Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Death Star Gunner

I wish I had had a couple of these guys for my Death Star Playset back in the day. Hell I wish I still had my Death Star Playset that was hands down the best playset ever. I’m not saying that because I am a fan of the Star Wars, but because that set kept me busy for hours, rain or shine, inside or out, that was the set to have. Oh well another time, another time.

This guy, while not being the first of his kind to be made an action figure, is certainly one of the coolest versions to date. Part of the Hasbro 2006 Star Wars – the Saga Collection. The Death Star Gunner is pretty much a super articulated figure with some hyper detail. I think this is one of the few times I bought multiple figures of the same guy. That’s a sure sign I like a figure, if I get a pair for future plans. Like building my own Death Star, Buhawhaw! I think to date I have bought twin Death Star Gunners, AT-AT pilots (this one makes total sense), Stormtroopers, and Sandtroopers. I’m not talking multiples of the same character, that’s a given being a collector, I’m talking the same figure. I’m sort of a mini-army builder, LOL!

So, cool things about this figure. His chest armor can be removed, apparently they didn’t have chest armor in the first Star Wars (I’m talking A New Hope here) and they did in Return of the Jedi, Not that it mattered the Rebels still blew up the Death Star whether these guys had extra protection or not it didn’t help them much.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sigma Six Adventure Team Snake Eyes

Since I recently got back into GI Joe I remember seeing these Adventure Team sets at retail, but passed because of the need for something else at the time. Then I was checking out Hasbro’s online store and this set was on sale cheap enough that with shipping it would be less expensive than what the sold it for at the store. So it was a done deal, plus I ordered another figure for my growing army of 3-¾ scale Joes, so it was two fer!

Well we’re going to go over the Adventure Team set today. Part of the 8” Sigma Six highly stylized line of GI Joes. Snake Eyes represents a crossing of two great lines, The Real American Hero and the Adventure Team. This is also a new take on the Kung Fu grip so I had to check it out. I have to say I am a little disappointed in the new version of Kung Fu grip. The vintage version had the grip on both hands and was a flexible rubber sort of feel; today’s is only on one hand and uses a spring. I was expecting a cool rubber hand, but I think I am really disappointed over the grip only being on one hand. What gives? He needs two Kun Fu grips baby!

What makes up for the lack of grip action is the accessories that come with this guy, he is equipped to take on the giant snake he comes packed with and possibly a small army of mummified soldiers. The coolest accessory has to be the zip line. I know it’s been done before, but this time the rope is long enough and the hook will hold. The craziest is the two flashlights, this wasn’t a packing mistake he came with two identical flashlights. I guess he could make nunchuks with them or something. Another “stand” out accessory is the base the jewel rest on. When triggered the swords will cross, and the jewel will sink into the base.

So what attracted me to this set? The whole adventure team storyline, being a fan of the Adventure Team record books, I totally bought into the whole theme of the set. This is the third in a set, the other two feature a Tiger and an Alligator, with more accessories and one arm Kung Fu Grip goodness. Overall I like the set, despite it’s Kung Fu flaws, it is a pretty cool little set, the figure is chunky and sturdy, great for small hands, and there are plenty of items to keep Snake Eyes here a going. Would I buy another Sigma Six, more than likely not. the line was discontinued over a year ago to make way for the 25th Anniversary figures. I would buy one for a kid, the figure could really stand up to being banged around. Oh and I almost forgot the ends of the package form a locker, a more up to date version of the old footlocker for the twelve inch Joes. Pretty much the whole Sigma Six line packaging can do this, but I’m not sure if they all had the Adventure Team Logo embossed on them.

Yo Joe!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Scotty bringing the power!

EMCE hits another home run with me, this is one of my favorite characters from Star Trek: TOS. Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, this guy could fix anything. Scotty always reminded me of my dad in that respect, my dad can fix anything, and build anything out of nothing. My dad is the king of this, he always made it fun too, I think he was trying to teach me about different tools or something when I was little, but it was always building something I wanted, an R2-D2 cause I needed a droid or an Aircraft Carrier for my model airplanes. The man is a genius!

Scotty here is one of the Megos I never picked up when I was a kid, I wanted one, but he eluded me on several occasions. So being the EMCE collector that I am today, Scotty had to be beamed directly into the collection immediately. Everything is running smooth as can be now. Yep, he’s got it all ship shape and running like clock work.

See I made it a whole post without saying “I’m giving her all she’s got!” and “She’s not going to take much more!” Funny how a kid walking around the neighbor hood back in the day would be dismissed as being a Star Trek geek, today and you’re talking about something entirely different.

"What? I wasn't talking about the ship either!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I bring you love...

I was going to call this post “It’s a Keeper” but my son’s comment when I unpacked this figure was “it looks like Mr. Burns from the episode when everyone thought he was an alien.”

I know that originally this was a made up character for the toy line, I believe it is supposed to be a cross between a Talosian and Balok’s puppet . Still funny as all get out though.

I think to date this one has to be one of my favorites from EMCE (originally a Mego release), see this guy sports a robe, that’s it, so all sorts of blue naked comedy ensues. Ah the Keeper is comedy gold. My only question, and I guess this would be to the original Mego guys, is why couldn’t he have some space boots or slippers or something? Slippers would be hilarious, hilarious I tells ya!

"not the face!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Point, Toyriffic...

you cut me Eric, you cut me deep...

The Flash

I don't care how bad these Toy Biz Super Heroes are, or bad for your eyes, I'm addicted to them I tells you! I will admit that the Flash here is one of my favorites next to the Toy Biz Batman from the '89 movie. I'm talking the chubly face one too. Anyway the Flash, he was released prior to the T.V. show of the same name, and then again with the "show" logo. I couldn't get enough of that show, and when they released the DVD set I was first in line!

If you follow along, like I know two of you do, the Flash is right up there with Batman in my book, matter of fact I usually ditch Robin and Bats teams up with Flash. Brave and the Bold baby, Brave and the Bold! This Flash has wind up action as did the second release for the show logo package. Later on a third release using the same mold, but having the wind up action removed, appeared this time sporting a nifty little platform that was supposed to simulate Flash tearing up the road.

So what happens when you wind him up, 3 seconds of arm moving action, not much in the leg department. He looks like he's going fast though! Runs about like I do, looks like I'm going fast (in my mind), but not really going anywhere.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Cake or Eating?

I'm putting this one out to my collecting brethren. I was asked if I was able to purchase the Hot Toys Bank Robber Joker, with the condition of not buying any other geek related items for the rest of the year would I do it? That means for me, no more picking up random GI Joes, see a JLU Question hanging on the pegs, forget about it, What? You want that new EMCE Star Trek set, nope. How about the Dark Knight on DVD, nada. Expecting that new, big as life Millennium Falcon for Christmas, out of the question. How about a Happy Meal with a toy, a box of cereal with a prize, or that cool batman spinning lolly pop? No, no, and no! Sweet a ghost busters T-shirt, sorry. What, you were watching for that random holy grail on Ebay? You're not going to win that auction.

So what do you think, could you do it. Not for the Joker? Say for that one piece of your collection you thought you would never get because it's as much as your rent for a month or your car payment? Now I know the Joker here is not as much as those, but it is still a chunk of change, money well spent on other of life's necessities, but this is just a hypothetical question. I don't think I could do it and there is only a little over three months of the year left. I'm really looking for my Bat fans to chime in on this one, but everyone is welcome to chime in, there has to be one item that you could equate to this awesome piece of plastic, that you would be willing to give up your other interests for?

I'll leave this up for a few days before we return to the regular scheduled programming, so leave a comment or vote in the poll!

Batman and Robin Batmobile

This one is funny, cause I only ever purchased a couple figures from that time. This was sort of a present left on my desk for some web work I did. See I worked in a design position for a company that had a plant attached to the building. I could draw stuff up in the morning and walk it out to manufacturing and they could start building it that day. The head of the foam department always had these side deals going. He would purchase items at garage sales and estate sales, recondition them and either sell them or give them to family members.

He would bring me older digital cameras; some off market brands some name brands, always older and long out of production. Since I could find my way around the manufacturers web sites I would download all drivers, software, and manuals and burn them to a disk for him. As a thank you, I would walk into work a few days later and there would be some form of Batman item on my desk from one of his hauls. He knew I liked Batman and would just look out for crazy little Batman items. I couldn't even tell you if this thing was complete, but it doesn't really matter; it's just a cool surprise.

It was indeed a neat little arrangement, that wasn't even arranged. He would just drop something off on my keyboard to say thanks for helping him out. I often wonder what would happen if that company was still in business and we were both still working there. How much past Batman merchandise I would have ended up with. All told I received this little Batmobile, a Comic Batman Mug for my pens, a used CD from Batman and Robin, and a small poster of Batman form the first movie in a classy gold poster frame.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Code name: Lt. Torpedo

I have always loved toys that had a water theme to them. So how do you make a character better in my book? Add flippers and a scuba mask and viola! Instant success! This formula works for Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, maybe Hulk, and definitely GI Joe!

Originally back in 1996 I had (and still do, minus some accessories)
Wet Suit, this guy could easily be on my top ten list, which is more like a top gazillion list. While Wet suit wasn’t really armed to do some fighting, he did come with some nifty gear plus he had flippers!

So this year I noticed that Hasbro made a scuba guy for the new updated GI Joes, Lt. Torpedo. They made one back in the day, I never found one, but he was an original Joe. While I wished that they had made Wet Suit first, a Joe with flippers is always a welcome site.

Lt. Torpedo comes with a sweet harpoon gun, a knife for some shark fighting action, a gun with silencer (he is a S.E.A.L), a set of tanks, did I mention flippers, the standard issue GI Joe stand with name, and a removable mask, a freaking removable mask. It is crazy what they can do with action figures these days!

So until they make a Wet Suit, this guy is going to be my Joe Collection’s S.G.C. (Scuba Guy in Charge). Side note, no I don’t take my toys in the tub, I’m too old for that, though I did get made fun of for buying him. All I could say in my defense was that I would never take my GI Joes in the tub; Aquaman already has dibs on that area of the house!

Yo Joe!

G.I. JOE: 13

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Early Bird Round Two!

Or how I got my Early Bird groove on!

2005, Revenge of the Sith, Midnight Madness! The only Midnight Madness I have attended, for two reasons. One, I thought it would be the last time to experience something like this event and two, a rumor of a second Early Bird Kit. This was a second chance to get something similar to the Early Bird Kit of my youth. This time I was coming armed with a short list of things I wanted, Early Bird at the top of the list and money! Nothing was going to stop me. I was determined to get two of these bastards!

Midnight Madness fell on a Friday and lasted until the wee hours of Saturday morning. It was a good month or two before the release of Revenge of the Sith. I rested most of the day Friday, taking a short nap when I got home from work. I had my plan ready and money set aside. I was just waiting for the magic hour.

I planned to hit a Wal Mart first. Wal Mart was where the Early Bird kit was an exclusive. By this time I knew that the kit was a reproduction of the earlier kit from 1977. I knew that the figures were to be re-sculpts of the first four from the original redemption, and I knew they would initially be about 20 bucks. What I didn't know was that they would not be put out till the following morning under a giant tent in the parking lot. When I showed up at the store at 11:45 PM Friday night, the staff was just setting up the tent. I didn't realize what it was for, I just walked past thinking it was a seasonal thing. I walked straight to the toy section and was surprised to see nothing new set up. There were three other people waiting, I remember thinking this was a little less than I expected. We all waited and talked till 12:00 when a manger came by and said they would not sale anything until the morning under the tent in the parking lot. The other three were pissed to say the least, come to find out one was an employee of that store and had no clue. They said a few choice words to the manager (I thought risky at the time, especially if you are an employee) and mentioned hitting Target. I thanked the manager and said I would see her in the morning then, I passed the three in the parking lot and said I was heading to Toys R Us, they laughed and I said I'll see you there, Target wouldn't be participating till the morning as well. Thirty minutes later I was standing amongst friendlier collectors at Toys R Us. I made a selection of a 12" Clone Trooper, a Clone Trooper with action feature (reminded me of the old Superpowers figures), and a cool looking stylized Darth Vader. As I was finishing my purchase the three from Wal Mart came dragging in. I smiled and asked how they did at Target, they told me it was closed and grunted something about being a smart ass. A smart ass that was ahead of the game!

So I climbed in my car ready to go home, when I thought there is a Wal Mart close to here I wonder if they are doing the tent thing. So I decided it was late, I was up, might as well drive by. I pulled into the parking lot around 2:00 AM and no tent. I decided to take a trek inside and see what was going on. As I made my way to the toys I noticed a large crowd than the previous Wal Mart, though smaller than Toys R Us. There seemed to be a little disturbance going on, nothing out of control, just people questioning a couple of the employees. I asked a man that was standing there with his son what was going on. He said they let people start to pick up stuff then said that they were going to close the section down until tomorrow and had time to set up a tent. I asked if they were still letting people buy stuff, and at that time a employee said that they would let people continue to shop the stuff they had put out, but the rest would not be put out until the morning.

I turned to the man and asked if they had seen an Early Bird Kit, he said they were just about to put it out when they carted it and some other stuff to the back, that was just before I walked up. I decide to look around and I ended up picking up a Darth Vader action figure and as I walked around the corner noticed the Batman figures from Batman Begins. I knew these were not supposed to be out yet so I grabbed a couple of the different Batmans and headed to the house. I made it home around 3:00 AM that morning and set the alarm for six. When it went off I woke up my son who decided to join me for this last leg of the Midnight Madness and we left as fast as we could. We stopped to get a quick breakfast at Mc Donald's and hit the road back to the first Wal Mart, making it there just around 7:30 AM. The tent was to open at 8:00 AM that morning and so we stood there for a short time. You could see into the tent, the whole front was open, people were pointing at all the stuff they were going to get, I kept looking for the Early Bird Kit, where was it? They opened the ropes at eight I told my son what I was looking for and that he could get whatever he wanted. I was starting to panic as I walked around from display to display with no kit to be found, when I heard him call out "Dad, dad are these it?" I looked at the back of the tent and he was standing pointing to a pallet of Early Bird Kits. I rushed over and pulled the first two from the pallet, my son picked up a Lego set and a book and we headed for the cashier. The cashier was actually surprised we only had four items; the guy behind us was buying a basket full of carrying cases and another of action figures. We headed home and I collapsed till the afternoon when I finally opened an Early Bird Kit and filled out the form for my long awaited figures.

Months passed Early Bird Kits were plentiful, seems they were not as popular as I had thought. The Carrying cases were extremely popular. I was not in it for the mad eBay money; I was still sold on the thought of the Early Bird Kit. I did pick up an additional one for five bucks at a clearance aisle. I just couldn't leave it there, so I ended up with three, two that I filled out, and one I kept packaged. Months past, Revenge of the Sith wasn't what I thought it would be, a few more weeks past, then in my mailbox a small white box. The Early Bird Kits arrived! I was surprised to find that they had the little tray, the foot pegs, and the bow caster had some green on it. Luke had a straight arm and a somewhat familiar extending light saber, one of my favorite renditions of the character. R2 had a dome that turned and would raise his sensor scope, Leia was just as dainty and regal as the first time I saw her in 78' on that bus, and Chewy, he was huge. Chewbacca was in scale with the others, and possibly one of the best versions of the character ever. I knew as I held these that eventually they would all be repackaged and re-released in stores countless times, but for a time I was little again and all the wonder of the Early Bird Kit was mine at last.

May the Force Be With You Indeed!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Early Bird Round One!

If you are at all familiar with Star Wars toys from 1977, you know that there were none. Not until 1978 did we see Star Wars toys, and they just kept coming after that. Okay they took a little break after Return of the Jedi. You also know about a little thing called the Early Bird Kit. Where you got your parents to buy an empty box that promised delivery of the first four Star Wars figures when they would be produced in 78'. This was a way for Kenner to get some of that 1977 Christmas cash. Your empty box would include a display that had illustrations of each of the first twelve figures, some stickers, a Fan club card; some little pictures from the movie, and most importantly the certificate to send in for your four figures.

The first four were Luke Skywalker - soon to be Jedi Knight and hero of the rebellion, Princess Leia - the damsel in distress and rebel leader, that fur ball co pilot of the “bestest” space ship around, Chewbacca, and the feisty little know it all droid R2-D2. You would also get pegs to insert in the display to hold your figures in place. I will go on record right here and now that I wanted this set of toys bad, I did not get said set of toys, and this was probably the only time I was truly jealous of another kids toys. I know kids get jealous and envy other kids stuff all the time, but this is the one time I remember being in that state of mind as a kid. Sure I wished I had stuff, but I coveted this set of figures! Funny thing is I didn't even know the kid all that well, he was a new kid on our bus, and he wasn't even at our school that long. For sake of the story we'll call him Tommy.

Vader or Vadar?

Tommy didn't show up on our bus until after the Christmas break, being new no one really wanted anything to do with him (aren't kids great!), it was towards the end of the week that Tommy tried to join in the rest of the kids discussions on our respective Christmas hauls. I had talked with a couple of friends earlier in the week about my knock off Star Wars 12" figures and MASH die cast toys. Other friends received various Superheroes, Bionic men, comics, you name it. We all wanted Star Wars toys though, we were rabid for them! Tommy spoke up from somewhere near the back of the bus and said he had the first four Star Wars figures, other kids called him a liar or made fun of him, wanting proof. He said he didn't have them yet that he was waiting for them. I remember reserving judgment and just sat listening quietly. Could he be talking about the Early Birds? I went home knowing that this is what he must be talking about. I remember it was all I could think about.

This guy will always be a Death Squad Commander to me

Months past and it started to warm up, it was a sunny Friday afternoon when Tommy waited till the bus was just about empty, it only had a few more stops left. That's when he spoke up and said, "Remember when I told you I had Star Wars figures?" I happened to be sitting in front of him that day, and with out missing a beat I whirled around just as he was taking a white box out of his backpack. Other kids clawed their way to where he sat, over other kids to see what he was doing. I held my position as if I where a damn holding back a river. Our bus driver yelled at every one to sit down, but we all ignored him. Then as if in slow motion a plastic tray was pulled from the box and our four heroes wrapped in plastic were resting in little compartments in the tray. I distinctly remember the greenish bow caster of Chewbacca, the straight arm of Luke's light saber hand, the little cylinder look of R2-D2, and the white cape of the Princess.

obviously not the 77'-78' version, but close

Kids immediately begged for him to pass it around and take them out, Tommy held firm as he reminded the crowd he was called a liar months before. I remember I sat silent as before, just soaking in the details. I didn't beg or plead to see them, just watched as he held them and then packed them up. I also heard him explain his mom told him that he could take them, but not to unpack them as he might loose something. I thought smart move, bring mom into this, no one would say another word about holding them. Just as Tommy packed up his figures we came to my stop. I hopped off thinking about those figures. I retold the experience to my parents, as if I had seen Christ walking with Mr. Spock and Santa Claus on the way home from school that day. They dismissed the notion of my suggestion of seeing if it was too late to get this kit and send for figures and we sat down for dinner.

again the back of the newer version

Not too long after that Tommy's family moved on and I thought I would never see a Star Wars figure in my life. What had George Lucas done to me, where were my Star Wars toys? My birthday came and too my surprise so did the Star Wars toys, probably like every kid in America at the time. I ended up with Vader, Luke, a Stormtrooper, C3-P0, R2, a Landspeeder, X-wing and a TIE fighter. My parents did not know what they had created. I never did get the Early Bird kit, by that time it was useless. I don't regret not getting it, and understood why now my parents waited, but I often thought of it and what it would be like to get those first four figures in the mail.

... the saga continues

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cool Bat Candy!

Man we are on a Batman Movie kick here of late. These are from the 89' Batman and 92' Batman films. I usually do not keep all the little food packages and what not from movie promotions, I should, these are probably more collectable than actual toys. I could not find myself parting with these though, even after the candy was all gone. They are just that cool!

The Figure is from the first Batman film, it was one of the first times I saw a full figured candy container. The bottom had a little lid that you would snap on and off to get at the sweet little bat treats and the arms even move. How cool s that! The size is a whopping four to five inches.

Second is a little Batmobile form the Batman Returns film. Same M.O., remove bottom to get at candy. You can see I kept the sticker intake so I wouldn't loose the lid like the Batman figure container. I assure you the thing is empty. I remember my son and I used to pick this thing up every time we saw one, we must have had a fleet of candy container Batmobiles. This is just about the same size as the Ertl Batmobiles of an earlier post. Even the Deco is about the same. You could almost mistake it for an Ertl at a glance. The detail is really good and the wheels roll as well. What's better than a Superhero filled with candy, one that gives you a toy to play with when you are done!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Batman vs. the Joker

Since I have all the Batman die cast out for dusting and cleaning, here's a fun little figurine two pack released at the time of the 1989 Batman film. It included a little bonus collector card that had the cover of the Movie adptaion on it and of course our hero and the villain from the film.

This has to be the closest Jack Nicholson likeness on a toy from that time, at least that I remember. The Toy Biz figure sure didn't look like him. These solid little die cast figurines are about 2 and half inches height and compliment other DC Comics Superhero figurines that Ertl produced at the time. These other figurines where more in the style of their comic likenesses though.

I might need to touch up Jack's nose a bit, see what happens when you don't store your toys properly. I have one other Batman in the same pose which I belive came packaged with one of the Ertl Batmobiles. I thought these multi packs were really a sweet deal at the time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Code name: Spirit Iron Knife

I don't know the stream seemed pretty logical to me, plus running through the woods on fire , you're bound to run into Smokey the Bear. I guess though if you didn't you would be lucky to have Spirit Iron Knife come to your rescue.

I have to say I lucked out finding this GI JOE in a store, he seemed pretty hard to find for a long time, I even tried to track him down online to no success. Now that I found him I won't be able to walk into a store without seeing him there on the pegs.

This is another Joe I never picked up originally, either because I never knew they made him or he wasn't readily available. Though once I saw that they were going to release him I was on the hunt. I think the thing I like the most about the Real American Heroes are the Joes that are not dressed in the usual fatigues. You know the ones that have a little personality to their costume. Spirit here has tons with some to spare. He could almost fit in a small Adventure Team line... hint, hint Hasbro.

You cannot look at this figure and not want to take it on all sorts of trail blazing adventures, plus he has an Eagle, how freaking cool is that. Come to think of it how many toys come with a bird side kick, lets see Falcon, Birdman, and... I'm not sure, this might be it. If you know of anymore drop me a comment.

Spirit also comes with one of the coolest backpacks, it has the frame like a real pack, plus an ammo holder, but not just any ammo, tiny arrow projectiles in magazines that clip into his rifle. He also comes with a pretty sweet knife, though the one on the strap does not come out of it's sheath, the one on his hip does. He wouldn't be called Iron Knife if all he came with was a riffle and a bird, would he?

Yo Joe!

G.I. JOE: 12

Thursday, September 11, 2008

89' and 92' Ertl Batmobiles

The 89' Batmobile is loved by some and hated by others, I really think it's a design that you either love or hate, I'm not sure it's something that can grow on you (I could be wrong). Also if you have kept up with the blog you know I'm a fan of this style of Batmobile. I loved the look of this car when it first flashed across the screen!

These are the two that Ertl released for the original movie, yellow bat symbol, and the second movie Batman Returns with the Silver/white bat symbol. I remember thinking what a clever way to tie into the movie with out releasing the same car color scheme. The movie was a much colder setting, being Gotham in winter, and the marketing came off that way as well. So it makes sense that they would also switch up colors on the cars.

Now in the movie the Batmobile was basically the same, and neither one sported a logo on the car. The "Returns" Batmobile did do the split trick where the first movie car was just the standard Batmobile. It was to be assumed that the car could do all this stuff in both movies, just wasn't neccessary to show in the first one. Another cool little difference is that the first little Batmobile is coated in a thick high gloss paint, that tends to obscure some of the details. The second go at the car was a matte finish that shows more of the details. I probably like the second car for this alone, but the first is another one of those "brings back memories" toys so I like it just as much.

The Cars are the same mold, die cast with the plastic bottom. They did change the legal information on the bottom of each from movie to movie along with the packaging. The size of these are about three to four inches in length and about and inch and a half in height. The first movie only produced a Batmobile and Joker Van at this size, the Batman Returns movie ended up with a few other vehicles at this scale, coming soon to a blog near you! That would be here...