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