Category: Playing with Toys

Andrew’s Corner- Kidrobot’s Arcane Divination

Hey all you rad people, Andrew here to talk about some fun new things here in the shop! Today we’ll be looking at Kidrobot and their new Dunny art toy line, Arcane Divination. Just a background for those who may not know, Kidrobot, founded in 2002 by Paul Budnitz and headquartered in Boulder, CO (my hometown!) are producers and retailers of designer toys. They are best known for their licensed blind-boxes and proprietary Dunny art toy figures. Dunnys (Devil Bunnies) are soft-vinyl figures with distinctive tubular ears, three points of articulation and 360-degree rotational heads. Artists and designers are generally commissioned to do painting and/or sculpting on the blank canvas and are sold directly from Kidrobot or independently at art toy conventions like Five Points Festival. In 2014, Kidrobot was acquired by National Entertainment Collectables Association Inc. (NECA) and todays feature, Arcane Divination, shows that the company is only just getting started.

Arcane Divination is a 16 piece, multi-artist Dunny series, based on the Trump Cards of a standard Tarot deck. Featuring art from J*RYU, Tokyo Jesus, God Machine, Camilla D’Errico and Jon Paul Kaiser. Right off the bat I’m going to say that this series represents the best sculpting and painting work I’ve ever seen from Kidrobot or any other blind-box producer to this date especially considering the $11.99 retail cost. 

This attention to detail is most noticeable in the Hierophant and Death figures which feature high-detail exterior sculpting. The super-rare Devil boasts massive attachable horns which give the the figure an impressive 4-inch wingspan. Judgement comes paired with a beautiful wand accessory with skulls at its base and a bouquet of individually painted eyeballs and fingers at its crown.  
Probably my favorite of the series, The Wheel Of Fortune, has a meticulously painted Sphinx on its head and Demon clinging to its side with a spinning golden wheel on the front. In addition to the figure, each box includes a miniature tarot card that corresponds withthe toy so you can do your own Tarot reading at home!

Kidrobot has really outdone themselves with this series and in my opinion, has raised the bar for all blind-box based designer toys. From what I’ve heard, they have already sold out of this series and are not taking any more wholesale orders. Hopefully they do a second run on them but that has yet to be announced, so come grab them while you can at Forbidden Planet NYC for only $11.99 per box! Forbidden Planet also carries other Kidrobot products including the new Adult Swim, Bob’s Burgers and South Park lines.

If you want to see more shots of the Arcane Divination Dunnys and other Kidrobot toys, check out my instagram @93_Toys and happy hunting

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Andrew’s Toy Chest- Tamashii Nations 10th Anniversary World Tour

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Tamashii Nations 10th Anniversary World Tour event at Grand Central Station here in NYC. Just a little background for those who may not know, Tamashii Nations is an umbrella brand from Bandai known for its high quality figures and statues from many licenses. The name “Tamashii” translates to “Soul” or “Spirit” because the manufactures pour their heart and souls into the products and that soul was certainly on display at this event!

The main attraction of this particular event was the offering of exclusive figures, that many very dedicated collectors waited in line for hours to get their hands on. The most popular of which was a variant Kaio-Ken Goku figure from their popular S.H Figuarts line. S.H Figuarts are highly detailed and articulated figures under the theme of “Pursuing Character Expression through Humanoid Action”. With their expanding licensing including: Marvel, D.C, Star Wars, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon and WWE they have quickly taken over the high-quality figure market. Forbidden Planet NYC proudly carries several S.H Figuarts toys and more will be on the way!

In addition to offering much of their current line for sale at this event, Tamashii Nations also took the opportunity to show off some new products that will be available in the coming year as well as debuting some never before seen figures to the public. Some of the highlights included their Spider-Man figure from the upcoming “Spider-Man: Homecoming” film. This one really blew me away with its elegance and personality worthy of the Web-Slinger himself. The release date for this figure is slated for August 2017 and i’ve been informed that we have it on order so keep your spider sense tuned for this one! Also on display was a figure based on The Joker from “The Dark Knight”. This one really caught my attention with its likeness to Heath Ledger and his maniacal performance as “The Clown Prince of Crime” and this figure is set for a September 2017 release.

The vast majority of the event was dedicated to Tamashii’s most popular and highest selling line of figures from “Dragon Ball Z” and they did not disappoint. The most exciting of which was the never before seen Majin Vegeta figure from the Buu saga of the Anime. This is a totally new body sculpt for the character and represents a massive leap forward for the already spectacular line of figures. Also on display was a Kid Goku figure from “Dragon Ball” which is also a totally new child-size mold from the company. Both of these figures have not been given a release date but i would expect to see them in late 2017 or early 2018. Also on display was the upcoming Nappa from the Saiyan Saga who measures almost an inch taller than the rest of line and comes with a Ki Attack and display stage. There was also an updated version of Super Saiyan 3 Goku with improved joints, painting and face mold on display. Both figures are set for a September 2017 release so keep your scouters calibrated for these awesome Saiyans!

Overall, The Tamashii Nations 10th Anniversary World tour event was a rad time for this toy collector and I look forward to seeing what else is coming from this great company!

– Follow me on instagram @93_Toys for some action shots and other fun toy pictures!

    

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Val’s Toy Chest- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2- This Week!

So it’s shaping up to be a huge week with the theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2., plus Free Comic Book Day this weekend.  There will be two exclusive toys for sale this weekend and they are strictly limited to one of each piece per customer as supplies are limited. The first is a Cryptozoic Lil Bombshells Wonder Woman figure which comes packed in a tin, while the other is a Funko POP of Netflix and Marvel’s most recent hero: Iron Fist.  The Iron Fist is labeled as the Gold version on the packaging and is different from the recent Previews Exclusive piece. Again these are limited to one per customer.

Guardians will be out on Thursday and I just wanted to do a brief recap of toys we currently have in stock to fill your need for Guardians memorabilia. Currently available in store are most of the new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 POP vinyl figures with the exception of Groot, a Hasbro Star-Lord and Yondu 3 3/4″ two pack based on the movie, two different versions of Dancing Groot as well as a Rock Candy of Gamora and blind bagged Pint-Sized Heroes.  There’s a ton more stuff coming out soon including Series 2 of the Marvel Legends, a 6″ two-pack featuring Star-Lord and Ego and more! The movie should be fun if they continue being as sharp as they were in the first film.

Notable DC items this week: The next two figures in the Harley Quinn Amanda Conner Designer Series will arrive on our store shelves this Wednesday as well as a new statue of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman atop a horse straight from their new Wonder Woman movie statue line. The sculptors working on the new stuff from Diana’s solo film have really outdone themselves getting the likenesses just right, including DC Collectibles and Mattel. Here’s hoping that the long-awaited Hot Toys Batman V Superman Wonder Woman figure comes out just as nicely.

POPs in this week include the last few Godfather pieces, some Westworld, a small restock on Stranger Things Eleven figures as well as the Previews Exclusive Carrie Kelley Robin from the Dark Knight Returns and the previously mentioned Iron Fist which will be out Saturday.  Coming soon will be items from the third super-hero movie coming out in as many months with the Spider-Man: Homecoming series of POP also expected to arrive sometime over these next few days. Definitely a busy time for you Funko fans out there.

Lastly, the newest Godzilla has become an awesome action figure from NECA. The Shin Godzilla is 12″ long from head to tail and should be a popular item for all you Godzilla fans out there. Godzilla is available in-store NOW!

That’s it for me this week, see you next time!

 

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Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Who’s Who in the DC Universe- Hawkgirl

This week’s print issue of the Weekly Planet has another Who’s Who entry to commemorate the release of DC Collectibles’ brand new Hawkgirl/Kendra Saunders action figure from the CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. For the previous entry, go here.

Template based on the 1985 DC Comics series: Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe.

Layout: Justin Bacolo

Text: Valentine Chhann

Note: Height and Weight info was researched online for both this entry and the previous one.

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Val’s Toy Chest-And Now For Something Completely Different…

Hi guys- I’m doing something a little different this week as I am not just going to talk about toys, but also about what I’ve been currently reading. The goal of Val’s Toy Chest is of course to update you the reader with the latest in the world of action figures and toys, but I will occasionally bring in my opinions on different comics as well. What’s got me all excited this week? Would you believe horror manga? Plus, more POP vinyls make their Forbidden Planet debut and I’ll tell you which Hot Toys figure will be next to arrive in store.

Let’s start with the manga. I don’t typically read much by way of Japanese comics. I dabbled a bit in high school when a friend of mine lent me his Maison Ikkoku manga as well as the Oh My Goddess! anime.  I liked both, but in the long run, Maison stuck with me much longer and I finally read the ending a few years back. As for what got me into Manga again, I picked up the Free Comic Book Day issue of Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito. The story included in that issue was pretty messed up, but definitely something that got me intrigued by Ito’s work. So with last Monday being Halloween, I decided to pick up the full volume of Fragments of Horrorwhich is comprised of several short stories and was impressed with what I read. Fast forward to the weekend and I pick up Gyo.  Gyo was pretty insane as well and I’ve figured out from reading these that I kind of like body horror in my scary stories. I won’t say more about Gyo in case you want to read it, but it certainly was intense.  Needless to say, I will be reading Uzumaki before too long and I am also anticipating the re-release of Tomie in December. I’m also going to read Junji Ito’s Cat Diary, just to get a well-rounded picture of his work. If you like horror stories, I think you should give Ito’s stuff a chance.

Funko POP is definitely gearing up for the holidays as we’ve gotten several new releases in the past couple of days. The entirety of the latest Harry Potter wave is here featuring a new Harry, Prof McGonagall, Mad-Eye, Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix, Fred and George Weasley and the nasty Dolores Umbridge.  Fans of classic 90’s cartoon, Animaniacs have five new figures to choose from including Yakko, Wakko and Dot as well as spin-off characters Pinky and the Brain.

The newest wave of Star Wars Black has arrived in the store with Director Krennic from Rogue One and C-3Po from The Force Awakens. We are sold out of the Scarif Stormtrooper which had a beautiful color scheme. I don’t think the rest of these will last too much longer.

Finally- we got notice today for the newest Hot Toys figure to hit our shelves. The Captain America Civil War Hawkeye is about two weeks out, so expect to see him in our display case shortly. Can’t wait!

Just a quick note for those of you who may be reading this as we open on Wednesday morning, I’ve taken on some more responsibility in the store and as a result, my schedule has been shifted around a bit. So if you’re used to seeing me right as we open Wednesday morning, I probably won’t be around as much during that timeframe anymore. But I am sure we’ll see each other every once in a while.

Catch you guys soon!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Rogue One and Forthcoming Hot Toys…

Last week we received a shipment of Star Wars: Rogue One 3 3/4″ Figures, a Vehicle and a Role-Play item. Of course these cannot go on sale until September 30th (and I am not divulging any details- SPOILERS!), but I am pleased to say that we will have some of the new product for sale during this year’s Force Friday. 

The most recent Star Wars film, The Force Awakens gets a new addition in the Hot Toys line as Rey is on her way onto our shelves. I anticipate that she will be here by the time this article comes out. Rey will feature the usual attention to detail that Hot Toys are known for as well as a bevy of accessories to recreate a few of her different looks from the film. The Rey we are getting first is the single packed version. The version that comes with BB-8 should be along shortly.

Speaking of Hot Toys, there are a few more items expected to drop within the next month or so. Included in this list are the first of the Captain America: Civil War figures, an Avengers: Age of Ultron piece and a Batman V Superman item as well. From Captain America: Civil War comes the brand new Captain America Hot Toy based on Steve Rogers’ look from the most recent Marvel Cinematic experience. Cap will feature movie-accurate accessories and is based on actor Chris Evans’ likeness. Every hero team needs a villain to fight and we’ve got one coming as The Avengers: Age of Ultron- Ultron Mark I will be arriving in a few weeks. Ultron Mark I features his look from the film and includes a damaged Iron Legion accessory and a base.  Finally from Batman V Superman, we get the Armored Batman figure as seen in the recent feature film.  This Batman figure comes with different facial expressions as well as movie-accurate accessories and a base and is modeled after Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the Dark Knight.

In other news, NECA has sent us some cool product over the past few days. You know about Aliens Series 9, which is still available though, predictably, Vasquez has been moving the fastest.  We also got in the Glow-in-the-Dark Aliens Egg Set, the brand new Cinemachines series and a massive 1/4 scale Hulk from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The latest wave of Cinemachines features a Scout Ship from Predator, the Lost Tribe ship from Predator 2 and the Narcissus from Alien. I expect these to be as popular as series 1 was.

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I’ll be attending a Weird Al concert in Atlantic City on Friday, so what better time to bring up the 8″ Cloth “Weird Al” Yankovic doll which we still have in stock? Al will also be at Radio City Music Hall for the last night of his Mandatory Fun tour. Why not get an Al to commemorate?  Can’t wait to see him as he puts on an AWESOME show.

We should be getting some cases of the newest Marvel Legends wave. This new wave features a movie accurate Scarlet Witch from Captain America: Civil War which is set to be the most popular piece in the set. Also in the wave: Wonder Man, Captain Britain, The Eel, Iron Skull, and Secret War Captain America. The Build-A-Figure is of the Abomination.

Breaking News:

Looks like we’ll also be getting our shipment of the brand new 6″ Star Wars Black Series in time for Force Friday. Definitely plan to spend some time with us here at the Planet and check out the new wares from this winter’s newest Star Wars epic. I can’t wait! Catch you all next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Clowns To The Left of Me..

It’s a new week at the Planet and soon to be a new month and there are some neat new items in stock/back in stock this week. We received our second batch of X-Men figures this past Friday and though we are sold out of Deadpool and Wolverine, we still have Cable, Iceman, Rogue, Phoenix, Havok, and Kitty Pryde in stock as of this writing. This has been an excellent Marvel Legends wave IMHO and one of the few that I’ve been a completist on. I do love my DC characters more but have always had a soft spot in my heart for Marvel’s Merry Mutants, plus the Juggernaut Build-A-Figure is a beast(not Hank McCoy though).

DC Collectibles has a couple of Jokers releasing this week, for those who love the Clown Prince of Crime. The first is the DC Icons Joker based on his appearance in the classic Batman: A Death in the Family arc which found Jason Todd brutally murdered by the Harlequin of Hate. This figure will feature multiple points of articulation and several accessories including the infamous crowbar from the story. On the other end of the spectrum, the modern version of the Joker as drawn by Greg Capullo is the latest entry in DC’s Designer Series based on the artwork of various artists. This Joker is dressed in a black suit and comes with interchangeable heads as well as an axe and a gun. Not to be abandoned by her puddin’ this week, a new Harley Quinn figure based on the Arkham Knight videogame is also out on Wednesday and finds Harley dressed in her classic red and black jester’s outfit. As you and I are aware, both of these characters also featured in this summer’s Suicide Squad film. Mattel product has finally started coming in for this line and thus far we have the Deadshot 6″ figure based on Will Smith’s portrayal of the expert marksman, each figure in the set features parts to build a Killer Croc as seen in the film. Hopefully we’ll get Katana, Harley Quinn and the others before too long.

I mentioned last week how our basement is POPped out, well we have some more that came in today including a couple of restocked wrestlers and some new pieces. First we have Lemmy from Motorhead as a new POP Rocks piece, then we have Seth Rollins from the WWE.  WWE POPS that are back in stock include Bret Hart and Kevin Owens. There’s various other Funko product in stock right now including a Jason Voorhees Fabrikations, and new Bobbleheads of Star Wars mainstays Boba Fett and Leia Organa.

Back in stock this week from Diamond Select Toys will be the eternally popular and extremely best-selling Deadpool figure. If you’ve missed out on the X-Men Legends figure, this might be a good alternative. We should also be getting a small restock on DC Collectibles’ Batman: The Animated Series figures in the near future, including a couple we haven’t had in a while.

I got word that we should be getting our shipment of Hot Toys Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey and BB-8 two pack sometime around late September. This means we will likely get the single packed Rey first. I anticipate that she will do very well as she has become something of an icon in the past year.  Characters from TFA still in stock include Finn and Captain Phasma along with several different versions of Stormtroopers.

That’s it for me this week, I will be attending the inaugural Star Trek NY con this weekend, so expect at least a partial report of what I’ve experienced there. I guarantee one thing though, I will get a picture with my fave Star Trek actress, Gates McFadden(a.k.a. Dr. Beverly Crusher)  this weekend.  Catch you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Toyetic Villains

This week’s issue of the Weekly Planet is an all-villain issue, so this column is a tribute to some of the bad guys and gals of the toybox. Whether they originated in the movies, TV or the comics or even the toyline itself, plenty of villains have found their way onto toy shelves since the advent of media tie-in action figures. I’m going to take a quick look at some of the more notable ones from the past thirty-plus years or so.

Star Wars- Darth Vader was the premier villain in the 1977/78 line by Kenner. Vader was hardly the only villain produced in the original line but he was definitely a striking figure dressed in his all black outfit with vinyl cape and red lightsaber. I never had Vader as a child but bought him when Kenner brought out the 1995 Power of the Force line. Other notable villains in the classic trilogy line include the Emperor, Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett. I definitely don’t have to tell you what those guys look like as their iconography has transcended pop culture.

Masters of the Universe/Princess of Power– 1982 was the very first year of the classic Mattel line and there was no shortage of baddies in the line. Skeletor was the main bad guy for the first couple of years with lackeys such as Mer-Man, Beast Man, Trap Jaw and Evil-Lyn as his henchmen. Skeletor would come in several variant versions during the series’ heyday which would highlight a new action feature such as a water-spraying dragon or battle armor that would show damage every time it was hit. My childhood included the two versions mentioned above but not the original version for some reason. 1985 was the year that Hordak joined the series and his black and red armor and bat motif definitely resonated with me. Hordak was introduced in the He-Man line but fans of the mythology know that he was the main antagonist in the She-Ra animated series. She-Ra’s toy line had its own feline foe in Catra who was also on the cartoon as one of Hordak’s army. He-Man was my first major toyline and I had a good portion of those baddies growing up, as well as several She-Ra dolls, Catra included.

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe Shredder, Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, The Foot Soldier– Playmates’ 1988 line featured all of these characters and would expand to include villains of all sorts of shapes, sizes and species. The original Ninja Turtles series was the very first expansive line that I had every unique character from. And they were definitely unique, from the fly version of Baxter Stockman to the cajun alligator Leatherhead with a dose of a psychotic pizza chef(Pizzaface), an actual CAT burglar(Scratch) and everything in between, chances are if there was an animal or concept you liked, there was a Ninja Turtle character inspired by it.

Star Trek– 1992’s Star Trek: The Next Generation line kicked off a good seven year run of action figures from Playmates Toys, which would eventually include characters from all four of the original series and several of the movies up til Star Trek: Insurrection. Characters such as Khan, Q, The Borg, The Borg Queen, Gul Dukat, Sela, Seska and more made it into the series. The articulation and depth of character selection for a Trek line has thus far remained unmatched by any modern line, with most stopping at the crewmembers and including very few of the bad guys and/or aliens.

Of course there have also been multiple toy lines featuring the pantheon of DC and Marvel characters from companies like Mego, Kenner, Mattel, Toy Biz and Hasbro. Most of the classic DC and Marvel villains have seen some form of plastic immortality particularly with the modern DCUC  and Marvel Legends lines. For example, characters like the 13 members of the legendary Legion of Doom from the 1978 season of Challenge of the Super Friends were all released in the DC Universe Classics line over the 20-plus series of figures. For those playing at home, that lineup included: Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Brainiac, Toyman, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Cheetah, Giganta, Captain Cold, Grodd, Black Manta, Solomon Grundy and Sinestro. Marvel villain teams like the Sinister Six and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants have seen multiple plastic incarnations in several different sizes as well. Though villains aren’t always considered great sellers, the smarter toy companies know that we need them to build our universes.

Honorable villain shout-outs to: The Baroness, Destro and Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe, The Misfits from Jem and the Holograms and Mumm-Ra from Thundercats.

Briefly: NECA’s latest wave of Predators have hit which includes three figures from Aliens Vs Predator: Ancient Warrior Predator,Masked Scar Predator, Temple Guard Predator  and we’ve also received our shipments of Hot Toys’ Ant-Man and Princess Leia Organa. Catch you in the store next time!

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Star Wars Black In the House!

If you’ve read my past columns, you know that I’ve been a casual Star Wars fan since I was a little kid. I haven’t been a fan of the entire saga, choosing to mostly ignore the prequels as they didn’t appeal to me. I did give the latest film a shot and really loved it- it helped immensely that there was a strong female protagonist in Rey and characters I loved like Chewbacca, Han Solo and Leia Organa were back. On that note, after a long wait, we have finally started seeing some new pieces from Hasbro’s 6″ Black Series line. There have also been a couple of restocks including one of my very favorite figures of the entire series thus far.

Fans of the Original Trilogy, The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Rebels and even the prequels should be thrilled with the assortment of figures just released by Hasbro. From the very first movie, A New Hope, comes the Luke Skywalker figure dressed in his famous white and beige outfit. Luke comes with his signature blue lightsaber and a pair of binoculars which clip on to his belt. His white tunic is made out of cloth and he features several points of articulation. The Force Awakens still gets the lion’s share of the Star Wars Black line for the moment- at least until Star Wars: Rogue One comes out later in the year. Figures out in this recent assortment include First Order Snowtroopers and Flametroopers, plus Han Solo as he appeared in this seventh installment of the fan-favorite film series. Each of the troopers comes clad in their respective armors with multiple points of articulation and character-specific accessories. Han comes with his blaster and is also fully poseable.

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Star Wars: Rebels has been a fairly popular animated series on the Cartoon Network and took over the reigns of the now defunct Clone Wars series. Hasbro has taken the character designs from the animated series and has given them a realistic look to fit in with the aesthetic of the regular Star Wars 6″ Black line. The first of the 6″ Rebels figures to arrive are Jedi Kanan Jarrus, the character played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. and fan-favorite character and original Clone Wars character, Ahsoka Tano, who has recently shown up on Rebels. Each figure comes with their distinctive lightsabers and follows the same poseability model as previous Star Wars Black figures. Finally- prequel fans get one of the cooler looking characters with the release of the Jango Fett 6″ Figure. Jango has his silver and blue Mandalorian armor, a removable helmet, his jetpack and two blasters.

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Back in stock from Star Wars Black is the premier villain of the entire Star Wars universe, Darth Vader. I’d argue that this is probably my favorite figure in the entire Star Wars Black line, even over the Leia in Boushh disguise figure. Vader comes dressed in his iconic black armor with a sweeping black fabric cape, his famous helmet and his red-bladed lightsaber. The blade is detachable and the helmet is removable, which helps you to recreate the scene at the end of Return of the Jedi where he reveals his scarred face to Luke. Definitely one of the best 6″ figures at this price point. Also back in- one of the newest heroes from the Force Awakens, Finn. Finn is dressed in the outfit he crashed on Jakku in. Still available are X-Wing Pilot Poe Dameron and Constable Zuvio, whose character ended up on the cutting room floor.

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Other toys scheduled to arrive this week include some Star Wars 3 3/4″ figures from the recent film, plus a restock on items from the wildly popular DC Collectibles Batman: The Animated Series line. Characters such as Bane, Batgirl, Killer Croc, The Joker, Harley Quinn, plus Batman and Robin should all be gracing our DC toy shelves again sometime this week. Newly arrived is the next figure in NECA’s popular videogame line, The Terminator 2 T-800 figure as seen in the 1991 T2 Video Game. Decorated to resemble his 8-bit pixelated appearance in the game, the figure is fully articulated and comes with interchangeable heads and a shotgun.

On a quick note, I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince this week due to his untimely passing. Prince may not have had a deep comics connection other than his soundtrack contributions to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film and a rare Piranha Press one-shot comic book, but he was an icon nonetheless and was definitely a memorable part of my youth. R.I.P. Purple One and thanks for “Manic Monday,” “When Doves Cry,” “Purple Rain” and so much more.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- MARVELous Toys Assemble

This week’s column continues the Toy Fair excitement and this time around, we will look at the various Marvel action figures heading our way this year.  Hasbro, Mezco and Diamond Select lead the pack for new releases in all different sizes from 2″ Minimates to 6″ cloth-costumed figures and even a new 12″ fully articulated line.

Hasbro has been the main license holder for Marvel action figures for over a decade now and though there have been slight hiccups after inheriting the Marvel Legends line from defunct toy company Toy Biz, they’ve been firing on all cylinders the past couple of years. Marvel has several films in the pipeline which includes the recent Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse and Doctor Strange. To fulfill all of our figure needs, Hasbro has a bevy of Cap-related figures, a wave of X-Men and Dr. Strange figures and a couple of Spider-Man waves in the traditional 6″ line coming throughout the year. Characters making their debut in 6″ form include Nuke, Silk, Red Guardian and Nico Minoru plus we will receive new versions of Phoenix, Deadpool, Rogue, Ultimate Spider-Men Peter Parker and Miles Morales, Hobgoblin, Havok, Iceman, Kitty Pryde and Cable. Movie versions of Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange will also make their way into stores. Each of the 6″ figures will come with a piece to build a larger figure.

Hasbro’s 4″ and 12″ lines will also be sold under the Marvel Legends banner. The latter line was revealed at Toy Fair and will kick off with Iron Man, Captain America and Spider-Man. Each figure will come with alternate body parts and accessories. New characters in the 4″ line include Gamora, Living Laser, Rage and Hydro-Man. Rogue, Vision, Morbius and Quasar will also be part of the single-packed series. The 4″ Comic packs return this year with 2-packs featuring Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider, Hyperion and Carol Danvers Captain Marvel among others. Retailer exclusives for the 4″ and 6″ lines are also expected.

The previously discussed Mezco Toyz One: 12 line was on display at Toy Fair and features DC, Star Trek, Judge Dredd and now Marvel characters. The first three characters announced for the line are Captain America, Daredevil and the Punisher- all in a variety of costumes. The anticipation for this line is pretty high and deservedly so, as these are gorgeous figures with full articulation and cloth costumes. All that is left is for Mezco to bring us the female characters and we might have a home-run of a toy line.

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Diamond Select Toys continues their line of Minimates with figures based on Captain America: Civil War, Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones series and the traditional Marvel comics characters. Minimates of characters from Marvel’s Giant-Size X-Men#1 were also shown.  The coolest reveal in my opinion was the Man-Thing Minimate, especially since he isn’t a character that gets too much merchandise.

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Diamond’s Marvel Select line continues with figures of Iron Man, Captain America and The Winter Soldier from Civil War as well as a re-release of their wildly popular Carnage action figure.  Marvel characters are also being incorporated into DST’s Femme Fatales line with Medusa, Captain Marvel and Jane Foster Thor shown off at Toy Fair. NECA also had the impressive 1/4 scale Hulk action figure on display. Definitely one of the highlights of Toy Fair.

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This week sees the release of the next issue of one of my favorite current ongoing series: Jem and the Holograms. Issue #12 features the next part of the “Dark Jem” storyline which features a corrupted Synergy infecting the music of Jem and the Holograms and a new Misfits lead singer following Pizzazz’s injury.

Chuck Dixon’s early issues of Birds of Prey are being reissued in new volumes that also feature never before reprinted stories including the fan-favorite Birds of Prey #8 which told a memorable Barbara Gordon/Dick Grayson story. Catch that tale in Birds of Prey Volume 2. I know I will.

Finally- fans of DC character Mari Jiwe McCabe have something to look forward to as the character makes her live-action debut on this week’s Arrow. For those not in the know, Vixen made her Arrowverse debut on the CW Seed during the hiatus between Arrow and Flash seasons in her eponymous animated web series and now Megalyn Echikunwoke who voiced the character is bringing her to life this Wednesday night on the CW. I cannot wait to see her interact with Oliver, Laurel and the rest.

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Catch you guys next week with a few more Toy Fair tidbits and whatever other toy news I can gather.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Marvelous Hot Toys

It’s another new release Wednesday here at the Planet and there’s some cool stuff coming in this week and beyond. Let’s talk about the toys coming out this week first and then I’ll talk a little more about those we are expecting to arrive shortly.

DC Collectibles is continuing their Designer Series of Action Figures based on different artists’ work. They’ve done three full series of Greg Capullo designs and now they are issuing four new figures in the inaugural Jae Lee Designer Series line. Characters featured in this initial lineup include Catwoman, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Each figure is approximately 6-7″ tall with character appropriate accessories and multiple points of articulation and will be on our shelves starting today. DC isn’t planning on stopping there either as they have series planned for Terry Dodson featuring his designs for the Teen Titans: Earth One GN, Lee Bermejo and Darwyn Cooke. The Dodson wave should be out later this year while the Bermejo and Cooke series should hit the shelves sometime in 2016. DC is also continuing the Greg Capullo series in 2016 with figures of the Joker, Wonder Woman plus the Flash and a new version of Batman.

On the Marvel front, we have new Minimates based on the Axis storyline and also a 2nd wave of Avengers: Age of Ultron movie figures. My own Marvel figure interests have been slowly moving towards Hot Toys lately. I still enjoy the Hasbro Marvel Legends and certain Diamond Marvel Select figures, but Hot Toys has had my interest since the first Avengers film. The original film’s Black Widow figure was what roped me into collecting Hot Toys in the first place and though I have a humble collection of Hot Toys, this next year could change that with all the neat, new figures coming out. Expected to arrive in store shortly is the new Avengers: Age of Ultron Black Widow figure from the recent film. Hot Toys is known for their uncanny likenesses, highly detailed costumes and accessories and this figure looks to follow that trend. If you want one I wouldn’t sit on the fence on it for too long since the recent Avengers Hot Toys we’ve received have been selling out quickly. The next Guardians of the Galaxy figure is also due in really soon with the release of the Rocket Raccoon single packed figure. Rocket was one of the breakout stars of last year’s movie so I also don’t expect him to last long. Rocket‘s cohorts still available in store are the Gamora and Groot Hot Toys figures. Other Marvel Studios pieces that we have in stock include the Winter Soldier, Stealth Suit Captain America, the Falcon and the Iron Man Mark XLI “Bones” Armor figure.

Speaking of Marvel and Avengers: Age of Ultron specifically, the Funko POP vinyl figure of the Scarlet Witch based on the character as portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen is also due to arrive in store sometime in the next week or so. Availability of Marvel POPs and really, all POPs in general are constantly fluctuating so if you are interested in seeing which ones we have, I’d recommend coming in and checking out our selection. We should also be getting some restocks in the near future of earlier pieces so check back frequently.

As of this writing we have just received the newest series of Aliens action figures from NECA. I don’t expect these to last long considering how quickly the previous set sold out. Figures in this wave include Aliens Lt. Ellen Ripley, Aliens Bishop (Queen Attack), plus a Red and a Black Alien Xenomorph Warrior as featured in Aliens: Genocide. The Ripley in particular is an excellent piece and features the likeness of Sigourney Weaver from the 1986 film.

This week also sees the release of the latest issue of Black Canary. Last issue left us with a cliffhanger featuring ***SPOILERS*** Kurt Lance, Dinah’s husband. What is his connection to the people going after Black Canary? I’m curious to see how the rest of this arc plays out. Speaking of Dinah Laurel Lance, rumor has it that the Arrow version (played by Katie Cassidy) will be gaining her motorcycle in the forthcoming season as well as have a significant interaction with Matt Ryan’s John Constantine(from the defunct NBC series) who is slated to make a one-off appearance in the season’s 5th episode. Arrow looks to be packing the first episodes of the season with fan-favorite DC characters (Hawkman, Mr. Terrific, Anarky) and/or well-known genre actors (Jeri Ryan, Neal McDonough, Rutina Wesley) as it and the Flash head towards the mid-season premiere of Legends of Tomorrow which will feature the live action debut of Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) alongside established characters from Flash and Arrow including Brandon Routh’s Atom, Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance, Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold and more. Doctor Who alum Arthur Darvill will play time-traveler Rip Hunter on the series. The animated Vixen series that takes place in this same universe should be debuting sometime this month on the CW Seed.

One more thing I wanted to mention this week before I sign off is the return of George Perez’s excellent Wonder Woman run from the late 1980s to the bookshelves. This time around the series is reprinted in DC’s oversized omnibus format and will include the first 24 issues of the series and the first Wonder Woman annual. The first Perez arc has also been made available again in a new hardcover format paired with a DVD featuring the original animated film from 2009. There are other books in the series including Batman: Year One, and the Death of Superman. That’s all for me this week. Catch you soon!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Fabulous Fighting Females

Hello readers, it’s a new month here at Forbidden Planet and we’ve got some cool new toys coming in this week. Almost all the new toys releasing this week are characters from motion pictures past and present.

Kicking off the excitement this week is the long awaited Marvel Select Avengers: Age of Ultron Black Widow figure. Based on the likeness of Scarlett Johansson, this figure comes attired in her costume from the recent film. I first teased this figure as coming out back in May since that was when Diamond initially said it would be released, but that date got pushed back and she will finally be released on Wednesday. I would move on this figure soon as she will not last long. Natasha’s fellow teammate Thor will also make his way into our shop appearing as Chris Hemsworth did in the current film. Recent Marvel silver screen superhero star Ant-Man will also arrive this week courtesy of Diamond and Marvel Select, I’d also recommend buying Ant-Man as soon as you can as he is sure to shrink away from our shelves quickly. Both Avengers figures will feature multiple points of articulation and diorama bases that will connect to one another, while Ant-Man will also be well-articulated and have his own dedicated character base. Just as an FYI, Marvel Select/Diamond doesn’t typically do more than one run of the movie-style figures, so I always advise those who want the movie-based ones to buy them as soon as they see them.

In terms of other movies, Diamond Select has a series of toys in their Select style for Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back featuring Bluntman, Chronic and Mark Hamill’s villainous character whose name I will not write in this family-friendly newsletter. Diamond Select strikes again with more sets of Minimates in their Kill Bill and Sin City collections. The Kill Bill set features three of the deadly assassins that Beatrix Kiddo aka the Bride takes on in the Tarantino film, along with a figure of the Bride herself. The Sin City four pack features Gail, Miho and two others from the original film.

In import toys news: This week sees the release of the Previews Exclusive Mafex Dark Knight Rises Selina Kyle action figure. Sculpted to resemble Anne Hathaway from the 2012 film, this figure is super poseable and stands about 6″ tall. She joins the previous Mafex Joker figure from The Dark Knight, which is still available as of this writing. Square Enix has been known for their heavily articulated video game and DC Comics figures and now they are unveiling their Marvel Play Arts Kai figures. We’ll be getting our first one in this week in the form of everyone’s favorite armored billionaire Tony Stark in his guise as Iron Man. Iron Man will have blast effects, interchangeable hands and a display base and features a red, black, and gold color scheme.

DC Collectibles drops the next statue in their continuing Bombshells line this week with the release of Superman’s favorite Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. Lois is done in Ant Lucia’s pin-up style with a very Newsies influence, holding up a copy of a major Metropolitan newspaper. Other Bombshells statues still in stock are Supergirl and the Bettie Page-esque Wonder Woman. DC is also doing Bombshell variant covers on select titles this month and we’ve got two of those issues out on Wednesday with the current issues of Detective Comics and Green Lantern. There is a plethora of other Bombshell merchandise available in store including stickers, buttons and other licensed product. For fans of TV superhero adaptations, DC Collectibles is issuing a neat replica police badge from the Fox series Gotham. The badge is a chrome plated metal cast from the actual show prop and comes attached to a leather belt strap.

That’s pretty much it for the Toy Chest this week. See you guys with more toy talk next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- DC Toys at SDCC

Greetings, readers! This past weekend saw the conclusion of San Diego Comic Con and while I wasn’t there, I’ve been keeping tabs on the mountain of new announcements that have been made in toyland. There is far too much to run down in one column, so I will be sharing news with you for the next few weeks. This week, we’ll discuss the comics company nearest and dearest to my heart- DC Comics.

DC Collectibles showed off a bunch of new collectibles slated to hit sometime in 2016. I discussed the ICONS line before and DC has shown off four new additions to the line: The Joker, John Stewart Green Lantern, Firestorm and with Milestone characters returning to the DC stable, Static Shock. In their Batman: The Animated Series/New Batman Adventures line we will be treated to BTAS versions of Commissioner Gordon, Ra’s Al Ghul and my most anticipated- ZATANNA as well as a TNBA version of Etrigan the Demon who comes packed out with Klarion the Witchboy and Teekl the cat. Arrow and The Flash releases continue with the previously announced Laurel Lance/Black Canary figure that will be joined by a new season 3 Arrow figure, a Malcolm Merlyn figure that bears the visage of the handsome John Barrowman, the Reverse Flash and Heat Wave. The TV show figures are slated for a March 2016 release. DCC will continue their Designer Series with two additional Greg Capullo inspired figures of the Joker and Wonder Woman, a new Darwyn Cooke line featuring Supergirl, Batman, Harley Quinn in her roller derby look and Adam Strange as well as a Lee Bermejo line that will include Superman, Luthor, Batman and Green Lantern. DC had even more figures up their sleeve including animated Clayface, Firefly and Harley Quinn(presumably a TNBA version) as well as a Batgirl/Oracle two pack based on her appearance in “Arkham Knight.” No pictures were available of those items.

Mattel is rebranding their Multiverse line by shifting gears from 3 and 3/4″ figures into a refreshed 6″ line which features the return of the Collect and Connect figure. The first wave draws from both the comic books and TV shows and will include “Zero Year” Batman, The Joker from the recent “Endgame” storyline, the Superman of Earth 23, TV-inspired figures of The Flash, Reverse Flash and Arrow with the CNC figure being the Batman Justice Buster Armor also taken from the “Endgame” storyline. Mattel’s display featured toys from the forthcoming live-action Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie as well, including 6″ figures of Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Not much news was shared about the female-focused “DC Super Hero Girls,” though a website was set up with brief bios of the main players.What I’ve seen thus far makes it sound like they’ve crossed the DC women with “Monster High.”

Mezco will continue their popular 1:12 line of cloth-covered 6 inch figures with a Flash and Superman figure that join the previously available Dark Knight Returns Batman. Non-DC characters slated for the line include Space Ghost and Judge Dredd. Hot Toys announced a new version of the Adam West Batman which will come with the iconic red Batphone, and showed their Batman Returns Batman and Bruce Wayne figures. A whole bevy of statues based on various DC characters from DC Collectibles, Tweeterhead and Sideshow made their first public appearance including the Yvonne Craig Batgirl and a Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman.

As far as this week goes, we will be getting one of the last two New 52-branded figures in this week with the release of the John Stewart Green Lantern figure. This leaves the Joker as the last figure for this line before DC gears up and starts pumping out the ICONS line. We should also be getting a restock on the Green Arrow figure from this same set. In non-DC news,  Funko’s Garbage Pail Kids finally hit and we have a nice display set up in our glass case with the entire set of 12 and the Adam Bomb vinyl figure. We should also be getting a couple of the Harry Potter POPs in, including Harry himself and my favorite; Hermione Granger. Dr. Who POPs have also started to show up in-store but have been selling briskly. Recently arrived POPs still available from these series as of this writing include Severus Snape, the Adipose and the Eleventh Doctor.

On a last note, issue #2 of Black Canary is out today and I look forward to seeing where Dinah’s tour will take us and her band next.

Next week: Marvel Toy News!

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Toy Biz Batman Retrospective

I‘ve been focusing on Funko and POP Vinyl figures in the last few columns as they’ve been issuing the most toys these past few weeks. This week is no different and we’re expecting Star Wars POPs including Boushh and Bib Fortuna, the rest of the Orange is the New Black series, Vinyl Idolz of Ghostbusters and Napoleon Dynamite characters and the long-awaited Garbage Pail Kids Really Big Mystery Mini Blind Boxes and Adam Bomb 10 inch Vinyl figure. POPs still in stock from our recent Funko shipment are Crazy Eyes from OitNB, Black Widow from Avengers: Age of Ultron, Disney/Pixar Cars, and characters from the game Fallout.

Our shipment of Hot Toys came in and includes the gorgeous Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly 1:6 Scale Figure as seen in the original Back to the Future, along with a Batman figure based on his appearance in the Arkham City videogame. Still in stock from recent Hot Toys shipments are the single-packed Groot figure from Guardians of the Galaxy, his fellow Guardian,  Gamora, plus the Falcon, and Stealth Suit Captain America from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, amongst others.

The latest issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman hits Wednesday. I admit I got bored and stopped reading the Batman title during the “Zero Year” story arc but enjoyed the brief snippet DC teased of this current Batman storyline in the FCBD Divergence one-shot enough to give it another chance. I picked up Batman #41 last month and enjoyed what they’ve done with Jim Gordon in his new role as the Caped Crusader. I am very much looking forward to #42 to see the continuing adventures of Ginger Batman and his Robo-Bunny Bat suit. (It is a lot better than I just made it sound BTW.)

As I briefly alluded to in last week’s column, Batman and his family of characters have been a constant part of my life. It started with me watching Super Friends in the early 80s, but I was only casually interested in the character until the 1989 Michael Keaton film was released. That was my first major foray into Batmania. It had been three years since Kenner’s influential and much-loved “Super Powers Collection” ended and super-hero toys in general had almost died off completely as Mattel’s “Marvel Secret Wars” and “Masters of the Universe/Princess of Power” completed their runs in 1985 and 1987 respectively. The only super heroes around by this point were the four in a half-shell that began populating toy shelves in 1988. 1989’s Batmania rekindled the nation’s love for the Caped Crusader and it was during this period that upstart toy company Toy Biz, Inc issued their movie tie-in line for Batman. The one and only offering for the 5-inch scale Batman series included the all-black clad Batman, the Joker with a squirting flower lapel and Bob, the Joker’s Goon. Toy Biz also ran a line concurrently called “DC Comics Super Heroes,” which included Superman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Lex Luthor, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze and The Riddler. The majority of the prototypes used the “Super Powers” molds but the quality on the sculpts and action features were nowhere on the level with the far superior Kenner line. Lex Luthor was a brand new sculpt in a purple jacket with black scarf and a power punch action figure which when activated made it look as if he was hitting himself in the head. Despite the shoddiness of the Toy Biz DC figures they were the only game in town and I loved those when I was a 10-year-old DC fan.

I remember running around Steinway Street with my parents in 1989 searching in vain for that Batman figure and not finding him. I don’t even think he was rare, just wildly popular because of the movie tie-in factor. Woolworth’s, Genovese and Lionel Play World all had everyone but Batman but I finally found him at a now long-defunct mom and pop toy store on Steinway called Valco (no relation). Valco, if I recall correctly had slightly higher prices than your typical chain store but not outrageous enough to avoid buying toys from there all together. I have a picture of the store in my head but wish I had actual photos of the store just to remember the sheer awesomeness of it. I do remember one thing very vividly however. Valco had a separate section for girls’ toys and I remember a MASSIVE wall of Jem dolls with Synergy, Raya, and Shana sticking out in my memory. Jem is the one toyline that got away from me in my youth and until cheaper options are available, I’ll never have Jem toys.

Toy Biz would do one more set of DC figures before they licensed and eventually co-existed with the Marvel Universe brand and crafted some cool action figures that would raise the bar for the action figure industry with their “Marvel Legends” line before going under in the late 2000s. Their brief career may have begun with the sub-par DC line, but Toy Biz was definitely a company to remember.

Catch you next week with more toy news and toy memories!

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Val’s Toy Chest- ’60’s Batgirl Gets Her Due

It’s a new month and this first week is a quiet one for new toys. There’s a couple of Dragon Ball Z figures coming in from Banpresto and a couple of POP restocks including the regular Thanos POP. I have also heard that we may be getting the Black Widow POP from Age of Ultron soon. New Hot Toys should be arriving in stores soon including the Iron Whiplash figure from Iron Man 2 and Marty McFly from Back to the Future.

I don’t have much to talk about this week but San Diego Comic Con is fast approaching and there are some neat exclusives that will be available there. I am most excited for the Toys R Us exclusive Batman 1966 Batgirl single carded figure that will be sold at San Diego thru Entertainment Earth’s booth. Toys R Us won’t be selling her singly in stores but she is rumored to also be available in a three pack with Batman and Robin in the fall. I’ve loved the Yvonne Craig Batgirl since I was a kid, really getting into her during the heavy rerun phase of Batman in the late Eighties. She really spoke to me with her sassy ways and devil may care attitude. When I was younger all I really had was Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman as a live action heroine until they started showing those old Batman episodes again. There were no Batgirl toys available when I was a young kid as she and all the other DC heroines save one were passed over in the Super Powers line. I improvised and turned one of my Leia figures into Batgirl just by sheer imagination and snapping Hordak’s armor on her. Say what you want about 1997’s “Batman and Robin” but I am grateful to that film for one reason, they finally started making Batgirl toys again. Now with nostalgia running high for the old Batman series again due to its availability on DVD and Blu-Ray, merchandising has been a big priority for the Adam West series. Yvonne Craig signed on for merchandise based on her likeness after the others so we are just seeing new product featuring her now. New Batgirl product will include a bendy figure from NJ Croce, a gorgeous statue and bust from Diamond Select, an 8 inch Mego style figure of both Batgirl and her Barbara Gordon alter ego, the aforementioned Mattel figure, a Tonner Doll and another statue from Tweeterhead. If you love Sixties Batman we have the excellent Batmobile vehicle from Mattel still in stock as well as the green TV logo t-shirt.

A couple of shout outs before I go this week. For those who love the history of fabulous women in comics, we have the excellent “Divas, Dames and Daredevils” and “Vixens, Vamps and Vipers” by Mike Madrid back in stock. Both books feature reprinted material from the Golden Age of Comics. I also want to wish an early Happy Birthday to Alec, the toy buyer.

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