Sunday, December 29, 2013

5 random action figures- the 2nd coming

(more pictures of what's below and more here)

Mr Bones, MMPR evil space alien

I'm not even sure why they subtitled any of these guys as "evil space alien". Most of them were made from clay in Finster's workshop (yeah, I just went there. Sentai nerd out) and never existed before that. I mean I guess they were from space (the Moon), they were evil and they weren't from this Earth (I think it's stretching the title "alien" but maybe that's just me). Overall, I enjoyed the MMPR series and wished they had kept making a 9 inch figure out of every monster they fought. In the end, they selected a good bunch of Rita's minions to produce but some left even the young Tom Khayos asking "why?". I love King Sphinx and Goldar but Baboo and Finster in the 9 inch scale were let downs. Those two never fought anyone, they were better known for cowering and running for cover. They didn't even make a Rita figure, a huge disappointment to both me and every other fan of the series.

Mr Bones was by far my favorite one Bandai made. I liked creepy looking characters and what's creepier than a giant skeleton in a pimp hat, pimp cape and a giant sword? Not much else if you ask me, this figure was 100% awesome. So awesome in fact that my first one's cape ripped and I asked for a replacement one for Christmas the same year. I wanted one to keep pretty and one to play with, made sense to me. Mr Bones embodies everything I enjoyed about the series, over the top bad guys that didn't have to make sense. All they had to do was look bad ass and Mr Bones was certified bad ass.

Amanaman from Star Wars: Power of the Force 1983

Amanaman was probably one of my first real toy pursuits. I've always been a laid back collector but when I "discovered" the vintage Star Wars line in the early 90s, I was dead set in getting one of each figure. Most were easy to find and cheap to buy, back before the nostalgia kicked in around 1996; common ones were a buck or two a piece complete but harder to find Power of the Force figures fetched higher prices. I remember paying $15-$20 for a Death Star Gunner and $12 each for the couple of Ewoks from the final 19 figures in the complete collection. Some were worth even more than that, and being during a time before eBay you were at the mercy of the dealer.

Amanaman was one of those figures that didn't show up often at all. I'd see them at the collectibles shows but I was always just shy of affording him. I think I paid $45 for mine in 1992, it was worth every penny to round out the collection. Granted I didn't count Yak Face or Blue Snaggletooth because they were special figures, either only available in a catalog or overseas markets. I liked him a lot and still do. I always sort of related that he was some kind of banana peel alien from who knows where. I know he's closer in appearance to a snake or a cobra with stubby ET legs and long orangutan like arms but I like my concept better. But, he was the first toy I felt accomplished bringing home. Also, he was the most I spent on one piece outside of a video game at that time in my life.

Major Munch from Food Fighters by Mattel

Picking a favorite Food Fighter is like saying pick you favorite child, how can you hold one higher than the others? Luckily, I'm a ruthless bastard with little regard for feelings. I like Major Munch for dozens of boring reasons. I like him because he's tall and not squat like Mean Wennie. I also like that there is a pink frosted variant. Look at his face, LOOK AT IT. He will eat your soul! I could go on but I'll stop short of boring you. I have soft spot for humanoid food items locked in what seems to be a never ending warfare in my fridge.

Toy Biz Onslaught

I was the right age when Toy Biz released the X-Men toys back in the 90s. I was an impressionable lad, ripe for being sucked into the general brand-whoring of the Generation X gap. I had them all, what ones I didn't buy with my own allowance or chore money I asked to get them for birthdays and Christmas. Very few illuded me, those that did were eventually re-released or came out with an updated sculpt or paint job. All save one, Onslaught. he was certainly a bigger figure than most released around the same time. Not taller by much but certainly wider and heavier too. He bordered on being one of the largest basic figures released outside of a deluxe line-up.

I didn't come across Onslaught until a few years ago. I was too cheap to pay eBay prices for a loose and complete figure. Even if the price was right, shipping pushed the final total way out of a reasonable range. These figures were fun and the only source for comic book related toys for a decade. They pale in comparison to what's available today and look a little silly when stood against their better sculpted and articulated counterparts but there's still a slight charm about them. Especially the bigger ones.

Gundam SD Devil Gundam

I'm not going to even try to lie, I love the Gundam series but I know squat about it. My wife on the other hand is like 3 series shy of having watched every saga they've made to date. I just like robots and the crazier the better. Something has to catch my eye, make it stand out from the group. When I say I like robots, I'm very selective. I like Gundams but I'm picky about which Transformers I buy. I love everything about Shogun Warriors but much rather buy one of the 2 foot tall robots than 10 of the smaller 3-5 inch tall ones.

One day toy hunting my wife and I came upon a box full of disassembled SD Gundams. Normally my ADD would have kicked in and I would have walked off without buying a single one but after seeing my wife enjoying piecing together a couple of them made me want to jump in. We stood there in the summer sun for 20 minutes piecing together 33 SD Gundams. Now, once again I'm picky when it comes to Gundam figures. I like the models but they either need to be never opened or put together by a professional or if I buy the figures I prefer the figurines or vinyl figures. These fit the bill of my long list of prerequisites but the Devil Gundam stood out amongst the crowd.

In comparison he's the biggest one of all, with a segmented body and crab claws. Also the rear of the figure opens to display a launchpad  for the other SD Gundams to literally fly out of his ass.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Promotional Bendy Leprechaun movie promo toy

I seem to be forever doomed to write about bendy toys, or it would seem that way as of late. I mean there's probably in total somewhere between 3 to 7 bendy toys I wouldn't mind owning, every other one I find outside of that I'd sooner set on fire to rid the world of it. I have an extreme love/hate for these overproduced pieces of rubber but once every so often there's one that I gravitate towards. Sometimes it's because a genuine action figure for the character doesn't exist, sometimes it's because the price is right or sometimes it's because I'm strangely drawn to it for reasons beyond my comprehenison. This piece is roughly all 3 of those reasons rolled into one.

My facination for the Leprechaun bendy started over 20 years ago. My aunt ran a collectibles shop where I'd help out by sorting new collections, cleaning toys and piecing them together. One day a collection of miscellanious figures came in with 3 of these bad boys in it. Three was the magical number because it meant I could grab one and the owner's son could get one too since he liked horror based toys. This was a time before the internet and I had no background on where it came from or what it was worth, all I knew is I wanted it badly. Somehow, my aunt and the owner couldn't come to an agreement over price for what he was selling and all 3 walked off; never to be seen again.

20 years later most memory of the Leprechaun figure had slipped into the murky recesses of my mind. I had once or twice looked the figure up online but never found any active or closed auctions for the piece, I found rumors about it being a promotional giveaway if you bought the VHS tape when it came out. Sounded logical since VHS tapes back in the early 90s cost a small fortune and there had to be a reason to shell out a bunch of money on a plastic brick with a movie on it. But the internet is vague and no one had much of any real information other than if you wanted the toy it was going to cost you a lot of money for no good reason whatsoever. Screw that noise, I'll do without.

Years passed and word of a NECA or McFarlane Toys Leprechaun action figure hit the web but the toy never got past prototype stages. Many more years passed before I found the Leprechaun bendy sitting in a collectibles shop in a flea market. Picked up for a quick $10, I gleefully grabbed him up knowing the figure commands $40 or more online. $10 is about right for the toy. He's a solid and sturdy rubber figure that while his likeness isn't the best, it's passable that even my coworkers know who it is when they walk by my desk. No frills here except for the fact the Leprechaun stands on his own unlike his bendy brothers and sisters which is a nice touch and makes him far more displayable than other bendies I own. I can't see why some people spend so much on this figure unless the Leprechaun franchise is their favorite series of horror movies with a dwarf as the main character.

If I had an editor, lines like that previous one would never make it to print.

He's also holding a gold coin in his left hand, just in case you forgot the premise of any Leprechaun story in existence.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stuff I Consider Bullshit: The Toy Hunter show

I think all of my toy collecting and toy dealing career I've wanted to see a show revolving around my world. The characters, the interactions, the friendships, the enemies, the conventions and everything in between is a prime breeding ground for a hell of a show. Closest they got in the last 2 decades was Storage Wars and the assorted pawn shop shows, it's relatable but not as close as I'd like. They made one step closer to making good on my wildest dreams with Comic Book Men, but I have to say it falls flat of being a viable show to keep my interests outside of a couple of random 10 minute viewings. I hate to say it but without Kevin Smith's name attached to it the show would have fallen flat before the end of the first season. Then the light at the end of the tunnel, a show that would finally accomplish what other's couldn't (especially in this land of reality TV); Toy Hunter.

(and this is supposed to be the representative to my world?)

While at first I was excited to hear about it but certain things just didn't bode well for the show. I will admit I might be a hard person to please but doing what I've done for as long as I've done it, I'm their hardest sell in the market. The host is the owner of Hollywood Heroes, Jordan Hemborough. Jordan is a travelling toy dealer who I hadn't really heard of before 2008 and someone who should seriously put a little money into updating the company's website. The premise revolved around him and his assistant collecting an assortment of toys and collectibles to sell at upcoming shows. The premise is dry and predictable, the buying scenarios are set ups which is fine because it's not really reality TV and the finds (while they are astounding) are not really followed up by much of any background on the treasures he finds. So the show is barely a surface representation of what makes the hobby as interesting as it is. The star of the show I've met on two occasions, I can't say much about him that would be fit to print; I'll just say I'm not a fan of him on a personal or professional level and leave it at that.

(yeah, don't handle them by the bubble you f*cking savage)

I could go into great detail on how I would improve the show or how I would pitch a show of my own for network TV but I'd hate to see my ideas used without credit. I'm a writer by trade and profession and have seen my work plagiarized enough in one lifetime. While the Toy Hunter show has a good skeleton but it could use a different flair. The hosts/stars are boring, there's no explanation to the average "joe" why these treasures are so desirable, the buying / hunting scenarios are set ups (and not very good ones at that) and the constant chase for money (while it is a motivation to do what we do) makes the show just kind of dry. There's no appreciation for the "how" and the "why", it's just assumed people know why it's rare and how much it's worth. I feel the money chasing aspect of the show alone has greatly damaged the fun of toy collecting.

(I now understand why Elvis shot his TV)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rocketeer bendy by Justoys

Those who read my Who Framed Roger Rabbit flexies review know the extreme love/hate I have for bendy toys. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, bendy toys were in abundance. If the movie or TV show didn't have enough cool points to warrant an action figure line, there was at least a bendy made of a key character. While the movie Harry and the Hendersons would have been exciting to have gotten an action figure of John Lithgow or David Suchet, we were "blessed" with a bendy of Harry himself. But on the flip side, if it was expected to be a dynamite blockbuster, we got action figures and bendy figures too (i.e. - Land of the Lost, Who Framed Roger Rabbit or MMPR: The Movie). There was a strange corelation though with lines that had both action figures and bendy toys; the whole line usually flopped hard and ended up on clearance shelves shortly. I'm sure someone can point out an exception to that observation but I can't recall one off the top of my head at the moment.

You'd think bendy figures would be awesome, right? In theory, yes. A figural toy with infinite options for posing. Something that could sit and stand and everything in between without obscuring the sculpt with all the cuts traditional articulation leaves you with. These bendies were usually very droll and if you got them as a gift you knew that person obviously didn't like you that much or got you a gift last minute. That may sound harsh but I'm totally aware of what it's like to get sucky gifts. One year my mom's brother got me a puzzle and a flashlight. Some might say I'm being petty but it's the reason why I won't refer to him as my uncle.

Most all bendy toys of the era came on very basic card and bubble packaging. The card art was sparse, usually utilizing few colors and little to no use of movie or show based photos. No matter what the character was they were always in a very creepy arms stretched out pose. Some might say it's in a ready to hug you pose but I more relate the pose to a crusifixied body.  That may sound harsh but I just really hate bendies. Another major letdown was the lack of accessories and the price was roughly equal to a decent action figure, there was no value in purchasing a bendy.

The Rocketeer is a bendy I've held off buying for a very long time. I know you've read through what amounts to a manifesto against producing and buying bendy figures but hear me out. 99/100 times I find the Rocketeer he is always missing the jetpack. Rocketeer without a jetpack is just a bellhop figure with horse riding boots and a silly helmet. Finding it with the jetpack I see as an accomplishment because I didn't sacrifice money for an incomplete toy, the only added bonus would have been to find him still carded. While I hate bendy figures I love the Rocketeer and hate that an action figure or affordably priced 12 inch doll hasn't been made in over 20 years.

***Update*** - Thanks to the fine folks at Plastic Heroes, I was able to add a carded Rocketeer figure to my collection. I'm not sure if that's reason for celebration but I'm going to count it as such.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stuff I Consider Bullshit: How I Feel About Toy Karma

It's a word I hear thrown around a lot, toy karma. I don't think it really hit it's stride till the popularity of the Toy Hunter show. I don't care for the Toy Hunter show and I'll go into greater detail in the near future. In fact, I'll go so far as to say I hadn't really heard of the term till it's repeated use on the show. Now I hear everyone talk about it, throwing it around but I'm fairly sure they don't know what they are talking about. I have to say that when I hear it, I wince and close whatever tab on my browser it came from. I hear it and I'm almost feel like it's some kind of open-ended threat like, "Oh yeah, send me something good and I'll get around to sending you something junky that you'll just have to accept because it's a trade in good faith." Seriously, it's shit like that I've dealt with personally and it makes me sick. Almost to the point of just not dealing online.

Firstly, I need to get something clear, I am nowhere near stingy. I have random giveaways and I always pack the boxes with extras. Everytime I pack a box for a sale or a trade, it gets filled with extra goodies. Every transaction that leaves my house gets a little something extra packed it. I don't think of this as toy karma, I think of this as being a decent person. Early in my toy dealing career I would do business with some friends I made overseas. I'd get whatever Godzilla or Ultraman figure I was buying but I'd also get like an old magazine (sometimes a month old or a few years old), some candy, another smaller toy....just whatever. I came to find out it's a very Eastern way of doing business. Later on I'd see KidRobot adhere to the same cultural ideal when doing business with them. Which I have to say the Dunny Swatch we got from them was the coolest thing in the box and we didn't even order it. It's a way of life I adhered to a while back and I don't expect anything in return, I think I'd feel bad for expecting someone to reciprocate when it wasn't part of the agreed deal in the first place.

Now, this last year I had gotten sucked into five open-ended trades. Two panned out and to be honest I felt like it was a little one sided when you give six vintage Star Wars figures and get modern Happy Meal toys from the last couple of years or incomplete 90s Toy Biz Marvel figures. And somehow I feel like a poor sport complaining but I'd rather had held onto my vintage extras and I sent the pile of Croods Happy Meal toys back to the sender and terminated communication with them. The other three never came to fruition and it's probably for the best. I'm not going to hound someone to come through on their end of a deal, I'm just going to remember it down the line when something else comes up. Everything I've given away (and that's how I pretty much consider it because I donated those toys when it comes down to it) I'm not going to miss, I've got plenty of stuff to burn through but I do have to say I'm personally insulted.

I have to say the personal insult I've endured is what makes the phrase a turn off for me. And I know people who don't mean it in the way my brain has misconstrued it and I know I can't be the only person that has gotten seriously jipped in one of these transactions.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

TMNT Classics Bebop and Rocksteady Toys R Us exclusives

I was very lucky to fall into the brand new TMNT classics Bebop and Rocksteady just a few days before Thanksgiving. I will never understand the mentality of releasing toys the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas, it's infuriating when you collect modern toys and one of the many reasons I don't chase down toys at retail anymore. This was one of those exceptions for sure. While I didn't pick up the turtles I had made plans to get Bebop and Rocksteady from the moment they showed the production samples. I had my pre-order in with one of the major online retailers but when my order was cancelled (due to it being announced as a TRU exclusive) I knew I'd find myself wandering the aisles of Toys R Us with other forsaken man-children like myself. One good thing about the local TRU near me is it's rarely busy with other collectors so if there's something I want I can get it with little to no struggle which is good, after the 2nd strike out at retail I either give up looking for the figure or contemplate making an eBay purchase.


Rocksteady comes in 6 inch scale with ample amounts of articulation, detail and decent paint applications. He also comes with updated reproductions of the original weapons he was packaged with in the late 80s; a military knife that would make Crocodile Dunee proud and some kind of automatic assault rifle that you'd expect to see Terry Crews carry in the Expendables movies. In fact, after mentioning that I would love to see Crews play Rocksteady, someone in Hollywood make this happen for me. Anyways, he comes with the standard display base with Rocksteady printed on it. the figure is a great mixture of 3 sources of media; the TMNT comic book, cartoon and original Playmates figure. The package is even embossed with the statement "inspired by the 1988 release". The face sculpt really stands out on this figure, it's probably my favorite part of the whole toy. The only fault I really found with him was the goggles weren't painted on his helmet like they were in the production samples but the helmet is removable with for me kind of balances out that flaw.


Bebop was my favorite of Shredder's bungling henchmen. I was always drawn to the really rebellious punk look about him with his signature purple mohawk and matching sunglasses set him apart from Rocksteady. Bebop is reimagined in 6 inch scale by taking the best of what made him visually stunning in the TMNT comics, cartoon and Playmates figure. Bebop also has roughly the same range of articulation that Rocksteady has. He's looks a great deal bulkier than Rocksteady and comes with a reproduction of his signature drill gun. Sadly, Playmates omitted his other weapon from his debut figure; the trash can lid shield. While for most people it won't cause too much of a big deal to die hard fans it's kind of a glaring omission. I guess becuase he's a hair broader than Rocksteady they decided to do without the shield, for $20 I guess I expect too much. It's still a great figure either way.

I know I said I didn't get the turtles and I still don't plan on getting them any time soon unless they are on the cheap side. Roughly 2/3 of the ones I found at retail had off-centered eyes; they were either lazy eyed, cross eyed or wall eyed. The only "perfect" ones I found were at conventions and I wasn't willing to pay 30% over retail to get better painted ones. Even at that the turtles a friend of mine got suffered from Marvel Legenditis, where the knee or ankle joints (or both) got weak and couldn't support the weight of the figure. I have an intolerance to figures that collapse for no reason, especially when they "domino" other figures along with them. It's part of the reason I don't own Marvel Legends figures anymore (the other part was they were worth a ton of money and I was between jobs so they had to go). Anyway, even with the heafty price tag of $19.99 each at Toys R Us ($22.99 in some markets, check your local one for pricing) they are totally worth picking up and I don't get excited by modern figures much anymore unless they are imports or some kind of special release. Good for fans of the OG series and people just picking up on how cool TMNT is.

Monday, November 11, 2013

5 random action figures

Due to excessive boredom and lack of many other motivation, I decided to try writing about random action figures located in my Flickr account. Our Raging Nerdgasm Flickr account is a growing archive of my personal collection. Having only just scraped the surface of my collection as well as the amount of things I buy on a weekly basis, it's taken a life of its own. Lots of the figures have good memories behind them and looking through them excites me as much as it must excite the thousands of people that dig through the archive daily. Before I get carried away being a wordy nerd, let's dive into five random action figures. All as random as they can be.

Playmates Star Trek Harry Mudd

(more of our TOS Playmates figures here )

Harry Mudd was probably one of my more favorite reoccuring Star Trek OTS characters. He had a certain sly guy suaveness I could identify with. Smart and scheming but not evil, just trying to make a not-so honest buck in a galaxy patrolled by a bunch of galactic boyscouts on a ship in the shape of a pizza cutter. Playmates made real fan wait a near eternity for this figure. by the time Harry Mudd made it to store shelves you could tell much of the wind was fading from Playmates sails. More than a dozen of each of TNG crew was made before we got a Keeper or even a Borg Queen. How many dress uniform Datas do I need?

At least the figure didn't disappoint. They got the likeness nearly spot on, I'm saying at least 7/10 if I had to give it a rating and I hate using numbers/stars/grades to describe a figure's attributes. Best part about the figure is they nailed the comb over hairstyle. A small detail like that can make or break a figure for me, I've got strange attention to detail issues. Harry does come with the usual assortment of boring accessories cast in the same color. A goblet, a communicator (I don't remember him having one but I won't dispute it too hard), the Venus drug and lithium crystals. Granted he comes with more accessories than most toys today but I'd gladly take less if they'd been painted at least. I take my Harry Mudd figure with me to collectibles shows, either him or Quark come along to preside over the dealings of the day.

Kenner Police Academy Snack Attack House

(more Police Academy figures here )

I like the Snack Attack House figure, it's a big blue plastic rock of awesomeness. Pretty rare by himself but near impossible to find with his weapons or even on the card. I liked the Police Academy series for many reasons, one of them was the diversity in the main characters especially having 2 African American main characters. House would have made it 3 but he never really saw a mass release. Racial diversity in a toy line is still something that's hard to do right. GI Joe and He-Man does it right but very few other lines accomplish what they have.

If I had the weapon, it would be a gun shaped like a big sandwich with a string of sausages/salami being fed through it like belt-fed ammo. I'm not sure of the physical workings of a weapon of that magnitude but I'm sure its awesome. They didn't skimp on the details and for a play toy of the early 90s, he offers a lot visually. And I like the color blue, and he represents an overweight cop mixed with Fat Albert and that's OK in my book.

Fisher Price Deep Sea Diver (Jacques Cousteau)

(more of his sexy face here )

Whether he is or is not supposed to be  Jacques Cousteau doesn't matter to me, when you take off his helmet and see that iconic red stocking cap you know who it is. I've had this toy as long as I can remember and I know it was given to me by my grandparents. He went anywhere there was water. Bath tub, shower, beach, pool and now he resides at the bottom of my fish tank. Proves that toys back then were built to last. I take him out every 6 months or so and clean him up but he goes right back in the tank afterwards. Some may think this shows I don't care about it but I feel it is a great honor to be on display in a very predominant place in my house.

Hasbro Skeleton Warriors Aracula

( more Skeleton Warriors here )

Skeleton Warriors was a great line, not the humans but the skeletons themselves. The shame was the series didn't make it past series 2. In the end we had 4 humans (one partially skeletonized) and 4 skeleton warriors, a hover motorcycle and a skeleton war horse. Anyways, long story short, Aracula was the best damn figure from the line. Being a creepy little kid I liked skeletons a lot so I was drawn to this line. I never even bought a human figure till the reappeared at KB Toys during my employment there. Out of all the skeleton warriors, Aracula was my favorite. So much so that I'll buy him over and over again if he's cheap enough in my huntings. I probably have 3 or 4 of him loose and one carded.

I know a great deal of budgeting goes into tooling a sculpt and I feel Aracula is where this line spent about 3/4th of it's budget. Aracula himself looked almost too good to be part of line. He had a mysterious look like something out of Edgar Rice Borough's Tarzan novels or maybe even the Goonies. The only bad thing I can say about the toy is the gold armor always falls off his forearms. It's put on with the equivalent of white glue so it is inevitable that it will come right off. The few I have loose have been stripped and had the armor glued with a stronger epoxy.

Marusan Matango

(more fungus among us here )

Being the kid that would stay inside on weekends and watch cartoons and monster movies over playing with the neighborhood kids, I was well aware of the 1963 tokusatsu classic Matango. I never knew they made rad figures for it but not growing up in Japan will do that to a lad. The movie is great being pretty much right in the middle of the greatest time for Japanese costumed monsters in movies. It's a required movie to watch from here on out and I hope to do a review on it shortly/eventually. The products for the movie ranged from keychain sized action figures to models and different sized sofubi (vinyl figures).

Anyways, being the kind of laid back guy who doesn't really hunt down a toy I just waited for one to come by at the right price and right time. That time came when I saw it in a local collectibles shop and my wife was super nice enough to buy it for me, knowing how I feel about the movie. He's one of the more innocent looking versions of the Matango but I like him just as well as the bigger and more menacing ones. The fact that he's a psychedelic rainbow color lends itself to numerous illicit drug jokes and just how silly he looks makes those jokes stick. Also he has a glow in the dark mushroom accessory and I've expressed my undying love for that gimmick.