Monday, December 11, 2017

Cap'n Crunch (Funhouse)



Cap'n Crunch
Funhouse
2002

Cap'n Crunch figures? Heck yeah!

Horatio Q. Crunch's cereal was created based on a survey of children who said they disliked soggy cereal. In response, Quaker (thus the Q in Cap'n's name) gave kids a cereal so sog resistant that it actually cuts the roof of your mouth - Don't lie. You know it does that to you too.

Since his inception, Cap'n Crunch has had twenty-five (or so) different kinds of cereal spin offs - Some more successful than others. Additionally, he's been so popular as a mascot that the character has appeared on all sorts of merchandise.

Today, we're looking at 2002's short lived action figure line from Funhouse (also short lived). Though the series was intended to include four basic figures, two deluxe "animals" and vehicles, only two of the figures actually made it to production.

We got the man himself, Classic Cap'n Crunch, and Pirate Jean LaFoote with Squawky. Each one featured a fantastic array of accessories as well as bonus stickers inside each blister card. Additionally, the cards themselves were labeled as a 1st Edition Collector's Series.

The figures themselves are limited in articulation, but make up for this in troves with their spot on sculpting of the characters. Cap'n Crunch is a mascot that even people who don't eat "his" cereal recognize immediately, and these figures definitely can't be mistaken for anyone other than they are.



As mentioned above, Funhouse planned a few more items in the line that never made it to fruition. The two basic figures, Deep Sea Cap'n Crunch and First Mate Sea Dog were showcased on the back of the cardback. However, the mini-sub, S.S. Guppy and deluxe Loche and Fishy Friends (one deluxe figure pack) and Tinker and Walter (the second deluxe pack) were not showcased on the packaging at all. Some websites have production photos of the items that were intended for release, but it is unknown if any of the prototypes ever made it to the hands of collectors.

The figures are rather rare these days, but regardless of this they typically don't sell. This may be due to sellers asking far more than people are willing to pay - Roughly $35.00 to $75.00 per figure (mint on card). It could also be that very few people know about the line.

Unfortunately for Funhouse, they only managed to produce two short lived toy lines before going out of business. This one, and Dragon Master.

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Greetings From the Baltimore Toy and Collectible Show!



I enjoyed my first Dave Hart show so much, I was determined to make it to this weekend's despite the flurries of snow which beckoned me to stay inside my warm home with a hot mug of cocoa.

The vendors were in full swing once again with toys, trading cards, comic books, CD's, DVD's and so much more, but it was easy for me to make my way around. I had come for specific things, and I wasn't going to deviate into the mass of swooping vultures of dealers - Which mind you would have been easy to do. With a boast of eighty vendors and over three hundred tables there was certainly appealing items which weren't on my current list of wants, but easily could have been added.

A perfect example of this was the pristine condition Han Solo blaster from Kenner's 1978 Star Wars line. At $90.00 despite it having no scuffs, all the original stickers and working sounds I had to leave it behind. These things sell for fifty bucks on a good day on ebay.

Which leads me into my first question - Don't these dealer's realize everyone carries around Smartphones these days? I mean, come on. You know most smart people are going to immediately check to see if the juice is worth the squeeze when you throw your price out.

Anyway...

My main drive for wanting to hit the show again was the one dollar CD vendor I visited on my first trip. I was chomping at the bit to peruse through his massive stock, and I'm happy to say he didn't disappoint. I swooped up well over a hundred CD's, and after a nice discount ended up getting them for about seventy-three cents a piece. Can't beat that price anywhere that I know of.

Once again I wasn't picky about what I was picking up. Even if the dealer would have charged me a buck, I was all in on grabbing music with either one song on the album I knew, or artists I knew, but not necessarily any of the songs.

Check out these great finds!

For those who know me, you know I love a good soundtrack. As I've always said, they're a great way of getting lots of tracks from artists you just won't find on their studio albums.

La Bamba*What's Love Got To Do With It*The Big Chill*More of the Big Chill
Beverly Hills Cop II*9 1/2 Weeks*The Blues Brothers


I'm not really big into music past the 80's, but if I like a movie and see the soundtrack for relatively cheap I'll go ahead and grab it. Obviously seventy-three cents is well within my "Why not" budget.

In the case of Beverly Hills Cop III, I've actually never even seen the movie. I more so got it because I already have the soundtrack to the first film, and grabbed the sequel mentioned above. May as well finish the series out.

Beverly Hills Cop III*Beavis and Butt-Head Do America*Ace Ventura: Pet Detective*Boogie Nights*Dumb and Dumber
Philadelphia*Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery*Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me*The Crying Game*Man on the Moon

I wish I could have found Goldmember to finish out the Austin Power soundtracks. Oh well. Maybe next time.

I don't own any Disney movies and I can't honestly say I have seen them all. However, something as of late has drawn me to the soundtracks. I'm not going out of my way to find them. Nor will I spend big bucks on them, but when I see them for cheap I'll grab them. Today yielded eight more to add to my collection.

I'm actually really intrigued by the Pirates of the Caribbean one because it's not the film soundtrack, but rather the attraction at the Disney parks. I'll definitely be giving this one a spin in the next day or two.

Tarzan*Pirates of the Caribbean*Aladdin*Beauty and the Beast
Mary Poppins*The Little Mermaid*The Hunchback of Notre Dame*Chicken Little

I rounded out the film soundtrack findings with the complete trilogy of Lord of the Rings, and Edward Scissorhands - I'm a big Danny Elfman / Oingo Boingo fan, but honestly don't own a lot of his soundtrack work.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring*The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers*The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Edward Scissorhands

I'm not a big Broadway fan. In fact, I can't honestly say I've ever seen any of the below plays in either TV or stage form. Quite honestly I don't know why I picked these up. Suffice to say something told me I had to have them.

Les Miserables*The Phantom of the Opera*Cats

Like I said above, I went ahead and grabbed a fair amount of CD's for artists I was familiar with, but not necessarily albums which had any songs I knew on them. This really pertains to Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Elton John and Sting (for today's hull anyway). I really only know their hits, and wanted to start broadening my horizons with their music catalogs. Hopefully the below proves lucrative.

Bruce Springsteen
Greetings from Asbury N.J.*Nebraska*Tunnel of Love*The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Magic*The Rising*Human Touch 

Elton John
Songs From the West Coast*The One*Peachtree Road
Love Songs*Something About the Way You Look Tonight / Candle in the Wind 1997*The Big Picture 

When Elton John released the 1997 version of Candle in the Wind in honor of Princess Diana, I kind of felt like it was a cheap way to cash in. Twenty years later, and I kind of still feel the same way.

John Mellencamp
Trouble No More*Wherever We Wanted*Dance Naked*Human Wheels
John Mellencamp*Cuttin' Heads*Uh-Huh*The Lonesome Jubilee 

Sting
The Soul Cages*Ten Summoner's Tales*Mercury Falling
Sacred Love*Songs of Love

Sting's Songs of Love (I came to find out) is actually nothing more than a compilation which was exclusive to Victoria's Secrets. Maybe it's just me, but that's an odd outlet to be selling CD's out of. I don't know...Does Sting make you want to buy panties?

Again, not a big fan of 90's (and beyond) music, but I went ahead and added a "few" CD's to my collection for the one or two songs I knew off the below CD's. 

At this point I also got tired of spreading out CD's to take photos, so sorry for the massive stacks in the last two photos.

Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell III - The Monster is Loose*Damn Yankees (self titled)*Garbage 2.0*Van Halen Balance*U2 How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb*U2 All That You Can't Leave Behind*Roxette Crash! Boom! Bang!*R.E.M. Automatic for the People*R.E.M. Green*Michael Bolton Soul Provider*311 Transistor*Ugly Kid Joe America's Lease Wanted*Cher Believe*The Breeders Last Splash*Chubawumba Tubthumping*Coverdale Page (self titled)*The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience*Poison Flesh & Blood*Lenny Kravitz Are You Gonna Go My Way*Moby Play*The Proclaimers Sunshine on Leith*Tom Petty Wildflowers*Gorillaz Demon Days*Gorillaz G Sides

You may have noticed I left the Duran Duran album in the photo out of the list above. That's because when I got home I was treated to just the DVD in the sleeve. Lame. Gotta check that stuff before you buy!

Sadly, there really isn't much 80's music to be found to add to my collection. Mainly because I already own so much of it already. I did manage to scrape up a few CD's, and yes, I know - Not all the CD's in the stack below are from the 80's. Then again, not all the CD's noted above are from the 90's.

 The Beatles Live From the BBC*Hooters One Way Home*INXS Welcome to Wherever You Are*INXS X*Billy Joel The Stranger*Peter Gabriel So*John Fogerty Centerfield*Squeeze Singles - 45's and Under*Crowded House Temple of Low Men*Cinderella Once Upon A...*Tears For Fears The Seeds of Love*Traveling Wilburys Vol 1*Tina Turner Foreign Affair*Cinderella Night Songs*Adam Ant Manners & Physique*Adam Ant Wonderful*Big Audio Dynamite The Globe*Bee Gees One*Living Colour Time's Up*Midnight Oil Diesel and Dust*Buster Poindexter (self titled)*Howard Jones Dream Into Action

Does anyone really need a Buster Poindexter CD? Probably not, but I had to have it cause I was feeling hot, hot, hot!

*UPDATE*

Gotta be honest, I was expecting the Buster Poindexter album to be silly Vegas style show tunes ala Hot Hot Hot. Boy how surprised I was to actually have a solid album in my collection full of some great rhythm and blues tracks. Noteworthy songs which stuck out were "Are You Lonely For Me, Baby?" and "Oh Me, Oh My (I'm A Fool For You Baby) - And of course, Hot, Hot, Hot. 

I'm not a big vinyl collector, but when I saw this, I had to have it...

The Karate Kid (front)

If there's one thing I love about vinyls it's the massive "artwork" on the sleeves. They're so eye catching. Mind you, I don't just mean the fronts. Check out the back of this bad boy...

The Karate Kid (back)

Fantastic photos from the film. A full cast list. The tracks on each side as well as information on the artists. Absolutely beautiful. Much nicer in comparison to the CD version which is (somewhat) available.

Okay, okay. I went to a toy show. So where are the toys?

Don't worry. I didn't just leave with CD's and a vinyl album - Although I would have been more than happy with the day if that was all I found to take home.

If you recall from my last trip to Timmonium, one of the things I was on the lookout for was a Captain Power figure. I didn't find one then, but today was more than generous. Not only did I find one, but I found it (almost) mint on card. I also found Lord Dread (as well as a few others).

The guy selling them was literally only shy one of the original wave of six figures. Had he had them all, I would have taken them all. However, since he didn't I limited myself to just the two. He initially wanted twenty bucks a piece for them, but I talked him down to ten each. Let's be honest - Captain Power is a tough sell to most toy collectors.

Captain Power*Lord Dread

I'm honestly torn here because my main goal was to find a loose / complete Captain Power. Now that I have this really nice one on a card I'm actually hesitant to open it (them). I may just hang them from a nail on the peg loops. 

The same seller also had a Michael Jackson doll which I was interested in, but I didn't take the plunge on it. Next time...

He also had...

V: Enemy Visitor
 
This is one of those items which has always been on the back burner of my mind, but I never saw one in the wild. When I saw this one in amazing shape at a price point of only forty dollars I was all in. Much like the Captain Power figures, I don't know that I'll be able to bring myself to open this bad boy up. He looks so cool in the package!

It's a real shame LJN never released the figures and vehicles originally planned for this line. I'd wager they would be a hot commodity on secondary markets these days.

On my way out the door I stopped by the G.I. Joe seller I started my collection with last time I was at the show, and picked up a couple more figures.


Storm Shadow*B.A.T.

Joes are something I'm taking really slow. I'm in no major hurry to obtain a massive collection of them, and I really want to ensure I only get the ones I absolutely want. This is not a series I am going for broke on (literally) that I have to have them all. In fact, the more I see them, the more I am more interested in the Cobra figures and not so much the Joe team - Outside of a few key characters.

I'll add these two to the pile I got from the first show - Which honestly are still in the bags they originally came home in.

Well, that's it. Sadly I still haven't come across the 1989 Batman or Mego Buck Rogers figures I'm looking for. One day...

Until then, this is the hull for the day, and I couldn't be happier with it.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Adventures in Odyssey (Rainfall Education Toys / Chariot Victor Publishing)



Adventures in Odyssey
Rainfall Educational Toys
1996

Here's an interesting one we've come across; Adventures in Odyssey. Never heard of it? Not surprised. It's not your typical action figure based on your typical 22 minute afternoon or Saturday morning cartoon.

Adventures in Odyssey actually began a radio drama presented by the Christian group, Focus on the Family in 1987 which to date features over 800 episodes (or serials). The shows were developed for inclusion in the group's ministry as an alternative to Saturday morning cartoons. What set this show apart from most Christian themed programs was that it was not designed to be "preachy", but rather "entertaining" (as annotated from a quote by co-creator Phil Lollar).

The radio shows grew so popular that to date they air on over 6000 radio stations around the world in various languages. As of 1992 they had been released on cassette and CD collections, selling over a million copies of cassettes alone. Additionally, Chik-Fil-A has had several Adventures in Odyssey themed kids meals at their fast food locations. The point of all of this - Despite being unknown to many, this is no small license.

In 1991, a video spin-off of the radio drama was created as an animated alternative for children. This is what the iterations of figures below were based on. With a $400,000.00 budget for each episode you can certainly expect to find quality cartoons here (should you choose to hunt them down).

Unfortunately to date the series has been unsuccessful in finding a television station to air it, so the only option for viewing is the original VHS tapes or recently released DVD's which feature all seventeen episodes. You can also find clips on Youtube. It's honestly not a bad show.

But, what about those figures?

They're honestly not terrible in terms of sculpt. They certainly match their on screen counterparts. Unfortunately what makes them lackluster is their lack of any accessories. What are kids supposed to do with them once they're out of the package?

Without any accouterments, all you really have here is a handful of figures who do nothing short of standing around. I.E. There's no interaction going on here - Which makes for a rather bland and boring action figure line. We know they're going for the whole non violent theme here, but give them something.

Alright, alright - We don't want to spend this post bashing the line. This is certainly not our intent. As we said, in terms of sculpt these aren't bad figures when compared to their on screen counterparts.

Under Rainfall Educational Toys the line featured four figures; Dylan, Eugene, Sherman and Whit. When the license was transferred to Chariot Victor Publishing (as noted below), all four figures were re-released on those cards, and this time around also featured Connie (1999).

We do have to admit that the bright pink package definitely draws in your eye, and can even admit that as kids if we saw them we would be interested enough to take a closer look.

Adventures in Odyssey
Chariot Victor Publishing
1999


You're going to want to sit down for this one...

If these figures are something that interests you, you're going to first and foremost be very patient. These aren't all that common. Next, if you find a full set, be ready to spend upwards of $200.00 for them carded. Whoa! TWO-HUNDRED DOLLARS!

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Usagi Yojumbo (Antarctic Press)



Usagi Yojimbo
Antarctic Press
1998

Many people know Usagi Yojimbo for his numerous appearances in Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as the 80's TMNT cartoon - Which lead to the highly popular figure back in the day. However, Usagi is far more than just a here and there sidekick / ally to the Turtles. In fact, his real name isn't even Usagi Yojimbo. It's Myamoto Usagi.

Usagi began his comic book history in 1984 when creator Stan Sakai who conceived the character as a supporting role in The Adventures of Nilson Groundthumper and Hermy. However, as Sakai developed the character, he also created a world where he felt readers would be drawn into. Though he appeared in a few books here and there, it wouldn't be until 1987 that Usagi Yojimbo appeared in his own comic book title which is still being published today.

What has helped Usagi to become so popular is his inclusion in multiple crossover titles. This is made possible by Sakai who is the sole rights owner of the character. As such, he can determine when and where his character makes an appearance without having to first wade through the typical legal red tape which would accompany a corporate owned entity.

It's no doubt his appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made Usagi Yojimbo a household name among kids of the 80's, but it's only fair to say this is definitely not a one and done character. As we said above, he's by no means only a sidekick.

By 1998 Antarctic Press were struggling to find a foothold in the action figure market. They had released a few obscure lines since 1996, but had yet to produce that one item which would put them on the map. One of their last attempts was the very small, very short lived Usagi Yojimbo line.

The series is technically a one shot, with only Usagi being produced. However, it does contain some variants / exclusives. The mass market figure was produced on an orange card while the exclusives were produced on blue ones making them easily distinguishable.

If you're looking for a plastic version of Usagi Yojimbo which is spot on to his comic book iteration, then look no further. This figure captures all those details in magnificent detail with just the right amount of articulation. For added fun, the figure even comes packaged with a Tokage - Which for those of you who don't know, this is simply a dinosaur like creature which roams freely around the world of Usagi.

Fun fact: Tokage creatures have even appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Dark Horse Variant (Limited to 500)*Platinum Edition (Limited to 2,000)

Unfortunately for Antarctic Press, 1998 was the last year for them. It seems they were unable to really make make an impact in the world of action figures, and like so many before (and after) them found themselves going out of business.

What makes this all the more unfortunate is the fact that these days the Usagi Yojimbo figure is not only scarce, but also rather expensive on secondary markets. The variants will set you back anywhere from $40.00 to $60.00 a piece. The orange carded figure will set you back anywhere from $20.00 to $40.00. Not a bad profit for a line nobody wanted when it was originally released.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Star Wars Battlefront II Review



Happy Thanksgiving The Toy Box readers.

I wanted to use today to post something I normally wouldn't do here - A game review of the recent Star Wars Battlefront II.

Okay, so we all know about all the negative press the game has been getting, or maybe you don't, at which point now you (somewhat) do. I'll talk a little about that in my overall review, but for the start I want to focus on the single player campaign.

Warning, there are spoilers ahead.

Starting now...

The game is advertised as being a focal point on the Imperial side of things. In fact, the advertisement even states, "Ignite the inferno and burn the Rebellion to the ground in Star Wars Battlefront 2's single player campaign. Take on the role of Commander Iden Versio in a story following the destruction of the Death Star II and the death of the Emperor."

Sounds like fun, no?

No...Sadly you are part of the Imperials for all of two or three missions when you suddenly switch sides to the Rebellion. Like flipping on a light switch, Iden does a complete 180 along the side of one of her squad mates. Now you're full on Rebel, blasting away at all the Imperials.

It doesn't help that this four hour long campaign rushes from point "A" to point "B" leaving little to no character development. When the game first starts you get the impression that Iden is an Imperial loyalist to her very core. So it turns out to be more so awkward, and down right disappointing, when she suddenly shifts sides. There is also no tension built up between her and the squad mates she turns her back on leaving little to no reason why she would also suddenly go on a killing spree of the Imperials. It would have made more sense for her to try and go into hiding, and the story focus on the faltered Imperials chasing after her for revenge - After all it is her flesh and blood father who she betrays when going AWOL.

Personally I think the story would have been better suited as an opportunity to show how the First Order came to be. See, in the game the Empire is grasping at straws, and trying to regroup against the Rebels who just destroyed the second Death Star. This is all great groundwork, and would be the perfect setting for Iden to decide she no longer can follow her father based on the disagreement of his orders. Instead of running for the Rebel Alliance, she instead uses her squad to rally other straggling Imperials behind her. This then leads to a Civil War of sorts between the remaining Imperial ranks where Iden comes out on top, and essentially reforms the Galactic Empire into the First Order.

I made that story up in the span of two seconds. Whereas EA had a year to develop their cliche predictable mess. But hey, what do I know, right?

At the end of the day, the campaign becomes more so a four hour tutorial for playing online, and even goes as far as to reward you fairly well in terms of credits and crafting parts which you can carry to your online game - Only backing up my point that it is nothing more than a tutorial.

The game also falters by taking you out of the perspective of Iden, and putting you in the roles of Luke, Leia, Han and Lando. If the game is supposed to be about Iden, then let it be about Iden. This only serves to hurt the story further because it shows EA really didn't have a story in mind for this character. Thus why they took the easy road of, "Just make her switch sides."

By the end of the game, I was actually really bored of it, and this is where things got worse with the story. Iden fights her way to the exterior of he father's Star Destroyer where you get the impression of, "Oh, she is going to kill him." Yeah, not so much. She then says randomly how she has to save her father. She attempts to achieve this by crash landing on the exterior of the airborne Destroyer, blasts her way through every Imperial troop - Who for some reason are outside of the ship as well - Only to have a sixty second conversation with her father that litterally went like this;

IDEN: Dad, come with me.

DAD: Nah. I'm good.

IDEN: Okay, bye.

She then runs to an escape pod, and leaves - All of which is just a cut scene. If this weren't bad enough, suddenly her and her one defector friend embrace, kissing deeply when he finds her escape pod. What? They were in love? There was not one single ounce of love story hinted in the entire game until the awkward ending.

Well, I shouldn't say ending because the game has an epilogue which is essentially sequel bait.

So, okay, you finish the single player campaign. You find all the hidden items...Which the game doesn't even bother to tell you what they are, and this results in rewards for online play.

I can't complain about this aspect because quite honestly the loot and crafting materials you get make it worth while to dredge through the shoddy story.

That is however until you actually get online.

Progress is painfully slow, and only made slower if you are bad at online shooters as rewards are dished out based on achievements - AKA kills. On average I get around ten to twenty kills per game which equates to very minimal progress in terms of experience points. This averages out to about 3,000 XP per game, in a game where I need 80K+ to level up.

This is made even more painful by the fact that EA drops you into whatever game it feels like. This means you most likely will end up on unbalanced teams where one of two things will happen. You will either mow over the opposite team in a landslide victory, or sadly be the receiver of said mowing. As I've said before to people I play with online, you either end up on the team of Idiot Savants, or just Idiots.

To put it bluntly - Playing online isn't fun when you make little to no progress, and each game seems more so like your only purpose is be fodder for the other team.

This could have been helped by buying loot crates which provide you with better gear, and sometimes weapons.Unfortunately this too goes back to reward for progress. See, the amount of credits you earn is also based on how well you play. So, when crates cost anywhere from 2,400 to 4,000 for one crate, and you earn (like me) an average of 150 to 300 credits per game, progress is once again halted.

This leads me to my next gripe with the game. The removal of micro transactions.

I don't mind them. I'm an instant gratification kind of guy, and personally my time is more valuable to me than a few bucks here and there for in game transactions.

In fact, in games I really want to play, but I'm not good at I actually look forward to buying them. This would definitely have been one of those games where I could see myself dumping a fair amount of real world money into online loot crates if for no other reason than to make some form of progress through the Star Cards you find in said crates. This way I could least stand half a chance of surviving.

Loot crates were unfortunately removed from the game on the day of launch when the online gaming community erupted in protest against EA for having the nerve to offer loot crates which provided an advantage to people who they deemed could pay to win.

For those of you not familiar with the term, pay to win, this is what gamers call a scenario where those with more money than them can essentially buy their way to winning the game by affording things such as loot crates which give them upgrades to better their characters at low levels (or in general). The backlash was so vast that for whatever reason people keep speculating about, EA pulled the ability for in game micro transactions.

The loot crate system is still in place. You just can't spend real world money to get them - Only in game currency - Which again takes forever to get for people with my skill level.

So essentially I have a game that I want to spend real world money on, but can't because people complained so much the option is gone. People call this a victory, but again fail to see that someone else loses when they claim to win.

Now add on top of this servers that just flat out suck, and problems only get worse. I literally have sessions where I rubber band all over the screen to the point I can't even play, and just shut the game off. EA makes millions of dollars in sales of their games, but can't afford good servers for people to play them on? Makes no sense.

Overall Battlefront II still may very well be as bad as the first installment. In its attempt to make strides to better the complaints from the last entry, EA has somehow managed to make other aspects of this new installment worse.

While the first game had no campaign, the second game's campaign is really bad. In the first game you could buy new weapons with credits. In the second one you have to earn them by achieving kills with the terrible weapons they give you to start with. If you get minimal kills each game, once again you face slow progression. In fact all of the games problems seem to center on an overall lack of progression. It takes forever to level up. It takes forever to get credits. It takes forever to get star cards. It takes forever to get weapons. It just takes too long to play Battlefront II.

As a Star Wars fan, this simply isn't a game I'm prepared to invest 100's of hours in playing. There are other things I want to do with my time...Like complain.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

The Dirty Pair (Dark Horse Comics)



The Dirty Pair
Dark Horse Comics
2002

"The Lovely Angels" - Kei and Yuri are the leading duo in The Dirty Pair. Though the characters were created by Haruka Takachiho, the figures we see today are based on the Dark Horse Comics versions which were adapted from Takachiho's work by Adam Warren when Dark Horse acquired the rights to release comics in the USA based on the characters. Since then, the Pair have been featured in numerous US released mini series, one shots and shorts.

Despite being a limited run of figures, Dark Horse's plastic renditions don't skimp when it comes to the detail, articulation, and in general the great design of everything form the package to the toy. These figures are fairly spot on to their inked versions, and each figure features eleven or more points of articulation.

In addition to the figures, Dark Horse released a few more items based on the characters. One such item was the below ten inch statue. Though we're not big fans of inarticulate "toys", we can definitely see the draw that this particular item would have to fans of the series. It's a pretty cool piece of "art".

10 Inch Statue

As we mentioned, Dark Horse also produced other items based on Kei and Yuri; a pair of shot glasses, and a pair of t-shirts. These items were all advertised on the back of the carded figure packaging - In addition to a handful of graphic novels featuring the two.

Much like a lot of obscure toy lines we've talked about here in the past, The Dirty Pair figures and statue don't sell for too much these days on secondary markets. However, this may be because most sellers are asking far more than people are willing to pay. At $30.00 per figure (mint on card), most buyers with any interest are passing. On occasion a figure will sell for about $20.00, but this is definitely not often. However, the typical price buyers seem willing to pay for these are $8.00 to $10.00.

The statue seems to fair a little better - Though it is definitely rarer than the figures. We've seen sealed ones priced around $80.00 (with no buyers), and opened ones sell for around $20.00.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Jimmy Page (NECA)



Jimmy Page
NECA
2006

Today we're going to talk about a figure based on a little known guitarist. You may have heard of him - Jimmy Page. He was the strings behind such great bands such as The Yardbirds, The Firm and Led Zeppelin. Of course if we had to explain any of that to you, then you probably have no clue who Jimmy Page is in general. Most people, even those who aren't fans of his work, still know the name.

The figure which NECA showcased page in his infamous Black Dragon suit, hoisting up a double neck guitar. The figure also includes a set of amps with Page's nonsensical "Zoso" symbol - Which to date the guitarist has never said what it means to him.

Editor's Note: Zoso was originally used as a magickal sigil by Cardano to represent Saturn. He first used this in 1557, and the version used by Page is slightly altered from the original design. As such, Page's Zoso is considered by many to be an adapted occult sign.

The figure essentially is what it is - Jimmy Page memorialized in plastic form ala NECA. As we've said before regarding toys such as this, there is a strict niche audience looking for these.

Unfortunately, said niche audience is going to pay quite a bit for it if they want to obtain one these days. The figure can sell for anywhere from $70.00 to $140.00 mint in the package. We're not sure why there is such a large margin of price point between high and low values as the figure isn't too uncommon by any means. We've even seen one sell for $200.00.

Whatever it is that keeps fans paying prices all over the map, there is one thing for sure - Get yours while you can if it's a figure you're interested in.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Germs (Worlds of Wonder)



Germs
Worlds of Wonder
1988

Worlds of Wonder aren't known for much these days, but back in the 80's they were the group behind the highly popular Lazer Tag and Teddy Ruxpin. Unfortunately that seemed to be their only popular items. Though the company released other toys here and there, none seemed to grab the foothold in toy isles that their laser guns and talking bear did.


Germs were released in 1988, on the tail end of the company's production of Lazer Tag. Though it was a fairly unique and cool concept, at the end of the day, these little guys were nothing short of colorful rubber toys that had no cartoon or comic book support. Additionally, they didn't have any action features. Short of displaying them there wasn't much to do with them, and what kid wanted to do that?


In total, twelve Germs were produced; Ahahchoosiosus (a sneeze), Winkyblinkyigoopiola (eyeball goo), Huppahickasillia (a hiccup), Gidgygidgyitus (a giggle), Oochiachitickleorum (an itch), Grumblerumbleosus (a tummy ache), Innyoutyitis (bellybutton lint), Hackahackasilliae (a cough), Bubblebuppilitus (a burp), Muggywympiosus (smelly feet) and Sweatystinkiosus (body odor). Wow...Even as adults we can't pronounce half of those names.


Each figure came packed in a blister card inside of its own test tube. The only other item included was a fold out lab report which went into over the top details of the germs lifestyle and habits.

Admittedly, these days it is rather cool to display these in a test tube holder on a shelf. So, you know, if you're a collector of unique toys don't rule that option out.


Germs aren't too common on secondary markets, but you can put a set together over time with persistence. Carded ones will run you about $20.00 to $45.00 a piece, and loose ones sell for around $10.00 to $15.00 dollars a piece (with or without the lab report). We have seen a few full (loose) sets sell here and there for around $100.00 to $150.00. However, most sellers typically ask around $200.00 to $300.00 before being talked down in price. To date we have not found a seller with a complete carded set.

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Fifth of November



Remember remember!
The fifth of November,
the Mountain Beanie seizing and plot
I know of no reason
Why the Mountain Beanie seizing
Should ever be forgot!

 
Harold Mountain and his ex companion
Did the case involve
To divide up their Beanies,
Judge Hardcastle had to solve.
In the courtroom a pile,
Did lay on the floor
While each partner took it in turn,
Picking the one they adore
Maple Bear was the first
To be swooped up by the wife
A three digit value in the year of 99
Now not even worth retail price.
Holloa, boys! Holloa, boys! Take your Beanies from this place!
Holloa, boys! Holloa, boys, your family is disgraced!
Hip, hip, hoor-r-r-ray!

A poem by The Toy Box
Inspired by a true story, and The Fifth of November.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Monsters + Mutants (Playmates Toys)



Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Monsters + Mutants
Playmates Toys
2017

These days things seem to have shifted drastically for the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. What was once an abundance of merchandise hitting store shelves on regular intervals has turned into a re-occurrence of peg warmers, scarce new figures, or worse, empty shelves all together. With the announcement the animated series would be coming to an end in 2017, this is honestly not shocking to see happening at all. It seems the line may have run its course, and these days Playmates Toys is more so keen on offloading old stock (or repainting it) as opposed to packing enough supply of new figures to meet demand.

A perfect example of this is Muckman. For over a year he was one of the most highly anticipated figures in the line. Upon his release, many collectors didn't even know he was out until it was too late. As one of only three new figures packed in with wave 19, and at only one per case, he was gone before most people even knew to look for him. The end result is the only figure in the new TMNT series to garner a stable secondary value of over one hundred dollars.


With scarce product to be found, I was actually quite surprised to see Walmart (of all places) had stocked the all new Monsters + Mutants series. Granted there was only one set to be found in the entire store, and this too was among a bunch of peg warmers.

Most of these are definitely among some of my personal favorites from the series as a whole. They're unique, colorful, and most importantly, they're fun. They have unique accessories (though admittedly I have no clue why a vampire Raphael would come with a stake), and the look and feel takes you back to those classic monster movie pics from the black and white era of film. What's not to love here?



 
Okay, fine...The actual monster hunters aren't all that inspiring. Leonardo and Raphael in trench coats? Yawn. On any given day these could easily be passed off as the classic cartoon turtles in disguise. Simply add a mock human face mask.

Furthermore, why another (half) set of the turtles? Couldn't these two have been better served as other characters? Perhaps Casey Jones or April O'Neil? This would have at least fleshed the (sub)line out a little more.

Sigh...Fanboys...We're never happy.



Though they're difficult to find in stores right now, eBay shows they are a little more readily available than the aforementioned Muckman. Perhaps as the holiday season ramps up we'll not only see more of these on store shelves, but perhaps, or should I say hopefully, more Muckman's for everyone to get their hands on.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

World's Greatest Super Heroes: The Mad Monster Series (Mego / Krege / Lion Rock)



World's Greatest Super Heroes: The Mad Monster Series
Mego / Krege / Lion Rock
1973 - 1980

Happy Halloween (one day early), everyone!

This post has taken us years to compile. It's been so long in the making that we were beginning to think it would never come to light. Mego's World's Greatest Super Heroes: The Mad Monster Series is so incredibly difficult to track down. Boxed and blister carded versions of the figures are so rare, and yet there are so many different variations. You would think at some point it would be easy to get your hands on at least one of the versions. Apparently not so much.

What is it with monster related series that make them so hard to track down? Looking at you, Remco Universal Studios Monsters.

The Mad Monster Series began in 1973 with the release of what has become known as "Solid Box". The four characters released were; The Dreadful Dracula, The Monster Frankenstein, The Horrible Mummy and The Human Werewolf. These would be the only four figures produced, and they would be re-released in multiple packaging styles up until 1980.

The Dreadful Dracula
Mego Solid Box*Mego / Krege Blister Card

During its first run, Mego made a change to the production of both Frankenstein and Dracula. Frankenstein was retooled with blue hair, and Dracula received bright red hair. Though it is unknown for certain why this change was made, many collectors speculate it was due to the original sculpts to closely resembling the characters from Universal Studios. Fearing some form of repercussions the changes were made, and the production continued until resculpted versions were completed. Again, this is all just speculation among the collecting community.

 The Dreadful Dracula
Mego Window Box*Mego / Toys R' Us Exclusive Lion Rock Blister Card

Mego produced the figures at some point between 1974 and 1975 for the first blister carded versions - AKA Krege cards. SS Krege was one of the largest retail organizations which later formed into a little known company that you may have heard of - Kmart Corporation which then evolved into Sears Holding Corporation.

Though many sources profess that the Krege carded versions are one of the more difficult versions to find, we can assure, they are all difficult to find.

The Monster Frankenstein
Mego Solid Box*Mego / Krege Blister Card

Mego briefly re-released the Mad Monsters in window boxes, and like the aforementioned Krege cards, many collectors profess that these are difficult versions to obtain. We regress back to our prior statement on the matter - They're all difficult to find.

The Monster Frankenstein
Mego Window Box*Mego / Toys R' Us Exclusive Lion Rock Blister Card



 The Horrible Mummy
Mego Solid Box*Mego / Krege Blister Card

In 1980, Lion Rock released a second version of the blister cards as Toys R' Us exclusives. Though the figures weren't all that popular during their initial release, they have since become highly sought after by collectors who claim...Yes, you guessed it...These are incredibly hard to find.

We're not making this up. According to Mego Museum, the profess that each one of these sets are difficult to find / complete. Why don't they just say that every single one of them is an almost futile attempt?

 The Horrible Mummy
Mego Window Box*Mego / Toys R' Us Exclusive Lion Rock Blister Card

The Human Werewolf
Mego Solid Box*Mego / Krege Blister Card

If The Mad Monster Series is the challenge you've been looking for, be ready to drop a lot of cash. You're going to spend about $200.00 a piece for the solid box versions, and anywhere from $600.00 to $1,000.00 for each other version. Let's do some quick math here...That's about $8,000.00 on the low end, and about $12,800.00 on the high end.

The Human Werewolf
Mego Window Box*Mego / Toys R' Us Exclusive Lion Rock Blister Card

Now, mind you, that price noted above is just for the figures. If you really want to complete the set, you're going to have to also track down the incredibly rare Mad Monster Castle. That's going to cost you another $600.00 to $700.00.

Mad Monster Castle

For those looking to scratch that nostalgic itch at a fraction of the cost, you may want to consider the 2012 Classic TV Toys versions. These reproduced figures (and the playset) are far more common, and will only set you back around $25.00 to $35.00 for each of them, and about $70.00 for the playset. Yes, we know, it's not the same thing, but it may be your only option if you don't want to take a second mortgage out on your home.

Mego's Mad Monster Series is definitely an amazing set of figures from a time of classic toys. It's just not very obtainable by the majority of people interested in it.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Gomez (Mezco)



Gomez
Mezco
(2008)

Any of you recognize Gomez? There's a hint right in the photo.

Give up, or guessed it?

Gomez was (or may very well still be) the official mascot for Mezco around 2008. This particular action figure was released only at San Diego Comic Con in 2008, and was limited to just 500 pieces. If that wasn't limited enough for you, out of those 500 pieces, the figure also came in four different variations. Gomez could be found with either a black or tan head, and either a turtleneck / leather coat or black suit and tie.

Mezco came up with a fairly unique (and somewhat corny) concept for the figure which is detailed on the back of the package. We'll help spare your eyes squinting at the small text. It reads;

"The mysterious syndicate known only as The Void operates within a level of secrecy so obscure the world at large is unaware of its existence.

The Voids operations sway the balance of the world as we know it. The Voids vast range of intelligence is felt from the fall of governments to why socks are missing from the laundry.

The Void utilizes the skills of a sole agent, Gomez.

His instructions are received by a combination of subliminal messages broadcast on his boombox combined with black martinis known as the "Cocktail Exchange". The Cocktail Exchange is only receivable by the antennas of Gomez.

Gomez, doer of missions, mover of information and eliminator of obstacles.
"

The figure itself features multiple points of articulation from the antenna at the top all the way down to its feet. Mezco certainly didn't skimp when it came to this aspect. Pretty much every piece of his body moves in some form or fashion. The overall quality is certainly there.

As for the sculpt, it's rather unique and fun. Fans of roaches / bugs and James Bond will definitely see the appeal here.

Of course any good figure has good accessories, and Gomez has quite a few. The best aspect (for us) is the 1950's style alien blaster, which is made all the more a top choice by its weathered paint job. The figure also comes with a boombox (also weathered in the same vain as the blaster) and sword. The last, and really fun accessory is his martini glass filled with Cocktail Exchange. All the accessories fit nicely in the figure's hands, and as an added bonus, Mezco even threw in two additional sculpts for hands so that you can change them out.

The clothing is so far above standards that other companies producing nine inch figures should take notice. From the pleather jacket to the tailored suit, sweater and pant, everything works and looks great. The details are so fine that even the belt has a working metal buckle. The only complaint we have is that the shoes themselves are sculpted to the body. If you're going to go to such detail to get the clothing just right, down to a working metal buckle, then sculpt a pair of shoes too.

As for the packaging, we love it. Not only does it stand out from your typical white box that SDCC exclusives normally come in, but it's completely collector friendly. It opens at the top, and the figure / accessories all slide out neatly in place on their plastic tray. This not only makes for salvageable packing, but fantastic presentation.

When it was released, the figure was priced at $40.00 each. Sadly, unlike most SDCC exclusives which explode in price, Gomez didn't fair so well on secondary markets. These days you can find any of the four variations priced between $20.00 and $50.00 each. However, even at these prices the figures remains unsold.

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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.