Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm Still Here!

I had some plans for this Halloween, but instead I'm watching a crew install floors in the house. So I should be up and posting in a couple days. I will say this, it is sooooo nice for a change, seeing someone else work on this house!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2007

SOTW: Darktrooper

I have waited 9 years to find this figure (or one like it). That's right 9 years!

It all started back in the summer of 1998, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Star Wars: Dark Forces, a PC game from Lucas Arts, had been out for a little while and I was hooked. I would spend an hour to two hours every Friday before I went to work trying to make it from level to level on this game. It had everything, first person shooter, Star Wars, and these evil looking Darktroopers! Well that summer Kenner/Hasbro released expanded universe toys in their Star Wars line, always trying to milk the cash cow, and the Darktrooper was among them! I searched and searched for this figure, refusing to pay scalper prices of upwards to 50 bucks for this figure, maybe more. in April of 1999, at the first Star Wars Celebration, I actually got within 2 feet of one, it was in a huge jar on the artists table with a sign that said "guess the number of Star Wars figures and win the lot!", I think I actually touched the jar (no not Jar Jar).I remember sitting there staring at that figure when I wasn't working on drawings or talking with the other artists. It was just sitting there taunting me. I remember one fellow strolling up to the table and asking the assistant if all the weapons were with the figures, she just said they dumped what ever was in the package in the jar. He was especially interested in the Darktrooper as well. Being a "employee" I was excluded from the fun of guessing the number, and sadly the company store was fresh out of Darktroopers.

So, years went by and troopers came and went, but the ever elusive dark trooper never crossed my door. 2007 came with the re-release of the Darktrooper, being hand picked by fans across the globe as this year's Fans' Choice #1 figure. To make it that much more desirable and rare, it was packed with the "gold" collector's coin instead of the usual "silver". A nice little touch that was sure to drive all the scalpers into a feeding frenzy as they gobbled every last one of these up, only to flood eBay with an ever growing army of overpriced Darktroopers. I got myself ready for another Darktrooper drought, knowing I would never, ever see one of these in person.

That all changed when I took a quick trip to the local grocery store for some milk and as usual, I passed down the toy aisle on my way to the cash register. Thats when I noticed the first ever concept figure I had ever seen in the wild, a concept Boba Fett! I had ordered it months before and had it at home, but it was cool seeing it out in a store... but hey, what was this behind him... a Darktrooper. Holy Crap! Hoooooly Craaap!

I knew I shouldn't get him though and after sitting there holding it in my hands, resided to the fact that it would be lost to time again. I actually made it all the way home where I recounted the morning's adventure to my son and wife, knowing that neither one of them really cared, I mean one Stormtrooper is the same as the other right? My son seemed a little more interested as I told him the stories of these troopers, that's when the ever beautiful Judy spoke up with "if they're that hard to find, just go back and get it." she also added that I'm an addict and that I needed help. I think she wanted to see if I would actually go back after this figure, you know what? I thought about it, and I threw caution to the wind and jumped back into the Jeep and to the store I went. This was the first time I had ever done something like this, the figure meant that much! I felt like I had finally accomplished a life long goal (or at least a 9 year goal) and as I walked this trooper to the register and plopped down my cash, I envisioned marking the Darktrooper off some list of things to do! Upon return home the second time that morning, my son and wife both asked what I was going to do with it, being that it is "rare" and all, and I told them it was getting opened and put on the blog and then placed on my desk never to leave my sight. A trophy for all to see, a prize from "the Hunt", always to be cherished, never to tarnish. You know though, now that I found one, they'll be everywhere... Oh well such is the karma of the Toy God, at least I have my Darktrooper, finally!

Here's a link to the original release that came with a cool package feature, where you could turn the package into a 3-D scene from the game. The new one doesn't have this feature, but it does have a gold coin!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Huntress

Not to long ago, my friend Rob Kelly at the Aquaman Shrine and I entered into a little agreement (that we'll now call JLU Club), where as, we exchanged our ongoing list of Justice League Unlimited action figure wants and if either one of us found something on the other's list we would pick it up and send it on it's way. This was born out of the frustration of not being able to find new JLU figures in our home towns, as Rob would put it.

I think to date Rob and I have done pretty well. This figure being the latest addition to my collection! The Huntress! Straight from the streets to the shelves to join the ever growing "Eclectorama Justice League Lineup". This was sort of a weird one, as it's not the single pack version of the Huntress, but the one that comes packed in a three pack with Batman and the Atom. I remember telling rob that I already had an Atom, and was up to my armpits in Batman, which now looking back really isn't a good vision to have kicking around in your head. Rob, being the ever gracious host of many a blog, ignored my comment of having way to many Batman and sent the Huntress out on her way. So a big thank you to Rob for this latest addition and for helping keep the JLU monkey at bay.

Some of these figures may be new finds, while others (like Huntress here) might have dried up in our specific region while being numerous in others. So the hunt is that much more exciting now. You never know if you'll find something that you need or if it fills a void on a friend's list. Hey, maybe this is the start of something new in the collecting realm, where scalpers, hoarders, and troop builders once roamed free, now sharers are paving the way for the new collecting era. I'm not saying we started it or anything, but we could be at the fore front of a new collecting movement! Viva the JLU Club!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lil' Super Skrull

More Marvel Cuteness this Monday, with another Fantastic Four villain, the Super Skrull! This one trumps Lil' Doc Doom, with a mischievous smirk and displaying each of his foes powers. I love that only one foot is invisible, so he can trip you and play it off I guess, unlike Sue Storm who's invisibility starts at both her feet and works it's way up I imagine!

I think I can safely say "I'm in!" when it comes to collecting these Marvel Super Hero Squad figures, so expect to see more of these when I can find them! Maybe they'll make a Lil' Fantasticar! Hint, hint Hasbro!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lego Stormtrooper Landing Craft!

Okay it's really an Imperial Landingcraft, but let's face it, it carries Stormtroopers!

This is one of those rare, and I mean rare, instances that I liked the "improvements" that George Lucas did to the Star Wars films when he re-released them as the Special Editions back in the nineties. This ship was added into the scene in the New Hope, where all the Sandtroopers are looking for the droids. It was a background element, and did a sort of fly by off in distance. I really enjoyed and appreciated the look of the ship, being based on the Imperial Shuttle from Return of the Jedi, this version is a troop carrier.

So, with the special editions being out since the late nineties, I was sort of surprised that this ship did not make an appearance as a Lego until 2007. I will admit I still purchase Lego sets to build, sort of like puzzles, even to this day. Plus being that my wife told me that the Imperial Shuttle was her favorite ship from the movies, I thought getting this would be a slam dunk. So I picked it up and told her that we could build it one night when there was nothing else to do... which happened to be that night. She helped for a little while, but I stayed through out the project until the ship was complete.

I have to say, that the phrase "these aren't your father's, insert toy, comic, cartoon, etc. here!" has never rang so true. Though I really hate that saying, I'll make an exception in this case. This thing, being that it's a transport, is loaded with the gizmos! Working wings, bombs that drop, a payload section you can leave at a landing site, and two firing missiles ( that can fire pretty far!), a pilot, plus not one but four Stormtroopers! Two regular troopers and two Sandtroopers! I almost overlooked the most important upgrade, the debut of the new molded rifles and blasters, before you had to use existing Legos to make the blasters. Never have I seen so much Stormtrooper love in one toy!

The pictures I've included are from before all the damage to the house, so my completed transport in in storage, but I wait for the day that it can find it's way home (which should be soon!) and can claim it's rightful place among the troopers of the collection, until then here's to the memories and it's official entry into the Stormtrooper of the Week!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lil' Doom

How could you fear Dr. Doom when he looks like this. He really doesn't seem all that bad when he's reduced to this child like version. Lil' Doom here was packed with one of the members from the Fantastic Four Super Hero Squad two packs shown together here.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, why didn't they think of these things earlier? I can't wait till they start making key chains of all these little Marvel heroes and villains! Come on DC get on the ball and makes some lil' competition for these guys. I could see the whole Justice League of America done up in this style!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Iron Spider-Man

I purposely skipped the whole Marvel Civil War story line, it seemed like it had been done before, plus I really had no interest in the direction some of the characters were taking in the story. The Iron Spider-Man is one of those characters, but I do have this figure of him since I wanted to try and get a least one of all of Hasbro's new Signature Series line. The figure itself is pretty cool, I think they could have done something better with the spider legs coming out of his back, but all in all he's pretty nice. The costume on the other hand can be chunked into the ever growing pile of "let's re-design the heroes look to sell more books!" train of thought that always seems to rear it's ugly head time and time again in the wonderful world of comics.

Much like the recent Captain America design or the Superman Blue design, Spidey seems to have a costume redesign every time something major happens to him. There are times they work, the black costume, other times they don't. This being one of them. None the less I was not going to let this figure slip my grasp like it's cousin Superman Blue from Hasbro's earlier attempt at Mego-like figures. Even though I dislike the costume I still wanted to complete this series of figures for some reason, and I don't even consider myself a completist, now to find a cheap Superman Blue so Iron Britches Spidey has a buddy on the shelf!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

G.I. Jay!

Lady Jay to be exact!

I was strolling through Toys R Us last Friday during my lunch break, having just had my fill of a super steak burrito and the company of my wife and son at the local burrito shack. I thought I would stop by the ole' TRU to see what was up, as I was heading back to work. In other words, research! I actually found a few items of toy goodness, and they were all hanging on the front of the pegs. This being one of them (the other two will have to wait), an item I thought I would never actually see. I have resolved that I will pick up 25th Anniversary G.I. JOES whenever I see a new one, sort of like I do with the ole' JLU. Living in a predominately military town (I think the nickname used to be Military Town, USA) and seeing as how the scalper to child and/or collector ratio is 15 to one, these things disappear pretty fast. Matter of fact I'm still looking for a few from the first series, so imagine my surprise when this Series two figure showed up.

Straight from the cartoon of the 80's, comes Lady Jay with rocket launcher in hand and what looks to me to be a non-regulation use of the uniform. How long do you think Hasbro will get away with making figures with their boobs hanging out, in lack of a better term??? This reminds me of the rather chesty Jean Grey figure from Toy Biz's original X-Men Movie line, which was later repainted to cover some of her cleavage with what looks like an under shirt. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not have a problem with this toy, I even showed my wife, saying "you have to see this G.I. JOE I just bought" thinking she would see it and couldn't believe they made such a toy either. Instead I got "Don't rub that figure to hard, toys have lead in the paint now a days, you know!" and knowing is half the battle!

G.I. JOE: 2

Monday, October 15, 2007

Doctor Octopus

A villain from the 1991 Toy Biz line, one that I did not initially buy the first time around. It wasn't till recent I decided to try to complete this series, filling in holes when I could. I remember not getting this guy back in the nineties and there was a real low auction on Ebay so I immediately put in a bid. While he was being shipped I unpacked some of my other figures from this series, thinking Doc Oc was the only one missing, I realized that I had gotten rid of a few of these marvels of modern toy goodness in some "Goodwill purges". So now I'm back at square one with this line. Some would say why bother, but this line has a somewhat "vintage" feel to it and it brings back a load of fond memories.

The good doctor here, while not being the most attractive of the figures in the line (like any of them are all that great), still is a pretty fun find. The tentacles are really a neat feature, with bendable arms and two different "claws" to grab onto things. The suction cups for smooth surfaces and the pinchers to grab onto everything else. So with Doc Oc in hand I'm off to catalog the rest of the series and see what other holes I have. Which just goes to show you, it's not wise to pack up your collection, and think twice about what you thin out, as I'm sure many have done the same thing I have thinking that you will never go back. Still I'm glad that the toys went to children who probably enjoyed them so that's a bonus.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Why Alex, Why?

Okay I know they (Marvel) are going for a reaction, and it's not Steve Rogers, but why give Captain America a gun and a knife? I say No! This isn't Captain America!

So to further drive the point home that we live in modern America we give Captain America a pistol, my Grandmother used to say "Real men do not need guns." This is like giving Aquaman a hook hand or turning Superman into a killer.

I usually dig the treatments that Alex Ross gives these classic characters, but not this one, I do not approve Mr. Ross, not at all.

2007 Stormtrooper Coin

Sometimes I really dig the "pack ins" that come with figures. At times they can be pieces to build bigger figures, extra props, comics, stands, dioramas, cards, you name it. My favorite "pack in" to date for the Star Wars figures is a tie between the Commtech chip and the Freeze Frames. Though this shiney coin is not bad. The ideal with the 30th Anniversary figures was that you get a coin with each figure and you could buy a Coin Album and not only collect the figures, but all the coins. That's just a little too much collecting for me. Plus I have a hard enough time finding the figures I want, let alone the coins. So these things pretty much take up room in a box somewhere, till I get rid of them.

The coins are kind of a throw back to the original Power of the Force coins from the original Kenner line. This is not the first time the coin card has been played. When the Power of the Force two line came out, there was a small set of figures that came with golden coins and a display stand. Speaking of golden coins, some of these 2007 coins come in gold, part of the 2007 Galactic Hunt! Yeah! More difficult coins to find for your album! So I guess all this coinage could have some sentimental value to some.

That said, here's the coin that came with the most recent Stormtrooper figure. It's got a snazzy Stormtrooper on one side and the Imperial symbol on the back. The only thing it's missing is the phrase "In George We Trust". I wonder if you can spend these things at the company store on the ranch. That would be cool if the different characters had different denominations and you could save your coins for some special figure or toy... better not give them any ideas.

Well being that it's got a stormtrooper on it, I guess I'll keep this one for the collection, and display it proudly as this weeks "Stormtrooper of the Week"!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hulk get mad, Hulk get strong!

Actually I think that was a line from the talking Hulk action figure, which was basically this figure without the arm activation mechanism and came with a back pack that held the sound chip. Well, we're not here to talk about the talking Hulk, we're here for this little giant. Believe it or not, this Hulk is actually smaller than most of his Marvel counterparts from the same line. I guess Gamma Radiation wasn't all that it was cracked up to be in 1991.

This is another great example of mold the figure in one color and just a few paint applications later you have a super hero! Now I can honestly say I'm really not a huge Hulk fan, though I probably could identify with the character more than any other super hero. I really find it hard to find Hulk toys that I truly like, besides this guy, I have a Toy Biz first appearance Hulk that I really dig, and I would love to someday get a Mego Hulk, that and there's a vinyl classic looking Hulk out there that is pretty cool looking.

Hulk here has one of the most insanely designed levers on his back. It's actually a lever that raises and lowers his arms and then there is a pull out tab in the center of the lever that makes his arms "crush" things. He originally came with a boulder he could crush (not very well I might add) and a little plastic "steel" rod he could bend. Really adds to the whole raging, mad look of the character. Though, now that I look at this Hulk he looks less mad and more disgusted... "What do you mean Hulk small? Hulk get sad..."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Toy Without Fear!

Another "craptastic" figure from early Toy Biz days, it 's the Dare Devil, circa 1991! I really appreciate the paint application on this figure, a little bit of flesh color and a dab of black on the chest and we're done! Sometimes it's the simple things!

The "billy club" feature which really turned out to be a firing grappling hook is pretty cool, and it works pretty well, but I must have killed myself trying to find a Dare Devil with a true billy club as advertised. These were before the days of all they Toy News infornation sites, I still wonder though, did one ever exist???

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Mighty Thor!

What can I say about this 1991 Toy Biz Marvel Super Heroes Thor, but this...

"Cross the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard,
Where the booming heavens roar,
You'll behold in breathless wonder
The God of Thunder, Mighty Thor!"

Monday, October 8, 2007

Lil' Fantastic Four

Well if the little surfer made it here, then the lil' Fantastic Four cannot be far behind. I really dig the look of all the "Lil'" treatment, whether it is Star Wars or Marvel, but what would make this line really fun is some lil' vehicles, kind of like what they did for the Star Wars line.

Now I've seen a Spider-Man car and neighbor hood playset, but I'm talking about the Fantastic Car, the X-men's black bird, or what about Avengers Mansion. Maybe they are not too far off, I have seen a Galacticus and a Sentinal done up in this lil' format. Ahhhh, a cute lil' devourer of worlds and a mutant killing robot, what 3 year old wouldn't want these?

Friday, October 5, 2007

I know where I'll be...

November 13th, on the big screen, Star Trek baby! Click here to get more info!

Thank the Maker!

I knew he was evil, and this proves it! In 2006 Hasbro came up with the Ultimate Galactic Hunt. If you purchased all of the six Vintage Original Trilogy figures that year you could send in a sticker from each on a special little form and then months later you would get non other than George Lucas in his fancy Pajamas! Which makes George here the Stormtrooper of the Week.

The figure itself is just a retool of a previously released stormtrooper figure, the 1999 Commtech Figure to be exact... come to think of it I haven't shown a Commtech Stormtrooper yet, hmmm. With a brand new head sculpt, a removable helmet, and a standard issue Imperial blaster. Even though the figure itself is a re issue, I will say this, they nailed that likeness pretty damn close, even made it the "younger" George. The package front is the vintage style package with a little blurb on the back about the maker himself.

I missed out on the x-wing pilot George so I thought I would send away for at least one of these figures, before they dressed him as Jabba the Hutt.

Here's Kirk!

Since I showed off the EMCE Reproduction Klingon, thought I might drop ol' Captain James T up on the blog. I'm still digging these figs and have had some thoughts of maybe doing a web strip type comic when the rest of the set comes out, and when the Planet of the Apes reproductions are released next year I can see the crew of the Enterprise getting into all sorts of situations. Nahhh, that would be to much like "Twisted Toy Fare Theatre", I knew it was too good of an idea, oh well.

Am I the only one that liked it better when it was called "Twisted Mego Theatre"? They caved in when they changed the name.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

EMCE Reproduction Klingon, it's Mego enough for me!

Awhile back I mentioned that a company called EMCE toys was making a set of reproductions of the original Mego Star Trek figures. They actually already have the first in the series out now, this Klingon and Captain Kirk. I have noticed in some circles that reproductions are frowned upon for one reason or the other, be that it lowers the price of the original or causes confusion on the market, which are concerns, though I'm going on record as saying that these reproductions are cool with me, I wish EMCE toys nothing but the best.

I grew up as many of my readers with Mego. I had the good captain and his first officer, Spider-Man, and a few others. The local neighbor hood squad would all gather on Saturdays to play with a friend's Enterprise playset or Batmobile. I even remember opening up a few of these characters back then and the excitement of holding a piece of the show in my grubby little hands. A few years back my original Spock even made an appearance at my parents home and it was like that scene in the Search for Spock where Spock and Kirk reunite. So, the announcement that these were coming back made me think of all the fun I had with the originals and those times, and I welcomed the chance at getting a fresh set to open and have those memories rush back.

So the question is, did the memories come rushing back... most definitely! The Kirk especially, seeing how I didn't have a Klingon when I was young. Even though, when I opened the Klingon I felt that same rush of "what to do next", do they battle, maybe a diplomatic mission, some galactic exploration, I immediately started thinking about scenarios and situations that these guys could be put in, much like when I was younger. Further I remember my buddies, Randy, Bo, and Steven and all the planning we did when we broke out the the ol' Megos.

I only have a few original Megos besides my Spock, they are Captain Kirk which I bought sealed on the card and opened (yep, I opened him), a Batman that I rescued from a flea market for a buck and immediately picked up some components of his costume that he was missing from Dr. Mego (which was all of it), and literally a couple of Jokers. Some with stories I hope to share in the future. So I welcome a new avenue to get a few of these guys again with open arms, and the price isn't that bad. So the EMCE reproductions are not that big of deal to me, plus I won't feel like I lost a piece of history if a friends kid comes over and destroys one, think of it that way. By the way Dr. Mego, if I'm not mistaken, is a member of the party that brings us EMCE toys, so I have a good feeling about this line and future lines. Anyway, for more than I'll ever know on Mego, check out the Mego Museum, man I love this site! Great info and the design is sweet!