Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 2013 Recap



Below is a recap of all the post we've covered in January 2013. If you missed any, or simply want to see them again, click on each "title" to be taken directly to that post. As always, thanks for reading.

Justin Whitlock's Custom Arcade Cabinet Models
Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All
Earthworm Jim
Quake II
Underworld
South Park
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
The Simpsons: The Movie
Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Ooze...And Some of Series 3
Ghost Rider
The Walking Dead Series 1 and 2 (Television Series)
The Walking Dead Series 1 (Comic Book Figures)

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The Walking Dead Series 1 (Comic Book Figures) (McFarlane Toys)



The Walking Dead (AKA The Walking Dead Comic Book Figures) Series 1
McFarlane Toys
2011

As we said in our prior post regarding the television series one and two of The Walking Dead, there is no doubt in our minds that we'll be seeing TWD merchandise for years to come. The television series has spread like wildfire making it AMC's most popular show.

However, it's sad really to see just how few people know that the series started out as a comic book way back in 2003. A comic book that is still producing fantastic stories every month. Not only is it debatably a better story than the television version, but many events have unfolded much differently than what you're seeing on AMC. Not only that, but it's arguable among fans that the comic book is the true story, while the TV series is more of an elseworld telling.

Regardless of where you stand on the matter, McFarlane Toys produced a fantastic set of figures based on the comic book series in 2011.


SERIES 1 (COMIC BOOK)
Officer Rick Grimes*Zombie Roamer
Zombie Lurker*Michonne

The four basic figures (above) were just the tip of the iceberg as far as McFarlane Toys was concerned. Variant exclusives were a massive piece of the sales pie, and McFarlane was eager to cash in from all the fan's bites.

TOYS R' US EXCLUSIVE (COMIC BOOK)
Bloody Officer Rick Grimes
Bloody Black and White Officer Rick Grimes


 PREVIEWS EXCLUISVE BOXED FIGURES (COMIC BOOK)
Bloody Black and White Zombie Roamer and Bloody Black and White Zombie Lurker
PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE BOXED FIGURES (COMIC BOOK)
Bloody Black and White Officer Rick Grimes and Bloody Black and White Michonne
SAN DIEGO COMIC CON EXCLUSIVE (COMIC BOOK)
Michonne
Join us Friday for a special announcement, and then on Monday for an all new post!

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The Walking Dead Series 1 and 2 (Television Series) (McFarlane Toys)



The Walking Dead (AKA The Walking Dead Television Figures) Series 1 and 2
McFarlane Toys
2011 - 2012

The Walking Dead has come a long way from its comic book roots - A comic that many people didn't even know existed until October of 2010 when season one of the TV show premiered. Because there's not much we can say on the subject of the series that fans don't already know at this point, we'll avoid going into any details on the show.

Suffice to say that in 2011, McFarlane Toys teamed with Skybound to develop action figures based on the characters as portrayed in AMC's series. It was a gamble that paid off well when stores across the nation sold out of figures.

Daryl Dixon quickly became the forerunner of rare, and prices soared on secondary markets. At the time of this writing it would cost you anywhere from sixty to one hundred dollars to get one.

***UPDATE***

McFarlane Toys has since rectified the rarity of the original Daryl figure from series one by re-releasing him in a two pack with his brother Meryl. Kudos to McFarlane for providing the supply for the demand as opposed to leaving fans high and dry.


 SERIES 1 (TELEVISION)
Deputy Rick Grimes*Zombie Biter
Daryl Dixon*Zombie Walker

Toys R' Us received an exclusive black and white version of Rick Grimes which was incredibly limited, and became the second most difficult and expensive figure to find.
 
 TOYS R' US EXCLUSIVE (TELEVISION)
Bloody Black and White Deputy Rick Grimes

Walmart also received a variant package for their line of Walking Dead figures. The packages were slightly smaller than the other retail versions, and included several more warning labels at the top. The figures inside are identical to the other release.
 WALMART EXCLUSIVE (TELEVISION)
Deputy Rick Grimes*Zombie Biter
Daryl Dixon*Zombie Walker

With popularity for all things The Walking Dead growing more and more each day, it was inevitable that a second series of figures would soon hit shelves - Five new figures to be exact.
 SERIES 2 (TELEVISION)
Deputy Rick Grimes*Shane Walsh
 SERIES 2 (TELEVISION)
Bicycle Girl Zombie*RV Zombie*Well Zombie

Walmart once again had their own package variation from that of other retail chains...
WALMART EXCLUSIVE (TELEVISION)
Bicycle Girl Zombie*Well Zombie
RV Zombie*Deputy Rick Grimes*Shane Walsh

...As did GameStop, which received an even smaller packaged version.

GAMESTOP EXCLUSIVE (TELEVISION)
Shane Walsh*Deputy Rick Grimes*Bicycle Girl Zombie*RV Zombie*Well Zombie

Though not exclusive to any one particular store, a three pack of bloody black and white zombies was released to coincide with series two. These were simply the three zombies already released, but re-colored.


BOXED FIGURES (TELEVISION)
Bloody Black and White Zombie 3 Pack

With how popular The Walking Dead has appeared to become overnight, there's no doubt that we'll be seeing TWD merchandise for years to come.

Join us Friday for a special announcement, and then on Monday for an all new post!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Ghost Rider (Toy Biz)



Ghost Rider
Toy Biz
1995-1996

Ghost Rider has gone through several character transitions since his first appearance in Marvel Spotlight #5 where he was portrayed as a Western gunslinger - Later changed to the name Phantom Rider. The most familiar iteration of the character is that of stunt driver Johnny Blaze - Thanks in part to the portrayal of the character by Nicholas Cage in 2007 Marvel film. However, with that said, the most common physical rendition of the character in comic books is that based on the Danny Ketch persona.

Toy Biz's 1995 to 1996 line seems to be a conglomeration of the Blaze (1972 - 1983) and Ketch (1990 - 1998) eras of Ghost Rider combined into one. It has the look and style of the Ketch comic books, yet utilizes Johnny Blaze, AKA Blaze as The Rider.

The series offered a lot of fantastic pieces for Ghost Rider fans, and also broadened the already massive collection of Marvel based toy from Toy Biz during this particular time. Since they were done in the same style and size, they also transition nicely into other series for further play.

SERIES 1
 Blackout*Blaze*Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider II*Skinner*Vengeance
 SERIES 2
Blaze (Armored)*Ghost Rider (Exploding)*Ghost Rider (Original)
Outcast*Zarathos
 FLAMIN' STUNT CYCLES
Blaze's Dark Cycle*Ghost Rider's Ghost Fire Cycle*Vengeance's Steel Skeleton Cycle
CYCLES AND RIDERS

Blaze*Vengeance
Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider continues to change periodically both in style and persona. The character enjoyed a brief revival in popularity in 2011 when the Spirit of Vengeance consumed the body of Alejandra. Her character was soon replaced once again with Johnny Blaze.

***UPDATE***

Since 2014, The Rider inhabits the body of Robbie Reyes, a young Latino who drives a classic muscle car as opposed to the traditional motorcycle.

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

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Ooze...And Some Series 3 (Playmates Toys)



Did March come early this year?  Apparently when Paula from Playmates Toys told us that the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys would be out in late March/early April, what she really meant was, "Right about now."  While out poking around our local Toys R' Us and Target, we came across all these new toys!

To be honest, we're not sure if these figures technically count as series three, or if they're a sub series of toys entitled, "Mutagen Ooze," so for now, we're going to assume they're the third wave, and will update this post later if necessary.

***UPDATE***

The Mutagen Ooze labeled toys are indeed a subset, while the vehicles and playset which are not labeled as such are indeed the first sightings of series three toys.

Only four figures were released, and all four were a variation of one of the Turtles, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael.  Each figure is brightly dressed in clothing that looks almost like a form of hazmat or riot gear, and comes with a backpack which is designed to coincide with the newly released Mutagen Ooze itself (see below).

Each figure sports a mouthful of a name; Ooze Scoopin' Donnie, Ooze Chuckin' Mikey, Ooze Tossin' Raph and Ooze Launchin' Leo.

These figures are very reminiscent of the later Turtle figures from Playmates original line of figures.  You know, the ones that got so ridiculous that it killed the series.  While we're happy to see new figures hit shelves, these aren't exactly what we were hoping for.  Perhaps with these out of the way though, Playmates can resume real focus and attention on the series.

The articulation is poor at best.  The arms and legs move up and down, and the head swivels.  Beyond that, nothing else.  Overall, these are the worst action figures in the line since Night Shadow Leo, which was nothing more than a glorified statue.  They're pretty disappointing.  The new head scuplt for each Turtle was a nice added touch, and probably the only saving grace of the series.

All four of the backpacks are the exact same, with the only difference being color.  Each figure is packed with three little plastic "blobs" that are suppoed to resemble ooze, and again only differ in color for each figure.  Each figure also comes with a batton, which again, the only difference is the color.

The back of the packaging is rather unique from the first two series.  Gone are the cut out bio cards, which have been replaced with a double photo of directions for using the figure with its packed in backpack.  The photo directions on all four figures are that of Michelangelo.

Also worth noting is that these new figures have the same assortment number as the prior two series.  The item numbers which used to be on the back are now on the front in the bottom left along with the assortment number, which is listed on both the front and back.

Unlike the second series of figures which showcased both series one and two, the back of this series only shows the four Mutagen Ooze figures, as well as the two small vehicles which coincide with the series.

***UPDATE***

As of July 2014, the Mutagen Ooze figures have been making their way back to store shelves, however this time they're packed in with bonus Mutagen ooze. So far we've only seen Leonardo and Michelangelo on store shelves, but the UK has seen all four variations, so we suspect the other two Turtles are just around the corner.





Two small vehicles were released with the new banner, "Mutagen Ooze," and much like the figures are desigend to coincide with the separately pacakged Mutagen Ooze (again, see below).

What's interesting about the packaging design is that the figures displayed on the box are the regular figures, and not the new figures which one would think so, since they are afterall designed to accompany them.

The boxes, and overall size of the vehicles match those of the first series released Rippin' Rider and Sewer Spinnin' Skate Board with Stunt Ramp, which are also advertised on the back of the box with the new Sewer Cruiser and Drop Copter.

While we haven't tested our own yet, the back of the package claims that the Sewer Cruiser actually floats in water.

Two medium sized vehicles were also released, though technically they are just two packs of the smaller sized vehicles.  The Mutagen Ooze logo is nowhere to be found on the packaging, nor are there any other advertised toys beyond the set of four buggies.

Leo and Donnie's Patrol Buggies and Raph and Mikey's Patrol Buggies can actually be linked together, and then launched off of each other, forming a set of larger vehicles that break down into the two smaller ones.  Though we honestly have to admit that we're not too thirlled with the larger price tag that comes with this fairly lame gimmick.

We acknowledge that creating vehicles for a toy line that doesn't necessarily have many references to them in an established cartoon or comic book series is a difficult challenge.  We respect the effort that Playmates Toys puts into the design and release of each one, but at the same time it gets rather difficult to purchase things of this nature when the end result is really just silly.

Playmates has already gone to the expensive side of the spectrum with their first playset, so it was nice to see them come all the way to the other side and release a fairly small, reasonably priced playset for those who couldn't find or afford the Toys R' Us exclusive Secret Sewer Playset.

The Pop-Up Playset: Anchovy Alley comes in a small squared box that resembles a pizza box, and as the name suggests, pops up to form the playset via various hinges.  What makes this item a little more fun than your average playset is that it's a transformer of sorts.  When you fold it back down, it litterally forms a small plastic pizza box.

It also comes with a few hidden playable aspects such as the shooting pizzas, flip up manhole cover, break away vault door, and a streetlamp for swing kicking enemies through the shop door.  For around thirty dollars, this little playset has a lot going on.  We dare say more so than the Secret Sewer Lair.

So, here it is - The Mutagen Ooze.  It's what made the turtles what they are today.  Each tube comes with a light bluish ooze inside, and if that weren't enough, each canister has one of four small plastic turtles inside.  Unfortunately no matter how hard you shake the bottle in the toy isle, there is really no good way to get a look at what turtle is inside as the goop is very thick, and the turtle can be anywhere inside.

***UPDATE***

After taking a closer look at the Ooze, we noticed that on the bottom of each canister is a number sequence ending with the letter A, B, C, or D.  After opening a set of each, the numbers and figures inside are as such;

NN2324A - Leonardo
NN2324B - Donatello
NN2324C - Michelangelo
NN2324D - Raphael

We also found a variant.  The canisters in our area have the numbes above printed on the angled side of the bottom.  Others we've seen online (eBay) have the numbers directly on the bottom adjacent to the silver screw.

At seven dollars per tube, it's a rather pricey bottle of gunk.  Especially considering that the majority of kids who get their hands on it are simply going to make a huge mess.  But, if other toy lines have taught us anything, it's that toys that are meant to be disposed of sure do skyrocket in value when they're suddenly not available.  It's amazing what some people will pay for a small container of Masters of the Universe Slime (as of today, $40.00 for one sealed container).  So for all you second hand sellers out there, we can't encourage you enough to buy as much of this stuff as possible, and store it somewhere where it will retain its sticky texture and color.

That about does it for our latest find of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It's a pretty disappointing release, specifically with the figures, and we're rather worried at this point that Playmates Toys is already taking a dive on the series.  With such a brand new animated series to draw inspiration from, it's a real shame to see such poorly produced figures come about so soon.  It's a cash grab at its best, and a real stall out in the series which launched with such great success.

We'll keep you posted on any new findings that we come across.  Hopefully future releases will be a little more exciting.

***UPDATE***

It appears that when Toys R' Us put the non Mutagen Ooze titled toys out that they actually broke street date.  These toys are not scheduled for release until February 10, 2013.  Several Target stores have these items in stock, but will not put them on the shelf until this day - Though you may be lucky enough to have a Target in your area that will break street date.

We also got a look at a full case of the latest assortment.  To our surprise both April O'Neil and Krang were not in it.  Have these two figures already ceased production?  Will we see more in the future?  Your guess is as good as ours.  For now, don't expect to see these figures on shelves unless they are from older cases.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Simpsons: The Movie (McFarlane Toys)



The Simpsons: The Movie
McFarlane Toys
2007

As fans of The Simpsons television series, it's difficult for us to admit that we didn't particularly care for the movie. It suffered from the same fate that so many animated television series do when being transitioned into a full length film. I.E. It had the exact same story as most of them. Why is it that when a television show is developed into a film that the plot always revolves around saving the town? It's such a tired and overdone concept.

McFarlane's line of toys based on the film is equally disappointing as the majority of them are nothing short of the Simpsons family at the movies as seen in the first five minutes of the film. Each character, though sculpted nicely, is featured sitting in a movie theater chair. Couple that with a naked Bart Simpson deluxe set, and really there is little to desire here.

McFarlane doesn't dud often, but this is clearly a case of how hard a well known company can when they don't seem to bother to try.

Homer Simpson*Marge Simpsons
Bart Simpson*Lisa Simpson

Homer Simpson and Harry Plopper*Itchy and Scratchy


"What You Lookin' At" Bart and Flanders*"Doodle Double Dare" Bart, Sherri and Terri

Join us next time when we take a look at Ghost Rider!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure (Kenner)



Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Kenner
1991

"Excellent!"

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was a movie that came out of nowhere in the 80's, and became a cult classic with a not so excellent sequel. The film starred Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and Keanu Reeves as as Ted Theodore Logan - AKA, Wyld Stallyns!

The figures from Kenner in 1991 aren't based on the actual film, but rather the 1990 spin-off animated series which ran for twenty-one episodes. The first season of the show is notable for the actors from the film returning to the roles for the voice overs - Something highly uncommon in the cartoon world, but definitely appreciated by fans. When the show went into production for a second season, the actors voicing the characters were changed to those of the actors who would also be portraying them in an upcoming live action spin-off the same name.

The series is relatively small for such a notable company such as Kenner, and the lack of playsets or vehicles (with the exception of the phone booth) definitely doesn't help. However, it's not a bad bunch of toys, and fans of the movie will definitely appreciate being able to own these characters - Especially considering that no toy company has revisited the concept to date.


 Bill S. Preston Esquire*Ted Theodor Logan*Rufus
Abe Lincoln*Genghis Khan*Billy the Kid*Grim Reaper
Wyld Stallyns Jam Session Two-Pack

Phone Booth*Speaker & Tape

As many fans of the of the films know, a third film has been in talks/development for numerous years now. Obviously it's hard to say if the film will ever make it into production, let alone be released.

Join us next time when we take a look at The Simpsons: The Movie!

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

South Park (Mezco)



South Park
Mezco
2006-2008


When South Park first hit airwaves back in 1997 critics panned it as crude, while young adults, and teenagers thought it was one of the funniest animated shows shown on television. With its edgy comedy, vulgar language and often times shock value, South Park swooped in out of nowhere, bringing in viewers weekly who were eager to see just what Trey Parker and Matt Stone would come up with next.

Though merchandising has been fairly common since the series inception, none was more popular than the 2006 to 2008 series of action figures produced by Mezco. Throughout its two year production run, figure after figure was produced, helping to flesh out everyone's favorite little mountain town inhabitants in plastic form. 

Cartman*Kenny*Hip-Hop Cartman
Cartman (Variant Chase)*Hip-Hop Cartman (Variant Chase)
 
Chef*Big Gay Al*Officer Barbrady
Chef (Variant Chase)*Officer Barbrady (Variant Chase)
 

Stan*Tooth Fairy Cartman
Stan (Variant Chase)*Tooth Fairy Cartman (Variant Chase)
 
Kyle*Kyle (Variant Chase 1)*Kyle (Variant Chase 2)
Token*Token (Variant Chase)
 
Mr. Garreson*Mr. Hanky
Mr. Garreson (Variant Chase)*Mr. Hanky (Variant Chase)
 
Police Officer Cartman*Butters
Police Officer Cartman (Variant Chase)*Butters (Variant Chase)
 
Frozen Kenny*Jesus*Timmy
Mr. Mackey*Mr. Mackey (Variant Chase)
 
Awesom-o
Goth Stan*Goth Stan (Variant Chase)
 
Terrance and Philip
Jimmy*Jimmy (Variant Chase)
 
Hippy Exterminator Cartman*Damien
Hippy Exterminator Cartman (Variant Chase)*Damien (Variant Chase)
 
Mephesto*Tweek
Mephesto (Variant Chase)*Tweek (Variant Chase)
 
Ming Lee Cartman*Starvin' Marvin*Nurse Gollum
Mr. Slave*Mr. Slave (Chase Variant)
 
Deluxe Talking Towelie*11" Deluxe Cartman with Clyde Frog Plush
 
Boy Band Boxed Set*South Park Collector's Set
 
Professor Chaos (San Diego Comic Con Exclusive)*Beefcake Cartman (Toyfare Exclusive)
 
Join us next time when we take a look at Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Underworld (Mezco)



Underworld
Mezco
2003

Vampires vs. werewolves. It's a classic fight that's been iterated in media of all kinds for decades. Is it an overdone concept? Maybe. Are some versions better than others? Definitely.

For some fans, the Underworld series not only does it right, but does it over and over without fail. The series as a whole has more than doubled its combined budgets of $177,000,000.00 with over $450,000,000.00 in worldwide revenue. In short, someone out there likes the series.

While people may like the films, those fans don't seem to transfer over to the world of action figures. This was apparent in 2003 when Mezco produced the incredibly small line of action figures based on the first film. Before people even realized the line was available stores were shoveling massive amounts of unsold stock to clearance isles in a desperate attempt to get rid of them.




Lucian, Michael, Raze



Selene, Viktor

Secondary sales of the series seem to be on a constant up and down roller coaster ride. One month the figures will sell for thirty to fifty dollars a piece, only to tank the following month to no more than twelve to fifteen dollars a piece. This constant up and down keeps fluctuating back and forth making it really difficult to pinpoint a precise value for them.

Join us next time when we take a look at South Park!

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