Monday, July 28, 2014

Star Wars - Attack of the Clones (AKA Yoda) (Hasbro)



Star Wars - Attack of the Clones (AKA Yoda)
Hasbro
2013

Hot on the heels of their poorly received 2012 line of figures based on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D, Hasbro released the even worse Attack of the Clones line - Or as some collector's have come to call it, the Yoda line.  This name was of course given to it for the obvious reason - Yoda on the package.

The line was meant to correspond with the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones 3D.  The only problem with this was that Lucasfilm had scrapped the idea of continuing the Saga in 3D.  Some say this was because internally it was known that the studio would be shifting hands to Disney and the upcoming Episode VII.  Other's say it was because The Phantom Menace in 3D was very poorly received.  Whatever the reason is, collector's of the toys made it very clear to Hasbro that they would not support either lines, and rightly so due to the amount of poorly produced, rehashed figures.

Much like the prior line, the series was broken up into two sections; Movie Heroes and The Clone Wars.  More so similar was that the line didn't contain anything new in terms of characters.  Each set contained nine figures, and as a whole also included four Class I vehicles (which each included two figures) and three Class II vehicles.


MOVIE HEROES
Anakin Skywalker*Battle Droid*Darth Maul
Darth Vader*Jango Fett


MOVIE HEROES
Obi-Wan Kenobi*Stormtrooper
R2-D2*Yoda


501st Legion Clone Trooper*Anakin Skywalker*Battle Droid
Captain Rex*Clone Commander Cody


Darth Maul*Obi-Wan Kenobi
R2-D2*Savage Opress


CLASS I VEHICLES AND FIGURES
501st Legion AT-RT with ARF Trooper and TX-21 Tactical Droid
501st Legion Attack Dropship with Clone Pilot and Battle Droid
MTT Droid Fighter with Battle Droid and Obi-Wan Kenobi
Yoda's Jedi Attack Fighter with Yoda and Super Battle Droid


Jango Fett's Slave I
Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Starfighter
Republic Fighter Tank

Since the lines ghastly release, Hasbro has made good with many fans by way of restructuring the Star Wars franchise into the current Black series, both in 3.75 and 6 inch formats.  These lines have been much better received by collectors, and hopefully Hasbro has learned their lesson that fans of a series for the past 30+ years are no longer throwing money at any and everything Star Wars related.  They want quality, care, and most importantly, figures they don't already have unless the newly sculpted ones are drastic improvements over the last.

Join us next time when we take a look at Alien ReAction Figures!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon (McFarlane Toys)



The Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon
McFarlane Toys
2004 - 2005

We were very surprised by the reception of our post on The Beatles: Yellow Submarine figures. We knew the group was popular, but we didn't know so many "hits" would amass from one single obscure toy line.

Forty-eight episodes encompass what is known as The Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon series. While all four Beatles are represented in the series, oddly enough just two people provided all the voice overs; Paul Frees (John and George) and Lance Percival (Paul and Ringo).

Several shorts encompassed each full episode, and each was designed to set up a visual illustration of the full song featured in the skit. Though during this time the band moved on in both look and style in their personal lives, the show insisted on depicting them in their clean suited mop top look. The producers did however incorporate real photos of the band during the intro which showcased their more contemporary looks.

When the series original aired the band voice their dislike of it, and refused any involvement beyond their music being utilized. It was because of this series that when the feature film "Yellow Submarine" was produced that the band declined to be involved in that as well. It wasn't until seeing the finished product of the film that they agreed to provide a live action epilogue.

Much like the Yellow Submarine figures, these Saturday Morning Cartoon renditions are incredibly difficult to track down, especially at a reasonable price. Individual figures can sell upwards of $45.00 a piece, though if you act fast, on occasion you can find them for about $25.00 a piece.

Even rarer is finding someone selling a complete set. If you do manage to find a complete set being sold by one person, a lot of times they seem to think that having said set deems double the asking price.


Paul


John


George


Ringo

Those looking for a cheaper alternative to tracking down all four figures may instead want to focus on this multipack which was released in 2005. It will probably still set you back over a hundred dollars, but in the long run could end up being cheaper than the individual figures, and even includes an alligator.


Below is a fun little video which showcases all three of the different intros utilized for the series from season one through three.


Join us next time when we take a look at Star Wars - Attack of the Clones!

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Clash of the Titans (Mattel)



Clash of the Titans
Mattel
1982

Ever since Kenner struck gold with the vintage Star Wars toys in 1977, every toy company clamored to latch on to the next speculated big blockbuster Hollywood hit, and develop a toy line.  Unfortunately for most, it just didn't pay off.

Such was the case with Mattel's 1982 line of toys based on Clash of the Titans.  Despite the film being highly regarded as the reason most people today know of the story of Medusa and Perseus, and becoming one of the most noted sci-fi/fantasy films of its time, it wasn't really geared towards children, and as a result most kids didn't know or care about the toys.

The series only saw a total of four figures produced, and two "beasts".  The four figures included Perseus, Thallo, Calibos and Charon, while the beasts featured the infamous Pegasus and Kraken.  A second release of Pegasus would also include the figure Perseus, though both are simply a repacking of the single packed figure and beast.


Perseus*Thallo


Calibos*Charon


Pegasus*Perseus and Pegasus


These days the Kraken beast is a difficult one to track down both complete and in the box.  Many loose pieces contain broken parts, and boxes are few and far between.  A complete Kraken beast with the box can fetch close to a thousand dollars, and is considered a "Holy Grail" for toy collectors.

Kraken

The film remains a top cult classic feature to date, with the toys being more so collectible these days than when they were first released.  Mind you, this is no collection for the faintest of collectors as a complete sealed set can cost well over a thousand dollars, and again, that's if you can even find the Kraken.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tron (Tomy)



Tron
Tomy
1982

These days the original film, Tron, has more of a cult following than a fan base.  That's not to say that those who do follow it aren't "fans", but that unlike other highly successful films which even casual viewers can leisurely view here and there, the bottom line with Tron is you either like it, or you don't.  Even at the time of its release, while it received great reviews for its visual work, many critics felt rather harsh towards the actual story.  In short, many considered it to be boring and lacking any depth.

During its production phase, Disney had high hopes for the film.  So much so that they even licensed with Tomy to create a line of toys based on it.  Much like the film, the toys dazzled a very select few, and failed to sell as well as anyone hoped.  It came and went with just four figures and two vehicles.

Tron*Flynn
 
 
The figures were designed using colored, yet translucent(ish) plastic which was highlighted with white lines to depict the CGI costumes from the movie.  There were two "good guys" (blue), and two "bad guys" (red).  Three of the figures came with little white discs, and the Warrior figure included a staff.
 

Sark*Warrior
 
Probably the best items to come from the line are the two Light Cycle vehicles which included a plastic "rip and ride" feature.  Basically, you inserted the flexible plastic "cord" which had "teeth" on it, pulled it out fast, which in turn spun the wheels to make it go when you put it down.
 


Light Cycle (yellow)*Light Cycle (red)
 
These days, the original Tomy Tron toys sell much better than they used to - Mainly because many toy collectors find the line to be cheap and easily accessible.  Though there are still die hard fans of Tron who have added these pieces to their collections as well.  Their popularity was also mildly boosted in 2002 when Neca released them all again using the same molds and package designs.  Neca even included a blue Light Cycle in the bunch along with the yellow and red ones.

Join us next time when we take a look at Clash of Titans!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

From Filmation's Ghostbusters (AKA Filmation's Ghostbusters) (Schaper) (Tyco)



From Filmation's Ghostbusters (AKA Filmation's Ghostbusters)
Schaper (Tyco)
1986

Schaper was a toy company made somewhat famous for their board game, Cootie in the late 1940's.  It was designed and developed by founder, Herbert Schaper, who actually created the game in his spare time while working as a mailman.  Throughout the years his company has found little bits of success with other games, and a handful of action figure lines.  One such line is the highly controversial (between Ghostbusters fans) From Filmation's Ghostbusters - AKA Filmation's Ghostbusters.

Fans of Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters films (and animated series The Real Ghostbusters) take great offense to Filmation's version which began airing in 1986.  They felt that it was a complete rip off and was duping fans to tune into a series not in fact based on the beloved screen renditions of the Ghostbusters, but rather a mocking farce of the series.  The sad truth is while Filmation's Ghostbusters series didn't launch until after the Reitman film premiered, and was probably brought to light as a result of its success, Filmation actual had the rights to the name Ghost Busters due in part to their 1975 live-action series - The Ghost Busters.

The short version of this tale is that when the film Ghostbusters was in production, Filmation sued over the rights to the name, and actually won.  Thus when the animated series of the Reitman based Busters came out it was known as The Real Ghostbusters - A proverbial middle finger to Filmation?

Tiffs between studios aside, Schaper stepped in to produce a fantastic line of toys based on the animated series which ran for sixty-five episodes in late 1986 (September - December).  Unique to the packaging was the circular "ghost" symbol at the top.  You have to keep in mind when looking at these that this was the day and age of rectangular cards that either had rounded edges or sharp corners.  To do something like this was typically unheard of, and most major companies with high selling toys (such as G.I. Joe) shied away from such "gimmicks".

In total, twelve figures were produced - Six Ghostbusters, or good guys as they were, and six Evil Prime minions, or the bad guys if you will.

Belfry and Rat-A-Rat*Eddie*Futura
Jake*Jessica*Tracey


Fangster*Fib Face*Haunter
Mysteria*Prime Evil*Scared Stiff

In addition to the figures, Schaper produced four vehicles and a playset.  The Ghost Command is a playset that would rival most of its time, and even to date.  The shear size, design and incorporated mechanisms designed to increase the amount of play aspects are fantastic.  The biggest shame of it all was that it was produced for a toy line that so many kids passed on.

That's not to say that the vehicles are anything to frown about.  Fans of the series praise (in particular) the Ghost Buggy for being true to the show both in design and its ability to "transform" as seen on screen.


Ghost Buggy*Scare Scooter
Time Hopper*Bone Troller


Ghost Command

Its important to note that Schaper toys was acquired by Tyco in 1986, and as a result every toy shown above can be found with either a Schaper or Tyco logo on the packaging.  In addition to that, several other companies were given the rights to release the toys in various other countries.  These toys don't have either the Schaper or Tyco logo on them, but rather the foreign distributed companies name.  What does this mean?  It means that for a true mint in package variant hunter that this series could be a dream come true collection or a nightmare waiting to unfold.

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

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mr. T (Galoob)



Mr. T
Galoob
1984

Mr. T did indeed, "Pity the fool."  Sadly that fool was George Peppard who failed to see that T was the star that kids around the world tuned in to see on the A-Team, and not him.  Rather than embrace this aspect, and capitalize on it, the aging actor grew jealous, and made co-stars and producers of the series more than aware of his dislike for the man.  For a great in depth look at this check out Justin Lee Collin's Bring Back...The A-Team (or any of the Justin Lee Collins Bring Back... episodes for that matter - They're all incredibly entertaining).

While producing a highly insulting series of figures based on the A-Team in 1984, Galoob also managed to produce a more respectful "doll" line based on Mr. T.  Both a standard and talking version were produced, and both skyrocketed in popularity with children.  Mr. T was the baddest mutha of them all, but in a respectful way to his mother, and kids of all ages looked up to him, making him a very iconic - very rich - young man.


Mr. T*Talking Mr. T

Though a pull of the string didn't have Mr. T spouting things such as "Hey, sucka," or things of that nature, it did include one of four phrases including;

1) I pity the poor fool
2) Always listen to your parents
3) Study hard in school

And one other that just wasn't working right, and we couldn't understand.

Galoob also produced two lines of accessories/clothing for the doll.


Combat Attack Set*Fire Rescue Set

The last item produced (at least in the US) was the smaller Wrestling Mr. T figure.  It doesn't really incorporate into this particular line, but it incorporates well into the other wrestling figures of this era from the various toy companies.



If you have a chance, check out the original commercial for the Mr. T doll.  It's a riot.  It depicts kids with balled up fists just punching away on the doll, all to a jingle about how T is tough and mean.  These days, that kind of commercial wouldn't go far with parents.

Join us next time when we take a look at From Filmation's Ghostbusters (AKA Filmation's Ghostbusters)!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

DC Comic Super Heroes (Toy Biz)



DC Comic Super Heroes
Toy Biz
1989 - 1991

If you ever want to find yourself in a fistfight, you need only to walk up to someone buying an original Kenner's Super Powers figure and say, "Toy Biz's DC Comics Super Heroes are far superior."  You'll be attempting to dodge punches in no time.

We're not sure why this line gets such a bum rap from many collectors of DC related heroes.  Sure, they're not the best iterations of the characters, and okay, they may have paled in comparison to Kenner's Super Powers line, but it's not like during 1989 you could have logged on to the internet to track down the Kenner versions instead.  It was kind of one of those take what you can get and be happy about it moments.

The summer of 89 saw the release of Tim Burton's Batman, and with it came a major resurgence in comic book toys.  This of course was boosted by Toy Biz themselves who produced a very small series of action figures based on the film (see our post on that, "HERE").  Quickly moving to expand on the line, Toy Biz changed the title of the series to DC Comics Super Heroes.


Aquaman*Green Lantern*Hawkman


Lex Luthor*Mr. Freeze*Robin

Though it focused heavily on Batman related villains, the line also saw almost the complete line up of the Justice League characters as well.  Because this line was a springboard from the 1989 Batman movie, you'll notice the absence of an actual Batman figure.  Toy Biz never released any of the three Batman carded figures (Batman, The Joker, Bob the Goon) on these new cards.



The Flash*The Flash with Turbo Platform*Superman


The Penguin*The Riddler*Two-Face

What's interesting about this series is the exclusion of any vehicles.  The prior released Batman figures included six vehicles as well as a playset, so it was odd that this concept was suddenly abandoned.


Wonder Woman

Join us next time when we take a look at Mr. T!

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