Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The toy lot from LA

So my buddy, Dave, has been buying a few things for me on and off as he finds it out in California. I just got a package last week that he's been building up since Fall 2010. I'm psyched about the LEGO Kingdoms Advent Calendar, which is full of all sorts of good characters which are exclusive to this set, like: The Queen, The Prince, The Blue Wizard, and the Blacksmith. It also has tons of other goodies in it, and it was exclusive to the LEGO Brand store, which we didn't have in the Cleveland area, although we do have one now. I also got 8 assorted King's Knights from the 2007/08 Castle theme, which is a new incarnation of the Blue Crown Knights from the first LEGO Castle from about 1980, which I had as a child. I got a pair of LEGO collectible figures, the Luchedore from series 1, and the Witch from series 2. Lastly on the LEGO end is two Skeletal Steeds, which are for my Evil Army of the Undead.

For Hasbro's Star Wars line I got the Ewok and Ewok Glider from the $25 battlepack, which he had gotten for about half that price, and sold off the Luke and Imperial Officer. I think this Ewok is supposed to be Warok, one of the Ewoks that was in the classic Kenner line. Another neat thing he sent me, though not pictured, are some cardboard Endor backdrops, which will be perfect for when I finally set up my Return of the Jedi Ewok battle. These save me the time of trying to make a Forest environment from scratch.... which I probably would never get around to because it requires work.

The remainder of the package from Dave, is made of 25th Anniversary & Rise of Cobra (ROC) G.I.Joe Hasbro action figures. The tan desert camo figures are Zartan as a PIT trooper, Law & Order the MP and canine, the Female Dailtone who was introduced in the GIJoe Resolute webisodes, and the last one is either Dusty or an actual PIT trooper. In the classic Joe toyline, Dialtone had been male. Since I started collecting GIJoe again early this year, I missed the Dreadnoks, Torch, Buzzer, and Ripper, and although I still need a Buzzer I got the other two mercenary hooligans in this lot. The last three Joes, are more 25th figures, including Lt. Falcon & Tunnel Rat who debuted in the 80's Animated movie, and Outback the survivalist who was also one of my favs.

Oh yeah, I also got the recolored ROC Mole Pod from the Toys R Us exclusive multi-pack. So now I have all three colorations of this vehicle which fills the void of never getting a driller pod from Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles (if they ever made the a toy from the much used vehicle from the TMNT animated series). So that wraps up this haul, I have another package due from my sister, and my buddy Cam. More on those when they arrive.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter selections for boys this year

G.I.Joe is a perennial favorite of boys since the 80's. Right now Marshall's has some of the 25th anniversary figures that came out before the Rise of Cobra movie, for $3.99 apiece. This is a bargain price, as I recall when I stopped collecting Joe's in the early 90's they were either $2.79 or $2.99. These modern figures are easily worth $5.99-$7.99. Gabriel brothers has a selection of the Rise of Cobra (ROC) figures for $3.99 as well, the same holds true for their retail value of $5.99-$7.99. These ROC figures are from the later waves that were produced in lower numbers than the earlier waves of figures. A perfect fit for an Easter Basket this year.

Another favorite amongst boys is LEGO, and contrary to popular belief, not all LEGO is overpriced. Here we have some examples of affordable LEGO for this year's Easter celebration. The Ninjago Bone Chopper polybag is $3.49 at Toys R Us and is an exclusive. Target has a counterpart to this Ninjago set (not pictured), that would make a perfect pair. The small boxed sets usually sell for $3.99 apiece, but are on sale until the 16th at buy 1 get 1 %50 off, which averages to $2.99 apiece (Available at Toys R Us).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beachwood, Ohio LEGO brand store exclusive Minifigure set

Here is the exclusive set of LEGO figures from this weekend's grand opening event. An individually numbered piece of a series of only 500 sets. Sorry about the flash, my picture taking skills are not the best. You should be able to make out the Water-tower in the background with Beachwood written on it. Also the backs of the figures say something like "LEGO Grand Opening Beachwood, Ohio". Overall a great piece of local LEGO history. Also the decorations on the fronts of the figure torsos are unique to grand opening sets and have only been seen on the Costa Mesa, CA set so far.

Drooling toy-a-holic in LEGO Heaven

Well a LEGO Brand store has opened in the Cleveland, OH area and I must admit I had one hell of a weekend during the Grand Opening of Beachwood Place's store. I went on Friday with my friend from high school and her son after his school let out. He was tempted to skip school, but didn't. This conjures memories of reports of some Pokemon related launch, I think it was for an Official Pokemart store, and many, many kids skipped school to be there. Anyways we waited about a half hour in  line to get into the store. Once inside we marveled at the vast selection of common sets, and exclusives. We decided however to skip purchasing anything Friday as there was an exclusive set of minifigures being given away with a $35 purchase to the first 500 customers on Saturday. So I called the mall office to see when the mall opened. I was told it would be 10AM.... then I asked when does it open to mall-walkers, "Oh well 8:30 or 9:00". Well we made plans to be there at 8:30AM. We got there bright and early with my LEGO fanatic brother. We all ended up getting our exclusive sets, as we were maybe 13th in line if you count children. The store actually opened its doors early at about 9:30AM. I am very, very happy to have participated in the grand opening mayhem... and it was a madhouse. All told by 11AM when I left the mall thousands of fans had lined up for the Store, and the master building event! I will have more on this subject soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easter selections for girls this year

High on my list of recommendations this year for Easter presents for your girls are: 1. Hasbro's Littlest Pet Shop. 2. Mattel's Monster High Gloom Beach assortment. 3. Hasbro's Strawberry Shortcake doll assortment.

I can understand the appeal of Littlest Pet Shop (LPS). First of all they are pocket size which is great for visitng friends or showing off or trading at school. Secondly, there are quite a few variations of the same animal. Lastly, there are tons to choose from. LPS has been high on my niece's want list for the last several years. This year I highly recommend checking out the prices at your local TJMaxx or Marshall's, they have a wide selection, and oftentimes clearance pricing on some. They have the best prices by far. This year Big Lots has a surprisingly large assortment but the price is not the best. Don't pass up smaller three packs and the like at Family Dollar in the range of $5.50. Although I haven't checked, it's very likely Walgreens will have a decent deal on basket stuffers.

For mothers who aren't fan of Barbie but are looking for a fashion doll alternative to Bratz, there is Monster High. A ghoulishly clever idea of placing the children of the classic horror monsters into a high school set. These are stylish and affordable, and eliminate the Caucasian-centric doll paradigm by casting the girls in different hues, from greenish, to pinkish, to blueish... a step into the current millennium.

Mothers who grew up in the 80's will love the newest assortments of  Hasbro's Strawberry Shortcake dolls. A definite similarity to the classic dolls can be seen in the newest releases. So far they have released: Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Meringue, Raspberry Torte, Plum Pudding, Orange Marmalade, and Blueberry Muffin. These range from $7.99-10.49. They are available at Target and Toys R Us, you may be able to find some at web e-tailers, like from (Oh, Blueberry is most likely $14.99, but she has a color-changing outfit and hair, a variation of Strawberry Shortcake is also in this feature as well)

Says the Night Raven, GIJoe forevermore

So another of the vastly overpriced item from the G.I.Joe Rise of Cobra movie (ROC) was the electronic Night Raven. It came out at $39.99 or better and doesn’t include batteries.  Nevertheless the vehicle itself is definitely awesome and worth owning. A reincarnation of the classic Night Raven, though admittedly much smaller,  it includes the modern incarnation of the Strato-viper who was designed for the 25th Anniversary line (25th) that preceded ROC.  I was lucky enough to get the Strato-Viper in his classic colors from the 25th Cobra Island 7 figure boxed set, that Dave was nice enough to allow me to get just the figures I wanted without buying the whole box (which was an internet exclusive).  I got a Night Raven a month or two ago for the bargain price of $15 on clearance at TJMaxx or Marshalls. This week I bought a second at the steal price of $10….. just ten dollars!?! I’m happy,&  I will probably sell off the pilot ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Review of LEGO MiniFigure Series 4 (8804)

Originally submitted at Toys R Us

The LEGO MiniFigure Series 4 (8804) adds 16 all-new, special minifigures to the growing LEGO MiniFigure Collection. Which one will you get when you open the mystery bag? Each MiniFigure comes in a sealed, mystery bag, so you never know which MiniFigure you might get. And each character has its own ...

Another round of excellent characters

By L Whip from Cleveland, OH on 4/4/2011


5out of 5

Pros: Detailed, Fun, Stands on its Own

Cons: Small Parts

Best Uses: Gift, Young Children, Imaginative Play, Collecting

Describe Yourself: Collector

Was this a gift?: No

The perfect impulse item. Another batch of unique characters to appeal to LEGO fans of all ages. With something for all tastes from the mohawked Punk Rocker to the Garden Gnome. The thrill of the hunt is on. Can you find every figure you want?


Boosting morale versus The Scourge of the Forest Moon

So I'm a huge fan of the Endor Conflict. I imagine the Imperial Propagandists refer to Ewoks as 'The Ewok Terrorist Front of Endor". Due to our challenging political correct times where the evil ruthless organization of Cobra isn't referred to as "terrorists", I suppose that "The Scourge of the Forest Moon" is a more suitable title. I think one of the neat fun things about fan-artists is the new creative angles in which they view their favorite properties. Thus I can see the Empire using recruitment posters like the one in this post to get civilians psyched about operating in forest theaters like Endor, even with the constant threat of "The Scourge". I hope our boys around the globe defending our civil rights are privy to the uplifting efforts of artists and the age old classic of pin-up girl posters.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Transformers Knock Off Cyberjets/Robot Masters

Found a gem today that I had seen en masse at Family Dollar, but this time as the combination of both G2 Cyberjets, at Tuesday Morning. These are reverse engineered off actual Hasbro/Takara Transformers that were seen in Generation 2 as Cyberjets, but may have been used about 5 years ago in Japan's Robot Masters, but I'm not sure. These knock-offs are naturally of some of the poorest quality. I bought them as I had missed buying the G2 Cyberjets from the dump bins of Kay Bee Toys 15 years ago. Visually, they blend okay with real TF's. I am pleased, and only wished they had been released in the Car Robots 2000/Robots in Disguise line. The two biggest problems are one of the rocket's doesn't fit in the launcher on one, and the back landing gear is non-functional. The packaging is a knock off  of the Robot Masters style. If you can't find them at Tuesday Morning try Family Dollar.

Last of the Red Hot tail-enders

Ah, tail enders, one of my favorite things. As a re-cap a tail-ender is a toy produced in the last days of a toyline that are usually in smaller numbers and oftentimes appear at discount retailers. Kay Bee used to be notorious for these. Don’t let their discount price fool you, due to the smaller production run, these types of toys often appreciate strongly on the secondary market in subsequent years.
Today’s tail-enders had originally appeared at Ross stores (which we unfortunately do not have in Ohio). I happened on them at my local Gabriel Brother’s while following up a tip off from a friend of mine that the Easter selection of toys there had GIJoe figures. These “alpha class” vehicles had been intended to retail at a costly $15.99, a $11.99 price-point would have been more reasonable. The CEO of Hasbro even declared in a shareholders meeting that GIJoe Rise of Cobra movie toys “may” have been put on the marketplace at too high a price, leading to clogged shelves.

At $6.99, a figure and a vehicle together, is what I consider a “bargain”. I had been looking forward to the “Lava Pod” version of the “Mole Pod”  but thought I wouldn’t get a chance to own it. I now have two, along with the “Tiger Claw” ATV with a Gung-Ho looking Leatherneck, and the “Polar Sharc” with an artic soldier that looks like he bought his jacket at the mall rather than having an arctic camouflage one issued to him. In all fairness though, the Joes in the movie had little time to prepared for deployment to the Arctic theater when they discovered Destro’s hidden base. So maybe they did just throw on civilian attire to stay warm on the impromptu deployment.

A great find, on a Foolish day.

Gotta catch ‘em all! (Again)

Gotta catch ‘em all! Ah, I had hoped the best of my Pokemon years were behind me, but a surprise whammy hit me today. I have at least one friend with the new 3DS and I assume he has either Pokemon Black and or White.  Well my DS was sold off a while ago, but I own a Gameboy Advance I picked up on impulse for $25 the other month.  So while I was pre-ordering LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (namely for the free Jack Sparrow minifigure), I asked about GBA Pokemon games like Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire. My Jaw dropped when I looked at these beat up loose cartridges, $29.99, $34.99, or $39.99. Am I living in some weird Negaverse. There must be millions of copies of these games on the market…. Ah I guess I never figured Video Games could have a “collector’s value”  even though it’s second nature to me that toys fluctuate wildly in price over time. So I guess I’m not playing Pokemon on GBA as an alternative to the DS.
I did however make a Pokemon purchase today, adorable plush from Diamond and Pearl (I did play Pearl). They were dirt cheap so I bought a box, for nearly half the price of one of those GBA carts. I feel all Poke-warm inside. I still miss the hey-day of Pokemon at the turn of the millennium, but times passes, so it’s time to learn some new names.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stunning Beauty

So "Attack of the Clones" is probably my favorite movie of the prequel trilogy. Many fans complain about stiff or poor acting, poor plot, and other problems. I think Anakin was well acted and specifically portrayed as being the direct bloodline of the whiny Luke we see in "A New Hope". Like Son like Father. Lines like "I swear, Anakin, someday you'll be the death of me" are golden and not just trite pandering. The love affair was a bit rushed, but so be it. The introduction of the Clone Army is definitely cool. The Emperor's rise to power with Jar Jar as the scapegoat is brilliant retribution for Jar Jar existing. I think the action was not as dizzy-ing as "Revenge of the Sith". Anakin's turn to the path of the dark side by slaughtering his mother's killers wholesale is moving in a dark way. I continued to be pleased with Amidala's costumes. To this end it was difficult to pass up this lovely Padme in Tattooine Peasant Disguise. So difficult it is now part of my collection, I guess I couldn't pass it up. The use of cloth is nice, and seeing Portman on a vintage style card is fun.

Custom LEGO Avatars

One of the practical upshots of having too many LEGO minifigure parts laying around is that you start to imagine you and your friends as LEGO guys. This happened to me again this week when I looked at the parts of the Series 3 collection. Seeing as I had no interest in the Aviator character, I noticed that his jacket matched my friend Ken's jacket. So I thought to myself, what else would I need to make a custom avatar of Ken. My brother and I brainstormed a little. We determined he needed a black knit cap, check, a head with an eye patch, check, and black slacks, check. My brother provided everything outside the jacket, with the eye patch head being from a classic Pirates head from like 20 years ago. The black knit cap came from a 2011 set off a crook in a cops n crooks set. Some old used black legs completed the figure. We presented the figure to Ken, and he was overjoyed. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't appreciate a toy version of themselves. I now am of course obligated to make more friends, and I am looking forward to it. I know my friend's Waylon and Anna display their LEGO avatar figures from like 7 years ago in a knick knack shelf at their home.

LEGO Collectible Minifigure Series 3 overload

So just as series 4 is getting released, and my local LEGO brand store is about to open for business... I break down and decide to stock up on Series 3 figures. Come on, they were on sale for an average of $2.24 after a buy one get one helf off sale at Toys R Us from retail of $2.99. That's only a quarter higher than when series 1 was released last May. They were $1.99 then, also when I found the first box of Series 2 at Target they were $1.99 and I committed to buying a box. But honestly, for series 2 I had a friend lined up to buy a set from me, and I dumped a second set off at cost, to be left with the third set and a few extras for me and my brother. I swore I was done with series 3, after the odd few I bought, even though I didn't find the cyborg Blacktron guy or the Native American chief.

Well I skipped the old "feel a foilbag" method and just tore into these series 3 guys with my brother and some friends at my local Denny's. We had a good time, and ended up with some trade bait I plan to use to get the guys I want from series 4. So far I only have plans to get Hazmat workers, Musketeers, Punk Rockers, and Mad Scientist from series 4. Even though I say that now, I suppose I'll end up breaking down and buying a bulk lot.

Well the good news was my brother got the cyborg Blacktron guys x 2, and the Baseball players he wanted. He also ate up the tennis players, snowboarder chicks, aliens, and a couple others. I meanwhile got my Native American Chief and a pair of Modern Forestman counterparts (AKA elves). The spread on the lot was fairly even except for the Sumo wrestlers which we ended up with 9 of. However considering the lot we got was the halves of two separate display boxes, I am amazed that basically we got two complete sets and extras. It's a shame we had no interest in a  complete set, but so goes things in the world of collecting.