Sunday, July 24, 2011

Neo Popples

Shifters. Sorry, I meant Neo SHIFTERS.

Neo Shifters are a rip-off of Bionicle, which doesn't exactly feel unique itself. I've never had much interest in either property, that is until I saw the above pack going for ten bucks at Toys R Us express. Forget everything else going on here: that's a lot of plastic joints for very little money. I bought a pack and hauled it home....

....Where I promptly discovered these include working lights. They're not great lights - they only work when you're holding down the button on back - but they were enough to get me back to Toys R Us for a second box.

These are one third building set, one third action figure, and.... er.... well, really they're just 2/3rds of a toy. They're not bad, per se, but nor are they particularly good. First, be aware that all three figures appear to be exactly the same. The only difference I notice is the color of the plastic and some minor variations in the faces.

My wife and I put two together: the red/white one and the blue/orange. We transformed one into ball form (more on that later), and left the other in robot mode.

I mean, that's kind of cool. But not that cool. By the look of it, Mega Bloks tried to rip off Bionicle and Transformers at the same time, and the kibble that resulted in isn't pretty. Pull that junk off, and you'll be left with a decent robot, but as is, this is a walking scrap heap.

The articulation is good, but not as good as it should be. There are a lot of swivel joints that should all be pin and swivels. Some are even sculpted to look like they're more complex than they are. Far as I'm concerned, that's cheating.

In addition to the "laser" (i.e. light), there are a few more action features here. First, the gun on his arm fires a projectile. It packs a punch, too: this thing will go ten or fifteen feet.

Next, if you push on a "button" on back, a mini robo-ball falls out of his chest.

But wait! There's more. That small, crappy ball... transforms into... a small, crappy robot!

Look at him, ready for action. If you're so inclined, there are a pair of small guns that connect to the larger robot's weapon. You can pull them out, put them in his hands, and....

Oh. Never mind.

The last action feature is tied to the Neo Shifter's shifting. He shifts... into a ball.

The action feature relates to two side panels, which can pop out at the press of a button, ostensibly beginning the Shifter's transformation back into walking scrap heap. I didn't remember to take a picture, mainly because it's stupid.

These aren't great action figures, and they're not really great building sets, either. While many of the joints are interchangeable, the pieces are meant to go together one way. A lot of the panels have limited uses, and there's not a lot of room for improvisation unless you're willing to cut, sculpt, and paint over these.

Which I am.

Despite the issues with these as toys, there's a lot of potential here as pieces. I know Jin Saotome turned one of these into a Unicron. I don't have anything quite so ambitious planned, but I've got some ideas for some of these parts.


  1. Me too, Action Ranger. Me. Too.

  2. Awww! The little guy is cute! Also, what a crappy toy. (:

  3. Well i guess for $10 you get a decent toy you can customize. : )

  4. Yeah, as action figures, they're on the crappy side. But as custom fodder, there's some potential here.