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New York Toy Fair 2019: Bluefin / Bandai Namco

Bandai Japan brings action figure collecting to another dimension, and Bluefin is their direct conduit to us. While I would love to talk about everything offered, there are particular pieces worth elaborating on.

Bluefin is now one with the Bandai Japan collective. For those of us who have been consumers using Bluefin throughout these last few years, nothing will significantly change. Gundam Universe, S.H. Figuarts and MonsterArts, Meisho Movie Realization, Soul of Chogokin are just some of the high-end masterpieces Bandai had on display year after year. Storm Collectibles shown a light on quite a few new properties as well It is so much more than action figures to these amazing companies.

Many of Bandai’s brands make a return, bringing the latest entries to our ever expanding collections. The MonsterArts Mothra and Rodan figures have impressive articulation for slender flying creatures. DragonBall see various expressions for whatever one’s buying habits may be: Skokugan, Figure-Rise model kits, or S.H.Figuarts. Tamashii Nation also presented several figures from the Harry Potter Collection. McFarlane Toys may have some stuff competition if the movie figures overlap. Other notable figures include Cowboy Bebop’s Spike Spiegel, the Soul of Popynica Swordfish II just in time for his 20th anniversary, and a brick wall display part (in gray or brown, no less!). I am a sucker for diorama parts.

Last year, Soul Of Chogokin’s Voltron sold out instantly. With its fully articulated die-cast lions, impressive accessories, and manageable scale, it was well-deserved. Due to its success, it will be re-released. But the bigger news is alongside Lion Voltron was the much-demanded Vehicle Voltron! Many of us have waited decades for a definitive Vehicle Voltron and here it is! Can Gladiator Voltron be far behind?

Storm Collectibles always leave me wanting more. As a fighting game fan, I want everything they have to offer. The figures are very big, however, so I feel like I can be satisfied simply picking my favorites. The issue becomes that they keep making my favorites. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat I understand, but King of Fighters, Tekken, World Heroes Perfect, Golden Axe, and Darkstalkers(!) are coming soon as well. They are making the action figures I didn’t know I had to buy. This hurts my wallet so good.

Bandai had been one of the biggest toy companies in the world because they take their products seriously. I have never felt ripped off buying one of their figures. I wish I had the time to labor over every nuance of their figure and model executions. Bandai touches upon everything, from the type of facilities (and their effeciencies) used to make the products and the distinguishing subtleties between model series to sponsoring full-scale competitions in painting their kits. I have seen the Gundam and Star Wars models for years, but I am blown away at the level of immersion they invite their buyers to dive into. Please do yourself a favor, and just browse through the gallery. The level of craftsmanship they give is impressive enough. It’s truly an honor that they give the buyer an opportunity to share their work as well. The seriousness and pride in their craft cannot be understated. Thank you to Bluefin for bringing it stateside.

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