Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Close Encounters of the Burger Kind!

So this past weekend I drove my wife and son to a family reunion on my wife's side near Dallas. We always take an exit at the "Biggest little town in Texas!" Italy, Texas. One because we can avoid construction on the highway, two it's a straight shot through to the little town of my wife's family, and three the scenery is much better than said highway. So what's with the Starship Pegasus here? I have no clue. It just appeared over the years and just as fast went out of business, leaving the shell of the former business sprawled out in the Texas country side like some sort of Roswell crash landing. It's funny we remember the exit because of a Dairy Queen and not this. Like I said it appeared one trip and the next it was out of business, we never got to stop and see what it was about. Now we make this trip maybe once a year, and the one where we first saw this we didn't have time to stop. But from the looks of it it was a little amusement area with a small miniature golf course and maybe an arcade. At least that's what I gather from the signage.

This time I decided when we made the trip back we would stop and get pictures of the remains of this out of this world building. My wife and son waited patently as I trekked around the structure snapping different angles. The inside is bare and what I could see through the doors it's been stripped down. The rectangle, or engineering section, could of housed a kitchen, which got my wife and I to thinking it might be fun to renovate and start a little galactic burger joint. Pretty much by the time we got home we had half the menu planned out, the interior re designed, and were joking about selling the house to go into the short order cook business. If anything I'm going to take this on as a side art project just to keep the imagination sharp.

Surprisingly the ships engines are still intact, and with a little work probably could make quite a light show in the Texas night. We would definitely want to add a laser light show and maybe some smoke f/x. the inside looks like it might only accommodate a few patrons, so we decided a patio area with UFO covered tables would be in order. I think at the center of the structure we would make a little control center with seating all around, and what the hell a little gift shop near the door. Now I also would like to add a Robbie the Robot at the door to great guests, and maybe the B-9 to warn of the upcoming laser show. See what I mean, we've put some thought into the theme. Not that the Starship Pegasus is not a good name, but we were thinking maybe Galactic Burger, or Off World Diner. We also thought that it would be good to just make it a family diner, the Dairy Queen looked like it was going down, but the area was starting to see the build up of a few shops, a huge rest stop type gas station, and the largest car wash I had ever seen, well it was an eighteen wheeler wash.

If anything it's fun to just think of things that could be. So back to walking around. The front of the ship sports three large bubble windows and what I can only guess is a UFO photo op at the front. It really didn't look much like a sand box, way too deep, and it didn't have any accompanying play elements. Besides the three bubble windows there were two sets of glass doors, and that was it for natural lighting. Now I'm not sure, but if the structure would allow, I would make the painted windows actual windows to make it less dingy and maybe more friendly. As I walked around the only signs of graffiti was in the back of the ship. Apparently aliens tag spaceships they visit as was evident by several alien drawings. Make me wonder do they bring their own spray paint, or do they stop at a True Value in the area. I thought the graffiti was pretty funny, maybe not too original, but funny non the less.

There is only one way to get in and out of the parking lot, that would have to be solved, plus I think I would take down the miniature golf area and make a playscape with those rocket shaped slides and space themed play elements. It would be great to make the surface like a moon scape with that soft recycled rubber play ground flooring. I also think it might be funny to add a couple of storage units in the back that look like those old airstream trailers, because lets face it UFO's only visit trailer parks right?

So if you happen to be heading towards Dallas and there is a UFO lighting up the night sky around Italy, you know I decided to quit the toy business and start serving up "the Best Burgers in the Galaxy!", so stop in an say hi! In the very least you might check back here from time to time as I get a chance to do some restaurant designs, that might be a little less expensive, doesn't cost much to dream.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Raiders of the Lost Comics!

In honor of the latest movie, I'm going to post some of my "Indy Treasures" as I unearth them in the ever growing mess that is the studio. So while digging through piles of old comics and magazines I discovered this treasure from back in 1981. I exaggerate here just a little I was digging for something else and came across a magazine holder and the cover caught my eye, there where a few other treasures in there as well from back in the day... those will have to wait.

This is a Marvel Super Special, measuring just under 8 x 11 inches, a collection of the three issues that adapt the movie to comic form. I'm really surprised at the condition of this tome, usually my old comics barley have a cover. I will admit I was much older when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in theaters, let alone comics, and as my Star Wars comics will show in comparison, the older I got the better I treated my comics. More than likely I also had the single issues and they got the brunt of the abuse, versus this one. This was probably bought mainly because it had Indy on it (the cover is cool) and secondly to see if they added anything since the last time I saw the movie or read the single issues.

The thing I liked about this collection of the single issues is no advertisements. Plus unlike my two treasury editions of the Star Wars saga, it's the whole story. I will note that I recently learned that they collected both Star Wars Treasuries into one Ginormous edition, thanks to Rob and Treasury Comics. I also like that they filled the back cover with a few preview panels, probably not a big deal, but I think it was a nice effort.

So this is how big a Indy geek I was, I would spend my allowance and newspaper route money on anything with Indy on it, but looking back I never bought the toys at the time, weird??? I think it was the time I was "growing" out of the toy scene. Well, I fixed that with my last trip to the store I finally secured the last three single figures of the latest release, now to gets to work on them deluxe figures...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I will own these!

Okay so checking the toy news today I see that this year's SDCC will have some pretty cool exclusives. I usually just go cool and forget about them since I will never make it to SDCC. Though this year I will get this set of Invaders, even if I have to hit evil bay!

The thing I think is really cool about this set is the ability to make all the different versions of Captain America. Read more about them here, and know this... they will be mine, I don't know how, but they will be mine! Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

image from Diamond Select Toys.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Ever since I started this blog I have had this post in the back of my mind. See I always find weird stuff about things interesting. I enjoy seeing flea market toy finds, people's collections (all kinds), and interesting things about other cities. So when I decided to set up a blog I knew I was going to eventually share this item with everyone out in the blogosphere. Interesting little fact this item even helped name Eclectorama!

So for your viewing pleasure the Mold-A-Rama machines of the San Antonio Zoo! Now my son is way too old to go to the zoo, at least in his mind, but his mother and I do enjoy it every once in a while. So when the opportunity to accompany our nephew to his very first trip to the zoo, we both decided it would be a fun time. I also decided it would be a good time to capture some pics for the blog of the zoo's Mold-A-Rama machines!

The morning of the outing came and my wife and I were busily preparing for the little trip, sunglasses, hats, money, I thought I should grab some coins to get some wax animals for our nephew's first trip. Funny thing was my wife was thinking the same thing, but she grabbed dollars, good thing too the price had jumped to two bucks. Last time I was there it was a dollar in quarters, when I was young it was fifty cents. So out we went and jumped in the car! The San Antonio Zoo has had these things for as long as I can remember, and doing a little research the Mold-A-Rama machines started showing up around the country in 1962. So I betting these particular machines have been going strong in San Antonio for just about 46 years, not bad.

As a kid I had fond memories of getting a few animals each time I went to the zoo, I liked the gorilla and the polar bear the most, but the giraffe is a strong contender as well. So I knew I had to at least get a couple. The first machine we happened upon was the polar bear machine, right next to the komodo dragon machine (these things usually appear around the zoo in pairs, my guess is incase one breaks down). Now the komodo dragon is a somewhat newer mold for San Antonio, it made it's debut when the zoo got the komodo dragon exhibit, my best guess is about the late eighties.

So I dropped two bucks into the machine and it started shaking, the mold arms closed and the hoses moved as the pressure built and after a few minutes or so the arms retracted and a little scraper scraped the freshly minted polar bear off the work surface and into they tray. Now as per instructions you are supposed to wait a minute before removing, nuts to that I wanted to set that polar bear free. Now I will note, though I fail to ever wait a minute, I do hold the little wax sculpture upside down till it cools off some so it will not distort. So with that my nephew was on his way to building his wax animal collection.

Now my nephew's grand parents were there, and once he caught wind of what I was doing my father in law and I were racing to the different machines to see what they had. We didn't get everything in this trip since we planned to take him back, but he did get a good start. I mentioned that these machines are usually found in pairs around the zoo, we did run into two that were not working, the komodo dragon had an out of service sign and the elephant was not taking money. I also passed on the blue koala this time around.

I did get a purple seal or sea lion (you choose) for my wife, who I might add is thrilled as it does not go with her decor. So all in all I think we had a good day. We also got to see a majority of the animals, a new (new to me) bird exhibit where you can enter and feed the birds, they land on you and everything, plus on the way out we stopped to ride the train around Brakenridge Park. There are a couple other interesting things around the park that might make great blog entries, plus I'm thinking of building my collection of wax animals. One thing that got me curious is how do they get supplies for the machines if they are so old, or parts when they break down, so a web search latter and I found the official site and a collectors site. Just take a a look at Frankenstein or Buda, how sweet are those? Also I thought I would look on Ebay, people actually sell these things, there's a Frankenstein their now going for over a hundred bucks, wow! Now, if the video below works you should be able to see the mold process of the lion!

Well I hope you enjoyed this little peek into San Antonio, what I consider an essential stop at the zoo, the Mold-A-Rama's! Also here's a few pics of some of the animals that I shot with a little pocket camera that I thought turned out pretty good, enjoy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wait a minute! Tag?!?

I hate being it. Well thanks to Rob Kelly over at Hey Kids, Comics! that's exactly where I'm at, on the hot seat. Okay so being a blogger novice, the first thing I thought was when I got this meme is that Rob found a new JLU figure! Not the case. Ah well, this looks like it might be fun. So if I read this right I'm supposed to

1) Pick up the nearest book, check! My book is "How To Survive A Robot Uprising" by Daniel H. Wilson.

2) Open to page 123, okay!

3) Locate the fifth sentence... let's see here, okay.

4) Post the next three sentences on your blog... Oh great bullet points, I guess I go to the three full sentences???

"Flipping this switch will freeze a robot in it's tracks."

"Casually glance at your robot's shiny metal carapace."

"Are there signs of tampering?"

5) Tag five blogs I enjoy and acknowledge who tagged me. Well since Rob tagged me that eliminates about 2000 blogs, cause I'm sure there are no tag backs. So I'm going to go down my list of daily must reads, some of which I will note I have never left comments on, so these people are going to go "who the hell?", so sorry in advance. Oh and thanks Rob for taking Plaid Stallions!

So here's the blogs:

1) Shortpacked! - Actually a cartoon about toy collecting, I find it very entertaining, and if you scroll down to the blog you will find out more about Transformers than you may want to know!

2) Bat-Blog - Every time I go to this blog I think about how I wish I would have thought of that name. So are you a Bat Fan? You have to check this one out for the cakes alone!

3) Mister Toast - What else can you say, Mister Toast!

4) Toysrevil's I Like Toys - I enjoy this one very much, designer vinyl and pop culture, great shots of all sorts of toys!

5) Toyriffic - A new one for me, I likes the pictures on this one, and the stories are good as well, oh and lets see... yep it's about toys!

So those are the blogs I hit daily, besides all 2000 or so of Rob's and as I mentioned Plaid Stallions, enjoy!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Iron Man Weekend, the Indiana Jones Connection!

What a crazy weekend! It was a whirlwind super hero movie and action figure filled hunt two days! Well maybe not the whole weekend.

Friday I found myself running from store to store looking for deals on televisions. One store we thought we would check was Target. Now, I knew that the Indiana Jones figures were released on May 1st. I also knew that I was a sucker for anything Indiana Jones, more specifically Raiders of the Lost Ark. So not wanting to get sucked into another toy line, I had been staying away from stores that might carry such a thing. Welp, no luck. Insert giant vacuum sound here, I was sucked in!

So as I set foot in Target, I thought I'll just bee line it to electronics, see what they have and jet. My wife wanted to look around, I don't blame her, we hadn't been there in quite some time. So we set off on our regular route. Straight into the store through clothing, make the turn towards toys and seasonal, round out through home furnishing and electronics, finish up with cleaning supplies, etc. and out we go. I waited patiently, or about as patiently as I could as she looked through clothing before I said I was heading to electronics, by way of the toy aisle. Yes, yes I am weak. I did make it to the televisions and when my wife found me, much to her amusement I was holding an Indiana Jones figure and a pack of the little Adventure Heroes. I told her "I know, but it's Indy! INDY!"

So off we went looking at other stores after making a purchase of some lovely women's shirts plus Indy and Friends! We made it through a couple more stores looking for a decently priced television , when on the way home my wife suggested Wal Mart. "They carry T.V.'s too" Now my wife does not like Wal Mart at all, matter of fact the only time we venture near Wal Mart is if I am looking for a toy for the collection. So it was somewhat of a surprise, so on the way home we stopped in, the televisions were sparse, so I said I'm going to pass down the toy aisle, well since we were there right?

Again, I got a laugh as I emerged from the action figure aisle with two more Indiana Jones characters in tow. So that was it for the shopping on Friday. Saturday yielded nothing, I didn't even remember it was Free Comic Book day until this morning, no loss since the shops in our area only hand out one comic, not worth the gas.

Sunday was better. We started off by going to see Iron Man, and for the lack of a review I'm going to say it was cooool! The one thing I liked the most is you didn't need to be a comic book geek to enjoy this movie. You could walk into that theater and not know a thing about Iron Man and enjoy that movie. Which was evident by the "talkers" seated behind us. The second thing is if you are a fan, then there were plenty of little easter eggs in the movie to keep you looking for more, and I'm not talking about just the obligatory Stan Lee walk on part.

So after the movie we wanted to check one more place for a T.V. prices, success we found one we liked, and the price was right. So off to the house we went. I totally thought we were set. I get home and it was decided we should mount the T.V. on the wall, so off I went to get a bracket. Turns out the thing didn't fit like the box said, so I packed it back up to take back, but then I thought I remember seeing some at Wal Mart that would work, plus Wal Mart is way closer to the house... and they had Indiana Jones toys! Away I went and a few minutes later I was headed home again with my purchase of a wall mount bracket that would fit AND the maiden of the Ark herself, Marion. My wife was less trilled that I found Marion, but was glad I could get the T.V. up and running!

I am going to make a few notes about the Indy toys. 1) The coolest thing about the little indy is the spider on his back from the beginning of Raiders, what an awesome touch, and 2) you must resist the urge to sit on your couch while your wife or significant other is watching Battlestar Galactica and continue making the "Cairo Streets Indy" figure crack his whip while you say non stop "Throw me the Idol and I throw you the whip!", doesn't make for a good evening.

So not a bad weekend, there was other stuff that happened as well, oil change, visit parents, spend time with friends, go to someone's baby shower we didn't even know, blah, blah, blah... non of that stuff had Iron Man or Indiana Jones figures in it though.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bounty Hunter: McQuarrie Concept Snowtrooper

Okay, I know he's not a Bounty Hunter. But I practically had to take out a bounty to find this guy. It turns out my buddy Bill shops at a Magical Grocery Store as well, and picked this guy up on his weekly trip to the store. He also picked up a few buddies to go along with him (you're breaking me Bill, but thanks on this one).

So as you would know, McQuarrie equals favorite concept artist from the Trilogy. Snowtrooper equals one of my favorite paintings from said concept artist. Actually I love the sketches of the Snowtrooper, and if I find a copy of the Empire Strikes Back sketch book I had as a kid I will no doubt put scans up of my favorite drawings. So, where was I? Oh yeah, McQuarrie Concept Snowtrooper figure equals favorite figure, right?

You know next to my vintage Yoday and Boba Fett, this figure is easily one of my favorites of all time. Even if he has a wonky leg, not to worry Bill, they all have the one leg longer than the other problem. Looks like they copied the concept artwork too closely, right down to the pose. Cool!

Oh yeah, another cool thing is the colors on the helmet and the "nonsense numbers", great stuff, great stuff!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Disney Star Wars - 1994

Okay back in 1994 the family and I took a trip to Disney World, where, we had to ride the Star Tours ride. Now as most of you know any Disney rides exits into a themed gift shop, we happened to land on Endor and were greeted with all sorts of Star Wars goodness! Back in the early nineties the Star Wars franchise was also getting ready to gear up again with the "He-Man" versions of everyone's favorite Star Warriors, but that was still a few months away. I did find though, and happily purchase, this set (or at least what I believe is a full set) of assorted Star Wars characters form what seems like a sampling of the Star Wars Universe.

These were in separate bins so you could pick out who you wanted, I grabbed one of each (not a hoarder at the time) and selected a few other tokens and made my way to the cashier with the mouse ears to pay. Over time each of these versions of the now over produced characters grew on me for one reason or the other. Mainly it's that charm of a low quality, "knock off" of a toy, but these really are licensed, and it's my understanding that they were not only sold at Disney World, but made their way to the Japanese live show, or vise versa.

So sit back and lets take a look at Star Wars toys from a simpler time, a time of Jedi, Wookies, and Droids! Oh my!

First up is a group shot, and what a more lovely site to see after the Star Wars toy drought. My favorite to this day is the Stormtrooper. He looks like he was ripped straight from a mold of an action figure. Why his head is painted gray is beyond me, but the way they colorize clones now a days, hey why not!

These are obviously based on C3-P0 and R2-D2 as they appeared in Droids. Besides Wicket, these are the only Cartoon based figures in the set. My guess is that whoever produced these was given access to the animated style guides for these characters.

Another one of my favorites, just because of the lack of paint detail and the fact that he is cast in a weird orange - brown color. Very not Chewbacca like, but it could be another Wookie! Hah, well old Chewie is one of the tallest of the group at least, next to Darth Vader. Someone was paying attention.

Next up is the Muppet and the Teddy Bear. Like I said, Wicket is based on the Cartoon version of the character, this time being that classic EWOKS. That show used to give me nightmares, maybe it was telling the future, the future being the prequels. Yoda sort of reminds me of his Vintage Kenner counterpart, a little bigger and chubbier, but the similarities are there. Looks like instead of using a figure to cast him they just used it as a model.

Last, but not least is the only two villains in the assortment, Darth Vader and his loyal Stormtrooper! Doesn't Vader look sort of sad? Maybe not sad, but just introspective. Like he's thinking "How did I get here?" Bet he wishes it wasn't like it turned out in that last jewel called Revenge of the Sith. Vader (or maybe this is Vadar) is again an original sculpt, but I could never figure out why no lightsaber.

The Stormtrooper, what can I say? This one is still my favorite, it feel like the figure, except he doesn't move at all and his paint is awful. I say that in a good way. If he would have came with a sculpted blaster it would have been in the same pose that 99.9% percent of all the vintage Stormtroopers ended up in. The one where they aren't really shooting at anything, but aren't really standing at attention. Still it's a fun figure, for that matter they all are pretty fun, goofy figs to have in a collection. They occupied a self space for many years between my vintage and the "Hulk Galaxy" figures.