I first started this blog as a way to use the photos of my toys that I enjoyed taking so much, but would never get around to doing anything with. It has worked beautifully in one respect failed in another. It has worked as I do get a way to share my photos that I enjoy taking so much. It has failed however in that now I have a hard drive full of pictures that I have taken “for my blog.” Oh well. You win some, you lose some. On the plus side, I still enjoy taking pictures, as well as doing posts for my blog, although sometimes it can be a fair bit of work to get done. I initially intended to have a post every couple of days, but that is quite a bit of work. But there ya go, I am happy with the way things are at the moment and update when I can. After all I don’t want to over do it and begin hating the things I love.
I’ve met a great bunch of dudes as well. Special “howdies” go out to Westen who has a developing blog and youtube channel. His video is a bit choppy, but he says some good stuff. Drunketh from Horror movies and Beer for some incredibly amusing reviews of videos, movies, toys and of course beers. Gord, Colby, Heroic Decepticon and everybody else for the interaction and motivation and um, browse-ivation ( ?).
And so, to celebrate I have dedicated this post to the 3rd Anniversary. Why? Because it is the most amusing (quirky?) Beast Wars figure I know of. Heinlad. And I think that may summ up my blog effectively…
Oh Heinlad. Or Maybe Heinrad. It’s open to interpretation. I love this guy and my first meeting with him was in the early 2000s. I was at a friend’s place and he was showing off some nice Beast Wars Bots. Among them was the mighty Big Convoy and Heinlad (naturally) he first came to my attention as he has testicles.
Stay with me, this will make sense later on.
He comes in a nice little windowed box with Cybertoron sprawled across the side. Oh Japanese Phonetics, how you make me chuckle sometimes. This is a reissue of the original toy. The first release was a rather ridiculously expensive piece on the second hand market for a while, but then Takara reissued him and they lost value. I got this guy for $25.
He comes with a batch of stuff and the typical character card and the like.
Heinlad is a Japanese Tanuki. Often referred to as ‘Raccoon dog,’ although I don’t think they are related to raccoons. He is also a clock. Now the Tanuki in Japanese folk-lore is a magical creature, but not mischievous and are known for their testes. There is a saying in Japan that translated equates to “Even when there is no wind, the Tanuki’s testicles blow in the wind.” No! Really, there is. If you doubt me, just check up Tanuki on Wikipedia or something. Or watch the Pom Poko (by studio Ghibli) anime. It’s great! I am not really one who likes beast figures, as I don’t really see the point but I do like mechanical beasts. Luckily for me, old Heinlad here has a mechanically bit in him.
So with that in mind and since he is packaged in beast mode, let’s have a look at the beast mode.
The articulation is pretty good and in a nice touch you can have him standing on his hind legs like the typical tanuki statue that you see hanging around place in Japan, or you can have him on all fours like a real life tanuki. Despite the animal head breaking in half for the transformation, it has a remarkable amount of movement to it due to the rather clever application of joints. He has lots of lovely hinge and ball joints, including one for his thumb, which is needed to hold the gun (in a way) and to make the transition from one form to another.
He has cute little paws printed on the bottom of his feet as well, which is a cute touch. The clock is a working clock and can be set to work, but the switch to turn of the alarm is the robot’s head, so unless you want to transform it with the alarm going off as a challenge to wake you up, I’d suggest only using the alarm in robot mode. Most if not all the Beast Wars toys had a ‘Spark crystal’ in them which worked as a faction symbol for them. Much like the old G1 Rub signs. What I find amusing about Heinlad’s is that his in in his NUTSACK!
As you can see, he has nice fur sculpting all over and the only bummer is the robot parts hanging off of his bumb. Rather cleverly his guns missiles fit rather nicely in his back pack. I like self contained stuff like that! They can stay plugged in when in robot mode as well. He just has missiles hanging off his legs.
Oh, I almost forgot. What does any children’s toy need? (aside from testicles of course).
An alcohol reference!!! Oh Japan, how I love you!
Heinlad comes with two. The first is obvious and the one I like the most. A sake bottle. YUM!
And the other is a bit more vague. A vintner’s book apparently. Which is a wine maker. Hmm, ok.
They both come with string and he can hold them merrily. Cleverly they combine to form his rifle.
Will the testicles carry over too???
Yes they have, but they have moved to the side. Transformation is simple and obvious, probably the trickiest part is positioning the tanuki head. And that isn’t very tricky. I suspect the simple transformation is due to the clock that takes up most of hi chest space but I am not complaining. In a rare circumstance for Transformers, the gimmick (the clock) doesn’t ruin the robot (or beast) mode at all.
As you can see, he has some nice Maximal-ish blues and whites going on and articulation is pretty good. Balancing him can be tricky at times, as he has pointed feet, but the toes and heel spurs are large enough. The shoulders are a bit limiting because of the join, but just make sure you are aware of their range of movement and think about how you want to have his arm pointed before going and trying to move a joint in a way it might not be designed to move.
That red bit on the bottom left picture above has his spark crystal.
It always has struck me that he has almost Optimus Like colours and styling in his head and he has hair sculpt on the back. The green goggles can be left on his head or slid over his eyes, I like this as it really adds to his play options, just think, when he engages his time shifting skills he has to put his goggles on.
I like it. I love that his robot eyes have the black around them, just like a tanuki’s eyes and the blue part of the head has the hair interweaved through it in a way, making it look like he has a mask on. A rather nice blending of elements there.
When you have the missiles mounted in the gun, he is armed like this:
There is some nice sculpting on the robot parts and his head can grow a neck if you are using him as an alarm.
The only real downer about this idea though is that he isn’t as stable in robot mode as he is in Tanuki so he will probably fall over somewhere along the lines. You can split the tanuki head in half and have the robot head exposed, but the rest of the body in robot mode. It does defeat the purpose and take away the fun a little bit though I think.
Altogether though, Heinlad here is a lovely little action figure. Actually, he isn’t that small standing at around the 18cm mark, but he is still lovely. Heinlad is a great example of a toy being based around a specific gimmick, in this case a working analogue clock and still being a great action figure and Transformer too. He isn’t hindered by the clock in his chest at all. Even the shoulders, while being awkward are adaptable and not ruined. In fact they manage to keep the appearance of a heavy fur padding around there as the shoulder bends from the bicep area. He even retains a waist swivel!!
The great toy is only enhanced by the silliness of this figure. The weapons and his BALLS add an incredible amount of personality to this guy, his skills with time and the funky goggles add heaps of play options to him and his ‘mysterious’ stats of all question marks, except for his rank(7) makes him a magical little quirky character and I wish there was an version of BW Neo cartoon floating around somewhere. I’d even accept a completely Japanese version. Well, one that isn’t $350….