Marvel Grab Zags Review
: John Harmon on 2013-01-09
Zag Toys is the company behind the popular Grab Zags, a series of blind bagged mini toys. They have a few different series of Grab Zags, most of them based on Marvel. Three of the series we'll be looking at today include their Ultimate Spider-Man mini figures, Nog'nz, and Nitro Mites.
Check out hi-res images for this figure in our GALLERY
is a series of cute, cartoony head figurines based on Marvel characters. The idea behind them is to collect all 45 Nog'nz and trade with friends, or use play with them using one of the games each bag includes instructions for. Each bag comes with 2 Nogn'z, and based on my experience they will be two different characters, so you don't have to worry about getting two Spider-Mans in one bag. The back of each bag has a pictorial list of all the little Nog'nz available. It even has a handy color-coded guide letting you know which ones are common, rare, and ultra rare, so if you have a friend who wants to trade, you know what each one is worth. Who said little kids can't learn about supply and demand? The ones I ended up recieving in the 6 bags I got are Spider-Man, Wolverine, Colossus, Mystique, Magneto, Juggernaut, Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther, Black Cat, a green translucent Doctor Octopus, Dr. Doom, and a variant Dr. Doom with white hood.
As I previously stated, each bag includes instructions for several different games you can play with the Nog'nz. There are 5 different games: "Battle Formation", "Bowl 'N' Roll","Slam Dunk!", "Gotcha!", and "Ready,Set,Fire!". The games are basically variations of flicking your Nog'nz into your opponent's, or throwing them. I wasn't aware of what they were for before opening the first bag, so I was surprised to see that you could play games with them. It seems like something kids could really get into. And yes, I did have some fun myself thumping the Nog'nz around.
The Nog'nz themselves are very cute looking, for being dismembered heads. They're all made from really hard plastic, and a lot of them are actually shaped like heads, while the rest are strange, amorphous-shaped blobs with the character details painted on. They're not sculpted after any particular comic book appearance, or based on any artists' rendition. They're all incredibly cartoony looking, which adds to the appeal. Funky shapes and lack of noses, with big eyes and simple details are what these guys are all about, and it works.
paint on them is actually really good. A lot of clean, smooth paint applications that all end up very vibrant looking and help them stand out. Of course if you're worried about that paint lasting, you may want to think twice before throwing them into each other. There's no telling if that will cause them to get scratched up, but it seems like it could.
are a series of mini motorcycle toys. There are 72 different motorcycles to collect, 24 of which are Marvel related. They each come 1 to a bag, and on the back you get a list of all the other bikes in that particular series. The 6 different bikes I ended up with are "Red Hot", "Yellow Jacket", and "Crazy" from Series 1, and "Captain America", "Daredevil", and "Green Goblin" from Marvel Series 1.
Every bike shares the exact same mold, but are painted in their own unique scheme. The bikes from the regular series have their own numbers printed on them and are painted one solid color with different designed stripes running down the length of the body.
The Marvel bikes get a much cooler treatment in my opinion, as they get all sorts of accoutrements in their designs, depending on which Marvel character they are supposed to correspond with. The Captain America bike is naturally blue with Cap's shield on the side and stars printed on certain areas. The Daredevil bike is red with Daredevil's name on the side and his "DD" insignia on the front. There's also a neat devil-like tail printed on the area behind the seat. The Green Goblin bike is purple with green accents, and several orange burst clouds with pumpkin bombs on them, and the name Green Goblin printed on the area behind the seat.
Of course they're designs are only part of what makes Nitro Mites cool. The best thing about these guys is that they have a rev-up motor built into them. You rev-up the back wheel against the ground over and over again and set it down and off it goes! And of course depending on how many times you rev it will determine how fast the bike goes. But the bikes are very small and light weight, so it's actually quite amazing how far they can go. If you rev up the bikes enough, you can make them do wheelies, or make jumps if you send them off of a ramp. They even drive really well on carpet, which I was surprised to find out. And if they drive off a ledge and hit the ground, somehow they're always able to keep going.
One of the other Grab Zags series out there is a line of mini figures based on the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon
. There's no special gimmick to these, unlike the other Grab Zags I looked at in this review. They're just really neat blind bagged mini figures similar to Japanese Gashapons only you don't have to assemble them. Each bag comes with 1 mini figure, and there are 8 to collect in this particular line. The five characters I ended up with are Spider-Man, Spider-Man on his bike, Iron Spider-Man, The Lizard, and Nick Fury.
Each figure is designed in a sort of Anime Chibi style, with big heads on small bodies, and simplified, cute designs. Even with the simplified designs, there's a surprising amount of detail in them. The two regular Spider-Man figures have the webbing on his suit sculpted in negative relief and make for a cool texture. Iron Spider-Man's robotic legs on his back has lots of cool mechanical detail in them that helps it stand out, as does Spider-Man's bike that he uses on the show. Lizard is sculpted in a crouching pose, with his mouth agape and his tongue sticking out, like he's about to chow down on Spider-Man. Nick Fury looks to be in a leaping pose, about to deliver a martial arts kick. His eye patch is even sculpted on.
The paint on them is really good and smooth for the most part. There are some paint scuffs and paint flaws on the normal Spider-Man figure, but for the most part great attention was paid to their paint applications. That's something you don't normally see on blind bagged figures like this.
Every figure comes with its own display base. The base is in a honeycomb shape and is designed to be able to lock into the other bases so you can have a really cool, unified display of all the figures. They also have clear pegs that lock into the base and plug into the figures. It raises them off of the base, and actually gives them some added height if you were displaying them on a shelf. The bases all have the Ultimate Spider-Man logo on them, colored differently for each character (red for Spider-Man, gold for Iron Spider-Man, Green for Lizard, etc.). The bases are a very neat idea, and without them the figures can't really be displayed except on their sides, so they're also essential for that.
Mini figures like this can be pretty addicting, and these are a good example of why. I'm not a fan of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, but these little guys are pretty awesome.
Grab Zags come in many shapes and sizes, and are really great fun. If you have any children or nieces or nephews, these could make some excellent gifts for them, and they're sure to love playing with them. They would also make the perfect stocking stuffers for around the Holidays.
The Nitro Mites are the most fun out of this assortment, because it never gets old making those things fly. The Nog'nz have really interesting, unique designs to them and have that great collector quality to them, in that they're designed to be collected and traded. The fact that there are several games you can play with them is awesome, and actually reminds me of the Pogs I used to collect in the 90's. I can really see kids becoming addicted to those. It certainly doesn't hurt that they're all Marvel related either. The Ultimate Spider-Man mini figures look great together, but since they can't move or anything like that, kids might lose interest in those the quickest. Collectors should have a lot of fun looking for them and displaying them though.
Bottom line, if you're just looking for some inexpensive pure fun, or for some gifts for your kids, these are just the thing.
You can find these at Toys "R" Us and Walgreens. I haven't heard of anyone finding them anywhere else, but if you have feel free to let everyone know where in the comments. Product samples for this review provided by Zag Toys.
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