Showing posts with label kenner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kenner. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Awesome leftover toys

Chelsea and I made the long, long drive to Buffalo, NY this past weekend for a friend's wedding. It was actually a lot of fun, even if I did spend most of the time eating way too much food. One of the best things about visiting my wife's family, is we usually don't need to spring for a hotel room while we're there. Almost all of them have a room or two to spare, and they offer much better service than any hotel ever could. The last night of our trip was spent at Chelsea's aunt's house, in her cousin's room.

When my father in-law first opened the door to the cousin's bedroom, it looked like your normal spare bedroom setup. There was a desk with an iMac, a set of book shelves and a dresser, and a large futon mattress in the floor. Since I was pretty exhausted, it took me a few seconds to notice all the relics hiding in plain sight. The excitement I felt gave me the energy to stay up at least another hour, giving me a chance to document some of the cooler stuff before I finally passed out.
If you follow me on Twitter, you saw the treasures I discovered in that room. If not, then keep reading, and get a more detailed look at my findings.


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.



Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lost lightsaber? Time for an upgrade Obi Wan!

You know how it goes. You're just sneaking around on a Death Star, minding your own business, when a powerful Sith Lord challenges you to a lightsaber duel.




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.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Batman Returns Bruce Wayne is ready for Halloween!

Today's post is about a billionaire playboy orphan egomaniac with an awesome car.



Released in 1992, Bruce Wayne was released in the Batman Returns line by Kenner. This is actually the second time this figure was produced, with the first being from the pre-sequel Dark Knight Collection. I know it may seem a bit farfetched, writing about Bruce Wayne during the Halloween Countdown, but stick around for a bit. I'll get you there.



I love the illustration of Bruce on the card. The Keaton likeness isn't too bad actually, and it looks quite a bit like him if you turn your head to the side and look at him from the corner of your eye. It's a good mix of comic and movie Bruce Waynes. My favorite part of the face is that smug look Bruce has. That's the look of a man that's a bit annoyed about seeing the Bat signal in the sky once again. He was probably kicked back with a good book and a bottle of wine, or maybe he was entertaining one of his many lady friends. He didn't even bother with going down to the Batcave. He just walked over to the closet, and pulled on his quick change armor. That's the kind of look that says, "This will only take a second baby, stay right there. Why don't you get another glass of the 1943 Chateau du Toilette?"


Most of the other Batman figures from this line were all repaints of the Super Powers version. Bruce here is one of the few that has his own unique sculpt. He's also one of the most stylish, next to the Joker, of course. Bruce is decked out in a turtleneck and a what appear to be a pair of black spandex pants. Bruce was obviously a fashion icon in the late 1980's. I love how there's a stylized version of the Batman symbol on his sweatshirt. I didn't pick it up at first, but after staring at it for a few hours, I'm positive that's what it is. I really have no idea why he would have an abstract Bat-symbol on his shirt. Did Batman somehow negotiate some sort of clothing deal?


Bruce Wayne also comes with what has to be the largest cell phone ever made. Forget a brick, that thing is a cinder block. With a phone that size, I have to imagine that it runs on a car battery. No wonder Bruce is so buff, if he has to carry that thing around all day. It also has a small click wheel on the side. I'm not sure what else to say about that. Maybe it's so you can pretend Batman is talking to the dolphins?


So Bruce looks up in the sky and sees the Bat-signal on a passing cloud. It seems Batman is needed to save the day once again. Well, it's a good thing Bruce has his quick change armor close by. All he has to do is don his mask, cape, chest piece, gauntlets and boots, and he's ready to go!


And here's Batman, all suited up and ready to thwart the next criminal plot. Sure, he looks like he's wearing Hulk hands, and one gauntlet is forever clutching a Batarang, but evil doesn't care how ridiculous you look. Also, his head doubles in size when you put the cowl on. Maybe there's a bike helmet hidden in that thing. As silly as the figure looks with the armor on, I have to admit that it feels pretty solid. The gloves in particular are actually pretty hard to put on, so they're not coming off on their own. The cape is permanently attached to the cowl, so you don't have to worry about it coming off and getting lost. It's comforting to know that I could hold him out the window on my way to work, and watch his cape flutter without having to worry that it will come off mid flight.



Like a lot of Kenner's other figures, the Batman cardbacks always showed you the other toys available within that line. This one gives you an idea of just how ridiculous some of these suits were. I always thought that Arctic Batman would have been better suited for fighting Mr. Freeze, rather than the Penguin. He even has a dome over his head, just like the icy villain. I actually had a couple of these other figures, Air Attack Batman and Deep Dive Batman. AA Bats was pretty cool with his heavily armed jet suit and cool camouflage costume, but Deep Dive Batman always irked me with his bright color scheme. Wouldn't it be better to blend in with the water, rather than stand out like a beacon? I also had the Robin figure, which was probably one of my favorites. I think it was the two-toned cape. I'm always a sucker for a figure with a cool cape. I was always puzzled by his inclusion since he wasn't actually in the movie. Then I find out he was going to be played by a Wayans brother and I realized it was probably for the best the character was cut from an already crowded flick.


When I saw the Batman Armor set on the back of the card, I had an epiphany. This isn't Bruce Wayne as a crime fighter. This is a Bruce Wayne in an alternate reality, where he's just a regular billionaire egomaniac looking to win the costume contest and score with the ladies. That explains why it looks so shoddy. Bruce might be one of the richest men in the world, but he's an awful seamstress. Now that smug look of his makes perfect sense.


"Which one of you lovely ladies wants to slide down the Bat-pole?"

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.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Swamp Thing, I think I love you...

I'm really not sure which came first, DC's Swamp Thing, or Marvel's Man-Thing. They both have very similar origin stories, having started out as scientists that were involved in accidents with their experiments that left them near death in a swamp. The chemicals reacted with the plant life around them, and caused them both to turn into plant based monsters. Unfortunately for Man-Thing, only Swamp Thing gained enough popularity to spawn two feature length movies, a live action television series, an animated mini-series, and of course, a line of action figures.

Speaking of action figures, that's what I have to show off today; Bio-Glow Swamp Thing.


As much as I liked the Swamp Thing figures, I have to admit that it's an odd property for an action figure line. He's nowhere near as iconic as Batman or Superman, and asking someone if they'd like to see your Swamp Thing will likely get you a beating. All I'm saying is nobody wanted to be Swamp Thing when it was pretend time. That doesn't mean he isn't a cool character, he is. I just think he's a bit too weird to become as mainstream as the costumed heroes.


Much like Kenner's Batman Lines, there were numerous versions of Swamp Thing released. There were four different ones in the first wave alone. I'm not ashamed to admit that I owned all four at one time, while I only ever owned one villain, Weed Killer. While I'm on the villains, this is one area Kenner really dropped the ball. The bad guys were all normal action figures, that came with masks that turned them into grotesque monsters. Sadly, the masks were just larger versions of those little rubber monsters that you can stick on your finger tips. They were actually pretty fragile, and would tear easily if you weren't careful. The mask didn't really add any play value to the figures, so I normally left it off. Swamp Thing also had a couple of human allies. There was Tomahawk, the Native American with a name that some would say is currently offensive, and this guy:


I'm not even going to pick on his ridiculous name, or the fact that he's just fighting monsters with a water gun. What has me scratching my head is the fact they made him a Vietnam Veteran. Was this a selling point for kids back then? I can't remember being disappointed if I picked up an action figure and it wasn't eligible for membership in the VFW. Enough talk about disillusioned war heroes, we're here to talk about things from the swamp!


According to the little bio on the back of the card, Bio-Glow Swamp Thing is adapted to chasing around the evil Un-Men in the desert at night. I guess that means he's Desert Thing as well. This form appears to be made up of cacti, which makes sense since there isn't much else in the way of vegetation out there. He actually has a bunch of sharp thorns on his arms and legs, so you definitely don't want to step on him with bare feet. Don't ask me how I know. You would think a large, glowing plant man would be pretty easy to avoid, but maybe mutants have poor night vision. Or, maybe Swamp Thing blends in with the other..glowing cacti? Is that a thing?





Swampie also comes with a large flint bladed axe, and a rather pointy mace that will poke holes in you if you're not paying attention. They go hand in hand with his super arm swinging action, so he can flail his weapons about wildly. Just squeeze his legs together and his fists start flying. It's the same sort of action feature Kenner was famous for when they were making the Super Powers line. You can get his arms moving pretty fast, so you better not get him too close to your face. I remember his weapons had a tendency to fly out of his hands, so there's a chance you may lose an eye to the pointy plastic mace.





If you couldn't tell from his name, Bio-Glow Swamp Thing also has the ability to glow in the dark. He's not quite as bright as some toys that I've seen, and he doesn't glow for very long. Actually, a thought just popped into my head as I was typing this. What's the point of figures that glow in the dark? You'd have to play with them in a pitch black room to get the full effect, and then you wouldn't actually be able to see what you were doing. I know I never really played with my toys in the dark. I was always too worried about losing their pieces.

At least there's a good chance I'd see him before he ended up stuck in the bottom of my foot.
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