Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mystery Mail-Order Box


A few days ago, I was browsing around on eBay when I stumbled on to this little treasure. I know it just looks like some beat up white box with a bunch of random numbers on it, but it's what's inside that makes it special to me. Read on, and see what goodies were included in Stock No. 59508.

Before you were able to type in a web address and be instantly transported to an electronic marketplace that let you purchase anything with a couple clicks of a mouse, we had the Sears Wish Book from which to do all of our at-home shopping. Once a year, you would get this mighty tome in the mail, and for many of us, it was our only resource when we made up our Christmas lists. By the time I was finished with a Wish Book, the toy section was falling out, page by page. Sure, you had a limited selection, but we didn't care. We circled things in a book and they magically ended up under a tree. How awesome was that?



Action figure multi-packs were a regular sight in Wish Book toy sections. They were an easy way to get a bunch of figures in one go, so parents didn't really have to know your favorite. Four figures you didn't want were better than the one you did, right? I already had a bunch of those Marvel Superheroes figures, and was starting to build up a collection of X-Men action figures. Not wanting another Wolverine figure, I decided to go with the X-Force set. I had just seen read a few issues of X-Force, and Cable seemed like a pretty bad ass dude, plus there was a guy with four arms, named Forearm. I was sold. So, Christmas of '92 came and went, and X-Force was a no-show. No big deal, I still had an awesome Christmas. I never even thought about them after that. Then a bunch of weeks later, my dad brings home this package in a plain white box. X-Force figures must have been pretty popular then, because they had been backordered. I tore open the box, dumped it out, and was..a little disappointed. Somehow there had been a foul-up, and they had mixed up the X-Men and X-Force packs. I had gotten Cable and Forearm, but Mr. Sinister and Sabertooth had found their way in there too. And to make matters worse, Cable and Forearm didn't even come with their accessories. My folks offered to send it back for an exchange, but I had already waited so long, I figured I would be in college before they sent back the right figures.


I've actually been looking for these packs for several years now, with no luck. Now it seems like there's a few posted for sale every week. Since everything with Deadpool has now skyrocketed in price, it's cheaper to go for the X-Men pack these days. That's fine with me, since I think they were all superior figures anyway. Hopefully Sears managed to put the right figures in here this time, because I think it's a little late to try to exchange them.




Wolverine II

First up, we have what is probably my favorite Wolverine figure released by Toy Biz. Though I definitely preferred the 1980's uniform that the first figure wore, that removable mask was a little ridiculous, and I was always bugged by the fact he didn't have any elbow articulation because of his action feature. This version is based on Wolverine's first couple of appearances, and it's an improvement on the first figure in almost every way. The mask is non-removable, but it just looks badass, even if I can't figure out how all of his hair fits in that thing. As much as I prefer the color scheme of the other costume, I'm definitely digging on the tiger stripes on this guy. The claws are always extended on this figure, though they're spring loaded, so they'll actually slide back in when you're stabbing all your other action figures. Think the fake knife scene from Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Toy Biz also saw fit to give Wolverine a pistol, because..guns are cool I guess? I can't remember more than one or two occasions where I saw Wolvie packing a firearm, and those were flashbacks. I don't know, maybe some days he doesn't feel like cleaning off his claws, and just pops a few caps in the bad guys instead.



Mr. Sinister

I never knew much about Mr. Sinister, I still don't really. I just remember him being the ringleader behind the Mutant Massacre, where a society of sewer dwelling mutants we murdered by a group called the Marauders. It remains one of my favorite stories from that era, because we saw what happens when the X-Men get pushed too far. We didn't learn much about Mr. Sinister at that point, other than he has an odd choice in wardrobe. I've never really understood what his suit was supposed to be made from, whether it was strips of leather, or metal armor. His cape looks like he conquered all the glam rock bands of the 80's, claimed all their frills as trophies, and fastened them over his shoulders. Also, what was it about those angled shoulder pieces on 90's era costumes? Mr. Sinister has them, Wolvie has them, and they were far from the only ones. Were they functional, or just another extreme fashion statement?  Speaking of fashion statements, it wasn't until yesterday that I realized he was wearing thigh high boots AND pixie shoes. Sinister's action feature was a "Power Light Blast" that came from his eyes and the emblem in his chest. But, since he's a 25 year old figure, the battery is loooong dead.

Now I'm not sure if Mr. Sinister is supposed to be an evil mutant, or the leader of a goth heavy metal band.



Iceman

Iceman was one of those figures that was never on my radar. As a character, he never did anything for me. What was he supposed to do, toss snowballs at all the bad guys? Make them slip on a patch of ice? By the way, those are both things I've actually seen Iceman do in the comics. Still, he's a pretty decent figure, and he still has a fair amount of detail for being completely clear. Those eyes though, I almost wish they'd left them unpainted. They just stare right through my soul..

It's a bit hard to see in the second picture, but Iceman had patches on his body that would turn blue if he was left in a freezer long enough. I was too scared to leave him in there though, because this figure gets kinda fragile when left in the cold. In that top photo, you can see Iceman standing on his ice slide. If you filled that small tray with water while Iceman was standing in it, then tossed it in the freezer to freeze, you could slide Iceman around on his own ice cube. I still haven't tried it yet, since I think my wife might get a little upset if I left a bunch of trails of water all around our kitchen floor.


Sabertooth

Last but certainly not least, we have one of Wolverine's greatest enemies, Sabertooth. His inclusion in this set makes a bit of sense, since he has a history with Mr. Sinister and Wolverine. Much like Wolverine II, this was Sabertooth as he looked in his earlier appearances.By the time these figures had come out, he was wearing a different uniform. He looks like a mutant that enjoys the finer things, such as hair care products and a fur trimmed costume. You know, this raises the question, who makes these guys their costumes? The X-Men I can understand. They're a team, it's feasible Xavier has someone making suits for these guys. Sabertooth, however, is more of a loner. Sure, he's worked with other evil mutants over the years, but for the most part he works alone. Did he make his costume himself? Did he contract out the work? Sorry, but I can't picture Sabertooth going into Jo Ann Fabrics and comparing swatches, before going home and getting busy on his Singer.



Sabertooth had a self healing wound feature that would flip around if your Wolverine figure managed to smack him in the chest hard enough. Hit the switch on his back though, and the piece flips back around. BOOM! Healing factor bitch! Sadly, the battle damage feature meant that Sabertooth couldn't turn his head, and he was forever stuck snarling to the front. Sabertooth came with what looks like knife made from a bunch of sabertooth tiger teeth that have been lashed together. I guess it's more fitting than giving him a pistol. Something that was never mentioned on Sabertooth's cardback, was the fact he has glow in the dark eyes. I only discovered it by accident, and it's so random, I wonder if Toy Biz just forgot they used GITD paint.



Each of the sets also included a comic book, and as you can see, this one has spend a fair bit of time rolled up in the box. I wish I could tell you what it's about, but I have yet to get it to straighten out enough for me to read. Maybe if I leave it under some books for a few weeks, it'll flatten it out enough for me to give a book report.

I hope you enjoyed reading about a random set of figures in a white mailer box. I think they were well worth the 18 year wait.

6 comments:

  1. Fun stuff! I too used to fill the Sears catalogue with circles on all the toys I wanted (pretty sure my only prerequisite was that it wasn't a toy I already had!) but I was about a decade ahead of you, so I never got into the Toy Biz X-Men stuff. Although I do appreciate their simple charm and the massive breadth of character releases!

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    1. It's a shame they dedicated so many resources to soooo many Wolverine variants. I feel like they could have used that time and money on getting more characters in plastic form.

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  2. These are something Iv never once though about searching ebay for! I didnt know they came loose like that , I figured they came in there normal pack and you got 4 of them.

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    1. I didn't realize it back then either. I was a little annoyed that they didn't come on the card. I mean, I understand why now, but I guess I wasn't that logical at 11 or 12 years old.

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  3. Mr.Sinister's get up looks a little like Colossus's(damn,that's a lotta s's)

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    1. Holy crap, you're right! He looks like a shorter, skinnier version of Colussus. I never understood the deal with thigh high boots. They just never look right on superheroes.

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