Tagged: robots

Super Robot Chogokin Volfogg Review

Have I ever mentioned how much I loved GaoGaiGar?

Really, as far as mecha anime from the 1990’s is concerned, it’s seriously one of the best. Takara and Sunrise took the Brave series, a franchise that was losing in terms of ratings and toy sales, and gave viewers one last ditch effort in an attempt to give it some credibility. That show, my friends, was GaoGaiGar: a wonderful tribute to the super robot anime of old and the earlier Brave shows. What more could you ask for?

One of the best characters in the series was Volfogg: a purple ninja police car robot who commands a battleship. Yeah, I love that description. Ever since I saw the show I’ve wanted a decent figure of him, and out of all the old DX toys, his is easily the worst, mostly thanks to his impossible transformation. I was sure the Big Volfogg figure we got back in April would be the best we’d ever get. I guess Bandai is just full of surprises.

As one would expect, Volfogg is TINY. He stands at the height of an old-style G.I. Joe, possibly making him the smallest figure in the Super Robot Chogokin line. I’m not sure how accurate his scale is compared to the other members of the Saikyo Yuusha Robo Gundan. That will be easier to determine when the other members have been released.

His articulation manages to be both great and limited, at the same time. His upper body includes an ab crunch, a double-jointed neck, and some incredibly fluid joints on his arms that allow him to do his trademark “arms-crossed-across-the-chest” pose; you know, the one all badass robots do. The problems are with his legs, which have a lot of joints, but are limited due to the diecast metal and the blocky nature. Additionally, his joints also seem very spaced apart, but this is also likely due to the limitations on a figure of this size.

Limitations aside, he’s pretty damn sturdy for his size.

His accessory complement is what you’d expect: open hands, fists, and “holding stuff” hands; the two Silver Moons and the Silver Cross, a yelling head, and, most importantly, the soda cup. Really, I can’t imagine a Volfogg without this piece. It’s adorable.

But of course, the most important part of this package is the corner of the Big Order Room. Volfogg’s corner includes his little high-chair, so he can look eye-to-eye with his other teammates. It also extends, but sadly not by much.

But not only does Volfogg come with his section of the Big Order Room, he also includes his command chair from the Amaterasu! What would our favorite robot battleship commander be without his command chair? It’s a nice little accessory to use if you don’t plan on building the whole playset. When not in use, it stores right in the center, though I think it’ll have to be placed elsewhere for the full product.

While not perfect, this is easily the best Volfogg figure we’re ever going to get since I doubt a fully-transforming figure is even possible. Still, I’m happy to have a Volfogg figure on my shelf that represents about 90% of his appearances though the series, and I’m really excited to build the Big Order Room. If you’re up to the task, make sure to check FPNYC to get yourself a start!

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Robot Super Heroes

Robots make for crap super heroes. We want robots as friends, pets and secret lovers, but NOT as replacements to our own lives. In a medium all about projecting our own wants onto fictional characters there is a gigantic flaw to robots as super-heroes:

NO HUMAN WANTS TO BE A ROBOT.

One need only to look at a few mainstream comic book robots to realize that the robot super hero does not compute.

THE HUMAN TORCH

One of Marvel’s very first super heroes was a robot named Jim who could control flames to melt tanks while flying. If you were a flaming android, wouldn’t you chose the name “Human Torch,” too?  NOTHING says “Robot in the closet” like the name Human Torch.

Torchy had a buddy robot, a slew of appearances in the War era and a recent resurgence at Marvel due to the recent Invaders series. Still, he was never as popular as Captain America, nor his other Invaders team-mate the Sub-Mariner, probably due to being a soulless, stinktastic robo-doofus.

If after Seventy years in this business you are still less popular than Namor, you need to seriously go to 10 and rethink your future in the cape biz.

THE METAL MEN

A great and beloved team of robots from DC, the Metal Men (and lady) are robots each build predominantly from certain metals which give each fantastic powers! Gold was shiny and smart and could stretch his metal body, Iron was strong, Lead could shield you from radiation, naturally, Platinum was a sex-robot…you know, the  common traits of each of their respective metals. I don’t think I need to explain this further.

The Metal Men stories were gentle, sweet and fun silver age stuff. The robots often struggled with their robot natures, but if it was used for pathos it was resolved quickly.

WHY the Metal Men worked was the times. People could read about a robot super team in 1962 and NOT need it to be a metaphor for our own insecurities as people, or our lack of ability to connect to others.

The number one reason robots make lousy super heroes is about projection. We just can’t project onto a machine. The Metal Men walked a fine line, but they were always entertaining and they never veered too far down the second pitfall of robot characters: They’re too dang preachy. Continue reading

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Zombies, Robots and Barbarians

By Unkiedev

Some fairly decent stuff this week. Let’s hope the snows of Baltimore do not destroy, delay and other wise defray our comic books from getting from Diamond to our hot little hands.

BOOKS SUCH AS Dark Horse’s new title: Devil #1 (Looks like a super great anime/vampire mash up), DC’s Batman #696, and Blackest Night: The Flash #3 which features Blue Lantern Barry Allen up against his old, dead nemesis a.k.a. Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Professor Zoom, a.k.a. The Reverse Flash, a.k.a. Black Lantern Black Flash. I might turn to crime, too, if my name was Eobard, but I CERTAINLY wouldn’t “reverse-flash” people!

Zombies VS Robots: Aventure #1, Chris Ryall (w), Various (a), IDW

In 2002 I published a cult comic book called Robots are Cool, Zombies are Jerks. It was, predictably, about Robots fighting Zombies across the universe. In 2006 Chris Ryall, the publisher of IDW comics began his collaboration with Ashley Wood on a little book they called Robots VS Zombies. Guess what it was about.

Chris and I had a brief correspondence over this issue, which cumulated in me sending him comp copies of my comic and him never speaking to me again. Typical.

Let’s set the record straight: I LOVE IDW’s Robots VS Zombies. I loved the follow up comic, Robots VS Zombies VS Amazons even MORE! Chris’ funny quips on top of Ashley’s JAW DROPPING art astounds my fertile imagination! SO MUCH action, humor and gorgeous art the dang thing should be read by everybody at least once. Continue reading

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Transmissions From the Planet: Boilerplate

Welcome to the first webcast from Forbidden Planet featuring the new coffee table book Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. FP hosted the authors, Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan, for a short interview about their creation.

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It’s easy to pick you copy up here and you can find out more about Boilerplate at www.boilerplaterobot.com or you can see the book trailer here.

And stay tuned for even more upcoming transmissions from the planet!

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