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I like toys. I'm secure in my maturity (or lack thereof). And toys were meant to played with. So, yes, I open rare and exclusive items, and mess with them, "Toy Story" style. Hard-core toy collectors should probably not read this blog.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Star Wars: Can't beat the rap ...

I suspect this is the first of a few Mighty Muggs posts.

If you're not familiar with the little (mostly) vinyl U.S. cash-in for this collectable craze, Mighty Muggs are a line of toys from Hasbro, and have several lines including Star Wars, Marvel comic books, and Indiana Jones, with G.I.Joe and Transformers on their way.

These things are wicked detailed, solid, and the quality control tends to be a little higher than some of the other Hasbro offerings.

This particular gag came about when an errant NERF® bullet at work ended up behind Han and Chewbacca. That, and though Chewie allegedly hangs with Han because of a blood debt duty (ahem, or some such thing), I always suspected the elder Wookie actually wants to look after his young, eager, gross-in-a-cute-way, hairless monkey pet.

These two Muggs are from the Star Wars Wave 1 line, so I'm sure there are some upset collectors seeing these things unboxed. But hey, toys were meant to be played with.

My favorite details? On Chewbacca, it's the nose and nails. On Solo, it's the single curly chest hair; and the red strip on the pants (some of the main line action figures have even forgotten the stripe; I'm a sucker for attention to detail).

And while he'll be the first to say it takes a ton of people to bring Mighty Muggs successfully to market, the designer and artist behind them is Chris Hicks -- a really talented, nice guy. I am amazed by his diversity of design, using the same form factor.

The fonts I used for this post are from Blambot Comic Fonts and Lettering.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Captain America, McCain, and Obama

This may not be the smartest way to make a return to this blog, but dammit, it's topical.

I'm just tired of this round's political ugliness and transparent side-stepping of issues, and felt it might be time for a purist arbiter to weigh in.

I've had this idea for a gag in mind since the Republican and Democratic candidates for the presidency were announced, but didn't think I'd be able to get toys of the candidates. When I saw Jailbreak Toys was going to produce figures for Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, I jumped at the chance for what may be the world's first toy-propped presidential race editorial.

The gag's been long-delayed, thanks (I think) to Jailbreak's massive swing to the Obama camp, so much so that their company site is now all about him. That made it easy to order the Obama figure, but the McCain figure -- while their own product -- was nowhere to be found. I Finally got it from the excellent folks, and while I'm glad to finally get the gag out the door, it's only got a few days worth of legs.

More irritating is the quality of the McCain and Obama figures. Besides being gunked with sticky crap out of the box, they've each got one wicked loose arm, which made posing them a beast. Worse, they don't bend at the waste -- so no sitting option, they gotta stand or lie down, which complicated the gag quite a bit (I use poseability in hips and knees quite a bit to cheat scale between actors).

So, they're good for the gag, but probably won't have much life in my collection.

The Captain America is the standard version for which I previously used a variant. The sculpt was made by the excellent (and affable) Dave Cortez. The Red Skull is also from this same "Marvel Face-Off" double set, and was sculpted very nicely by Phil Ramirez.

The flag is from the Marvel Select World War II Ultimate Captain America (a cool-looking, but minimally poseable sculpt).

The fonts (Badaboom and Letter-O-Matic) are from Blambot Comic Fonts and Lettering.

Product picts for the political figs are below. The Red Skull is going to be in an upcoming gag, so I'll save personal product picts until then. If you can't wait, check out picts at

(As an ironic aside, a boatload of the Obama figures were sold by Jailbreak Toys in a fundraiser for him; but all of the figures are manufactured in China.)

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Friday, October 19, 2007

G.I.Joe and Cobra

I've been wanting to do this post for a long time, and finally just carved out an hour to do the shoot, and few hours more to create the gag and do this post.
Gags like this are tough, because to me, they're funny. But this gag also uses the single-pack Wave 1 toys from the Hasbro G.I.Joe 25th Anniversary line, and they're hard to find (at least in my neck of the woods). So, I should have done this months ago to get all the haters more upset.
Tho these are from the Hasbro G.I.Joe 25th Anniversary line, they include no variants. (The only known variant is a Snake Eyes with a black Timber. I haven't seen it, but while interesting, Timber's not black, so WTF?)
Anyway, bad guys are fun. And while the G.I.Joe theme song is better than the Eastern Block lite Cobra theme, the whole "Yo Joe!" battle cry honestly only worked for me in the cartoon with Gung Ho. But there was an obvious circular joke for me to exploit with Roadblock. So I did.
I do have the Wave 1 25th Anniversary Cobra and Joe boxed sets (and the Wave 2 Cobra Legions, for that matter, but the quality is unfortunately not as good as the Wave 1 sets). Since the Wave 1 boxed sets are easier to find, there isn't as much urgency for me to do the follow-up gags.

The quality of the Wave 1 figures is top notch. They're super-detailed, have separate rubberized accessories (bandoliers, etc.) not found in the 1980s versions, more weapons, and what appear to be less-breakable thumbs (my big pet peeve with the originals).
Below is Flint, the least interesting of the bunch to me, but he was my brother's favorite growing up, so I copped to picking this one up (plus I have a Lady Jaye and Scarlett threesome joke in the works). All of the figures I've seen have a problem with the right wrist, which looks loose and detached, but functions OK. He's got a pistol (holstered in the pict below), and a shotgun.

The Cobra office is pretty slick, and the hardest to find. I believe he's a bit short-packed in the current run. Besides his machine gun, he's got what looks like a single sai /nightstick jobby in a two-ring holster on his left leg in the pict below.

Ah, hooded Cobra Commander. Anybody remember that this was a mail-away back in the day? Only my brother had the patience to get things like this and Holographic Anakin Skywalker. Good times. He comes with the trademark pistol the helmeted Cobra Commander (re-issued in the boxed set) came / comes with.

Below is "good" Storm Shadow, who has a great bandolier / "sword quiver" (the lower sword in the product pict is removable), a knife that is supposed to fit in the belt's plastic loop (doesn't well in the product below), and a bow (but now arrows; what up with that?).

Timber comes with Snake Eyes. He looks grumpy. Great sculpt, zero articulation.

Snake Eyes is easily the coolest of the bunch. He comes with his trademark Uzi, a katana sword, and a big ol' knife (holstered below on his right thigh). This Snake Eyes is a better sculpt than the one included in the boxed set (though the latter is truer to the 1982 sculpt).

Below is the original storyboard from which I worked for this particular gag. Roadblock didn't make it in (this strip is too crowded as it is).

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Optimus Prime and Mojo

Optimus Prime from The War Within morphing into Robot Heroes Optimus Prime, a la Mojo.Above is what happens when I get impatient to post in my toy blog.

Fact is, I like a lot of specific stuff. Chief among them are Transformers and comic books. And I like messing with continuity. It riles the fanboys.

Transformers are the new hotness (at least for those with no sense of history) so I wanted to play with a couple of the recent toy incarnations while I wait for the DVD release of the Michael Bay movie next month.

The big guy on the left ("starting Prime") is The War Within comic book Optimus Prime from Hasbro's Titanium Series die-cast line (and yes, you've seen him before). He's a great sculpt, but as I've mentioned before, in robot form, a bit loose on the joint front, so he's pose ability challenged -- most of the set-ups with him involve amazing feats of balance on my part.

The whiney, perceptive Optimus at the end ("Ending Prime") is from Hasbro's Robot Heroes line. All of the G1 stuff from that line rocks.

Mojo is a Build-a-Figure (BAF) from the Toy Biz Marvel Legends series 15 (aka "The Mojo Series"). Mojo is from the X-Men comic book mythos, and is a great character that parodies licensing and commercialism. This is a cool (and creepy) sculpt from Phil Ramirez that's well designed and decoed for Mojo himself, his chair / throne thingy, and the spider legs that are attached. I only wish his "tail" was pose able, rather than fixed plastic (makes a good handle, though).

The "sequel" statement is multi-layered. There's more coming from me with Mojo -- I've been planning something with him for several months, and am now just waiting on some specific things to show up on my doorstep. And, there's going to be a Transformers II movie. And the HD DVD barb comes out of a bit of a PR whoopsie related to HD DVD, Blu-ray, and Transformers.

So there's all of that. Plus I got to play with some photo morphing software, which worked well enough for being free (after rebates), but has some poor design shortcomings that will keep me from using it for most of my work.

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Captain America and Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime says to Captain America: I've died more times than you have; Captain America says to Optimus Prime: You stole my colors!
Oh, Optimus, Cap, please don't fight. I mean, you're cut from the same cloth metal atoms, when it comes right down to it.

Face it, Optimus is the robot bastard child of John Wayne and Captain America. Don't get me wrong, but when the incomparable Peter Cullen voices Prime, I often hear some version of the Duke saying, "Is this an energy dagger I see before me?" (I love you if you get this.)

The Optimus Prime above is the Hasbro Titanium Series die-cast version from The War Within Transformers comic book relaunch by (now defunct) Dreamwave Productions. I really like this incarnation as a character re-imagining, and as a vehicle and robot sculpt, it's great. However, despite its articulation, the incredible looseness of joints makes it nearly impossible to "play" with (or more importantly, use for stop-motion animation). 'Tis a bummer, but I may create some small rubber cement plugs to tighten the jointings if I've got a script that really calls for my favorite Transformer. And if I'm feeling ambitious. And crafty. And have rubber cement.

And the itty bitty (pretty much scale) Captain America pictured is the (possibly) variant version from the WizKids "Ultimates" line of Marvel HeroClix (I also have the regular and unique Caps from the "Inifinity" series, but not the "Armor Wars" version; yet).

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