Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soldier Force IV Heavy Combat Boat Playset

Another Soldier Force gem. Heavy Combat Boat Playset - Soldier Force - Toys R Us Exclusive Mostly sought as a "Moray Hydrofoil" custom wannabe, it is nevertheless a 5 star item for your Chap Mei/expanded Joe-Cobra Army.

Nowadays repacked as a "True Heroes" Toys R Us exclusive, this was back in its "Series IV" days (as pictured above), the most wanted vehicle from that run.

Fresh out of the box, you don´t know exactly where to start. This was also the first Chap Mei series to include these "pseudo-dioramas" inserts. Very cool looking.

All the included accessories made this playset one of the most action figure-packed of them all. 5 figures included.

Included accessories.

The 5 figures. Debuting then, the new frogman, with movable feet (flippers).

This was a mix between the mold used in the "soldier" and "police" force series (I through III) and a new concept of "embedded" feet+flipper set.

All geared-up diver and places for the breathing device and knife.

The chest could be equipped with the last picture´s pouch or this stand-alone breathing pack with a 12 on it (from the other frogman included in this playset). This, apparently, was another trial and error move by Chap Mei. This appeared to be the starting point for figures as the ones we saw in Deep Sea Adventure such as "Alex Aqua".

Chap Mei´s "DPV", underwater scooter. A decent sculpt, very close to the actual thing.

Close detail with diver and scale picture with a G.I.Joe RAH figure (DPV and knife).

The AA gun mounted on the Fast Boat´s rear. A lot has been asked about this battery. If it could be taken out of the boat was the most widely asked question.

This weapon is nicely designed. With a gun sight/scope, retractable seat and with 360ยบ revolving action.

Scale shot.

Finally, the "Heavy Combat Boat". Here presented without the weapon emplacement. It doesn´t take long to say: "Moray Hydrofoil". It cannot be a secret where CM went for inspiration. It´s almost tracing, that is. However, truth is this is a very nice variation for those of us who already own a "Cobra Moray". Or more than one.

Packing the AA battery. Note: This boat actually floats. And has bogey wheels if a child (small or not really) wants to move it around a flat surface. It rolls fast too.

Pictured on top: Rear area with and without gun attached to the floor pins (4). Below, just like the Cobra Hydrofoil, when you press the button, the missile ramp opens. However, the missiles are just for plain sight, they can´t be taken off. Naturally, that is.

This net detail caught my attention, so I decided to picture it. However, I have no clue what it is/was meant for. Maybe some of you guys figure it out or know it. Let me know. I´m curious.

Another "Moray" knock-off detail. The steering wheel. In this case, sculpted on the dashboard. The search light turret is an interesting variation. The electrical cables detail is also interesting. And greatly executed, I may add.

Scale shots with a Real American Hero figure. This is one of the "must-haves" for any G.I.Joe fan. Not only for the "Cobra Moray Hydrofoil" similarity, but for the multiple possibilities this vehicle offers. Not to mention it alone, just like it is, is a great asset for your collector shelves. A true prize. Filled with little details and impressive surprises (like the near-perfect scaled life buoy above), a kick-ass camouflage scheme and strong presence, makes this one of Chap Mei´s greatest achievements. A few years later, re-emerged with "True Heroes" colors.

Status: Available through

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sprint Hummer H2 SUT

Another battery operated vehicle with amazing 1:18 scale project capabilities.

Like so many other things in life, you have to look at it with a "what it can turn into" attitude.

May not be something to look at as a whole, but that body is fantastic. Not only it is the "rare" SUT version of the H2, it is in fact a very precise model of it.

The SUT is an extended bodystyled crew cab version deriving from the SUV.

Inside (and included) is a half-body or bust piece of 3 3/4" figure. So, no doubts there.

Scale shots. To remove any possible doubts before closing it again and thinking about what really should be done with this, it was dismantled and put over a base simulating the actual wheel height. The result is shown. I can´t wait to see it customized.

Status: Unavailable

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dino Valley 3 Suchomimus Small Dinosaur Playset

2009 "Suchomimus" with Quikgun Wallace playset.

Another great repaint of a Series 2 "Dino Valley" asset. Another fan´s favorite.

First look out of the box, and it looks like the 2009 series is based on black and red. Looking good, though.

All of the included items.

Accessories "tree" briefcase. Ingenious at many levels.

Figure: "Quikgun Wallace". New color scheme... For more details, refer to "Dino Valley 3 Blue Fly and Dimetrodon Playset".

Dinosaur: "Suchomimus". A spinosaurid, theropod like the T-Rex although molded here a lot smaller than its 40 ft adult size. This can always be a juvenile. And since CM already had a Spinosaurus (and a new T-Rex) there was no present need for more really big Dinos. Bottom line is... this guy looks awesome and menacing! Another plus for your collection if you´re into the pre-historic stuff!

Status: Unavailable

Sunday, June 27, 2010

725th Post - Acknowledgemets and extra info

Almost a year since this project started, or better put, took definite shape into a blog website. Over 40,000 visitors and 150,000 page loads, so we thank each and every one hoping you have enjoyed your visits.

A lot of questions have - always welcomed - been put via email, when not trough comments. And one we consider to be very important, hence choosing this day that in average is the one with most traffic, to clarify the "UPDATED!" posts.

When we first started, the quality of the pictures was limited to the gadgets we had and knowledgement we had on what worked online (lighting, angles, details). While most of them could be reshaped in real time, so to speak, some had to be retouched.  Also, blogger, links and widgets evolved as did our understanding of the actual reviewed items. In that context, every time we update an already posted item, the info is reviewed, updated, links are added, images are better-looking. So, if you´re one of those saving the pictures for future reference, be sure to update your archives!

As a final info, we´re upgrading our assets to (hopefully) bring you more and better reviews.

Thank you for your support!

- mike

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dino Valley Small Dinosaur Playset - Plesiosaurus

Another Dino Valley small set, with a nice diver figure.

Interesting how this boxed and the carded version came with exactly the same parts/items, but the price of the boxed version was considerably higher (in Europe).

Insert package view.

Included items.

Included accessories.

The Dino: "Plesiosaurus". Looking more like a baby of the marine reptile.

Some angle shots.

Figure: "Alex Aqua". Featuring moving feet.

This version varies from the one included with the "Deep Sea Adventure Shark Katcher Playset". They have different leg accessories. This one features a knife holster.

The trident crossbow. A bit like "Star Wars Chewbacca" weapon, this is another oversized accessory, unfortunately.

Status: Unavailable

Friday, June 25, 2010

True Heroes Sentry Outpost - Little Bird Playset

Toys R Us "True Heroes" exclusive version of the Soldier Force VI set.

Sentry Outpost playsets are a great thing. I´ve had the opportunity to refer that aspect in past posts. These are lighter in terms of cost and you can therefore, get some serious reinforcements for your troops.

When compared to the improvements Chap Mei "pure blood" sets have on the insert level, these True Heroes are still way behind. Maybe it´s not a big deal. However, it´s always pleasant for a collector to hold a good looking box these days.

Included items for this set.

Plastic tree with accessories.

The new off-road bike for the 2009 series. For more details, refer to "Peace Force Steel Badger Playset" for more info on this bike.

The figure: "Lieutenant Cooper (tank commander)". For more details on this figure, refer to Soldier Force Deluxe Combat Vehicle Playset - Tank

The MH-6/AH-6 Little Bird. This 2nd version of a Chap Mei´s star vehicle, comes with skids instead of the common "floaters" version. For a comparison, refer to "Freedom Force Airborne Mission".

Detail shots. The landing skids are actually the main difference, and these seem to be inherited from the first Chap Mei attack helicopter which was around up until very recently. Having had lots of different colors such as "Dino Valley", "Wild Quest" and so on and so forth.

Another difference comes with the gatling gun nest from the previous version. Here retracted and bolted to the other side. When unscrewed, the platform slides and you can do whatever you want. Although I believe it´s not meant to come off. But that´s not important, what is important is what can be done.

Scale shot with G.I.Joe figure. Maybe it´s a tiny bit overscaled when compared to the figure, but still, let´s all keep in mind that these are toys, not scale models.

Status: Unavailable