Saturday, April 30, 2016

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series 15 (Playmates Toys)



It feels like it's been a while since we've spoken about the Nickelodeon line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Playmates Toys, but fret not, new toys are hitting toy isles as we speak - Most of which are the items based on the new film; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Its because of this that you may have a little difficulty finding the four new figures from the basic lines. Most stores are being so inundated with movie based figures that they're simply not getting the basic line in stock. We found these at a local Walmart, but even then, trips to other Walmarts in the area yielded nothing but movie related items.

All four of the new figures are Leonardo and Michelangelo related. Much like the prior released series, these come as a surprise as they were not announced at last years Toy Fair or Comic Con. Eye-Poppin Leo and Tongue-Poppin' Mikey were both advertised on the back of the aforementioned prior release - So to correct our statement, they were a surprise when the prior release hit shelves.

 Eye-Poppin' Leo
 
 Tongue-Poppin' Mikey
 
Then there are the two new Shadow Ninja figures. These resemble the very first figure released for the Nickelodeon TMNT line - Night Shadow Leonardo. However, unlike this figure which was stiff as a board, I.E. no articulation, and featured a paint deco of black, these figures change to black when dipped in cold water.

 Shadow Ninja Color Change Leo
 
Shadow Ninja Color Change Mikey

While new figures are always fun to find, these do come with a bit of disappointing news. First and foremost, while Playmates Toys is releasing newly unannounced figures this in turn continues to delay the highly anticipated ones that have already been announced. For example, one of the most anticipated figures, Muckman, has been confirmed as being released (the good news). However, it's not going to be until 4th quarter of this year (the bad news). In addition, and the most disappointing news, this eats into budgeted funding to produce and release figures such as the Mutant 3-Pack which would have featured Ice Cream Kitty, Spike and Dr. Cluckingsworth. These figures have been "back burnered" until further notice - I.E. may or may not be released. In short, while we continue to receive revisioned (or repainted) sculpts of the four Turtles, it causes delay, or the loss of entirely new figures. Personally, we'd rather get the new figures, and skip on the oversaturation of the Turtles.

Oh, well. We suppose Playmates Toys is going to do what they feel like doing. They did show some good stuff in their mix of Toy Fair 2016 promotional items. However, they also showed a massive amount of more Turtle brothers figures as well. The line has already been running for four to five years, which is about the halfway point of what the original series ran for back when it started in the 80's. Perhaps Playmates Toys is running out of steam.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Forbidden Planet (Trendmasters)



Forbidden Planet
Trendmasters
1998

There have been a ton of toys based on Robby the Robot from the 1956 film, Forbidden Planet. Unfortunately a fair amount of them have been bootleg knockoffs. Be them Japanese / Chinese knock offs sold by local street vendors. Or grocery store toy isle fodder with names a simplistic as "Robot". It seems everyone wants to cash in on the iconic character.

Fortunately for the franchise rights owners, not every toy distributor simply wants to use the likeness of their robot. In 1998, Trendmasters produced the one off, Remote Control Robby the Robot.

Robby featured a motorized walking feature as well as lights and sounds. Pretty much the only downer to this thing was that the distance he could walk was limited to how closely you wanted to follow him - Probably on your knees no less. The bot was tethered to the remote via the wire that sent the signal from the control to the toy, and not a long wire at that - Thus why most adults would be on their knees with it. Overall though, not a bad representation of the character.

Prices vary drastically depending on condition of the box / robot. We've seen prices as low as $65.00 (still not cheap), and as high as $150.00 (definitely not cheap). Then there was the one lucky guy that won one off of ebay for an astonishing $11.38 - Not only a great value (for the buyer), but a win for the unintentional Lucasfilm reference. Either way, that's probably one happy buyer.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Hitman: Blood Money (NECA)



Hitman: Blood Money
NECA
2006

The Hitman series of games revolves around the character, Agent 47 - A cloned assassin for hire. The series has had a strong foothold in the market for publishers Eidios Interactive and Square Enix, with games coming out fairly regularly since 2000. As of 2016, the series will have it's ninth installment.

Agent 47 has even gone on to be the focal point of a Hitman movie which hit theaters in 2007. Unlike the games however, the movie was met with poor critical reception. So much to the point that not only was the planned sequel cancelled, but so to was the potential reboot.

As part of its Player Select line, NECA produced two versions of Agent 47. The first in a black suit, and the second in a white suit. Granted, the figures are the exact same molds as each other, just with different paint jobs.

 Agent 47 (Black Suit)

One of the most exciting things about these figures (for us) is the vast amounts of accessories. The guns have a massive amount of interchangeable parts, such as scopes and suppressors. These bits and pieces mean that each Hitman figure can still look unique despite being the same mold.

Agent 47 (White Suit)

Hunting these figures down these days is no cheap task. The black suit version of Agent 47 sells for between $30.00 and $50.00. The white suit version is definitely the more rarer of the two, and its value reflects it as such. Prices can reach as high as $80.00 for that particular version.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Crysis 2 (Gamestars Collectibles and NECA)



Crysis 2
Gamestars Collectibles
2012

Crysis entered the arena of first person shooter games in 2007 with the first installment of the same name. It was so well received, that it garnered a 98% score in PC Gamer magazine, making it one of the highest rated games for PCG.

The game's shtick was the nanosuit which granted the player special abilities, and made the game unique and fun when compared to other shooters that were currently on the market. The rave reviews continued into its sequel, Crysis: Warhead, as well as the highly anticipated Crysis 2 which was released in 2011.

Which bring us to the Gamestars Collectibles line from 2012. Six figures in total were produced based on the game, all featuring a massive amount of accessories, and great articulation and sculpts. Even if you're not a fan of Crysis, it's hard to find fault with the pieces.

 Alcatraz Nanosuit 2.0*C.E.L.L.*Grunt

Personally speaking, Crysis 2 was no challenge in terms of a video game. We literally completed every level by doing the following; crouch, cloak, sneak forward, recharge cloak, repeat. There was no reason to engage any of the enemies because 1) you were quickly outnumbered, and 2) it was faster just to sneak through the entire mission.

Heavy*Nomad Nanosuit 1.0*Stalker

Crysis 2
NECA
2011

Prior to the 2012 release from Gamestars Collectibles, NECA produced a Nanosuit 2 as part of their Player Select line. It wasn't a bad figure, but quite honestly, GC just seemed to hit the mark better with their line.

Nanosuit 2

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Duke Nukem (ReSaurus) and Duke Nukem Forever (NECA)



Duke Nukem
1998
ReSaurus

Duke Nukem began his rise to cult classic status in 1991 with Apogee Software's game of the same name. Much like the majority of the classic shooters of early PC gaming, the game started as shareware, which took off like wild fire. This first "episode" was followed up by two additional installments to round out the first game.

1993 followed with the first sequel, Duke Nukem II. All seemed well on track for the Duke series to be a hot commodity on gaming markets. The success kept coming with 1996's Duke Nukem 3D. Then like someone switching off a light switch, Duke Nukem simply ceased. Rumblings were heard throughout the gaming world as early as 1997 of a future Duke game, and even promotional material was distributed. However, years passed, and no game ever surfaced...(continued below)

A little late to the game, no pun intended, ReSaurus picked up the licensing rights to produce and distribute action figures based on Duke Nukem. The figures get high points for being fairly spot on renditions of their pixilated counterparts. Not only that, but the articulation is pretty generous - Basically put, these are excellent quality figures.

Numerous figures were planned for the series, but only six ever made their way out to markets - Seven if you include the chase variant...Eight if you include the internet version.


 Duke Nukem*Duke Nukem with Freeze Thrower

Duke Nukem had a chase variant which included a Freeze Thrower gun which was packed one per case. This chase version could also be obtained by ordering it online directly from ReSaurus. The benefit to this route was that it also included a shareware version of Duke Nukem 3D.

You have to look close to see the Freeze Thrower in the package. It is the bit of yellow plastic protruding out from the left shoulder of the artwork on the package. Oddly enough, the chase variant is the more common version being sold on secondary markets these days.

 Night Strike Duke*Battlelord

With the exception of the Previews Exclusive figure (below), the enemies are the most valuable and difficult to obtain figures - Specifically Battlelord which can reach a $75.00 price range for a mint on card version. The Octabrain and Pigcop aren't far behind at prices hovering around the $55.00 mark.

 Octabrain*Pigcop

The last figure in the series was the Previews Exclusive figure, S.W.A.T. Duke. It's not a relatively common figure, but can still be found here and there on secondary markets. A mint in package one can be obtained for roughly $45.00. This is definitely one of those buy it when you see it figures (if you're collecting them) because you don't know if you'll find it again. Of course, the same statement could be made about the "enemies" in the line as well.

S.W.A.T. Duke

Duke Nukem Forever
2011
NECA

(continued from above)...

As years continued to tick away past the new millennium, many gamers forgot about Duke. We were now in an era where Call of Duty vs. Battlefield disputes were erupting across the internet. Regardless, classics such as Doom and Wolfenstein were reemerging, reminding gamers that the games that started it all could be re-visioned to compete in today's heavily saturated first person shooter market. It was the perfect time.

Enter Gearbox Software who made a deal to complete the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever (originally entitled Duke Nukem 4ever - Appropriate being that it was the fourth installment planned in the series). Backed by a heavily marketed campaign, and a promise that the game was well worth the wait, DNF was finally unleashed on the public in 2011. Riddled with bugs, long loading times, clunky controls, offensive humor, and dated design, the game received critically disappointed reviews...(concluded below)

Duke Nukem

NECA produced a one and done figure based on Duke with their Player Select line. It's a spot on rendering of the character, and the articulation is definitely ample. Unfortunately, much like the game it found little success on the market.

(concluded from above)...

Gearbox Software made plans to reboot the DN series following Aliens: Colonial Marines. However, with the poor reviews for both the aforementioned Aliens game and Duke Nukem Forever, it is unknown at this time if those plans will proceed.

There's no doubt that Duke Nukem helped to shape the first person shooter genre into the format it is today. Unfortunately for the character, there just doesn't seem to be enough room in the sandbox (or enough desire from players) to continue his exploits. We leave off with a question to all of you. Is Duke Nukem past his prime?

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Painkiller Jane (Palisades)



Painkiller Jane
Palisades
1998

Painkiller Jane isn't the most well known comic book title out there, but it has a strong niche following of fans that have kept it relevant since issue one in 1995.

Created by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, Jane Vasko starts out somewhat like Robocop. She's a police office that gets mortally wounded in the line of duty, only to be revived with superhuman regenerative powers through mysterious means - Okay, maybe not much like Robocop beyond the mortally wounded part. She then leaves the police force, taking on the mantra of vigilante, Painkiller Jane.

Branching out from the pages of comic books, Painkiller Jane even made an appearance in her own made for television movie in 2005 on the Sci Fi Channel. The movie starred Emmanuelle Vaugier as Jane, and would be the backdoor pilot for a television series that would follow.

Said show was the 2007 series of the same name. The show starred Kristanna Loken, and ran for 22 episodes before it was unceremoniously cancelled. The series was significantly different from that of the comic book, dropping most of the back story. Interestingly enough though, the story it did follow resembled much closer the original version of the character that Palmiotti and Quesada developed.

Back in its startup days, Palisades procured the rights to produce a series of figures based on Painkiller Jane. The problem - All they produced was the same figure three times. No other characters were brought into the fold. To make matters worse, all three were produced in limited quantities, making them difficult to obtain.


That was of course back in 1998. Fast forward to 2016, and while the figure isn't flooding secondary markets, it's relatively easy to find all three versions - Its relatively cheap too. All three variants are typically priced between $5.00 and $10.00 on the card. Sadly, even then they don't sell most of the time.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Splinter Cell: Conviction (NECA)



Splinter Cell: Conviction
NECA
2011

Some of you got a sneak peak of this post (picture wise) a few weeks ago when Blogger decided to post it regardless of the date / time set for it to go live.

Splinter Cell is a popular franchise of video games based on a story (or stories) created by Tom Clancy. The series follows Sam Fischer, a highly trained agent of Third Echelon, and focuses heavily on a stealth game play style.

Conviction is the 6th installment in what will soon be an eight game series (to date) - Despite it being noted as the 5th due to fans not considering the 2006 Essentials title as part of the main story. The game is broken down into two sections. The first is single player, which puts the player in control of Sam Fischer. The second part is the prologue, which is played online. This mode puts two players in control of Archer and Kestrel. Overall the game received good reviews.

In 2011, NECA gave Sam Fischer a little nod with its Splinter Cell: Conviction based figures. The series is actually a part of NECA's Player Select line which includes several one off releases of various video game based characters. The series included a "regular" Sam Fischer, and a second Sam Fischer with a bulletproof vest.

Sam Fischer (Bullet Proof Vest)

Much like prior video game based figures, the series eventually made its way to clearance racks only to find a strong foothold on secondary markets years later. A sealed Sam Fischer (of either variety) will set you back anywhere from $30.00 to $50.00. As we usually say in cases such as this - Not bad for a figure that nobody wanted when it was readily available.

We'll be covering more of NECA's Player Select lines in the near future, so stay tuned for those if you're a fan of the series.

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