Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Round Robin Challenge : Kids @ Play!



I've kind of been away from the whole United Blogger Front of Toy Collecting Enthusiasts From Around the Globe of Planet Earth (yup, that's that the new official title by the way), but this week's challenge intrigued me enough to jump back in.

2 Minute Toy Break brings us a challenge called Kids @ Play! It essentially asks the question of, "How did you play with your toys?"

I played with my toys alone. There was no room in my imagination for a third party to step in and impose his or her own thoughts and ideas into my interactive mind. I simply wouldn't have it. I saved my outside playtime for friends, and my inside playtime was reserved for myself.

I was fortunate as a kid to have a lot of toys. I don't really remember a time where I only had one or two items from a series as my mom was always very generous when it came to birthdays and Christmas. My typical haul of toys would consist anywhere from ten to twenty action figures, as well as playsets and vehicles. I had boxes (and action figure cases) full of Star Wars, He-Man, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, Captain Power, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a regular staple in my toy diet, and I played with them all in very different ways.

STAR WARS

These were the first action figures I had as a child. My play sessions with these often times involved reenacting the movies from a galaxy far, far away. For this, I enlisted my father's video and audio equipment - Which he really didn't appreciate.

I was also a strict organizer when it came to putting them away. I had numerous Darth Vader and C-3PO carry cases that were all meticulously labeled with the included stickers showing the character's name. For sticker I didn't have, labeled masking tape became crucial for organizing them.

G.I. JOE

I don't honestly remember if G.I. Joe or He-Man came first in my toy collection, but I do know that I had way more Joes than He-Man. I was a steady "collector" from around 1984 / 1985 through around 1993 / 1994. I had boxes and boxes of figures, vehicles and playsets - No, I wasn't one of those kids that had the carrier or shuttle playsets. My parent's drew the line at those.

I played with my Joe's in episodic adventures - Much like the show. Every time I got a new figure, that character became the center of the story, and showcased how they came to be a member of their respective team.

As I got older, my play style shifted with the figures. I didn't incorporate the vehicles or playsets into the mix, but instead made two piles - Good guys, and bad guys. I would then grab a random figure from each pile, and role two dice - One for the good guy, and one for the bad guy. The highest dice won, and that figure stayed in the fray for round two, and on until they were eliminated. The loser was put aside in the "you are dead" pile. I would keep rolling until one of the piles was gone. The obvious victor was the pile of remaining figures which could be anywhere from one to ten figures by the time I was done.

HE-MAN

I honestly only had a couple dozen He-Man figures in my collection. While I loved playing with them, as I said above, I had way more Joes. They were cheaper, and obviously in more abundance with how many were released each year. It wasn't until a very short lived trade with another kid that I accumulated a ton of them, and it was that play session that I remember the most.

I set up every figure, and acted out a massive Eternia battle. I don't really remember the "story" I concocted in my head, but I do know that Ram Man and Man-At-Arms played a big role in the whole thing.

Of course, that night my mother got a phone call from the other kid's mom who was all ticked off that he traded a duffel bag full of He-Man figures for a handful of Captain Power figures / vehicles and video tapes. Long story short, by the next morning the trade had been nullified by the United Parents Association.

Oh well. As I grew older, and started earning my own wages I bought my own entire collection of the vintage He-Man line. So, I get the last laugh.

THUNDERCATS

Much like He-Man, my Thundercats collection didn't grow very fast or far. I had about ten to twelve in total, and only the Thundertank as a vehicle. Beyond that, not much more. Thundercats were mainly a grandparents gift I received one year, so I really never expanded beyond that.

I recall having a blast with the light up features of Lion-O and Mumra for a couple days, but beyond that really didn't play with them.

CAPTAIN POWER

I don't recall how I got into Captain Power, but I do know that I had both of the ships, a handful of figures, and all of the video tapes.

I played with Captain Power like anyone else would who played alone - I fired the ships at the interactive episodes. I eventually got smart, and cheated my way through by covering the hit detection sensor, so I never took any damage on my end.

Captain Power really wasn't all that enthralling for me in the long run, and as noted above were utilized for a short lived trade that was way in my favor.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

TMNT was probably the last line I really collected before shifting from toys to Nintendo (and video games in general). When I was first introduced to the turtles, it was via my mom coming home from the store, and laying down the entire first series in front of my brother and I. She then had us take turns picking one each until they were divided up. Fortunately for me, my brother really didn't play with toys as a kid (he was more so into his bike), so I eventually ended up with all of them.

I honestly don't remember playing with the Turtles all that much. Instead, I opted to start drawing them. This lead to a very long love affection with the original Mirage Comics stories, and a focused carer on becoming an artist for the company. Sadly, just as I graduated high school, and was putting a portfolio together, the company fizzled out, and the TMNT comics discontinued.

HONORABLE MENTION

Like I said above, my brother wasn't really into playing with toys. However, there was one game we played a lot when it came down to playing together. Like many kids, we had an abundance of marbles, and even more army men (the green and beige ones).

We would lay on our stomachs on opposite ends in the hallway, and set our respective teams up. Then we would rotate turns flicking marbles at each other's men to simulate gunfire. The obvious winning factor was to the be the team left standing.

Out of all of my toys, that was probably the most fun I had as a kid. Probably because it was that rare occasion that my brother and I actually played together.

Well, there you have it. How I spent my days as a child with toys.

Other people played with toys to, and not surprisingly alone. I think most kids enjoyed their toys solo. To hear their stories, head to;

Alexis Universe
2 Minute Toy Break
Green Plastic Squirt Gun
Mr. Smith's Plastic Bubble

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Killer Klowns From Outer Space (Amok Time)



Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Amok Time
2013

Amok Time gets the Official Seal of Awesomeness for their 2013 renditions of Shorty and Tiny from the 1988 cult classic, Killer Klowns From Outer Space. While this wasn't the first time these characters have received a plastic rendering, it was certainly one of the more accurate to their actual movie counterparts (in terms of sculpt and paint job).

The movie starred...Well, nobody really. John Vernon is really the only person most people will recognize, and even then they won't know him by name. The film is your typical "B" movie horror flick. It has corny dialog, cheesy special effects, and a cast that (mostly) went on to do very little, never seeming to break out in Hollywood.

So what makes the film so great? Well...It's one of those so bad it's good movies. You know the kind. The ones that you'd never sit through alone, but yet when you're with your buddies, possibly a case of beer, and a night of doing nothing, it turns out to be great.


The movie actually had sixteen different clown klowns in it, so it's rather disappointing that only two got produced. This of course was most likely due to poor sales at best. Let's face it, we don't know to many fans of the film in general - Let alone ones that collect action figures. It probably didn't help that Amok Times went out of business in 2014.





Honorable Mention

Now Playing Presents
State Of The Art Toys
2004

State of the Art Toys gets an honorable mention for being the first company to produce figures based on the movie. Much like Amok Time, only two figures got produced. Because none of the klown characters were given  names officially on screen, these figures were only entitled "Klown".



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Monday, January 23, 2017

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Die Cast (Kenner)



Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Die Cast
Kenner
1980 - 1983

Oh, why not? Let's pick up where we left off last week with the 1978 - 1980 Star Wars die cast vehicles...

After finding success in the toy isle with their aforementioned metal vehicles, Kenner continue into The Empire Strikes Back line with them. However, in doing so they mainly just re-released everything under the new film's banner, with a handful of new vehicles that followed.

The only new items to materialize were the bubble carded Snowspeeder, Slave I, Twin-Pod Cloud Car and larger boxed TIE Bomber. It's key to note that while the Imperial Cruiser was re-released, the name was changed to reflect it's proper name, Star Destroyer.




What's fun about these particular items (both the original Star Wars series and these all new The Empire Strikes Back releases) is that they can be incorporated into the vintage Micro-Collection. Granted there is still a scaling issue, but they still fit nicely when compared side by side.



Like the original series, these are far from common items to find on secondary markets. The smaller carded bubble vehicles are slightly easier to find than the larger boxed ones, but don't let that excite you. In general they are all fairly difficult to track down.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Star Wars Die Cast (Kenner)



Star Wars Die Cast
Kenner
1978 - 1980

We admittedly have never been big fans of die cast vehicles, but that's not to say that they don't have their charm. Die cast certainly have their appeal to many collectors, and with ranges from land vehicles to space ones (not to mention everything in between), it's not difficult to see why.

Though they obviously don't coincide with the scale of Kenner's vintage 3 3/4 inch line, the below die cast items were just as much a part of the series as the 12 inch dolls. Back in the early days of Star Wars toys, Kenner was just looking to produce something that would appeal to a wide variety of children, so while the 3/34 inch line became the obvious most preferred, it wasn't necessarily Kenner's main focus at first. Let's face it - Nobody was really prepared for the phenomenon that Star Wars became.


Kenner produced two different styles of vehciles - The smaller bubble carded ones, and the larger boxed ones. While it was nice to get the variety of sizes, obviously there is still a scaling issue from vehicle to vehicle. Can you imagine if the Millennium Falcon was as large as a Star Destroyer (or Imperial Cruiser as it was called in this line)?

The biggest problem with this particular series is the high value that most sellers put on them. Asking prices range as high as $500.00 to $750.00 for each vehicle. The reality of this is that most buyers are willing to pay only $65.00 to $300.00 depending on which vehicle it is, and in what condition. Yeah, sure, that's still a high dollar amount for one die cast vehicle, but it's a far cry from $700.00!

It's key to note that these are few and far between on secondary markets. They're not as common as your typical Kenner Star Wars action figure - Especially not in the package. This aspect could be playing a crucial role in why so many sellers thinks they should be asking for such high prices.


Regardless of the reasoning, this is definitely one tough set to put together. However, with that said, time and patience will be your biggest reward if you're up to the challenge of the hunt.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

The Martian Chronicles (Larami)



The Martian Chronicles
Larami
1974

Ray Bradbury has written a couple of novels during his time, so you may have heard of him before in the sci-fi community. One such novel was The Martian Chronicles which featured a series of short stories which tied together via interstitial vignettes. The novel was first published in 1950, but wasn't actually all new material. The stories themselves had originally been published in various magazines throughout the 1940's.

In 1974, Larami obtained the rights to produce figures. Unfortunately for fans, they only developed and released three alien figures - Each eight inch figure featured the same body sculpt, but a different head (mask), and different color robe.


The figures are actually based on the renditions as seen in the six hour television event by Charles Fries Productions. Reviews for the "show" were mixed at best, which is still considerably better than the popularity of the figures which seemed non existent.

However, it's because of this lack of popularity during the 70's that these days the figures will set you back considerably if you want them. Carded figures sell between $130.00 and $250.00! Mind you, that's if you can find them. They are incredibly rare - Only contributing more so to their high demand prices.

If you do plan on hunting these down, it's probably not going to be something you'll find overnight - Unless the stars are just perfectly aligned that night. Even as we type this there was only one carded orange robe figure we found, and one loose pink robe figure. They are out there -They're just not in abundance.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Round Robin Challenge: Fire All Over, Fire All Over!



Today's Round Robin Challenge comes from 2 Minute Toy Break. It's the question that nobody wants to ever have to answer - Be it a home owner, or renter. A fire breaks out in your home, and you have 60 seconds to save something. What is it going to be?

Yikes. I don't even want to think about that. What a horrendous question to ask someone.

Well, I'll play along anyway. After all, it's all in good fun, and more so for a way for us all to show off that one collectible that is so important to us that we'd risk running back into a burning home to get.

Okay, obviously I have to go back for this...


Not that I necessarily want it, but I'd never hear the end of it if I didn't.

But, with the last 30 seconds of time I have, I suppose I could find something to pick out. The question is, when you have a giant mess like this...






What do you go back for?

Surprisingly, the answer is really simply for me. There's a collectible that I've been actively obtaining since I was as young as one years old. Granted, I didn't know it at the time, and wouldn't until the early 1990's. That would be my Star Wars home video collection.

It all started back in 1977 with the original Ken Films Super 8 reels (I still have these by the way) which my dad was buying for the family...Okay, more so for himself. Even at the ripe old age of barely zero, I fell in love with it. When the first Video Rental Library format was released in 1982, my dad used his connections in the government to have one shipped overseas to us, where it remained with me to this day.

Ever since then, if it was a version of Star Wars released on a video format in the US, I picked it up. Okay, more so I asked for my parents to do so...And still do to these days.

It was around the mid 90's that I started to branch out, and that's when I started tracking down the UK and Australian PAL versions. Soon after that I dabbled in Japanese versions, but didn't get very far before it dawned on me that my nice complete collection of Star Wars films was now out of control. Since then, I've tapered off, and gone back to strictly focusing on US releases - Which is much cheaper since I'm just buying current releases at this point.

I'd love to show off my entire collection, but sadly, the majority of what I have is packed up at the moment because I'm in the process of moving. However, if a fire broke out, I would definitely have to go back for my (incredibly heavy) boxes of Star Wars videos - All five of them. Could turn out that I need my own Vader suit after that what with the fire and all.

Don't stop reading there. Make sure you check out everyone else who contributed to this round of Round Robin.

The host of course started it all with his fantastic Secret Wars collection.
Mr. Smith gives himself an advantage with an Ikea bag to help nab up some things.
Brother Midnight is keeping it simple by grabbing his giant sized Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Alexis is going on a self owned shopping spree with a Walmart bag to get what she can.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Bob & Doug McKenzie (McFarlane Toys)



Bob & Doug McKenzie
McFarlane Toys
2000

You like action figures, eh? You like beer, eh? You like SCTV, eh? What about Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, eh? Tired of reading the word eh.....eh?

Bob and Doug McKenzie were the fictional hosts of Great White North - A skit seen on SCTV. Bob (Rick Moranis) and Doug (Dave Thomas) often times spoke about Canadian life and culture, frequently referring to each other as hosers in the process.

The success of the sketch led to a full length movie in 1983, and it is the film that these figures from 2000 are based on. While it's no doubt that McFarlane Toys brought their usual "A" game to the series, it's the accessories that really stand out. Each package is stuffed to the brim with them!

Beer bottles, beer cases, packages and lawn chairs - Each one is meticulously designed to compliment the figure perfectly. They alone are worth grabbing these figures if you wanted to incorporate them into another line of figures.


These days they're not difficult to track down, and at as little as $10.00 a piece (sometimes), they're not bank breaking at all. At most, we've seen them sell for $15.00 to $20.00 each, which still isn't all that bad. 

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