Friday, July 31, 2009

Indiana Jones w/ Rocket Launcher



Mario finally received his Crystal Skeleton figure today, so in honor of this momentous occasion I thought I'd go over one of my favorite Indiana Jones figures.

This figure is from the second wave of Indy figures, dedicated to characters from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Remember that great scene where Indy sans his trademark hat and jacket took on the Russians with a rocket launcher? Of course you don't, because that scene didn't appear in the movie. At least it's not as egregious a screen-to-toy translation as the virtually every figure from Mattel's The Dark Knight. Regardless, it features my favorite sculpt of all the Indy figures I own. Even though it shares the same lower body as the Raiders of the Lost Ark Indy with golden idol, it doesn't suffer from the trapezoidal body dimensions that that figure does. It's got loads of articulation and comes with three basic accessories: rocket launcher (of course), coiled whip (which can hang off the figure's belt), and satchel. Like all Indiana Jones figures, this Indy was packed with a bonus "hidden relic" in a cardboard crate. In this case, you get the Dagger of Arteus. It's too big for any of the line's figures to use, so I suggest you follow my example by leaving it in the crate.

Indiana Jones was one of my most anticipated lines ever. Despite the initial poor sculpting and the premature end, I collected it with gusto, and the line definitely had some winners. Since you can still find a few figures on clearance, this is my personal recommendation for a plastic rendition of the world's coolest archeaologist. Too bad he doesn't come with a removable hat or an coiled whip, but hey, you can probably pick up a few more Indys for cheap that have that equipment.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SDCC continued

So going over the Minimate news from SDCC. Nothing too surprising.

Except that they're going to make Battle Beasts Minimates.

Battle Beasts.

FUCKING BATTLE BEASTS!

Which means once again I'll be paying $10 to indulge in nostalgia from my childhood that originally only cost $3. What's next, Army Ants?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zatanna



Let's get this out of the way first: Mattel is really lazy and cheap when it comes to their Justice League toys. Like, embarassingly so. They reuse the same five or six basic bodies all the time and will paint anything they can get away with not sculpting. Speaking of the sculpting, Mattel's Justice League toys are notorious for not being able to stand on their own. Really, the only thing to recommend on the line's behalf is the character selection and the occasional great original sculpt.

I got Zatanna because, hey, needed more Justice League members in my DC animated colllection. A collection, by the way, that's focused on Kenner's animated-styled DC efforts, not Mattel's. Anyways, it's perfectly servicable. It uses the Black Canary figure as a base body, and you get a new head. Everything else is paint applications. Due to the sculpted outer coat, it actually looks pretty decent. The left arm which rests on her hip is too short if you really pay attention to it. The figure has two accessories: a display stand (good!) and a cane (which she can't hold in her hands).

It's an OK figure, but I can't get terribly excited about it. JLU fans are certainly pleased as punch about it. All other toy collectors will be baffled as to why people are so devoted to the line.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Superman (DCUC)



I got this toy for two reasons. 1) To complete the Kalibak build-a-figure. 2) It's Superman with a mullet.

Mullet Superman is a depiction of what Superman looked like after the Reign of the Superman story ended. After dying and being ressurected, Superman awakens with long hair because it's hard to get a haircut when you're in a coma. And since it's Superman's hair and its strong enough to shatter a pair of scissors, well let's just say that Superman was rockin' the mullet for a while in the comics. Finally someone told him to cut his hair because he looked like a hippy and he did. (Or at least I'm pretty sure that's what happened. It was like 15 years ago.)

I'm not the biggest Superman fan. Outside of minimates, I think I've only owned one Superman toy in my life. But I enjoyed his stories from the 90's, my personal Golden Age of comics. And nothing represents 90's Superman more than Superman sporting a mullet. So if I was going to be predisposed to buying a Superman toy, this would be the one.

Also, mullets on people who should not have them are amusing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gratuitous cross-promotion

I like action figures an awful lot, but I'm also really into music. I've started posting at Radio Prosecco, created by an Italian friend of mine, so if you're at all interested in reading my musical musings I recommend you give it a visit.

Fair warning: I dislike Morrissey, really like Led Zeppelin and R.E.M., and will make unnecessary references to the greatness of Prince whenever possible.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Metallo (Superman: The Animated Series)


I don't get why people are such fans of Mattel's Justice League animated-style toys. The Kenner DC animation offerings were far superior.

Metallo here came from the final wave of Superman: The Animated Series figures in the late 1990s. The wave was only released outside of the US, but eventually it got limited distribution here via Diamond, and some of the figures showed up in some four-pack exclusive sets.

The sculpt is fantastic; there's definitely no cut corners here. The wide stance can be off-putting, but still it's close enough to neutral that it'll look fine standing on a display shelf. The only error is that a sliver of torn shirt on the figure's right wrist is painted the same color as the cyborg arm. Suiting the character, push a button on his back and his chest panel opens up, revealing his Kryptonite heart. It's the best action feature you could ask for. Metallo also comes packaged with a missle-launching hover vehicle (hence the wide stance). It's an OK accessory, but you could live without it.

I know Mattel is coming out with an animated-style Metallo, but forget that. Chances are it'll be subpar. Get this awesome figure instead.

Friday, July 24, 2009

SDCC Toy News Round-Up

Every year, San Digeo Comic-Con becomes more important when it comes to big annual toys news. Here's my general impressions of this year's showings:

THINGS I LIKE
*Secret Wars Ultron figure.
*Luke Skywalker with Darth Vader's funeral pyre (not that I would buy one, but it's cool that they're considering making it).
*MORE INDIANA JONES FIGURES!!!! Yes, new two-packs are coming out to tie in with a video game release. I'll finally be able to get that unreleased Toht!
*A new Marvel Legends Deadpool. I never saw the first one in stores.
*DCUC Deadman. I'm probably going to get that.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE
*The poor Transformers showing. I don't care about the movie figures, we really didn't get any new Animated stuff, and Classics/Universe has nothing, because it's been on hiatus since before the movie came out.
*The new Star Wars Transformers Anakin figure. That thing just looks lame.
*Most of the Wal-Mart Wave DCUC figures. Several of the final sculpts just aren't that good. Additionally, the Collect-N-Connect Imperiex looks ridiculous, but in that particular case it's more the fault of the original design.
*DCUC The Shark. God, that thing looks awful. A strong candiate for the nadir of Mattel's tendency to reuse sculpts.
*DCUC Animal Man/B'wanna Beast two-pack. I'd go out of my way to get a really good Animal Man figure. I'd go out of my way to not get a B'wanna Beast figure.

THINGS I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT
*More Masters of the Universe Classics figures. I'm not paying $20 for a He-Man figure that's out of scale with my 2002 line anyway. Battle Cat is alright, though.
*Infinite Heroes Supergirl, packaged so that it looks like Superman is holding her corpse. Cool in theory, pretty silly in practice.
*DCUC Steppenwolf. The comic design sculpt is great, but I'm not buying one. The requisite Super Power variant of the character gets on my nerves, mainly because the sculptors put some much effort into these pointless variants when could they spending that time and money on creating new tooling for figures people actually care about. If I want the Super Powers Steppenwolf, I'll track down the original figure.
*Most of the 3 3/4" Marvel Universe figures. I still don't own a single figure from this line.

EDIT: The Indiana Jones figures appear to be hoaxes. Dammit.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Iron Grenadier Leader Destro (GI Joe 25th Anniversary)



Check out what I received in the mail yesterday. And it only cost me three dollars! Thanks eBay!

Honestly, I only got this figure because it was so cheap and I was hoping to combine shipping on other auctions by the same seller I was bidding on (I also had Lady Jaye and Gung Ho figures on my watchlist, but they both went for over ten bucks). Not that I don't like Destro (Scottish arms dealer with a metal helmet? I'm sold!), and I certainly needed a figure of the character in my collection. It just wasn't my first choice. If was going to get a Destro figure, I was going to get one that resembled his traditional appearance. When I first saw pictures of this figure I had no idea what the source material was. Turns out this look is from the DIC G.I. Joe series in the late 80s/early 90s, where Destro went into business for himself, trading in his 70s pimp daddy look for new hardcore threads for the extreme 90s.

It's a pretty cool figure. Gone are the bare chest and disco collar. The cape and spikes on his shoulder are a definite plus. I'm not sold on the gold head (which is a big shift from the traditional silver) but maybe it'll grow on me. It's also a bit small for his body. He's got two weapons, a sword and a pistol, which can be stored on the figure. After removing the figure from the card, the first thing I noticed was how obtrusive the sword scabbard was. It's huge, and hangs off of his belt at an angle designed to cover up as much of the back of his legs as possible. You definitely can't fit him into a vehicle with that thing on.

Definitely a figure I only got because of a choice opportunity, but it's pretty dandy, nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

General Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy (Rise of Cobra)

When the Rise of Cobra figures were first shown, me and AJ were both really psyched about the Hawk figure because it looked just like Dennis Quaid. It was like, who cares about Hawk, I just want a GI Joe toy of Dennis Quaid. (Who the hell says that?) He was the only figure in the line I was truly excited about. (Again, what the hell?) And like most of the internet I was then saddened to learn he'd only be available with the $100 Pit playset.

The other day I'm in Target and a single card figure of Hawk is staring at me. I'm suddenly going, what the hell? They single carded Hawk? How have I not heard of this? Didn't I just spend the last week looking up at the wave line-ups for the Rise of Cobra figures? This general level of disbelief (total time: 4 seconds) was immeadiately followed by "HOLY CRAP, I NEED TO HAVE THIS IN MY HAND BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE GETS THIS! Better believe I snatched that sucker up. Happy day.

The likeness of Dennis Quaid is pretty damned good for this scale, and he comes with my favorite GI Joe accessory: briefcase! No just kidding, he comes with a Jet Pack! Everyone needs a jet pack.



Although I do like toy briefcases. It makes the figures seem like they have lives outside of war. Or are protecting/smuggling state secrets. I'm not certain how I feel about the hip holster that doesn't detach since it makes it hard to fit him in vehicles... beause Dennis Quaid should ride vehicles... with his Drgonheart co-star Sean Connery.

Comic: Reinvention


Monday, July 20, 2009

Slimed Peter Venkman & Slimer


I'm usually not a fan of "battle damaged" variants, but how could you not want a "Slimed" Peter Venkman. "Slimed" is one of the buzz words of the 80's for good reason. We children of that decade loved slime and people having slime applied to them with great speed... which could indicate something really wrong with us.

Plus Peter comes with Slimer. You want to talk the 80's, then you talk about Slimer. The cartoon was all about him. True, Slimer doesn't really fit the minimate mold (I don't recall him being the same size as Peter in the movie) but it's fricking Slimer, you gotta have him, so scale and design can be damned.

These are fun toys that capture one of the highlight moments of the movie, so I pretty much consider this the Ghostbuster minimate two-pack that encapsulates the entire line.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Black Lantern Ring


I'm not really sold on "Blackest Night" DC's Summer Crossover (which isn't going to finish until winter) where dead heroes are ressurected as evil zombies and given black versions of the Green Lantern Ring. But I do love free stuff.

As part of the promotion of this big event DC sent comic book stores plastic Black Lantern Rings to give away with each issue of Blackest Night #1. The store I go to once a month had 10 left and one issue left so they were okay with me picking up one... or three.

The ring is surprisingly thick and sturdy for cheap plastic. It has a gap in the band to allow for larger fingers, but it fit on my hand without any "stretching." Although about 4 years ago, when I weighed more, that wouldn't have been the case, so I can appreciate that the gap is there.

The Black Lantern symbol does protrude from the ring a bit, so this isn't really something you can just wear and hope to be subtle. But for costing $0, this is pretty cool.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Eradicator



This Eradicator figure was originally intended for release as part of Kenner's Superman: The Man of Steel toyline in the mid 1990s. Unfortunately the toyline petered out after two years, and so several figures from the line such as this (which actually was showcased on figure packaging as "The Kryptonian") were unreleased. However, a few years later Toyfare finally made this figure available as a mail-in offer.

Eradicator has the basic Kenner five points of articulation. The figure's pose is dynamic, but it doesn't get int he way of play value. The sculpt is great, although it's odd that he's bulkier than most Superman figures from the line, making my Power Flight Superman look skinny in comparison. Still, that's just proof of the great path the Superman: The Man of Steel line was headed on until it was prematurely folded. As a mail-in, the Eradicator has no accessories, but his hands are molded in see-through orange plastic to replicate his energy abilities. Also, if you take off the soft rubber cape, there's a diamond-shaped light-pipe on his chest that glows if you hold it up to the light.

It's a simple, straightforward figure, but it's tons of fun, and great for increasing the character ranks of your Kenner 5" scale DC Comics collection. It's basic proof that you don't need build-a-figure pieces or 30 points of articulation to make a figure worthwhile.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Egon & Library Ghost


There's a new Ghostbusters game and interest in the property is up once again. So time to make Ghostbuster's toys!

As a kid Egon was my favorite Ghostbuster because he was the smart one. So you bet your ass I wanted an Egon minimate. He comes with a PKE meter & a Proton pack. WITH A STREAM!!!! He's available in the first boxset and in a two pack. (The boxset comes with Peter, Louis & Dana after the latter have been possessed by Vinz Clortho & Zuul, and a terror dog suit.) I might get the boxset one day, but it doesn't actually come with any ghosts. So I was definately leaning towards the two-pack, especially when I learned that the two-packs were going to be the only way to get any ghosts. And what a ghost! Egon comes with the first ghost to show up on screen! The Librarian Ghost!

So a bit of disclosure. I'm a Librarian. Toys of librarians tend to exemplify the steretype. (Or be of Batgirl.) In fact the one toy of a Librarian that most Librarians have on their desk is of real life librarian Nancy McPhee, with shushing action. So a toy of a Librarian that's kind of weird... I WANT!

And now I have it. Good days.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen review

I saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen a few hours ago for Tuesday discount price (five dollars). Yeah, I knew what I was getting into when I went to go see it, but I saw it anyway. And god damn, was that a poor movie. Not the worst movie I've ever seen (and not really as bad as the now-classic Topless Robot review makes it out to be), but it's still no Citizen Kane. Or The Rock. Or Armaggedon, for that matter

I feel insulted when people deflect criticism about this movie based on the perception that it's coming from fanboys who are too nitpicky about changes from the source material, or from critics who should "turn off their brains", so to speak, and enjoy the fun. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Transformers, but I'm also a fan of good movies, and when I go watch a film, at the end of the day I expect to see a good movie. It's one thing to complain that characters don't match their G1 incarnations, or that there's lots of fighting with precious little deeper meaning. It's quite another to take objection to the fact that Michael Bay can't seem to keep track of how many characters he's supposed to have in a scene. But hey, why should Michael Bay give a damn about basic math when there's explosions to be made and long fetishizing shots of military hardware to track?

Oh, and I don't know about you, but to me the fact that a poster of the cover to The Smiths' Meat Is Murder album appeared in a scene set in the Witwicky family's kitchen of all things was the most hilarious aspect of the entire film.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rhinox

Who's ready for some Beast Wars reviews? I'm certainly up for reviewing as much of my collection as I can, but I'm not sure exactly what that will ultimately entail. This blog is called "Why Did I But That Toy?" after all, and I received a lot of Beast Wars figures as gifts.

By the way, before I go any further, I have to insist that if you are a Transformers fan in any way, you need to get yourself an original Cheetor figure from 1996 (a figure my brother bought for me when it was reissued in 2000). If you're new to the Beast Wars line, it's the perfect entry-level figure, being an essential character with a fantastic robot mode and plenty of playability.



If you're a fan of the Beast Wars television series, you need a Rhinox figure. He's one of the five original Maximals, and he's the only heroic character to remain physically unchanged through the entire run. He's the stalwart "big guy" character, always strong and ready to back his friends up, which makes his fate in the Beast Machines follow-up series all the more sadder.

The Beast Wars toyline debuted close to a year before the animated series, so there's a bit of discrepancy between how the early characters appeared on screen and what the original figures looked like. Rhinox in the series was a plumber/mechanic/blue collar kind of guy, but looking at this figure you'd think he was a samurai. There's two main divergencies between the plastic and CGI forms. Unlike in the series, the Rhinox toy wields a sword, but what really catches the eye is the "mutant head", which appeared on all first and second wave Beast Wars deluxe-class figures and larger. The robot head in on display here since it's the one Rhinox showcases in the series; if the mutant head flaps bother you much they're pretty easy to remove.

Regardless of inconsistencies with how the character appeared on screen, how is Rhinox as a toy? Rhinox is an early example of what Transformers fans call "shellformers", in that instead of shifting pieces around, the transformation chiefly consists of pulling apart large pieces of the alternate mode (essentially an outer shell), which then hang off the figure's body. This is generally considered to be pretty lazy on part of the designers. Much of Rhinox's rhino mode hangs off or folds onto his body, with the twisting of his lower legs being the only real exception. This makes the figure hard to play with and even harder to display in a suitable fashion. You won't believe how look it took me to arrange the outer pieces so that my figure somewhat resembled the character's on-screen depiction. In contrast, the animated series' CGI model simplified the character's transformation in a way that basically eliminated the outer shell kibble. While his main weapon--that big green blade in his right hand with black chains sticking out--is vastly different to the way it was portrayed in the series, it's still really fun. Press the black button on the back of the green box the blade sits on, and it spins really fast. Just make sure you position the arm right so the spinning action doesn't stop because it hits the upper arm or something.

I'm definitely a huge fan of the character, but Rhinox is only an average toy. There are definitely better Beast Wars toys in existence. Still, he's one of the main characters of the series, so it's worth tracking one down. Good luck finding one for a good price, though.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Atom (Infinite Heroes)


Ryan Choi is the Atom. He's the successor of Ray Palmer, who went on a hiatus from heroics after his ex-wife went crazy and killed some people. Ryan Choi is actually pretty damned cool. Aside from being one of a handful of Asian-American Superheroes in the DC Universe (seriously, you can count the number on one hand and still have fingers left over, Asian heroes in the DCU don't tend to be Americans), Choi's exploits included fighting an Invasion of Heaven by Hitler with a Jetpack. Oh, and Giganta kept trying to get into his pants.

So it's sad to say that his brief reign as a hero will soon be over now that they've decided to bring Palmer back as part of DC's fetishization of nostalgia. DC, where the illusion of innovation is good enough! But they made an action figure of him (well actually two: the Batman: Brave & the Bold's Atom is also Choi) and I found it for a good price, ($2.99) so I decided to get it.

The figure has all the same problems as the other DCU Infinite Heroes. Sloppy paint, small for the scale, joint issues, mediocre sculpting, etc... But for $3 it's nice to have a Ryan Choi figure before he's completely forgotten.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Something Strange...

Guess what came in the mail! In seperate packages despite being shipped from the same place and at the same time? And are both from the same order. But it doesn't matter, because they didn't charge me for shipping!



Who ya gonna call?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Battle-Damaged T-800 & T-1000



When the Terminator 2 minimates were announced I decided early on that I really only wanted a T-800 "Arnold" minimate. The others I could take or leave. Then after seeing them in the store, I realized that I wanted a Robert Patrick T-1000. The only problem is that they're not really making a straight T-1000.

There's T-1000 all in silver liquid metal form. There's T-1000 as motorcycle cop (with helmet and aviator glasses). And there's this T-1000. The one with a big hole in its head and optional blown apart torso. This happens to be the only one not wearing aviator glasses, so it's sort of the best "Robert Patrick" minimate that will be available. (For now. Unless motorcycle cop comes with an alternate head.) I don't like the big hole in the head. Well actually I do, but I'd like a non-hole in the head version of this face.

Meanwhile Battle Damaged T-800 is sort of disappointing. The glowy transluscent legs aren't doing it for me. And the lack of an arm makes me feel like I'm being cheated out of a couple cents worth of plastic. That's a stupid way to feel considering that this set comes with an extra torso of blown up T-1000 liquid metal. And a shocked secondary T-1000 head that looks nothing like Robert Patrick.

ROBERT PATRICK ROBERT PATRICK ROBERT PATRICK ROBERT PATRICK ROBERT PATRICK

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What would you like me to review?

I haven't been turning out as many reviews lately as I would like, but I hope to change that in the coming weeks. I have a pretty broad toy collection, so I wanted to know if anyone has particular preferences as to what I should review. Keep in mind I'll be focusing primarily on items that have been in my collection for a while, as my new toy acquisitions have been very low recently. Here's a few ideas/suggestions:

*DC Superheroes/DC Universe Classics
*Transformers (G1/Beast Wars/Beast Machines/Unicron Trilogy/Classics/Animated)
*Star Wars (1995-present)
*GI Joe (restricted to stuff from the last decade)
*Marvel Legends
*Indiana Jones
*Toy Biz 5-inch Marvel figures
*Kenner/Hasbro 5-inch DC figures
*Justice League/Justice League Unlimited

So, anything in particular you want to see more of? Speak your mind in the comments section.

Trypticon

In more recent Transformers toy lines, Optimus Prime and Megatron have typically been the "big ticket items"--oversized high priced toys that people shell out for only on special occasions. The problem is you need Optimus and Megaton in your collection. They're the main characters! What a big-ticket item for for a toy line should typically be is a playset. But how do you accomplish that with Transformers, where by design every toy is both a vehicle and a unique character?



Trypticon here was released in 1986. He's a triple changer: his modes include dinosaur, battle station, and city. That's right: city. One of the most desired types of Transformers for the line's fans is the Generation One city robots, which essentially function as playsets for the other figures. It's definitely something I wanted to get my hands on for years. I was glad to have found this for sale one day in a local comic book store for $100 complete with the original box and all accessories, which was a huge bargain.

The problem is in base mode Trypitcon isn't big enough. I took some pictures of the city mode when I first bought it to show my brother, and I could barely balance my Starcream and Classics Megatron figures on the top. This a problem that also plagues his 1986 Autobot counterpart Metroplex (if you want a city-bot that can actually accomodate a number of average-sized Transformers figures, you're going to have to shell out $500 or so on eBay for the 1987 behemoth Fortress Maximus, the biggest Transformers toy ever made). Since the battle station mode is just a subtle modifcation of city mode, it faces the same problems. The irregular shape of both modes also makes it hard to display on a shelf. Dinosaur mode is fine, and it features a nifty walking action, but I didn't get this thing for that mode.

So Trypticon didn't turn out what I expected it to be. In the year I owned it, I took it out of the box twice. Still, it was fun to transform it between different modes, which is the purpose of a Transformers toy anyway. I recently had to sell this on eBay to raise some cash (I got nearly twice what I had paid for it), but I'm not too upset to have parted with it. Still, it was nice to have this big set piece in my collection if just for a short while.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mole Pod with Terra-Viper (Rise of Cobra)



Mole Pod is a stupid name. They can call it whatever the hell they like, but this is the only thing in the GI Joe Movie line that I saw and immediately said, "I'm getting that." And the reason for that: It's a Giant Drill vehicle. The kind used by Mole Men and other subterranian dwellers for decades.

I would prefer an actual drill tip over a blunted drill-tip missle, but I can understand why they didn't go for that... sort of. (Safety concerns etc. Use soft plastic and a dull point Hasbro.)

The Terra Viper (Earth-viper?) isn't anything to write home about. He's pretty dull. The breathing aparatus gives it some character, but his vest is covered in rocks for some reason that makes no sense whatsoever.

But screw it, I've got a Giant Drill that any 3.75" scale figure with proper hip articulation can ride in.

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