Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Matrix (N2 Toys)



The Matrix
N2 Toys
1999 - 2001

"You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

In 1999, The Matrix was a massive franchise for the Wachowski Brothers, now known simply as the Wachowski's (You can go ahead and Google that one if you like). The first film brought in huge box office takes, and fans eagerly awaited the sequel (The Matrix Reloaded) which wouldn't hit theaters until 2003. Sadly, many fans then wished that it hadn't.

As a whole, the story is incredibly convoluted, leaving most of the audience confused, lost and bored. In short, for many it promised a fantastic ride that it just didn't deliver. With each film in the Trilogy, ratings only got worse and worse as fans became frustrated with the narrative and overall befuddlement by the time it wrapped up with The Matrix Revolutions.

However prior to the train wreck that the franchise would become, N2 Toys focused heavily on releasing figures based on the first film. For the most part, they did a pretty good job for being such a relatively unknown company.

What was great about the variants for this particular series is that the two produced were rather desirable versions to many people. The first was Agent Smith which was released as both a standard figure as well as a somewhat greenish clear with binary code version. The second was Trinity who came in both a leather tank top (regular version) and a leather trench coat (chase version).

Agent Smith*Agent Smith (Chase Variant)*Cypher

Morpheus*Neo*Switch

N2 covered a fair amount of ground in the series, but sadly never got around to releasing the entire cast of the first film. Some of the noticeable omissions are; Apoc, Mouse and Dozer (Just to name a few).

Trinity*Trinity (Chase Version)

One thing we really like about the Bullet-Dodge Neo figure (below) is the packaging. The inclusion of the heat lines from the bullets adds so much to it, so much to the point that it's arguably better to leave this particular one in the package as opposed to opening it.

Bullet-Dodge Neo

The now defunct Toyfare Magazine also helped to promote the series by offering an exclusive Trinity via their magazine. This figure is essentially the same as the carded version above, however this version of the figure does not have sunglasses on.


Trinity (Toyfare Exclusive)

Series two (the final wave of the line) did something unique by way of changing the packaging up - Something that many toy lines fail to do. We personally enjoy when toy companies do this as it adds a little spice to any toy line, and not only that makes it easier to spot new waves. We honestly wish more companies would do this.


Mr. Anderson*Sentinal

Tank*Trinity

Neo Vs. Agent Smith

Not much happened in the world of plastic for The Matrix in 2002, and by 2003 the license had shifted from N2 Toys to McFarlane Toys. Unfortunately for the Wachowski brothers, nobody really seemed interested enough in The Matrix as of 2004, and with the exception of Funko's upcoming Pop's, not much has been produced in the form of plastic toys since then.

It is rumored that a second trilogy of films is in the works. However, as of the time of this writing (December 2013), that still remains nothing more than a rumor.

Join us next time when we take a look at Cheeck and Chong's Up In Smoke!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

And the Winner is...



***UPDATE***

The prize has been claimed by the announced winner. Congratulations, Chris.

Check back in a week's time for photos of the prize pack that was sent, as well as a wonderful bit of history behind one of the special items donated.

We'll have a new contest next quarter, so make sure to check back for another chance to win. 

Thank you once again to all of you that participated in our first Toy Bloggers United contest. This has been a lot of fun, and a great success.

The winner of the contest is, Chris Mapp, AKA Stunt Zombie.

Chris, you have until March 5, 2015 at 2:00 PM to e-mail us at thetoybox1138@gmail.com with your mailing address to claim the prize package. Please label the subject of the e-mail "TBU Contest Winner" so that we can quickly reference it.

If the prize goes unclaimed, we'll announce a follow up winner.

***UPDATE***

The box is all packed up, and going in the mail tomorrow. Chris, keep your eyes peeled for the post man to come skipping around the corner to your house with a big box of joy!

We'll post photos of the prizes inside on the 10th of March, but don't want to spoil the surprise for the winner. 

A very special thank you is in order for all of the contributors to this contest;

http://actionfigurebarbecue.blogspot.com/

 http://coolandcollected.com/

 http://www.harveymercheum.com/

 http://toyriffic.blogspot.com/

This contest would not have been possible without the generous donations of these fantastic bloggers. Please show them some love by visiting / joining their websites.

We're hoping to be able to run a new contest once a quarter. The next would be in May of 2015. If this is something you want to contribute a prize to, please contact us at thetoybox1138@gmail.com. We'd like to get the contest on a rotation of who will be hosting it so that everyone gets a chance to showcase their site for potential new readers / followers.




Monday, March 2, 2015

Batman - The Dark Knight Collection (Kenner)



Batman - The Dark Knight Collection
Kenner
1991

Let it never be said we don't listen to our readers. Here is another post as requested by Gregory Jackson on our Facebook page.

A successful comic book movie was relatively unheard of with the exception of the 1978 Superman movie and its equally successful sequel in 1981. As such, when Batman took movie goers by storm in 1989, many were caught off guard by its massive success. Merchandising went into full swing as Batmania once again swept the world.

Movie history side note - In addition to Batman, June and July of 1989 saw a massive release of blockbusters hitting cinemas; Ghostbusters II, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Lethal Weapon 2, When Harry Met Sally, and Weekend at Bernies all competed for the number one spot. In addition to those films, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which hit theaters in May was still filling theater seats. It was because these movies were still dominating the box office that Weird Al Yankovic's film, UHF was deemed such a bomb when it was released in July. This cult classic comedy simply couldn't compete with such a strong box office.

In 1989, Toy Biz was behind the helm, and produced some iconinc action figures based on the original Tim Burton film. However by 1991 that license had shifted to Kenner where it would remain for several years after. Rather than continue to produce toys directly aimed at the movie, Kenner instead focused on an all new series - The Dark Knight Collection. Granted the figures were based on the likenesses as seen in the films, as were a handful of the vehicles.

However, Kenner's first entry into the world of Batman toys would also be the start of what would eventually kill it - Oversaturation of Batman variants. Beyond Joker and Batman, the series offered fan nothing in terms of figures with the exception of various suited styles of these same two figures - Batman more so than Joker.

Bruce Wayne*Crime Attack Batman*Iron Winch Batman
Knock-Out Joker*Powerwing Batman

Iron Winch Batman was an exciting figure for many fans as it showcased the character in his classic blue and gray outfit. Something that many Batman series moving forward would fail to do. New suits are great and all, but all classic Batman fans love the original colors.


Shadow Wing Batman*Sky Escape Joker*Tec-Shield Batman
Thunderwhip Batman*Wall Scaler Batman

The series also included a sub series of Deluxe Crime Master Edition figures. Each one was yet another Batman figure, but came packed with a massive accessory to attach to it.


Blast Shield Batman*Claw Climber Batman
Night Glider Batman

Unlike a lot of toy lines which deliver on the figures, then drop the ball on vehicles, The Dark Knight Collection showcased many fantastic vehicles to collect. To date they're some of the best for any Batman series, and Kenner really left no stone unturned when it came to capturing just about every type of mobile ride possible.

Batcopter*Batjet
Batmobile


Bola Bullet*Strikewing
Batcycle*The Joker Cycle

Turbojet Batwing

The Dark Knight Collection is relatively small in terms of action figures based on such an iconic character, however this was most likely because as the toys were hitting shelves, Kenner was already switching gears to focus on the upcoming Batman Returns film which was released right on this series heels in 1992.

We hope you've enjoyed this look at the series, and don't forget, if you have a particular line of toys you'd like to see here, ask! We're happy to look into as many lines as we can, and post what we find.

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

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Star Trek - Collector's Edition (AKA Where No Man Has Gone Before) (Playmates Toys)



Star Trek - Collector's Edition (AKA Where No Man Has Gone Before)
Playmates Toys
1996

As many of you have probably already heard, Leonard Nimoy has passed away today. Though he evolved into a persona unto his own, Mr. Nimoy spent almost fifty years of his life known as the iconic Spock to many a Star Trek fan across the world. It is with great sadness that we have to say farewell to such a fantastic screen actor, and spectacular human being. He will be missed by many, but never forgotten.

During his career, Nimoy was immortalized many times over in the world of toys. One such line was Playmates Toys Collector's Edition - Also known as the Where No Man Has Gone Before series. The line only encompassed four nine inch dolls/figures, and were only available via Target stores.

The reason fans have come to know the series as Where No Man Has Gone Before is due to the depiction of the characters (in general), as well as the small text bubble under each figure's name which states that the character inside is, "As seen in the pilot episode Where No Man Has Gone Before." It was a wonderful nod to the origin of the series, and to date one of the only ways to get the characters in their true original garb.

 Hikaru Sulu

Honestly though, this post isn't about toys. It's about the legacy that is, Leonard Nimoy. Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts in 1931, Nimoy seemed destine to carve his way as an actor. As early as age eight he was acting in a local children's theater.

Though his passion was acting, Nimoy enlisted in the United States Army, serving his country from 1953 to 1955. He left the military holding the rank of Sergeant.

 Jame T. Kirk

Upon returning to acting, Nimoy found himself cast in numerous science fiction roles in films such as Them!, The Brain Eaters, and The Balcony throughout the 50's. By the 60's, he switched from feature films to television, and found mild success in shows such as Bonanza, The Rebel, Two Faces West, Rawhide, The Untouchables, and so many more.

It was in 1966 that he would dawn the iconic Vulcan ears for the original Star Trek series as the character Spock - The role that would skyrocket him to fame - Though only when the series returned in the form of feature films. The original series, as iconic as it has become, only ran from 1966 to 1969. It was then cancelled, much to fan outrage. Unfortunately the studio and heads behind the series really didn't understand just how popular the show was among core fans.

 Montgomery Scott

It wouldn't be until 1979 that Leonard Nimoy would return to the Enterprise along side the cast of original series characters. With the enormous success of science fiction films of the era...Star Wars...Just saying...Star Trek was retooled, and green lit for a full length film. It would be the first of six installments which would last throughout the 80's and 90's. It would also be what transformed Star Trek from cult status television series to world wide blockbusters.

Mr. Spock

Several of the original series cast hung their collective hats up with the 1991 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, but some continued to make appearances in cross over adventures via new television series and films which evolved from the popularity of the original series - Nimoy as Spock more so prominent than some others. Despite the decades that clicked by, Nimoy's fans were always excited to hear of his involvement in any Star Trek project. To them, he was just as much a founding father of their way of life than Gene Roddenberry himself.

He is a legacy to many, and an icon of television all in one. Rest in piece, Leonard Nimoy. You will be missed, but never forgotten.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

He-Man (AKA The New Adventures of He-Man) (Mattel)



He-Man (AKA The New Adventures of He-Man)
Mattel
1989 - 1992

This post comes from a request from our Facebook The Toy Box reader Gregory Jackson. We hope you enjoy this, Gregory.

He-Man, AKA The New Adventures of He-Man was an animated series released by Jetlag Productions and Mattel in 1990. The series was developed as an expansion to the original Filmation series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, yet at the same time took the show in a whole different direction.

The premise involved He-Man being summoned from Eternia to the planet Primus to aid the Galactic Guardians in their quest to defend the citizens from the Evil Mutants of the neighboring planet Denebria. Rather than hang behind and pounce on the opportunity to take over Eternia in He-Man's absence, Skeletor instead chooses to follow He-Man, and leads the Evil Mutants in his new quest to conquer the entire galaxy.

While the quality of the show was highly regarded as superior to that of the original series, the characters were deemed so bland that most episodes failed to entertain viewers. These issues even carried over to fan favorites He-Man and Skeletor who acted so differently in terms of their tone and demeanor that the show had a sense of discontinuity.

Naturally the show was spearheaded by a massive toy production marketing plan. Depending on which region you lived in would dictate which figures you saw. Some were exclusively released in North America, while others were exclusive to Europe. Even those released in both regions sometimes saw a name change. To put it bluntly, tracking down an entire set of this line can be a rather big pain.

Though the animated series lasted only one season (65 episodes) in 1990, the toys were produced and released from 1989 to 1992. Unlike the show itself, the toys seemed rather popular among He-Man fans resulting in this much longer life.

Artila*Battle Blade Skeletor*Battle Punch He-Man
Brakk*Butthead*Disks of Doom Skeletor

Hook Em' Brakk, known as Hook Em' Flogg in the USA, but never released as such in the States is going to be your most difficult and most expensive figure to track down. Loose figures will set you back between $100.00 and $200.00, while mint on card versions sell for $1,000.00 or more.


Earthquake*Flipshot*Flogg
He-Man*Hook Em' Brakk*Hoove

Fans of the toys refer to the Kalamarr figure below as Slush Head. Though the card does indeed refer to the character as Kalamarr, the name was changed to Slush Head for the Classic Masters of the Universe release of this figure.

Hydron*Icarus*Insyzor
Kalamarr*Karati*Kayo

Quakke (below) and Earthquake (two photos above) are perfect examples of name changes between North America and Europe releases. Though they are both the same figure, they're known as two completely different names in each continent. European cards can always be denoted by the bilingual "explosion" bubble at the top right of the card.


Lizorr*Missile Armor Icarus*Nocturna
Optikk*Quakke*Skeletor

Thunder Punch He-Man was one of the very few "recycled" names/characters from the original series of toys for this line.


Spin Fist Hydron*Spinwit*Staghorn
Tatarus*Thunder Punch He-Man*Too-Tall Hoove


Tornado*Tuskador*Vizar

A difficult item to track down from this series is He-Man packed in with a cassette tape. It was only released in Italy. Each side featured a unique story. Side "A" being "He-Man e l'esplosione cosmica" (He-Man and the Cosmic Explosion), and side "B" being "He-Man e il pianeta maledetto" (He-Man and the Cursed Planet).


He-Man with Cassette Tape

Mattel produced two backpack accessories which would fit on most of the figures.


Rocketdisc Powerpack*Turbo Tormentor

In addition to selling single packed figures, Mattel also produced a handful of multipacks. Each one boasted that it was a buy one get one free deal, however no matter which pack you purchased you were getting He-Man as he was packed in all of them. The villains were also only referred to as Evil Mutant, and not by their name.


He-Man/Evil Mutant (Flogg)*He-Man/Evil Mutant (Skeletor)
He-Man/Evil Mutant (Kalamarr - AKA Slush Head)

Vehicles and playsets were a big part of the series, and much like the figures could range in names depending on which region you lived.

Sagitar (below) is technically the one and only beast released in the series - Not a vehicle or playset.


Sagitar*Terrotread

Perfect examples of the vehicle name changes are the Terroclaw, which was released in North America, and the Terrapod, which was released in Europe.



Astrosub*Battlebird
Terroclaw*Terrapod


Bolajet
Shuttle Pod

Another example of vehicles with name changes - Doomcopter (Norther America) and Skullcopter (Europe).


Doomcopter*Skullcopter

The massive Shuttle Eternia is large enough to not only blow kids minds away with the sheer size of the box/toy, but also all the fantastic play features built into it. The vehicle is boasted on the box as being able to, "Transform it 12 Different Ways!"


Shuttle Eternia

The last playset produced for the series was sadly a Europe exclusive. As such, many fans in the USA will have a difficult time getting their hands on one even today as prices range between $400.00 and $500.00 for ones sealed in the box. Loose ones can be found here an there for between $75.00 and $100.00)

Nordor

We have to be honest and admit that tracking down this series turned out to be more of a pain than fun, and as such we suspect many collectors out there feel our pain, and are quite possibly going through the same thing. Between the exclusives to various countries, and the name changes, this was a rather challenging post to compile.

Join us next time when we take a look at Batman - The Dark Knight Collection, and don't forget to add your entry for the first Bloggers United contest below for a chance to win a great mystery box of collectibles!

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Toy Bloggers United - Our First Contest!



***UPDATE***

The contest is officially over - No more entries, please. A winner will be drawn on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 2:00 PM (Eastern standard time), so please make sure to check back to see if that winner is YOU!

The announced winner will have twenty-four hours to claim their prize by e-mailing The Toy Box at thetoybox1138@gmail.com.

Hello, and welcome to the first official Toy Bloggers United contest made possible thanks to the generous contributions from other toy bloggers out there. We've got a fantastic mystery grand prize for one lucky winner featuring a wonderful selection of collectibles from all of our personal collections.

Here's how you can get a chance to nab the prize - Simply post a comment in the comment section below with your name or pseudonym. When the contest ends, we'll compile all the names, and draw one winner at random. This contest runs from Monday, February 23, 2015 at 12:01 AM until 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 1, 2015. Limit one entry per person.

Here's how you claim the prize - The winner will be announced on all promoting websites on March 4, 2015 at 2:00 PM. Once announced, you will have twenty-four hours to claim your prize by contacting The Toy Box at thetoybox1138@gmail.com. If the prize it not claimed in that twenty-four hour period, it will be deemed null and void, and a follow up winner will be announced, who will also have twenty-four hours to respond. Hopefully we'll get someone to claim it by then, but if not, the process will repeat until we do.

Unfortunate stipulations - At this time, only residents of the United States and Canada are eligible for the contest. We apologize to our friends abroad, but due to this being a non-profit contest, we cannot incur the excessive shipping costs for overseas packages.

We would like to thank the contributors of this contest, and encourage you to also check their sites out by clicking the respective logo;

http://actionfigurebarbecue.blogspot.com/

http://coolandcollected.com/

http://www.harveymercheum.com/

http://toyriffic.blogspot.com/

To become a contributor for this or future contests, please contact The Toy Box at thetoybox1138@gmail.com.

Good luck to everyone! We hope you enjoy the contest.

The Walking Dead - Clemintine (McFarlane Toys)



The Walking Dead - Clementine
McFarlane Toys
2014/2015

Telltale Games did an amazing thing in 2012 when they released a game based in the Walking Dead "universe" - They shifted attention back towards the genre of classic point and click adventure games. It was a revitalizing breath of air desperately needed in the dormant genus of play style, and something fans had been waiting for since the end of such classics as Sierra's Space Quest, Kings Quest and Leisure Suit Larry.

The franchise sored into popularity as players assumed the responsibility as guardian of little Clementine. The game not only put players in the role of parental figure to the young child, but also saw them taking on the role as leader for a small group of survivors where every decision counted, and every executed thought resulted in consequences or reward.

Fans ate up the five part downloadable mini series, and eagerly awaited its sequel which finally came in late 2013 as another downloadable mini series. Since then, both have been released on retail game discs, and a third mini series announced.

With such popularity, it was only natural that McFarlane Toys would eventually extend the line of action figures based on the comic book and television versions of Walking Dead characters to the video game - Though for now fans will have to suffice with just one - Clementine...Okay, two if you count the bloody variant version.


Clementine
 
In terms of sculpt, we can honestly say we've seen much better come from the likes of McFarlane Toys. The facial features on the figure look hollow, as if she's staring off into space. Worst of all, they don't really capture the features of the character. Overall the face just looks generic - Though we're sure this won't stop fans from nabbing them up.
 
To do so, one would of course have to either hit secondary markets, or go directly to the source as this figure was a Skybound Online Shop Exclusive. At $25.00 per figure, you're looking at a rather steep buy in price. At the time of this writing (December 2014), the figures were still readily available via pre orders at the site.
 

Clementine


Will more figures follow based on the Telltale Games characters? We certainly hope so.

Join us next time when we take a look at He-Man (AKA The New Adventures of He-Man)!

Don't forget to join in our first official Toy Bloggers United contest HERE!

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

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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.