Showing posts with label retro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retro. Show all posts

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.

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 11, 2013

My childhood (adult) boredom survival kit



Not mine
I used to get candy in these cool little tins for Christmas and Easter, but I rarely put them to use. I'm thinking most of them were tossed out once I finished eating the candy. I think my mom may have put some to use a few times. I seem to remember seeing a beat up candy tin sitting on a shelf at some point. Anyway, I had my carrying case, I just needed to figure out what to carry. I went through my figures and picked out my absolute favorites, which happened to all be G.I. Joes. I was really into the toyline and the cartoon at that point, so it only made sense they would be my favorites. They were also smaller than Masters of the Universe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, so I could carry several of them at a time. Action figures weren't the only thing in there though. I used to include some of the smaller minifigures I got out of vending machines, as well as a Flipsiders game I got for Christmas one year. I had a few smaller Transformers that made their way in there as well. Sometimes, one of my smaller Lego sets would end up in there too. I would carry this thing everywhere.  It really was a childhood survival kit, seeing how it kept me from dying of boredom numerous times.



When Chelsea gave me the Star Wars lunchbox for Easter, it gave me an idea: I would build another boredom survival kit. It would contain everything I would need to keep me entertained for all of life's dull moments. 


Doesn't look like much, huh?  I could have packed twice as much in there, but this seemed like a good balance of interesting objects. Let's see what's in there.



Action figures! I had to include the G.I. Joes for nostalgia's sake. Normally, I wouldn't think Cobra Commander would be much of a match for Snake Eyes. I prefer to imagine that this C.C. has had some training in the martial arts, just so he can give Snake Eyes a hard time. As for the Star Wars guys, I had trouble deciding between Boba Fett and Bossk, or Luke and Darth. Luke and Darth won out because of that whole good vs. evil dynamic. What do Boba and Bossk have to fight about? Who gets to pick up the bill at Jabba's palace? Actually, that's not such a bad scenario..


Smaller action figures. I had a metric ton of small figures I would get from the vending machine at the local A&P. My favorites were always spaceships, monsters, and M.U.S.C.L.E figures. Sometimes I would toss in a Lego man as well. The purple mech and the Godzilla-type monster actually came from a vending machine, while the guy on the left is a Crayboth from Onell Design. Of course, everyone recognizes the guy on the right. Yeah these guys are small, but they're also simple, durable, and have no accessories to lose. 


Keychain Battleship, because I never know when I might come across someone that's up for a game. Surprisingly, most of the keychain games are actually playable. The downside is that the small size means there's no room for the pegs to register your hits and misses. Hence, the reason I included the next two items..


Pocket notebook and pen. Handy for jotting down where those pesky battleships are hiding, or what you need to pick up from the grocery store. It's also handy for those spontaneous games of tic-tac-toe or hangman. 


Monocular and flashlight. I had a secret obsession with spies as a youngster. I blame it on seeing James Bond films at an early age. I was a bit too young to understand that plot, but I always loved the gadgets. I never had anything quite as cool as 007's gear, but I did have a penlight and a pair of pocket binoculars. This is sort of an updated version of my childhood spy tools. Now I have all I need for some late night or long distance snooping. 

Plus, that pocket notebook will come in handy for jotting down any secret spy stuff.

*GASP!* Man, it's stuffy in there.

Aaron's thinking putty. I used to have a large tub of putty similar to this. It was the kind of stuff they gave to patients with hand injuries, to help rebuild strength and dexterity. I used to find dozens of ways to incorporate that into my play scenarios. Sometimes it would be a large, gelatinous creature out to consume the world, or it could be a moldable body armor for my G.I. Joes. Aaron's putty actually has the same consistency as the stuff I used to have, just in a smaller package. It also glows in the dark, and by default, anything that glows in the dark is awesome. The putty also has the faint aroma of bacon. Weird..

Sure I could have used the Star Wars tin to carry my lunch, but where's the fun in that?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Boba Fett? Boba Fett where?

My original post was getting way too long, and was becoming the sort of thing that needs to go through the rough draft phase, so I decided to go with something a bit easier for tonight. And by easier I mean much, much, shorter.

Boba Fett. I know most people pick on the Fett-man, though I can't really blame them. He was accidentally defeated by a blind Han Solo, and ended up in the bottom of a giant,  sandy, toothed vagina in the middle of the desert. That doesn't cause me to like him any less though. From the first time I saw him in Return of the Jedi, he was my favorite character. I really don't know what drew me to Boba Fett, since we don't really get to see him do much during the trilogy. Maybe it was the jetpack. I was always fascinated by jetpacks as a kid. Anyway, by the time I found out there was a Boba Fett action figure, Star Wars toys hadn't been in stores for at least 5 years. There was no Ebay, in fact there was no internet that I knew of. The only thing I had to go by were ads in the toy price guides, when I could find them. Sadly, Boba Fett was always out of my price range, as I couldn't bring myself to spend $20 dollars on an action figure that was probably going to get played with and worn out. 

I actually ended up with several vintage Boba Fett figures the past few years, but they've all been sold or given away. Well, all except one:


Rocket firing Boba Fett! 





Okay...so it's really just the mail in version from a couple of years ago. I still love it though. I have to admit, I used to look down on the Star Wars figures. I just didn't like the fact their elbows and knees didn't bend like G.I. Joe's did. Now though, I can definitely appreciate their simplicity and ruggedness. The modern figures feel like they're going to break just by posing them. You could toss the vintage figures off a building, and they probably wouldn't suffer much more than some paint wear. They do have one annoying issue though:


Most of the Star Wars figures I've handled could barely hold on to their weapons. You had to pry G.I. Joe's weapons from their cold, plastic hands, while Boba Fett would hold his blaster like it was a used napkin. 

This figure is pretty close to the original, though I think it was made a bit taller, so it couldn't be passed off as an original Rocket Firing Boba Fett. It comes with two missiles, one that just sits in the launcher, and one that actually launches out of the jetpack

Non-firing version



Firing version
The rocket actually gets some decent range, though I doubt it's really enough to injure someone. I think it actually has a bit less power than the launchers all those Battle Corps G.I. Joes used to come with. I guess it is possible those early 1980's springs had a bit more strength than these wimpy ones we have in the 2000's. 
Still, it's probably not a bad idea to use some common sense and be safe when you're playing with toy rocket launchers. For example, never point them at yourself while your thumb in on the trigg....

Oh crap! Do I take it out or do I leave it in!??

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday....TO ME! Random stuff time

I'll make this one quick and dirty, since the lights keep flickering on me. 31 years ago today, I was birthed unto this world. There have been good times and bad, but mostly, it's been interesting. I can't wait to see how the other 100 years turn out.

CAKE >BRAINS!

Actually, while I'm here, I might as well bang out another post before the Halloween season is finished. Due to the inclement weather conditions, there's no guarantee I'll have the power to post after today.


That is a giant bag of Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis. I came across these in the Candy Corn M&M's search. According to the package, this is a limited time "Harvest Flavor". I guess that means once the Milky Way folks run out of apples, that's it for these candies.


They look pretty much the same as regular Milky Way's, though it seems there is more nougat than usual. It may be because I rarely eat Milky Ways, or it could be that I don't usually cut my candies in half and examine them. Probably all of the above. As for the taste, it's...intriguing. It reminds me of the caramel goo that comes in plastic packs that's usually kept next to the apples in the supermarket. It's definitely not a fresh apple flavor, more of a Bed, Bath, and Beyond scented candle flavor. That's not to say it's bad, but it's not something I would eat more than one or two of.

Regarding the Candy Corn M&M's, the only real difference from the regular M&M's is the former being made of white chocolate. I've read many reviews from folks complaining about the awful flavor of these things, but I have to say, I rather like them. They will be missed when they're gone.

This next thing isn't really related to Halloween, but it's still cool nonetheless. On one of my trips to Dollar Tree, I discovered they were selling comic book two packs that came with a trading card. As you're about to see, some of the cards are actually pretty old:





Goonies trading cards! Goonies actually remains one of my favorite movies, and I like to give it credit for shaping me into the person I am today. For several years, I was obsessed with finding buried treasure, and I used to pore over maps of the Eastern Shore, trying to find some hidden clues that would lead me to untold riches. Since I'm sitting here typing this for you, it's safe to assume that I have not found any treasure. Yet. I'm still puzzled by the fact that movie trading cards exist. I can understand comic cards, and sports cards, but I never got sucked into the movie card craze. Goonies doesn't really seem like a property that would lend itself to a lot of merchandise, though I have to admit, a line of Goonies action figures would have kicked ass.




This is one line I was familiar with, though I don't think I ever actually owned any when they were new. They're obviously based on the TMNT cartoon, and there appear to be 99 of them in a set. Going by the back of the card, Shredder's Foot Soldiers were using some serious hi-tech weaponry. Throwing stars that are computerized smart bombs, heat-ray shooting swords, and manriki-gusari that use magnetic tractor beams, yet they still couldn't take out four teenage turtles using weapons made of wood and steel. By the way, what the hell is a manriki-gusari? Is it that fan looking weapon the Foot Soldier's using in that picture?

I don't think I posted this one yet, since I just found it a few days ago..Here's a pic of Chelsea and I from the Halloween of 2009(?). We went as Clark Kent and Lois Lane. I actually wore a shirt that was a bit too small, so I looked a bit beefier. The see through shirt was actually a commentary on the transparency of the Clark Kent disguise, and showed how there could be a Superman in all of us. True story, wasn't accidental at all.

Today will be the last measurement of the Monster Eyeball. He grew quite a bit from the last time, topping out at 5.7 oz, and 8 1/2" in circumference. Not as big as I would have hoped, but still impressive.

I'm actually going to keep it around for a while, I'm curious to see how well it will hold up over time. Sadly, I think this post will mark the end of October for me. The electricity situation isn't looking very promising right now, and I expect to live like it's 1805 at any moment now. I hope everyone's enjoyed this Halloween season, and for those of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy, keep low and stay safe. I look forward to having more good times next month.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TMNT Series 1 Shredder

If there were a Hall-Of-Fame for 80's cartoon villians, it would be a crime to leave out Shredder. In every incarnation of the TMNT, there has been a Shredder, trying to turn the heroes into turtle soup. He was initially portrayed as a bit of a fool in the original cartoon, but he has become more and more menacing with each new incarnation. Like all of the other characters in the TMNT universe, Shredder was released in action figure form, more than once actually. This one is from the first wave of TMNT action figures, and I actually found him at a yard sale for $.50 a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, this is probably the worst figure from the first series. He looked nothing like his cartoon counterpart, and was rather poorly sculpted as well. In the show, Shredder was a tall and imposing character  and he looked like he would be a physical match for the Turtles. This guy though, looks like Shredder has hit hard times and had to sell the Technodrome to fund a drug habit. Look at those huge bags under his eyes. This is a man that spends his nights thinking of ways to defeat four teenage mutants with an addiction to pizza while he's curled up in a cardboard box in the alley.  Going by his visible ribs and overall skinny appearance, it looks like Shredder gave up his quest for turtle soup, and is on a daily quest for crack.

Shredder's odd pose doesn't help either. The one hand that can hold a weapon is too close to his body to be useful, and the one outstretched arm has an open hand that makes it look like Shredder is trying to keep warm next to a fire barrel.

Of course, Shredder does have a couple of other poses:


The "I have no idea what that smell is" pose , and...


"Raise your hand if you're the lackey of a giant brain shaped alien with unlimited technology and resources that can't even defeat four teenagers led by a giant rat that all live in the sewers" pose.

Strange as the figure may be, he still got a lot of play when I originally owned him. Of course, once Super Shredder came on the scene, this one spent the rest of his time in the toybox, holding his one hand over the fire barrel, telling stories about how he almost beat those turtles..




Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Let me show you my Mantenna

Dammit! I can see you kids! Get off my lawn!

Ah..Mantenna. I'm embarrassed, but I actually had to look up his name. This figure came to me via a contest on Toyriffic last year. I actually had Mantenna as a child, but he was lost, given away, or blown up at some point. I'm not sure really.

If you couldn't guess, his special power was seeing really far, as well as shooting beams of varying annoyance. It also appears that he was suffering from awful allergies, or the Horde didn't have a policy against marijuana at the time. The poor guy has been suffering from bloodshot eyes for close to 30 years now. The real embarrassing thing is that I just noticed something about him a few short days ago...
Mantenna has four legs! I'm serious, I never noticed it before now. Man, I must have been a slow kid.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unlucky for you, you've rolled....Snake Eyes!


As a child of the 80's, it's probably a good bet that I was a fan of the G.I. Joe toy line while I was growing up. Oddly enough, I can't actually remember which figure was my first, but Snake Eyes was always one that I lusted over. I'm not sure what the attraction was, since I never read the comics, and hadn't started watching the cartoon yet. Maybe it was the whole concept of a ninja with an UZI. I mean, ninjas are cool and UZIs are cool...COOL + COOL = AWESOME!. At least I'm sure that's how 8 year old me saw things.

An UZI and a sword? I think I hear Rambo crying in the corner..
My first Snake Eyes was actually the 3rd version put out by Hasbro. It was a decent figure, but it just lacked the character of the first two versions. Still, it was heads and tails above the next version, which I like to call 'Paintball Snake Eyes'. Of course, 1991 was a weird year for that G.I. Joe, as it started to usher in the era of launching missiles and neon colors that persisted until the line finally died out in the early 90's. There were a few lines released after that, but they never really had the same appeal to me as the originals. Fast forward about 10 years, and you have the 25th anniversary of G.I. Joe, accompanied by an all new line of figures. That's where this guy comes in.



This particular figure was a Christmas gift from my awesome girlfriend. It's the 25th anniversary take on the 2nd version Snake Eyes, which happens to be my favorite. Everything is there, from the grenades on his bandoleer, the iconic visor, to the UZI. He even comes with what has to be one of the most bad-ass accessories to ever come with an action figure:

A freakin' wolf.
That's right, a ninja that was armed with an UZI,  a sword, and a pissed off wolf. That's a combo that really gets the 8 year old me hyped up, and it's why this Snake Eyes will remain one of my favorites.

Those Cobra Troopers just insulted your mother. Go fetch!




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