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Toy Story Collection Buzz Lightyear
Thinkway Toys

Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys


The first time I heard of Thinkway was the first time most people heard of them - when they produced the tremendously popular talking Toy Story Collection Buzz Lightyear in 1995. Like Cabbage Patch Dolls before him and Tickle Me Elmo after, Buzz was THE hot toy for Christmas that year, and production fell woefully short of demand.

Since then, Thinkway has produced some other very cool electronic toys, including the Spider-man room guards as well as a ton of great stuff for Wall-E. They are hitting Toy Story pretty hard once again, in anticipation of both the re-release of the original films in 3-D this weekend and the new Toy Story 3 coming out next summer.

It's no surprise that in re-visiting the license, they are re-visiting the talking version of Buzz. But rather than simply do one version, their doing two!  There's the standard talking Buzz Lightyear, who says 30 sayings, has the pop out wings, several light up features, and is very similar to the 1995 original. That's not who I'm looking at tonight.

Along with that version, there's the 'toy story collection' version of Buzz. This version might look like the original at first glance, but there's tons of improvements, from the wings, to the articulation, to the lights, sounds and movements - they've all been improved.
Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys
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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys

There's a ton of other electronic versions this time around, including talking Woody and a cool iDance version of Buzz. Much like the iDance Wall-E, Buzz will bust a move to your favorite tunes on your MP3 player!

You can pick this guy up right now at most major retailers, like Target or Toys R Us, for around $50 - $60. While I wouldn't expect the kind of sell outs we saw back in the day (Disney was caught completely off guard that time), I do expect these to be a solid holiday performer, so pick it up early to avoid any frustration.

Packaging - ****
Generally, you only get truly cool packaging with high end collectible figures. Hot Toys always gives us something cool, and Go Hero went crazy with the wooden box included with their Buck Rogers. But these are figures that cost $150 - $200 each, not the kind of thing you find at Toys R Us.

Buzz is at Toys R Us, and Target, and some other stores, and yet he comes in one of the coolest boxes I've seen this year. It's a reproduction of the box he came was packaged in on screen, complete with the movie inspired graphics on the back.

You can also remove Buzz without damaging the box (there's a lot of twisties and tape, but you can do it), so you can display it behind him on the shelf. There are small wings included inside too, and these can be attached to the sides, completing his spaceship!

Also unusual for a mass market toy is the inclusion of a Certificate of Authenticity. It's a nice touch, but this is not a numbered limited edition.

Finally, the included instructions are fairly clear and easy to follow, which is always an important plus with a toy that has lots of sound and light up features.

Sculpting - ***1/2
It's not like we haven't gotten a ton of Buzz Lightyear figures over the last decade, but not every one has been perfectly on model. The most popular, the original 12" talking version that you might mistake for this one, had some truly pathetic wings. I always felt sorry for the guy.

But this time around, they have everything just about perfect. Proportions are excellent, and there's just about the right amount of sculpt detail. I'm surprised they managed to do so well, because they had to take into consideration all the electronics, which could have easily caused them issues with proportions. Clearly, they know and love this license, and this toy is about as screen accurate as you're going to get.

That includes much better wings, which snap out in two sections for extra span. Nothing wimpy about them this time, and yet they fold up and fit inside a very screen accurate backpack.

He stands about 12" tall, much like the previous version. There's a huge 16" Ultimate version out there too - think Ultimate Wall-E and ultimate price point at around $150 or more - but I think this Toy Story Collection version is the best looking of the bunch.

Paint - ***1/2
Most of the pieces are cast in the proper color, and it's very consistent and clean. Smaller details that are painted, like the eyes and small curly on his chin, are just about perfect.

Many of the details are actually stickers. Areas like the inside of the communicator, the various patches, and labels. Most of these are good, but a few are off center, and a couple are starting to come loose.

All of the green you see is actually glow in the dark paint as well. Sometimes you can tell GITD paint because of the texture or color, but not this time - it just looks like the rest of the figure, until you turn the lights out. It's hard to get a photo of, but I gave it a shot. It looks a little uneven in the photo, but I didn't have a chance to 'charge' up the paint for more than a few minutes before I shot the photo. Once it's fully charged, it's much more even.

Articulation - ***
Most of the joints are ratchet or click style, including the elbows, waist, hips, ankles and knees. This is important, since the backpack is fairly heavy, and the ankles, waist and knees in particular need this type of joint to keep from wilting from the weight.

He has very similar articulation to the old version, with a couple notable additions. The neck is part of the mechanical feature, so you don't want to mess with it while it's turning on it's own. However, it did seem that you could move it a bit when it was stationary.

The ball shoulders and cut biceps work well, as do the ratchet elbows and cut wrists. However, you won't be able to turn the shoulders far enough to allow the arms to hang naturally at his side. It's the one big negative in this category, and why I dropped him a little bit.

He does look great with the hands on his hips though, and the hands is where the articulation has improved a bit. Each of the fingers (not the thumb) has a joint, so they can now be posed independently.

The waist also works extremely well, and you can tilt side to side, front to back, and even turn slightly, without the rubber pelvis interfering.

Accessories - Bupkis
There's no accessories here, although that's probably not a surprise. I won't be deducting anything from my overall score because of it, because I didn't expect anything additional other than the figure, but you may have a different expectation.

Sound Feature - ****
Now we're talking! And so is Buzz...

In fact, this time around he says over 65 sayings, all in Tim Allen's voice, all clear, crisp, and hilarious.

Like past models, the three smaller buttons on the right side of his chest activate all the sound and light features. Pressing them at certain times, in certain combinations, or when other features are activated (like the helmet open, or the communicator open) will effect what is said.

In addition to these buttons controlling lights and sounds, other actions can activate various appropriate noises. For example, opening and shutting the helmet makes the obligatory corresponding noise, and also plays a ton of different lines and activates the head movement. Opening and shutting the communicator also activates appropriate sounds, as does snapping out the wings, or putting them back in place.

There's even a movement sensor inside, so that when you tilt him side to side and front to back doing 'flight' movements, he makes cool swooshing noises. If the body is horizontal, it makes flying noises, but when you stand him up again, he makes a landing noise - how cool is that!

There are two modes - 'toy' and 'space ranger'. In Toy mode, he sounds very much like a toy, with a tinny timber to his voice. The head doesn't move, and the spoken lines aren't tied to various actions. For example, opening the helmet just makes the swooshing noise, no head movement or spoken line. It's intended to recreate the toy version in the film that Andy would see.

The Space Ranger mode is where you get all the additional features, and where he really shines. The voice is much cleaner and louder too - as if he were really alive!

There's also a small microphone up front that can pick up noises in the room, allowing Buzz to be more interactive. It's mostly a 'hear a noise and say something' sort of thing, but the best part is when you're quiet for awhile, and he starts wondering if you're still there.

There's more sounds here than I could ever list, and my favorite is when you open his helmet and he reminds you that it's dangerous to do so on an uncharted planet - his eyeballs could be sucked right out of his head!

Light and Movement Feature - ****
Like the Sound Feature, the Light and Movement is just about perfect. It's not as complex, or as extreme, but it works perfectly.

For movement, there's just his head. It turns side to side in time with his voice, usually in a manner that matches up with what he's saying. It's pretty impressive!

The light up feature includes his laser - which flashes, and also sounds just like it did in the movie, another correction from the previous version.

The other light up feature is the ends of the wings, where there is one green light and one red light. Just like on a plane, the lights flash off and on oppositely of each other. When you pop the wings back in - again, complete with sound - the lights stop flashing.

Fun Factor - ****
Now this is a fantastic toy! He's made to survive play, and yet he looks great on the shelf of a collector. If you're an adult who is a big fan of the films, you'll love having such an accurate reproduction of the toy for your own to display and play the sounds. If you're a kid just getting into the films, there's no better version of Buzz to have.

Value - ***
At $50, he's not cheap, but the level of electronic integration is very high, even at this price point. There are two cheaper versions at around $25 and $35 each, but this version is easily worth kicking in the $15 or so.

Things to Watch Out For -
Zippo.

Overall - ***1/2
This is a sweet toy, easily my favorite Buzz in my collection at this point. My kids had a ton of fun playing with him last week, and yet I'd be happy to have him on the shelf as a 'collectible' too. He looks just like the on screen version, and has a ton of cool sound, light and movement features.

You could pick up one of the cheaper versions, but I think that for the extra $15 or so, you get far more with this version. There's also a Toy Story Collection Woody, as well as an RC Car and a set of the Martians. From what I've seen, these are all the top of the line.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - Bupkis
Sound Feature - ****
Light/Movement Up Feature - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
You should be able to pick this guy up at your local Target or Toys R Us, although he's been pretty popular. I suspect he'll get more so as the holiday approaches, although we shouldn't see any problems like we did back in '95. 

Related Links -
Other reviews to check include:

- Thinkway has lent their talents to the iDance and Interactive Wall-E, the UCommand Wall-E, and both the small and large Wall-E action figures.

- Thinkway also produced the cool Spider-man room guards.

- And if you're looking for more Buzz and Woody, check out the Mattel action figures in the larger and smaller sizes.

- Medicom also produced a nifty Buzz, in a slightly larger scale.

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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Collection action figure by Thinkway Toys


This product was provided for free for review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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