Battle of the Planets:
Battle of the Planets has been the introduction to Japanese animation for many Americans since the show premiered for US audiences in 1978. The show is based on the 1972 Japanese animated series 'Gatchaman', with a few changes to tailor it for the American audience. 'Gatchaman' itself was a trendsetter in Japan, where it blazed new trails for it's adult themes, strong characters, teamwork, and the concept of joining vehicles together to create a single, more powerful one.
The premise for the show is (as the title might imply) a battle between planets, with Earth on one side and Spectra on the other. Spectra has legions of armed forces and Earth has five teenagers. These aren't just any teenagers, but five cerabonically enhanced kids who had special powers and abilities (as well as nifty avian based costumes) that helped them consistently defeat Spectra. They also have ready-made costumes for Halloween as the Partridge Family.
This is the second series of figures from Diamond Select Toys and it finishes off the work started in the first series. Series 1 had team leader Mark, Princess and Keyop (along with variants of all three) and now the team is complete. Tiny and Jason are in Series 2 along with their nemesis Zoltar, leader of the forces of Spectra. The only one missing is 7-Zark-7 because robots just don't get the same respect as people.
The figures were all sculpted by G-Man Gabriel Marquez, and he's sculpted all of the Battle of the Planets figures so they have the same aesthetic. Gabriel has also done other work for Diamond Select, including the Vampire: The Masquerade figures and the Ultimate Green Goblin bust, and has worked with other companies as well. The vehicles were sculpted by SOTA, and they created the vehicle for series one as well as working with companies like Palisades Toys and creating their own toys like the upcoming Tomb Raider figures.
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All the figures are based on a seven-inch scale (meaning a six-foot tall person would be seven inches tall in scale), which is the standard action figure scaling used by Diamond Select Toys. Other figure lines of the same scale are the various Star Trek figures from Art Asylum, Monty Python from Diamond Select and Marvel Select. The tallest of the figures is just over seven inches (Zoltar), with the members of G-Force being less than that since they are teenagers.
All the figures use varying materials so that the figures are durable and strong, but the capes are pliable. The capes are made from a more rubbery material and this has been used to good effect in both series of figures. All the members of G-Force have clear visors on their helmets and big 'G' belt buckles.
Click on a picture below to see more pictures of that action figure.
No one likes to be thought of as number two, but that's the unfortunate position that Jason has in G-Force. Being second in command chafes him a bit, and he and leader Mark are often at odds over what they should do. Hi list of likes includes fast cars, bad girls and checking out Princess on the sly. Jason operates the weapons of the Phoenix and he has the spacemobile as his vehicle of choice. He uses feather darts and a cable gun as weapons when not in the ship. Jason's voice is provided by Ronnie Schell, a veteran voice actor who also played Duke Slater on 'Gomer Pyle, USMC' back in the day.
Jason is based on a condor, with a darker brown color scheme. The figure is just under seven inches tall and is the tallest member of G-Force. Both shoulders are ball-jointed, with elbow bends, wrist twists, neck and waist twists and twists on the thighs. He comes with a cable gun and a feather dart, in case he resorts to feather play or needs to lay some cable. He also has a miniature version of his spacemobile, though the wheels don't turn on it. His designation of G-2 is on the car, and no one likes to be number two.
Jason gets equal treatment with Mark in the special figure department, and even goes one better. Mark has a pearlized version that was exclusive to the 2002 San Diego Comicon (and limited to 2002 pieces) and now Jason gets a pearlized version. Jason's was limited to around 1000 pieces and there were two ways to get him (besides the secondary market) - either at the 2003 US International Toy Fair in New York or by signing up as a Radical at the Diamond Select Toy Site. Only people who signed up early received the pearl Jason from Diamond Select. The pearlized version is the same figure with a different finish, no accessories and packed in a baggie with a header card.
Every ship has a captain to make decisions and a helmsman to steer. On the Phoenix, Mark is the captain but Tiny is the pilot, steering the ship through any maneuver imaginable while fighting Spectra forces. He usually stays with the ship while the rest of the team is out fighting hand-to-hand, and Spectra refers to him as the 'getaway driver'. Tiny gets his voice from Alan Dinehart, who did a little voice work in the late 70's and early 80's. Tiny gets the designation G-5, so even Keyop outranks him. Sad, really.
Tiny Harper is different from his teammates in several ways. For one, he's not thin and fit but rather portly and not afraid to cram a few space burgers in his gullet to maintain his girth. He also has a last name, meaning he has twice the name power as the rest of the team. He seems to have a girlfriend too, which puts him way ahead of all the other members of the team in social skills. He also likes to use his cable gun, and they call him 'tiny'. Hmmm...
Tiny takes on the essence of the owl in his costume and his puffy look. He also gives a hoot, so don't pollute! He's six and a quarter inches tall and noticeably fatter than the rest of the team. He has the standard articulation for this series, with ball-jointed shoulders, bending elbows, twisting wrists, neck, waist and thighs. Tiny has a gun included that fits in the holster on his belt, and a miniature version of the Phoenix, G-Force's base ship.
The plurality of planets in the title implies that there are at least two worlds at war, and one is Earth (a planet most humans can easily relate to and feel for). The other planet is Spectra, and it has an eye on Earth as a way to replenish the natural resources it has exhausted. The world is ruled over by the Luminous Spirit who send orders out via his number one Zoltar.
Zoltar is the second banana on Spectra and he leads the battle against earth and its defenders (usually G Force). Zoltar is a master of disguise, and has been known to look like a man or woman from time to time. He has a sister who has helped in his schemes in the past, and he's known to keep an eye on other people who might be looking to take his job. He also likes to fly around in his space terrapin, and who wouldn't? Keye Luke was the voice behind the mask of Zoltar, and he did plenty of voice work during his career as well as playing Master Po on 'Kung Fu' and Charlie Chan's 'Number One Son'.
Zoltar has kind of a bat look going, with a large cape and big ears. The cape is a pliable plastic and since his head is designed to be removed, you can easily pop the head off and remove the cape. Underneath he has ball-jointed shoulders, bending elbows, twisting neck, wrists and waist and twisting thighs. The thigh twists are hidden at the top of his thigh-high boots, and they are part of his very odd fashion sense. If you don't like it, he might shoot you with the gun he comes with, or send his miniature space terrapin to bite you, also included.
The Zoltar figure has a variant that embraces his dual nature in a hermaphroditic sort of way. In one episode of the show, Zoltar is nearly unmasked and long blond hair spills forth, raising the question of whether he is a woman or man. Most women who've seen Lord of the Rings will be quick to point out that long blond hair doesn't make one a woman (or is Legolas one?), but in anime it just might. If Zoltar is a woman, she isn't very well endowed in the motherly way and both heads have an androgynous look. In this case, androgynous in the sense that he wouldn't make a greatly attractive man or woman. No wonder this guy is mad at the world! Either way, the variant figure is identical to the regular release and includes the same gun. The two variant heads replace the space terrapin, so if you have your heart set on the little critter you'll need to buy the regular version too. This figure is a Previews exclusive.
Pictures of Jason
Pictures of Tiny
Pictures of Zoltar
|Where to buy Battle of the Planets: The BOTP action figures retail for in the $9.99 to $11.99 USD price range and are available at your local comic book stores as well as in specialty stores and various online toy retailers.
One such online store is RTM sponsor The Outer Reaches. (Be sure to check the other RTM sponsors, listed on the Shop Center.)