Monday, July 30, 2007

The many, the proud, the clones!

This weeks SOTW (Stormtrooper Of The Week) is from a fold out magazine printed back in 1981. Star Wars was old news as Empire Strikes Back had made it's splash, and this tabloid was there with all the fact and fiction from both movies. I remember pouring over this magazine for hours, it is full of interesting little tidbits from that galaxy far, far away. This thing was referenced several times, and came in handy when arguing the fine points of the Empire's weaponry. I also remember liking the layout of the magazine, huh, little designer in the making.

There are actually two sections about the Stormtroopers, one a little blurb mixed in with the other weapons and fighting forces of the Empire, and this one that is actually an article by Anthony Fredrickson about the clone soldiers of the Empire. I remember thinking this was a pretty cool concept (actually seeing it realized on the screen years later with the prequels shot that all to hell). The article talks about the origin, training, promotion, and even retirement!

"As they get older, they are assigned to light duties: training, communications, stores. Eventually they are sent to the Troopers' Rest camp on the holiday planet of Sochi..."

I can see it now a "postquel", Nap time on Sochi or Retirement of the Clones!

Friday, July 27, 2007


It can't always be about the toys. while messing around with a camera phone recently, I managed to snap this shot of one of our beloved Bassets, Squee. That's right Squee, our son named her after the character in the comic book, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez.

We usually call her Squee Baby, or just Squee B for short.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I've always wanted to go to San Diego Comic Con, but alas I have never had the opportunity. Not to worry I will celebrate my geekness all the same. I plan on hitting the Post Office at lunch for the release of the Marvel Heroes Stamps, I've been watching old episodes of Star Trek the Original Series and the Filmation Batman and Robin Adventures, I've been listening to an old GI Joe record (thanks, Rob!), blown the dust off a few of my toys, and broke out one of my first comics here!

So here it is, in all it's dog eared, bent cover, loose spine glory. One of my first comics, Man-Thing. Man I really enjoyed my comics back in the day. Only a handful have made it to the present day (all pretty much in the same condition). It's been a while since I read this story, but in a nutshell all the heroes on the cover are not really the heroes, they are some sort of demons, or something. All I know for 25 cents this last image scarred me for life, and now I put it up here for all to see.

A friend once thought his cowboy comics were bad influences on his life, I broke out the Nightmare Box here and showed him some images from my childhood and he agreed I had the most messed up comic for a kid.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Biggs? Who the...?

Biggs Darklighter finally gets an action figure in his civis! I thought I would never see the day. Biggs is the pilot at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope that was Luke's buddy back on Tatooine, we never saw any film footage of him back on the desert planet because it ended up on the cutting room floor. Kind of makes this figure that much cooler.

Even though it wasn't in the movie, there was still photos used in publications and the scene played out in the Marvel Comic movie adaptation at the time. These are shots from the Story Book back from an earlier post. I always thought it was a shame that we never really got to see this scene played out on the big screen. Maybe it made Luke seem more nerdy than he already was, I thought for sure when they made the Special Editions that we would see this added back, but instead we got the Jabba scene that ended with some Boba Fett, cause George needed a new boat. Don't get me wrong, I am a Boba Fett fan, but did I need to see him at the end of that scene, I think not.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

SOTW: 12 Inch Trooper!

Around 96-97 Hasbro started producing 12" Star Wars characters again, and instead of the stiff leg pose of the 1978 Vintage Stormtrooper, these utilized the re-tooled G.I. Joe 12" body. That is in part what makes these some of my favorite figures, because even though it's the re-tooled body, it reminds me of the old 12" Adventure Team Joes.

The initial release of 12" Star Wars Figures included Darth Vader, Obi-Wan, Luke, and Han Solo. It wouldn't be until the subsequent releases that we would see the Stormtrooper (in his many uniforms), Boba Fett, Princess Leia, and all your other favorites.

The Stormtrooper had a vinyl "shell" that made up the armor on the figure. While the armor ended up being soft, it did allow for the figure underneath to bend and move given the articulation of the newer Joe body. Included with the trooper was his standard issue blaster, that for the first time at this scale was a pretty close representation of the movie prop. Later versions of this rifle would be tooled to fire a little red missile.

These first few releases of Star Wars 12" figures came packaged in a five panel box, that lent itself to a vintage feel. The fifth panel being revealed when the flap on the box was open to show the figure in all it's packaged glory. As the Hasbro lines changed packaging direction through out the years, the fifth panel was deleted for just a display style package.

Compared to the newer figures that are being released today, the Hasbro Stormtrooper seems a little clunky, but as I said before, it was the best for it's time and is still a fun figure to have.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hotwheels 1989 Batmobile

This is one of the most AWESOME Batmobiles I have in the collection, and I found it at none other than the local Grocery Store! See what I mean about cool stuff, man I love me some grocery shopping now a days! Back when I was a kid you were lucky to get a prize in your cereal, let alone the cereal. You know, you had to be good the whole time and at the end you could hit the cereal isle.

Well when Mattel got the license to do Batman, it was bound to happen that Hotwheels would release some cool swag. This is a 1:18 scale reproduction of the 1989 Batmobile, as seen in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). I never did imagine I would see a Hotwheels car with this much detail, let alone this much weight. This thing is a solid little brick! But the amazing detail is what kicks this thing over the top. The cockpit opens like the movie, rotating gun hatches, the engine even slides out. I still cannot get over the amount of detail in the interior of this car. I've also included a shot with the regular sized Hotwheels 1966 Batmobile just to see how large this thing is.

All that and a bag of chips, and a gallon of milk, and some TP... Isn't grocery shopping a blast!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Freebie Friday!

Just a little update for Freebie Friday. The Spider-Man Handbook, given to me by a friend for just doing some design work and helping get some stuff sourced for print. I have a couple of these books (The Batman Handbook and a Robot Survival Guide), all are pretty fun reads. Not meant to be serious, but written in the style of an instruction manual, also includes some pretty nice illustrations.

It is my understanding that the subjects in the book are researched some and this would be somewhat accurate if the hero was based in reality, still it's all tongue and cheek, I wouldn't really try to leap from a skyscraper and swing to safety using the flag pole or awning. This book has some great sections though on "How to build a web shooter" and "How to develop your Spider Sense". I'll be swinging around town in no time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Simpson Style!

The Missus, the Boy, and I... All "Simpsonized" courtesy of

Try it out, it's pretty fun!

Hotwheels 1966 Batmobile

Not too long ago I had a post about finally finding this little jewel in the toy isle of the local grocery store, and since I posted a another grocery find on the ol'e blog here, why not keep it going a little.

So to get it going in a "bat direction" I thought I would shoot some better pics of that beautiful little die cast car released in 2007, none other than the 1966 Batmobie.

This "Corner Grocery Store Corner" might be a fun little feature, it does seem like the local food mart here in town gets some pretty neat stuff in the ol'e toy isle every once and awhile.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Grocery Store Viper

Here's a quick grocery store find, a Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper. I knew Hasbro was making some of the current BSG toys from the new Si-Fi Channel series, I had even passed on a classic Cylon Raider (kicking myself now), but had no idea they were making these classic vipers in their Titanium Line.

Anyone remember the old Mattel BSG toys? The one that caused all the safety concerns in the toy industry, I had one of the Raiders that actually shot it's missiles and remember thinking at the time why would a kid shoot the missile from the Viper toy in his mouth and ruin it for the rest of us? I was all set to get a Viper to Battle my Raider till a buddy showed up with the new, improved, safer model. LAME! The missile came about half way out and that was it. Wasn't this the same reason my Boba Fett didn't come with the eagerly anticipated firing back pack?

Monday, July 16, 2007

SOTW: Under the mask!

For this week's Stormtrooper, I thought since I had the actual vintage Snowtrooper featured last week I would show the modern version of this guy. So I bring you the 2007 "Vintage" Series Snowtrooper. Hasbro has been taking figures for the past three years and packing them in the older style packages, wrapping them in a case, adding some detail or articulation, and marketing them as a Vintage Collection. I for one like most of these figures for the following reasons,

1) They are original trilogy characters

2) The added articulation is kind of cool

3) I like the vintage art used on the packaging (since I threw away most of my real, vintage packages as a kid)

So what is there not to like? Well on this guy there is one detail which I'm not a big fan of and it's the clone issue. Hasbro has decided to make several of the re-releases of the original trilogy Stormtroopers with removable helmets. Cool right? Well cool if the mug underneath is not of actor Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett and the face of all the clones). Now I can only blame Hasbro so much for doing this with the toys, George Lucas really started it in Revenge of the Sith and should get the majority of the blame. We all realized these troopers were clones in Attack of the Clones, but then in Revenge of the Sith we get reminded of it constantly as Mr. Morrison's face pops up every where there was a clone without a helmet on (and the voice of all with helmets on to boot), I only hope this guy negotiated his image rights before he signed anything. That would be my biggest problem with the toys, this one in particular. I really do not need to be reminded of the newer Star Wars films when I pick up my classic Star Wars character. You know it is only a matter of time before George goes back and adds Helmet-less clones through out the original trilogy.

The helmet thing aside, this is really a neat figure, again the advances in articulation enable all sorts of cool fighting poses. I would say that besides the original vintage figure this is probably the next coolest Snowtrooper out there. If you have to have one, and can't find the vintage repack, just wait because I'm sure Hasbro will re release this guy over and over for years to come (another one of my pet peeves).

Anyway enjoy the pics, I decided to drop a few more up than usual, and include a comparison shot from then to now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Freebie Friday!

I'm not sure if these would qualify as a "freebie" since I did buy my friend lunch for bringing these in, but since I didn't actually buy the toy I'll make an exception to the rules (plus the bulk of my collection is in storage till the house repairs are all complete).

Galactic Heroes! Luke and R2-D2! I've had some of these up before, and I really think these are pretty cool little figurines, not sure I could ever find myself buying the whole set, but they do have some pretty neat ones out there that have made their way into the Eclectorama Collection, I usually try to pick up some of my favs.

Anyway, I was "given" this set with everyone's favorite droid and his farm boy owner, and decided to keep them in the box because of the illustrations on the front, plus they look pretty cool displayed at work that way and I don't look to much like a toy geek, plus it looks like I'm studying the packaging... yeah right.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I am Iron Man!

Toy Biz Iron Man. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, even though these are a bit clunky, they are still some of my favorite Marvel action figures. Iron Man especially. When this figure came out I immediately picked up a couple so my son, as well as myself, could get our hands on this character.

Whenever I see this figure it reminds me of a halloween costume that we constructed for my son based on this armor. That was one of the best costumes we came up with (I'll post some pics as soon as I dig them out of the archives).

I think anytime an Iron Man toy is made it is based on his current armor, with some exceptions from the cartoon line that Toy Biz tried to do the "Batman of many costumes thing". This was as close to holding a "classic" Iron Man as we could get at the time, I think I was drawn to this figure just because I always wanted the Iron Man Mego figure, and this would have been a somewhat less expensive alternative till I could find an Iron Man Mego that I could afford.

One day Iron Man Mego, one day...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Superman: The Animated Series Style Guide

Well I was asked if I happen to have the Superman: The Animated Series Style Guide and thought this would be the best way to answer.

While not one of my most my favorite character in the DC Universe, I do like some interpetations of Sups, the Animated version here is one of them. I did not set out to collect the Superman Style Guides, I just sort of ended up with them. I also have a few select Superman items in the ole' collection, so I guess I have a soft spot for the big guy. I always thought Suoerman was what you wanted to be, but Batman is what you usually end up as (not sure where I heard that, but I've always liked it) As I said in the last post this property was one of the ones I was in charge of, kind of cut my art direction teeth on it so to speak.

And in anticpation of the next question, as soon as I can get to all my guides I'll drop you some art Matt...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Better Late Than Never!

Since I slaked a little last week because of schedules here's what would have been last weeks Freebie Friday!

The Superman Animated Series Trouble Shooter. I'll just break into the story on this one. When I worked for Play By Play back in the Nineties I was in charge of setting up artwork for the Superman Animated Series product line, so I actually worked on this one. At the time I thought it was rather ridiculous to have a set of Superman Juice Cups, but the powers that be wanted them so I set up a series. When I saw this stock art piece called Trouble Shooter, I thought it would be clever little joke to make one of the Juice Cups a Shot Glass, my little way of sticking it to the man. Little did I know that the man would think it was a great idea and make the cup. That really made me disappointed in the people in charge at the time.

Flash forward to 2007 and Bill, the Eclectorama Trouble Shooter, brings me what he thinks is a cool cup from days gone past for me to keep my pencils in. Not knowing I had actually worked on this product. Now don't get me wrong, I totally think it's cool, but it's also funny how this came back into my life after so many years and reminds me of crazier times. Thanks to Bill I now have a place for my pencils and a trip down memory lane.

The Star Wars Story Book

I've always thought this was a neat book, just for the photos that were used through out. This book is another one of the "order through your school books" that you order and in what seemed like months would appear one Friday for you to take home. I've kept this book handy and have used it on more than one occasion for photo reference when working on projects.

Today I'm just showcasing the front and back covers, doesn't this shot of Vader just look great, makes you wish that the newer films had handled his creation a lot different. The book was published in 1978 and we (children of that day) had no idea what was behind the mask,... I wish I still had no idea.

SOTW: Enter The Snowtrooper

Before I start, I know there are few camps on the whole Snowtrooper, Sandtrooper, Scouttrooper, Stormtrooper thing. I for one think that no matter what proceeds trooper in your name, you are still a Stormtrooper, you still work for the Empire, and your aim is still lousy. So having said that I bring you this weeks "Stormtrooper of the Week", The Imperial Stormtrooper (Hoth Battle Gear), or more commonly known as the Snowtrooper.

This little guy is from my original "collection" of Star Wars characters, I say "collection" because when you were a kid they were just playthings and not collectables, I for one did not refer to toys as collectables until I had pretty much finished with college, and even then is the newer stuff really that collectable? Every one seems to be a collector of toys now. Anyway our little trooper here dates back to the Empire Strikes Back era of the early Eighties. I remember standing in line with my mother for about four hours to go see the Empire Strikes Back, and thought it was an awesome sight when the Snowtroopers raided Echo Base (the Rebel's stronghold on Hoth). My dad didn't make it to Empire, he and my mother had a deal, he did Star Wars and she got the next film, I think he may have went eventually because you know I had to see it twice.

I also remember seeing the movie and then going to the bookstore and finding the Empire Strikes Back Sketch Book (still one of my favorites, but long gone) detailing the concept work of Joe Johnston and others, and the images that stick out in my mind are of the Snowtroopers. The figures came along not to far behind, Lucas and Kenner had learned that kids would snap these things up by now, they even had the mail away sneak peak figure before the movie arrived (he'll make an appearance here soon). These were probably some of the last figures I bought as a child, Jedi was released a couple years later and I had moved on to cars and dating (funny how you end up going back).

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Batman - Joker

I was finally able to get one of these after two years. See, the Amusement Toy business is pretty much like the Retail Toy Business, if you want to get your hands on the competitions stuff you need to find it in the market. I've looked and searched for crane machines when ever we were out and had never seen these Jokers. Then one day a friend of mine decided to start his own crane business and was ordering samples and I seized the opportunity to get my hands on one of my favorite villains.

While I'm more of an old school (or even BTAS school) Joker fan, I still kind of like the designs from "the Batman" (the current Batman Cartoon). So while trekking around a trade show two years ago I came across the Namco booth (one of our competitors) who happen to have the new cartoon license. A deal we were trying to get. Well I knew then that I had to get one of these no matter who was making it and so "the Batman Joker Initiative" was born.

Now while I don't like to go around slamming the competition, I will say I wish we would of had a crack at these, I would have definitely had to say something about the QC on the paint apps on the mouth, and while we use hard stuffing on our larger pieces, this guy uses it and he standing at about fifteen inches tall,still a good candidate for the soft polyester stuff and he would be so much cooler soft filled. I know why they chose to hard fill it though... cost. I might have to do something about that in the future. Fo now he'll be hanging here in my office as is.

Maybe some day we'll get to do a Joker, and a few of my other all time favorite character's on my wish list. If you could see one of your favorite villains or super heroes in a crane machine, who would it be? I'm saying this right now Joker, Blue and Gray Bats, Robin, The Flash, Aquaman, and Hal Jordan- Green Lantern!

Monday, July 2, 2007

"I've been hit!"

Okay this is not the SOTW (Stormtrooper of the Week), but it is part of the Galoob Micro Machines Set that is. Galoob, the toy company known for those tiny, micro cars, took the micro treatment and combined it with the Star Wars license and produced a good amount of product before they were bought by Hasbro.

One of these sets happens to be the Stormtrooper/ Death Star Playset. This bust of a Stormtrooper opens up to reveal a tiny world, in this case the Death Star, and came packed with mini figures and one of the many Star Wars Micro Machine vehicles. The figures included in this set are Princess Liea, Han and Luke in their Stormtrooper disguises, Chewbacca (screaming for help in the compactor), an Imperial Officer, and this dead trooper. Kind of crazy that the set that features the Stormtrooper head comes with the dead trooper, oh well. Darth Vader's Tie Fighter rounds out the set and can even dock (upside down though).

Some cool little action features like the slide from the second level into the trash compactor, a pop up dianoga head, and closing walls on the compactor make for a fun time reenacting the Star Wars compactor scene. All in all a nice little portable play scape, from a simpler time, before the empire, when Jedi where the guardians of the galaxy. Well not really I guess if this is an Imperial Playset...