Monday, September 30, 2013

Buyer's remorse, This weekend In buying toys edition

Spent way too much on costume accessories this week at Target, but that's a blog I gave up a while ago. But toys...


Picked up a Hot Wheels car of a rocket powered school bus, which is an odd way to power a school bus, and speaks to a growing trend toward fantasy that I'm not entirely comfortable with for Hot Wheels, but I suppose that's what they use the Matchbox line for. Meanwhile, I wanted a Hot Wheels school bus.

Also picked up a Walking Dead minimate pack because it has a good minimate zombie and a comicbook version of the Governor with bonus eyepatch head. Mostly for the minimate zombie.

Then theres a TMNT lego polybag set which I only picked up for the minifigure with a krang image printed on the torso, simulating the awesome giant alien brain in a robot body torso idea.


Also got a Daphne minifigure because some asshole opened all the blind bags so I could look inside them and find the ones I wanted. Kinda mixed feelings on this. On the one hand I got what I wanted, on the other hand this is just a huge dick move. If I saw whoever did this I wonder if I would have yelled at the person doing it, adult or kid. I told a store clerk... And they just walked away and I later saw them working an empty cash register. (The box holding the blind packs had been moved to another part of the store too, so they weren't even near the other Scooby Doo building sets.)

 I also picked up the Voodoo Man becuase he's actually the Freak of Crystal Cove from the recent Mystery Inc. series. In that continuity he's actually Fred Jones' father and town mayor who in realitty kidnapped an infant Fred Jones from his real mystery solving parents in order to extort them into staying away from his criminal plans. In an ironic twist, Fred Jones sr learns to love his adopted son and when Fred'ss real parents return The Freak is also revealed to be a better parent and more loving than Fred's real family who are now corrupt adventurers. Man that was a good show. Anyway, they made a figure of the Freak... And then gave him a new name which makes absolutely no sense.

Of course if you check the Character Building website you realize that in the UK, where CB is located, they do things differently there. Like have all 5 members of the Mystery Inc. gang available through the blind packs. It also turns out that 7 of the monsters aren't part of the Scooby Doo line in the UK. For the US Scooby Doo Character Building release CB folded in minifigures from their Monsters vs. Zombie line, possibly to fill out the Scooby line but more likely because it was the only way to get those figures into US stores. 

Borderlands 2 Swag-filled Limited Edition Diamond Plate Loot Chest

What a long ass name for this product. Basically, it's a replica of a Loot Chest from the Borderland game filled with various Borderlands memorabilia. You've got some trading cards and a mask of a Borderlands baddie, all of which have codes that can be entered in the game to unlock those items in the game. Which is pretty cool since the drop ratio of those items in the game naturally is about 0.05%. I actually got one of the guns once, but a power failure corrupted my save file and it was lost forever.

 Other items inside the chest include wanted posters for all the Borderlands 2 playable characters (including the DLC ones, which the previous chest did not). There's also some pretty neat crumpled up newspaper pages that act as packaging materials but you quickly realize are even more bonus content, since they're actually from a newspaper written by characters in the game. Also, some window decals.

The chest itself is pretty solid. Which is good, because the cost for the whole package is $100. If this was some flimsy plastic (like the mask) I'd be pretty  pissed. But this thing could probably survive a few drops and I wouldn't mind using it as a toy chest for some collection or other.

Even cooler: the box the chest comes from simulates an in-game shipping box with additional jokes scrawled over it by various characters. It's pretty great.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Articulated Monster Podcast # 79: Other James Hosts

Hey Everyone, I got too tired to host so instead the other James hosted! I just sat back and talked about stuff.

And don't forget, you can always e-mail us and we'll answer your questions during the next podcast.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Big Lots cheap MOTUC figure scratches my Nostalgia itch since SyKlone is the MOTU figure I had as a kid. I wish this one had the original's action feature, but I guess his lenticular chest and cut waist joint will have to do.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hulk, 12 inch Titan series

So, hey, you may have noticed that Hasbro has been putting out some budget 12 inch figures of some of their bigger properties. For about $10 you can get a 12 inch figure with limited articulation and many other budget features. I got a gift card to a department store and decided to pick one up to see what they're like.

I went with the Hulk because he's bigger than any of the other figures and with cut wrist joints he has 2 more joints than most of the other figures. And unlike the Star Wars clone trooper, his hand doesn't have a 6 inch rifle permanently sculpted in his hand.

The sculpting is pretty cartoony, but that's to be expected. This is basically the budget 3 inch figure blown up to 12 inches.  That means all the joints are cut joints. And almost impotent joint in the case of the hips since the articulation is impeded by the sculpted buttocks. You read that right, the sculpt of Hulk's caboose prevents the legs from moving more than a few centimeters.  Fortunately that's just enough adjustment to improve a minor balance issue, but not much more.

Oh, and to save on plastic costs, the figure is hollow. 6 inch figures feel heavier than this figure.

My other issue is one of scale. The Titan figures are slightly shorter than other 12 inch lines. Check out how Hulk, one of the bigger characters in the Marvel universe, compares to the Marvel Legends Icon version of Dr Doom who should pale in size next to the Hulk.

Final verdict: good for the price if you want something low budget for kids that play rough or just to stand up somewhere. Otherwise they're less functional than a cheap Barbie doll. I might use Hulk for a background extra if I do a diorama, but that's it. I could be convinced to use these figures to team build a 12 inch team when other figures in the line aren't appealing to me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Hey, it's the Penguin. Old school comic book Super Powers Penguin, before everyone tried to make him dark and gritty because of the Tim Burton vulgarity version. This Penguin was just a wannabe gentleman who had some cleer umbrella/bird/monocle gadgets. 

But I have trouble justifying buying Mattel figures for full price these days. So good thingario got me this guy for my birthday!

Lego Minifigures series 11

I'm pretty sure that these ever more frequent minifigure series are what's slowly causing my disinterest in Legos. Remember how I was super enthusiastic about Legos? That's no longer the case. And I blame the exhaustion of trying to collect the blind packed minifigures. It's not enough to find them in stock, now I've got try and figure out what's in each bag?

Instead of being happy to buy some Legos I end up being disappointed by my Lego purchases. Even if I get everything I want, the whole process is under a cloud of potential disappointment. And that process, the squeezing, the guessing, that's a tedious process that I now associate with the Lego brand.

Also, the blatant racism is kinda getting to me. The island dude has a bone in his hair? What? I don't demand historical accuracy, but I'd ideally like there to not be a reliance on stereotypes of other cultures. Hair bones should only be used with cavemen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Scooby Doo minifigures

Character Building, the guys who do the Doctor  Who minifigures, are making Scooby Doo building sets and figures. You can only get Velma and Daphne through blind packs and Shaggy, Scooby and Fred are only available through building sets.

So I tried to get the girls (if you squeeze to identify, they're the only ones with
molded breasts) but ended up with two Velmas. One I gave to Mario.

I also tried to get some monsters. I wanted a Lagoon Creature and let fate choose me a random monster. I was hoping for a Dracula but instead got a clown. An orange clown. It looks like he's wearing a prison jumpsuit.

With no Daphne, I guess I'll have to pretend Amy Pond is Daphne.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Birthday Haul

Here's the toys I got for my birthday.

Cyberman Bust and Illustrated book

This Tiny cyberman bust and book are sold in the gift area of bookstores along with desktop zen gardens or the Harry Potter Golden snitch packs. It's plastic but looks like metal, and features the cyberman design from the recent Neil Gaiman episode. The book features a short description of every Cybermen episode from the classic and new series. Awesome!

I love this thing.

Also, the plastic fork is in the picture to establish scale.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Articulated Monster Podcast: Episode 78: Mario Wears Pants

It's the Articulated Monster Podcast! Episode 78 features talk about Mario's pants or lack thereof, Disney Infinity, and some other stuff that I can't remember.

Soft sell!

Violet Parr

Violet is my favorite Incredibles character, and the one I was most looking forward to playing in the game. I was really hoping that they would get Sarah Vowell to do the voice again, and they did! It's awesome hearing her do super-hero banter and quips... as well as her impatient idle time lines. In the game her regular attack is throwing force field bubbles at enemies, making her one of the few Disney Infinity characters to get a distance attack as her regular attack. Her "Powerful Attack" isn't actually an attack, she turns invisible and enemies will ignore her. And while that's cool, your attacks are strong enough that it doesn't really matter if the enemies see you or not. So sometimes it feels like a wasted opportunity to have her... I dunno, have an exploding force field. (And yes, you do get to use her force field as a force field; it's her "block" move.) Still, she's proven to be my favorite character to use in the game. 

The figure itself is a little odd. The paint varies from figure to figure, and I noticed that at one store all the Violet figures had a rosy face that wasn't apparent on the figures I had seen at other stores. Like they had all been given a layer of blush. (The makeup, not the facial reaction.) Another issue is that the character model dictates very thin arms and legs and a stick of a torso, which ends up giving the figure a flimsy feeling not apparent on the other figures, most of which are basically blocks of plastic.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mrs. Incredible / Elastigirl

Let's start with Helen Parr aka Elastigirl. She's usable in the Incredibles part of the game and her powers in the game reflect her powers better than a third person game has any right to. Her punches and kicks basically turn her into Dhalsim and her "Strong Attack" imitates her rubber arms version of the Spider-man swing, allowing you to attach to buildings and or enemies and then slingshot yourself towards them. It's such a useful power and well implemented that the game eventually gives you an accessory so any character can imitate it. And I mean any character. It's available in the toy box mode so now Jack Sparrow can slingshot himself at walls and enemies.

Holly Hunter doesn't return to voice the character, but EG Daily does a pretty good job with the southern drawl. The figure looks awesome, the paint is sharp and the pose really showcases the character's effectiveness as a badass. You may want to check the paint around the mask though, I noticed a few figures where the paint can be a bit blurry around the eyes and edges of the mask, but it's barely noticeable. I'd say it's one of the better figures in the first wave, although really, all the figures in the first wave are pretty well done, with a few noticeable exceptions.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Disney Infinity

Let's explain the concept before reviewing the figures.

So some store I visited was throwing this sign away. Right place, right time.
Disney Infinity, the video game that is pretty much seen as a knock-off of Spyro the Dragon: Skylanders. Basically you buy the game and the only way to unlock the content on the disc is to buy figurines that you place on a reader. Then you can play as the character depicted on the figurine! Of course each figurine only works in the level (or as they call them: playsets) that is associated with the figure's movie property (So Pirates of the Caribean figures won't work in the Monsters University game) or the Toy Box, which is essentially Little Big Planet using Disney themes. The Toy Box is surprisingly well done, with the ability to use elements to make sports games, side scrollers, and racing games. Disney is even releasing pre-made Toy Box levels, like an ESPN themed race track or a simulation of Columbia from Bioshock Infinite.

I was going to ignore this game at first, but then I found out that the Incredibles level was basically GTA: Incredibles and that some of the original voice cast appeared. Hearing Sarah Vowell talk as I beat people up as Violet makes me happy. I played a little, got obsessed, and ended up buying every figure from the first wave. Fortunately, if you were willing to shop around you could get some good deals. For example, Wal-Mart had all the multi-packs of figures for half-off.

I'm slowly opening the figures. There's about 4 hours of gameplay per figure, more if you want to level them up (which doesn't improve their plat stats, but does earn you currency to unlock more Toy Box items and pretties up the character's display in the virtual exhibition hall of collected figures.) The starter pack (video game, figure reader, 3 figures) comes with the figures for Mr. Incredible, Jack Sparrow, and Sully and the figure that unlocks their respective levels/games. So far I've been playing through the Incredibles and Monster University playsets. (And yes, it IS like GTA: Incredibles. I've drop kicked the mayor more times than I can remember. Monsters University is more of a... stealth collection puzzle game?) The games are fun, and what I've done with the Toy Box so far shows some promise. I'm hoping to figure out a way to make the side-scrolling work in a way that I can create a good brawler or 2D fighting game.

And yes, the blind packed Power Discs which either add a bonus to your character during gameplay (like a shield or extra currency rewards) or add new elements to the Toy Box such as exclusive vehicles or background paint, those are a pain in the butt. Especially since some of them are "rare" and so now you get a collectible aspect into this. $5 for a two-pack of accessories that unlock something already on the disc you had to pay $75 for. But I still want some of them, because the unlocked skies include new background music, so the Alice in Wonderland background has a creepy old school song loop that implies a threatening psychedelic environment.

How bad is the power disc thing? Last Saturday Toys R Us had a event where people could trade their discs and get an exclusive disc. End result: they sold out of the exclusives in less than an hour and the store was fricking packed, or so I'm told by employees since I had to work and wouldn't have participated anyway because I don't want to be the creepy adult trying to trade toys with children. Which is a shame because I wanted the exclusive Tron disc... (Which is actually going to be included in the wave 2 blind packed power discs coming out sometime before December.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Curiousity... Infinity!

So quick question: Is there any interest in me doing reviews and looking over gameplay of Disney Infinity? Because I bought all the figures. For some reason.

My plan is to use the toybox to make a version of Pac-Man with Disney characters.

Monday, September 2, 2013


It's a robot with a giant gun! Curious about the Imaginext blind bag figures, I picked one up. It's a nice robot with a giant gun and multi-tool backpack. A bit violent considering the target age, but Imaginext has been going that way for quite a while.

The accessories are a bit minimal, but based on what you get with Lego it's impressive, I guess. (The luchadore comes with a full sized practice dummy.)

Yeah, this whole blind bag minifigure trend Lego has popularized is getting annoying.