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Toynami's Tiny Toys

Invasion of the I-MEN

By Andrew Kardon     July 16, 2002


Biiiiirdmaaaaaaaaaaaaan!
© 2002 Toynami

Maybe there's something in the water. Could be mutated genes. Or simply not enough milk being guzzled down. Whatever the case, action figures are getting smaller and smaller by the day.


Call it a craze, a fad or a whim. The action figure world is currently in the midst of a wave of mini-figures. DC Direct's got its line of POCKET HEROES teaming up a 3-inch hero with his or her villainous counterpart. Art Asylum's revving up its MINI-MATES line, giving the miniature figure world some serious attitude with Ozzy, Rob Zombie, Kiss, Star Trek, Dark Angel, Bruce Lee figures and more. Heck, even Playmates is having some fun with its BLOCKOS line based on the Simpsons.


So who's next on the tiny toy list? Well, that'd be Toynami, the fine folks behind some kick-ass ROBOTECH toys as well as upcoming action figures on some awesome Hanna-Barbera properties like the HERCULOIDS, THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN, and DYNOMUTT and the BLUE FALCON. So clear off a few inches on your shelves, 'cause coming later this summer are the I-MEN.


At last: OOKLA THE MOK


No, they're not related to the X-Men. Nor are they a group of hot sexy supermodels. They're Toynami's new line of block-style cubular mini-figures. And they should have no trouble fitting right in with their tiny toy counterparts.


"The mini-figures do seem to be the current rage," says Toynami Communications Director Scott Tipton. "I think collectors like the size, affordability and ease of storage and display. And there's just something about the simple yet cool style that's very appealing."


But with so many mini-figures about to hit the market, what makes the I-Men stand out above the rest? Well besides featuring some awesome characters from animated greats like ROBOTECH, THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN and DRAGON BALL Z, the li'l guys feature a more streamlined design to help keep the "block" style while looking a bit more dynamic. And yes there's standard articulation in the shoulders, hips, wrists and ankles. But the coolest feature has to be magnetic feet which let your I-Men hang just about anywhere they want to, including on the Collector's Coin each figure comes with. And while still in development, select figures will even feature a nifty light-up action.


RICK HUNTER and the ROBOTECH gang get mini!


"I don't want to say too much about the light-up feature just yet. Trade secrets and all of that," teases Tipton. "It's extremely cool, though. You'll see it on the Dragon Ball Z line."


Toynami is currently planning three waves for the mighty mini I-Men. First up is SERIES 1: ROBOTECH due out in late summer. The line-up includes Rick Hunter's VF-1J, Rick Hunter, Ben Dixon's VF-1A, Ben Dixon, Roy Fokker's VF-1S, Roy Fokker, Max Sterling's VF-1J, Max Sterling, Miriya's VF-1J and Miriya.


Next up in the fall is SERIES 2: HANNA-BARBERA ADVENTURE SUPERSTARS starring: Birdman, Avenger, Dynomutt, Blue Falcon, Thundarr the Barbarian, Princess Ariel, Ookla, Vapor Man, Meteor Man and Gravity Girl.


And hitting shelves in late fall is SERIES 3: DRAGONBALL Z with Goku, Super Saiyan Gohan, Vegeta, Super Saiyan Trunks (Tank Top), Gohan, Super Saiyan Goku, Trunks, Super Saiyan Vegeta, Piccolo and Super Saiyan Trunks (Armor).


Sure fans can snag a mini OOKLA THE MOK, but what about the mighty dragon Zok or rhinoceros-like Tundro from the Herculoids? Looks like fans may just have to wait a bit for that fix.


GOKU lights up your life.


"There will surely be more I-Men in the future, depending on demand and sales," assures Tipton. "As for Herculoids, since the focus of that series is the monsters, and monsters don't really translate well to this brand, we decided to hold off on the Herculoids."


Averaging 2 " in height, the I-Men are sold in two-packs for $7.99 ($8.99 - $9.99 for two-packs with one light-up figure). Look for them at comic book, video game and specialty stores everywhere.

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at feedback@cinescape.com.

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