At Toy Fair, it’s easy to confuse Bluefin for Bandai. After all, the majority of their products are made by Bandai. So the question you’re probably asking is, “What is Bluefin?” It’s a little complicated, but the easy answer is that they are the exclusive U.S. distributor for many of Bandai’s collector market brands, including Tamashii Nations. They also distribute products made by Beast Kingdom, a high-end, life-size figure collection, and Sentinel, another high quality collectors figure company. If you’re familiar with any of these products, then you already know that they do a great deal of licensing through Marvel and Lucasfilm. I will delve into their offerings by starting with the one-and-only Disney branded product on display this year.
It’s been over 22 years since Toy Story changed the animation game and Bandai Tamashii Nations is celebrating its legacy with a Toy Story inspired Chogokin robot figure. Similar in concept to the zords in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, this line of diecast metal robot toys debuted in Japan in 1974 and was an inspiration for the creators of Voltron. In December 2016, Bluefin distributed the Woody Robo Sheriff Star, a combination of Woody, Bullseye, Slinky, Rex and Hamm. The second part, Buzz the Space Ranger Robo, debuted this month and comes with Buzz Lightyear, his Star Command space ship, and two Three-Eyed Aliens. Each set can create their own Chogokin, and you can also merge them together to form the Toy Story Super Combination Gangreat King.
Marvel is entering the S.H.Figuarts line this spring with the Iron Man Mark VI & Hall of Armor Set. For those unfamiliar, S.H.Figuarts is Bandai’s line of high quality, ultra posable figures that often come with interchangeable faces (definitely not for Iron Man, though), hands, and accessories. This Iron Man figure includes blast-action that can be added to his hands and feet. The included clear base allows you to stand the figure and even raise him in the air, as displayed. You can also pose him in standing pose to display him in the included Hall of Armor. More in this series are expected in the future, allowing fans to collect the entire collection of Iron Man armor. He is expected to hit shelves this May and a Doctor Strange figure will follow in July.
Manga Realization is Bandai’s line of uniquely Japanese takes on pop culture icons. Their Marvel collection began last September with the release of Samurai Spider-Man and continues this March with Koutetsu-Samurai Iron Man Mk-3. Like the S.H.Figuarts line, these figures are very posable and have interchangeable weapons.
Sentinel offers an impressive Iron Man collection of posable figures with light features. The collection has been going since 2015 and continues to this day. The gallery below will give you a closer look at each figure.
No, that’s not Benedict Cumberbatch, I assume he was too busy to attend Toy Fair. But it is a life-size statue the likes of which rivals Madame Tussauds. His feet aren’t connected to the base or the ground, giving him the realistic appearance of floating in midair. If you do a 360 degree circle, you will find that tiny, hard to locate a pipes connect through the extreme edges of his cape to his base. Obviously, this type of figure isn’t for everybody. But if you have a home and a bank account that rivals Tony Stark, there’s an entire catalogue of Marvel characters that you can collect. These include Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and Ant-Man. All of them come in their Marvel Studios looks and are modeled after the actors. This means that you, yes you, can have your own life size Chris Evans Captain America. You can put him in your grotto and visit him in secret. “Why Chris, this is all so… so sudden.” On a serious note, if any of our readers do end up collecting these figures, please invite me over for a tour of your gallery.
To see all of the Star Wars products that Bluefin has to offer, proceed to the next page.