Friday, September 28, 2012


Mario got me a dumptruck for my birthday earlier this month. I freaking love Lego City Trucks. It's like I'm reliving the days when you love Tonka Trucks. I'm not even that fond of trucks as a thing, but if it's made out of Legos and it has movable parts, oh hell yeah, I'm all in. And this one does have moving parts, since it's a dump truck it has to be able to dump stuff.

Oh yeah! Oddly enough, the set also comes with 24 round single peg pieces for the dump truck to carry. That's their only function, to act as rocks or other refuse the truck has to haul away. It's really weird.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Sacramento GI Joe show was taken over by a local toy store this year. I went to the show for the last hour. Oddly enough, I'm glad I went in that hour because I was able to pick up some free toys people were trying to get rid of. Here you can see some of the free toys I picked up. They include a knock-off Leo Convoy figure, a broken Phantom Stranger DC Direct figure (neck peg is broken), a gobot, a plastic airplane model kit, a poor condition GI Joe vehicle, a couple Green Lantern McDonalds toys and most impressively, two plastic assemblable Transformers statues.

This one is Terrorsaurus.

And I have no idea who this is. But the hard plastic with the pointy bits made trying to get the pegs to snap into the corresponding holes a pain in the ass.

So what did I actually pay cash for? Well I picked up a Puppet Master 12" figure and the guy threw in a Jackie Chan figure for free because he couldn't give it away. Except he did give it away. I'm actually interested in seeing what it can do. It boasts triple jointed arms and legs so I wonder what that really means. I also picked up a base bbi 1/6  scale figure to see if the brand is any good.

Also, I got a Black Widow figure because I put in a bid in an auction to get Mario a Nick Fury figure.

Oh, and hey, my Big Bad Toy Store order came in. 6 months of toy orders, finally here!

We'll go over that another day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bart Simpson

Let's pretend I'm on a Simpsons kick. So way back when the Simpsons first started, toys quickly became a reality. Including action figures from Mattel. This was first season stuff, so the figures were limited to the core family and Nelson the bully. (With a garbage can to shove Bart into!)

I was able to get my grandparents to get me a figure, and I chose Bart. He's actually a pretty good figure. More articulation than the Playmates figures, his head is soft hollow plastic and the rest is a nice hard plastic.

Oddly enough, this is one of the few figures I've been able to hold onto since my childhood. Even though I could have lost the figure when I used it as part of a science project display in high school. But I've held onto the figure and his skateboard. I did lose the other accessory. All the figures came with a plastic speech balloon that you could use to hold cardboard dialogue phrases. The speech balloons fit into the top of each figure's head using a peg/hole system.

The TV is actually from the line's playset. You got the TV, or Boob Tube as it was called on the box, and the family's couch from the infamous couch gag. I don't know where my couch is, it's possible I accidentally through it away in high school, but that's the television right there. You  might notice that the TV has pegs sticking out the top of it. That's so you can put one of the figures on top of it and have them ride it like a skateboard. The TV also allows you to swap out the screens, since they're all cardboard pictures. And in case you think the couch was just a couch, it had an ejector seat.

These days the figures can be found online for a reasonable price, depending on what you want. I've seen the Boob Tube & Couch set for under $20. And Homer for under $10. Seriously, consider them before you get the Playmates figures. These are a lot nicer.

Monday, September 24, 2012

AMP Episode 52: Stupid Internet Connection

Episode 52 of the Articulated Monster Podcast is now up. A Spotty internet connection kept interrupting the episode where we talked about what we picked up over the last couple weeks, some news, and what was the better toyline: Gi Joe or Transformers.

Simpsons Bust'em Ups Series 5

So I found these Simpsons Bust'Em Ups in a novelty store clearance section. Series 5, The romance series. I picked up a Ralph Wiggum and another school based one.

First up is Ralph and his iconic "Choo-Choo-Choose You" moment. The set is clever, but constructing it was a pain in the nuts. Because of how small these sets are, the plastic is really flimsy. I broke on of the chair legs. I got it to balance, but if I ever pick this set up again it'll fall apart in a second. It also requires that you put some pressure on the figure to get pegs to stick in their holes. But that amount of pressure snaps the plastic. So bad QC there Mcfarlane Toys. You see how the desk isn't in the peg holes in the picture above? That's because the desk legs are in a certain position and won't fit in the holes. No without stretching and potentially snapping the flimsy plastic. Yeah. And the one time i did get them in the holes properly, the pressure from the bending legs ejected the desk right away, sending all the various parts flying. Like the Valentine's day card. Which is a separate piece. Bleah.

The other figure I picked up is a Krabappel/Skinner set where they're making out in a Janitor's closet. You have to put the room together, which is much like trying to set up a house of cards. But once you do, it's pretty sweet. The door even opens and closes, allowing you to replay the shocking reveal to your hearts content.

I will say one thing, the level of detail in these sets is great. The calendar with a clearly readable month and dates. The back shelf stocked with cans. The mop and bucket. The only downside I had with this set is that Krabappel and Skinner were not packaged together, so you have to carefully interweave their limbs to get them in that position. And considering how small their limbs are, it is not easy. But once it works, man it's a trip. This is actually from one of my favorite episodes of the series, so neato.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sam the Eagle as Obi-Wan and Gonzo as Darth Vader, with Camilla as a Storm Trooper

I didn't go to Disneyland, but I did go to the souvenir store outside Disneyland, which I was happy to see had some of the exclusive Disney Park Star Tours toys. And I was really happy to see that they had the Muppets as Star Wars Characters figures. Of the three sets, I knew I was going to get the Gonzo as Vader set. Because I love Gonzo. And it has a chicken in a Storm Trooper helmet. I am ambivalent about Sam the Eagle.

One of the great parts about this set is that Gonzo comes with interchangable heads. You can either have him  with the default "Gonzo face" head, or you can replace it with a Darth Weirdo head that looks like the character in the episode of the Muppet Show where Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2 showed up. (With special appearance by Mark Hamill as Luke's cousin.)

When I first saw these figures I thought they were PVC statue figures. But I was pleased to find that they have limited articulation. Sam has a ball jointed shoulder and elbow joints! Waist joints! Neck joints! Camilla is a PVC statue though. All in all, they're pretty nice figures. Sure they cost extra because they can only be bought at a theme park, but still nice figures.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bane Mask

Okay, is it weird that I want everyone to get the Halloween Bane mask and add it to whatever their costume was going to be. Ballerina Bane! Cowboy Bane! Wizard Bane! Sexy Nurse Bane! Batman Bane!



So what did I buy on my vacation? Well I didn't want to pay $25 for an Evac figure, but I'm willing to pay $13 for a Legion Class figure. Since Evac is a character created for the Transformers Ride, I pretty much expect he'll never show up anywhere else, so that's kinda neat. In the ride he never transforms into a robot, he stays in vehicle mode the hole time, although you do see his hand jut out a couple times. So really, this robot mode is theoretical rather than a representation.

More accurate is his vehicle mode. While they claim it's a car, really it's a multi-person amusement park ride transport. Fits 8. I love that he's essentially a roller coaster car. It makes me laugh. And since I was on the ride, I can use this figure to remember that time when I rode inside him. Sitting next to some middle aged French tourist. Good times.

Yeah, as a Transformer: not worth $13. As a souvenir and memory inducer, well worth it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lego Minifigures Series 8 Continued

German guy! It's clearly a PG version of an Octoberfest denizen. Although I prefer a giant pretzel to a beer, I feel like this dude should be blitzed out of his skull and next to a giant wooden keg. Or at least have a beer stein.

Still, kinda tame as far as the cultural stereotype minifigures go, but maybe Lego HQ's close proximity to Germany had something to do with it. At least there's some Leiderhosen. (Or however its spelled.)

I have to admit, I only picked this figure up to fill my collection of world culture stereotype Lego minifigures.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vacation window shopping

I went on vacation last week. Here's some of the stuff I didn't buy.

I was sorely tempted to get Elvis a Pegasus to ride, but I realized I could buy one of these sets any time. No need to waste precious luggage space by buying it on vacation.

Hey, they made a Hobo Superman costume.

They had Transformers at Universal Studios because of the Transformers 3D ride. They cost $10 more than they do in regular retail stores.

Although I was tempted to get the exclusive EVAC figure. Evac is a character created for the ride, he's basically the car you ride in. I love when they do figures for this kind of exclusive character, but $25 was too much to pay for a novelty.

I was tempted to get this POP! vinyl figure of Gonzo, but I just had to pass.

I also went to Downtown Disney (not Disneyland itself) and the Disney store there sold all the theme park exclusive figures. Of the "Disney Characters as Star Wars" figures they had, the one I considered getting was this 3 pack of the Duck Nephews as Jawas. They even come with pars of an R2 unit. But in the end I decided that it wasn't worth the $25 considering their insanely limited articulation. I dunno, maybe if they were in scale with regular Star Wars figures I'd be more interested, but the issue is moot.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Imhotep and Sarcophagus

Finally, they made the last of what I consider to be the true list of Universal Mobster classics. It's the Mummy. (I suppose Invisible man is a possibility, but this completes the Monster Squad baddies.)

And the mummy comes with an awesome accessory that doubles as its own figure, his sarcophagus. Now you can put him or any other 2 inch scale minimate in his fancy Egyptian coffin.

Totally worth the price of admission.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Triceraton Warrior

Given the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line is in a 5" scale, I've decided to augment the latest TMNT figures with offerings from Playmates' similarly-scaled toy that accompanied the 4Kids animated series that aired over the last decade. I always like to have my villains outnumber the heroes, so scoring this Triceraton Warrior off eBay for a reasonable price was a boon for me.

Like most of the figures that accompanied the 2003 series, the Triceraton has a very model sheet-accurate sculpt with very basic articulation. Six points, actually -- neck, shoulders, hips, and tail. The Triceratons are big bruiser types, so the minimal number of joints isn't the biggest loss in the world to me. I do wish the figure was slightly larger to more accurately reflect the Triceratons' proper size in comparison to other characters from the show -- the limits of toy line budgets, I suppose. The toy comes with two-and-a-half accessories, a shoulder-mounted missle launcher (with accompanying missile) and a space mask. I'm oddly fascinatied by how snugly the launcher is designed to sit on the figure's shoulder -- if you held the toy entirely upside down, the gun wouldn't move even the slightest. The mask is pretty nifty too, with holes that allow the Triceraton's horns to poke through.

The Triceraton Warrior is great to look at, but his range of movement will be lacking for hardcore collectors.  Still, damn if it doesn't look cool.

Princess Anck-Es-En-Amon and Frank Whemple

Found this year's Universal Monsters figures at a Toys R Us. And while the dude in the tux just looks like a generic guy in a tux (like all te heroes in these waves do) the Princess is a pretty interesting figure.

For one thing, her skirt is transparent but also kinda matte, giving it the look of a sheer material. The design of her torso is sparse but effective, adding the strongest interpretation of curves I've seen on the minimate block body.

Like I said this was a Toys R Us find. Frank Whemple is exclusive to the Toys R Us release. The comic book store and online stores release instead comes with the Modern day reincarnation of the princess wearing a evening gown.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Quasimodo and Phoebus

I never understood why The Hunchback of Notre Dame was considered one of the classic movie monsters. Dude was just a misunderstood child. It's hard to fear a character that is also a Disney hero. But this is a nice interpretation of the character. I'm just gonna pretend he's part of the minimates literary characters line.

Meanwhile Phoenus bucks the trend of bland heroes in this line by the sheer virtue of being from Renaissance France and thus wearing a costume rather than a boring shirt/ slacks combo.

Friday, September 7, 2012

AMP Episode 51: The Magic of Editing

New Episode of the Articulated Monster is up now.

Alan joins us as we talk about Green Lantern, Brave Little Toaster and so many other inappropriate things that had to be edited out.

Princess Leia

So after how much I liked the Battle Droid figures from Sideshow I figured I'd try some more. I found this Leia figure on e-bay for a pretty reasonable price.

I always like the Leia character. She's a good character (and pretty much only female) in the original trilogy. She's got maybe 2 iconic looks and this is the one where she's not wearing a gold bikini after being turned into an episode of Law and Order: SVU.

The likeness is pretty good, but I keep wondering what she's looking at over in the corner.

I'm also starting to get sick of the solid boots a lot of 1:6 figures have that basically make the foot articulation worthless. It's damned hard to get this figure to stand up without the included stand. That's just ridiculous. There's no stand lobby trying to get more stands out there. This should not be an issue.

Sadly these issues might restrict my future Sideshow purchases to characters wearing masks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lego minifigure series 8

Yeah, found Lego minifigure series 8 at a Wal-Mart. I spent about an hour squeezing in the hopes of finding the figures I wanted to buy.

As always I wanted the historical warrior figure and I really wanted the Shakespearean actor figure because I'm an English major and Shakespeare is hilarious/culturally iconic. The real question is whether or not that skull is meant to be a prop or a real skull. If you pretend it's a real skull you can pretend this is a minifigure of that one Tales from the Crypt episode where the insane asylum inmates kill a guy so they can get his skull for their version of Hamlet. (the episode is called Top Billing)

The cowgirl is charming, especially since she appears to be a 1950's interpretation of a cowgirl. Her freckles are adorable. She might qualify as one of the stereotype minifigures. Meanwhile the scuba diver is great because the helmet is an improvement over the Atlantis figures. These advances in Lego minifigure technology is what's so great about these releases.

Why did I buy these toys? Because I misinterpreted what they were when I was squeezing. Couldn't give a crap about either one.

Batboy. I really like that the wings are sculpted onto his arms. I don't like that this means his arms are permanently stuck out like that. This is why I consider minimates to be superior.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

AMP Episode 50: Episode 50

Oh Snap! We've hit episode 50 of the Articulated Monster Podcast.

We totally did very little to celebrate and instead just got on with the episode. News, what did we buy? And a lot of talk of minimates and other stuff. Good fun. Give it a listen.