Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flea Market Finds #13

Luckily the rain held off this morning and I was able to hit up one of my favorite flea markets. I bought one figure for $2. Then while looking at some figures in a box a dealer offered me the box for $20. I wasn't interested in everything is the box, but it still worked out to be a pretty good deal. It worked out to be $1 a piece on the figures plus lots of accessories buried in the bottom of the box.

First up are two Kenner Predator figures. One comes from the Alien vs Predator 2-Pack and the other is known as Scavage Predator. My buddy Derek had both of these figures growing up. They both came with their masks. The regular Predator has his gun but is missing his bladed weapon. Scavage Predator has his staff, missile launcher and one of his missiles.

As a kid I really enjoyed the Kenner Aliens toy line. Again my buddy Derek had almost all of them. I've been planning on doing a stop motion animation using some of the Aliens toys in the future. The toys that drew my attention to this box were the Aliens. The Killer Crab Alien with both of his chest missiles and the Flying Queen Alien.

I've been wanting to get one (or more) of the Warrior Alien from the Alien vs Predator 2-Pack for a long time. I also got the Face Hugger Queen and Atax with some of his Alien Armor.

The box lot contained several super hero figures. The Rocketeer is a large rubbery figure. Strife from Toy-Biz X-Force line with is mask. A Punisher figure with a wonky foot. Three different Batman figures and a Quick Change Bruce Wayne with chest armor and Cowl/Cape. I'm not sure if the Spawn figure actually goes to that cape, but it displays nicely. I also bought individually (as previously mentioned) and Iceman figure. He's my favorite X-Men character. Oddly he has a snow ball molded into one hand and an ice chuck in the other.

The box also contained Rattlor from MOTU and a couple of TMNT figures. I'm excited to have another Foot Soldier. I don't collect "variant" Turtles and I already have Casey Jones. I did play with that Astronaut Raphael in the swimming pool a lot as a kid.

 I didn't look at the accessories in the bottom of the box to much before buying the lot. I just sort of crossed my fingers that I would find some good stuff. I was super excited to find Bullit's Ammo Belt and Gun from the Cops 'n' Crooks line. I've been working on building up that collection so I can post about them on AFA. I was also very excited to find a vintage Star Wars weapon. As a kid I never had many original weapons because all my Star Wars figures came from yard sales. I still get excited when I find them.

I found quite a few accessories from 90's 12" GI Joe figures. There is a mask for Snake-Eyes and Red Ninja Gear. Destro's Dagger and several other items are there. I don't own any of these figures, but I do see them from time to time. Now that I have some parts to them maybe I'll pick one up.

I do have a 12" Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow that came in a two pack called Ninja Showdown in the early 2000's.

Below are all the remaining weapons and parts. Some of them I know, and others I need some help identifying. Please comment on this post if you know some of them. I'll update the post as I find out what things go to. Feel free to let me know if you need any of them. If it's not something I need for my collection I'd be happy to part with it.

Row 1Row 2Row 3

Back Pack for Tomahawk Swamp Thing  
Anchor ?Club?
Gun & Axe for Panda Kong TMNT    Night Stick ?   Sheath for Samurai Leo TMNT
Sword and Hook Leonardo TMNT Multi Barrel Gun ?     TMNT Bomb?
Bow & Arrow for Splinter TMNTBig Gun ?Rifle for General Traag TMNT
Bo Staff for Donatello TMNTFugitoid from TMNTSwords Classic Rocker Leo TMNT
Brown Gun ?Fugitoid from TMNTGuitar Classic Rocker Leo TMNT
Gold Mace ?Fugitoid from TMNT   Yellow Snakes?
Slash from TMNT
Orange Pistol ?Yellow Axes?

Shedder Claws?Yellow Gun?

Yellow Gun (from vehicle)?

Row 1Row 2Row 3
Belt - cheap plastic ?Snap Up Swamp ThingCombat Belt Batman Weapon
Boot - cheap plastic ?Micro Machines Endor Log   Black Hair or Wig ?
Super Shredder - TMNT
Tan Weapon ?     Double Barreled Gun?
Silver Gun ?Bio Viper Gun GI JoeArrow ?
Dodger GI Joe Gun Knock-Off ?    Sci Fi Gun ?
Silver Missile ? Gun from Robo Cop's Car
Knife pointing up ? Automatic weapon ?
Knife pointing down ? Tommy Gun ?
GI Joe 12"  SWAT Assault
Gun Stalker v3 GI Joe

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Godzilla trashes Lego City

One year, in preparation for our big "Godzilla Set-Up" I created a little city as a setting for our monster battle photographs. I drew roads and other details on a large sheet of white packing paper. I marked out on it where to place dozens of buildings I made out of Lego bricks. I took my city to my buddy Derek's house and we populated it with Micro Machine cars and tiny people. Then we set up all of the Japanese monster toys.

The road map would have shown up better in the photos if it had been drawn in marker instead of colored pencil. It didn't look as great in the photographs as I thought it would, but it was nice to not have the carpet as the background in the pictures. In the distance you can see we used a light blue towel as water. Along with dozens of Godzilla and Ultraman monsters, the city is being attached or defended by a Gundam robot and some Z-bots.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Crimson Empire - Issue 5 Page 3

A while ago I posted a sketch of Batman done for me by Paul Gulacy. In that post I told the background story of the sketch and about how Paul's wife was upset with him for giving a kid a picture of Batman smoking a cigarette. So to make up for it Paul offered me an original page from Star Wars: Crimson Empire. He had a stack of pages with him that he had previously taken to a convention to sell. At the time I hadn't read Crimson Empire, so I was looking for a page that I felt screamed Star Wars. I wanted something in the art that someone who had seen the movies but not read the comics would recognize.

This page reminds me a lot of the final space battle in Return of the Jedi (my favorite Star Wars movie). The top features B-Wings shooting at a Tie Fighter. The middle panel pictures a Star Destroyer under attack. The bottom of the page shows Imperial Officers at work aboard the Star Destroyer. Owning the page made me obviously interested in the story behind the page. I bough the trade paperback at Midtown Comics in New York City when I went with a group of students from my Sister's College to see the play Proof, which was later made into a movie with Anthony Hopkins. After reading the comic book I kind of wished I picked a page that featured Kir Kanos or Carnor Jax.

I framed this page years ago and still love having it on display today. This page was my first piece of original comic artwork. Now I have a pretty decent size collection including a number of pieces by Paul Gulacy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Roton - Vintage MOTU

The Roton is probably the most iconic Evil Warrior Vehicle from the Masters of the Universe toy line. It's a small black circular chair surrounded by a spinning red blade. The toy has a mechnaism that spins the blades and the toy gets pushed across the floor. The Roto features a face sculpted on it's front. It is also armed with two laser cannons.

The Roton has room to carry one rather unprotected driver. Although the toy gives no indication of the vehicles being able to fly, the Roton has been pictures flying is in some promotional artwork. The Roton features several decals including the eyes and control panels.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Skinman - Kenner (Swamp Thing)

As a kid I purchased this Swamp Thing villain at a yard sale. I liked called him Zombie Master and he was one of many monster toys that used to attack my Castle Lego Land. In reality the figure known as Skinman and is one of the Evil Un-Men.  The figure came with two accessories, both of which I do not have. The first is his Fangbat Biomask which is a bat head and wings that fit over his head like a mask. The second is a miner's pick type of weapon.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tasmanian Devil Motorcycle - Ertl 1989

This die cast motorcycle was released by Ertl in 1989. The red motorcycle is being ridden by a plastic Tasmanian Devil. He's wearing a biker helmet, but is not holding on to the bike at all. The bike also features a decal that says "Tasmanian Devil". I bought this at a year sale as a kid when I was collecting Taz toys. The sculpt of Taz is kind of so-so. His face is a little smashed looking. I think it's funny that his legs go into the motorcycle instead of straddling the bike.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Duke & Storm Shadow - GI Joe 3" Blind Box

The Loyal Subjects, a toy design group that specializes in Vinyl Art Toys, has released a series of 3" GI Joe figures. These little guys come blind boxed and include a nice selection of accessories. These figures have bodies similar to Mighty Muggs, but have sculpted head. When I was at my LCBS recently they had a fresh case and I bought two blind boxes.

Duke is based on his v1 figure. He comes with a green backpack and a dark gray rifle.

 Storm Shadow is based on his v1 figure as well. He is armed with a
sheath backpack, long sword, and short sword.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Red Hood - DC Signature Collection

This months Club Infinite Earth figure from Matty Collector is Red Hood. This Batman villain/hero is a cool character and turned out to be a great figure. This isn't my favorite  Red Hood costume, but the toy still looks excellent.

I love the glossy red paint on his helmet and his chest emblem is very striking. Red Hood comes with duel red pistols. I wish both of his hands were sculpted with separate trigger fingers. He holds the gun so much better with the one hand.

I'm glad that a few of the characters in the DC Subscription are from the Bat-Family. I mostly only collect DC figures connected to Batman. I have some of the other major heroes, but I'm not real into a lot of the 3rd tier DC characters from the other books.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Batman vs Bane 1:6 Scale Icon Statue

At Christmas time I went to visit my friend, comic book writer, Doug Moench. I took with me the Matty Collector Black Mask action figure I bought for him because Doug created the original Black Mask. He said that if we were exchanging toys I should go in the next room and grab one of the big boxes. I walked into a small room off is studio and saw two giant boxes containing the Batman vs Bane statue. The one box was empty because Doug had the statue out on the display, and the second one was for me. This thing is awesome!

This statue is put out by DC Collectables as part of their Icon Series. It features Bane holding Batman over his head as seen in the Dark Knight Rises movie. The statue is beautifully detailed showing off the Batman's armor and Bane's mask. Batman even comes with a cloth cape that contains small wires inside the hem so you can control how it lays.

The statue is really big. The entire statue is about 15 inches tall. I actually had a hard time photographing it. My normal backdrop wasn't really big enough. The bottom pictures shows a Quarter standing  up against the statues base for scale purposes. The paint job on my statue is excellent and it looks great on top my armoire.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Snow Serpent v1 - GI Joe '85

1985 really was the greatest year in the GI Joe: A Real American Hero line. So many great Joes, but the Cobra Troopers really take the cake. In the first year of the line we got the generic Cobra Officer and Trooper. Then slowly the ranks of Cobra characters filled in as the line grew. In '85 the Cobra Troopers where back and this time they came with equipment for special situations. The Snow Serpents were loaded down with so much gear to take on Snow Job and Frostbite.

The Snow Serpents came equipped with a Rifle, Mortar, Backpack, Fanny Pack, and Snow Shoes. I bought my first Snow Serpent figure as a kid at a huge GI Joe yard sale. Since he was second hand I didn't know I was missing the fanny pack. I think this pack is actually supposed to be a parachute, based on the fact that their file card talks about them parachuting onto ice flows. One of the cool features of this figure is that the mortar can be attached to the backpack. There is a bump on the backpack and an indentation of the mortar that fit together.

Since I love to army build, I have picked up several more Snow Serpents over the years. One of them is really badly yellowed. I custom painted a face on the one Snow Serpent to make him match the way they are sometimes shown in artwork wearing only a mask that covers their mouth and nose. I like to arm my extra Snow Serpents with light gray weapons from the various weapon packs.

The Snow Serpent uniform is very striking being a very pail gray with dark blue webbing. The suit features white sculpted fur around the neck and on the forearms. I love the bulkiness of the winter gear.

I wish the Snow Serpents would have seen a little more action in the animated GI Joe movie. There is such an awesome snow battle, but you really only see one of these guys operating the gun on the back of a Cobra Stun.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Troll in a Tux -Russ

In the 90's when Trolls were big, like most kids I owned several of them. This is a Russ Troll, which was my favorite brand of these figures/dolls. This particular Troll features bright pink hair and a tuxedo.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Haunter - Filmation Ghostbusters

I think I might have been the only kid in America that really liked both versions of the Ghostbusters cartoons. The Real Ghostbusters which were based on the famous movie are awesome and I still love that movie today. The Filmation Ghostbusters  were a weird spin-off of an old back and white tv show were less popular, but I thought they were fun. I liked to play with all the toys together. What's a few extra Busters around the Firehouse? I also liked the idea of having a main villain with Prime-Evil to command the ghost army. If they had made a toy of the Boogie-Man or Samhain from the Real Ghostbusters toon then they would have had a real arch enemy toy.

Haunter (an obvious pun on hunter) is a ghostly safari man. He has light purple skin and wears a typical safari suit complete with pith helmet. The figure features 5-points of articulation and came with no accessories. He certainly wasn't my favorite Ghost from the line, but I do like these figures and would love to finish collecting the line.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sewer Swimmin' Donatello - TMNT

I had this "Wacky Action" Turtles as a kid, but sold him when I thinned out my toy collection in Middle School. My Mom bought me a TMNT case with some random figures at a yard sale some time in the past year. I have slowly been posting about those figures. I actually passed this figure on to a fellow toy blogger already, but hadn't posted about him yet.

Sewer Swimmin' Donatello was a pretty cool toy and actually got a lot of use at my house back in 1989. I used this figure both on land and in the water. I liked to wind him up and hold him upright to make it look like he was running. I also used to take him in our swimming pool all the time since he could swim. Donny came with two accessories. One was a sewer-scuba jet which was a large grayish-blue missile looking object he could hold onto as a floatation device. The other was a harpoon that he can hold or clip onto the scuba jet. (Scuba Jet not pictured)

Donatello had a little knob, disguised as a pouch on his belt that could be wound up to make him kick. (this can be seen in the photo of his shell) He had a mechanism inside his torse that make his hips move in a swimming motion. His ankles also have articulation that allows him to stand normally or look like he is swimming.

If I didn't have a swimming pool as a kid I probably would not have been very impressed with this figure. It was fun to see how far he would swim.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Toy Marketing

I am a toy collector... not a marketing expert. Maybe all my thoughts on the topic are BS, I'm not sure.

Currently most toys are released in Waves. Most stores seem to order a couple of cases of each wave. Sometimes they all go out on the shelves at once and other times the first case goes out and once they sell the store restocks. That wave may be readily available for a couple of months and then they are gone. Short of a really bad peg warmer hanging out forever.You better get the figure while the getting is good.

When I was a kid in the 80's and 90's toys were released for a year. So for a year or a little more you could easily get any character. I would make my Christmas list and if I didn't get the guy then I could ask for him again for my Birthday in May. If you were lucky stores would misplace cases and dig them out later making figures from the previous year available again.

Using the year system meant that main characters like He-Man, Snake-Eyes, the Ninja Turtles, and Batman might get a new variant once a year or so. Now some of these characters get a new costume or version every wave. Why is that?

Collectors don't necessarily want all these different versions, but the toy companies say that these are for the kids. Kids want the main characters so in order to get new kids into the line they have to always have a Batman or He-Man on the shelves. I feel like this tends to cause the most peg warmers. The old system instead of having 4 different Cobra Commanders released in one year, the same one was available all year. The shorter length of release for the waves is good and bad for collectors. It helps the collector market by making figures gain value because once they are gone they are gone. It also makes collectors pull their hair out if they can't find the figures.

When the new Nick TMNT figures came out I bought a set of all the figures to play with (make an animated video) but I also bought a set of the 4 turtles and a Shredder to keep packaged. I have they stored away in a closet and when I retire in 20+ years I'll see if there is a collectors market for them when the little kids of today have grown up. I don't think I'll get rich off them, but if I double my money later that would be fun.  I occasionally buy a few figures to resell down the road from  hot toy lines. I assumed that once the turtles were gone they would be gone, but the stores have been restocking them. I see the regular Turtles alongside the variation Turtles with the ooze gimmick all the time. April, Splinter, and Kraang seem to be the rare figures from the first wave.

In the 80's and 90's they used to reissue figures from time to time. Masters of the Universe is famous for including the little "Original" bursts on the front of their reissued figures. Mattel even carried on that packaging gimmick with their modern figures. Again making older figures available to new fans.

In the 80's and 90's toy lines were also supported with comics, cartoons, and commercials. The only toy line that is currently being supported properly in my eyes in the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles. They have all three. It's been over 10 years since I've seen a GI Joe toy commercial. There are several GI Joe comic books released each month, but none of them feature the toys that are currently on the market. Maybe that is a good thing... but I think a comic geared more towards the kids could also be good.

The 80's GI Joe comics by Larry Hama were fun for people of all ages. They featured both old and current products. I was never upset that I couldn't buy all the figures in the comics. I understood that some figures were older and no longer available. I used to hunt for those characters at yard sales. Maybe that is what turned me into a toy collector.

The stores also have a lot to do with the marketing and I don't know if that good or bad. We see store exclusives from time to time. There are also stories about figures like Kwinn and Data-Viper (from GI Joe) who got squashed because the retailers don't like them.

Action figures are getting to be more and more expensive and if they aren't supported and marketed properly I worry about the selection in the future. The toy companies tell the collectors all the time that they are a small percentage of the total sales and the kids are the driving force. The collectors know what is available and actively seek out the new products. How are toy companies tell kids what's out there?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Darth Vader Carrying Case

There have probably been hundreds of thousands of Star Wars products released since the first movie came out in 1977. Perhaps the most iconic piece of Star Wars mechandise is the Darth Vader carrying case. Anybody who had a collection of Star Wars figures in the 70's or 80's had a case to store and transport them around in. This awesome molded piece of plastic has places to store dozens of figures as well as a bin for their accessories.

The case came with a sheet of stickers to be placed on the bars that hold the figures in place labeling were they go. It also originally came with a piece of cardboard that showed off the figures in the line. The one downfall to this case was that it didn't really hold all the figures that well. Any kid who owned a Vader Case has experienced the joy of carefully putting each figure in their correct spot and then the dread of closing up the case only to hear the figures slipping out of their little compartments.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Serpentor v1 - GI Joe '86

Serpentor the Cobra Emperor was a great figure and a cool character created by Hasbro, who then had to be shoehorned into the comic and cartoon stories. Both handled his well, but it was awkward having a new character who was the leader above the original leader, Cobra Commander.

I still remember being in first grade and we had to draw what we wanted for Christmas. This kid near me drew a funky drawing of Serpentor and his Air Chariot. Later in the school year I would become best friends with that kid. If you've read anything on the blog where I mention my buddy Derek or see his name in any of the Animation Creation and Action Figure Adventures credits... he knew a cool toy when he saw one even in first grade. I didn't think he'd get Serpentor because this is 1988 almost 1989, but his parents found one on the shelves somewhere. (This brings up something I want to talk about in a future post about how toy marketing has changed with waves of products vs years)

Serpentor is really a vehicle pilot. He came with the Air Chariot as well as a bunch of great accessories. He has a cool cobra backpack/hood, a green sparkly cape (mine is ripped), a silver knife, and a golden snake. There are several variations to the color of the snake. His entire outfit is a really cool gold, yellow, and green snake motif armor. His snake head helmet being the coolest part.

As a kid one time, my original Serpentor's helmet cracked off his head while another one of my buddies was playing with him. (If you want to read about this or other GI Joe horror stories from my childhood check out this older article) I was devastated. He was such a cool figure and was so ugly afterwards. I've never seen another one without his helmet, but I see lots with broken fangs.

A buddy of mine named Paul (who is a toy and video game reseller - his video game show, Too Many Games, is this weekend.) gave me a Serpentor who has a broken fang and a broken arm just so I could crack his helmet off to show people. After I removed the helmet I glued it back together and filed off the fangs.

He really is ugly. He's got the big bald head with bushy eyebrows like Darth Vader under that thing. The top of his head is very square and he has no chin. It's just freaky. Clearly they didn't plan on the helmet coming off when they glued it on in the factory. There is also a variation of Serpentor where his neck is painted yellow. I've owned at least 4 of him in my life, (and seen dozens go through Paul's business) and I have yet to see the yellow neck version in person. Something for me to keep my eyes out for at the flea markets I guess.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Toy Hunters - C2E2

Well I was watching Toy Hunters tonight, hoping to see my buddy Pixel Dan on the episode. After C2E2 Dan showed off his toy haul from the convention and mentioned buy a pair of carded Rock Lord figures from Jordan at the show.

The Rock Lords made it into the opening portion of the show, but Pixel Dan actually buying them didn't survive editing. I guess they needed room for more shots of Jordan worrying that he wasn't going to make enough money.

Jordan's big ticket item at the Chicago based convention was a sealed GI Joe Aircraft Carrier. I had to laugh when he said "who owns two?" to the guy he bought it from. The original owner had one loose Flagg and one sealed. I own two. Both of mine are loose... and I'd love to sell off the one... but I own two!

It was a decent episode, but sort of more of the same. They did show off a Droids Boba Fett figure and a rare Battle Star Galactica toy. I wonder how many episodes of a show you can do in this style before you don't really have anything that interesting to show.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Buzz-Off - Vintage MOTU

Buzz-Off is one of my three top favorite Heroic Masters from the original He-Man line. He's an awesome looking humanoid bee. Buzz-Offi is a creative re-use of many old parts.His legs and torso come from Whiplash, and one of his arms comes from Clawful. I love how the torso looks painted up like a bee's stripes. Mattel sculpted a second arm and a new head to make the figure. Buzz-Off has four accessories. He comes with two semi-transparent yellow wings, a brown axe, and a helmet.

 The large wingspan really helped make this figure seem like he could fly compared to other characters like Stratos who just had feathers on his arms. Buzz-Off's big bug eyes look really good painted in an almost metallic green paint. I even have a cool Cel from the original Filmation Cartoon framed in my house featuring Buzz-Off.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Black Costume Spider-Man - Secret Wars

I have loved the Black Spider-Man Costume since the moment I saw it. It's so simple, but very dramatic. Because of this I have always wanted to own the Secret Wars figure. I looked at him several times when I was a teenager when I first got back into collecting toys after a short hiatus. He was always pretty expensive at this one toy dealer I'd go to. So I always put my money towards Vintage Star Wars figures instead. Well, I saw this guy at Wizard World Philly and had to get him. This figure is in amazing shape.

Now I finally have both Secret Wars Spider-Man figures. I really should try to pick up some more of these characters sometime. Like all the figures from the line he has five points of articulation and a very basic sculpt. All his details (and he doesn't have many) are painted on. Spidey has one oven hand and one closed fits. His legs are pre-posed. This makes him always look ready for action.