Tuesday, 21 May 2013

News: TechPet reduced at The Entertainer

Haven't used this myself (that would require buying a half-decent phone), but for £20 how can you go wrong?


Bandai’s TechPet, an app based toy with the addition of an iPhone or iPod Touch, was originally £59.99, and is now better than half price at only £20 at The Entertainer for a limited time only. Don’t miss this chance to get hold of one of the hit toys of this summer!


· Powered by a free app from iTunes, the TechPet can perform tricks tail, sing and dance!
· TechPet can respond to your voice and hand commands. Just put TechPet into ‘Trick mode’ and speak or gesture the set commands to make TechPet come to life
· When in ‘Sitting pose’ TechPet can be used as a personal music player using the built in speaker and can even shake its head to the music!
· The more you interact with TechPet the more you discover. Raise TechPet’s level to unlock over 100 new tricks, items and looks to customise your experience
· TechPet can communicate with other TechPets, too! Watch them sing and dance together and also check their compatibility with a friendship test.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

News: Spirit of Hordak (update)

Whether it was always planned this way, or a result of the complaints from subscribers, Mattel have announced that a limited number of Spirit of Hordaks will go on sale in today's Early Access (for Club Eternia subscribers only) on MattyCollector.com, with the purchase amount reduced to 4. If this is anything like the Strobo Early Access sale then expect them to go fast.


So Spirit of Hordak went on sale. And, this being MattyCollector, the sale was obviously a disaster. It was supposed to go on sale at 4pm BST. It didn't. So a lot of people assumed that the time was wrong and it in fact went on sale at 5pm, so went away and came back later. And discovered it was sold out.

Spirit of Hordak actually went on sale at 4:14pm (or thereabouts) and whatever allotment Mattel had decided to sell today sold out within 4 minutes.

Cue lots more angry people.

Luckily (for me, anyway) I stayed refreshing the site and was one able to grab one before it sold out. I guess I'm doubly lucky as I managed to get Strobo the other week too.

This is disaster after disaster for Mattel, something they could really do without at the moment. The line barely continued into 2013 and if they don't buck their ideas up in the next couple of months then they're going to shed a lot of collectors before the 2014 subscription sign-up at SDCC.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Review: Transformers Fortress Maximus

There are a number of really expensive 80s Transformers out there, most of which a Transformers collector would give his first born son for. The Holy Grail, in most people's opinion, at least, is Fortress Maximus. The main, if not only reason (why would you need another?) is that he's big. REALLY big. The biggest Transformer EVER released (for the moment). So big that if you handed over your first born son you'd receive something several times larger in return. The cost varies, but I've seen them on ebay for £600-800 in the past. And then there are problems with ensuring all the pieces are there, yellowing on the white parts... etc etc.

Hasbro and Takara have re-released a number of 80s Transformers over the past decade. Fort Max was always assumed to be off the cards due to its immense size and there being not being a chance in Hell it'd pass Hasbro's Drop Test. It was G1 original or nothing. Os so we all thought...

Last year everyone went a bit nuts when Kabaya released a 'candy toy' version of Fort Max. It was a mini kit-type toy, but transformed into all three of big Fort Max's modes (in a very similar manner), was an official product, and most people figured it was as close as they'd get to ever owning the real thing.

And then Takara-Tomy announced the reissue.

Suddenly there was no need to worry about spending your life savings on a yellowing, battered, second hand toy with missing parts. Now all that was required was half your life savings to get a shiny brand new one!

And here it is!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Opinion: Spirit of Hordak

Bear with me as I have a bit of a rant. I'm not allowing comments for this post as I don't want to turn it into a debate - you can do that elsewhere. I just want to get a few things off my chest.

Recently a Masters of the Universe figure appeared for sale on MattyCollector.com - Spirit of Hordak. The figure had never been shown before and there was no notification of the sale. After around 40 minutes the figure was taken off sale again, with the purchase screen replaced with the message 'You're too late. Hordak is back in hiding.'

A number of people were a little annoyed about this. I was one of them.

Why? Well...

Mattel essentially forced me to become a Completest of the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline when they insisted that if not enough people bought the subscription the line would end. 'Cherry picking' (i.e. buying just the figures you want) is incredibly hard these days. Mattel charge more for toys bought out of the subscription, plus they're reducing the production runs on some figures so that they're only available if you bought the sub.

If that's the stance, then fine, I want the line to continue as long as possible and if a subscription-only model is the way to ensure it's longevity  then I'll accept that. It was fans who pushed for the sub in the first place since going online every single month was getting a bit annoying.

However, if Mattel are going to insist on the sub then they need to ensure that all subscribers, in some way or another, have the opportunity to get hold of everything Masters that's not in the sub.

Last summer, when Mattel were pushing sales of the sub for 2013, they announced 'Early Access', i.e. all subscribers would be able to buy all the extra items that were on sale outside of the sub before everyone else (it was specifically stated 'all' items).

Early Access has so far been pretty much pointless. All the figures available for Early Access have simply been rereleases of figures. Figures that most people will already own. Strobo was the only 'new' figure to appear in Early Access, but Mattel made very few of those available so a lot of people missed out.

Spirit of Hordak has not been included in any Early Access sale.

I'm willing to accept that the point of having Spirit of Hordak go on sale in the way he was, was to give the line loads of promotion online. In which case a cryptic 'heads up' to subscribers with a time to be online to find out about this secret item would have been nice. There would likely have been the same amount of promotion online afterwards, but loads before the sale too as people speculated about what was going to happen.

I might even accept him going online at a random time with no notice to anyone, if a statement had been released immediately afterwards stating something along the lines of 'don't worry, Hordak will be back at suchandsuch a date'. Of course there has been nothing along these lines.

I buy these toys for enjoyment purposes; to have fun with the toy, not the chasing it down. It's not fun having to check the website every hour just in case a figure has been put on sale. That's as bad as the 'old days' of having to keep visiting toy shops to see if things were available. One of the big 'pluses' that Mattel stated about the online sales was that fans would no longer have to waste their time in this manner.

I'm not angry about this. I'm a little annoyed, but I'm more disappointed that something stupid has once again happened with this toyline.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Review: Octonauts Octopod

Best show on Cbeebies?

Something Special? Mr Maker?Jack's Boat. No, of course not. The answer, obviously, is Space Pirates. However, since they don't show that anymore the best show currently showing on Cbeebies is Octonauts.

(Sorry about the poor quality video. It was the best I could find on YouTube that allowed me to embed.)

It's a bit like Thunderbirds, but underwater. So... Stingray then. Stingray without a scary baddie and with more educational bits about sea creatures. And anthropomorphic animals. And a kick-ass theme tune.

Yeah, I think it's the theme tune that steals it.

Anyway, we really like Octonauts in our house, which is why I relented when two boys badgered me into buying the Octopod (aka the Octonauts base). Plus it was dirt cheap, which always helps.