor, and, in old-school style, flip around the alternate head hidden inside his chest to transform him into his mecha-sized Battle mode. The figure also includes Ninjor’s katana, removeable from the sheath on his back. It’ll cost $14 when it releases in early October, but it’s available to pre-order at Walmart and Hasbro Pulse now.
Unless you’re the type to instantly shred it to pieces to get the toy goodness inside, packaging can be almost as important as the collectible or figure itself. Diamond Select Toys’ new seven-inch Rocketeer is adequately detailed with three alternate sets of hands, an alternate unhelmeted head, a removable rocket pack, and flame effects. What makes the $40 figure hard to pass up is the packaging made to look like the oversized plastic clamshell cases Disney used to ship VHS movies in. This figure would look right at home on the shelf of VHS cassettes that’s probably now collecting dust in your parents’ basement. You can pre-order the Rocketeer from Walmart now, but delivery isn’t expected until late August.
There’s a scant five months until Christmas rolls around again and Lego wants to make sure you’re already adequately planning for the festivities. The toymaker has already revealed its $40 2021 Star Wars Advent Calendar; it focuses mostly on Star Wars: The Mandalorian with Din Djarin in a scarf, Grogu in a festive sweater, Tusken Raiders throwing snowballs, IG-11, and tiny vehicles including a TIE Fighter, Razor Crest, and Baby Yoda’s hoverpram. It doesn’t look like you can pre-order it until September 1, but unless you’re a rule-breaker, you can’t open it until December 1 anyways.
Had your fill of Star Wars: The Mandalorian? You’re not alone, the show was better before the Jedis arrived. If that’s the case, but you still want to open and build a toy with plastic bricks every day of December leading up to Christmas, Mattel’s Mega Construx advent calendar should fit the bill. It includes 24 little building sets based on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe characters (it promises four new micro figures) and vehicles, plus festive adornments to deck the halls of Castle Grayskull. Entertainment Earth had it listed for $40, but is now showing the set as cancelled which hopefully means it spilled the guts too early and can’t offer pre-orders yet, instead of Mattel actually cancelling the calendar completely.
Although it originally only ran for three seasons back in the mid-’90s, Disney’s animated series Gargoyles is enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to it being available through the Disney+ streaming service. Not one to let a missed merchandising opportunity go to waste, NECA’s got a new line of Gargoyles figures en route, starting with Goliath. The seven-inch tall figure appears to sport a solid amount of articulation, but it’s those 16-inch wide wings that will be grabbing most collectors’ attention. The figure’s available for pre-order now on Entertainment Earth for $33, with shipping expected sometime this month.
Hot Toys’ 12-inch figures are immaculately detailed and incredibly articulated which more or less justifies their $300+ price tags: no other figures really come close. But if you’re looking to save some money—a lot of money—and are happy to compromise on detailing and articulation, Gentle Giant’s new Mandalorian figure stands a full foot tall and features his original pre-Beskar armor, as well as his amban rifle. At $80 it’s still not cheap; you can get smaller Black Series Mando figures from Hasbro for about a quarter of the price with considerable more detailing, but go big or go home... back to Mandalore.
It’s too bad that one awful apple spoiled a mostly solid swashbuckling trilogy, because Captain Jack Sparrow aside, Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones was not only the highlight of the first two Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, he was also one of the most memorable baddies of summer blockbusters in general. Brought to the screen through some remarkable visual effects work by ILM, Beast Kingdom is bringing the character to collectors through an eight-inch figure featuring an elaborately detailed sculpt of the half-man, half-octopus crustacean. It includes a swappable face featuring a pipe, multiple interchangeable hands, 20 points of articulation, and even the Dead Man’s Chest. Pricing details aren’t known yet, but availability should come sometime later this year.
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