Friday, October 7, 2011

You like the movie Sucker Punch? Have you seen the Amber Statue by Gentle Giant??

We have a lot of product come through our doors, but sometimes we have to stop and be reminded how cool some of this stuff really is!  I am talking about the Amber Sucker Punch Statue by Gentle Giant. 

The detail in this statue is simply amazing!  This is the description released from Gentle Giant of the statue:

"You won't believe your eyes when you see these girls kick some serious butt in Zack Snyder's new film Sucker Punch! Sculpted with precision details and hand painted by professional artisans, this expertly crafted large scale statue from Gentle Giant stands an amazing 18-inches tall and features film accurate details. Including An inscribed samurai sword, 1911 pistol, authentic costuming and stunning character likeness. A true showpiece for collectors with discerning tastes and an eye for quality. Cast in high quality poly-stone This strictly limited edition collectible is sure to impress. Zack Snyder (director of Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen and 300) has described his new film as "Alice in Wonderland with machine guns", including dragons, B-25 bombers giant Mech suits and armies of undead German soldiers!"

A customer of ours emailed me, today, with some great high resolution pics of this statue!  I will say that these statues are for mature adults and the pictures posted may be considered bit risque, but they show the detail in this statue and I think collectors will appreciate it! As of today we have this statue in stock and it can be yours by clicking the link below!

Click on a image to see it full size!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Clone Wars Season 4 Premiere Review (Part 1)

Man, I just watched part 3 of the Clone Wars Season 4 Premiere. I can't help it, I'm frustrated. I didn't want to say anything until the conclusion hoping they would salvage something with the ending. Understand that I go into each episode wanting to love them. There is so much potential with this series, it kills me that they haven't executed a quality story since the beginning of season 3.

This story isn't original. A king dies. A war starts. A young prince must prove himself and take back the throne. I don't mind knowing that in the end everything will be alright and the good guys will triumph over evil. What I DO care about is how we get there. I want some character progression with our main stars. I want actions to make sense and have consequences. It's all in the details, and this is where these episodes fall apart. Spoilers ahead. Ye be warned.

Things That Bothered Me Episode #4.1

The King of the Mon Calimari has just been murdered and the Quarren refuse to accept the young heir as the new ruler. A shark ambassador named Talon is brought in to counter the Mon Calamari's request of the Republic representatives. Talon ends the talks and the two peoples go to war.

1) Boots?
In the first two seconds I notice the Quarren are swimming with boots and I'm already distracted. Why are the Quarren wearing any kind of foot wear at all? The Mon Calimari are dressed in shells and seaweed. Why dress the Quarren in surface clothing?

2) Tanson's Many Hats
So he's an ambassador when we first see him, then he's the sole leader of the Quarren Army. I thought there was a big stink about letting another Calimari lead the people, but they allow this shark guy, who is not even from their world, to lead their army?

3) Plan of Attack
The army comes over the ridge, sees the city and just start firing their guns. They aren't in the city yet, they're just shooting at the city with their hand held weapons. Then, the army swims right by the Prince who is watching them from his window. Maybe capturing the Prince should have been part of the initial attack? Maybe a little reconnaissance to figure out where the Prince is going to be? Heck, the Prince had no idea the attack was even coming. Why not insert a scene where a squad attacks the Prince and his council? There could be a little fight defending the Prince. Finally, they escape through some hidden tunnels under the floor or something.

4) Defense Plan
The Quarren and Droid Army just swim right through the city shooting. They have no troop formation or take any cover. You'd think this would be pretty easy for the Calimari to pick these guys off. Instead, the Calimari army also jumps up from behind their cover and battle in the open water.

5) Gerbil Tubes
What are the reason for these things? It would make sense if they were some sort of giant straws that sucked you or pushed you through the tubes so you could rest or something, but it seems they are just tubes with no purpose but to clog up when big groups are going opposite ways.

5) Falling?
The Prince, Anakin, Padme, and some others are swimming in a gerbil tube to get behind the attacking army. A giant rock or building falls onto the tube and cuts our heroes off from their following reinforcements. We see the Calimari reinforcements actually screaming and falling to their doom? Why don't they just start swimming?

6) Swimming
How can the surface people keep up with the underwater people? The humans should be kicking their little legs off as the underwater creatures effortlessly cut through the water. There should have been some scenes where the underwater people are pulling the surface people to hurry them up. The Jedi could just force push off a building or the sea floor to move. Better yet, they could grab onto a distant heavy rock or building and instead of lifting it, they could pull themselves to it. That would be a new way to use the force power, eh?

8) Republic Reinforcements
What's the deal with the troops jumping out of the speeding ships? Did you notice how fast those ships were traveling? Your mouthpiece and accompanying teeth would be ripped out of your mouth hitting the water at that speed. Have you ever wiped out on water skis? Now triple that speed, add 5 feet of height, and add some scuba gear. Best of luck. (No wonder they need so many clones.)

9) Missed Opportunities
Remember when Anakin loses his helmet? Just when the tension is about to build, Ahsoka gives him his helmet and they joke about him almost dying. Is it me or do the main characters seem a bit indestructible? I thought it would have been cool to stretch out the drama a little. Maybe add a part where Anakin uses the force to pull his sinking helmet back to him. The helmet is about halfway, but another Quarren attacks him. While defending himself against blaster fire he loses his concentration and the helmet starts to sink again. Now, looking through Anakin's eyes we see everything starting to go black as he begins to pass out. Just before total darkness we see Ahsoka coming to the rescue. Then, Anakin's eyes open, and we're staring at Ahsoka through the helmet that she must have put back on.

10) Swimming II
When the underwater species are fighting each other, they should be darting around, not swimming like a humans.

11) Republic Scuba Suits
How much air is in those tanks? Nobody ever worries about running out of air? Also, how do you turn those inner lights off? You would think those lights would have given them away when they were hiding.

12) What's Going on?
The droids are retreating. Anakin says the droids could have easily overrun them. We cut to the Quarren leader telling Tanson that his Aqua Droids are no match for the Calimari army.

13) Jellyfish Robots
Tanson says these things are half machine and half monster and indestructible to boot. How did he capture them? How are they being controlled? Why aren't they attacking in the other episodes?

Speaking of other episodes. I'll be going over those too. Right now, I need a break. I'll watch Episode 11 of Young Justice. Now THAT show has some talented writers. For one, the good guys don't always win. What a novel concept.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Testing the Waters

You may have noticed, if you've been to the Past Generation Toys eBay store, an influx of Japanese toys and action figures. Here at Past Generation Toys we are always willing to broaden our horizons. If that brings us to the land of the horizon's starting point, Japan, so be it. I, for one, couldn't be more excited. Japanese action figures remind me of why I love collecting toys. I can't believe some of these figures come with 6 extra hands or use 5 different paint colors on one eyeball! Can you believe that you can still go into a Toys R Us and get a Transformer off the shelf with die cast parts?! It's true!

I don't want to get into a quality war with American toys because I feel it's unfair. There is definitely a collectors niche in Japan that has enough buying power to warrant high end figures. Here in America action figures, like cartoons, are still seen as kid stuff and adults can't escape the negative stigma attached to those of us who watch or collect cartoon figures. Thankfully, this fog of distortion is starting to lift. The Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park are slowly pulling the American people out of their live action funk.

Japan, on the other hand, has been reading manga (comics) and watching anime (cartoons) forever. I don't mean just the kids, mind you, I'm talking the whole country! And why not? There are stories on pretty much every job or interest out there. You can pop your bike tire, bring it into a bike repair shop, and read a manga about bike mechanics while you wait. I lived in Japan for 6 years and this actually happened. Strange as it may seem, this saturation of manga and anime has primed the pump for an flood of collectibles that are gobbled up by all age groups.

I don't know if toy collecting in America will ever be accepted on the same level as Japan. There are plenty of cartoons and movies with interesting characters, but the targeted audience is still children. This cycle is a self-fulfilling prophecy. American toy companies aren't building high end collectibles figures because people aren't buying high end collectibles from them. What the toy companies don't understand is that collectors have money. Well, we don't, but collectors will SPEND money on quality products. Just ask Hong Kong based Hot Toys. The Joker MMS DX 01 with the PERS feature is nearing a grand on the secondary market. Can you believe that?! Of course you can that is the best Joker figure ever made. A quality product based on a quality form of entertainment and a targeted audience above the PG-13 rating.

If you build them, we will buy.

R. Ticulation

Friday, September 2, 2011

Behind the Gas Mask: GI Joe's Hazmat Viper Action Figure Review

Have you seen the new GI Joe 30th Anniversary wave of figures? Honestly, you don't need to see them all. Just one. The Hazard Viper. He... is... hhhaaaaaawesome. That is, good enough to be vetted by the 5 Ps. Without further adieu:

Package: 8

I don't really put a lot of weight behind packaging. I can comfortably say I've never been seduced by packaging. I HAVE been angered by packaging, though. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has spilled precious blood opening a Marvel Legends action figure. Those clear plastic clam shells should have came with chain mail gloves. The goal of a package is to catch the attention of your wondering eye among a wall full of colorful competitors. Can it be a catalyst that leads you to a sale? If you're over the age of 4, I hope not.

The new package design looks a little more adult. Gone are the bright colors. They have been replaced by deep reds and metallic touches. For a military toy it makes sense. The character portrait to the left of the blister also looks pretty serious and, dare I say, a bit creepy. With the gas mask on, The Hazmat Trooper looks like the next maniacal killer in some future horror movie. The blister has also been updated. The plastic bubble now has some raised design patterns in the corners. If Hasbro would have asked me, I'd have told them to skip the texturing and keep the price down. Then again, I'm just a consumer.

Paint: 7

Not much to brag about here. The orange colored plastic takes care of most of what would have been numerous paint applications. There is some nice detail on the chest tanks, the cobra emblem, and blue bio-hazard canisters.

Parts: 9

Quite a bit of parts. You get the figure stand, 2 hand guns, one strange looking gun, a suitcase with 3 blue canisters, and another gun with connecting hose and backpack. By squeezing the backpack you can suck up and shoot out water, or whatever. The chest tanks, as well as, the hooded gas mask and connecting hoses are also removable to add to the list of accessory pats. Also, with a little effort, the vest can also be removed. Other than missing holsters for the hand guns, this figure seems to have it all.

Poseability: 6

I'm sad to say there is only very limited movement in the knees. I understand that the outfit doesn't lend itself to any activity above shuffling slowly forward, but being able to have the figure kneel down would have been nice. The bulky vest also takes away from some normal leg, waist, and shoulder movements. Could Hasbro have designed its way around this? I'm not sure you could keep the puffy look and still keep poseablity with that hard plastic.

Planning:  >>>>>ERROR<<<<<

What do you mean? Error?


It has come to the attention of the 5 Ps that the Hazmat Viper, thought to be a unique figure, has been identified as a repaint of the Volcano Viper from the Pursuit of Cobra line of figures. Additionally, the backpack with connecting hose and gun are have also been identified as repainted accessories packaged with the Arctic Destro figure of the same line. For this reason, the Hazmat/Hazard Viper has been rejected by the 5 Ps grading system.

>>>>>END OF LINE<<<<<

I'm about to Hulk Out right now. This figure already existed? When did that happen? Was he in the movie? How dare they hide such a cool figure inside that pile of a movie. Even the curves of the Baroness couldn't make me like the GI Joe movie. She was a nice distraction, but couldn't keep me from my overall feeling of disappointment due to the giant plot holes. Why would you give newly developed robotic super-suits to a couple of new recruits who haven't even read the operational instructions?! I don't mind suspending my logic, but when I'm forced to write off physics too?! What happens when you put ice in a glass of liquid? It floats, right? So why did I see ice sinking and crushing Cobra's underwater Arctic base? My friend and I left the theater laughing. Guilty by association, I steered clear of any Pursuit of Cobra GI Joe toys.

Now, I kinda want the Volcano Viper. I like the original black and gray deco, but enough to endure the storage of the drilling pod? Maybe I can find him loose. The Volcano Viper is also missing that sweet suitcase with the radioactive canisters, though. Hmmm. I guess the Hazmat Trooper is the only way I can appreciate this figure now. I'll get two more Hazmat Vipers, but these figures will be bought under protest and will forever have an asterisk next to their purchase. I can't believe this figure is a repaint. I won't be duped again.

Until next time, I'll see you in the toy aisles,


Monday, August 29, 2011

Thundrecats Action Figures, you are gonna want these!

Do you remember watching Thundercats when you got home from school?  Do you remember the glory days of cartoons when everyone watched the show and talked about it all week.  You just could not wait until the show next week when the story would pick up, and you would have something new to talk about.  Thundercats was one of the most popular of these, debuting in the late 80s.  Well Thundercats is back and is airing on Cartoon Network, Thundercats is looking to reclaim its glory.  Don't forget to see the post by R. Ticulation titled "Thundercats Hooooold up! I Got Some Questions." 

Along with the new series, an animated movie also came out last year.  I think it is safe to say Thundercats is back.  New and exciting Thundercats action figures are now available, as well.  They include moving parts, accessories, and an internal magnet.  Yes, you heard me correctly, a magnet.  The magnet makes the action figures compatible with other Thundercats products, such as the ThunderRacers and the ThunderTank.  These toys are one of a kind and a must have for any Thundercats fan.  They are also a great gift idea for collectors and children alike.  With the release of the new series, the popularity of Thundercats is growing once again.  It is one that has withstood the test of time and will continue to be around.  Get a jump on picking up these great new Thundercats action figures right here at Past Generation Toys.  The great Thundercats series is back, and the Thundercats toys are awesome.  Click on Mumm-ra below to see what we have in stock!

See ya round the cyber store,

Chase Figure

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011 Clone Wars Figures: Kiss Your Hamiltons Good-Bye

I haven't seen the New Clone Wars figures on the store pegs, but they have crossed into the sanctuary of the Past Generation Toys shop. Under my overly critical collector's eye I came up with a quick list of the Top 5 "must have" figures.

The full list of contenders are as follows:

First Case
- Clone Commander Jet
- Plo Koon (Cold Weather Gear)
- Savage Opress (Shirtless)
- ARF Trooper (Kamino)

Second Case
- Saesee Tiin
- Clone Trooper (Stealth Ops)
- Kit Fisto (Cold Weather Gear)
- Seripas
- Captain Rex (Jet Pack)

Third Case
- Even Piell
- Savage Opress (Armored)
- Chewbacca
- R7-D4

As I've said before, the current Clone War figures are taking one step forward and two steps back. The molding and paint applications are improving, but at the cost of poseability. Sure, the smaller head and hand sculpts more accurately fit the body proportions, but did we have to loose the hinges in the wrist joints AND ankle joints? I understand; the cost of the new molds are offset by the reduction in articulation. But did you have to take away both wrists AND all ankle joint articulation?

Alright. Alright. That's enough of my complaining... right after this!

Hey, Hasbro. What's with Yoda's eyes? Why did you decide to paint them looking down? He's the smallest guy in the Star Wars universe, why's he looking at feet? An even better idea than the obvious straight ahead glare would have been to have Yoda looking slightly upward. Then he can be posed darting along the ground, saber lit and held behind him, ready to throw a beatin' on anyone who says he sounds like Grover.

Ahhhhh. That felt good to get out. Now that I'm no longer hyperventilating, I guess I can step down off my righteous soap box and get to the 5 figures to spend your hard earned coin on.

5) Cold Weather Gear Plo Koon

Remember when Spider-man figures covered the toy shelves like wallpaper? We had Skydiving Spider-man, Skateboarding Spider-man, and even Soccer Player Spider-man. Hopefully, Clone Wars won't slide down this slippery slope. With that said, Snow Bunny Plo Koon looks impressive... most impressive. The figure comes with his trusty lightsaber, clip on snow shoes(!), and a winter mask. The winter breathing mask was cool enough to push him into the threshold of the Top 5. Kit Fisto is in similar garb and gets some sweet goggles, but his tentacle neck warmer seemed too much of a stretch for me. Isn't Kit Fisto more like a fish guy? I just picture him needing to keep his face moist. Fisto should have had a climate control fishbowl dome or something. Anyway, Plo Koon isn't super poseable in his snowmobile suit, but neither were Obi-wan and Anikin in their snow fatigues.

4) Commander Jet

Jet is mash-up of a couple of other figures with a Geonosis repaint. His helmet earmuffs are actually tolerable with the little antennae sprouting out of them. Yes, I'm angry about the wrists having only a swivel joint, but the ball hinged ankles settle me down a bit. Plus, I'm a sucker for the double pistols and the holsters that actually hold them. I know the paint is suppose to be the Geonosis paint scheme, but ever since the Flame Thrower troopers, (repaints of the Snow Gear Rex), I just see these colors as the Clone Trooper Fire Brigade. Commander Jet is going to look sooooo cool posed in front of the other Geonosis troopers from the Target 2 Packs. My army of repainted firemen.

3) Chewbacca

Our favorite Wookie made an appearance in the season finalie of Season 3 of the Clone Wars. He's a prisoner along with with Asoka and some other captured Padawans. They're being hunted by whatever race of creature Bossk is. I'm only mentioning this because I was disappointed that when Chewbacca is revealed he looks EXACTLY the same as we know him from the first Star Wars films. He even has his bandolier belt/pouch thingie. You would think they would have taken it off him. I'm thinking it would have been cooler to make him a little skinnier. Maybe he could arrive without his pouch and we get the bags origin story. Maybe we observant viewers see the pouch on one of the lieutenants and after Chewbacca beats up this guy, he lifts it off him. It comes in handy a couple of times so he keeps it. I'm just saying.

When this figure was first released by Hasbro he was called the Kashyyyk Warrior giving you no indication that this was actually Chewbacca. The Chewie sculpt is brand-spanking-new and honestly looks more Star Wars-y than Clone Wars-y. This version of Chewbacca would look right at home with any of your Star Wars figures from the vintage line. My favorite part of this figure is his face; specifically the eyes. He has some dark paint applications which really make the details in his blue eyes pop. Someone must have put some extra time into programming the machine that would paint Chewbacca's blue eyes. That machine deserves some extra oil. Chewbacca comes with his patented bow blaster and another bow blaster that belongs in the garbage next to the game pieces.

2) Armored Savage Opress

Cool character with a decent story, but when the episode ended, I wanted more. I could say the same about the figure. Why not give this guy the points of articulation he deserves? All the Jedi jump here and flip there, so why not splurge and give him wrist and ankle joints? Not only that, but I don't remember him being so yellow in the show. I jokingly heard him called the Simpsons Sith. I also noticed that his double saber is a little short. It should be the length of two lightsabers, plus the middle handle. Even with these beefs, this figure lands pretty close to the mark. The sculpt and paint is very subtle and detailed. His orange and yellow eyes, the sneer on his face, and his skull horns all look great. Hasbro even painted his fingernails! I am most impressed with the idea of combining plastic and cloth for his skirt. Instead of having a chunk of plastic with slits on the sides, this skirt has plastic only in the front, while the rest of the waist is surrounded by black cloth. Opress is free to do the Russian splits now, if he so desires. I wish they would do this combination with all Jedi figures.

1) Serapis

"The galaxy is on Orion's bea...bea...belt." Remember that little guy from the first MIB movie? Well, this is the Clone Wars version. Serapis made a showing in a Clone Wars homage to the Seven Samurai movie by Akira Kurosawa. Serapis and a group of other bandits were hired to defend a town from some space pirates. Embo made his first appearance in this episode too. Now that they have two from that particular episode, mark my words, you'll see a 3 pack with Serapis, Embo, and either the hooded sniper or the Darth Maul looking girl.

Out of all the new figures released in these 3 waves, Serais is the cream of the crop. The battle suit is full of moving parts and hidden gems. For one, the left forearm hides a saw blade just like in the episode. By pressing a small button on the bottom of the right forearm releases the second surprise; a forearm missile launcher. The best feature is the flip-top helmet that reveals Serapis in the suit's cockpit. Serapis is even removable! Though his arms have some minor articulation, his legs do not move. That won't stop me from purchasing 3 of these when they finally make it to the toy shelves.

And there you have it. Surfing ARC Trooper didn't make the cut and neither did the no-joints-below-the-waist pink Yoda. Jet Pack Rex almost broke the Top 5 with that cloth skirt of his, but then I noticed not only did he loose his ankle and wrist joints, but lost is torso articulation too! If that wasn't enough, his extra large helmet fits like he's wearing a bucket. On the bright side, it's worth mentioning that included in the new cases are Commander Wolfe and that other impossible to find figure, Commander Colt. So we get a second chance to scoop up these guys.

I'll see you in the toy aisles,

R. Ticulation

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thundercats Hooooold up! I Got Some Questions.

I've been waiting for this new Thundercats cartoon ever since I saw the first trailer. I heard the original Lion-O was going to voice the King and I started geeking out. I'm not a big fan of reboots I'd rather see something original. But, I get it. There's some profit to be made in mining my childhood. Growing up we had about 5 channels and had to get up to change them. Back then we all watched the same shows. Now entertainment is diluted over 500 cable stations, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and more. Be that as it may, this particular night, I was tuned into Cartoon Network. The show had a promising start. We begin with an overhead shot of Thundara and slowly zoom into the city. There is some epic, original music and Count Dooku is doing the voice over. He speaks of the Book of Omens and a prophecy of a great king, born of fire, will do battle with "ancient spirits of evil". (Nudge. Nudge.) At this time I'm thinking that they just might pull this off.

That elated feeling didn't last long.

You remember the original story? The Thundercats are a race of cat people. The main character, Lion-O, and his small band of guardians narrowly escape their exploding home world. The cats go into cryo-sleep during their 25 year trek to their new planet. Once they arrive, we find that Lion-O's cryo-sleep pod has malfunctioned and he is now an adult. To become worthy of his birthright and leader of the Thundercats, Lion-O must overcome various obstacles and challenges. This new series has Lion-O, still young, having the responsibility of a king thrust upon him as the city is destroyed during an attack made possible by the cats lack of technological knowledge and betrayal. Sounds good on paper, right? Well, there are some story points that had me questioning how smart our felines are.


Fast forward 30 minutes to the big battle. The cat people are under attack by an army of lizard people with catapults. The lizards are shooting fireballs that smash into the protective walls surrounding the city. What do the cats do? Lower the gates and step outside the safety of the walls, cross the bridge over their protective moat, and shoot arrows at the lizard men. Wha? Don't bow and arrows work from the top of these walls just as well? Outside the walls the cats now have their backs to their own defenses. Luckily the bridge can be used to escape if -- Oops! The lizard men booby trapped the bridge. (Why didn't they detonate the bridge when the King was crossing it, I don't know.) Oh, and giant Mechs come out of the woods and start firing rockets over the walls and into the city.

Cut to Lion-O, on his terrace, watching his city being destroyed by technology. Lion-O has always been fascinated by technology. Disguising himself as a commoner he has obtained quite the collection. There's an earlier scene where Tygra teases Lion-O about his interest in technology. Lion-O has all these sketches of the trinkets he's picked up on the wall as if he's been studying them. Now, Lion-O spots some lizard stick one of these trinkets against a statue. The lizard soldier smears his finger across the top scanner and runs. The scanner lights blink rapidly and the mine detonates. Rushing to his room, Lion-O grabs a couple mines that are lying around and takes out two Mechs with two mines.

My beef with this scene isn't that the Mechs are so poorly made that one mine totally decimates them. What I can't believe is that Lion-O never ran his finger along the scanner when analyzing these things. He actually does this in his room, mimicking the lizard soldier, and somehow it doesn't blow up in his face. Why not make the mines more complicated so that Lion-O would have to actually observe how they work? How about a code to unlock the weapon. Maybe you hear a hydraulic hiss as a piece rises out of the base. To arm the mine you turn this piece half a rotation and press it back into place. Yeah. Something like that. You know, something a little safer, so the mine doesn't activate while you're running with them in a bag for instance.

Cheetara keeps her speed in this version. We found out that she is part of Jaga's Clerics. Jaga can run fast too. During the battle, these special forces come out of nowhere and help out. To the viewer, it's a big surprise that these guys even exist, but why did the king wait to use them? Why not use them in some kind of coordinated attack from behind the lizard army when the King attacks? Maybe these guys could have been used to evacuate some of the people inside the walls? That would have been cool to see streaks of color saving people from crumbling statues and walls THEN reveal what they were when the come to the Kings personal aid. It would have also made a good story point explaining why the Clerics didn't show up sooner. How about this was part of the lizard army's plan. Shoot bombs into the city to keep the clerics busy and divide the cats forces.

Now, Pantho finally shows up as a prisoner; beaten and bound. He's the King's buddy who has gone missing. When the King sees Panthro he goes all "Thundercats Ho!" slashing through any and all lizard men to reach his friend. Once freed, Panthro promptly stabs him in the back. You see, Panthro was really Mumm-Ra in disguise. Was this Mumm-Ra's grand plan? Seriously? Start a war and hope the King kills enough lizards to get to a disguised Mumm-Ra so he can kill the King with a dagger?! Did the lizard people know about this plan?

Alright, last one. The King is now dead and the cat army...well, we never see them again. Who knows what happens to them, or to the other cat civilians. Is everyone dead? All the Clerics are dead. Mumm-Ra killed them all with one blow. Anyway, Lion-O, Cheetara, Snarf, Tigra, and a wounded Jaga are trying to make their escape through a hidden tunnel. Jaga, holding his side, tells the three of them to leave him, he will only slow them down. Remember, we just saw Jaga running as fast as Cheetara as the LEADER of these super fast clerics. Slow them down? I figure his crawling speed is faster than Lion-O's running speed. So, the group leaves Jaga, who is mowed down practically instantaneously. It happens so fast that Lion-O has time to turn and see it before a giant stone wall descends from the ceiling preventing anyone from following them. I know this because they aren't followed. Why did Jaga have to die again? He couldn't have made it behind the giant stone wall too?

I got a better ending. Hows this? Jaga is fatality wounded from Mumm-Ra's torturing. During the escape into the tunnel, Mumm-Ra takes a shot at Lion-O because he wants the Sword of Omens. Jaga jumps in the way and is totally going to die in, like 5 minutes. Dragging Jaga, they just make it under the stone wall. The escape tunnel exits behind the city, next to a lake. Jaga gives Lion-O his speech about finding the Book of Omens, dies, and they stick him on a wooden raft. Tygra wants to follow tradition and light it on fire, but Lion-O, now king, forbids it. A fire will give away their location. Or wait, how about Lion-O wants to light it, and Tygra says no. This is a way to show that Lion-O still has things to learn, and Tygra doesn't respect Lion-O as a King yet. Maybe Lion-O cries a bit, an Tygra yells at him.

You see what I'm saying? The ingredients are there. I'm still going to watch a couple more episodes. Wasn't a fan of the Moby Dick homage or the episode after that with the tree people. Even with all this complaining, I haven't given up yet. I'm hoping, like the first season of the Clone Wars, there's going to be some sweet episodes coming up. I'll definitely hang around until the next episode with Mumm-Ra. I want to see his "Mumm-Ra the Ever Living" form. I've already seen the toy version of Mumm-Ra at full strength, but it only makes me hungry for a classic Mumm-Ra. Icon Heroes released a sweet Mumm-Ra figure. The color is "dead on", meaning, the blue skin looks like zombie flesh. The face sculpt is accurate and the added white on his brow and deep, blood red eyes bring it all together. Mumm-Ra is in his "I just changed from that Grandpa-Monkey-Mummy looking guy into this ripped Adonis of Evil" stance. His head dress straps look like they are still blowing from the transformation winds. Past Generation Toys has the 2011 SDCC version of this figure. So, not only do you get Mumm-Ra in all his glory, but you get the exclusive pet, Ma-Mutt.

That's enough writing for today. I will talk with you again next week.

R. Ticulation

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top 5 80's Action Figure Lines

What is the best action figure line of the 80's? I know I have my favorites, but as far as quality goes, what line ranks numero uno? Scoring will be based on a condensed form of my 5 Ps, (See earlier, Captain Rex post), and the figures themselves carry about 80 percent of the weight. This includes everything that comes with or within a carded or boxed figure. Other items, separate from a figure's original packaging, such as vehicles and playsets, make up the remaining 20 percent.

There was a lot of elbowing to get into the the coveted Top 5. Transformers were pulled over and impounded for not having the proper paperwork. The Transformers of the 80's were vehicles first and figures second. Mobile Armored Strike Kommand or M.A.S.K. also didn't qualify as their figures took a back seat to vehicle designs. LJN's Advanced Dungeons and Dragons almost broke the Top 5, they fit the requirements, but didn't have the hit points to complete the campaign. I warn you now, this is not a popularity contest. Throw out all your childhood and pop culture biases and let's take an honest look at our most deserving plastic people.

Number 5

Luckily for most of the 80's toys, they came with 30 minute commercials in the form of cartoons. A shrewd move, but it was successful in pushing the Masters of the Universe into many households. There wasn't anything special about the package, a splash of color and the name of the figure. Take the figure out, (there goes the value), and the figure can be better appreciated. The arms had a swivel joint at the shoulder meaning they could be raised and lowered only. The legs had more of a ball joint held together by a rubber band or something. This was a double edged power sword as it allowed for a wider range of motion, but this joint loosened over time. Soon, He-man couldn't stand on his own and would crumble under the weight of his upper body. And who wouldn't? Could anyone support that frame? The design of the overly muscular body and short, bent legs always bothered me. That, and the swapping of body parts to make another "new" figure. "Sure, color Beast Man's hairy body gray and replace the head. We'll call him Stratos. Nobody will notice. He has a backpack and clip on wings, he's a totally different figure!" Just to be clear, using the same mold with different color plastic is only acceptable with weapons found in a weapons packs. Leaving Eternia on a high note, Castle Grayskull was a masterpiece and every playset, as a rule, should have a trap door.

Number 4

The Indy figure line was a little light with only 9 figures total. Indy is, by far the best of the bunch with his gun slinging or whip whipping (?) action features. Plus, the whip can be looped around the hook on his belt and the gun fits into a holster on his leg. Indiana also had some added articulation in his legs. Indiana's knees bent and the thigh joints were designed with a bit of an angle to help Indy straddle his Arabian Horse or hang off the grill of the Desert Convoy Truck, which were only vehicles of the line. I sill wish the Raiders line would have lasted long enough to make a Cairo Indy. That's an Indiana Jones without the leather jacket. I figured I can pry off Indy's head and swap it with the Map Room Playset Indy body. The Map Room figure Indy even came with a satchel! Salah, the Cario Swordsman, and the German Mechanic were nice enough figures, but the Toht figure with his little Luger, black trench coat, and my favorite addition, the tiny burn inside his right palm, always freaked me out, but in a cool way. It's all in the details. Honorable mention goes out to the Well of the Souls playset. It needed more than 12 snakes and 1 mummy, but the R2-D2 and C-3PO markings on the Ark cover help me forget about that.

Number 3

If you are a fan of the DC heroes, how awesome were the Super Powers? I still think Kenner's Super Powers action figures are the best representation of DC figures to date. Thanks to the 3 and 3/4th inch figure trend started by Lucas, we got a scale of figure that allowed for vehicles and playsets present day DC Universe characters can only dream of. With this super hero line we not only got cloth capes, but an added feature of movement in the form of the "Power Action" features. These features added to the enjoyment of the figures and (mostly) made sense; Hawkman's wings flapped, Red Tornado spun, and Brainiac...kicked? Yes, they got a little carried away, but for the most part the gimmick worked. I can also appreciate the unique molds of each character. None of that using-Iron-Man's-arms-and legs-for-Dr.-Doom's bologna like the Secret Wars line. I was always impressed by the small details. The Super Powers had clean paint jobs with accurate colors. Superman's cape had the yellow "S" identical to the comics, Green Lantern's ring hand had an actual ring in the mold and wasn't just a dab of green paint, and The Clark Kent mail-away had the same blue eyes as Superman. Thanks to the artwork of José Luis García-López I could even appreciate the packaging. I thought the cut out power cards and mini-comics were unnecessary, but I have to admit, the cards taught me about gold Kryptonite and the comics kept me busy one night after I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street and couldn't sleep.

Number 2

I know, that came out of left field, right? I just re-discovered this figure line recently. As a kid, I remember the episodic commercials, but that was it. Now I see how how ahead of their time these figures were. Not only did you have a knee joint, but a ball joint at the shoulders. Sure, I would have liked an elbow joint, but the bad guys had fangs, metallic paint schemes made the Sectaurs' armor, look, well, look like armor, and then throw in the creepy factor of each figure having pupil-less bug eyes then ask yourself, what's not to like? I haven't even mentioned the finger puppet accessory. Some figures came with a giant insect type steed the figures could ride on. How ingenious is that. The Hive playset was just the icing on the cake, but you'll need 6 additional bug eyes to spot one.

Number 1

Not only did Joes have elbow joints, but Hasbro even threw in a bicep swivel joint. All of this poseability in a 3 and 3/4 figure! The paint jobs were well done, colorful, and detailed. With at tiny cobra emblem on every cobra shoulder or chest, they had to be. Guns, backpacks, helmets, swords, and even animals were just some of the numerous accessories you would find accompanying your figure in his blister. The card has some painted artwork and the file-cards gave you a bio and skill set specifics. Drifting beyond the figures you had your choice of an endless amount of additional accessories or vehicles. Maybe you wanted something small, like jet pack or maybe a new bed frame in the form of a 6 foot aircraft carrier! The figure line got a little weak there in the late 80s, but you can't take away from the sheer volume of great figures this line had to offer.

Welcome to the top of the 80's heap, GI Joe. You earned it.


Maybe the biggest disappointment was the absence of the Citizen Kane of action figures; Star Wars. I agree, I was disappointed too. These figures were the pioneers and we wouldn't be where we are today without them. That said, the line actually hit in the late 70s which could squeeze them out of the ranking on a technicality. But, the truth is, I don't need to hide behind that. Two words: Waist Joint. He-man had a waist joint that didn't really work for posing, but opened a door for movement. I got another two words for you: Paint Job. He-man had better paint jobs. To be honest, the paint applications on the hands of the vintage Star Wars figures are sloppy at best. Luke, Han, Obi-wan, Leia all look like their hands were painted with the exactness of a Dairy Queen worker dipping a soft serve cone into a hard shell topping. If we were grading vehicles only; Star Wars wins hands down. But, as far as figures go, He-man has the power.

R. Ticulation

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Captain America Movie Wears Heart on Its Shield

I was going to write that, "Captain America: The First Avenger was the best comic book movie I've ever seen", but then I remembered the Dark Knight Returns and the Superman movie with Christopher Reeve. Then, I was going to say, "Captain America was the best Marvel comic book hero brought to the big screen", when I recalled Spider-man 2, X-men 2, and X-men First Class. So, I can't label it "the best" anything, but what I can say is that after I saw it, it stuck with me and that's a good sign.

I wasn't sure if The Fantastic Four's Human Torch was the right man to fill the pirate boots of our favorite Star Spangled Avenger, but Chris Evans brought an innocence to the role of Steve Rogers that convinced me. Hugo Weaving was built for the role of the Red Skull, all the way down to his giant capped choppers. (Still not exactly sure what happened in his final scene.) In a world of cosmic cubes, propeller powered missiles, and vaporizing energy guns, Tommy Lee Jones anchored us to reality as the grim and gritty, get-it-done guy he inescapably plays in other movies, this time he was a colonel. A relative new comer, Hayley Atwell played Steve's love interest, Peggy Carter. There weren't any real juicy acting bits for her to sink her teeth into, but her grace brought a nice balance to the all boys club. Her relationship with Steve was really the glue that not only held the film together, but kept me from any bathroom intermissions.

True to the comic, this particular adaptation has Steve Rogers, a good man limited by his frail body, undergoing an experiment that transforms him into a buffed out symbol of America. Of course, the movie took some liberties with the original comic, tweaking Bucky here, no swastikas there, but it still felt like Captain America at the core. I was pleasantly surprised by how dense the movie was with Marvel lore and Easter eggs adding to, without distracting from, the story and actually lining up things for the movies to come. I almost missed the first Human Torch in his air tight case in the middle of the Stark Expo lobby.

There were a lot of subtle touches as to the evolution to Cap's costume that seemed plausible. (He could have just as easily had an "S" on his helmet.) We all know Cap's shield is supposed to made out of adamantium, the same stuff as Wolverine's claws, but vibranium, the ore found on the homeland of the Black Panther, still works. Though, I'm not sure how well the shield throwing ricochet would work with a metal that absorbs energy.

Everyone wants to be strong. It's a basic feeling with universal appeal and that's the movie's hook, but only a solid story and interesting characters can keep an audience, looking for more than explosive action, in their seats. In this regard, Captain America: The First Avenger succeeds with flying red, white, and blue colors.

R. Ticulation

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Toy Collector's Dilemma

Here's a test for you. You go into a store planning on buying lunch and you see the new (fill in the blank) action figure. You only have 10 dollars in your pocket. What do you do? Do you leave that store with a fast food combo? Good for you, but there's the door, and thanks for stopping by. If you choose to exit the store with figure in hand and a stick of gum for lunch, you passed the test and may enter. Let's be honest, if you are even reading this, welcome to the club.

Man, I love toys. I really don't know why. Is it nostalgia? Do I want to go back to my childhood? I remember playing with my toys on the kitchen floor one Christmas. I think I was telling my Mom how much I liked my new Super Powers toys or something. She told me that I'd grow out of them someday. She said I would like cars, clothes, and girls when I got older. At the time, I was baffled at the concept. She was right about most of those things. But, as my plate of interests filled up, somehow I still had room for dessert. Now, she jokingly calls me Peter Pan.

How many of the same figure do you buy? Are 2 enough? I prefer 3 myself. That's one to open, one for safe keeping, and the last one for "just in case". That is, just in case I want to sell it in the future. Sometimes I'll even go for 5, but this move is reserved for only the best versions of my favorite figures. Marvel Universe's Cable with baby Hope, I want 3. ARC Trooper Commander from the 2011 Star Wars Vintage Collection, I want 5. You seen that figure?! It's like two figures in one!

Is it unhealthy how much I enjoy these things? I'm not a smoker and rarely drink. This is money I would have spent on those vices. Can justify my collecting that way? I tell myself the toys I buy are an investment, but really, I just like them. I like posing them in ways that look better than the showcase on the back of the card. I like displaying them in dioramas on my shelves. I guess it's like owning models, but these models are a little less fragile and a little more flexible. I collect new toys from new shows, old toys from old shows, and new toys from old shows, but not old toys from new shows because that's impossible. Wait a minute, have they ever created a new show from an old toy? They kind of did that with He-man, but then they created new toys for that series. Hmm. That's one to grow on. Pretty much, if it's cool, I'll collect it.

Some people dismiss toys as kid stuff. It's true the targeted audience for toys, and the shows that promote these toys, are kids. But, take a look around you. This stuff isn't just for kids anymore. The movies on the big screen, the comics on the racks, the products in stores, the games on your console, and even the cartoons on the television. The stories are, dare I say, deeper and more complicated than 10 years ago -- Scratch that, even 5 years ago! Toys are caught in the same current. The paint jobs are getting better, the plastic is a higher quality, and the points of articulation are increasing. Sure, kids get these toys for Christmas and Birthdays, but adults design them and collectors appreciate the advances in craftsmanship and planning. With toys like the newest Snake Eyes (version 8), cartoons like Young Justice, movies like X-Men: First Class, video games like Arkham Asylum, and products like the Han Solo in Carbonite ice cube trays, it's a great time to be a collector. And the promises of the future, (The Avengers, Thundercats, Arkham City), make my wallet flinch, and my mouth water.

R. Ticulation

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You Call Him Dr. Jones, Babe.

If you haven't guessed it already, I'm old school. It's Star Wars, not Episode IV: A New Hope. Zombies are the undead and shouldn't be sprinting like Olympic athletes. Finally, it's Raiders of the Lost Ark or "Raiders" (if you're hip enough not to use the word "hip"). Stop calling it Indiana Jones AND the Raiders of the Lost Ark!

Speaking of Dr. Jones and his adventures, I heard that the "Raiders" franchise is getting some love at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. If you got the coin, or a solid gold fertility idol, you can bring home this 6 pack of figures that sparked the trilogy. (Listen to me carefully. Indy never rode out a nuclear explosion in a fridge, never saw a flying saucer, and never saw Sam Witwickey swinging through the trees with a pack of monkeys. There was never a 4th movie.)

The Raiders Pack includes Indiana Jones in his German disguise and bazooka prop. An unbelievable Toht figure with hat, fire poker, Marion's medallion, clutched hand, jacket, and a variant melty face. "It's beautiful!" The shirtless German mechanic gets a hat that he wears in the movie for even less time than his shirt, a gun he never uses, and a wrench he never holds. It would have made more sense if he came with a propeller blade. I'm looking forward to owning my first Doc Ock figure in hiking fatigues. I like that Satipo comes with a backpack of tools and a backpack of spiders. He also gets a torch. The Marion figure comes with a dinky, dare I say useless, pile of snakes and a torch. How clever was it for the figure to be designed with a removable shoe. Then, I noticed you don't get a removable shoe. The figure was designed with one bare foot. Finally, you get Indiana Jones in all his glory. Indy comes with a torch, bag of sand, fertility idol, and gun. Not sure if the satchel is removable or not.

I was very interested to learn that each figure would be individually packaged on it's own card. Think of the Marvel Universe Invaders pack with Cap, Torch, Namor, and Red Skull. Then, I was bummed to find out Hasbro is using the new card backs for these figures. I SO wanted Hasbro to go back and take the design of the old Kenner figures. You know, like Hasbro is presently using for the new Star Wars Black and Silver Vintage figs. Even first time figures from Attack of the Clones and Return of the Sith are getting this treatment.

You know a 6 pack is nice, but I'm really hunkering for that classic Indy figure. I want this to be the last Indy figure I ever need to buy. I just want this figure to be the pinnacle of all Indy figures. Strike one was missing the opportunity to use the 1984 design. Strike two is a coiled up whip that doesn't extend. So, I guess I don't have to worry about this being my last Indy figure after all.

R. Ticulation

Thursday, July 14, 2011

There Can Be Only One!

Who's up for a round of "King of the Hill", the Transformers version? I was planning on just taking a relaxing stroll down memory lane with a Top 10 list. Then, I realized, not all G1 Transformers measure up to the wonder and ingenuity of the first series. A similar thing happened to the GI Joe lines of the late 80's and early 90's where the Joes got gaudy florescent paint jobs and bigger, unweildly weapons. As Transformer lines progressed, they suffered from the complacency of repeated transforming mechanics. How many Autobot legs were just the back trunk and back windshield folded over? That said, my biggest beef with any type of Transformer, old or new, is concerning the proportions. Ironhide anyone? Not that anyone clamors for a red van, but a front windshield for a face? You kidding me? I guess someone thought it was a good idea. Good enough to paint him white, slap on some red lights, and call him Rachet. So instead of a list, these guys have to battle for the top slot and earn the right to scream victorious on the backs of lesser toys.

With that said, of course, cocksure Starscream is our first contender. The plane looks awesome. A big fan of accessories, I like the interchangeable missiles and love how the launchers can be removed and reattached as the I'll-shoot-you-in-the-back-to-climb-above-my-station forearm lasers. The arms themselves had a decent range of movement and their size and length were a nice balance with the robot as a whole, but the oversized boxing gauntlets threw everything off. I don't blame the gloves, they actually balance Starscream's large feet, I blame his head. Having trouble finding it? Not surprising. Starscream's head is tiny. To make identification worse, no stickers or paint applications were used to call attention to it. (At least, I didn't get any eye stickers.) Instead, you're wondering who stuck a burnt mini-marshmallow into the undercarriage of your Transformer. (It was probably your older brother.) Even so, if somehow you could look past his shrunken head, a glance from the side reveals another eyesore in the form of his gray nosecone protruding out the back of his head. Nice try Starscream, but down you go. As long as this next Transformer still functions, you will never hold the title.

Megatron. How awesome that you not only get a gun with chrome plating, but it's got some die cast metal in there to give it some weight. These were the days before the orange tips on every toy gun. Back in the day, the more realistic, the better. I never had a Megatron, and kind of wrote him off until I had a chance to transform him into a robot. It was some very crafty engineering behind this toy's construction. Combine the barrel, stock extension, and scope to form a laser cannon. These accessories were a nice touch, but we can't ignore the elephant in the room. In robot form, Megatron just didn't look that good. Even the coolness factor of an arm cannon couldn't distract you from the stubby arms and twiggy thighs. The future would bring some sweet versions of Megatron, but as far as G1 versions go, Megatron is taken down by 6 green transformers with hardhats.

Devastator. Not only do you get 6 separate construction vehicles, but you can assemble them to form a super robot! This green Goliath came with shooting fists and missiles, which were neat on their own, but when deconstructed, each robot had tiny weapons and accessories of their own. Yet, as they say, the bigger they are the more tears that fall when your toy takes a digger. Thanks to the wheel loader aptly named Scrapper, he most likely would. If Devastator wasn't falling off a table, he was falling apart. Maybe the gun was too heavy, or flawed construction plagued this Constructicon. Whatever it was, Devastator had the hardest time staying together. As a display piece for a collector, this is a nice item, but for any type of play, its a massive headache. So, Devastator topples from the top with a push from our heroic red diesel. The Japanese call him Convoy.

Optimus Prime is a fan favorite and I can see why. He was a great character and had a great toy incarnation. Ironhide was a pretty cool character as well, but fell to pieces as a toy. Optimus had no such failings. This was one of the smoothest Transformers ever made. As a kid, I remember driving him off my couch and trying to transform him as fast as I could before he hit the ground. Of course, the transformation sound effect was provided by my own throat clearing. (Anyone not familiar with the Transformers must have thought I was constantly hacking up my lungs. I pretty much had strep throat when I was finished transforming Devastator.) Optimus must have had the biggest accessory in the Transformer lineup in the form of his trailer which doubled as a repair shop and battle platform. I always wondered if little figures were originally designed to come with the Transformers, especially with Optimus, due to the little control panel seats. But, as great as Optimus Prime is, he has his flaws. I guess Optimus was hinting at his future Beast Wars self with those gorilla arms. It was the added length caused by his blue fists that gave Optimus his Reed Richard's look. I also wanted to be able to move his legs past the straight position. They could go backwards, but never step forward. It's time for Optimus to transform and roll on out of here. A great toy, but not even his simian strength can prevent Optimus from losing his grip on the throne. His vanquisher was once a Decepticon, but now flies the banner of Autobot.

Wonderful plane. Wonderful robot. Wonderful balance. Wonderful Jetfire. I was a big fan of this jet. If you somehow avoided the yellowing plastic that progressively darkened with every passing year, count yourself lucky. If you also have all your armor without any clips broken, go buy some lottery tickets! This one took some finesse to transform. I was always worried I would break it. The wings seemed so slim to me. Once transformed though, wow. Arms and knees could bend, shoulders and thighs also had a great range of motion. This didn't have to just stand there, he could be posed! You could even half transform him into some robot/plane hybrid. This toy was incredible! Something that always bothered me, though, was the face. For some reason the toy's face looked nothing like the cartoon face. Then, I ran into the cartoon Robotech and noticed the Veritech fighters. Jetfire was no Transformer! They just put an Autobot sticker on Rick Hunter's VF-1! You are disqualified Jetfire!

Does this mean Optimus wins by default? The prize for the best transformer goes to Opti--did you hear that? Sounded kind of like a Cylon from the old Battlestar Galactica.

"Buzzsaw. Eject. Operation: Conquest."

I can't say anything bad about Soundwave. It stinks that tape decks are no longer in "play", but that doesn't take away from this marvel of manufacturing. Proportions are even and Soundwave transforms without a hitch. While Optimus had Roller, a solid blue, 6 wheeled rover, Soundwave came with a cassette tape that could be ejected from his tape deck chest and transformed into a bird. How do you compete with that? I was always partial to designs of Ravage or Rumble over Laserbeak, but the condor tape holds its own. Though I like the color scheme of Laserbeak better, there is no denying as far as accessories go, Buzzsaw takes the cake. The best poses are with Buzzsaw on Soundwave's shoulder or perched on the extended arm of his master. If that isn't enough, batteries doubled as a gun and shoulder cannon and could be stored in the compartment under the belt clip. The Japanese took it a step further and included headphones to make the Walkman form even more convincing. For these reasons, Soundwave stands alone at the top of the heap as the best Transformer of the vintage G1 series.

R. Ticulation

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Gauntlet of the 5 Ps: A Toy Review

Just so we understand each other, I'm only interested in awesome toys. I don't care if they're vintage or new. What do I mean by "awesome"? Glad you asked. All toys fall under my 5 part scale that, luckily for you, I'm willing to share. I call them "The 5 Ps". The categories are: Package, Paint, Parts, Poseability, and Planning. (Price would have been included, but let's face it, you and I both know that if you want it bad enough, you'll justify that purchase.) Package, Paint, and Poseablitly are pretty self explanatory. Parts and Planning, on the other hand, may need a little extra info. "Parts" is my way of saying Accessories, while Planning covers a whole list of things from the color of plastic used to the sculpt itself. Scores range from 0 to 10, and every figure starts at 5. You impress me, you get a point added to your score. Try and play me for a novice, you'll pay for it in the form of subtracted points. And don't worry, I'll list my reasoning for each so, agree or not, you'll see where I'm coming from. Score all 10s and you get the coveted R. Ticulation Certified Seal of Awesome!

Oh, and for the record, I am looking at these toys through the lens of display. How cool can I get these toys to look on my shelf? I don't care how much kids would enjoy playing with these things or how good/bad the TV show/cartoon/movie was. That's not to say I won't comment on these things, but in no way will they sway my scoring.

I bought a Star Wars The Clone Wars Captain Rex a while back. I wanted a mail-away Boba Fett with the firing missile. You know the one. Got the thing and the card was dinged up in shipping. Not happy about that, and they wouldn't replace it either. But, I'm drifting. Rex got pulled out of the package and posed on my shelf. Let's put him through the meat grinder of the 5 Ps and see what comes out the other end.

Package: 6

Nothing too impressive. I like these darker blue packages better than the white ones of the year before. I also enjoy that you get a pic of the character, but disappointed that it's, pretty much, just a head shot. Collectors have to be happy about the cardboard backing and the glued blister, though. I know I was. It's just like old times. I hated those older blister cards with the tape slapped on all over the back. I'm glad Star Wars toys got away from that, but the curse lingers on in other toy lines, that I won't mention. (Cough.) Captain America Movie Figures (Cough.) Ahem. But the cardboard itself is a double edged sword. It looks nice, but there are so many angles on this card that it's hard to find one that doesn't have a dulled corner.

Paint: 5

Again, this is a kids toy so the paint applications aren't exactly the highest priority on Hasbro's list. It would be nice if they could mimic the scratched-up-detailing-look from the Star Wars The Clone Wars computer animated show, but then I think back to the first wave of "dirty" Clone Wars Troopers and how crappy that looked so I think what they got going, for now, works.

Parts: 9

I'm a big fan of accessories. I love how this guy gets two pistols, a rifle, and a missile launcher AND a missile with a cable attached AND AND AND a helmet. Just make sure you buy a helmet that isn't turning yellow. You'll notice that some of the other clone figures suffer the same discoloration on their legs and chest pieces. Cheap plastic, sun discoloration, or whatever the reason, take a closer look before you throw one in your basket.

Can a figure have too many accessories? You wouldn't think so, but then you haven't met the Star Wars Galactic Battle Game. Now, have I played this game? No. Do I ever plan to play this game? No. Did anyone ask for a game to be included with their figures? Not me. Like the game or not, we all know this die, skill set card, and figure stand were just another way to justify an increase in price. It's like paying for that two year phone contract when you only wanted a year. You don't have a choice to just get what you want. And the stand? A well made figure shouldn't need no stinking stand. A figure should stand on it's own. I'm so tempted to just throw that stuff right in the trash, but my collector instincts won't let me.

Poseablitly: 10

Thanks to the Clone Wars Movie I had almost sworn off Star Wars for good. Horrible story aside, I felt this advertised "new" look ripped off the character designs from Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars cartoon shorts and pretended they never happened. I saw the figures in the stores and the Jedi figures didn't have any knee joints and the Clone Troopers, going for that battle worn look, had instead a "dipped in tar" look.

By accident, I stumbled across some of the deeper episodes of The Clone Wars: Season 1, and actually enjoyed them. I'm thinking specifically of the "Rookies", "Lair of Grievous", and Cad Bane's introductory episode. By the time I saw these episodes, the new packaging was on the shelves and the dirty clones were a thing of the past. When I came across the Clone figures again, I noticed their wrist joints. That put me over the top and I started collecting Star Wars figures again. The subtle tilts bring a realism to how the Rex holds his pistols or tucks his rifle into his shoulder. With Rex's ball jointed head, you can tilt his head to look down the sights of his rifle. Then you have the waist joint. If you ask me, every figure needs a waist joint. For this figure it's bumped up to just below the chest, but it serves the same purpose and has been engineered not only for side-to-side movement, but also up and down. I'm also a fan of the ankle joints. They're not very useful for standard flat footed poses, but that subtle, added joint allows for some dynamic stances.

Planning: 8

Again, my hats off to Genndy Tartakovsky's idea of designing skirts for the figures. They just look too skinny without them. The shoulder pad also helps bulk up this bean pole. The face looks alright. I give the bald head with painted hair a pass since I know the head will be used for umpteen other Clones. My biggest beef is the trigger finger on the right hand. Why not design a mold with a separated trigger finger like the left hand? Without that correction, he's pointing his arm at, let's say, 12 o'clock, but his gun is pointing to 2 o'clock. How hard would that have been? Not hard at all I figured and broke apart my razor and became a toy surgeon. Ever so carefully, I sliced between the index and middle finger. With a little black marker touch up, Rex can actually point his arm in the direction he wants to shoot.

Now, I've noticed the newest clones actually have two trigger fingers. (Yeah!) But, now the wrist joints are gone and Jedi figures are loosing ankle joints. (Boo!) Are these figures actually de-evolving? That's a topic for another time. But, for this figure, the placement and design of the joints allow for numerous sweet poses.

So there you go. Rex makes the Top 10 of Clone Wars figures, but you might want to keep him in his package unless you're willing to take a razor blade to his finger. Now I've got to buy another Cody, Gree, and maybe a Wolfee figure (if I can find one) and put all four of them into a group pose.

Until next time, I'll see you in the toy aisles.

R. Ticulation

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There's a New Blogger in Town

I've been standing in the toy aisle of my local Target for about 15 minutes, shifting my weight from one leg to another, shaking and squeezing 3 by 4 inch orange mylar bags. I've felt paint brushes, viking horns, and electric guitars, but so far, no hockey stick. That's right, the packages I'm holding are to the series 4 LEGO minifigures and I'm starting to feel a little awkward.

30 minutes. A 6-year-old girl and her sister play with the Hot Wheels display beside me, get bored, and disappear. I'm still poking and prodding bags. I've accumulated quite the pile of rejected candidates and a Target clerk approaches. I'm no longer blending in to my surroundings. He asks if I'm going to buy this mini mountain to my right. I politely tell him no. I have to stop him as he leans forward to pick up the bags. If he puts the minifigures back into the display trough, it will trash my system, and I'll be back at square one. After I promise to return things to their original state, he asks what I'm doing. I tell him I'm hunting down the hockey player from among the 16 randomly packed figures. It's for my brother. I ask him not to judge me. With his curiousity satisfied, he leaves with an uninterested shrug.

45 minutes? That same little girl, now with her whole family, passes by me again. She ineffectively whispers to her mother, "He's still feeling." My neck and face flush. Doesn't matter. Embarassed or not, I'm not going anywhere until I find this figure.

And then it happens. I feel a flared, angled end connected to a longer straight piece. I pin the piece against the side of the bag and press down. I can actually SEE the outline of a hockey stick. By lucky coincidence, I find the same employee I spoke to earlier and ask him to ring me up in Electronics. We walk to the register and I pass the clerk the bag and ask him if he can feel the shape of a hockey stick.

"I feel something", he says. "It might be a guitar..."

"No!" I cut in, "It can't be a guitar!"

I notice too late that I've raised my voice. He scans the item. I pay. For some reason, I want the clerk to share in my triumph and I ask for a pair of scissors. I'm handed a pair of wire cutters. They do the job. The top opened, I tilt the bag into my hand, the moment of truth. In pieces, the hockey player spills into my hand and the crowd goes wild! (The clerk was cheering too. On the inside.) Then, because Lego usually packages similar characters together, I go back to the shelf to find another. This next one is for me, plus I need a better time than 45 minutes.


"Hello. My name is R. Ticulation, and I'm a collector."

"Hello, R."

Welcome to the first, of what I hope are many, toy talks. Yeah. I know. I do most of the talking. The plan is to kick one of these blogs out a week, but for now it's going to be bi-monthly to see how it goes. Together we'll be picking apart the good, the bad, and the ugly of toys past, present, and future. (No, that's right. Future is possible. We can scream about the design of a figure before it hits the shelves.) On a similar note, from time to time, I'll be posting my own toy and action figure reviews from the vintage treasures of yesteryear to the case freshy-est toys of today. I know I'm looking forward to it. Feel free to join in the fun.

See you in the toy aisles,

R. Ticulation