In the late 90's my buddy Derek got a really cool set of Super Deformed Godzilla Monsters. They had really cute sculpts and nicely detailed paint jobs. Later one we found rubbery versions of the same monster lacking the nice paint apps at a local "Five & Dime". They are hollow and made of thin flexible plastic. The monsters came in random colors and not every character in Derek's higher quality set seemed to be available in the cheap-o version.
ActionFig (a.k.a. Tony or pancuco) from Action Figs & Things! sent me a care package as a thank you for the one I sent him. I got it today and wanted to thank him. You are too kind. I didn't expect anything in return for my original package.
Several months ago (back when I temporarily didn't have my drivers license) ActionFig posted about some stuff he got in a trade. He also mentioned the other blogger threw a few surprises in the box. This got me thinking about sending people some stuff. I started setting a few items aside for the people that commented a lot on my blog. People I was beginning to consider friends. Most of the stuff was toys I got in lots on ebay or at flea markets that were duplicates. When I got my license back and was ready to ship them out I was so toy hunting starved I went crazy and bought lots of toys for myself and a few to stuff in these packages I was sending out.
So, now to show off what ActionFig sent me...
He packed a ton of stuff into that box.
Mego Blocks Mini-Fig Poster, Captain America Stickers, and an old Marvel Secret Wars Comic #2
There was an entire army of Mega Blocks Mini Figs, an Alf toys from a fast food promotion, an ET figure, and a super deformed mini-fig of Cyborg from Teen Titans. I love this little guy!
A boxed GIJoe: The Rise of Cobra vehicle, a number of Marvel Heroes, Lt. Ripley from Aliens, and a Transformer. I'm a little worried that ActionFig sent me his Wolverine. I thought you were so excited to have him and his mutant cycle? (Maybe he's buying a complete one or had two)
Last but not least, a Batman Forever mug featuring Two-Face (it's hard to photograph glass - sorry) which was part of a fast food promotion back in the day. I never had any of these,
but I remember drinking out of them at my friend's house.
I got really far behind on posting about the new MOTUC figures. So Frosta is a couple of months old now. She is a pretty good representation of the character. She takes most of her design details from her Filmation cartoon appearance. Some of the most discussed attributes of the figure are her gray/white details that aren't white enough for many fans and her translucent blue hair. I don't have a problem with either one of these design choices.
Frosta comes with a windmill like staff and a shield. These both are modeled after the accessories her vintage figure (doll) came with. I had been looking forward to Frosta for a while now. She made quite a few appearances in the cartoon, and she always stuck out in my mind because she had an over the top crush on He-Man in at least one episode.
Some how the people assembling the figures in China reversed her forearms and so all the MOTUC subscribers will be receiving a free gift at some point in the future. We don't know what it will be other than it will not require new tooling. Many people with it will be a repaint weapon for Frosta. Others are speculating some sort of Orko variant because the Ghostbusters Subscribers got a Slimer variant when the line ended.
This is a hologram version of Superman's father Jor-El. They sculpted a new head and put it on a superman body. The figure includes a plastic jacket. The figure is cast in a clear plastic and misted with a white paint. I picked up two of them when they were on clearance at Toys R Us a while after the movie was out of theaters. The second one is in my basement half way painted in normal colors. I was thinking about doing an animation with Marlon Brando insisting he is Superman.
I still remember the first time I saw Clerks. I was in high school and I was talking to my best friend's Dad, Doug Moench who is a comic book writer, about the movie Mall Rats which I has recently seen at my friend Brian's house. Doug told me about Kevin Smith, the writer/director of the two films, and how he actually opened a comic book store after the success of his independent film. From that moment I have always wanted to go to the Secret Stash. At the time it seemed so far away and I just never went. With the debut of the show Comic Book Men my interest in going to the store was renewed. So, I finally went.
The store is well organized and has some interesting architectural features and moldings inside. There are also several display cases full of props from various Kevin Smith movies. I love the fact that they have many of the high priced (rare) book displayed on the wall above the normal shelves. I miss that about many comic stores. When I was a kid every comic shop carried back issues and the best ones were always on the wall. Less places are carry back issues and so less places have them displayed this way. It's cool to look at the classic covers of some of the most famous issues in comic book history.
It's funny how different the store really is from what you see on TV. Many of Kevin Smith's movies are a little controversial because they use foul language, talk about drug use, and poke fun at religion. In the show you never really see all the Kevin Smith stuff. The giant Buddy Christ or Bluntman and Chronic's vehicle. The store was also much dimmer than in the show. They must bring a lot of lighting with them to film. The second counter (in the middle of the store) that they have been predominately using this season has lots of merchandise and junk piled on it while I was there.
I was also expecting a lot more vintage toys and back issue comics. They has some modern and some vintage toys. They had a decent selection of the new Nick TMNT figures, some Walking Dead, a few vintage Mego toys, and a couple of boxed high end Star Wars vehicles from the late 90's early 2000's. They had a lot of high end back issue comics on the wall, but there were less back issue bins to go though than I would have expected.
So what did I buy...
The GI Joe Field Manual, I knew this was coming out, but didn't know it was out. This book is a collection of model sheets and designs from the 80's Sunbow cartoon. It's pretty cool, but I would have liked a little more information. The "writing" is pretty much just the stuff from the characters file cards (and probably the cartoon shows series bible). I enjoyed looking at the designs, but I didn't really learn anything new.
I wanted to get a back issue for my collection to commemorate the trip. They didn't have any GI Joe back issues that I saw. There wasn't any Batman books that would fill in holes in the 90's run I collect. So I ended up grabbing this 4 part Night Crawler series that I remember reading at school. A kid I was friends with in 3rd grade has this series and he was a die hard X-Men fan. We used to play X-Men outside at recess. He would pretend he was Wolverine, and I'd pretend I was Iceman. This is back in the good old days when the first wave of Toy Bix X-Men toys came out.
I had to get something Kevin Smith while I was there. Batman Cacophony... I was thinking about asking Walt Flanagan (Artist of the Book and Manager of the Stash) if he'd sign it. When he rung me up I just got a funny vibe and so I didn't bother asking. He didn't say much of anything during the transaction or while I was in the store period. So I turned off all my fan boy impulses, other than to say I was enjoying the show when he handed me my receipt.
There were three guys working at the store while I was there. Mike Zapcic was there for a short time and then left.He was running the register when I walked into the store. He seemed very friendly as I over heard him running transactions. Walt was there "eagle eying" everyone for a while when I first got there. He sort of stood in the middle of the store watching everyone. He did answer the cordless phone "Comic!" just like in the show. I got a kick out of that. Once Mike left Walt hung out at the register. There was also a teenager there that would pretty much just circulated and kept and eye on people. I'm glad I went. It was cool to be there. I can't really see driving an hour to go there very often. My "local" comic book shops do a good job of keeping me in reading material and I see more toys at the Flea Market each weekend. If I go back sometime in a few years I'll make sure I watch all the View Askew movies again so they are fresh and I can pick out each and everything in the display cases.
Well, it's been a little while since Retro Con. I was looking around that the photos they posted on their Facebook page, and I had to laugh a little. My third goal was to spend time with my buddy Paul and his family. There were set up as vendors at the show. We actually showed up in several photos.
Left: Paul sorting video games that he had for sale.
Right: Paul's son Vincent being held by his Grandfather, Joe.
Left: You can just barley see Heather, Paul, and Myself behind the Trekies
Right: There's me looking at a pack of Star Wars - Star Tours toys
Paul and I talking to the guy from Delia's Make-Up. He was apply Zombie effects to his hand while we talk to him. I sat at the same table as him at Paul & Heather's wedding, but his name has slipped my mind.
I previously posted a similar shot, this was taken as I was buying my MOTU T-Rex.
The final two photos are pictures I took of Cos-Players that I thought were funny.
I was in college when Spider-Man came out, and it blew me away. I loved every minute of the movie. Spider-Man has always been my favorite Marvel Super Hero. I picked up a number of figures for the film. JJJ's figure has a great head sculpt and articulation that isn't ruined by his action feature. Jameson comes with a desk and chair. When you activate his action feature his fist pound his desk and the items on it wobble. They paid so much attention to detail on this figure. Check out his pin stripes.
Around the time of this figures release, my buddies and I were working hard on our first stop motion animated series, Animation Creation. I was buying a lot of toys at the time specifically for their accessories. We needed lot of props for the show. J. Jonah Jameson's chair was used by my character in the commentary portion of every episode. JJJ being a normal looking civilian was an added bonus because he could then be used in the show as such. Along with props we also needed characters for the segments of the show. Most of the time the bits didn't call for Super Heroes and Soldiers. In Episode 3 "Fly Me to the Moon", Brian was looking for some more characters to add to his on going shoot 'em up bit "Brian's Reservoir Dogs" that featured his set of McFarland Reservoir Dogs toys. Bringing a pointing finger to a gun fight isn't the best idea.
In 1992 when Kenner released their Batman Returns toy line they reused many old Super Powers molds instead of sculpting new toys. Unfortunately this resulted in toys that were not movie accurate in anyway. On the other hand this did give us some nice repaints of classic figures.
I actually picked this guy up at an in-class flea market when I was in elementary school. We used to get reward bucks for things and could buy prizes with them. At the end of the year we did this flea market thing to use up the left over bucks.
The Penguin has a really nice black and white tuxedo with some red highlights. He even has a little red umbrella on his lapel. He comes with a spring-loaded launcher that can be clipped on his back or arm that launches an umbrella missile.
Thanksgiving... like everyone I have a lot to be thankful for. I have my family, a house, a job, and my drivers license again. Unlike many people I didn't really sustain any damage from Hurricane Sandy and I am thankful of that. I decided to post this photo from Christmas many years ago. I'm thankful for my supportive family (and those awesome Christmas presents we used the get. ha ha)
My Grandmother would always give my mom money to buy us a present from her. My mom always used the money to get us the best present each year. This particular year (1986 I believe) I got the GI Joe Tomahawk Helicopter and my Sister got the Castle LovelyLocks from Lady Lovely Locks.
To this day the Tomahawk is my favorite GI Joe toy. It doesn't hurt that my Dad is a helicopter mechanic. The Tomahawk is based on a combination of the S-61 (which my Dad works on) and the Chinook.
This is my final Retro Con post. I have several other MOTU toys that I picked up at the show, but they are less exciting and I'm just going to put them up as it happens naturally. I don't want one line to dominate the blog to much.
After I walked around the show a few times I didn't see any hard to find figures from the vintage MOTU line. I got worried I wouldn't meet my goal. Then I saw Tyrantisaurus Rex! This awesome beast/vehicle from the end of the line is pretty cool and basically fit the bill.
It wasn't until after I bought Tyrantisaurus Rex that I found Clamp Champ, Extendar, and Mosquitor.
Tyrantisaurus Rex looks like a pretty normal dinosaur, but he has a few techno bit on his legs and back. The bits are painted like the rest of his body so they don't stand out that much. There is a panel that opens on his back and on his belly. The back panel becomes a seat for a rider and reveals a lever that can launch a weapon from his belly.
In the story line for the Power of Grayskull series (which died before all the toys were developed and released) The Snake Men where the main bad guys on Preternia. So Tyrantisaurus Rex was a bad guy dinosaur. He originally had a blue gun that connects to his shoulder and a green weapon that pops out of the panel on his stomach.
His legs and arms feature limited articulation. He has swivel joints at the shoulders and hips. His mouth is also articulated with a spring loaded mechanism that snaps his mouth shut.
I found this image on facebook after the show. It was posted by one of the photographers for the show. If you see the white pillars on the right hand side of the pictures. I am to the left of the front most pillar. I have a beard and am wearing my gray Pixel Dan shirt. There is a guy holding a little kid between me and the pillar. I am holding Tyrantisaurus Rex in the photo as I was talking to the vendor that sold him to me.
I don't want to delete old post. They draw in new people to the blog. I get a lot of traffic from people looking for things in Google Images. I didn't take the photos and write all this stuff down just to delete it in less than a year.
I have opened a photobucket account which gives me another 2 GB of space. and I will be storing pictures there to use on the blog. It makes posting to the blog more difficult and time consuming. I am considering reducing the size of the images I've use on some past and future posts to help save on space. This is also time consuming. I can't just take the images straight off the camera. I will probably use less pictures on some of my future posts. This also encourages me to do video reviews, since youtube stores all them for me.
I recently have been in the habit of writing the next days blog post the night before and then posting it at midnight (if I'm still up) or posting it the next morning while I eat breakfast. So I was getting ready to write up tomorrows post and when I went to upload pictures I got a message about being out of space.
I didn't read the fine print real clearly when I signed up for this blog, I just kind of jumped into it. I also admit that I go pretty picture heavy on here and could probably do most posts with less photos.
So, do I pay to upgrade my storage?
I've been having fun blogging, but without pictures it's kind of dumb. The storage plan isn't expensive, but I'm not making any money off this blog. This leads me to my second question.
If I'm paying for a storage plan should I then sign up for Google Ad sense to help counter act the costs?
I'm not a huge fan of adds on a blog that's just for fun.
I am a huge Star Wars fan, and have been for a very long time. Unfortunately as a kid I never owned any fresh out of the package Star Wars figures. I was born in 1982 when Return of the Jedi came out. By the time I saw Star Wars and knew what it was the toys were pretty much out of the stores. I remember seeing some of it on store shelves as a kid before I knew what it was.
In addition to that, I really like backer cards and card art for action figures. I love how different lines do their "cross sell". GI Joes has the card art shrunk down on the back. MOTU has little drawings of the action figures, and Star Wars had a photograph of the entire collection of toys.
I have tons of backer cards laying around from various toy lines, and when I find them cheap I like to pick up old ones. I like to have an example of the packaging from each line. More recently I started saving a carded figure from most lines, but for the old toys I just like to have a card back.
At Retro Con one of the dealers had some old Star Wars card back for a dollar a piece. I decided to get a few. You will notice that many of them have a circle cut out. This is the little emblem that was clipped and mailed in for figures like Boba Fett and the Emperor. When I picked these out I went for variety on back of the card back (example 12 back or Boba Fett offer) as well as for toys I like.
Luke Skywalker (Cross sell is drawn art of the characers - the early bird art)
R5-D4 (Rocket Fire Boba Fett promotion on back)
R2-D2 w/ Sensor Scope (ESB Cross Sell Photograph)
Luke Skywalker (Jedi), Princess Leia (Bosh), Han Solo (Endor)
I really like these versions of the characters.
They were all great toys and Show of the Return of the Jedi Collection.
Rancor Keeper (I think of my buddy Brian every time I see this guy so I had to get him)
C-3P0 (I felt like I needed his cardback to go with R2-D2)
Amanaman and EV-9D9 both are just cool toys from the end of the series.
These cards show off pretty much the entire line of vintage Star Wars toys with a few exceptions.
Extendar is an lesser know Masters of the Universe characters that was released towards the end of the line.. He is a cyborg who can extend sections of his body so he can tower over his enemies. I recently picked him up along with Clamp Champ and Mosquitor from the same toy seller at Retro Con. The funny thing is that I went to a toy convention and ended up buying some toys from a toy reseller that is local to me and I already know. I got a good deal on the figures because I've done a lot of business with this guy before. I actually bought my GI Joe aircraft carrier from him.
Extendar looks like a knight in a suit of armor. Neither one of his hands can "hold" accessories, although he originally came with an extending red sheild that can clip on his arm. Extendar's arms, legs, neck, and waist can all extend.
At one point in time I thought that Extendar was African-Eternian. I had only seen small photos of him and could tell he didn't have white skin, but I couldn't tell that his "skin" was metallic. I also used to think he had silver armor, but it's actually a marbleized white. He's a pretty cool figure. I never really was interested in him, and obviously never even researched the figure. I had a lot of misconceptions about him. Now I'm excited for them to eventually make a MOTUClassics version of him.
I love the RAM Motor Cycle. The original version was one of the first GI Joe toys I ever had. For the 25th Anniversary Hasbro updated the classic bike. After GI Joe: Ride of Cobra was out of theaters and the toy line was fading out a series of vehicles slated for Target was cancelled. So of these vehicle and driver sets ended up at Ross and other discount stores. I hunted and hunted for a tan RAM, but couldn't find one.
Last weekend at Retro Con I saw one at a vendor's table for $5. It was bagged up with Sand Storm.
Sand Storm is made up of all reused parts from the GI Joe movie toy line. I kind of like the figure and love the fact that I created a custom figure years earlier with the same name for my Desert Assault Squad. He has a helmet and rifle.
This toy was most likely owned by a collector previously, it included the instructions and file card.
One of the really cool features of the updated RAM is that the saddle bag open and can be used to store items. The small pistol that comes with the bike was even still inside the bag.
I'm still posting stuff from Retro Con, but I'm going to stop numbering the posts related to the show. I've been seeing talk about a new toy book by author Mark Bellomo online. I knew he was going to be at Retro Con as a quest and took a few of his books with me to get signed. While I was there I listened to him talk about his new book as he flipped though it with some fellow toy fans. Totally Tubular 80s Toys is giant flash back to the pop culture of the 80's. The book has a little introduction to each year and then goes into more detail about the various toy lines from that year. Then each year is wrapped up with a little review of the top TV shows and movies from that year. The book is well put together and could serve as a text book of the decade.
Naturally I enjoy the sections on Star Wars, GI Joe, He-Man and TMNT the most. I'm also very happy to see Transformers, Thundercats, SilverHawks, Robocop, Volton and dozens of other toy lines I still love today. There are also some toys in there I never had or barley remember. Most toy lines get one or two pages. A few of the heavy hitters get more. This is not a complete guide to many of the lines, although some of the smaller lines are showed completely. TT80T gives a good over view of the toy lines. In the section on 1982, GI Joe in the 3 3/4" format is discussed and pictured. This section represents the entirety of the toy line so it pictures toys from though out the lines history in the 80s.
The book features tons of great photographs of various toys in their package as well as loose. the photos of the toys are also accompanied by images from the cartoons and movies that supported or spawned many of the toy lines from the 80s. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is also impressive to know that every toy photographed in the book comes from Mark Bellomo's personal collection. The only thing I didn't like/agree with in the book was that He-Man & The Masters of the Universe is listed under 1981. I'm not sure where that date comes from. 2012 is the 30th Anniversary of He-Man cementing that the line debuted in 1982. I'm not sure if this is a mistake or if it's based on a development date.
Mark was very cool to talk to and was kind enough to sign copies of all of his books that I brought with me or bought from him that day. His table was next to my buddy Paul's table and so when I wasn't hanging out with Paul or helping him keep an eye on his tables of retro video games I was talking with Mark about toys. I was wearing a Pixel Dan "Comparison Time" t-shirt at Retro Con in case anyone is trying to figure out what he's talking about in the autograph.
Some of the other great Mark Bellomo books in my collection include the 1st and 2nd editions of The Ultimate Guide to GI Joe 1982-1994 and Transformers Identification and Price Guide. I actually have two copies of the 1st edition of the GI Joe book. The one copy has little notes and check marks in it about my GI Joe collection, while the other copy is kept pristine.