Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm Gonna Git You Zuckuss!

Thanks to my trade with LeAnn of Retro Toy Safari, I'm one figure closer to completing my Star Wars Power of the Force 2 bounty hunter collection. I present to you, Zuckuss!

I think Zuckuss was part of the later waves from POTF2. He just seems a bit more detailed than some of the earlier figures. I particularly like his head sculpt, though it does seem a bit large for his body.

For those fetishists out there, an upskirt shot! I was surprised that they included so much detail in Zuckuss' uniform. I mean, how many other people are actually going to look up there and check him out? It's a shame his robe isn't removable, I think he'd look pretty cool in just his jumpsuit.

Zuckuss may not be one of my favorite characters, but I have to admit, his figure is kinda growing on me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Reminiscing about Roses.

Many years ago, Roses used to be a store on the same level of Target or Wal-Mart. There are no malls on the Eastern Shore, and it was at least an hour's drive to the closest one. So, unless you wanted to make the drive to Virginia Beach or Salisbury, Roses was it. Frankly, I never felt like I was missing out on anything. I could find everything that interested me under one roof. My store carried, GIJoe, Transformers, Masters of the Universe, LEGO, Super Powers, just about every awesome 80's toy line that I can remember.  It's funny to me now, but making the drive from Bayford to Onley was always exciting for me. It was a trip that we made just about every week, and it couldn't have taken more than half an hour, but it still felt like a little adventure. Knowing that I wasn't going to leave the store empty handed only added to the excitement, and  it was a rare occasion that I didn't spend my allowance on something in Roses. 

I spent a lot of time hanging around Roses, but the toy section and electronics were the only two places I remember. I can tell you within a few inches just where the video game cases were, but housewares? Not a clue. I'm sure I went to other parts of the store, but to me they were only delaying my trips down the toy aisles. The great thing about Roses' toy section was that I almost always had it to myself. It didn't seem to matter what time of the day it was, I was often the only kid in the aisle. Looking back, I'm probably lucky I was never kidnapped, since the toy aisles were in the back of the store, right next to the fire exit. Anyone trying to run off with me would have had a hell of a time, since my parents taught me to never talk to strangers, and to kick, bite and scream if someone ever tried to take me. Roses really did have an impressive toy section, and the ones you see at Target and Wal-Mart really pale in comparison. There were 8 aisles of toys, split up on either side of the main aisle. I'd say it was a pretty even split between the girls' and boys' toys. 

Last week, we were out and about, and made a stop at the ol Roses. I was bored, so I decided to take a few shots while I was there, to try and give folks a clearer picture of how things were set up. 

These two aisles used to hold every toy that I loved. The shelf to your left was home to Super Powers, and Masters of the Universe figures and vehicles. . The shelf to the right was the GIJoe section, and it's where I spent most of my allowances. Every inch of those shelves were packed with figures, accessories, and vehicles. It's where I first spotted and fell in love with the GIJoe Mobile Command Center. It took a lot of begging and pleading, but I was able to talk my dad into getting that one for me. Then he got to spend the rest of the night trying to put it together. That aisle would eventually become home to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. 

The back aisle was home to mostly sporting equipment and Power Wheels, not much different than it is now. There was a small section of coloring books there, and I didn't realize it until later, but they also carried multi-packs of comic books back here as well. The aisle on the left was home to Transformers, GoBots, pretty much all of the robotic toys. During one of their many change-overs, the GIJoes were moved to that aisle as well, and all of the figures were hung up on the section at the end. 

There's mostly just children's books and toys there now, but I remember when it was a great place to be a child. I bought many GIJoe figures from that little section, for the low price of $2.99 ($3.12 with tax). See that? I bought so many of them, that price is forever engraved in my psyche. I used to love the seclusion of this little corner in the store. It rarely saw much traffic, and it was a nice, quiet place to hang out and read filecards when you were trying to figure out which figure to buy.  I guess that seclusion also made it a great place for some kidnapping, but as far as I know, every kid that went back here made it out alive. 

It took a few years, but Roses eventually started going downhill. I think I noticed it in the early 90's, when they started carrying more knockoff toys, and what name brand stuff they did have was several years old. Remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures that looked more like their cartoon counterparts? They must have hung around on the pegs for 3 or 4 years after they came out. The only toys that were regularly stocked were the GIJoes, but even that stopped eventually. By the time I entered high school, they mostly stocked the kinds of toys you'd find in dollar stores. 

Roses hasn't changed much since the days of its decline. It's mostly a discount store, and they seem to carry items that have been clearanced out of other big chains. It's mostly junk, though I've been lucky enough to find some gems hidden amongst all the cheap crap.

These two Young Justice action figures at $5.00 each, for example. I remember seeing them in Target for quite a bit more. Unfortunately, these are the only two they had left. That's the problem with these types of stores. Their selection is very limited, so you probably won't be able to build a collection here. Most of the time, they'll only have one figure out of the entire line, so unless you want to army build with Batman, you're going to be out of luck.

I used to be crazy about some Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. I never really cared about the tracks or the playsets, I just loved playing with the cars. My dad sometimes worked as a tow truck driver, so that used to be one of my favorite things to pretend. I also loved the Hot Wheels Bigfoot Champions line, which allowed you to customize the monster truck with different sized tires. I'd spend hours lining up my cars and having Bigfoot run them all over, then I'd change the tires and have him drive though a (pretend) mud pit. This Hot Wheels Custom Motors set looks like it could keep me occupied for hours, even today. It looks like it would push all those monster truck, race car, and war machine buttons.

The more I look at this photo, the more I'm tempted to go back and pick up this Matchbox Jurassic Chopper Mega Rig. There is just so much going on in this picture, I don't really know what to make of it. There is so much awesome on the front of this box, I don't see how a kid could want or need anything else. You get enough parts for over 25 different vehicles, two figures, firing missiles, and a dinosaur with chomping action. The box advertises "Infinite ways to play and build!", and I'm willing to take them up on that challenge. The best part about these Mega Rigs, is that all of their parts interchange. Theoretically, you could combine them all into one giant Mega Dino Hunting Undersea Aerial Machine. Man, what am I doing still sitting here? I need to go buy that one now, before someone else snatches it up. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Modulok is coming!

So I haven't really been paying much attention to any of the news out of SDCC, but there was one picture that caught my eye earlier today.

Mattel is making an updated version of Modulok! This was one of my favorite toys from the original MOTU series, and I've been trying to find a complete one that won't cost me a small fortune. Now it looks like I might be able to get a brand new one for a small fortune.

The only sticking point, it sounds like he may only be available to the Eternia club subscribers. Hopefully that won't be the case, since I don't see myself shelling out a few hundred dollars just to be able to get Modulok. You can see more pictures of upcoming MOTU releases at Tomopop.

Friday, July 19, 2013

League Assignment- Robots!

league robots

We had a great assignment from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers this week.


There was only one robot I could think to cover, Short Circuit's Johnny 5.

 If you've never seen Short Circuit, it's about an experimental military robot that gets struck by lightning, and gains sentience. He wanders off the military base, and meets up with Stephanie Speck, an animal lover who mistakes Johnny for a space alien. During their time together, Johnny 5 develops a personality based on the books and television he's seen, leading to him becoming quite the goofy character. Eventually, the government finds out where Johnny 5 is, and they send the other SAINT robots after him. I won't spoil the ending, but since there was a sequel, I'm sure you can figure out what happens. After I saw Short Circuit, I was obsessed with having my own Johnny 5, even if it was just in action figure form. The sequel only made things worse, since Johnny 5's inventor was making a living by selling toy versions of his original creation. I just knew there had to be a Johnny 5 action figure out there somewhere, and it was years before I finally gave up hope. As far as I know, there still hasn't been a mass produced toy made of Johnny 5. I used to think it was a shame we didn't have a Johnny 5 for every child, now I think the world is a better place without him.

"But Chris," you may say, "Johnny 5 was such a loveable and caring robot. Why shouldn't every child have a toy version of him?" I would say to you, think of another robot that came out within the past 10 years that looks similar to Johnny 5.

Okay, fine. I can see why you would think of Wall-E. The expressive eyes, they both run on tracks, and they both have friendly dispositions. Even though Wall-E's version of the future isn't exactly sunshine and daffodils, he's not the robot to which I was referring. . I was thinking of something more like this:

That's right, Johnny 5 is the T-1's great grandaddy. Think about it for a second. Johnny 5 was originally developed as a Cold War weapon. You could airdrop a handful of the SAINT robots into a battle zone and wreak havoc without losing a single human life. These things are super strong, and later versions would have been heavily armed as well. The T-1 is just a logical progression of Johnny 5's design. The military would realize that there was no real need for the robots to have arms, so they would just replace them with miniguns. The three track design would increase the robots' speed and maneuverability, and the body would become armored to better withstand damage. All human like characteristics would be discarded until the development of the next branch of the T-1's design, and I'm sure you all remember what that looked like.

So there you have it. Johnny 5 was the precursor to the machines that will eventually kill us all and take over the world.

Johnny 5's alive..b*tch.
How did the other members of the League deal with the menacing mechanical men?

The Nerd Nook runs down their top 10 favorite 'bots.

The Goodwill Geek shows off an impressive robot collection.

GeekShowInk shows off some artistic talent.

Victoria loves some giant robot action.

Jannghi remembers Hymie from Get Smart!

Branded In The 80's reveals C-3PO's embarrassing secret.

Cavalcade of Awesome has some Nyuk's with the Robonic Stooges.

AEIOUWHY talks about his favorite classic bots.

The Trash Man waxes nostalgic about the Red Baron. No, not that Red Baron..

Random Nerdness shares his top 5 robots. No organic material allowed.

G.I. Jigsaw shows off some sexy automotons.

Thirtyish Year Old Boy shows some droid appreciation.

Erik Johnson has good taste in robots.

Miss M no longer fears our mechanized brethren.

Kal gives a sneak peek of the new Sentinels.

Pop Rewind begs the question, what about Small Wonder and Bill and Ted?

Grey introduces us to Robo Rally.

Speaking of Crayboths

Where there's one, there's many.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Onell Design- Glyos

I've had mixed feelings about Battle Beasts over the years. When I was growing up, they were one of those toy lines that I was aware of, but really didn't grab my attention. I had a couple dozen at least, but I only remember buying a couple of those two-packs. I'm thinking most of them must have been Christmas gifts. It's not that I didn't like them, it's just that I didn't really know what to do with them. I've never been privy to a Battle Beast cartoon or comic book, so I couldn't tell the good guys from the bad. Little did I know there really weren't any good or bad guys, just a bunch of animals fighting each other based on their power sign. It was a super powered game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.  I played with them occasionally, most often with my Masters of the Universe figures, but most of their time was spent in a plastic lunchbox. I'm actually not sure what happened to my Battle Beasts figures. I'm pretty sure they didn't end up getting broken, they were just too durable for that. It's more than likely they were gifted to someone else, or donated by my mom. Such was the fate of any toys that weren't cleared out by the time I went to college.

Fast forward to 2013, and I have the sudden urge to get a few Battle Beasts, specifically War Weasel. It's hard not to love a bionic weasel with a machine gun for an arm. Or was it a flamethrower? Either way, he was my favorite of the Battle Beasts. So I head to eBay, and I discover I was a fool for ever letting my small collection go. It would be cheaper for me to recollect all my old GIJoes. Defeated, I continued stumbling around the Internet, which is how I ended up at Onell Design. I had seen Glyos mentioned here and there on various toy blogs, but I never understood what it was. Truthfully, I still don't understand the whole story behind the toys, but it doesn't really matter. What they lack in backstory, they more than make up for in design and character. After browsing around on their site, I decided to pull the trigger. My first purchase from Onell consisted of a bunch of these little guys, called Crayboths.

They definitely have the same size and build of the Battle Beasts, and I think that's what attracted me to them in the first place. These figures all have arms and legs that can be mixed and matched, that's the beauty of the Glyos system. Everything uses the same type of connection, so if you have a bunch of their figures, there's almost no limit to what you can create.  They're made from PVC, so they're pretty durable. I don't see these guys getting worn out anytime soon.

As neat as the Crayboths are, there was one character that caught my attention and wouldn't let it go.


The Crayboths may have the size of the Battle Beasts, but this guy brings the attitude. He's a bit more complicated, and is made up of a bajillion pieces. He still manages to feel just as durable as the smaller figures though. The great thing about Armorvor is that he has three different looks with two different heads. You have the furry face in the above photo,

Robot Fox face in this one,

And Robot Hound dog in this one. I'm assuming that thing in his right hand is some sort of weapon, though I actually tried it on as a head at one point. It's quite a bit smaller than the other two heads, and it gave him sort of a drone look. Of course, I forgot to take a photo of that one..drat. Like the Crayboths, you can customize Armorvor with parts from any figures that use the Glyos system. I like mine just the way they are, so I don't know if I'll do much mixing and matching.

If you've considered picking up some Glyos figures, I urge you to at least give them a shot. They're inexpensive, durable, and well designed. Also, Matt and Michelle will sometimes toss in an extra figure with your order as a nice little surprise. Go check'em out, but don't blame me if you end up with hundreds of Glyans all over your hourse.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tweet tweet

If you look over to your right, you'll notice a couple of changes to the sidebar. I took a couple of items out, but I also added a link to my twitter feed. I told myself I'd never do it, but..well I don't have a real reason. If you're curious what goes on in the mind of a Stunt Zombie, feel free to check it out. Eventually I'll tweet something worthwhile.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Nice Ssssunny day

I was walking around the yard, looking for trees that may need to be trimmed, when I came across this little fella:

A prime example of the black rat snake. I've been seeing more of them around here this year, and this is actually one of the smaller ones. He looked like he was between 2-3' long, and about an inch and a half around. The two I saw earlier this year were around 4' long, and quite a bit thicker than this guy. He was just lying there in the grass, soaking up some rays, when I came along and snapped a couple photos. I guess he was annoyed that I interrupted his siesta, because he turned around and slithered into the trees.

I carry around a bit of guilt, since I used to kill any snake that used to cross my path. As a child, I was taught that all snakes were dangerous, and would kill you the first chance that they got. I'm not sure if that  belief was a result of stupidity or superstition. It was probably a combination of both. I still remember the day my family was moving into my childhood home. My mom was on crutches at the time, and was trying to help move stuff into our new home. On one of her trips back to the house, a large rat snake slithered out from under the porch. My mom is deathly afraid of snakes, so she freaked out, dropped her crutches and hopped on to the porch. Of course, one foot was broken, so that hurt like hell, and she fell back off the porch, nearly landing on the snake. My dad heard the commotion, and ran outside to find my mom writhing in pain and trying to get back in the house without getting bitten. The snake, who I'm sure was amused by all of this, crawled back under the porch before my dad could chop him up into little pieces with a shovel. I like to think the snake knew what he was doing. They can probably appreciate a good joke just like everyone else.

I've had numerous encounters with our scaly friends over the years, but only once was I pants crappingly scared by one.  I was mowing the orchard next to my uncle's house, when I came across one of the largest rat snakes I've ever seen. I was more educated on snakes by that point, and had adapted a live and let live policy. You don't bother me, and I won't bother you. So, rather than just lowering the deck and turning the snake into a chunky paste, I decided to do the neighborly thing and move him to the woods. I got off the lawn mower, and picked up what seemed like a sturdy stick. I moved over to the snake, and was able to coax him to wrap around the branch. Remember when I said, "what seemed like a sturdy stick"? Well, I discovered that things aren't always what they seem, since the branch broke while I was walking the snake over to the trees.

 Now, I've seen those nature shows, where they film snakes striking at prey, and it seems almost instantaneous. First you see a mouse sitting in front of the snake, a quick blur, and now the mouse is hanging halfway out of the snake's mouth. Watching those shows didn't prepare me for just how quickly those things can move. As soon as the snake's body touched the ground, it lunged for my hand. The two events appeared to happen simultaneously. Amazingly, I was just a touch faster than the snake that day. I was able to pull my hand back before he could latch on, but he still managed to rake his teeth across the top of my thumb. The snake must have thought I learned my lesson, because it immediately slithered off into the underbrush. I started to freak out a little. Being half bitten by a snake will do that to a person. I think I was worried I may have been bitten by the one black rat snake that was venomous, because I tried the whole suck out the venom thing. All that did was give me a mouthful of blood and the realization that if there was venom in the wound, it was more than likely I had swallowed some. I ran back to my uncle's house, and my aunt patched up the wound. She reassured me it was unlikely the snake was venomous, and the only thing I needed to worry about was my thumb getting infected and falling off. Maybe those weren't her exact words, but that's what my freaked out teenage mind heard. I eventually calmed down enough to go back to cutting the grass, though I made sure I kept my eyes on the trees, in case my new friend decided to attack again.

I obviously didn't lose my thumb, but I did have a pretty cool scar on top of it for several years, as well as a cool story to go with it. It's funny, but after that day, any fear I had of snakes had disappeared. You'd think it would be the other way around, but I feel like I gained more respect for them that day. I like to think that snake hadn't intended to hurt me after all. Instead he saw a young human that needed to be taught a lesson. I might not feel gracious enough to say thank you, but I will say, 'Well played Mr. Snake. Lesson learned.'

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Malakili-Beast Master

Here's Malakili, keeper of the Rancor Monster, and a washed up performer from the Circus Horrificus. He came into my possession as part of a trade with Eric, of Toyriffic fame. I've often wondered how many kids out there chose ol' Malakili over Luke Skywalker or Han Solo. Nobody wants to be the chubby guy that cries over the loss of his monster. Still, I hear he's a damn fine monster wrangler, so I decided to put him to the test. I sent Malakili into the dreaded den, to try his hand at taming the wild Kirby Monster.

"Egads! Look it the size of 'im! He's bigger than a Krayt Dragon. I bet he's twice as mean too! This one'll take some finesse."

"There's a nice fella. There ain't many monsters that can resist a good ear scratching. It's how I tamed me first Rancor. Really tough, since they haven't got much for ears."

"And 'ere we go. He's been tamed in record time. I'm startin' to doubt he's a ferocious as ye say. Seems a bit of a creampuff to me."

You keep thinking that Malakili, I've personally seen Kirby Monster taking on zombies with nary a glint of fear in his eyes. You better keep your guard up, lest you end up like Bob.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm drawing a Blanka.

The early 90's were a strange time for GIJoe. We had neon colored Marines, Joes in mech suits fighting in space, and brightly colored ninjas with spring action features. I may have found something to like in the different lines under the GIJoe umbrella, but it was easy to see that Hasbro was grasping at straws trying to find something, anything that kids would buy. It was that desperation that led Hasbro to combine two different properties that had absolutely nothing to do with each other. It was a move that may have led to the untimely (or overdue, depending on who you talk to) death of the GIJoe toy line in the 90's.

Hasbro actually released two series of Street Fighter figures. The first was the Street Fighter 2 subset, released in 1993. It featured the original fighters from the games in action figure form. Some of them used original molds, while others featured parts from other GI Joe figures with newly sculpted heads. These actually featured GIJoe markings on the packaging, leading many to consider them cousins to the main line. The second line featuring the world fighters premiered in 1994. It was based on the newly released movie and didn't mention GIJoe anywhere on their packaging. They were considered a completely separate line, much like the Mortal Kombat figures released the following year. The Street Fighter movie crashed and burned at the theater, and I'm pretty sure these figures did as well. I remember seeing the movie line hanging on pegs years after they'd been released.

My Blanka was part of a trade with John from The Clawful Punch. He was one of my favorites from the Street Fighter line, though I think I originally owned the blue version that came with the Beast Blaster. I remember most of my play sessions with blue Blanka consisting of him going on a one man rampage against both GIJoe and Cobra. It always took the combined might of both armies to finally bring him down. That sounds an awful lot like most of the Incredible Hulk comics I read, so I guess having the green version would be more fitting. This version reuses the entire Road Pig body, with a newly sculpted head. It's appropriately bulky, fitting for a character that spent all of his time living in the jungle and street fighting.

Like the other GIJoe figures of the 90's, Blanka came with his weapons attached to a plastic tree. He also came with a ridiculously large missile launcher. There's one thing I can say about Hasbro in the 90's; those GIJoe missile launchers had quite a bit of power for their size. This one will launch rockets almost all the way across my office. I made the mistake of hitting the trigger while it was pointed at my face, and it left a red mark on my forehead for a couple of days. Consider it lesson learned, don't point missile launchers at your face.

It's perfectly acceptable to point them at Cobra though.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July

Oh my. Look at that sexy beast. ;-)
I hope everyone else is enjoying a beautiful (but freakin' hot) July 4th. I'm enjoying a much needed vacation, sitting by the pool, enjoying mojitos, and just plain relaxing. I'm sure I'm going to see some shenanigans this weekend, so hopefully I will have more to share with you all when we get back. 

Anyhow, it's time to go back out and join the fun. Remember to use long fuses, and the moment someone says, "Watch this", get as far away as possible. 

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