Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Toys R Us Minimates Wave 11

When I was looking for Legos I found the Toys R Us Wave 11 Exclusive Marvel Minimates! I skipped the First Appearance Iron Man & Hulk, because I've got like four 1st Appearance Iron Men already and so, so many Hulk minimates.

But what I did pick up was:

Fantomex and Mr. Negative: Two characters that have nothing in common whatsoever! Fantomex is an X-men character created by Grant Morrison whose mutant power is basically to be ironically amazing. Mr. Negative is a multiple personality Spider-man villain whose secret identity is an Asian philanthropist. He got his powers the same time and way as Cloak and Dagger. Basically Mr. Negative is his dark half who has mind control and Marin Li is his light half who can heal people. Each side is aware of the other but does nothing to stop the other's plans. The figures are very basic, almost entirely defined by their paint jobs. The Fantomex is in his X-force Grey costume and works okay in a dull, muted way. I kind of wish we had gotten his white original costume. Mr. Negative meanwhile looks just as he does in the comics, like a photo-negative, which is a reference people aren't going to remember if digital photography completely replaces film stock. He even comes with a photo-negative sword, which makes no sense to me but is a neat concept. He also comes with alternate Black arms, so you he can go around wearing just a shirt and no jacket.

It's Betsy Braddock & Nightcrawler. They're both X-men characters, or at least now they are. Betsy originally started as a Marvel UK character but was eventually moved to the X-men. Meanwhile Nightcrawler would leave the X-men proper to hang out with Betsy' brother, Captain Britain, in the Excalibur comics. This is the third figure for both, although Nightcrawler is actually just the exact same minimate that came in the Excalubur box set. The only difference is that his BAMF base is a slightly different shade of purple and a little more transparent.

Meanwhile the last two (or three) Betsy figures have all been of Psylocke, her superhero alter-ego. This is the second British version of Besty, before she became a sexy Asian ninja. I think this minimate reflects her original look, but I can't be sure. It might be the look she had during the Psylocke/Dazzler/Rogue/Longshot era of the X-ment team. It's the poofy sleeves that make me think that. And hey, to reflect the poofy sleeves they created a new arm piece.... that's got to be showing up on another figure soon. They can't have just made that for this figure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lego minifigures series 5, part 2

BRITISH: Graduate, Queen's Guard, Detective
You gotta get the Detective. He's clearly modeled on Sherlock Holmes. And his magnifying glass actually kind of works. I particularly like the deerstalker cap (which is how you know he's Holmes). Now you can have him solve all your Lego mysteries.

The Queen's Guard has a neutral expression (or as my sister called it, "pissed off") because the guards aren't supposed to show any emotion while on duty. He's actually one of the easiest figures to find (and by that I mean determine what figure it is in the blind packs) because his hat is so prominent and the texture so unique.

As for the Graduate, I was shocked to realize his cloth gown wasn't in that cardboard protector that you usually get with Lego cloth capes and such. I only figured him out because he has that smooth plate block for a diploma. His hat is pretty awesome though.

MANLY MEN: Lumberjack, Dinosaur Costume, Boxer
What surprised me about the Boxer was that the gloves aren't really an accessory. They've replaced the standard Lego hands you usually get with a figure. Fortunately wrist articulation is still there. I don't exactly know why, but I love this guy. He's got a secondary face on the back of his head with a beaten face and tears. Hilarious.

The Lumberjack is pretty easy to figure out in the blind bags thanks to the axe. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the white trash vibe I'm getting off the dude, but that might be based on my own prejudices. I don't actually know if the flannel and trucker hat is a stereotype or not. If it isn't, then my bad. Although I want to say that if you want to go with a standard lumberjack they should have included a snow cap, a hard hat, or a lumberjack hat.

Then there's Dinosaur Costume. If I could have only one figure from this wave, it would be Dinosaur Costume. Because I love Dinosaurs and costumes. The tail is actually ingenious in its implementation, it's actually a neck piece like a Lego backpack. Look at it, it's glorious.

Finally there's the Eskimo. I was going to skip him until I realized that he's an Eskimo. And as such he counts towards Lego's Asian Stereotype figure for this wave. It's a pretty good eskimo figure, based on everything that mass media has taught us about Eskimos. And I have to admit, I don't know much more than Lego about Eskimos. So for all I know this could be pretty accurate. But I'm gonna guess it's not.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lego minifigures Series 5 part 1

When they revealed the figures in Series 5 I was bummed because I wanted almost all of them. And at 3 bucks a pop that would mean it wouldn't be cheap. But this weekend I went to Toys R Us where they had a crapload of them. So I was able to pick up all the figures I wanted. All 13 of the 16.

So this is going to take a while. To make it more fun I've arranged the figures into categories to go over them.

HISTORICAL:  Gangster, Egyptian Queen (Cleopatra), Gladiator.
Each one of these guys has so much personality. The Gladiator was on my MUST HAVE list, but I like them all. I wanted Cleopatra to match the Pharaoh that we got in an earlier wave and the Gangster was just a nice historical touch as Lego goes through US history in these waves. Although every time I see a gangster I think of the gangster character from Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego. The Gangster (with opening violin case!) has a criminally smarmy smile and a gun. The gun fits in the case, although you'd think the case was meant for something with more firepower. Cleopatra should be easy to find since she's the only one with the wedge dress piece. She also comes with the snake that she used to kill herself. (Kinda morbid, Lego.) And the Gladiator is awesome with his helmet. Seriously, that helmet makes the guy.

WOMEN: Cavewoman, Aerobics instructor, Zookeeper woman
Okay, let's get this out of the way. The only reason I wanted the Aerobics instructor was for the purple boom box. I think that's hilarious. And it fits so well with the douchebag figure's boombox from the last wave.

Similarly the big draw of the Zookeeper is the monkey figure. Because of that  monkey I tend to think of this ass the Jane Goodall figure. Of course I also love that the zookeeper is tempting the monkey with a GIANT banana. I'm going to assume that's an inflatable banana and the zookeeper is taunting the monkey. I actually opened these in front of my sister and she loved the monkey and banana so much I ended up giving her an extra one of these I picked up. I also gave one of these to a married couple who are both anthropologists, it was a big hit.

The Cavewoman was desired to pair up with the Caveman from wave 1. On that criteria it's a win, but I have to admit that I'm really digging the design. Her faces has scratches on it, like she's just been in a fight. But her expression is unfazed, like she's used to it and its not anything special. And her hair is made out of rubber instead of the normal hard plastic to apparently better accommodate that bone.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Golden Age Captain America and Dum Dum Dugan

Yeah, I pretty much got this set for the minimate version of Dum Dum Dugan. On that criteria it's a pretty awesome minimate. I especially like the shotgun holster on his back. Also the bowler hat - mustache combo is particularly Victorianesque. If Victorians fought Hitler. (they didn't.)

As for Golden Age Cap, he's a good mix of the comic book and Ultimates version of Cap. That's good. I've got so many Cap minimates that a little variation is always welcome. I also like the Golden Age shield. I've already got one from the Invaders set, but it's a nice retro-accessory that really sells the historical feel of the character.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gah! No! Bad toy company.

Hold the hell up. There are two versions of the Idris figure in the 6th series of Doctor Who figures. In one version she comes with a psychic cube. With the other version she comes with 5 psychic cubes.

I call bullshit.


Picked up a Firestorm from Target. This is the original version of Firestorm, the one that I was only familiar with from cartoons until I began reading DC Comics in the 90's. Firestorm has the power to rearrange molecules and for a while could only transform into a superhero by combining his body with his college professor who would talk to him in his mind while they fought crime. He's been a perennial B-lister, but he's a staple of DC Comics so he got his own DCUC All-Star figure.

As shown here.

Its a nice simple figure with some neat hand accessories to simulate the visual of his alchemy-esque powers. So if you keep them on his arms he's constantly turning things into other things. You can imagine the only reason the Justice League keeps him around is that they wanted a cheap air ionizer.

He can also shoot energy blasts from his hands, but that's a pretty generic superhero power.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Toy Show Haul (pt. 3)

And here's the final post about the toys I picked up at last week's San Jose Toy Show.

First up is a Captain Atom figure from the DC Direct Superman/Batman Public Enemies line. I picked this up because 1) I want a silver Captain Atom in the 6 inch scale and the DCUC is pretty hard to find. and 2) It cost me $1.  So good deal. As a DC Direct figure he has limited articulation: neck, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees. But since it's Captain Atom, a good soldier, who often is seen as having a stick up his ass by the other heroes, well that means a stiff Captain Atom is not too horrible.

Then there is Bizarro. DC Superheroes Bizarro. Wow, never thought I'd see one of these figures go for a reasonable price. Also, if you're going to build up a DC villains collection Bizarro is one of the staples. I feel like more people would understand the reference more than they would Cheetah or Two-Face. (Some comic book nerds might argue, but they are wrong. Their context is all screwy. Which explains why when that comic book fan brought up that there weren't any A-list super-heroines other than Wonder Woman at DC people tried to shame her by shouting "Starfire.")

I've never fully understood how the Bizarro reverse logic is supposed to work, but then that's probably the point. Only a Bizarro would be able to understand it. Because if Bizarro does and says the opposite of things then he's start entering into double and triple negatives and things would quickly fall apart. But his clumsy fumbling has always been fun to watch/read.

Oh and the toy is pretty good. The larger pieces restrict movement and force some weird poses, but again, that's kind of works for the character.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Convention Exclusive Nerd

Time for another look at another Comic-Con exclusive. Although this time let's look at a 2010 exclusive. Originally a Comic-Con 2010 exclusive and then a Toys R Us exclusive, I picked this up at the Toys R Us website, which has these on clearance for $10+S&H+tax. See what I did there? Because its still August I tried to make you think it was from this last Comic-Con. And here I'm trying to be clever. Like a nerd on the internet. Which is a segue. Really it is.

The Nerd is from the Adult Swim Robot Chicken stop motion cartoon. The cartoon is particularly popular with 80's nostalgia nerd due to its use of 80's action figures as the models for stop motion and the focus on subjects for the geek niche. The nerd is the unnamed stereotypical Nerd character who engages in all the worst fanboyisms and socially awkward behaviors. Usually he's used as a figure of ridicule, but he scores a win every now and then.

The figure itself is pretty sweet. The likeness is great, which it had better be considering the simple design of the original character. The articulation is excellent, especially for a Robot Chicken figure. Aside from limited movement due to his hip joints which are like a weird combination of a t and v join, you pretty much get joints where you'd hope: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, waist. There's no ankles, but the knees are swivel-ball joints. Irregardless, the joints allow multiple poses.

Since this is a Con variant, there's all sorts of con-specific accessories. Like his bag full of swag and his t-shirt with the Comic-Con logo. There's also a few episode specific accessories. And he looks quite dapper in the top hat.

As far as I know the initial offerings of Robot Chicken toys didn't do too well, so I think this is the only Nerd figure they made. Which is a shame, since this is the best of all the Robot Chicken toys. (With the possible exception of Mo-larr.) They should have done more basic figures and less novelty figures. I probably would have bought them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Toy Show Haul (pt. 2)

Let's continue on our little tour of what I picked up at the San Jose toy show on Saturday.

Another thing I forgot to bring up in the gashapon box was a Green Lantern miniature. It's Hal Jordan and his arm falls off fairly easily but it's a build a kit, so an easy fix. What's most interesting about the figure is the angry grimace the figure has. Almost like he's pissed off that he's constipated or something. My animosity towards Hal Jordan means I find this hilarious.

Next up was a Superhero Showdown Doctor Doom. This is essentially Marvel Legends in the 4-inch scale, which is awesome because 1) I'm not so enamored with the Marvel Universe 4-inch figures, and 2) it's cheaper. It even comes with better accessories than the Marvel Universe figures. That's a real firing cannon strapped to Doom's wrist. And a stand that holds him up by plugging into a hold in his back.

And of course the reason I'd want a 4-inch doom? Because of all the ridiculous accessories that are available in this scale.

Moving on, I was shocked to find a couple 3-inch minimates in a vendor's clearance box at the price of 3 for $5. Well there were two of them anyway, so I had to get a regular sized action figure to fill out the quota. But that does mean I was able to get a Dr. McCoy 3-inch minimate to round out my big 3 of the Star Trek crew. I didn't know that they came with Star Trek puzzle piece bases, but cool!

The other 3-inch minimate was an Ozzy Osbourne werewolf, which is awesome because it's both a minimate of Ozzy and of a classic monster! I haven't even opened it because of... well it's actually pretty awesome but it's also something I might consider giving to someone as a gift or possibly to hold onto in its new status. I expect this to last maybe a month.

And last, for this installment anyway, is a... is it a Marvel Legends toy? I'm not sure. But it is a Marvel toy of Movie Spider-Man. I picked this up loose, but it came with the original diorama and a billboard that doesn't fit with the base but I think I could nail to a wall. Meanwhile this figure is pretty awesome, featuring the full articulation of the best Spider-Man toys from the Legends line. It also has some pretty damn awesome accessories. A newspaper machine! Street signs! Traffic lights! A sewer grating!

Seriously, it's pretty damned awesome.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Captain Glenn

I'm not a big fan of the MOTUC line, mostly out of disinterest. But when they showed off the Queen Marlena figure as the SDCC exclusive, I was impressed by the retro spaceman feel of the alternate Captain Glenn accessories. So when the figure was made available in alternative packaging as Captain Glenn on MattyCollector I braved the site and purchased one.

And yes, the shipping was excessively high.

The figure itself is pretty cool, and does indeed embody a 1950's sci-fi serial. The over-sized bubble helmet harness is particularly neat, with the bulky simplicty you associate with the '50s. My only complaint about the helmet is that since the Captain Glenn packaging has her wearing the helmet as default, when you take the helmet off, it would seem that a lot of the silver paint has rubbed off onto the neck. It mars the figure a little, but isn't a deal killer for me. Although I can see how it might be for some people, especially for a $25 figure that had a mandatory $14 shipping/tax charge. As it is, I find it highly annoying but forget about it once I start to play around with the figure.

Since this is the Captain Glenn figure, it comes with all the pieces you need to create the Queen Marlena alternate look. The alternate head was a nice touch. The dress seems flimsy, but the interlocking mechanism on the back of the dress works surprisingly well to combat the unsightly seam you would think would be noticeable on what is essentially a large sleeve. The back of the box has a different profile than the Queen Marlena figure. It plays up her Space Captain past and her military abilities that were completely absent in the cartoon. Seriously, it says the queen is a marksman but she doesn't carry a gun with her, ever, even though she's in a land where there's a magical evil army that attacks her castle constantly. And we know Captain Glenn carried a gun, her figure comes with a gun holster and two guns.

I dunno, part of me feels that by playing up "He-man's parent before she married his father"  angle that we're sort of introducing a time travel Back to the Future-esque plot device, where if Captain Glenn doesn't have weird incest feelings for a time travelling He-Man, then at the very least we see some wacky hijinks where He-Ma has to ensure that his parents meet and fall in love. Maybe even featuring a scene where Marlena sees Prince Adam transfrom into H-man. And that could explain why Queen Marlena knows her children's secret identities. But I may be over thinking things.

The figure also comes with a Cringer figure that features almost no ariculation! So in many ways that means its like the original 80's Battle Cat.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toy Show Purchases (pt. 1)

So yeah, we went to the toy show on Saturday, so over the course of this week I'll be occasionally going over what I picked up. I've already mentioned Super Grover (so vote now!), so we'll skip that. Let's start with the big ole overview to get your attention piqued.

We'll start with the robot rabbit. It's a robot rabbit, why I bought it should be obvious. It's a robot that is also a rabbit. I'm pretty sure that he came with a Mad Hatter figure from the Batman Animated Series line. But who really cares one way or the other It's a rabbit robot.

Next up is one of Kevin Smith's inaction figures. This was in a box of loose figures that were being clearanced, which is the best part of any toy show. It's Ben Affleck as a killer angel, which explains why he has the blood stains. The wings are pretty impressive, they plug into peg holes in the back. Surprisingly, while the design is more impressive, I can't help but feel that killer angel Ben Affleck isn't as cool as Rabbit Robot. But it's still cool. (Especially for $1.)

Now we're going to move onto the stuff in that cardboard box. (Reference the picture at the top of this article.) I was looking at one of the figures in the box, which was labelled $2 each, when the dude who ran the table offered me the whole box for $5. I said sure. So what did I get? Well I found to my surprise that the box included a Magic the Gathering starter deck and a pack of basketball cards. But since those are cards and this is a toy blog, I'll instead show you this.

There were some Gashapon toys. Gashapon is Japanese for capsule toys, but in Japan they're more impressive than the crappy $1 minifigures they sell in the states. I only know one of those characters shown above. (Tsuraya from the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya... Hey, spelled it right on my first try.) The other three I don't know at all, not even what series they're from, but they're adorably marketable. And how can you not love a little girl wearing a head-flashlight?

There were also a couple Gashapon figures that hadn't been opened and assembled. So that's cool. This one is Tsuraya in her maid outfit from that one episode where she worked at her class' cafe during the school festival. Oh those Japanese.

There was also a book. When I got a closer look at it I thought it was a Beast Wars manga. But when I opened it up I found that it was something amazingly better. It was in fact an episode and toy guide to Beast Wars. Page after page of illustrations, photos and screenshots of robots that transform into animals.

Of course it's all written in Japanese, so I have no idea what it says. It's also falling apart, but it's still kind of neat.

And finally:

Really badly preserved Ernie and Bert finger puppets. With real hair. Okay, that's it for today. The hair is freaking me out, as is the prospect of putting my fingers in those things. Dirty. Dirty.

We'll continue on another day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Articulated Monster, Episode 14: San Jose Toy Show Special

Our special Episode of the Articulated Monster Podcast is up now. We talk about getting stuff at the San Jose Toy Show

This should act as a prologue for the voting, but remember, vote Super Grover! After all, what better winner for the Articulated Monster podcast than an actual Monster?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vote Super Grover!

Articulated Monster went over to the San Jose Toy Show this weekend. We'll have a special podcast up soon, but even more important: over the next week you get to vote which of our awesome toy purchases is the awesomest. To vote you can either comment on this post, e-mail us at, or by voting on the poll on the sidebar of the other James' blog All About Fett. Or do all 3 and vote thrice. THRICE!

You can vote for James (Fett)'s 2 Kevin Costner Robin Hoods that cost $1.

Mario's purple Transformers Animated Shockwave & Activators Bumblebee that cost $15.

Or you can vote for my Super Grover that cost $40.

Now I wasn't going to bring up the prices, but James already did. So I'd like to point out that while my nomination for most awesome of the awesome finds is the most expensive it is potentially also the hardest to get at a reasonable price. Seriously, on amazon the cheapest you can find it is for $165. Cinequest has one for $100. If you listen to the podcast I might have mentioned you can't find it on e-bay. That's no longer true, but I do see that the only one listed alone is $125.

But I got one for $40. There's a reason when the vendor mentioned the price I said, "Oh hell yeah."

Sometimes I'm not the best at bartering.

Why does this figure normally cost so much? Well back when Palisades had the Muppets license and were churning out amazing Muppet toys they announced that they were planning to do a line of Sesame Street figures in the same scale and with the same amazingly accurate style. The first figure they made was Super Grover and he was only made available in 2005 at conventions and through the Palisades online collector's club. The figure was a portent of great things to come...

Then Palisades went out of business and the Sesame Street figures was never happened. Now the prototypes for their accessories, like the bananna that Ernie could hold up, go for about $100.

So my Super Grover, for $40, was a pretty good deal.

It features a box with art by Alex Ross.

And inside you get Super Grover, a phone box for him to change into from his secret identity, and then you get an alternate head and a spare set of clothes to create that secret identity as a monster reporter.

So vote for Super Grover as the Awesomest purchase! VOTE THRICE! Vote in honor of those Sesame Street Figures that were never made!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Courtroom Peter Venkman and Washington Square Ghost

It's a good Venkman head, although the suit itself is pretty dull. The black of the coat also obscures the proton pack.

The Washington Square Ghost isn't in scale. When it was in the movie the ghost was gigantic and it looked pretty intimidating. But when it's tiny... well it looks like a potato with chicken legs. A ghost potato, but a potato nonetheless.

So pretty much, I think its awesome.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ghostbusters 2 Slime Blower Ray Stanz and Theatre Ghost

Yes, the Theatre ghost looks awesome. Why is it a theatre ghost? Because it appeared in the movie at a theatre. Meanwhile the minimate required an odd set of pieces that aren't very secure in their interlocking nature. Every time I pick it up it falls apart. Fortunately it's a minimate, so putting it back together is easy enough. I really like how the four arms are set up to enhance the insectoid nature of the figure.

Meanwhile Ray Stanz's slime blower is so heavy that its near impossible to get the figure to stay upright. It wants to fall over. It wants to fall over so badly it can feel it. That's probably why it has such a pained/confused expression.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Naut Ke Loi

The Movie Masters Green Lantern figures are kind of... stupid? Due to the way that the Green Lantern movie went out of its way to make the aliens non-humanoid the toys are over the top and possibly too alien to be enjoyed as an action figure. You end up with something like Naut Ke Loi.

The majority of the figure is made of soft plastica which makes it feel not unlike the fish toys you can get at an aquarium painted green. The back tail is semi-articulated in that the skeletal plastic under the surface can be moved from left to right in order to better prop the figure up. Sure the arm flippers move, but they sort of need to be placed in one position in order to keep the figure from flopping over on its side. The mouth opens but is that really thrilling?

The figure is also pretty small, even by movie masters standards. I mean look at Movie Masters Naut Le Koi compared to its DCUC counterpart. Overall, I won this for free from Action Figure Blues and I still feel like I didn't get my money's worth. I think its because of the soft spongy plastic. That always makes me think its going to crack and fall apart in a few years.

There's also a Paralax BAF piece, but who cares about that?