A Toy Box Contest II

 

***UPDATE***

There's are only two more days left for this contest. If you want a chance to win, make sure you enter now!

Last month's contest is over, and with October, here we go with a second one. However, before we do that, let's get one thing taken care of.

The winner of September's contest is..........................ACTION FIGURE BARBECUE! You have seventy-two hours as of this post going live to claim your prize - October 4th, 2020 by 5:00 AM! Do so by leaving a comment with your e-mail address, which will not be published, so I can get in touch with you for your mailing address! I know we know how to contact each other already, but rules are rules. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was showing favoritism. You have to claim it to win it.

***UPDATE***

Prize has been claimed. Congrats again to Action Figure Barbecue! This will ship out soon.

Congratulations to everyone who participated. Don't be disheartened if you didn't win. We have plenty more contests to go, including this months! October's prize is the all new, Hasbro Pulsecon 2020 Transformers War For Cybertron Trilogy Quintesson Pit of Judgement! Wow, that's a lot of words!

This is in hand and ready to go to one lucky winner!

How do you win? Simple. Leave a comment with your favorite obscure Transformer character with a short message as to why. Key word in that was "obscure". Tell everyone about that character that doesn't stand in the spotlight all the time. They can be from the cartoon, toy line, comics or whatever other source material that is Transformers related.

Entries will be accepted as of this post going live, and through 11:59 PM on October 31, 2020. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on November 1st, 2020. At that time, another contest will also go live.

You must be eighteen (18) or older to enter this contest. The winner will be announced at the beginning of the post for the next contest. At that time, the person will have seventy-two hours to leave a comment with their e-mail address, which will not be published, so that I can get in touch with them. We will work out the shipping arrangements from there.

Shipping is free and all entries across the globe are welcome. However, foreign addresses will be responsible for all applicable taxes and import fees on their end.

Good luck to all!

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Barnyard Commandos And Madballs Are Coming Back!

 

Were you a fan of the original Barnyard Commandos toys? If so, then check this out!


Yeah, you heard and saw that correctly. Barnyard Commandos are coming back from Premium DNA Toys, and you can pre-order them now!

But wait, there's more! Premium DNA are also creating a series of Madballs action figures. That's right, not squishy balls, but actual action figures. Check them out!


All of these are available for pre-order now from your favorite online scalpers action figure retailers, such as Big Bad Toy Store. Check 'em out!

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Retro Spins: Two Of A Kind



They may not always be box office hits, but one has to admit, movies with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John have chemistry. I think they may be that one couple I wished would always get together and be a "thing" in Hollywood.

When the one and only John Travolta and the one and only Olivia Newton-John team up, it is indeed TWO OF A KIND: Two of today's biggest superstars, reunited for a double helping of comedy and romance. Travolta is a supremely selfish, would-be inventor. Newton-John is a boorish would-be actress. Together they are so irredeemably wicked, the "Supreme Being" bets a group of guardian angels that it would be impossible to get the two of them to show any sign of sacrifice for each other. A delightful fantasy with an irresistible cast and story, and packed with wonderful music by Miss Newton-John, Mr. Travolta, Boz Scaggs, Chicago, Journey and Patti Austin, TWO OF A KIND theorizes that love may indeed save the world. And it does so with an entertainment value that is strictly one of a kind. - Back of the original VHS

Wait...That's what that movie is about? Interesting.

I'm by no means a big fan of Olivia Newton-John, but even I have to admit when one of her songs strikes me, it's typically in a big way. The combination of her voice and the overall sound of the music combine to really pack a punch. This is definitely present in the opening track, Twist Of Fate.

Unfortunately, it's also really the only song I enjoyed from the album.

Can't really say much more about the soundtrack, as quite frankly, it was rather forgettable - fast.

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Hasbro Pulse Screws Up Another Pre-Order - This Is The Way!

 

If you went to Hasbro Pulse today, or are on their e-mail list (or missed both of these but had someone clue you in), you may have caught a teaser for the upcoming Mando Monday event.

The news buzzing around this particular event was the newest wave of Star Wars Retro Collection action figures, seven of them, which would all be based on the highly popular Disney+ streaming network show, The Mandalorian.

 


However, if you were like me, and I know of one other person who was, you clicked refresh immediately at 4:00 PM, and as the figures became available one by one, you added them all to your cart. Then when you went to check out, you were greeted by red letters under each item proclaiming, "SOLD OUT". Mind you, this was in the span of less than two minutes.

Wow, really Hasbro Pulse? Again with this nonsense?

After grumbling about it with George of G.I. Jigsaw and finding out that they were available at sites such as Amazon, Entertainment Earth and Big Bad Toy Store, my pain was at least a little relieved. That is until I saw that the scalper sites were charging a mark-up. While you could have gotten them at Pulse (and Amazon) for $9.99, EE and BBTS were charging a mark up of $11.99! I also found out that Target was selling these, but as per usual with them, they were already sold out to the bots.

Fortunately, and ultimately, for whatever reason, being sold out appears to have been a glitch in Pulse's system. After trying back around 4:20 PM, I found I was not only able to get all seven of the figures back into my cart, but also complete the purchase.

I'm not sure what happened the first time around. Perhaps their system just got too bogged down. However, I will say that this is not a good impression from Hasbro. How many people came back to try again after walking away angry? First impressions are all you get, and when things like this happen, the damage is already done, regardless of whether or not you fix it.

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G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero File Cards - 1985 (Hasbro)



G.I. Joe File Cards
Hasbro
1985

We continue our year end wrap up with a look at the 1985 file cards for G.I. Joe. This was the year that the series exploded in popularity. Rightly so, considering the plethora of popular characters from this particular wave. It's also the year Hasbro won Christmas with the release of the massive U.S.S. Flagg - The playset every child wanted, and the coffee table every nostalgic adult collector needs.

It was also in this year that G.I. Joe launched the first season of the highly popular cartoon. In total, there were fifty-five episodes in season one. Sunbow did an amazing job with bringing each character to life, giving them each their own distinctive personalities that would shape the way children played with their related toys.

1985 is one of the more challenging, yet most rewarding lines in the vintage series to collect. It also has two figures which fans should deeply consider before jumping in. Those would be the holly grail, Heavy Metal, which is easily a $500.00 figure, as well as, the orange colored Listen N Fun Tripwire, which can set you back upwards of $300.00. It's a challenging, yet rewarding wave to collect, but is understandably one that is also not financially obtainable for everyone.

At least we can read the file cards for free, so let's tuck in and do just that.















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Roland Dahl's The Witches

 

I just finished watching the newly adapted Roland Dahl story, The Witches on HBO Max. Having never read the book, I can't say whether or not it was true to the source material. What I can say, however, is that I really don't understand the message this children's story is trying to present.

While I appreciate a story that is willing to acknowledge the existence of God, and how this world runs according to his plan, I still don't understand the overall premise the film was aiming for. After watching the movie, I found myself disheartened. What I took from it was a theme that life sucks, isn't fair, you could die at any moment, but that's okay, kill everyone around you who dealt you that bad hand and take their stuff and money.

I don't want to ruin any of the details for those of you out there wanting to watch this film. However, I will say that ultimately there's no resolution to the story. The bad hand the characters are dealt in the film remains the same lot in life that remains with them.

I wouldn't recommend this film for children under ten. I think it would terrify some of them, confuse others, and leave parents answering a lot of questions they don't want to answer about life and death.

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G.I. Joe Classified Wave 2

 

***This post now contains all three figures from wave two.***

I got word from fellow collector, G.I. Jigsaw that wave two of G.I. Joe Classified has been hitting Walgreens. While I hadn't personally come across any of these, George managed to find A Gung Ho out in the wild, and was kind enough to ask me if it was something I would want. While I have a case on order, having the opportunity to get one of these now was very alluring. So naturally, I said yes.

Aesthetically, Gung Ho is one of the best figures produced so far for this line. From his open chested vest, which showcases his traditional tattoo, to his military cap, the figure does well nodding at the original vintage line, while bringing the character into the updated Classified style.

Taking a closer look, Hasbro has managed to pull off Gung Ho and biker Village People in one fell swoop. That's pretty impressive.

Jokes aside, I really do like this figure. Gung Ho is an iconic Joe character, a staple to the line in all respects. While he's not my favorite Classified Joe team figure, that honor goes to Beach Head and Snake Eyes (in that order - to date), he definitely fits right in among the other members.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First and foremost, let's start with the packaging.

Hasbro hasn't deviated from the original wave yet, but time will tell if that happens. While I don't necessarily hate it, I do wonder if we'll eventually see a bubble carded sub series, perhaps reserved for "vintage" or "Sunbow Cartoon" style figures - Much like they did with the anniversary editions of the Star Wars Black Series figures. Like I said, time will tell if that happenes.

So far, the back of the packaging remains the same as prior waves. Hasbro remains tight lipped about future characters coming out, which is somewhat disappointing. Remember the good old days when the back of the package featured a slew of characters available - ten to twenty at a time? Why can't this be how it is today? Why all the hush, hush, secrets?

But...Looking at the back, I REALLY want Hasbro to make a Trouble Bubble (Cobra Flight Pod). I really like those things! They're one of the few vintage vehicles I'd like to track down.




Looking closer at the accessories inside, something was off with the shotgun inside. It was all bent and wonky. Something definitely went awry in the sculpting process.

I wish I could say the execution flaws stopped there. For those, let's dig further into said accessories.

The figure comes with three guns, which includes a grenade launcher, assault rifle and shotgun. Additionally, it includes a backpack and removable hat.

On the surface, the backpack would seem to have a slot for every weapon. However, this aspect only seems to work visually. While the shotgun and assault rifle fit nicely into the side slots, I can't for the life of me figure out how the grenade launcher slots into the bottom one. I tried multiple angles, and nothing seemed to work. Well, I take that back. The grenade launcher can be hung on it from the handle. However, it sticks out really far and looks "wonky".

For the most part, I've already talked about the figure itself. I'll mention one more thing, and then I'll let the pictures do the talking from here on out.

That one thing will take me back to the grenade launcher. It was bad enough that it didn't really fit on the backpack. But, trying to put it in the figure's hand proved to be a challenge of sheer brute force. I had to pull open the fingers, push and jam it in, then try to tug on the thumb to get it in place. I seriously thought I was going to break something on it - Either the hand, wrist or gun itself. Seriously, Hasbro. The hands don't have to be sculpted so tightly closed.

Anyway, on to the pictures.



Here's Gung Ho all decked out and ready for action.

Next up in wave two is Red Ninja, a figure which came to me from another source.

Packaging remains consistent, so there's no real reason to touch anymore on that matter.





 
 
Since 1993, there have been several versions of this figure released in 3 3/4 fashion. However, of these, only one was from the original vintage line, post 1994. Additionally, none of them come close to looking like this particular design. For the most part, these have been fairly generic figures, and some even just repaints of Storm Shadow V1 and V2. This particular version is definitely more menacing looking. Especially with the solid white eyes.

Upon inspecting it, the waist joint appears to have the same issue that the recently released Arctic Mission Storm Shadow. It's incredibly wobbly. Fortunately with a little adjustment it "snapped" in place in a straight standing position. However, it's still a bit loose.

As I look at the figure from all angles, I find it difficult to really get excited for it. It's not a character from the era of G.I. Joe I collected as a kid (or adult), so I have no fond memories of it that would excite me for a six inch version. Not only that, but in terms of being compared to the other figures released to date, it's kind of boring and generic.

I mean, look at it. Slap it in any package, and it could pass as a throw away figure for any six inch line out there. It's as if Hasbro felt the same way too. The only tell it's from a G.I. Joe line is the incredibly tiny Cobra logo on the black bandana.
 



You may have noticed all the various slots on the figure from all the photos above these of course are for the accessories, which there are plenty of. However, unique, they are not.
 

With exception of the red triple sheath, every weapon packed in with Red Ninja was previously packed in with the deluxe Snake Eyes, which Hasbro Pulse offered as an exclusive when they launched the line. That's a bit disappointing. I mean, it's bad enough that the figure is generic in every sense. Could they at least have put some effort into the weapons?

Oh well. I suppose not every figure can be a winner.

Between the triple sheath, which plugs into the figure's back, and the three additional slots on the belts, there's a place to house all but two of the weapons. As such, you're going to need to put two in the hands in order to have all of them being held at one time.


At the end of the day, Red Ninja isn't for me. I'll of course throw it on the shelf with the rest of the other Classified characters, but definitely not feeling much love for it.

Thanks to Jerry over at Action Figure Barbecue, I got the third and final figure in wave two, Cobra Commander.


Even before I take it out of the package I am really digging this figure! Not only that, but the artwork on the box itself is superb!






Let's break that bad boy out and have a closer look.


Every side of this figure is decked out in detail. While it's ultimately the same sculpt utilized for the recently released Hasbro Pulsecon exclusive, Snake Supreme Cobra Commander, this helmeted version is far superior, in my opinion. As much as I like the exclusive version of the leader of our favorite terrorist group, seeing him in that classic blue color is far more appealing for me. It will be interesting to see how the Regal variant compares when these two are side by side (a post for another time - because the figure isn't out yet).


As I spin the figure around, I can't help but gawk at all the beautiful attention to detail here. I dare say this may have taken first place as my all time favorite Cobra figure released to date. Sorry, Destro and Baroness.


For as much as I like the helmeted version of Cobra Commander, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't eagerly waiting to see what a hooded version will look like. I also wouldn't frown at a fully armored version, in the fashion of the 1987 Cobra Commander (V3), as represented in the DIC second series of the animated series.


Accessories wise, I feel like Hasbro could have put a tad more effort into them.
 

The knife and pistol are pretty cool, but I'd much rather have Cobra Commander's traditional blaster. Hasbro included it with the above noted Snake Supreme version, so I'm not sure why they couldn't bother to include it here. I would have much rather had that than two additional hands. For those of you who recall, Hasbro did the same thing with their exclusive deluxe Snake Eyes, who came with his customary Uzi, which the retail release didn't have. I'm not sure why Hasbro is making us buy exclusive versions to get these iconic weapons.

Here's the figure all decked out.


If I had to nitpick, which I do, I have to admit I don't like how the bottom of the knife sheath didn't have a gap at the bottom. I also wish there were a holster for the pistol. Still, I enjoy this figure a lot. I know I said it may be my favorite Cobra figure at this point, I actually don't think it is. For as cool as Cobra Commander looks, Baroness is still far superior.

Based on the anticipated releases for they year, the Regal variant of Cobra Commander appears to be the last figure I "need". I've got one on pr-order, and it states it's slated for a December release. Once I get that, it will be a wrap on 2020. Of course, next year, bright and early in January, we're all expecting the Target exclusive Viper and Firefly, as well as, the retail release of Cobra Infantry and Zartan. Can't wait! This line gets more and more exciting with each announced new figure.

Until then, check out the shelves!

(front to back, left to right)
Deluxe Snake Eyes*Roadblock
Snake Eyes*Destro (1st Run Circle Head)*Destro (2nd Run No Circle)*Duke
Scarlett*Cobra Commander*Gung Ho
Red Ninja*Snake Supreme Cobra Commander*Beach Head (Brown Eyes)*Beach Head (Blue Eyes)

Roadblock (V2)*Cobra Trooper (Black Collar)*Cobra Trooper (Blue Collar)*Baroness
Arctic Mission Storm Shadow*Profit Director Destro

And for he fun of it, here's a photo of Cobra's fearless leader flanked by two of his loyal troops and his entourage, Destro and Baroness. Sorry, Red Ninja, you just don't fit in.


Don't forget, there's a contest running this month, and you could win the sold out Hasbro Pulsecon exclusive Transformers War For Cybertron Trilogy Quintesson Pit of Judgement! Simply go to the post and enter your comment for a chance to win!

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