Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Good bye Monster High Classrooms, Hello G.I.Joe Bootcamp

Well I must say I will miss collecting Monster High, but I am moving my collector focus over to G.I.Joe. I am saving a small core of my dolls, the rest are going off to better homes. Just as I have my original Classrooms assortment up for auction on Ebay I saw the new Art Class dolls this morning. I get so tempted to buy new dolls, but I don't see myself buying them for more than $20 when I can get two Joes for that price. In all fairness I am better suited to collecting figures over dolls. As some other blogger has pointed out there really isn't a difference, action figures are dolls, and dolls are action figures. So good bye Frankie Stein, Ghoulia Yelps, Lagoona Blue, Clawdeen Wolf, Draculaura...

Classroom Dolls with Lockers
Hello Zarana and whoever else decides to join my modern ranks. I just got ahold of the Comic Con Zarana from a few years back, really an awesome sculpt. My first Joe figure was Zartan, so his siblings and to a slightly less degree the Dreadnoks are some of my favorite classic characters. Really the years of like 1986 through maybe 1989 or 90 are the favorite parts of the classic line. The accessories were cooler and the figures had more detailed sculpts. I am working on how to actually display my modern and vintage Joe collection, they have spent too much time in boxes. Well, until next time, Yo Joe!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Is G.I.Joe Micro Force a glimpse into the future of 3.75 Retaliation figures?

I finally sorted the G.I.Joe Micro Force figures I bought back in July. I managed to piece together my whole set, and with a few extras I bought online, I got a trading buddy his set shy 3 guys. Mind you I also bought a couple of loose lots of EBay. When I was looking at my extras I got to thinking about all the weird ninja's in the set. With word from Hasbro that they aren't unveiling new Joes at the New York Comic Con this weekend (which is what they said at SDCC in July), fans will have to wait until February 2014 to see what's coming out. My initial reaction was that this spells doom for the line. However I thought back to how Transformers Prime was unvieled at the Toy Fair and new product was on the shelf within weeks, maybe we will see new product at Toy Fair and have that product on the shelf within weeks. So I wondered furthwr upon inspecting my Micro Force figures..... Does Hasbro intend to make all the crazy ninjas into 3.75 inch figures....... I guess we will know in 4 months. I for one am scared.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pokemon Black and White Plush

I listed some more items this week on EBay, including Pokemon Plush from Black and White:

From Autobots & Decepticons, to Maximals vs. Vehicons, then Autobots vs. Predacons, and back to the beginning.

Part of what made the original Transformers toys so cool could have in part had to deal with the scale between certain Generation 1 series 1 Autobots and Decepticons. Optimus and the first wave of Autobots, and the Decepticon Seeker Jets all shared a scale that allowed for imaginary pilots. The "minibots" were kinda cool as the little brothers to the Autobots. And Megatron, Soundwave and his cassettes being to scale with the real world worked somehow given how cool they were portrayed in the cartoon and comic book. Later waves varied the scale, although if you consider the Insecticons and Dinobots to be "mecha" then they too fit in scale with those imaginary pilots. (Aside: Those pilots did exist in the pre-Transformers toys called Diaclone or Inchman in Japan, they were eliminated from the Transformers story arc when the bots themselves became the heroes and required no drivers or pilots.)

I migrated over to G.I.Joe collecting somewhere around the time of Transformers the Movie. So I really missed alot of what happened later in the Transformers G1 toy line but I was around long enough to see the introduction of Deluxe Insecticons and "gestalt" Combiner teams. I owned both the Arialbots and Combaticon teams. When I left Transformers it was basically a battle between Autobots and Decepticons. I totally passed on Generation 2 Transformers, where I was not pleased to see Megatron portrayed as a tank, although it makes alot more sense then being a gun if you really think about it. I vaguely remember the G2 Cyberjets and "Go-bots" hitting the dump bins at Kay Bee around the time of the launch of Beast Wars. Little did I suspect I would be such a fan of them and the jets from Kay Bee's exclusive Machine Wars. Maybe because they were new molds in the spirit of G1. I was never a fan of Beast Wars. When the series evolved into Beast Machines and the Maximals took on a more "Cybertronian" (futuristic) form and faced off against Vehicons, there were glimmers of the return of Autobots vs. Decepticons. 

Then with Robots in Disguise we saw the Autobots return, but pitted against a mix of opponents including Predacons. I really loved the car brothers from RID. They were three sleek modern actual earth cars that very nearly matched the scale of the original G1 series 1 cars. I didn't really collect Universe/Classics/Generations as their release was really all over the map both scale-wise and release/date/order-wise.

So as I am currently rebuilding my Car Robots 2000 and RID collections, it dawns on me that the majority of the Movie Trilogy figures were also in scale with the RID and G1 cars. You may ask, why is this only dawning on me just now and not back in 2007. I think it is because the robot modes of the Movie Trilogy characters were so ... how should I put this... divergent from any past incarnations, that I really didn't think of Barricade chasing down Sideburn, but now that seems cool. I'm glad I stockpiled a bunch of Mechtechs deluxe class vehicles from the third movie from Family Dollar... I got to go home and open some toys ;) Or maybe I should pair up my already open cyberjets/machine wars jets and my G2 go-bots /RID spychangers to show how they are similar to the battle between G1 S1 cars and jets.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Generation 2 Go-bots Optimus Prime, Car Robots 2000 Super Mach Alert, & RID Ruination

While I've been keeping my eye on the rising prices of G.I.Joe I haven't strayed to far from keeping my other eye on Transformers. As it turns out a few pieces popped up in my price range recently. By now you know I have a spychanger obsession. Although I have posted pictures in the past of Generation 2 Optimus Prime, it wasn't until this week that I finally added a carded example to my collection. Being the pinnacle of the collection, unless I somehow buy a Botcon 1995 Nightracer, I am nearly done. Although I have owned a go-bots Mirage in the past, I must have sold it down the road somewhere (or possibly not actually owned it),  once I get that and a Double Clutch with Optimus and Megatron on the cardback, I will have the three series of 6 go-bots figures from Generation 2 Transformers. That collection will be more complete than any I have seen on EBay to date.

Unfortunately the blister bubble was damaged in transit, so now I have to still keep an eye out for replacement. I did buy some other G2 go-bots this past week, and as a general rule I always check to see what other similar items a seller might also be selling that I have interest in. If I get combined shipping, this makes the average price work out better on the lot. The seller of 4 Go-bots I bought this week also had a Japanese Car Robots 2000 figure, super Mach Alert available. Technically I owned all the items this seller had except a damaged Mirage. Although I figure I will be selling off my complete first sets soon of go-bots and Car Robots, so why not start on a second collection ;)

I streched my budget super thin, but had to go in on buying a carded set of Ruination from the US 2001 follow-up line to Japan's Car Robots: RID (Robots in Disguise). I sold off the majority of my CR2000 and RID collection about 5 years ago. So every now and then when I see a killer deal I go for it. So I am slowly rebuilding my previous collection. It's funny, I don't know if other people are like this, but sometimes after I sell off a collection, I start to feel nostalgic a few years down the road, and start re-buying the things I already owned. Although I must admit, some of the toys I have owned in the past and sold off, I really no longer have any inclination to buy or even look at. I have no urge to own vintage TMNT, but I am always looking at Kenner Predator and Aliens figures, and occasionally Kenner Terminator and Gargoyles. I will leave off there for now, catch ya on the flipside. END OF LINE.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Takara lottery super spychangers and variants.

I figure while back on the topic of spychangers I might add the photos I have of the lottery super spychangers and their crystal clear variant editions.

Also the variations:

Jusco Spychangers

If you don't count the 1995 Botcon exclusive Nightracer repaint, the next most valuable colorations of the first 6 spychangers molds has to be the Jusco exclusive spychangers. Originally given away as a promotion at the Japanese retailer Jusco, these toys were blind packed. So you didn't know what you were getting and you had to get them in the promotional window. Therefore assembling a set of these is nigh impossible. I was lucky enough to get these from an ebay seller from whom I had purchased legitimate Jusco exclusive Wrecker Hook and Indy Heat. Although according to tfu.info Jusco is a misnomer for one of that pair as Wrecker Hook was technically to quote the site " Availability: This figure was available exclsuvely in Daiei stores in Japan in 2000 with the purchase of Build King (2000, Japan)."

Anyways the Jusco spychangers have a nice set of photos over at ridforever.com. Here is the only picture of the collection I took before selling it off at the right price.

Ebay shipment nightmares

One of my greatest fears is that an Ebay buyer's package gets mangles in transit to them and I get bad feedback. On the other hand I don't wish this on myself. Well the last two auctions I won were mutilated in shipping. For the package from China I can understand. The shipping was free and I expected some thin cardboard box. However they usually arrive in fair condition instead I got this:
So then I order something else and this arrives:
Though theoretically not as bad as the first, it was more stomped on than the image belays. Somehow the Thundercats in the box from China survived with the smallest of dents on the cardback for Wilykat. The second box had two things going for it, 1. it was about three and a half times larger than it needed to be. and 2. the item was packed on the diagonal of the box, where usually one side of the toy is flush with a side of the box, by some miracle this seller took an unconventional approach to boxing the item. I think the second item was Takara's Car Robots 2000 Speedbreaker. More on my recent purchase and sales soon. End of line.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Niagara Falls, revisiting a natural wonder

As a kid growing up in a Cleveland suburb it never seem awesome that my family made an annual pilgrimage to Niagara Falls, Canada. Last year my friend Amy suggested that she, her teenage son, and I make a trip to the US side of Niagara Falls because she didn't have the prerequisite passport to cross the border. I told her to save up and that the following summer we could go. Well sure enough she got her passport this year, and we made quick plans to visit Canada before the new school year. After crossing into Canada over the scenic Rainbow Bridge, we spent about 15 minutes looking for parking that wasn't going to cost us $20. Her intent on this trip was to soak in the Falls experience, not to unnecessarily spend a lot of money on souveniers, knick knacks, dining, nor tourist traps. After some driving around we found all day parking for $5 at the Skylon Tower.

One of the things I didn't seem to grasp back when I was a child was exactly what was so important about the "stupid" Falls. I must admit however that as an adult the shear power of the Falls had me captivated. I didn't really even feel this way about 10 years ago, when I had come to Niagara with a friend mainly to spend like $50 at the Casino. The fact that the Falls area was filled with sightseers from around the globe made me realize I am lucky to live so close to Niagara as to make a day trip out of it. I took a handful of photos, not nearly as many as I should have. One of the few attractions we did have planned was to "Journey Behind the Falls". I have a small amount of claustrophobia, and the idea of paying to go down into a man made  tunnel behind the actual Falls did have me jittery. However, after actually getting down there there was an amount of exhilaration between seeing the Falls from behind, as well as traveling out onto "Table Rock" to view the Falls up close and much further down than the tops of the Falls where the walkways for the general public were. 
Another fun part of the trip was seeing a bit of my youth reflected in the reaction to the Falls by my friend's son. He really became disinterested before too long about all the hub bub and photo-taking. So after we got back to the car to eat some lunch we had packed for ourselves, we agreed to go to the Clifton Hill area where we were surrounded by tourist attractions. I was all for playing Putt Putt on the course that was surrounded by larger than life Dinosaur statues. The Fireball spewing Volcano and the constant dinosaur screeching sounds had me giddy.
This pretty much rounded out our visit to the Canadian side of the Falls. However before venturing to see the Falls from Goat Island on the US side, we traveled a few minutes down the Queen's Express Way to Niagara Square Mall. I had this part of the trip planned so that I could do some poking around and toy hunting. I was not disappointed. I found an exclusive Transformers Prime Entertainment pack featuring Bumblebee and Starscream deluxe figures and a three episode dvd. Then  at the Toys R Us Express I bought a Transformers Prime First Edition Bumblebee.
The mall was suffering from a decent amount of tenant loss. Although that certainly isn't surprising in the ailing economy. I stopped in the Dollarama before leaving to buy up odd foreign candy bars and Doritos. In addition to the "Intense Pickle" flavored Doritos I found in a shop by the "Brick City" attraction back on Clifton Hill, I managed to locate 'Zesty Cheese" which may just be the equivalent of "Zesty Nacho" and another flavor that escapes me at the moment.
After crossing back to the US side in the late afternoon we drove a bit aimlessly and were lucky to accidentally find ourselves at the Niagara Gorge Park. Amy had remembered this from being young, and was pleased we stopped there to get oriented to travel over to Goat Island via instructions on the GPS. It was fun to be on an island situated between the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls, and that incorporated the narrow Luna Falls. This bit of the trip was very relaxed and included some more walking and viewing of the Falls. I got a few pictures with the Canadian side in the background across the Gorge. The trip home was pleasant. The only thing we didn't manage to accomplish on this trip was to wait around long enough to see the Falls lit up for the night.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

G.I.Joe vs. Cobra Spytroops & Valor Vs. Venom... The age of exploring what makes G.I.Joe work as an Action Figure.

The original run of G.I.Joe three and three quarters inch figures was long and multi-faceted. Before returning to that scale Hasbro experimented with 4.5 inch figures known as G.I.Joe Sgt. Savage and 5 inch figures known as G.I.Joe Extreme. I may explore what was right and what was wrong with those figures in the future. For now I am interested in what makes 3 & 3/4 inch scale Joes work. Not counting a few re-color re-releases of original Joe toys as Kay Bee and Toys R Us exclusives in the late 90's, a toyline known as "G.I.Joe Vs. Cobra" brought the scale back to prominence in  the year 2000. Hasbro did several things with these newly molded figures initially. The worst of which was lower the points of articulation. However, Hasbro was willing to experiment and listen to what fans were looking for. Although the new vehicles fit the old figures, the new figures didn't quite catch the essence of G.I.Joe properly. G.I.Joe's appeal was the freedom of movement that the original articulation represented, as well as afford-ably priced vehicles. Soon Hasbro started offering classic molds in new colors into the mix with the new design. They then added articulation to the modern more broad and cartoony newly molded figures. The G.I.Joe vs Cobra did nail something on the head, that was offering figures in two-packs, one Joe character one Cobra character. New Characters were added to the roster as well. The line then evolved into "Spytroops", where the look and articulation had been standardized and the old molds were gone (Well except for some vehicle molds and Toys R Us exclusive figure multipacks). This subline brought back a tried and true feature that had evolved in the original line... lots of accessories. More new vehicles were released, some small enough that they replaced one of the figures in some of  two packs but was offered at the same fair pricepoint (at that time about $7.99). Before the 3.75 inch figures went on what Hasbro called "and indefinite hiatus" the final transformation of the line took place, known as "Valor vs. Venom". Until the release of 25th anniversary figures years later, these figures as well as the Spytroops figures created an aesthetic that really worked add had a unique vibe that pleased a certain part of the old time Joe figure collectors as well as introducing a new Generation to the "play value" that was most like the 80's line while still being fresh and dynamic. As my collection moves heavily into "Pursuit of Cobra" and "Retaliation" collecting I am finally parting with my private stash of these of figures from this early 2000 era. Check them out on Ebay.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The origins of this blog, compiled from my Facebook page from February 2011. Battle Beasts to Beast Wars.

My friend, Chris, had me start this blog, after I started posting some related posts from the world of toys on Facebook, back in 2011. Well the relationships were drawn together by myself, but I am sure that just as things in the Cosmos are somehow tied together, the same is true in the World of Toys. Whether or not the original toymakers saw these connections at the time is uncertain, and probably will never be known. Here I have collected the first day of these posts, I think I did this for about a week before Chris  told me he liked what he was reading and seeing and that I should start a blog. So The Amazing Toyland is that blog. I will try and collect the subsequent days posts before too long. I have credited the appropriate sources for each topic.

One of the few toy-lines I liked as a kid that wasn't tied to a movie or animation property was Battle Beasts. They had thermal rub-signs similar to Transformers, except instead of the Autobot/Decepticon allegiance, they showed a Fire, Wood, or Water emblem. These emblems were used in a paper-rock-scissors fashion, with Fire beating Wood, Wood beating Water, and Water beating Fire. They were very cool.

Displayed at San Diego Comic Con 2010 were new, larger, more dynamic Battle Beasts. They are supposedly slated for 2011 release at $14.99 each. I dig the designs, and can only hope they get animation support. I think they seem a bit costly, but I haven't seen them in person, so they might be justified at that price.

Less than 10 years after the original Battle Beasts line came Beast Wars Transformers. Battle Beasts serves as the "missing link" between Generation One Transformers and Beast Wars. In Japan Battle Beasts were called BeastFormers, and were directly tied into Transformers, while in the US no direct connection was made between the Transformers and the Battle Beasts.
Check out the entry on the first Megatron Optimus Primal two-pack from Beast Wars at Transformers World 2005: http://www.tfw2005.com/resources/beast-wars-predacons-144/megatron-alligator-527/

Pirate Lion was the #1 figure in the Battle Beasts series 1. He had an awesome sword and an eye patch. The names of the Battle Beasts were not on the packages back when. Instead they were determined later. I didn't have any problem playing with these figures even with a lack of names.
Head over to the Toy Archive to get a glimpse of Pirate Lion: http://www.toyarchive.com/BattleBeasts/Figures/1PirateLionIcon1a.jpg

In the Japanese follow-up to Beast Wars, referred to as Beast Wars Neo, Optimus Prime takes on the form of a white lion, called Leo Convoy. This is most likely a nod to the Battle Beast Pirate Lion. Convoy was the name of the original Optimus Prime in Japan.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A bit of house cleaning, some Ebay auctions are the result.

Had my friend, Ken, come over today to help supervise me while I went through boxes to straighten things up, organize, and take some photos for some auctions. By supervise, I mean he sat and watched movies, while I worked, b/c otherwise I would lack the motivation to actually turn my apartment into a living space and not just a Toy Warehouse. Not that I am getting rid of everything, I don't think that is ever going to happen. I just want to focus my collection in one main direction at a time. Although I don't plan to abandon my core LEGO collection anytime soon, my current Focus is going to be G.I.Joe for the time being. I'm sure since I am a shop-a-holic, that there will undoubtedly purchases of items besides Joes and LEGOs. Nevertheless, I hope to have a more streamlined and manageable collection, so that I can add things down the line without just putting it in a storage box and piling it on top of my other boxes. I'd really like to have a collection that is manageable and can be displayed nicely without being overwhelming. If you know me, or you've read any of my posts, you have a glimpse into the world of the toy addict. I suppose if you are here because google used something I talked about for you to home in on this blog, then you too may have some of the signs of a toy addict. Hopefully you are somewhat restrained, and a robust collection it not always a sign of addiction, mostly it is a sign of love for one creation, one fictional universe, that reflects who you are and what you identify with. Your collection tells other people, I like these things, I want to share stories about these things, the travels to get them, and the universe they represent... so are you in or are you out? Or like me, are you just out for the time being until later down the road you just buy the same stuff over again in a new or the same incarnation.
So without further ado here is the rundown on some things I will be parting with this week: Monster High fashion packs (Frankie, Spectra Vondergeist, & Toralei Stripes), The super hard to find Takara Car Robots 2000 Jusco exclusive spychanger set, Lego Spiderman Green Goblin & Mary Jane 1374, My Little Pony Cupcake, Sweetsong, Shenanigans, & Cherry Blossom, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic suitcase assortment: Diamond Rose, Pinkie Pie, Cherry Pie, Rainbow Dash, & Applejack, my last Sailor Moon adventure doll: Sailor Venus, my last Masked Rider SIC figure: Agito Trinity Form, Plenty of Transformers will be listed starting with Airachnid, my display of Star Wars Galactic Heroes single cards, some claw machine prizes of Popeye & Dorothy from Oz, One of my last 1997 original Tamagotchis white with blue trim... I really miss the first Tamagotchi I raised back in 1997 he lived for 21 days (RIP Mimetchi), MOTU He Man, Tri Klops & Orko (with VHS, certainly not my last VHS, I have mountains of them that I love so dearly), Star Trek Micro Machines which I think are the last of my carded Star Trek or Star Wars micros, and an Optimus Prime Kreon I got with a large Transformers Purchase from Toys R Us (nice try Hasbro, but I am loyal to LEGO and your KREO's have not swayed me...  yet)

Click here for my auctions!

As you see it's quite an eclectic batch of stuff, you might understand now how I need to streamline things. Bid if you want it, oh and for you international folks, shipping is a rough estimate but is usually accurate within a few dollars, if it is grossly out of line I will adjust it. I just don't box and weigh every auction separately b/c I get a lot of multiple auction winners. On the upside combined auctions do save off the total shipping.

Although I doubt you are at all surprised that I own even more spychangers than I have talked about so far.

Friday, February 22, 2013

This week's auction, Transformers Prime and DOTM Target Ratchet

I have some auctions up this week.  Including Target Exclusive Autobot Ratchet from Dark of the Moon.
So today's trip was 7 hours of adventuring. I headed out around 5:30 in the morning. My mission was to round up some LEGO friends and Chima polybags that were at Target. (A polyb ag is a small set of LEGOs that is usually about $4-5). I was heading out to a semi remote location about 40 minutes from home. My local Target had looked up inventory on Monday and said there were quite a few out at this other location, University Heights. e aWell I stopped at a 24 hour Giant Eagle (grocery store) and Walgreen's. At the Giant Eagle I found some Hazelnut wafer cookies by Manner. My Grandpa used to have these European made cookies when we were little. I still have an affinity for them to this day. At Walgreen's I decided to stock up some snacks for the wait for Target to open.

I was pleasantly surprised to find two of the Frito Lay Flavor contest potato chips in the Grab Bag size, Chicken and Waffles and Cheesy Garlic Bread. I also snagged a pair of Dare Habanero Slim Jims that were marked down to $1.29 each. If these are being phased out I will miss them, Tabasco Slim Jims just don't compare. As for the chips, I have mixed feelings about Chicken and Waffles, but I was looking forward to Cheesy Garlic Bread.

So I went and parked in Target's parking garage and awaited the opening. The Garlic chips were pretty good, in the end I think they had a taste, in part, that is similar to Andy Capp's Hot Fries. The Slim Jims were as awesome as I remember from when they were launched last year. My friend almost ordered me a case of those off Amazon b/c I liked them so much.

At 8AM Target opened. I took the escalator up to the second floor to scope out the toy department. I was pretty disappointed as I only found 1 Chima Polybag, alot less than Mentor had reported on Monday, there must have been a run on them. Either that or the inventory was off. There really wasn't much else of note. Since I was saving up for the LEGO I passed on some toys at Walgreen's, I took note of what I saw however.

I stopped by 3 more Walgreen's on my way back to Mayfield Target. I was pleasantly surprised to locate 2 copies of Dark of the Moon voyager size Ratchet exclusive Transformer. There wasn't much else of note at that Target. I decided to check the closeout retailer nearby that I usually didn't visit because the highway exit traffic is always insane and blocks the parking lot in a mess of cars. I found two Optimus Prime from the animated Transformers Prime cartoon from the HUB network.

Enough time had passed by this point to visit Toys R Us which opened at 10AM. Holy Shit, they had a motherload of new Hasbro toys. Almost everything from the upcoming G.I.Joe Retaliation movie, including a fresh case of figures. I had to Pass on Firefly, now for the fourth time. I don't know if I am seeing things but I swear the tip of the nose is indented on all the samples I have seen so far. They had tons of new Transformers including Deluxe and Voyager Transformers from the Fall of Cybertron video Game. I saw 3 Grimlocks and 1 Blaster redo of Soundwave (at least I think it's a redo of Soundwave.) I ended up getting a Kickback for my friend. Although I thought it was for Mike, it turns out that Neil was the one asking about it. I was only disappointed b/c the price was jacked up $2 more dollars over the price hike that took place in the last 6 months. But hey, I had to have it, so Hasbro/Toys R Us get an extra $2 from me. Very tricky.

I then headed out to Five Below. I love this store. I ended up getting a box of Spiderman Vs. cards from the long defunct Upper Deck Vs. game. The game was relatively unique in that it pitted Marvel Comics Characters against not only other Marvel Characters but DC characters as well. My friend mentioned earlier in  the week that he needed a Vs. rulebook since he inherited some Vs. cards. So I made sure to give him the box I bought at 5 Below.

I made a few more stops on the way home, and scored more Transformers Prime toys, I got Thundertron and Ultra Magnus from the Prime cartoon. I passed out when I got home in the early afternoon. All in all an amazing day of toy  Oh and I got the best sleep I've had in weeks.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This week's haul: A Wizard, a little Liquid Metal, Bruce Willis & some Joes

Another week, another batch of toy shopping. Firstly I picked up Gandalf the Grey from the Hobbit movie line. He seemed a little too iconic not to get. I am still on the fence about the rest of the line, especially since it seems all the dwarves are not represented. I am pleased with the likenesses on the figures in the Hobbit line. I only wish the Tron Legacy figures looked this good. I still think that Kevin Flynn could pass as a generic Jesus or prophet figure since it looked nothing like Jeff Bridges.

I came across an odd find. A San Diego Comic Con exclusive from 2010 which is supposedly  limited to 1000 pieces. I picked up the Liquid Metal version of the T-1000 from Terminator 2, manufactured by NECA. On the whole I has been against simply repainting a figure in a metallic paint job and calling it an exclusive. McFarlane did it with alot of his early figures in the 90's. It just doesn't make sense, why would a character be all gold or silver? However, that being said, I am amazed how well this "gimmick" works for the T-1000. This is a character that makes perfect sense to be in all silver, as technically that was basically the base form of this Terminator. I am pleased with this find. I wish I had the kind of bank needed to collect more NECA 7 inch scaled movie figures, but for now that just doesn't seem likely.

Having an entire collection of Predator, Terminator, Robocop, Aliens, & possibly Prometheus figures would be pretty cool. For now however I think I will stick with just picking up a few here and there. I currently have Wolf Predator with mask on from AvP2 and Robocop with the spring-loaded holster in his hip. I need an Alien now, but I think my next purchase will be the ED-209 when it gets released (It looked awesome in the New York Toy Fair images)

After a few weeks of checking, I stumbled on some new Movie G.I.Joes at my local Target. I was more excited than a little kid, I hadn't seen so many new Joes since the Rise Of Cobra launched, and prior to that I hadn't seen that many new Joes at one time since I was little. The crown jewel of the haul was the Joe Colton figure, who is being played by Bruce Willis in the new movie. I've been psyched about this one since I saw prototype images over a year ago.

There was a handful of troopers, Cyber Viper, Dark Ninja, and a red version of the Alley Viper, although I think he had a different name; but he is definitely the Alley Viper. I think I would have preferred seeing more Red Ninjas over the Dark Ninja, but the company needs to keep things fresh for kids. It is only us old timers who remember Red Ninjas all over the place in certain issues of the original comic.

The newer iteration of Roadblock, Snake Eyes, and Storm Shadow actually look cool and fairly distinct from the versions in the first wave released last year. Both the ninjas look like their second incarnations from the classic line, modernized. Although I'm not a fan of wrestling as an adult, I still think "The Rock" as Roadblock is good casting. He exudes the badassness that Roadblock had in the classic cartoon. The cartoon Roadblock may seem cheesy by today's standard with all the rhyming. He nevertheless always seemed like he was kicking ass.

Lastly I was able to get Flint. The figure looks alright. I don't know much about the actor cast to play him in Retaliation. With the promise of flirting between Flint and Lady Jaye in the movie, I hope they capture the essence of the characters' relationship from the cartoon.

There were two figures I had to pass on due to defects, firstly Firefly had a malformed nose pressed up against the blister bubble on the card. Secondly Lady Jaye had poor paint application to the eyes. I really hope I get to come across these in the coming weeks. I'm not sure what to think with these figures being from the second and third waves. It would seem this means that most the first wave came out during the limited release last year. If Hasbro already has the second and third waves out, that would suggest that the production numbers were scaled back quite a bit. Hopefully if the movie is successful enough, we will see Hasbro emptying their warehouses of any extra figures and vehicles from previous lines onto the closeout chains. Here's hoping!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Another week on Ebay

Got some fun items up on Ebay this week including a handful of large LEGO sets, some assorted LEGO Kingdoms sets, some DS and original Game Boy games, Transformers, and what I think are the last of my Superman figures. Check them out here!

G.I.Joe the Real American Hero, a recap of then beginning until now

For the edification of my readers, and as a favor for Joe Biel of Microcosm Publishing, today I plan a "quick" rundown of the History of G.I.Joe. First off we will be skipping the following incarnations of our beloved heroes: 12 inch, Sgt. Savage, G.I.Joe Extreme, & Sigma Six. G.I.Joe is a three and three quarters inch military action figure series. Oft times denoted as 3 3/4 inch of 3.75 inch, although the figures are said to have moved to the 4 inch level sometime in the past couple of years either at the release of G.I.Joe movie action figures or the subsequent Pursuit of Cobra line, I'm not sure when.

 Anyways let's head back in time, with Kenner Products runaway success with 3.75 inch Star Wars figures and vehicles that hit the market in 1978 (within a year of the 1977 release of Star Wars: A New Hope), Hasbro was playing catch up when it decided to modernize and reinvigorate there G.I.Joe property. It was realized that the small scale of the Star Wars figures (which was also shared by Micronauts) that the sale of vehicles was a realistic option that was not really that feasible with the old 12 inch G.I.Joe figures. Simply put, it was a matter of space, 3.75 inch scale figure vehicles were more reasonably sized than 12 inch scale vehicles, and children could easily own multiple vehicles.

 So Hasbro in the early 1980's launched the G.I.Joe line that is now referred to as RAH, for Real American Hero. At first the line started with about 10 figures, which were made of even less figure molds as they shared body parts in a clever way as to not make an eager child think they were just getting the exact same figure simply repeated. It's interesting to note, as a further cost-cutting measure to sharing molds, one of the Joe's had a masked face and was cast in all black plastic with no paint applications. It was thought that by having at least one figure that didn't have paint applications, it would reduce the cost of the overall line by averaging the savings over the line. This particular character accidentally became the arguably the most popular Joe character ever, codename: Snake-eyes.

 Two other ideas were put forward before the line launched that helped cement it into modern history. Although the figures were military themed, originally they weren't going to have gun accessories due to the feelings on some executive's part that it was too soon since the Vietnam war for guns to be a plaything. Luckily some sensible member of the development team insisted on the figures having guns. This is probably one of the most important decisions that made G.I.Joe the classic that it is today.

 Secondly, an enemy was not initially slotted for the line. The line was supposed to consist solely of "good guys". Clearly this lacked the "play-value" that also helped make G.I.Joe great. So a character called "The Enemy" of the evil terrorist faction known as Cobra was made in a deep blue colored uniform. A color I still refer to this day as "Cobra Blue".

 Now our heroes had guns and an enemy to fight, they needed one more crucial element to lead to it's victory over Star Wars figures. This element unlike the other two elements was present in the initial plan. The element is wicked awesome articulation of movement. Where Star Wars figures swiveled only at the neck, shoulders and hips, G.I.Joe would have a revolutionary amount of articulation. First off they had hinged elbows and knees. The shoulders would be a swivel joint at the connection of the arm to the body that allowed the arm to rotate 360 degrees, the second was a swivel at 90 degrees to the body which would allow for a full range of motion when combined with the first joint. The hips connected at a ball joint that allowed for a similar range of movement. The lynchpin of the the successful articulation was the connection of the torso to the waist and hip piece. This was what is now know as the o-ring design, the upper torso had a convex bottom that fit into the concave upper portion of the waist, connected on the interior by a rubber o-ring connected inside the torso and waist, which allowed for a full-range of upper body movement.

 The last weapon G.I.Joe had in its belt was a set of two animated mini-series that were released in the first two years until US laws were relaxed to the point to basically allow a regular syndicated animated series be a half hour commercial for a toy. Now G.I.Joe was set to launch with an arsenal of improvements over what would now be antiquated Star Wars figures. Although initially seen as a risky concept, G.I.Joe conquered the toy landscape and was present in this form for the better part of the 1980's into the early 1990's. Eventually interest in G.I.Joe waned as nearly every conceivable specialist, enemy, and theme was exhausted. It did take a decade to wear out G.I. Joe's popularity in the toy aisles.

 This however was not the end of our heroes, with two luke warm attempts to relaunch the property in a different size scale in the mid to late 1990's, around the year 2000 our heroes would return. The relaunch at the turn of the millennium was two-fold, first some of the old molds were frankensteined together, repainted, and occasionally renamed; then they were released in commemorative two-packs. Also a new 3.75 Joe design was introduced. Although the same scale as the classic Joes, the articulation was scaled back and the overall aesthetic was more "cartoony". The line was helped by awesome new vehicles, but the design hurt the overall success of the line.

 Soon after it's launch, the line started to have more frankensteined classic o-ring figures introduced into it, and the articulation was improved on the new design to the point of nearly mimicking the level of articulation as the classic Joes. The line evolved from the banner "G.I.Joe versus Cobra" to "Spytroops" (where the articulation had reached an acceptable level) to "Valor Vs Venom" were something unexpected happened. Although the toy line was selling moderately well, Hasbro yanked the plug and announced that 3.75 scale Joes were going on "indefinite hiatus" in the looming wake of a new much larger scale referred to as Sigma Six.

 The "hiatus" was an unexpected snafu to the progress the 3.75 inch line had reached since it's redesign in 2000. It was curious why Hasbro would stop the steam the 3.75 line was gathering early last decade, the vehicles had been the bright spot of the modern line. Luckily the wait for the hiatus to lift wasn't too horribly long, I think it lasted three to four years.

  Then a new line was announced for the 25th Anniversary of RAH in 2007. The articulation and realistic proportions of the figures was a definite step up from probably every previous incarnation of 3.75 inch figures. Actually, the 25th anniversary line was just going to be a batch of like 10 figures, but the internet/fanbase response to the early press photos was resoundingly positive. In classic fashion Hasbro scrambled to find a way to reuse parts from the first batch of figures to speed up the production of the, now to be, continuing 25th anniversary line. Hasbro managed to successfully bridge the gap between the release of the initial wave of anniversary figures and the continuing series it became.

  This line would run up until the release of the 2009 Rise of Cobra (ROC) movie figures. Although the movie may have had a so-so reception amongst fans, the toys were of a good quality. Unfortunately due to overestimating the desire for the movie figures drastically, the line clogged shelves. Mostly due to the over-production and not the lack of quality, as later waves of figures were produced in smaller numbers and sold more briskly. (Hasbro had aimed high with G.I.Joe movie toys because they had been caught with their pants down when the underestimated the demand of the Live Action Transformers toys, and had under-produced the initial waves of those toys out of the gate).

 When the demand for ROC movie toys seemingly totally vaporized, the 3.75 inch package design and direction was switched from being a continuing subset of the ROC line into it's own full fledged line known as the Pursuit of Cobra (POC). Hasbro carefully released low numbers of this line and the toys sales leveled out and new figures came out regularly without a glut to clog the shelves. It's likely that the steady close-outs and clearance of the overstock from the end of both the Movie line and remnants of the end of the 25th anniversary line, helped keep G.I.Joe afloat and relevant, and the core fanbase numbers might have been figured out by Hasbro during the Pursuit of Cobra Era. Although now that I think of it some of the core fanbase budget for POC figures was split between the POC figures at full retail and the ROC and 25th closeouts. So the accurate core fanbase desire for new figures may still be underestimated.

  Nevertheless in 2012 a handful of 30th anniversary figures were released as well as figures for the newest cartoon Renegades (The second season of the Renegades cartoon has been pushed back until after the second G.I.Joe live action movie Retaliation gets released.) Even more unfortunate is that Retaliation was pushed back from a summer 2012 release to spring 2013. This in turned off fans of Renegades as they have to wait for more episodes and toys, as well as the core fanbase which has nothing new to buy. A small batch of Retaliation toys were released in early 2012, but shipments were suspended as the film was delayed. Now with the March release of Retaliation looming, the toys are starting to trickle back out (although I haven't seen them). Early reports indicate that the second wave of toys are turning up, which points to underproduction of the first wave. Now it's up to the new Movie to reinvigorate the fanbase and draw new and old collectors back to the aisles of toy stores.