Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sir Laser-Lot - MOTUC

Sir Laser-Lot was one of the new characters created for the 30th Anniversary of Master of the Universe. Mattel reached out to several writers/creators to see if they would create a new Masters character, but they weren't offering any compensation (other than maybe a few free figures). Jeff Johns of DC Comic fame was the only celebrity person to take them up on their offer. Sir Laser-Lot was his creation. The back story is that this knight from the ancient days had a suit of magical armor powered by the gem on his torso and could create energy weapons. When He-Man is old (and the king) he sends The Mighty Spector (another 30th Ann,. character - created by the Master Brand Manager) back in time to bring him to the present (aka the future) to train his son and army in the ways of ancient combat.

 I'm not a huge fan of the time travel element and he doesn't look quite old fashion enough for me to be from Preternia. Oh well, he's a nice over all figure. Sir Laser-Lot is basically entirely blue and red. Many fans have complained that he is a little plain and I have to agree. Maybe a few more silver details would have done the trick. His helmet sculpt is just awesome and the translucent plum coming out of the top looks cool. His cape curls back nicely also. Laser-lot comes with three weapons. They are all made of translucent plastic because they are the energy weapons he can create. He came with a Sword, Mace, and Shield. All three of these weapons are going to be released in more traditional colors in the next weapons pack from Mattel. I think the one other little detail that could have made this guys even better is if the gem on his armor was also cast in a translucent plastic.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Imperial Stormtrooper

Stormtroopers were the must have army builder of my childhood. At the local comic store where I bought most of my childhood collection of vintage Star Wars figures (2nd Hand), Stormtroopers were twice the price of most of the other figures. I remember being so excited when I found my second Stormtrooper at a yard sale. Along with Chewbacca, the Stormtroopers were one of the few vintage figures that did not have neck articulation.

Imperial Stormtroopers came armed with a black blaster. Many aliens and bounty hunters also came with this weapon. As a kid I always had to arm my troopers with GI Joe guns. None of my "used" Star Wars figures came with accessories. The Stormtroopers really do have nice sculpts and still hold up well today even if they only have four points of articulation.

 As a kid I was so jealous of my best friend Derek because he owned six Stormtroopers. He had such a great army. He also had a cool Stormtrooper that someone had custom painted black. We later learned about the Shadow Troopers from the Marvel comic. It took me a long time, but my army caught up to his.


I always thought that the Sandtroopers were such cool variations of the standard trooper. I wanted a toy of these guys long before Kenner made the Power of the Force (2) version, so I made little custom shoulder pads. I made the shoulder pads out of cardboard and decorated it with orange and black marker. The pad is cut out so it sort of pinches around the Stormtrooper's neck. They worked out really well for a little accessory created by a 9 or 10 year old. The shoulder pads have been stored in the weapon compartment of my Star Wars Collector Case all these years.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wolverine - Toy Biz

The line of Uncanny X-Men toys made by Toy Biz in 1991 is what made me an X-Men fan. The 90's Cartoon and Comics both helped me become more knowledgeable and fully emerged in the world of X-Men. The first wave of figures all came with a trading card that matched the figure in the package. Between the text on the package and the trading card inside it help make me know the character I just got in plastic form. Later waves often came with random trading cards. Of the first wave of X-Men figures Wolverine was one of the coolest. In honor of the new movie, "The Wolverine", I decided to post about him.

 This figure represented Wolverine in his brown and orange costume, which he was wearing in the comics at the time. He had seven points of articulation. Many of the characters from this wave had two more joints, but Wolverine (and a few other characters) did not have elbow joints for various reasons. Wolverine didn't have elbows because the articulation would have interfered with his action feature.

Wolverine's mutant action feature was his "pop-out" claws. He had spring loaded claws that would pop out of his writs with the slightest tap of a tab under his arm. This feature also worked to make it look like he could really stab things. When his claws come in contact with any surface they would start to slide back insides his arms making it look like they had cut into the surface. It's fun to have him stab other action figures.

For accessories Wolverine came with a removable mask as well as a samurai sword. He can only hold the sword with one of his hands because the other was sculpted as a fist. His mask is pretty weak looking and I almost never had him wear it as a kid. The mask could also be used a ring thagt you could wear (lame feature for boys - seems like a She-Ra toy line feature).

 Logan's (Wolverine's) face  sculpt is okay. He looks pissed, but his face is slightly awkward. Even thought I don't 100% love his face sculpt it looks better than that goofy ring mask on his face. His claw placement is a little off, but this is due to the action feature. His claws look like they come out of his wrist instead of his knuckles.

The sculptors did a pretty nice job of translating his unusual boots into plastic while still allowing him to have articulated knees. You can see there is some paint wear on his boots, he's seen a lot of play time. For 1991 this really was an awesome figure. Tons of play value and I put a lot of miles on this figure. When I streamlined my toy collection in middle school Wolverine and Magneto were the only two figures from the line I didn't offer up to the yard sale gods. He was just to cool of a character and the first figure I ever had of him to sell off. At the time of Secret Wars I really didn't know who any of the X-Men were. I didn't own that figure at the time.

Wolverine's claws work using a similar "J-Channel" or "L-Channel" to the Rocket Fire Boba Fett prototypes. I flicked the little tab on the back of his arms to pop his claws thousands of times in the 90's and they still work great today. My buddy Tony (aka ActionFig) from Action Figs and Things sent me a loose version of this figure in a package of toys one time. That Wolverine has better paint than mine, but his one claw doesn't stay in real well. He hangs out on a shelf in my living room full of toys that I play with along with my niece.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Retro Con Teaser Image

I've had a busy weekend. I went flea marketing (I still have to post my one find), saw The Wolverine, and have been preparing to make a Stop Motion Animated commercial for Retro Con. The convention is held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania. Retro Con celebrates everything retro including toys, cartoons, movies, and video games. I posted pretty extensive coverage of the show last year here on AFA. This year I offered to put together a commercial featuring action figures. So here is the Teaser Image... Time to get animating!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Homemade Movies

If you've read much of this blog you probably know that I like to make Stop Motion Animated videos with my toys. My friends and I have also made two stop motion shows (Animation Creation & Action Figure Adventures). In addition to these video projects, we have also made some live action "movies" back in our high school and college days. (If your interested you can find that stuff on our channel)

What I wanted to talk about today is a series I just found on youtube that I just love! It's got the no budget feel that pretty much every video project I've ever been involved with has had, but they pay so much attention to detail. The series is called Homemade Movies and they recreate scenes or trailers shot for shot from famous movies. The first one I saw was their Star Wars Trench Run video and I fell in love. The behind the scenes stuff is a lot of fun to watch also. Since they use toys for some of their special effects and wide shots I figured it was game for posting here on AFA.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Clutch (Tan) v2 - GI Joe '84

Clutch is one of two "Tan" GI Joe repaints of original characters released as vehicle drivers. Clutch came with the VAMP II. He is a complete repaint of his v1.5 figure. Clutch came with one accessory, his tan helmet. I really like the tan figures and wish they had made the entire original team in in tan. I've made custom figures of a couple of the other Joes.

 I like to arm Clutch with a tan Grunt backpack and gray M-16, both from early weapon packs.

Tan Grunt makes a short appearance in the 8th and final episode of Action Figure Adventures: The Series. He is one of three repaint figures that are used to restart "the giant's" toy collection.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jason: Auto Morphin Power Ranger

When the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers hit the airwaves I loved the show. It was like Ultraman mixed with Voltron. I was a little too old for toys at the time (I guess I got younger since then) but I did have fun playing Power Ranger with my little cousins. They got just about all the toys (Rangers, Monsters, and Zords) that year for Christmas. At one point in time, while Power Rangers SPD was on the air a friend (who watched the show with little kids she babysat) and I came up with an idea for a spoof stop motion project called Power Rangers STD. The Rangers were all going to have porn star names and use their Zords to fight STDs. I went on Ebay and bought a bunch of the Auto Morhin figures to use for the animation project, but it never happened.

The Auto Morphin figures have special spring loaded torsos. There are flaps on the front and back of their torsos that open up and allow a piece with two heads to spin. One head is the  "Teenager with attitude" and the other is the Ranger helmet. The spring loaded feature only works when the Teen head is showing and it is activated by pressing the morpher on their belt. All the figures in the line share the same body sculpt. Their head is the only unique piece. They have decent articulation, 8-points, plus the action flipping head.

Jason came with two accessories. Like all the Rangers he came with a white power blaster that fit in the holster on his hip. He also came with a silver Power Sword. Both of the accessories are not pictured because I don't have them.

These Auto Morphin' Rangers were released by Bandai in 1993. Jason stands about 5 1/2" tall. The sculpt of the figure's teen face is a pretty good likeness to actor Austin St John. All around this is a fun toy. This figure even originally included a temporary tattoo for kids of the Tyrannosaurs Power Coin.

I kind of wish these figures had better hip articulation. Because of the the fighting style of the Power Rangers I would have preferred that these figures had GI Joe type articulation at the hips rather than vintage Star Wars.

My only other real complaint I have is that the figure has his power coin printed on his chest. This was common with just about all of the 90's Power Ranger toys and much of the supporting product art work like coloring books and stickers. I just never liked it because it was not screen accurate.

Jason was my favorite Ranger as a kid until they introduced Tommy. It's kind of sad that he and two other actors left the show due to contract disputes. I never liked their replacements as much as the original Rangers. It's pretty cool that they did bring Jason back (at least for a cameo) a few times in the various reiterations of the Power Rangers since the Mighty Morphin days. Happy 20th Anniversary Power Rangers!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spin Head Beetlejuice

As a kid I had a couple of Beetlejuice action figures. I got them for my Birthday one year and shortly afterwards this toy line disappeared. I enjoyed the movie and cartoon show as a kid. I liked to use my Beetlejuice toys along with my Ghostbusters. Below is Spin Head Beetlejuice. This figure is based on "The Ghost with the Most" as seen in the wedding scene as well as when he steals the "deli number" from the head hunter. Beetlejuice is wearing a maroon tuxedo and includes a head spinning feature activated by the dial on his back.

To simulate when Beetlejuice gets his head shrunk by the heat hunter as payback for butting in line, you can remove his head to reveal a mini head. This head can also spin. It's a shame his hair is so matted down in the shrunk version. It's also kind of a shame that his neck looks so odd. The white area under his chin is what allows the other head to snugly attach.

Head Spin Beetlejuice came with one accessory, known as the Creepy Coachroach. This little figures is pictured below with the Dreadful Dragon from Exploding Beetlejuice. I bought the Dreadful Dragon at a yard sale years ago.

Monday, July 22, 2013

General Lee - Ertl

This is a 1981 General Lee replica car by Ertl. This car is in scale with other popular small die-cast cars like Matchbox and Hot Wheels. I received the famous Duke of Hazards car from a neighbor hood kid who gave me his toy cars when he outgrew them.

This bright orange car has some scuffs on if from both of our childhoods. The roof sticker is a little worn around the edges. The Confederate Flag is still pretty clean, but the words General Lee are rubbing off. Both doors still feature the racing number 01. The car sits very low to the ground. I had a lot of fun with this car as a kid.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Scrap Iron - GI Joe '84

Scrap Iron is an often forgotten agent of Cobra. His primary specialty is listed as Tank Destroyer. His file card also mentions he may work as a weapons designer and tester for Destro's weapon company. He's a less mobile version of Fast Draw and Metal-Head from later years in the line. Scrap Iron is dressed in a set of blue coveralls. He is wearing a red harness and protective vest over top. He has a non-removable black helmet with visor. Scrappy is not a bad figure at all. He even has a cool looking scar on the side of his face. I think one or two paint hits on his helmet would have made him really stand out. I'm not really sure what the symbol on his helmet is, but I would have liked to have seen it and perhaps his visor painted. He shares arms and feet with the GI Joe Airborne. It's rumored that some of his parts were originally going to be used to make a mountain climber figure which was pushed back a year. I've never seen anything in writing or per-production photos. The only proof anyone has ever offered as far as I know is that he looks like he is wearing a climbing harness and has climbing spikes on his one leg. I don't know, I think we'd have to ask the sculptor what those details were.

 Scrap Iron come armed with a really cool looking pistol and a large missile launcher that was made up of several pieces. All his original accessories were black except for the missiles which were red. They were also all reissued in various colors in the vintage weapon packs. As you can see I have many weapon pack placeholders in my collection. I own every vintage figure, but I have a lot of work to do to own every vintage accessory.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

2014 Club Eternia Support Video

I was glad that Toy Guru seemed less panicked at the panel this year about hitting the minimum number of subscribers. A few days before SDCC I started working on my Support the Sub video like I made last year. Since I has He-Man beg people the Support the Sub and Grayskull Pre-Order, I decided to go with a different angle this year. I finished it up right after Mattypalooza was over. Hopefully the thermometer on  keeps moving and we don't have to go into crisis management mode again this year.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Princess of Power Animation Cels

In honor of the news that we are finally getting a Kowl figure in the MOTU Classics line (recently relieved at SDCC 2013) I wanted to post about these cels. I have always been a big fan of animation and the process that goes into it. I had picked up a few cels here and there, but after visiting the Toonseum in Pittsburgh a few years ago I went crazy and my collection has gotten huge.

The first cel today features Kowl a strange little creature who can fly by flapping his ears. Kowl was one of the few characters that knew who She-Ra really was. The new Kowl toy will be mostly yellow because he will match the vintage toy instead of the cartoon show. It appears that this cel is from the  2nd episode of Princess of Power. The episodes is called "Beast Island" and first aired in 1985.

 The second cel for today is Adora riding her faithful horse Spirit. Kowl knows that with the help of the Sword of Protection these two can transform into She-Ra and Swift Wind. I always found it interesting that she rode Spirit bareback. This cell does not have any production numbers written on it so I have no idea what episode it is from.

Here are the two cels on top of a real production background from the episode "Loo-Kee Lends a Hand". In the 55th episode of She-Ra: Princess of Power the little character, Loo-Kee, who is hidden in every episode and gives the moral at the end actually was involved with the story. This background shows off the Whispering Woods. I have these three awesome pieces of art framed and hanging in my house as pictured below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SDCC Preview Night

Well it's Wednesday night and the people lucky enough to be able to attend the San Diego Comic Con Preview Night are checking out some of the crazy cool new stuff that will be coming out this year.

Earlier today I saw a photo for a new Gentle Giant product, it was a Kenner style Hoth Wampa in scale with their 12" figures. This thing will be huge. I'm pretty excited about it. I love the Wampa. I'm sure it will be expensive, but a very cool item. It also makes me think that down the road we could get a really big Rancor!

The thing I'm most excited about from SDCC is the Mattypalooza Panel where they relieved the new Master of the Universe Classic Figures.

So here are a few predictions of things we might see at SDCC (just my predictions)

*Two- Bad (MOTUC)
*Horde Trooper (MOTUC)
*Jim Gordan (DC Signature)
*Cobra Stun Vehicle (GI Joe)
*Havoc Vehicle (GI Joe)
*Big Sand Crawler (Star Wars)
*Casey Jones (Nick TMNT)

Well we'll see if I got anything right.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Luigi - K'Nex Blind Bags

After resisting all the blind bags and art toys for a while, I've sort of bin on a kick lately. On a recent trip to Target I bought a K'Nex Super Mario Bros. Wii Blind Bag. My blind bag contained Luigi in his ice colors. Since I never owned any video game systems as a kid I was always Player 2. That being said... I love Luigi. I would have prefered his classic colors, but oh well.

My buddy Paul (who runs Too Many Games) told me one time he was going to make and sell shirts that say "I'm always Player 2" because he thinks it's funny that he doesn't have to fight me for the player one controller.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dollar Store Batman

On a recent trip to Dollar General I picked up two Batman figures. They were $6 a piece, but they are kind of cool. The first one features a black and silver costume. He has a non-removable black cape. The second Batman features a blue and gray uniform with battle damage. His cape is really cool It is also non-removable but is blue on the outside and black on the inside.

Both figures use the same mold and feature five points of articulation like vintage Star Wars figures. Their capes are stitched near the shoulders in a way the makes the cape raise up to points almost like a bat's wings. The paint is not quite as clean on the blue and gray figures. Notice how the top edge of his gloves are not painted blue like the other figures gloves are painted.

You sir are an imposter!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Flea Market Finds #15

I picked up the following 80's toy paper work in a lot for $10 a few weeks ago. I had already posted a Flea Market Finds that week so I held off on posting this stuff. I'm going out to breakfast and to see the Lone Ranger today with a buddy of mine and his father. No flea marketing for me today... bummer.

First up is a batch of Masters of the Universe Mini Comics. I have a few of these from when I was a kid, but I'm happy to add more to the collection.

*The Battle for Roboto

* The Warrior Machine

* Mantenna Menace of the Evil Horde!

* Spikor Strikes

More MOTU Mini Comics!

* Skeletor's Dragon

* The Treachery of Modulok

*Grizzlor - The Legend Comes Alive

*The Secret Liquid of Life
(Featuring Geldor who is getting a MOTUC figure soon)

This photo doesn't do this poster justice. I still have this poster from my childhood, but this one is in perfect condition. It's a huge fold out check list poster of all the figures released up to this point. The back shows off the vehicles and playsets.

It's huge and you can't even see 1/2 of it in this picture.

Wow, even more MOTU Mini Comics! One of them is one of the original ones that are more like story books!

*King of Castle Grayskull
Written by Don Glut and Drawn by Alfredo Alcala. This things is MOTU history.

*The Terror of Tri-Klops!

GI Joe Flag Point mail away flier titled Operation Deep Six.

I always liked the battle field accessories listed in this pamphlet. They looked cool displayed together in the environment someone painstakingly built for this photo shoot.

I photographed both sides of this Visionaries pamphlet just because I had never seen it before. I never had any figures from this line straight out of the package. They were like 5 1/2" GI Joes with Holograms on the torsos.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Octavia - MOTUC

Octavia is one of the most interesting members of the Evil Horde to not get an action figure in the vintage line. She was created by the people at Filmation for the She-Ra cartoon. I'm so glad that Mattel has the rights to the Filmation characters and have been including them in the Club Eternia Subscription as well as the Filmation Subscription Service.

Octavia's most striking features are her green skin and four tentacle arms. The Four Horseman did a great job of designing these tentacles so that they can attach to the figure and still retain her appearance from the cartoon. Each tentacle has a ball and socket joint that includes a pivot at the base where they attach to her back. Her hair doesn't allow them to move around a whole lot, but if you unplug them and switch which holes they are in you get more options.

For more details check out my Animated Review below...

Octavia comes with five accessories. She has a special Horde crossbow that can be held in her normal hands as well as four swords. These bladed weapons can be held in her regular hands or be clipped onto the tentacles.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bug-Eye Ghost - Kenner Ghostbusters

The Bug-Eye Ghost is my favorite ghost toy from Kenner's Real Ghostbusters line. He was large and reasonably scary. This purple beast with long outstretched arms and three eyes making him a great villain. His packaging states that he "Shoots his Cyclops Eye!". Kind of a funny statement... I know what they mean, but he isn't a cyclops. The Bug-Eye Ghost has two points of articulation (his shoulders) and his giant eye that is attached inside the socket by a yellow string.

When you squeeze lightly on the ghosts back the air pressure makes his eye ball shoot out. It was always fun to use him to knock over the Ghostbuster figures. I really like the details on the giant eye. The Bug-Eye Ghost made a brief appearance in one episode of the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, but he was more red in color.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear)

The Rebel Soldier in Hoth Battle Gear was a great vintage army builder figure. He captured the look of the troops in the film perfectly. As a kid I often used him as Hoth Luke until I got the actual figure. There were so many Hoth Playsets, Creatures, and the Survival Gear weapon set with the Hoth Backpacks that gave kids lots of play value.

 It's a shame these Rebel Soldiers went out on patrol without their Bespin Blasters. I don't know how the Imperial Stormtroopers took them out because it doesn't look like they are carrying their rifles either. Maybe the Stormtroopers in Hoth Gear know judo.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wayne NJ Haul

So in addition to Helen from Bionic 6, I did pick up a few other toys. For $7 I picked up two vehicles from the COPS 'n' Crooks toy line. I have quite a few COPS figures and as a kid I played with lots of these toys because but buddy Derek's father wrote the COPS comics. Both vehicles are Crooks vehicles. The first is the Crooks Roadster. This green speed demon was always a favorite of mine as a kid. Derek had this and it was one of his favorites. My Roadster has a little wear on it's stickers and is missing the safe and silver bricks. It still looks good and will work in my collection for at least a while.

 The second vehicle is the Jailbird Air Speeder. I used to love playing with this toy at Derek's house. The one I picked up in Wayne isn't complete, but it still displays nicely. My Jailbird doesn't have any stickers. It is also missing the handle bars and the silver part of the back rest. It has many small pieces that are often missing including the landing gear and little bombs from under the wings.

 The final items I picked up are from the Kenner Ghostbusters line. I bought two broken Proton Packs for the Ghostbusters. I didn't quite realize how broken they were when I bought them. I knew the one was missing the proton stream, but I didn't notice the handles were bad on both guns. I thought these would be useful for displaying with my figures. I plan to glue the gun from the pack that doesn't have the steam.