Monday, September 29, 2014

The Hardy Boys (Kenner)



The Hardy Boys
Kenner
1978 - 1979

The Hardy Boys are no strangers to the world of pop culture. Since their inception in 1927, the characters have been revised and reworked to keep current with trends, and in doing so have continued to stay as popular today as they were over the past seventy plus decades.

These iterations from Kenner are based on the 1977 - 1979 television series renditions as portrayed by Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson for The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The show originally included Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew, who was later recast (see below). The series ran for three seasons, encompassing forty-six episodes.

Though Pamela Sue Martin found a great boost in popularity in 1978 with her cover-featured pictorial in Playboy magazine, those backing the show felt it was the wrong sort of publicity. The end result was Mrs. Martin being dropped from the show that same year. She was replaced by Janet Louise Johnson.

Kenner backed the series up with two twelve inch dolls based on Joe (Cassidy) and Frank (Stevenson) Hardy. The same respect wasn't paid to either actress who portrayed Nancy Drew.


Joe Hardy
 

Frank Hardy

The dolls are more difficult to find in their packages these days, but still don't seem to fetch that much on secondary markets when you find them. Forty to sixty dollars seems to be the most people are paying for them. Loose you can grab them for five to twenty dollars depending on whether or not all the accessories are accounted for.

Join us next time when we take a look at Masters of the Universe Mini-Statues!

Click "HERE" to go back to the home page. For more posts related to this one, please click the labels below.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Ren and Stimpy Show (Mattel)



Ren and Stimpy
Mattel
1993

Happy, happy, joy, joy! It's The Ren and Stimpy Show!

Nickelodeon made history when The Ren and Stimpy Show hit the airwaves in 1991. It had everything kids wanted - Classic animation, gross humor, gross visual gags, gross characters who spouted gross things, and all around was just over the top funny. Then the parents got their hands on it...

Nickelodeon quickly found themselves on the receiving end of complaint after complaint from parents who despised the harsh language, toilet humor, and general premise of some episodes. In the end, the backlash really only served to make the show all the more popular with children.

Soon merchandise started hitting store shelves. Stuffed animals, bobble heads, cups, plates, shirts, and the best - Mattel's line of action figures.

A total of eight figures hit store shelves in 1993.  When they were first released these toys were difficult to get a hold of. Store's sold out quickly, and in some cases didn't even order them.

BASIC FIGURES
Slap-Happy Ren Hoek*Bump-A-Riffic Stimpy
 

BASIC FIGURES
Army Ren Hoek*Boot Camp Stimpy
 

BASIC FIGURES
Commander Ren*Space Cadet Stimpy
 

DELUXE FIGURES
Bath Tub Ren Hoek*Gritty Kitty Simpy

These days its not too difficult to find them lurking on ebay, but prices are all over the place. Some days you can get them for as low as five dollars each, while other days you can't find them for less than twenty-five dollars each. This sporadic pricing really makes it difficult to obtain a comlpete set for the more frugal collector.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Hardy Boys!

Click "HERE" to go back to the home page. For more posts related to this one, please click the labels below.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Batman Classic TV Series (Mattel)



Batman Classic TV Series
Mattel
2013-2014

Yvonne Craig, aka Batgirl, should have taken the money and ran.

When Mattel announced that they would be producing a line of action figures based on the 1966 classic Batman television series we were both excited and confused. It was great to see a series of action figures finally come to light on one of the most memorable television series of all time, but at the same time boy was it late to the party. We're talking about a show that is coming up on it's fifty year anniversary in just two years.

Standing at six inches tall, each figure is meticulously sculpted and designed to match it's 1960's actor counterpart. The attention to the costumes is meticulous, and the feel of nostalgia, despite the series being relatively new, is still very much there. These are the kind of figures that fans in the 60's would have done almost anything to get their hands on.

SERIES 1
Batman
 

SERIES 1
The Penguin
 

SERIES 1
The Riddler
 

SERIES 2
Surf's Up Batman
 

SERIES 2
The Joker
 

SERIES 2
Catwoman
 
As of now, the only way to get your hands on Robin is to buy the deluxe two pack which features both Batman and Robin as well as a sculpted building facade to act out all those fun scenes from the show where the two were seen climbing the side of skyscrapers.
 


DELUXE SETS
Batman and Robin
 
The San Diego Comic Con excluisve Batusi TV was actually the first figure to be sold for the line. It featured a custom Batman figure with his fingers sculpted in a "Z" to capture one of the most memorable moments of the dance. The figure also had a button on its back to create motion in the arms which only added more fun to it.

EXCLUSIVES
Batusi TV!
 
Vehicles are a tough sell these days, and it seems like the majority of new lines are looking to get them out there in an exclusive fashion. Such is the case with the Toys R' Us exclusive Batmobile. This is one of the ultimate versions of the iconic vehicle ever produced.

EXCLUSIVES
Batmobile

Though the series appears to be selling well, there is a lot of confusion among collectors as to whether or not the line has been cancelled, or will continue. Since its initial announcement, and the release of waves one and two of the figures, the line has fallen a bit stagnant with the only news of any new figures being in the form of a Surfs Up Joker - Which in and of itself is a disappointment to many fans as it's nothing short of the first Joker figure with a pair of green trunks slapped over his purple suit, and a green surfboard accessory. Sorry Mattel, but at twenty bucks a pop you're going to have to do better than that.

It has been confirmed that Mattel was hitting a lot of brick walls in terms of obtaining likenesses of the characters from the actors, and this could be a big part of what's holding the line up, and/or potentially dooming it in the long run. It has been stated by many collectors that their most recent issues were with actress Yvonne Craig, who held out on signing her likeness over because she felt the line would be much more successful, and wanted more money. While this may or may not be true, it stands to reason that a line can't be successful without figures, and no likenesses means no figures. Nice catch 22.

Fans will also be delighted come November 2014 when they can (for the first time ever) purchase an official release of the complete Batman television series. All 120 episodes have been re-mastered in full HD for this once in a lifetime release. Warner Bros. is definitely bringing fans of the series a release that many have long been waiting for.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Ren And Stimpy Show!

Click "HERE" to go back to the home page. For more posts related to this one, please click the labels below.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Star Wars Laser Pistol and Laser Rifle (Kenner)



Star Wars Laser Pistol and Laser Rifle
Kenner
1977 - 1983

Back in the 70's and 80's, children were able to clearly establish between reality and fantasy, or rather, most of the friends we knew could. As a result we lucky kids were able to have toy guns. Be it cap guns, water guns or simply sticks that we fashioned in our minds as guns, many a child found hours of entertainment running around their parents backyards with their friends (GASP) shooting at each other. It was good clean fun, and with the exception of the occasional tripping and falling nobody got hurt.

In this era of non violent children, well, with the exception of the occasional fist fight with your "enemy" who shortly after became your best friend, Kenner lobbed at us our first real opportunity to be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker when they produced the amazing Star Wars Laser Pistol and 3 Position Laser Rifle.

What made these toy guns absolutely the best to every kid on the block who longed to play out scenes from Star Wars was the inclusion of movie accurate sound effects. No longer did we have to run around the yard shouting, "pew, pew, pew." No, sir. Now the guns did all the work for us - If you had the required "C" and "D" batteries that is.


With the success of their toy guns, when it came time for toys based on the next chapter in the Star Wars Saga, Kenner followed up with a re-release of the Laser Pistol and 3 Position Rifle.

The Laser Pistol was given a complete overhaul of the packaging, incorporating the new film's logo on not only the box, but also a sticker which was adhered to the guns, much like the original Star Wars logo was adhered via sticker to the prior releases. Sadly, the 3 Position Rifle only got an updated sticker, while the box used remained the same.

On a side note, we have seen foreign released versions of the 3 Position Laser Rifle which includes an Empire Strikes Back logo on the packaging, but to date have not seen a US released version with this type of packaging. If one exists, we don't know about it.


In addition to re-releasing the two guns above, kenner also revamped the 3 Position Laser Rifle into the newly released Electronic Laser Rifle. This gun encompassed the majority of the design of the prior released rifle, but updated the back end, and removed the stock. This made for a more movie accurate version of the gun.


With popularity still surrounding the toy guns, when Return of the Jedi was released, Kenner once again re-released the Laser Pistol, and chose to also re-release the Electronic Laser Rifle. Both were updated with Return of the Jedi packaging, and also a sticker which had the film's logo on it which was adhered to the side of the toys.



Just when all was looking well, Kenner released the step child of this particular "series" of toys.

The Biker Scout Laser Pistol was a dud of a toy for children who wanted to play Star Wars in their backyards. If you showed up to play with this gun, you were automatically put on the Empire's side, and labeled "the poor kid". Kids would ask you, "Have you even seen the movies?" If you pressed the matter, they'd say, "Fine. You can be Leia then." We weren't violent, but we sure were cruel.

As an adult, we can see the coolness in this gun that we so naively overlooked as kids. Source material wise, it's pretty spot on to the movies, and the inclusion of a see through scope, and sound effects - again, with the required "C" batteries - This was one hot toy that many of us missed out on actually enjoying.

Worth mentioning is that ALL the packaging for these toys is highly susceptible to crushing inward from the top and bottom. We've seen a lot of packaging that has simply warped for really no reason. As a result, it's difficult to find mint in package versions, especially of the 3 Position Laser Rifle which seems more so likely to have this bowed packaging than the others.

It's a real shame that kids these days don't have the opportunities we had to play with toy guns like we could. Back then we could run around the neighborhood pretending to shoot at each other, and nobody called the cops. Nobody brought a real gun to the game. There was no threat of violence or fear that we would turn into gun toting psychopaths. No, we just had amazing adventures as our imaginations sucked us into our worlds of play. It was really the last decades where kids could be kids in this now hurry up and grow up world.
 
***HONORABLE MENTIONS***
 
Pretty much every reputable toy company out there got into the toy gun business. If a movie came out that was heavy on guns, toy manufacturers were there to capitalize on their popularity. Here are a few of our honorable mentions;
 
Rambo was a big money maker for LJN, and even though the movies weren't geared towards kids, their 1985 motorized water guns were big hits among kids. All of us had water guns growing up, but only a select few of us had motorized ones, and boy were we jealous of those kids.
 
LJN released both the Motorized R.P.G Rocket Water Launcher and the Motorized Water Hawk High Powered.
 

Mattel went ape crazy with the 1970's Tommy Burst and Ape Mask combo pack from the film Planet of the Apes. What made this gun awesome was that it made "Real Machine Gun Sounds" without the need for batteries or caps.


Does the 1991 Batman Sonic Neutralizer from the Dark Knight line look familiar? It should because it's nothing more than a repainted Electronic Laser Rifle from the above The Empire Strikes Back line. The Batman insignia at the bottom of the package was actually inserted into the barrel of the gun, and the sound effects were changed to a more high pitched...Well, sonic effect.


It's probably our least favorite of the bunch, but still pretty awesome. The Ultra Blaster from the 1988-1989 line, Robocop Ultra Police. The gun featured a rotating set of barrels, and laser like sound effects, and even came packed with a Robo-Helmet.

Did we miss any of your favorite toy guns? Let us know in the comments sections.

Join us next time when we take a look at Batman Classic TV Series!

Click "HERE" to go back to the home page. For more posts related to this one, please click the labels below.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dune (LJN)



Dune
LJN
1984

Dune is one of those sci-fi series that you either love or hate. At least that's how it is with the people we know. The series was created by Frank Herbert for the 1965 novel of the same name, and since then has gone on to be adapted into television, movies, comics, and seen several more novelizations which all take place in its universe.

In 1984, LJN procured the rights to produce a series of toys based on the film adaptation staring the likes of Kyle MacLachlan, Sting, Sean Young, and a relatively unknown Patrick Stewart. The film was poorly received by most critics who found it to be confusing, cheaply produced, and some even went as far as to call it the worst film of the year.

As a result, the toy line did horribly, which was a shame because unlike most of LJN's work at the time, this line didn't turn out all that bad. The figures were fairly spot on to their screen renditions (by the era's standards of sculpting anyway). Only six figures ended up hitting store shelves, though eight were initially planned.

Baron Harkonnen*Feyd*Paul Atreides
 

Rabban*Sardaukar Warrior*Stilgar the Freman
 
The two scheduled, but unproduced figures mentioned above were Gurney Halleck and Lady Jessica. Finished prototypes of the figures are known to exist, and were even used in the 1984 LJN catalog which advertised the entire line of toys.
 
One of the best items to come out of the series was the Sandworm. This creature was just awesome for its time, and even today stands out as a well put together piece of plastic. An interesting bit of history on the packaging of the Dune toys was that the Sandworm actually had a yellow rectangle painted over it, and in big bold black letters it read, "Top Secret".
 
The Spice Scout was a funky looking vehicle, and the only one produced for the line that could be incorporated with the figures above.
 

Sandworm*Spice Scout
 
Whenever LJN got its hands on a particular license, they were notorious for making various sizes of things that while related to the series could never all be incorporated together. The Rough Riders Motorized Sand Scouts were no exception. Even if these small vehicles had hatches or doors to open, which they didn't, there was no way you would be able to fit a figure inside.

Rough Riders Motorized Sand Scout
Sand Roller*Sand Crawler*Sand Tracker

The final items produced for the series were the Fremen Tarpel Gun and Sardaukar Laser Gun . These items were designed to be played with by kids in a cosplay format.

Freman Tarpel Gun*Sardaukar Laser Gun

Join us next time when we take a look at vintage Kenner Star Wars Laser Weapons!

Click "HERE" to go back to the home page. For more posts related to this one, please click the labels below.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thundarr the Barbarian (Toynami)



Thundarr the Barbarian
Toynami
2003

Thundarr the Barbarian is one of those cartoons you either love or hate. Personally, we're not fans. However, when it comes to toys, Toynami did an amazing job of capturing not only the likeness of the characters, but also incorporating a sort of nostalgic feel in them through the paint jobs and overall design.

Thundarr got his moment in the animated spotlight in 1980 as a Saturday morning cartoon from production company Ruby-Spears Productions. The character himself was created by Steve Gerber. Though the series ran for two seasons, only twenty-one episodes were produced.

Fans were pleased to see the entire trio of the main line up produced. This meant in one fell swoop they could have their entire series from the starting gate regardless of whether or not villains were produced - Which they weren't.


Ariel*Ookla
 
To coincide with the figures, Toynami produced a convention exclusive version of Thundarr. The figure is the same sculpt as the retail release but includes a sword which more acurately depicts the glowing effect from the television series.


Thundarr the Barbarian*Thundarr the Barbarian (2003 Toynami Convention Exclusive - Limited to 1,000)

Join us next time when we take a look at Dune!

Click "HERE" to go back to the home page. For more posts related to this one, please click the labels below.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Flash Gordon (Mego)



Flash Gordon
Mego
1976

Flash Gordon wasn't really something we took an interest in until we saw the film staring Sam Jones on Laserdisc back in the early 80's. Not only was that our first step into the world of the character, but also our introduction to the band Queen. Of course the Mego line below has nothing to do with either that particular movie nor the band Queen.

No, this 1976 version of the toys was based heavily on the comic book and serials of the original era of the character. It's a real shame that only four figures got produced as the world of Flash Gordon encompasses so many races that the possibilities were all but endless.

Flash Gordon*Dr. Zarkon

Though the artwork of the cardbacks are fairly bland, the overall color scheme really comes together with the figures, making for one fine piece of eye candy. 

Dale Arden*Ming the Merciless

Mego loves producing massive playsets, and the one produced for this particular series was no exception. This fold out playset measured 12.5" X 15.25" X 11", and included decal stickers, a computer, throne and several card accessories.

Flash Gordon Playset

Flash Gordon Playset (Open View)

Join us next time when we take a look at Thundarr the Barbarian!

Click "HERE" to go back to the home page. For more posts related to this one, please click the labels below.

Disclaimer

All logos, products, names, and descriptions are the property of their respective copyright and trademark holders. No infringement is implied. Photographs and articles (unless otherwise noted) are copyright of The Toy Box, and may not be used without prior written consent. This website and its pages herein are designed for educational purposes only. No items herein are for sale.

Market prices fluctuate daily, and the prices as listed herein are not intended to be a set point, but rather a benchmark of where prices were noted at during the time period in which the article in question was written/posted. The value of any item shown here is always subject to change based on supply and demand, as well as seller/buyer preference. We are not affiliated with any buyers/sellers, and have no influence on prices set by secondary market dealers or individual sellers.