Monday, September 30, 2013

Masterpiece Soundwave - Transformers

2014 is the 30th Anniversary of the original Transformers toy line. Like many other 80's properties in honor of this milestone we are seeing some incredible updates of the vintage toys. The Transformers Masterpiece line is incredible. I finally have the Soundwave I always wanted as a kid. He looks like the cartoon character and is highly articulated. I freaking love this guy. Unfortunately he also comes with a big price tag of over $120 with tax.

This highly articulated Soundwave can be posed in all sorts of action poses as well as transform into a tape deck. He comes with a five cassette minions and a bunch of additional accessories. Soundwave is the Decepticon Communications Specialist, and had the coolest modulated voice in the G1 cartoon.

 Of all the cassette tape Decepticons, Ravage always seemed to be the most bad ass. Unfortunately, his update figure looks too lanky. Ravage's transformation is very different from his vintage figure, making him appear wider. This comes at the loss of his "cat" shape. His body is sort of odd and his shoulders stick out really far. He does stand better. Ravage's back is just too straight now.

Lazerbeak (Red) and Buzzsaw (Yellow) are Soundwave's flying minions. Their transformation is very similar to the G1 birds, but their little back jets are now built in. I had Buzzsaw as a kid and loved him. I wish this one was a little more metallic gold instead of yellow.

Rumble (Purple) and Frenzy (Red) are Soundwave's humanoid robot buddies. They each came with a couple of cool accessories. They have their little laser guns that they can hold or clip on their backs. They also both came with ground pounding pistons like Rumble frequently used in the G1 cartoon. I had Frenzy as a kid, and I kind of miss his spring loaded head.

Laserbeak eject!

Soundwave turns into his classic tape deck mode. Each one of the cassette tapes comes with a clear case. Soundwave has a working working eject button that opens his torso to allow for the various cassettes to be inserted.

 Soundwave comes with an in-scale Megatron gun (as seen in the top photo). He includes his battery gun and a gun attachment that connects to his arm if you flip in his hand. He also comes with a clear energon cube. Soundwave even comes with a cool snap on grid that allows the cube to be attached to his chest to recreate his ability to produce the cubes in the G1 cartoon.


I don't own a lot of Transformers, but this guy is what I want in a Transformer. Cartoon appearance and good articulation is key for me. I may be the only person on the planet that would rather have a really well articulated figure rather than one that can transform.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rhino - MASK

I should have posted about this toy months ago, but I've been busy posting stuff from NJCC and Retro Con and hadn't taken photos of it yet. I recently worked out a trade with John from Clawful Punch for this awesome MASK Rhino Tractor Rig. The Rhino is by far the biggest and coolest vehicle from the first wave of MASK toys. This line of transforming vehicles and mini figures was released by Kenner in 80's. The toy line was supported by a great cartoon show as well. MASK stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.

 Like many vintage toys, the Rhino's box features a painting on the front and a photo of the actual toy on the back. The box also shows off all the action features built into the Rhino.


The Rhino is a large maroon Tractor Rig that turns into a Mobile Defense unit. The vehicle contains a command center and a smaller all terrain vehicle can separate from the rear. I had a lot of MASK figures as a kid, but most of them came from yard sales. I owned three of the vehicles, two of which also came from yard sales. The Rhino along with the Boulder Hill play set were always on my wish list. A kid that my babysat for had the Rhino and frequently brought it over to play with it.

The Rig's smoke stakes turn into laser cannons and the front bumper and grill form a battering ram.

The designers of the toy line planned on this vehicle to be a main player in the line since the Rhino and one of the masks included in this set are parts of the logo. I always liked the little command area in the sleeper portion of the rig, but it's hard to play with figures in there.

The Rhino also includes an ejector passenger seat. It was trying to capture the ejector seat in action, but these were the best two I could get.

 The Rhino includes two figures, and going along with the name of the toy line they each include a mask (or helmet). I was really excited that this Rhino included both the "short" and "long" masks. The vehicle should only include one version of each mask. At some point during the production of the line the masks were all changed.

Matt Tracker is the blonde haired leader of MASK. Matt comes with the Ultra-Flash mask which has the "pretend power" of disorienting opponents with bright lights. I don't think he ever used this mask in the cartoon series. He was always seen in his gray and red outfit. The second figure is Bruce Sato with the Lifter Mask. Bruce frequently used his helmet to lift heavy objects with the masks anti-gravity beam in the cartoon.

I think one of the coolest overlooked ideas for this toy line would have been to release a trailer that could be pulled by the Rhino. Unfortunately the trailer would be lame to own if you didn't have the Rhino. Perhaps that is why there never was a trailer.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sky High & Jet Sled - MOTUC

During the 2013 Club Eternia Subscription from Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics line a three pack of vehicle drivers was released. These characters were based on art work from vinatge model kits and released under the name The Fighting Foe Men. There was one other mysterious MOTU vehicle driver who was only seen once in artwork, and he was highly desired by fans. As a surprise release outside the action figure subscription Mattel released the "Wind Raider Pilot" with the Jet Sled vehicle.

The Pilot was given the name Sky High. Like the Fighting Foe Men, at least half of the character's body was not seen in the artwork, so it gave the design team some freedom to create an interesting figure. They chose to use the most reused legs in the Masters line besides He-Man's legs. I kind of wish sometime they would combine the Trap Jaw boots with He-Man's thighs to make the reused parts feel a little more original. There wasn't money in the budget to release Sky High with the Wind Raider a few years back, so he has been included with half of the only other vehicle sculpted for the line. The Four Horsemen, who sculpt all the MOTU Classics figures sculpted an update to the vintage Battle Ram vehicle to show to Mattel. Due to it's size, Mattel wanted to test the vehicle market with the smaller Wind Raider. It didn't sell well, and so the Battle Ram was ruled out for release. Since the Ram is really a two part vehicle, they have finally released the Sky Sled portion of the vehicle renamed the Jet Sled due to copyright issues.

Like the Foe Men, Sky High has been armed with a weapon that looks like a piece of the vehicle he drives. He comes with a cool bladed weapon that looks like the wings from the Wind Raider. His weapon can be clipped to his back, which kind of makes it look like he's wearing a jet pack.

Here is Sky High flying around in the Wind Raider. I want to point out that the flying stand used in all the vehicle pictures in this post came with the Wind Raider. This stand will also connect to the new Castle Grayskull which is coming out this Winter.

According to Sky High's bio on the package he is a member of the palace guard, and a gifted pilot. I have a feeling many fans will lump him in with their Fighting Foe Men anyway. He's a natural fit for the team.

I never had the vintage Battle Ram as a kid, but I remember a neighbor having it. For some reason I feel like the Jet Sled is much larger (in scale) to the modern figures than the vintage Sky Sled. I can't even imagine how big the  full Battle Ram must be. The Jet Sled is painted in a slightly greener color than I remember the vintage vehicle being. It almost looks like the color of the Evil Warrior's Sky Sled in the Filmation cartoon. The paint apps on the dragon deco on the side of the Sled is awesome.

The paint apps on the control panel are also incredible. Mattel has said that the Sled is designed so it can attach to the Battle Ram land vehicle if it should ever be released. You can actually see the little tabs on the back of the vehicle near the engines.

Here is the unnamed Sky High in the Wind Raider from the vintage poster.

I have had this poster since I was a little kid. It hung in my room until I was probably half way through elementary school. Then it was put away. I broke it out of storage and displayed it in my dorm room in college. Every guy who ever stopped by was impressed by the vintage poster. It's like a blast from the past. My room was even featured in a campus tour video, and you could see the poster hanging above my computer desk. It now is framed and hangs with several original animation cels from the Filmation He-Man and She-Ra cartoon.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Back to the Future Time Machine

About a year ago, the Hotwheels DeLorean Time Machine hit the shelves at the local Toy 'R' Us. I'm not really a toy car collector, but I do love Pop Culture cars. I also love the Back to the Future Trillogy. I had Part II taped off TV when I was in Middle School and watched it quite a few times. So I ended up buy two. One to open and one to keep sealed.

In High School, my German Teacher had a copy of Part I dubbed in German. I enjoyed getting to watch BttF in school. She also showed us a lot of 90's American TV shows dubbed in German, like Mad about You, Seinfeld, and The Simpsons.

This little DeLorean toy represents the Time Machine from Part I. There is no Mr. Fusion sculpted on the rear. The car is nicely detail, but it's too bad the doors don't flip open. That would just take the cake.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joker & Penguin PVC Figures

As a kid I had a huge collection of PVC figures that I bought at yard sales or acquired through other means. Bellow are some cool 80's PVC figures of famous Batman Villains. The sculpt for thi Joker figure is really cool. He looks absolutely insane.

 The Penguin has a really great sculpt as well. He is ready to use his umbrella as a fencing foil. Both figures seem to be based off their "Super Powers" designs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jail Bird Speeder & Skyborg Jet

Today's post is about two recent toy show purchases. The first is the Jail Bird Air Speeder from the Cops 'n' Crooks toy line by Hasbro. I bought it loose at the Wayne NJ toy show a few months ago. The second vehicle in today's post is the VR Trooper Skyborg Jet. I bought the Skyborg at Retro Con because I had never seen this vehicle before and the fact that it reused the molds from Hasbro's Cops toys. The guy who sold it to me said it was a Power Rangers vehicle, and he was close. It is actually from the VR Trooper toy line. Both the Power Rangers and VR Trooper were produced by SABAN. These two vehicles are very similar, but have slightly different tooling in a few places.

 The Jail Bird was an air speeder used by the Crooks in Hasbro's late 80's futuristic police toy line. I loved playing with it at my buddy Derek's house when we were kids. He had all the wave one toys because his Dad (Doug Moench) was writing the comic book. It's a small one man craft that is armed with a couple of laser cannons and little bombs that can be drop from the wings. My Jail Bird is missing the back rest, handle bars, and stickers.

The Skyborg Jet reuses the parts from the Jail Bird, but all the maroon parts are molded in black. The tooling has been changed slightly. The slots in the wings for the little bombs have been changed to holes. From what I found online, it looks like there were guns that shot spring-loaded missiles that clipped into those holes. The other major tooling change is that all the engine details on the side of the vehicle (under the silver wings/hood) has been removed. I think this is to accommodate the hip articulation on the VR Trooper toys. Cops figures had  80's GI Joe style hips that can open wide, while the VR figures had vintage Star Wars style hips, which are very straight legged. I know my Skyborg may be missing a few parts like the guns and missiles. I thought it was fun to see the reuse of molds from other toy lines, so I'm glad I picked it up.

I knew that the Cobra Firebat from GI Joe was retooled for VR Troopers, making this is the second Hasbro toy to be reused in the VR Trooper line. Now I need to track down that blue retooled Firebat.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Skeletor - New Adventures of He-Man

In the 90's Mattel tried to revamp Masters of the Universe with a toyline simply called He-Man. Fans often refer to this line as New Adventures (NA) because of the cartoon series that went with the toys. As a kid I owned one NA figure and one vehicle, both of which I bough at yard sales. Both of those are long gone. Last Summer I bought the Starship Eternia and two loose figures on ebay. At Retro Con I bought a 3rd NA figures, this being a complete NA Skeletor.

In the cartoon Skeletor's body is damaged and he is repaired with cybernetic parts, ala Darth Vader. You can see he has a metal plate attached to his chest. There are other cables and wires sculpted on him. He comes with three accessories, a gold helmet, a gold staff, and a magenta soft goods cape.

The epic battle between Good & Evil continues in outer space.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beach Head - Funskool

For a time in the early 2000's it was easy to get the India versions of GI Joe figures made by Funskool using the old Hasbro molds. I bought a handful of them back then and opened them up. They were kind of cool, but their paint apps are often sloppy and the quality of the plastic they are molded in is sub-par. I have a few carded Funskool figures in my collection, mostly one that feature the classic packaging art work. At Retro Con I happen to see a carded Beach Head and decided to pick him up. I love that classic card art, it takes me back to the day I opened my original Beach Head. Like many of the Funskool figures this Beach Head features a funky paint scheme. Check out that bright green shirt and mask.

Beach Head is now preserved in a Zoloworld case and hanging on a wall in my toy room with Funskool Flint, Barbeque, and Zartan. Notice that his package says International Heroes instead of Real American Heroes.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Faker - Vintage MOTU

Masters of the Universe is known for their re-usage of parts. A character like Faker doesn't even try to hide the fact that he re-uses parts. Mattel had to change him enough from He-Man or parents wouldn't buy him for their kids, so he got a Skeletor style paint job. The entire Faker figure is a He-Man body and armed with Skeletor armor and sword. I bought Faker last weekend at Retro Con to help round out my collection of vintage Evil Warriors.

 As a kid, I never had Faker. It wasn't until I was an adult collector that I even found out that he had a sticker under his armor. I remember playing with my cousin's Faker, but I never took his armor off. In fact I rarely took anyone's armor off because I was always worried about the tabs breaking.


Bonus Item: Panthor's Saddle - another Retro Con score. 
Now when I post about my fuzzy purple kitty cat toy he will be complete.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jaws - James Bond Jr.

In the early 90's someone decided it would be great to market the womanizing super spy James Bond to kids. To help the kids relate they wanted Bond to also be a kid and so the cartoon and toys were called James Bond Jr. Now this new Bond isn't one of the James Bond Sr.'s illegitimate sons. Junior is really the original's nephew. I enjoyed the cartoon, but never got any of the toys. I was pretty focused on only collecting a few lines at the time. At Retro Con I saw several carded JBJ figures carded at one of the dealer's tables. He didn't have Junior, but he did have my favorite villain. I loved Jaws in the movies, so when he was in the cartoon he was instantly my favorite villain there also.

 Jaws comes with a "metal" pipe with teeth marks in it. He has a built in action feature, "Chomping Jaw-Crushing Action". I plan to keep Jaws sealed, but it looks like if you squeeze his legs together raise his one arm (I've been corrected) the top of his head raises up and comes back down making the chomping action. His lower jaw is sculpted to his chest. It's sort of a backwards bite.