- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 3, 2014

A look at some toys and figures from Hasbro devoted to the new movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon (ages 4 and older, uses 4 AA batteries included, $29.99) — The Guardian’s pint-sized, furry weapons’ specialist arrives as an 9-inch-tall, hard plastic, interactive statue wielding his heavy-duty, custom-built blaster rifle.

Wearing his movie outfit and rocket pack, the genetically modified mammal comes to life with a press of a few key areas on the figure.

Tap a button on its pant leg to hear about a dozen phrases, such as “it’s rocket time” and “fine, but it’s only because you’re peer-pressurizing me.”

Next, press the translucent scope on top of the weapon and watch the translucent barrel either emit red, blue or green light as it spins around and shakes the raccoon’s upper torso, ears and mouth due to its ferocious recoil.

I’m calling Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon one of the cooler toys of the year. Despite the lack of role playability for youngsters, this mutated bobble-head is a perfect desktop companion to elicit a chuckle and wide-eyed reactions to his limited antics.

Battle FX Star-Lord (ages 4 and older, uses 2 AAA batteries included, $19.99) — The leader of Marvel’s not-so-famous, superhero team gets transformed into a 12-inch-tall, noisy and statuesque companion for younger admirers.

He arrives in full costume with a non-removable mask, soft plastic cape and includes a pair of quad blasters to hold, a pair of wearable headphones and cassette player to mount on his chest strappings.

A bit of aural magic and red-eye glowing occurs when pressing a silver button on his lapel.

Press once and hear about dozen dialogue snippets such as “the names Peter Quill dude, chill out.” and “I come from a planet of outlaws.” By the way, the voice is actually actor Chris Pratt who portrays Star-Lord in the new live-action film.

Press twice and get about 10-second nuggets of his favorite tunes with a decidedly 1980s origin flair.

Finally, hold the button down and his eyes blink red to a volley of weapons discharging sound effects.

Battle FX Star Lord does not offer children a rugged play companion but will have collectors smiling. It’s more of a stationary magic trick perfect for a toy shelf or desktop rather than as an action figure (articulation is only limited to arms that move up and down),

Nerf Quad Blaster (ages 5 and older, $19.99) — Star-Lord’s handheld weapon of choice gets turned into a slick, dart-shooting pistol with help from Nerf technology. 

Owners first load four foam darts into each barrel, and close the top and bottom shields of the device to begin their adventure.

Then, go on the prowl for evil Kree warriors by first cocking the barrels and pressing a lower trigger to open the shields (both at the same time or individually depending on the pressure applied).

Now, when an enemy appears, blast him by pulling the top trigger to fire a soft foam dart up to 25 feet, one barrel at a time.

Easily one of the cooler pieces from Hasbro’s Guardians of the Galaxy collection, it should offer plenty role-playing time for younger fans smitten with the Star Lord’s technology. Just remember not to shoot the darts at any opponent’s face.

Additionally, younger fans will also want the Rocket Raccoon Action Mask ($19.99, ages 5 and older). Worn over the face with help from sturdy straps, it actually reacts as a child depresses his lower jaw. Motion includes eyebrows raising, ears twisting and the mouth opening. It’s cute, with translucent-covered eyeholes that mirror Rocket Raccoon’s peepers, but younger testers could have used some sound features. I wouldn’t recommend wearing it on a Halloween night, but the mask will work great as part of an indoor costume.

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