Monday, July 25, 2016

Batman - Dark Victory (DC Direct)

Batman - Dark Victory
DC Direct

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Lost In Space - The Classic Series (Trendmasters)

Lost In Space - The Classic Series
1998 - 1999

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Flash Gordon (Bif Bang Pow)

Flash Gordon
Bif Bang Pow
2007 - 2010

This post is sadly more so a want list for us as we never have been able to track down a full set of the 2007 - 2010 Flash Gordon series from Bif Bang Pow.

The line made its debut in 2007 with the red carded series one. It featured two versions of Flash Gordon, and two versions of Ming the Merciless.

The differences between the two Flash figures are subtle enough that they are easily missed by casual glances. The first version of Flash featured a black and red tank top with a sword accessory. The second featured a red tank top with a blaster. The difference between the Ming figures is rather obvious with one featuring a red robe, and the other a black.

These days the figures are incredibly difficult to come by. However, oddly enough when they are found, they aren't all that costly. An autographed Flash figure sold for as little as $26.00.

Though series 2 is far more commonly found than series one, it's still not in abundance. Oddly enough the SDCC versions seem to be the easiest to obtain.

Series two also featured four characters, Klytus, Prince Barin, Dale Arden and another Flash Gordon - This time in his white shirt from the first 1/4 (or so) of the film.

As mentioned above, this particular series featured a few SDCC exclusives. Interestingly enough, while series two initially was released in 2008, it wasn't until 2010 that the convention exclusives were produced.

Each exclusive was a slight alteration of their series two counterpart. Klytus no featured popped out eyes from his death scene in the film. Prince Barin featured whip lashes on his wrists from the scene leading up to Klytus' death, and Dale now featured a white wedding dress.

While the movie was amazing for its time, and still lives up to fairly good standards these days, probably one of our most favorite things to come from the 1980 film is the soundtrack. No, it doesn't feature a lot of Queen's finer pieces of music, but it does work well with the film. Who doesn't love to sing along with, "Flash, ah ah!" Not only that, but we simply have to give it a shout out because Queen is definitely one of our all time favorite bands here at The Toy Box.

The film had all the makings of a sequel, but unfortunately performed so poorly at box offices that it was soon destined for cult classic status as opposed to popular franchise. Making just 27 million in the USA based on its 20 million dollar budget, it was definitely considered a blockbuster bomb. While we are among the people that would have loved to see a sequel, we at least can live with the fact that as a result of performing so poorly that the franchise wasn't run into the ground with awful sequels made simply to cash in.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Completely Mental Misadventures Of Ed Grimley (Tyco)

The Completely Mental Misadventures Of Ed Grimley

Ed Grimley is the character created by comedian Martin Short. Short started playing the character in the early 80's with The  Second City improv comedy troupe. When the actor joined SCTV in 1982, he brought with him the character for its television debut. Grimley became so popular that when Short moved on to Saturday Night Live that he continued to act as the character. 1988 would become the biggest breakthrough when Ed Grimley became the animated (and live action) star of his own television show, The Completely Mental Misadventures Of Ed Grimley.

With the character came the actors / alum of Second City's SCTV. Characters such as Count Floyd, The Amazing Gustav Brothers, Ms. Malone and her son Wendell were mainstays in each episode. Despite the success of the character, The Completely Mental Misadventures Of Ed Grimley only lasted one season - A total of thirteen episodes.

However this short lived run didn't stop Tyco from procuring the rights to a Talking Ed Grimley Doll, as well as a Stick-On Ed Grimley.

The talking doll stood sixteen inches tall, and with the pull of a string said phrases such as;

"I'm as doomed as doomed can be, you know."
"Oh, give me a break!"
"This is like a joke I must say"

Mind you, those aren't the only phrases the doll says.

As is custom with pull string dolls, the discs inside are prone to warp over time if not kept in cool dry storage. As such, many dolls get that iconic squeaky chipmunk voice that toys such as this type are prone to get.

Depending on the condition, the dolls have been known to sell for as little as $10.00 in the box, and as much as $50.00. Just remember that the box condition shouldn't be your only factor in paying high end prices. Make sure you get one with a fairly good working voice feature.

The Stick-On Ed Grimley was a much smaller plush doll with plastic head that featured suction cups on its hands for sticking to various surfaces - Thus the name, Stick-On. Unlike the sixteen inch doll, there's not much to really say about this one as it's fairly simplistic in nature.

Though it's not as common as the sixteen inch doll, the Stick-On Ed Grimley typically doesn't sell well on secondary markets. This is most likely a result of sellers pricing them too high (for what people seem willing to pay). Even at $15.00 they don't typically sell - Which is a shame because it's not a bad collectible if you're a fan of the character and / or show.


Ed Grimley - A Flame Retardant Collegeville Costume
Collegeville Costumes

If you're a child of the 70's or 80's, then chances are incredibly high that you wore a Collegeville Costume brand costume at some point in your life - Either for fun, but most likely for Halloween. The company has produced so many iconic pop culture characters over the years - Raggedy Anne, Popeye, Gollum - Seriously, this list could go on and on, and one could amass an impressive collection just of costumes alone.

With so many characters under its belt, it's no surprise that Ed Grimley joined the fray in 1988. Though we don't personally know too many kids that dressed up as the character - There were more Ninja Turtles that particular year - We're sure somewhere out there that there was at least one child that was determined to be Ed Grimely on October 31, 1988.

These days you're bound to be able to find some form of vinyl costume based on your favorite character from the 70's and 80's from classic companies such as Collegeville Costumes, Ben Cooper, Inc. and / or Halco. However, they're sadly incredibly expensive, and rightly so. With how many kids wore them, tore them, or in general threw them out as they quickly grew out of them, there probably aren't honestly all that many to be found mint in the box. 

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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Simpsons (Mattel)

The Simpsons

We have wanted to do a post on Mattel's 1990 The Simpsons line for the longest time, but the opportunity never presented itself until now.

The Simpsons began its iconic climb to fame in 1987 when it was produced by Matt Groening as short sketches for the Tracey Ullman Show. After airing for three seasons, the show was developed for a half hour series, and helped to launch the relatively new Fox network. Since its debut in December of 1989, the series as aired over five hundred episodes, and though new episodes of the show continue to air as of this writing, it is rumored that season 30 will be its last - Something many claim to be too long, and others as not long enough.

Now rewind if you will all the way back to 1990 during the show's first season run. Simpsonmania was rising at a rapid pace. Many viewers tuned in to laugh at the absurd nature that Homer, Bart, Maggie, Lisa and Marge (as well as the several other soon to be hundreds of Springfield characters) acted out in outlandish ways that left some saying, "That sounds like my kids," and other protesting in appalled tones that a family could act in such a way.

Keep in mind that during this time of world history that television was still considered wholesome (for the most part) with shows such as The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Growing Pains and Married...With Children providing good old fashioned morals and family values in half hour blocks. Those days were quickly coming to an end, and despite the hilarity of shows like The Simpsons, we can honestly say we miss those days.

Rights, so where were we? Oh, right - Rewind if you will all the way back to 1990. Mattel got the distinct honor of being the first company to produce toy related merchandise for The Simpsons. Today we're going to take a look at the highly coveted "action figures" of that era. Now we know that many Simpsons fans will profess that this is far from all the toys that Mattel produced, and they would be 100% correct. Not only did Mattel produce the majority of the figures encompassed in this post, but also several other items such as wind ups, 11 inch dolls and water squirters (to name a few). All of these items technically fall into this line of The Simpsons merchandise, but sorry, we're not looking at those today.

Mattel produced all five of the Simpsons family members which included Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. In addition they produced Nelson, and Bartman. Each figure came packed on its own individual blister card showcasing character specific art, and featured character unique accessories. Each figure also came packed with five mini word bubbles with pre-printed phrases from the show. These word bubbles could be placed over the heads of each character in a cheap way to mimic that it was talking.

The oddly shaped cardbacks contribute greatly to the difficulty of finding the figures mint on the cards. Each card is cut along the right edge to frame the character artwork. It is because of these intricate cuts that many cards received various dings and bends. Sadly a lot of these imperfections weren't received while in the hands of collectors, but in the cases from the factories to the warehouses of the various retail chains. In short - The cardbacks are incredibly fragile.

Mattel rounded out the series of figures with The Simpsons Sofa & Boob Tube - The one and only accessory produced to coincide with the series. The piece was fairly basic in production, but worked well with the limited articulation of the figures.

A button on the back of the couch operated an ejection feature, and the TV featured slide in cardboard cards depicting characters such as Krusty the Clown, Sideshow Bob, Itchy and Scratch, The Happy Little Elves. and a scene from the infamous Fight To Knock The Other Guy Out. When no card was in place, the television showcased a colorful background with static lines. The TV also feature wheels on the bottom for rolling it around, as well as antenna on the top that could be rotated around. Much like the figures, the set also came with pre-printed bubble cards that could be placed over the television to mimic sound coming from it. Overall it's not a bad accessory, in fact it's fairly iconic in and of itself to The Simpsons family.

The last item made available in the US is the incredibly rare mail away Bart Simpson with white "Save Blinky" shirt. This figure was produced in 1991, but due to rapidly dwindling sales was not very popular among fans. Though we aren't sure just how many of these figures were redeemed from Mattel, these days they're not easy to come by.

For those of you that are a 100% completest when it comes to your action figure collections, then you definitely want to consider this one prior to diving in. If (and that's a very large IF) you can find one, be ready to drop upwards of a grand on this figure alone. This is absolutely one of the most rarest action figures in existence.

Also along the lines of scarce and rare, there were three additional figures produced and sold strictly in South Africa. All three were renditions of Bart, and feature him in a white ninja outfit, a Superman-type outfit and a black ninja outfit. Though still difficult to find, they are far from as scarce as Blinky Shirt Bart.

Its important to note that while the packages share the similar style to that of the Mattel series, and the mold is definitely that of the Bart Simpson figure above, the packages themselves make no reference to Mattel - Or any toy company for that matter. Couple that with a 1992 release date (well after the Mattel line was distributed in the US), and the question could be argued that these are actually bootlegs. Unfortunately it's never really been confirmed. However, it's also key to note that toy manufacturers were notorious for selling their molds to foreign toy manufacturers in the 80's and 90's once popularity dwindled in the US. With that in mind, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that this is what happened in this particular case.

For the most part, the basic figures that encompass series one (or rather, the entire series) aren't difficult to come buy. However, finding a seller that is a little more knowledgeable about what the going rate should be is. A lot of sellers price these figures from $35.00 to $60.00 each when in reality most Simpsons fans are more so willing to pay between $5.00 and $15.00 - Depending on the characters. Marge, Lisa and Maggie seem to be the most desired figures, and as such are the high(er) dollar ones to obtain. Still, if you're patient, you can nab them all for a fairly reasonable price.

Then of course there are the mail away and South Africa ones. Those are a whole different story. Like we said above, if you're a completest, then you may want to steer far clear of this series. However, if you're up for the challenge, the thrill of the hunt, and have an exorbitant amount of expendable cash, then this could be the line for you. Just keep in mind that it's going to take more than cash to obtain this entire series. It's going to take patience, persistence, and possibly a collector abroad to help out.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Pulsar - The Ultimate Man Of Adventure And Hypnos - The Ultimate Enemy (Mattel)

Pulsar - The Ultimate Man Of Adventure and Hypnos - The Ultimate Enemy
1977 - 1978

Pulsar and Hypnos are relatively unknown toy lines in today's action figure / doll world. The characters didn't make a big splash with kids in the 70's when they were released - Probably because of a little known toy line called Star Wars which was grabbing the majority of kid's (and adult's) attention in toy isles. Regardless, for what it's worth the line definitely holds a nostalgic place for some collectors, and should be considered by doll collector's as an add on to their collections.

At approximately thirteen and a half inches, Pulsar and Hypnos actually stand a good inch and a half over your typical doll of the era. Most dolls came in (and still do) came in around twelve inches, with the highly popular Mego's being even shorter at eight inches. Both dolls can be found in a vast array of packaging styles, but it's key to note that regardless of which versions you get you'll find the same accessories inside.

Pular comes with either his shirt on or off, and in both a standard rectangle box as well as the carded box style that was popular during this era.

Hypnos can be found with either his mask on or off, and like Pulsar, in the same box styles as noted above.

While the dolls seem ample on secondary markets, the majority of them are loose, and don't contain all the accessories. Mint in the box ones typically don't sell as the majority of sellers have them listed around $125.00 for the boxed versions, and as much as $350.00 for the carded boxed versions.

The series included on playset - the Life Systems Center which did basically what it was called - Check the vital systems of your Pulsar doll...With a little imagination of course.

All and all, it's not a bad series. It's just one that many people don't know about. If you're a doll collector, then Pulsar and Hypnos deem checking out.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Esqueleton Fighter (Ditoys)

Esqueleton Fighter

While we don't necessarily endorse knock-offs (or bootlegs if you will), we do have to admit that there are some out there that have their charm. These guys for example.

Esqueleton Fighter figures are nothing short of a rip off of Playmate Toys 1994 Skeleton Warriors line, but that's okay. We forgive them. Truth be told, they're not the first time that these molds have been used, and they probably won't be the last. They've been sighted on English cardbacks with the title, Skeleton Fighter (by Vidal) as well as in window boxed versions known as simply Movable Figure. In short, the molds have gotten around a bit in the action figure world.

Depending on which of the aforementioned lines that you look for will determine how many figures you're going to be hunting down. In the Esqueleton Fighter line there are four different figures which were produced in both standard and neon colors. The figures included; (from left to right) Black Scare, Blood Fenix, Lord Wrecker and Skull Blast.

For what they are, they're not terrible. Sure they're bootlegs. Sure, you could just as easily spend your money on the legit released Skeleton Warriors, but at the end of the day, these are still pretty cool.

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