Showing posts with label 1980's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1980's. Show all posts

Monday, July 13, 2015

Who ya gonna call? The Real Ghostbusters Egon!

The Real Ghostbusters toys caught me completely by surprise. One Saturday morning, I walked down the toy aisle in Rose's and there they were. Peter, Ray, Egon, Winston and Stay Puft were all hanging there on the shelves, just waiting to go home with me. After a few moments of indecision, I decided to go with my favorite Ghostbuster, Egon.



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Robocop and the Ultra Police.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I was way too young the first time I saw Robocop. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I just think the parts of the movie that didn't involve Robocop shooting large holes into criminals went way over my head. There were some terrifying moments as well, such as when Mr. Kinney learned he should have ducked, or when Emil discovered the dangers of swimming in toxic waste.


Still, the ultraviolence and lack of action figures based on the movie didn't keep me from wanting to play "Robocop". I would just pick the G.I. Joe figure that looked the most like the cyborg, and pretend he was half man, half machine, and all cop. Then, about a year after the movie's release on VHS, Kenner put out a toyline based on a movie that was almost rated "X" for violence.

I was just walking down the toy aisles in Rose's, trying to figure out what I was going to blow my allowance money on, when a familiar silver cyborg caught my eye. I pulled Robo off the peg, and scanned every inch of his card. No longer would I have to deal with a poor facsimile when I could have the real deal. Robocop wasn't alone, though. He had a whole gang to fight, and a few friends to lend him a hand. Possibly the greatest thing about the figures was the fact they could fire caps. Just load a roll into their backs, pull the lever, and enjoy as you slowly lose your hearing.

Let's have a look at a few of  the figures from this line.




Robocop

You can't have Robocop and the Ultra Police without Robocop. This was the first, actually the only figure I ever owned from this line. In my excitement at finally seeing a Robocop figure, I completely ignored all of the other toys in the line. It wasn't until I got home and reread the back of his card that I realized there were other characters available. Still, once I saw them on the pegs, I was underwhelmed. These guys weren't in the movie, so why would I even care about them?




Robocop came with a rather odd interpretation of his Auto-9 pistol, and a removable helmet. I never understood why his gun ended up looking so funky, but it works, I guess. When all the crime had been stopped, and all the bad guys had been shot, the pistol could be fastened to the left thigh. So it wasn't a cool retractable holster like the movie, but you could only expect so much for a figure that cost less than $5.


 Murphy removes his helmet several times in the Robocop movie, so it only made sense for his action figure to be able to do the same. The helmet goes on pretty tight, so it's not like it'll just fall off when you're playing with him. Take it off and squint your eyes just right, and I guess you could say that it looks like Peter Weller. The cheeks are as sharp and he has a bit too much forehead, but it's still a decent likeness for a toy from 1989.

As you can see, this particular Robocop was well loved by its previous owner. There are small scorch marks on the front and back, almost like someone was adding their own battle damage. I'm not going to lie, I did the same thing with mine. I actually ended up with a spare Robo somehow, so I used a lighter and a paper clip to add some bullet holes to one of them. I was quite crafty in my younger days.


Chainsaw

If you didn't grow up in the 80's, one thing you'll quickly learn is that bad guys' names almost always tell you what they do. Looking like he takes his fashion and hair styling cues from Billy Idol, Chainsaw here is a perfect example of the 80's villain naming scheme. I guess you could argue that he's technically using a circular saw, rather than a chainsaw, but then you'd be a jerk. Let's just all agree that it's a saw, okay? Along with his saw, Chainsaw also came with a boxy pistol that he can hold, or fasten to his left leg. He actually has quite a few sculpted details, especially those chains around his arm and on his leg. I'm not sure what purpose they serve, wrapped around his shoulder like that. It looks like that would be a bit uncomfortable. I wanted to talk about the shirt, but first I have to mention something I just noticed. Dude has a belly button. It's a little hard to see, but look right under his shirt. They actually went through the trouble of giving him a belly button. You realize now, that I'm going to have to spend the rest of my days seeing how many shirtless figures come with a navel.

Before I forget about it, that shirt. I love that shirt. The bright yellow with the red Vandals symbol on it, it actually looks like something I would wear, mainly because I don't think dog and cat hair would show up on it. Also, I'm not entirely sure if it's a skull with fangs, or an ant head. Either way, I dig it.


Nitro

If there was a Vandals member that was a complete doofus, and always screwed things up, I bet it would be Nitro here. I mean, just look at that face:


I can't tell if he's supposed to be a racist caricature of an Asian or a Native American. His eyes are shut so tight, I'm not sure how he's supposed to see anything. Perhaps he just witnessed a big ass explosion. That would explain the grimace, at least. I wish I had taken a photo now, but he actually has wrinkles sculpted into the back of his neck. He's scowling so hard he's giving himself a facelift.



I just got done talking about how villains' names always relate to their weapon or specialty, and Nitro has to come along and screw it up. Sure, his card calls that thing a Nitro-Pincher, but that's pretty weak. That's probably what his grandmother called her hands when she grabbed his cheeks. As you can see, it's not effective at pinching anything. This is why I say he's the idiot of the gang. They probably let this fool run around trying to pinch stuff, while they break into banks and just do altogether evil crap.

That purple thing on his thigh is supposed to be a Dyno-bomb, whatever that means. Oh wait, I get it..Nitro, because he likes exploding things. Great idea, give the moron the explosives.


Dr. McNamara

Hey, this guy was actually in the movie....sort of. I don't remember movie McNamara sporting a large submachine gun or those kick ass shades. With a face like every 80's action movie henchman, McNamara is the only Vandal that actually looks like he would be a match for Robocop. It's gotta be the arms. At some point, the Dr. got tired of getting sand kicked in his face, and gave himself some cyborg arms. Now he can go around punching bullies and cyborgs with reckless abandon. Speaking of cyborg arms, I've never been able to figure out if he just replaced his arms altogether, or if that is some sort of Robo-armor that he's wearing. If anything, it looks like he's wearing a Robo-cardigan. Along with his machine gun, McNamara also came with a Robo Scanner. Because it's so hard to find a guy that my grandmother could outrun.


Along with his metal sweater and cyborg arms, McNamara also has some fancy steel toed boots. If I was trying to kill a cop that was half machine, and I'd already built some upper body armor, I might spend another week or two and make some pants to go along with it. It's kind of hard to bury those steel toes in someone's ass when you've been capped in both of your knees.


Scorcher

Scorcher here is from the second wave of Vandals figures. He's supposed to be a pyro maniac, though his suit looks like it would fit right in at a fetish club. Armed with a flame thrower just as big as he is, half the fun is balancing him so he doesn't fall over. Unlike the other figures in the line, Scorcher's cap firing mechanism is located in his weapon, rather than embedded in his back. Pull back the metal lever, let it go, and not only does it set off a cap, but it also launches his missile.  Scorcher also comes with a removable mask, that makes him look like a scaled up figure from another popular Kenner line, M.A.S.K. Though his comrades aren't the handsome st bunch, Scorcher's face will likely give you nightmares.


See what I mean? That's the kind of face that makes Nitro up there look like Bradley Cooper. Whoever sculpted that visage hated children, and wanted to make sure they never slept again if they removed that helmet and gazed upon that image. I've yet to figure out if he's screaming in rage, or in the throes of ecstasy. I do know that it's probably not safe for someone with a unibrow that bushy to play with fire.




Sergeant Reed

Like McNamara, Reed was a character in the first movie. Actually, I think he made it all the way to the awful, awful tv series. In this case, he's been recruited for Robocop's Ultra Police, which means he gets some shiny blue chest armor, and a fancy helmet. The figure's likeness isn't too bad, though it looks like the previous owner tried to add some sideburns. I guess we all like to jazz up our toys in different ways.

I was thinking about how boring of a figure he was, until I realized that his uniform reminds me of the Ghostbusters' coveralls. If this whole Ultra Police thing doesn't work out for him, he could try out the whole chasing spirits business. All he would need is a proton pack and a Fright Feature and he's ready to go to work.


Of course, if the Vandals ever find that crime doesn't pay, they could just tour as an awful 80's hair band. They already have the name and the look, I'm sure Dr. McNamara could come up with some rockin' hits.


Navel.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Transformers G1 Triggerbots Override



I only ever saw the Transformers cartoon on a couple of occasions, so all my knowledge of them was based on TV commercials and the bio cards on the back of the toys. Of course, I rarely read or kept the bio cards, meaning most of the story lines I came up with were decidedly non-canon. Still, I like to think I did pretty well by the characters. I certainly knew Optimus Prime was a good guy and the Autobot leader, and it was pretty easy to see Soundwave was his enemy. So what if they sometimes worked together? It's not like Hasbro was going to come take the toys back from me.

So, my lack of knowledge of the backstory wasn't a problem. No, my main issue with the toys was that they were damn expensive compared to other action figures. Sure, I could get a car that turns into a robot and comes with a dozen weapons for $10.99, but I could also buy three different G.I. Joe figures for the same price. Thankfully, Hasbro realized this and released several smaller figures for those of us with a limited allowance.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Micromaster Rescue Patrol is here to save the day


I was a little late to get on the Transformers bandwagon. My first exposure to the shape shifting machinations was the Soundwave figure I received one year on Christmas. We lived in an area where I was more likely to see Bigfoot than actually pick up the television station that played most of the cool cartoons, like Transformers and Masters of the Universe. Still, Soundwave was like nothing I had ever seen before. He may seem simple and archaic to the toy buying youth of today, but my 5 year old mind was blown by this cassette player that turned into a bad ass robot.

Over the years, the Transformers would occasionally catch my eye during our almost weekly shopping trips. Even the smaller figures were hard to ignore, with the large G.I. Joe style paintings of the figures on the cardbacks. Every now and then, one of them would would interest me enough to cause me to spend my hard earned allowance money. That was the main problem with Transformers those days, they were damn expensive if you were the one buying them. A boxed figure would run anywhere from $10 on up, depending on how big it was. I certainly wasn't rich in those days, so I would usually gravitate toward the smaller, more value priced figures.


Supposedly influenced by Galoob's success with Micro Machines, the Micromasters were perfect for the more shallow pocketed youth such as myself. These cost between $4 and $5, and you got four, that's right FOUR, different figures. Sure, they were a lot simpler than larger Transformers, but in my mind, quantity won over complexity. There were half a dozen different Micromaster Patrols to choose from, ranging from one entirely made up of jets, to one group composed of sports cars. I wish I could tell you why I chose this group over all the others, but it's hard to remember my reasoning. In my mind, I just picture seeing these guys hanging on the peg, and immediately being drawn to them.


As good as they look in their alternate modes, the Rescue Patrol looks even better transformed. In most cases, changing the Micromasters from one form to another was simply a matter of folding down the legs, flipping up a hood, and standing the figure up. Like I said, pretty simple. Articulation was pretty basic, with most of them having moveable arms. They came with no accessories, because they were pretty much accessories themselves. If you had one of the giant Transformers that could turn into a small city, like Metroplex or Scorponok, you could populate them with your Micromasters. They also had the advantage of being able to fit in your pockets, something I'd be reluctant to do with the slightly larger toys. Even Bumblebee would have been an uncomfortable lump in my pants.


Fixit was probably my least favorite out of the bunch. No matter how you look at it, a plain white ambulance will never be as cool as a fire truck. His robot mode improved on things a little bit, but it still bothered me that there was so much of the front of the ambulance hanging off his back.  That's not to say that I disliked him, but if I could only choose one out of the group, it wouldn't be him.


Stakeout's alternate mode is an improvement over Fixit's, but just barely. There's nothing particularly exciting about a police car, but he is much, much sleeker when transformed. I like that his goggles and color scheme kinda give him that Highway Patrol vibe. All they needed was a little dab of yellow for a badge, and the image would have been complete.


Seawatch is one of my favorite Transformers, period. I know his alternate form is a boat, but he's a damn cool boat. Besides, who knows what being a boat means on Cybertron. For all we know, Cybertronian boats can fly just as easily as their jets. Seawatch also has one of the better looking robot modes. The helmet and face mask he's wearing give him the appearance of a cyber samurai. As you know, you can't spell awesome without "cyber ninja that turns into a hydrofoil".


Redhot is easily my favorite out of the whole bunch. His alternate mode is that of a heavy duty firetruck. He looks like another vehicle that would be more at home on Cybertron. The robot form is easily the best of them all. Redhot has the most heroic appearance, and if I had to guess, I'd say he was the leader of the Rescue Patrol. He is the tallest of the group, just barely edging out Stakeout. Redhot kinda comes with an accessory if you count his often missing ladder. I consider it more of a decoration, since all it can really do is twist around and fold up. That would be the only thing that would keep me from carting Redhot around in my pocket all the time. I would be too worried I would snap off his ladder. He frequently stood in for Optimus Prime during my mini adventures, since he had the big and beefy leader look to him.

Besides,a fire truck will always be more heroic vehicle than a semi-truck.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

League Assignment: Express your shelf!

This week’s assignment from the League: Shelf Expression

It's been a long time since I participated, but I couldn't resist taking part in this week's assignment from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers:

Shelf Expression. Take a picture of your shelves, featuring a few of your favorite things.

The nice thing about keeping my collection small, is that most of it will fit inside one little display case.





I actually just thinned the collection out a little bit, and kept my favorite items. The Lego sets you see at the bottom are mainly just the Star Wars models. The rest are stored in a Tupperware container. These are my favorites, but I may rotate some of my other sets into the case in the future.




Bazooka has that "Not this story again" look on his face. 

Michelangelo looks way too happy for being a prisoner.



I like having a collection like this. It doesn't take up much room, and if I ever needed to move it, it would all fit in one container. Some of you guys have amazing collections, but if I had all that stuff, it would probably give me a daily anxiety attack.


Down the wall from my display case, I have an end table where I keep my magazines, comics, and catalogs for upcoming projects. It also makes a handy platform for taking photos when I need it.

So there you have it, my little collection of shelves. Let's see what some of my fellow bloggers had to say.

Jason Bucky Roberts' from Nerdy Life of Mine has an awesome computer desk and shelf set up.

jSarie from Revenge of the Toy Box shows off some shelves from the past.

Brian of Cool and Collected has gone bananas for Planet of the Apes.

Derek of Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks shows off an impressive mix of properties.

Erik Johnson Illustrator uses his book shelves for..well, books.

MonsterFink from the Midnight Monster Spookshow shows off a Universal collection.

George of G.I. Jigsaw shows off his giant Star Wars collection.

Kal from Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool has enough toys to open his own store.

Primordial Badger's Transformers collection is a masterpiece.

Rich from The Nerd Nook has some carded treasures.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Well, Captain Power, aren't you a shiny fellow?


Inspired by Shawn Robare's post over at Branded in the 80's, I decided to go looking for some of the more obscure figures of my youth. Like Shawn, I was looking at some of the less popular lines because I like getting toys in their original packaging, and G.I. Joe and Transformers are crazy expensive these days. As I was scouring e-Bay, and Etsy (yes, Etsy) I came across some familiar figures that I couldn't pass up.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Kenner catalog

Happy Star Wars Day everybody! This week, the cast for the next Star Wars was announced, and I have to admit, I'm a little excited. Sure the original cast is getting old, but they had a chemistry that was absent from the stars of the new trilogy. So, in celebration of Star Wars Day and a new generation of Star Wars films, I decided I would spotlight this catalog showcasing the beginning of Kenner's Return of the Jedi collections.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Robo Force Magazine ads: Manglors and Trouble Shooters



If you didn't catch my post on the Robo Force Fan Club over on Doomkick, stop right now and go check it out. Then come back here and check out a couple of ads from the magazine that I didn't use over there.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Tale of Two Dukes



These two Dukes were part of the haul sent to me by John of The Clawful Punch. The Duke on the bottom is from the Tiger Force line up, and I came close to owning him several times. He was the lone G.I. Joe figure hanging on the pegs at the local Five and Dime store. Sadly, most of the toys there were marked up quite a bit, so he never made the trip home with me. It's a shame too, because I rather like the look of the Tiger Force Duke compared to the original figure. One thing I find interesting, it looks like Duke was hitting the hair dye when he joined the Tiger Force. Maybe that blond hair of his stuck out too much in the jungle.


The one up top there is from 1992, the first year that all the main line figures came with a missile launching accessory. It's also the only version of Duke that I actually owned. He was my go to figure when I needed someone to lead the troops, then one day, he was just..gone. You see, it was really windy outside, and a friend of mine and I decided to attach shopping bags to our figures and toss them into the air. The wind would catch the bags and act as a parachute on the way down.  We had been doing this for a while, when my buddy tossed Duke up on another paratrooper mission. Unfortunately, it would be his last. A strong gust came up, and pulled Duke higher into the air. He kept going higher and started floating toward the creek. We started tossing rocks and dirt clods, trying to knock him down, but it was too late. The breeze carried Duke way, way out to the middle of the creek, where he finally crashed down. We were both amazed at how far he traveled, but that quickly turned to disappointment, and I lost interest in the game. Several years later, a friend of mine claimed that he found pieces of Duke washed up on the beach on the other side of the creek. I'd like to imagine he made it over there and survived for a while, before finally succumbing to old age and the elements.

Or he ended up in some guy's crab pots.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Part man, part machine, glows in the dark.


I was entirely too young the first time I saw Robocop. My parents didn't seem to mind me watching violence, but as soon as there was some nudity, I had to leave the room or cover my eyes. I could watch someone getting blown apart, but God forbid I catch a glimpse of a nipple. Weird. I still remember the terror I felt the first time I saw ED-209, growling and pumping bullet after bullet into that unfortunate office lackey. Seeing Emil after he ended up in the vat of toxic waste gave me nightmares. No matter what I did, the half melted man always got me..
Don't look in your closet kid. Trust me..


Those are just two of the many random acts of violence that occur over the course of the film's two hours. Remember now, I was only 7 or 8 the first time I saw this movie. It was so violent, that it was actually given an "X" rating by the MPAA. Then two years later, they turned it into a cartoon and a toyline. Ah..the 80's.

I only owned two of the figures from the Robocop and the Ultra Police line, and both of them were Robocop. One of them was the predecessor to the figure I have here today: Night Fighter Robocop.


The original Night Fighter Robocop used a slightly different mold than the standard figure. He had blue metallic highlights, a gatling gun in place of his right arm, and a new mold for his left arm. Originally, the figure was only available through mail-order, but eventually he ended up in stores.

I love that NECA has recreated the style of the old Kenner cardback.  Robocop and the U.P may not have been the coolest toy line out there, but their packaging definitely caught the eye. As you may have noticed, this figure's gimmick is the ability to glow in the dark. This was one of my favorite action features, because it doesn't require any springs, buttons or batteries and it doesn't affect the articulation or sculpting. Glowing toys also made great night lights, if you were into that sort of thing.


According to the back of the card, Robocop's night gear makes him invisible to evil-doers. So, the bad guys can't see the 7 foot tall glowing cyborg marching toward them? Perhaps it's so unbelievable they think their minds are playing tricks on them. Of course, this is based on an 80's toy, and as we all know, there was no such thing as logic when it came to the toys.



His coloration makes it hard to see, but this is one detailed figure. I'm assuming he uses the same mold as NECA's other Robocop figures, because every seam and rivet is where it should be. He has pretty decent articulation, though there were a couple of time I thought I was going to break something off. You have to take it easy with these figures when you first get them out of the box, as they tend to be a bit stiff. Once you get past that point, Robocop is decently articulated. There's some limitation in the range of movement for some of the joints, but then Robo was never the most flexible or spry character. You can still get him in some great poses though.


Night Fighter Robocop also comes with two accessories, one them is his Auto-9 pistol shown here:


He also comes with an extra right hand with an extended data spike. So, you can access the police department computers, or stab a ruthless murderer in the neck. Be careful though, it's quite fragile. I managed to snap mine within a few minutes of taking it out of the package. A quick application of Gorilla Glue, and all was well. Still, I tend to leave it on the shelf, for fear of breaking it off again.

So, you've come all this way, I'm sure you're curious how well he glows. Well..




Glowing figures are notoriously hard to photograph, and Robocop was no exception. He actually doesn't glow as bright as I had hoped, but I'm still working on finding the best light to charge him up. I'm thinking I either need to use different lights, or just let him charge up longer. Either way, I don't think my LED flashlights are the best option.

If I had any nitpicks about the figure, I would have loved to see NECA include a gatling gun arm, and it would have been great if the helmet was removable. As for the data spike, I think they could have made it retractable, so it would be less likely to get broken. Like I said though, these are just tiny little nitpicks, and don't take away from the figure at all.

I want to thank John Gaither over at The Clawful Punch for sending this one to me, along with a ton of other stuff I'll get to eventually. He saw I didn't want to blow an entire gift card on a Robocop figure, and he graciously sent this one over to me. Of course, after seeing how cool this one is, now I'm really tempted to buy the other one I've been looking at as well. Darn it.

Thanks again John!


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