Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Luke Skywalker in Hoth Battle Gear

So the students' presentation down here in Florida went well. They earned the "Best Comprehensive Research Project" Award. Many people told us that our group was the best at the Q&A section at the end of the presentation.

This post is just a follow up to yesterdays. Luke Skywalker in Hoth Battle Gear was the last of the Hoth figures to enter my collection. Luke comes in his snow suit with his monoculars sculpted to his torso. He came armed with a laser rife. I always thought it was odd that he didn't come with a lightsaber for fighting the Wampa. It's the only weapon we see him use while dressed in this costume.

He's got some really great details to his sculpt, from the wrinkles to the goggles around his neck. He's an all around nice figure and worth picking up.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tauntaun - Vintage Star Wars

I'm in Florida for a couple of days on a school trip. A group of Middle Schoolers from my work are involved in a national Environmental Science Symposium. So in honor of that, I was trying to find a toy with a Florida connection among the stuff I have pre-photographed on my laptop. The vintage Tauntaun is the best I can do. The connection is a bit odd, but it is two fold. I was born in 1982 so I didn't own any Vintage Star Wars toys as a kid that came new in the package. Everything I had was bought used from comic stores and yard sales. My sister bought me my Tauntaun at a giant flea market we went to with my Grandparents one time when we visited them in Florida. In addition to that I remember looking through my Grandparents' photo albums and seeing a picture of my cousin Richard opening a brand new Tauntaun for Christmas in 1980 or '81. He grew up in Florida and still lives there today.

There were a lot of cool beasts in the vintage line, but the Tauntaun was the only one I had as a kid. As mentioned before he came into my collection used and without his saddle or reigns. There is a trap door on the Tauntaun's back that allows a figures legs to go inside. The saddle had molded legs attached to it which gave the illusion that these figure with limited articulation could ride the animal. You can also see from this photograph that my Tauntaun's body is fairly yellowed.

Luke on patrol
There were two different versions of the Tauntaun. One had a solid hard plastic belly like the one pictured below and the other had a soft belly with a slit in it. The soft belly allowed kids to stick an injured Luke inside the Tauntaun to keep him warm until Han Solo could put up the shelter.

The Wampa's victims
The old Tauntaun has lots of great details and tons of play value. Well done Kenner!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tri-Klops - Vintage MOTU

Tri-Klops was one of my all time favorite Evil Warriors as a kid. He wore my favorite color and looked down right mean. I always thought it was super cool that his armor contained a holder for his sword. Tri-Klops came with a green sword and a glow-in-the-dark ring that a kid could wear. His action feature was his spinning visor that let you choose which one of his eyes was looking forward. In the cartoon they hinted at the fact that each eye had a different ability. He always seemed like the natural enemy for Man-E-Faces to me.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Flea Market Finds #12

Well today I hit up one of my all time favorite Flea Markets. They hold the event twice a year and I have been going since I was a kid. In fact it's the flea market I sold many of my own toys at when I slimmed down my collection in middle school. I happened to get such a great deal on this stuff today that I bought several figures I would have passed on otherwise.

First up are the Power Rangers. I picked up chromed Yellow and Blue Rangers, a smaller scale Black Ranger, and a fish monster who I think was the monster from the first episode of the 2nd season.

Modern Indiana Jones & Cairo Swordsman

 I picked up four Clone Wars era Star Wars figures. Unfortunately two of them are missing hands. I think this is going to be a common problem with these highly articulated figures for future collectors. It was hard enough trying to collect GI Joe and Star Wars figures when you had to hunt down little guns. Now that you have to hunt for hand... good luck to the kids today who grow up to collect toys.

Next I picked up six DC Comics characters all in the Bruce Timm animated style. Dr. Light (with some major paint wear on her boots), Green Lantern, Lex Luthor, Superman (with elbow and knee articulation), Cooperhead, and Wonder Woman.

Here is a rather odd mixture of figures. Teen Titian's Cyborg, a generic Police officer, a generic fisherman, Bart Simpson in Godzilla Suit, The Hulk, and a "new sculpt" Shipwreck from GI Joe.

I also bought a big bag of dice. I think I'm going to find an interesting jar to 
fill up with dice and put it on a shelf somewhere.

All this stuff... 22 figures and a bunch of dice for $4.50

Friday, April 26, 2013

Rebel Commando - Vintage Star Wars

For a rag-tag team of heroes, the Rebel Solders always seem to have the right gear. They had everything from flight suits, to snow boots, to ponchos. The Rebel Commando figure was the good guy army builder for Return of the Jedi. A bunch of Rebel Commandos worked with Luke, Han, Chewie, Leia, the Droids, and the Ewoks to defeat the evil Empire and take down the shield generator. These guys get no credit for all that was accomplished, and they don't complain about it.

The Rebel Commando is dressed in a green cover-all, boots, and a Rebel Issued Helmet. He has a backpack permanently sculpted  on to his back. He was armed with a laser rifle. He's a good looking figure who is not to hard to come across. He has a lot of cool details like the pockets on his lower legs and his t-shirt wrinkles seen through his unzipped cover-alls. I never really built up a big collection of these guys because I always had tons of GI Joes laying around to bolster the ranks of the Rebel Alliance.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Manga Spider-Man

I received Manga Spider-Man as a birthday present from one of my friends several years ago while I was still in college. Greg bought him for me because he thought the figure might be useful for making stop motion animated videos. I'm still to this day not really knowledgeable about the Manga Spider-Man, but his costume varies a bit for the traditional costume. He features the normal mask and shirt, but it has short sleeves. He is wearing gloves and has his wrists taped up like a gymnast. Inside his hands are three hooks that are used with his action feature. I'm not sure if the hooks are "officially" part of Manga Spider-Man's costume. He also appears to be wearing jeans and a spider backpack.

At first glance the figures seems to be very well articulated. When you start playing with him it turns out he has strange articulation. Take a look at the close up below that shows off the joint in his mid thigh that moves out to the side. What are you supposed to do with an articulation cut there? This combined with his large head, hands, and feet while he has such skinny legs.

Manga Spider-Man came with a Diorama / Action Feature piece. He is supposed to come "with wall crawling action". Spidey came with a wall sections that represents the side of a building. On the wall there are two  points where you can attached the hooks in the figures hands. There is a large Spider-Man head knob on the back of the wall that allows you to slide these connection point up and down on the wall to simulate his climbing ability.

I like the look and design of the figure, but the execution really sucks. Spider-Man has really bizarre articulation and his wall has major short comings as a diorama piece as well as a fun action feature.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cobra Officers - Custom GI Joe

Ever since my Dad gave me a small screwdriver and a dozen o-rings to fix my own Joe I have been a customizer. I have made dozens of original characters as well as classic characters in alternative outfits.

I also like to frequent yard sales and flea markets in search of toys. This often results in finding damaged or broken figures.

Any time I find a broken "trooper" I customize the figure into an Officer. It helps build the ranks of my Cobra Forces, but also explains the variations in their uniforms.

Viper Officer - This figure used the feet from one of the Crimson Twins to repair a Viper. The boots were painted black and he was armed with a custom painted weapon pack gun. This officer figure even appeared frequently in my stop motion animated show "Action Figure Adventures".

Cobra Naval Officer - This figure is a little less straight forward. He uses the head of a Cobra Eel (the head was either badly yellowed or is a knock-off), the torso from Laser Viper, and the arms and legs of Decimator.

I painted the straps on the Laser Viper's torso green to match Decimator's pants.

The figure is my idea of a Decimator wearing a wet suit.

(*side note - That Eel head is really strange to me. The skin is super pale and the gray is an odd color. I don't know of any variations though.)
Cobra Communication Officer - This figure is born out of an early issue of the Marvel Comic. Before Televipers were ever thought of, the Cobra radio operators were just a special "blue shirt". When Hasbro released the giant pack of Cobra Infantry figures in the early 2000's I did some custom work with some of the soldiers since they were so readily available.

This figure has a Hawk head with several additional details. first a mask was sculpted over the figures mouth and painted red. The two earphones were clipped off a weapons pack Breaker headset. They were glued to the figures head and connected with a small piece of rubber band glued to the head between them. The new head set was painted up blue. Then the wire to the head set was glued into the back of a weapons pack Breaker backpack which was also painted blue.

Motor Viper Mechanic - Motor Viper is one of my all time favorite vehicle drivers. I had a busted up figure in need of repairs. He has one arm from each of the Crimson Twins, giving him a shoulder pad on each arm. His pants belong to Static Line from Sky Patrol.

His boots were painted blue to help tie the outfit together.

With the short sleeves and gray pants this figure had sort of a "blue collar" feel. I decided to have him be a Mechanic that supports the rest of the Motor Vipers rather than their leader.

Lamprey Officer - As a kid I bought a beat up Lamprey figure at a flea market. I knew he was from the line, but didn't know anything about him. My find had has his thumbs chewed off on both hands, and I generally pretend he was "Battle Helmet" Cobra Commander.

Later, once I had '83 Cobra Commander and a nice Lamprey I turned him into an "officer". His arms were replaced with Laser Vipers. I painted the gloves silver and armed him with a weapons pack Cobra Commander gun. A little nod to his old roll in my collection.

I decided I wanted to give him a removable helmet. (but I also wanted him to be masked to keep things anonymous. I decided to hollow out the Lamprey Helmet to fit on Croc Master's head. While using my Dremel tool to hollow out the helmet
I accidentally ground away too much of the mask creating a hole. I needed a creative way to give the helmet a new visor. I ground out the rest of the of the visor area. I put a piece of electrical tape over the visor area from the outside and filled the inside with a little hot glue. Once cooled, I removed the tape leaving me with a semi-transparent visor. The helmet looked a little odd of Croc Master, so a ridge was sculpted on the head for the helmet to rest on. Croc Master's head was then painted silver.

 Arctic Commando Snow Serpent Officer - I can't take credit for this idea. Someone on JoeCustoms posted a variation on this figure and I stole the idea. The other Customizer noticed the similarities between Frostbite and the Snow Serpent from the "Arctic Commandos" mail away set.

I used to have tons of Frostbites laying around because I used his thighs for several custom figures for my stop motion show Animation Creation. Frostbite is one of the few figures to not have knives or guns strapped to their thighs.

So basically (after giving him thighs from other figures), I sculpted the mask over his mouth and beard and painted it red. Then I painted some purple on his hat, and light blue on most of his snow suit. I changed the paint scheme on his arms slightly because I try to avoid painting arm joints on custom figures to prevent chipping.

 Motor Viper Officer - One of my Motor Viper figures that I had owned for ever broke. His "J-Hook" broke inside the figure. The screws in his legs were so rusted I couldn't get them apart to change the J-Hook. I eventually gave up and set him up with the legs from a Crimson Twin that was still floating around the parts box. I painted over a lot of the silver on his boots with blue. I wanted this figure to also have a removable helmet. I started with a Jinx head for under the helmet. I ground down some of the wrinkles on Jinx's head and hollowed out the helmet. I think the figure looks pretty cool. I painted Jinx's head blue and  finished off the figure.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Beastman - Vintage MOTU

Beastman was one of Skeletor's original flunkies. He is probably the evil warrior to be used on the most merchandise besides Skeletor. His parts were resused to make both Mossman and Stratos. He frequently appeared more savage in the licensed art. Beastman could have almost been a werewolf or a gorilla toy.

Along with his armor, Beastman also originally came with spiked arm bands (not pictured) and a plastic and string whip (also not pictured). In the Masters of the Universe lore, Beastman could control animals and monsters with his mind.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Flea Market Finds #11

Today was my second time this season I've been out to the Flea Markets. Today I got my first finds.

Knight's End Batman from Kenner's Legends of Batman toy line. He's missing his cape and weapon. I'd love to find his cape some day. I'm a big fan of the Knight Fall (Quest & End) story from the 90's Batman comics. I also picked up a nice Quicksilver from Silver Hawks. These figures can be tricky to find. Their chrome often times shows wear and their flesh tone paint often rubs off the chrome. He's not perfects, but he's not bad either for his age. His action feature even still works. When you squeeze his legs this arms pop up to unfold his wings. I also picked up the Robotech Master figure.

I scored a Captain Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Air Marshal figures. These guys have really cool designs and I always kind of liked the figures. I own one other figure from the line. The original Bucky O'Hare comics were written by Larry Hama of GI Joe fame. My good friend and comic author Doug Moench even wrote an episode of the cartoon show back in the day.

I paid of total of $4.50 for my five figures today. Quicksilver was the most expensive at 2 bucks.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Shredder - TMNT

I was a huge fan of the vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line. When I transitioned from playing with toys to collecting toys I sold off almost all my TMNT figures because I was focusing on GI Joe and Star Wars. Now I miss a lot of the toys I sold off and pick them up at flea markets when I can. So here is my yard sale Shredder. I have a few serious questions for both the sculptor and the person who created the paint master for this figure.

The Shredder is very muscular but yet extremely skinny. He has a very odd crouched stance that has left a generation of kids wondering what he is doing. So I would love to find out if they made him crouch so he could "appear" to be taller than the Turtles but still fit in the standard blister bubble. So that is what I would ask the Sculptor. I have two questions for the person who created the paint master. My first question would be... Since Shredder is wearing skin tight black pants, why not paint his torso and arms black as well? I always thought it was odd that he was bare chested as a kid. He was always fully clothed in the cartoon. My second question for the painter would have to do with his helmet and eyebrows. Why was the front ridge of his helmet painted flesh tone with eyebrows? Did you not realize that it was his helmet or did he not seem evil without eyebrows? Okay... I know that's really three questions for the painter, but I really want to know why. I also want to find another one and paint him up differently.

Shredder came with a purple cloth cape, a removable rubber black belt, and a small katana for accessories. His arms and legs feature rubbery blades that are none removable. I loved this figure as a kid even though he was a little weird. This was the only version of Shredder I ever owned. I didn't get into the movie figures and I was out of the line by the time they issued the "Toon" Turtles.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Comparison Time!

I don't think there is anyone who activity collects action figures who doesn't know about Pixel Dan. I love Dan's enthusiasm and video reviews. When he started selling his "It's Comparison Time" shirts I had to get one. If by some chance you haven't heard of Pixel Dan you can check him out at www.pixel-dan.com

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I got this Supergirl in a DC vs Masters of the Universe pack with She-Ra. Unfortunatly this is probably one of my least favorite Supergirl costumes. It is a very accurate representation of the character. Supergirl features a white Superman t-shirt, blue skirt, and red cape. The cape is molded in a blowing pose, which throws off the figure balance a little. I still think the white gloves are pretty ridiculous, but that's why I don't really like this costume.

I also think that her legs look oddly spread apart where they come out under her skirt. Supergirl has good articulation that is slightly hindered by her skirt. I'm a little surprised that Mattel didn't pair She-Ra with Wonder Woman.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roadblock - Retaliation

I've been trying to figure out what GI Joe: Retaliation Roadblock figure I should buy. Many of the figures feature the Arashikage Ninja Clan logo on their clothes or forearm. Roadblock is not a ninja. There are already enough of them on the team. I can live with the logo on a shirt, but on his arm like a tattoo bugs me. So I picked up the standard Roadblock figure and I'm pretty disappointed. He looks kind of like the Rock, but somethings off. The head sculpt is not quite perfect. His skin tone is a few shades to light, but the biggest problem I have with this figure is the "handle" molded into his hand.

I hate forced play! Anytime an action feature limits what a toy can do it stifles a kids creativity. If an action figure can't be posed in any way except to make it's feature work than a kid will only have the figure do that one action (Example: Toy Biz Colossus). Roadblock's action feature doesn't ruin the entire figure, but having a handle molded into his hand makes it so he can't hold other weapons, drive a vehicle, or do other things.

Roadblock comes with four accessories: a shoulder mount (barley pictured), a spring-loaded blade weapon (picture on the mount), a large spring-loaded missile launcher, and missile.I was hoping that he would also come with a standard weapon but he didn't. So This guy is totally geared for kids. I kind of want to steal a black gloved hand from another figure and rescue this one. He's fun for kids I guess. Hasbro is trying to hard on the gimmick on this guy.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

G.I. Joe Trooper & Cobra Trooper - Retaliation

I've picked up quite a few of the GI Joe: Retaliation figures. I felt like these two needed to share a post. The GI Joe trooper and Cobra Trooper are both cool army building figures, but neither one really captures the look of the characters from the movie.

The Joe Trooper is armed to the teeth. He comes with tons of accessories. He reminds me of both Battle Corps from the 90's and Spy Troops from the 2000's. The GI Joe Trooper comes with two heads, 7 guns, 2 knives, a back pack, a gas mask, and more. It's crazy! The insane number of weapons is what reminds me of the Battle Corps days. His "helmeted" head reminds me a lot of Halo, and I didn't see a single Joe wear a helmet in Retaliation.

The GI Joe Trooper also comes with a head with a Mohawk hair style. The gas mask that attaches to his backpack can fit over this head. He also comes with a cape that matches his collar and mask. The cape and gas mask are what make me think of the Spy Troop line of GI Joe.

The most incredible thing about this guy is that he can carry pretty much everything at once. The shovel, gas mask, and six guns can all be held on his backpack. The two knives fit in a sheath that attaches to his web gear.

The Cobra Trooper doesn't come with quite as many accessories, but he comes with a nice cloth parachute that really works. The trooper looks kind of like a Snake-Eyes repaint. He features a light blueish-gray uniform with bright blue web gear. His web gear can be removed and replaced with his parachuting harness.

 Cobra Trooper also comes with a pistol, a removable helmet, and a strange rifle. I kind of wish the bright blue was a little more muted to go with the light gray of his uniform.

Cobra Trooper's parachute is light gray and features a huge Cobra logo. This is fun for anyone who grew up watching the battle at the beginning of the animated GI Joe movie as a kid.

I think the gas mask that came with the GI Joe Trooper could also makes a great mask for a Cobra Trooper. I'm not sure if we will see this mask reused, but this Trooper looks cool wearing it.

I can't recommend the GI Joe Trooper enough. With all his gear, you've got to get this guy. The Cobra Trooper is okay, but he's not my favorite trooper figure ever. I really hope at some point Hasbro puts out a Cobra Trooper figure wearing a Viper Helmet without a face mask like the Cobra's wore in the film.