Thursday, August 16, 2012

Customs 101: Easiest Customs Ever

Have you ever wanted to "improve" an existing action figure, but were too scared to tamper with it?   Have you ever backed away from attempting your own custom job after seeing one so awesome it's kills your confidence to try?  Or, have you seen a custom so caked over with lumpy puddy and brush applied paint meant for your household ceiling that you worry this will be YOUR final product?  You got to ask yourself, like I did, "Is there an easy way to improve my figures without loosing the quality?"  If you have a microwave, and the finger strength to open a soda, the answer is a resounding "YES!"

If you've read any of my earlier blogs, you would have noticed that I look at figures through the lens of poseablity.  I've always been big on articulation.  (You could say "articulation" is my middle name...but it's my last.)  You can imagine how pleased I was when I ran into the custom jobs of matchbox1984 on YouTube.  Not only did I see videos of some drool worthy customs, but one post was a "How To" cooking class for customs.  

First thing you are going to need is the figure(s) you want to customize.  I chose a traditional Clone Wars Trooper and your basic ARF Trooper. 

I like how the ARF trooper's legs can widen their stance and I wanted my regular troopers to be able to do the same.  With that idea, my first customs were born. 

All you'll need for this basic job is the afore mentioned microwave and your figures.  First, pull off the head and hands and set them off to the side.  Matchbox1984 tells me these are the first to melt so remove them from the equation.  Then, drop one figure into the microwave and set the timer for 25 seconds.  You may have to increase the time depending on your microwave.  I had to up my time to 40 seconds as the microwave I'm using is so old it should have a start up crank in the back.  After cooking, remove your figure and replace it with your second figure and press the start button for the same amount of time.  While the second figure is heating up -- and here's where the finger strength comes into play -- separate the chest from the torso.  The microwave has softened the plastic enough that the torso peg should easily separate from the chest piece.  Once the timer runs out for the second figure, pull apart that figure as well.  Since you cooked these figures back to back, both should be relatively warm allowing you to swap top pieces, and push the parts together.  Now you not only have a Clone Trooper that can widen his stance, but you have an ARF Trooper with a higher range of forward and backward movement.

Right now, ARF troopers can be found for pretty decent prices at HasbroToyshop and Toysrus websites.  To me, a decent price is low enough to feel fine about potentially ruining your figure.  I've melted the shins of one Captain Rex figure by cooking him for too long.  I've also snapped a knee joint because I didn't cook him long enough.  If you do start pulling legs off at the knee, they should also pop out pretty easily.  Rarely, but sometimes these knee pegs won't pop out of the thighs because there's a bit of glue holding them in place.  If the pegs are giving you any sort of trouble, abort mission and move on.  Ye be warned.

Once you get comfortable with this, you'll start getting a little more daring and in a couple of successful runs, you'll have the confidence to start yanking off all kinds of limbs to create your own Clone Wars custom imaginings.  For example, out of 3 Hailfire Battle Pack figures...

 I assembled this guy.

I'm telling you, once you start down this road...

R. Ticulation

Now for the sales speak...  So you got some information, now here's what you can do with it.  Past Generation Toys has the brands above and so much more!  Check out the PreOrders and New sections to see what just received and what's coming!
Follow Past Generation Toys on Twitter, @pastgentoys and check out the Past Generation Toys Facebook page for our weekly toy and collectible GIVEAWAYS. Thanks for shopping with Past Generation Toys!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Exclusive - 10" Noob Saibot Statue - Past Generation Toys

You may be asking yourself...  who is Noob Saibot...  well for those of you that do not know I am about to bestow on you all the knowledge you need. 

Noob Saibot is a video game character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He debuted as a hidden character in Mortal Kombat II, although the later game Mortal Kombat: Deception established his true identity as the original Sub-Zero, who was killed by his nemesis, Scorpion, after the events in the first Mortal Kombat. The character's name comes from the last names of the creators of the Mortal Kombat franchise, Ed Boon and John Tobias, spelled in reverse.*

Saibot's prominent powers are of the shadowy element, being able to completely manipulate it and possessing the ability to teleport as well as render himself invisible by blending in with the shadows. He was also able to manipulate the shadows to increase or decrease the effectiveness of his and others' powers limitlessly.

Now that you know a little about Noob Saibot you may be wondering, "why is he telling me this?"
Well, I wanted to give you the background on the first Past Generation Toys Exclusive Statue by Syco Collectibles!  That's right, Syco Collectibles and Past Generation Toys have come together to off you a very strictly version of Noob Saibot and his Shadow Clone.  This piece is strictly limited to 100 pieces.  For now, only on the Past Generation Toys and Syco Collectibles Facebook pages will you find images of the fantastic and highly detailed statue.  Below are a few images of our first exclusive.

"Demanding you to 'fear him', Syco Collectibles and Past Generation Toys is proud to present the exclusive 10" Noob Saibot statue variant stationed on a 12" diameter base. Immortalised in his victory stance alongside his malevolent 'Shadow Clone' poised to strike... upon the wraith's command.  The work of art is available only on and from Syco Collectibles. Strictly limited to 100 pieces, this profound collectible won't last forever unlike Noob Saibot's demonic presence...


PGT Exclusives: AT-AT Park T-Shirt and Patch by Artist Kevin Liell

You may be familiar with the works of Star Wars artist Kevin Liell.  Kevin has done work for Topps Cards, Lucasfilm, and his work can be seen all over the Sci-Fi community.  Kevin also hosts Lucasfilm's official Star Wars: Trivia World Championship at Celebrations and is an honorary member of the 501st Imperial Legion for his artistic contributions to the Star Wars Galaxy.   Luckily for us, Kevin has focused his talents on a new creation and just in time for Star Wars Celebration 6.

Liell's design for the 2012 CVI Star Wars: Trivia World Championship

What do you get when you filter Jurassic Park through the lens of Star Wars?  You get "AT-AT Park".  Using the AT-ST as a match to the T-Rex silhouette Kevin has done it again.  This parody logo comes in T-shirt form and a patch.  The patch will be given away at the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando this year.  Also a few luck people will get a free AT-AT Park T-Shirt, as well!    T-Shirts can be purchased for $30 shipped (within the lower 48 US States) only at Past Generation Toys!

The AT-AT Park t-shirt has an extremely limited initial run of 50 total shirts.

Only available from

Kevin and his team will make the patches available during the convention in Orlando. You will find Kevin at C6 at the  Star Wars: Trivia World Championship on Thursday afternoon, and closing out the convention at 3:30 Sunday afternoon.  Get them before they become extinct; because when the patches are gone, they're gone.

Please note, actual patch may look slightly different.
Also, while at SWC6 you will want attend the panel with Kevin and Director Cris Macht where they will discuss “The Force Within Us,” the sequel to the highly acclaimed and sold out documentary “The Force Among Us.  Kevin designed the cover art and poster, as seen below.  During this panel you will learn about the upcoming film, which is all about Star Wars fandom.

Past Generation Toys is proud to be one of the sponsors of “The Force Within Us” poster and you will see the PGT logo proudly displayed on the bottom of the poster in alternative colors!  Soon after the convention we will also be giving some of these great looking posters away!

Unfortunately, we won't have a booth at C6 this year but you can get the AT-AT T-Shirts on the Past Generation Toys website and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out where and when Kevin will be giving away the AT-AT Park Patch!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Come on Hasbro, Articulate the Positive!

What is the role of a toy's packaging?  I know the box is suppose to protect the contents from the perils of the shipping, notwithstanding shot put or stepping stool. Once in the store the packaging is suppose to draw attention to itself with the ultimate goal of dishing out some of your hard earned green at the cash register. Package art is advertising, straight up. So why are American toy companies literally selling themselves short? Japanese toy manufactures understand the value of box art. As an example, let's check out the back of the REVOLTECH Bumble Bee figure. 

A thing of beauty, right? Multiple photos highlight not only the accessories and poses, but showcase the special features. I like to think up my own poses, but some of these are just too amazing not to copy. From the tilt of the wrist to the angle the feet every detail is taken into consideration. As a contrast, let's look at Aayla Secura from the Clone Wars line of toys.

I get it. If you only have one picture, you have to load it up with all the accessories that are available with the figure. (If that's the case, they forgot her goggles.) But that doesn't explain the boring cardboard pose?

How about something a little more dynamic, like this?

Or, load up the back of the card with an assortment of poses, like these?

Being the last of the ankle jointed figures, this figure has so much more to offer than one stagnant pose. Why not show potential customers what it can do?

Hasbro's GI Joe designing team is starting to see the light. Here's a shot of the back of the Snake Eyes card. This is the card back of the Retaliation line of figures.

We'll see these figures again in 2013 when the movie is finished being transferred to 3-D. Not the most exciting poses, but a step in the right direction. What I'm saying is, use all the tools you have in your arsenal and show the possible buyer the toy's full potential. This is the heart of advertising. If I've picked the toy up, I'm halfway to lying about who I'm buying these toys for. "These are for my son, he's...(dart a glance at the minimum age)...4 plus."

R. Ticulation

By the way, this post will show up on the Past Generation Toys Facebook Page so please post questions and comments there.

Now for the sales speak... So you got some information, now here's what you can do with it.  Past Generation Toys has the brands above and so much more!  Check out the PreOrders and New sections to see what just received and what's coming!

Follow Past Generation Toys on Twitter, @pastgentoys and check out the Past Generation Toys Facebook page for our weekly toy and collectible GIVEAWAYS. Thanks for shopping with Past Generation Toys!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where All the Toys At?

I can't wait to get my hands on the 2012 Vintage Collection Luke Skywalker in Hoth Gear.  Rebelscum had some nice pics of Luke and his two legged sleeping bag.  Impressed,  forever ago I got the Target Exclusive Taun Taun and I've been waiting to plop Luke into its saddle ever since.  I'm still waiting...and waiting...and waiting.  So, where the heck is Wave 3?  Wave 4 figures arrived at our warehouse doorstep not too long ago and about two weeks ago we got wave 5. What gives?!  Why hasn't wave 3 arrived in my local stores yet?  Before you tell me I'm not visiting my stores often enough, I'm telling you I go nearly EVERY DAY, and I go to more than just one store.  Here, I'll take you for a little drive.

Monday through Friday I take my lunch break and do my "rounds".  Usually I leave somewhere between 12 and 1 o'clock.  My first stop is Target.  With 3 stores to visit, I always enter with a little spring in my step.  Cutting a diagonal through the men's casual, under, and athletic wear, I speed walk over to the toy department.  Like a Terminator I set my eyes to "action figure" and scan the shelves for my top 3 figure lines.  I look over the Marvel Universe toys:  Nothing on shelves recently to get my collector's blood flowing.  That is, nothing until Wave 18's new Hulk, Spider-man, and Beast are released.  Next, I process the pegs holding the Joes:  Hey, look!  It's Arctic Destro!  I'm still hoping against hope that I'll come across a Renegades Stormshadow.  I know, I'm not holding my breath.  Finally, I check out the Star Wars Figures:  I'm going over Clone Wars figures as well as the Vintage Black and Silver Collection.  Since the New Clone figures are practically neutered of their articulation, I'm pretty much only looking forward to the re-pack of Aayla Secura.  I DO still want a Phase II Captain Rex, though.  I want to pop off his head/helmet, take a drill, and hollow out his mask.  I'm getting into customizing figures and "improving" on them.  The new Clone Wars Rex doesn't come with a removable helmet, so I'm going to make him one. This customizing started as simply switching Clone Trooper heads with ARF trooper heads to expand on leg posablity, but it's escalated into Doctor Frankenstein territory.  (Check out Matchstick1984 on YouTube and see if you can resist throwing your figures in the microwave and pulling them apart.  He makes it look so easy!  But, that's a blog for another day.)  Target's new figure average has dropped significantly.  Just last year my local Target was the lunchtime goldmine.  Hopefully, these new figures will start to trickle in and the drought will end.

Next, it's off to Toys R Us.  Similar to Target Toys aRen't Us has been a recent disappointment.  I'd swear there is dust on the shelves and tumble weeds in their aisles.  Nothing has changed in my local store for about 2 months.  I should be angry but I'm almost glad.  When there are new figures on the shelf a have to CHOOSE which figures I'm going to buy.  Up, up and away seems to be Geoffrey Giraffe's pricing mantra so I have to ask myself, what are my "must haves" and what toys can I wait out.  Which figures will be gobbled up to only be seen again as an Internet picture, and which figures will be the new peg warmers of the future.  I want to know so I can buy the later for a lower price at Target or Walmart. 

Speaking of Walmart, that spark at the end of their name should be a 4 leafed clover since I've had the most luck within their walls.  Granted, most of the time the figures are smashed. But, if I'm planning on purchasing another, I'll bite the bullet and lay my money down.  I don't know about your Walmart, but I've noticed if I park near the Garden Center entrance, I can be in and out of the toy section in just under 2 minutes.  If I just so happen to find something ripe for the picking, I harvest my crop and make a bee line for the fastest register.  Lunch is an hour, so there's no time to waste.  Sometimes I can hurry right through the Garden Center check out lanes. Other times, those lanes are clogged with 30 customers convinced that these two cashiers move faster than the 12 plus registers near the main entrance, I take my chances at the other side of the store.  Plus, I'm right next to the RedBox rentals. 

On the weekends, I sometimes visit another Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us, but these trips are killing my wallet.  It isn't cheap to drive to these places day in and day out.  Furthermore, it seems that new figures are here and gone in an increasingly shortening cycle.  I use to enjoy the "hunt", now I just hope to stumble across something I want.  Maybe I've jumped a hurdle of maturity.  Maybe I'm actually growing up.  Or, maybe it's just math.  I drive about, let's say, 5 miles round trip.  Gas is $3.60-ish and my vehicle gets 17 city miles to the gallon.  So my weekday rounds add up to an extra $5.29 per week.  Haven't seen anything new in about 2 months so that makes it $42.32.  Seriously, I wonder if the amount of action figures released on shelves has decreased in the last 5 years.  I know Hasbro was loosing money and had to let go of some workers.  Doesn't it make sense that they would also cut back on their figures?  Heck, maybe Star Wars is loosing its shelf space clout.  Those weak sauce Clone Wars episodes aren't helping matters any.

I work for Past Generation Toys.  Now, I'm going to start buying from Past Generation Toys.  With all the gas, time, and disappointment, it seems like the logical choice.  I'm not going to miss out on the Galen Marek (Starkiller) figure, or pay 40 plus dollars for him once the hype arrives with his release along with all the sunk costs of looking for him. (Darth Malgus anyone?)  I'm going to take the stress out of my purchase and go the PGT route and pick up my "must haves".   I'll still drive my rounds, but maybe not as often.  If I see a second figure to the one I already have, I'll consider that a bonus and bring down my spending average.  The worst of the two will be either become my display piece or my guinea pig for a custom makeover.  (Insert evil laugh here.)

See you in the toy aisles,

Steve R. Ticulation (yea, I'm the guy who usually answers the phone when you call PGT!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Young Justice is Served

Have you been watching the Young Justice cartoon on Cartoon Network?  No?  Hello, Megan!  In a nutshell, all the sidekicks -- but don't call them sidekicks -- are off on their own weekly adventures with minimal adult supervision.  Their ranks keep growing and the main team consists of Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis.  Some satellite characters are Red Arrow (or Speedy), Zatanna, Rocket, and that scene stealer Captain Marvel.  The focus is on the youngsters, but members of the Justice League also make their appearances.  Batman dishes out the assignments, Red Tornado is den mother, and Black Canary is in charge of combat training.  Superman shows up too, but he's a little freaked out about Superboy.  Since the cast is full of teens, you get a full dose of the emotional angst you'd expect without, surprisingly, compromising the story.  Actually, the romantic relationships, insecurities, and immaturity only adds to the interest.  Superboy is doing "drugs".  Miss Martian has trust issues.  Artemis has some questionable family ties.  Sounds like it could be a disaster, but thanks to the skillful juggling act of the writers, it's definitely "aster".
And then you have the action figures.  They stink.  Or, should I say "stunk", as in past tense, since the line has been canceled by Mattel.  You have to go back to the 1970's to find figures of such limited articulation.  I know Mattel released larger sized figures with more articulation, but their proportions are all screwy.  Robin looks like a munchkin wrestler with those broad shoulders.  Seriously, if you wanted to collect the whole line of figures, you'd have to stick with the smaller guys.  Plus, these figures came with individual pieces to build your own Hall of Justice backdrop display!  That was a stroke of genius.   I soooooo wanted to buy me some Young Justice figures too and from a distance, at first glance, they looked promising.   Upon close inspection though, you'll notice that the arms, legs and chest pieces were repainted and recycled over and over throughout the line.  Somehow Mattel got away with this for the Justice League Unlimited line, but we won't be fooled again.  Paint application was also a problem.  Has anyone seen a Black Canary figure with her face stamped on straight?   She looks like her eyes and mouth were applied with the technological precision of Easter egg dunking decals.  And, what was with that dainty pinky hand mold?  I don't recall any tea cup accessories with these figures.  Needless to say, I was less than "whelmed".

The toys are one thing, but you can't argue that this cartoon has raised the bar and set new standards of what a super hero cartoon can be.  Below is an abbreviated version of my favorite parts and episodes.  Mostly, these are just little details that I've come to expect from the creative team behind the series.  I tried to disguise the spoilers for those who have to catch up, but those who have seen the series, it's a little walk down memory lane.

Independence Day - It's a fun fanboy moment as each hero defeats their designated cold villain in the first 3 minutes of the show.  When that same incident is revisited in Episode 11, it's no longer a throw away moment.  I got a kick out of the common confusion of Speedy being the name of the archer instead of the speedster.  This first episode gives you an idea of what you're in for.  The Justice League will NOT be playing an overwhelming role in this series.  The focus is definitely the young-ins.

Welcome to Happy Harbor - I love how Red Tornado sounds.  His voice has that cool resonance that reminded me of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica , Soundwave from the G1 Transformers cartoon, and the communication system between X-wing pilots in Star Wars.  I started to hate the catch phrase "Hello, Megan!" until it all made sense 18 episodes later.

Drop Zone -  This was the episode where I knew I was hooked.  When Mammoth's skin actually rips due to the accelerated muscle growth brought on by the Kobra Venom, I knew I was hooked on this series.  The gang is still having trouble working as a team and it gets them into trouble, as it should.  I also liked how Bane spoke Spanish.

Schooled - I thought I was having deja vu when the episode opened with an out of control yellow school bus nearly launching itself off a red suspension bridge.  It was just like the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve.  Then we see Superman, through the windshield, fly across the front of the bus in a shot identical to the movie I start laughing.  Like the brass statue of Shakespeare in Bruce Wayne's office, it isn't an accident, but an homage.  As one of the best episodes, I used "Schooled" as a recruiting tool to get my friend to watch.  He liked the concept of Amazo, an android that could mimic the powers of any super powered being it came in contact with, but he hated how Amazo called out the names of the heroes when using their powers.  I told him that was for the viewers, so they knew what was going on.  He countered that Amazo should just stay with Superman's powers.  I couldn't argue that logic and decided it was better to enjoy the show alone.  I thoroughly enjoyed the whupping Black Canary dished out during training, and how the lesson came full circle in defeating the bad guys.

Downtime - Clayface still has the same wet, mucky sound effect from Batman The Animated Series.

Terrors - This was a whole episode dedicated to the "fish out of water" concept.  You don't expect to see super heroes in prison.  The bad guys are thwarted, but unbeknownst to the good guys, the ultimate goal has succeeded and another chess piece is moved into place.  I love how everything is happening just below the surface, and the good guys don't always win.  Star Wars the Clone Wars should try out this concept.

Alpha Male - Captain Marvel steals the show.  The team's reaction to Marvel wanting to "hang out" is totally misunderstood and hilarious once the ending comes around.  Aqualad officially becomes my favorite character of the main group.

Failsafe - Knew what the ending was going to be, but still loved the ride.  Miss Martin is a powerhouse.

Misplaced - Billy Batson hops a fence when he could have just walked through the open gate 10 feet beside him.

Agendas - Didn't know Superboy's back-story in the comics so I got plenty of surprises. That "Red Sun" phrase comes in handy.  The backwards "S"  has an interesting origin.

Performance - A great stand alone episode.  Upon multiple repeat viewings I noticed that there wasn't a wasted sentence spoken.  Every line was relevant and all the pieces fit perfectly.

Usual Suspects - Everything pretty much comes to a conclusion and then goes totally berserk.

Auld Acquaintance - Did anyone else notice the heroes that came through the stargate?  All they were missing was the Flash.  Then again, maybe they were going for the Justice Lords.  The toe to toe battles were awesome. Was I the only one who was yelling and cheering at my screen?

I haven't seen this quality of storytelling since the first season of Justice League Unlimited.  No doubt when the whole collection of Season 1 is released in a single package, I'll lay my money down.  Like Wally, I want a nice souvenir of these adventures. Season 2, Young Justice:  Invasion, has already started and is just a few episodes in.  We have even more characters, new hair styles and outfits, and, oh yeah, it takes place 5 years in the future!  I'm not complaining.  From what I've seen, they'll get around to filling in the gaps.  I don't know how their going to improve on what we've already seen, but I'm willing to wait and see.

Steve R. Ticulation

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sculptor Randy Bowen Explains Why Release Dates Are Not Carved In Polystone

A little background, when a collectible statue or bust is given a release date, if all goes according to plan, the item hits the shops on or about that date, pre-orders are fulfilled and everyone is happy. Often though, the stated release date gets pushed back and then promised shipping dates are broken. I then contact those that have bought these items to let them know their item will not only be late, but I don’t know why it was delayed or when it will be released. Understandably the customer is upset. When I’m asked, "why the item is delayed" and I don’t have an answer other than “I don’t know,” I usually am met with an uneasy okay and the customer agrees to wait. Some cancel their order and I have been accused of attempting to pull a “bait and switch” or holding the product to sell it for more to someone else. For the record, I do not do business that way. 

Last week, I posted a message on the Past Generation Toys Facebook page, asking for the public’s thoughts on why delivery dates for newly released statues and busts change. Several answers were given and now I wanted to know how close we were.  I deal with this problem across the board, with all the companies that make high-end collectibles. This got me to thinking that their must be a reason why statues and busts get delayed, so often.  I wanted to speak with someone who does know.  Then in hit me.  Why not go to the source?  I carry Bowen Designs products; why not try to contact the man who turns imagination into art?  I’ll contact Mr. Randy Bowen, I thought!  So I did and he was happy to answer a few questions about this dilemma. In case you don't already know, Randy Bowen is a very well respected statue and bust sculptor and the CEO and Owner of Bowen Designs.  I boiled down my concerns to two simple questions.  Below is the exchange held with Randy:



Why do shipping delays happen with Bowen Designs Products?


Shipping delays happen for several reasons:

Here's the process-

Once we have an approved and painted prototype, we show it to the factories to get a price quote, and an estimate for completion.

Most factories will quote 4-5 months from the time we send them the master copies to make molds from.  We then pad the schedule by adding 3-4 months for unforeseen delays.

Then 4-5 months go by, and we the factories samples don't match what we send them.  Then the piece needs to be revised.  Before you know it, another 4-5 months go by.  Thus, making the project late.

Sometimes we'll get a final production sample, only to find that the production looks nothing like the last sample they've sent.  The factory will then need to open every package to make the changes to the entire run, adding more weeks.

Add to that, the fact that sometimes our shipments are pulled for intensive inspection by U.S. or Chinese Customs Departments. This alone can add weeks.

Other times we'll post picture of a piece, showing what the actual production looks like.  Only then to find out that someone spots a mistake on the shape of Spider-Man’s eye, Hulk having nipples or any number of "mistakes".  We'll stop production, and need to get the item back to make changes before production commences again.

Recently we've had to take projects away from factories that had them in their possession for several months with nothing to show for progress.  That means starting over completely, with a different statue factory.


Why don't you just pad-in even more time to your release schedule?


We always try to give it our best guess as to when a project will actually ship, but it keeps getting harder and harder because of skilled labor shortages in China.  It's a constantly changing scenario.

There simply aren't as many people willing to do a job where they are sitting for 8 hours a day painting eyeballs on a Black Cat statue.

Sometimes we're surprised when something does ship on time.  Our goal is to not be late.  If we're late delivering products to Diamond Comics, it becomes marked as "returnable".  Meaning- our orders are cancelled.

The sooner we get a statue in someones hands, the sooner we get paid.  We're not intentionally late to vex our customers. We figure they'd rather have us do the best job we can then be a little bit faster.

I understand it can be very frustrating to statue collectors.  I only know that I get frustrated with the system as well.


I want to give a big “Thank You” to Randy Bowen for his time and insights into the business.  Now that I have a better grasp of the facts and a better answer for customers when release dates change.  For me, understanding why something occurs tends to lessen the pain.  Hopefully, customers will feel the same way. 
You really should see the products Bowen Designs creates.  Check out and the Bowen Designs Facebook page.  Randy does a lot of his own pieces, but he isn’t the only one at Bowen with this magical touch.  Several gifted and well-known artists like Joseph Menna, Jason Smith, Mike Cusanelli, and The Kucharek Brothers also fill out the talent roster at Bowen Designs, just to name a few.

I am also a member of the site which focuses on statue and bust collecting.  They have tons of information and the site members really get involved in the conversations.  I have also seen Randy Bowen posts on the StateMarvels boards to get feedback on current projects. Seriously, how cool is that Randy includes his fans in the creative process via this collector site?!   You will defiantly want to check out this site.

I am excited I had the opportunity to work with Randy.  Giveaways are not new to PGT but this week I am going to do something I have never done before!  I am going to GIVEAWAY a Red Hulk Bust that was sculpted by Randy Bowen himself!  If you are not a collector you will be if you win!  To enter, follow the link below (it takes less than 30 seconds).

If you an experienced collector or just breaking-in, we have a lot of pre-order and in-stock Bowen Designs products on the site. Please join in this conversation by posting questions/comments below or on our facebook page.

I hope you all enjoyed the write up and hope to see you around the cyber store!  Joshua

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Transformers Bot Shots, just for kids? I think not!

What do you get when you combine Battle Beasts with Transformers?  Yeah, I know, you get Transforming Battle Beasts.  OR, smart-alec, if you read the title of this post, you get Transformers Bot Shots.

To give you some background, Bot Shots are tiny vehicles that jump and transform into a little robot figure when their front end hits another object.  Now, if slamming a toy car into something and seeing it transform isn't enough fun for ya, let's add the dimension of rock, paper, scissors.  When the cars spring into their robot mode, a spinning chest piece stops on either a fist, blaster, or sword symbol.  How this code plays out is that: 1) blaster beats fist 2) fist beats sword; and 3) sword beats blaster.  I can wrap my head around why fist beats sword since the hand wields the sword, but following that logic, why wouldn't fist beat blaster too?  Do you agree?  They should have had robot fist, sword, and computer.  Fist holds sword, sword smashes computer, computer hacks into the electronic components of the robot hand programming it to destroy itself!  Alright, so I guess it's not that easy to come up with something as easy to understand as the fire, water, and wood combination used by the Battle Beasts heat activated stickers.  But what happens when both chest plates show the same symbol?  Luckily, next to the symbol is your strength score.  The larger number wins.  You also win if you transform, but the other guy doesn't after your head-on collusion.

I like the stubby features of all the character designs, but my favorite is the police car, Barricade.  The black paint scheme and the face sculpt come together in a way that's really appealing to my eye.  I know there are endless repaints and recycled molds to come, so I'll enjoy this incarnation while I can.  I also recommend the Optimus Prime with launcher.  This Optimus not only has a darker, more accurate paint job than the single figure, but the semi trailer/launcher completes the look.  Of course, you can't fire Decepticons from Prime's trailer -- that's just wrong.  You've got to snatch up the Megatron launcher too.  This version of Megatron is the military tank.  Megatron's launcher doubles as a cargo/weapons trailer and looks pretty cool. 

The only thing I can think of that these guys are missing is an accessory for each hand.  How about a little sword and blaster for their tiny little fists?  It would be poetic, and add to the playability, but it would also knock up the minimum age recommendation.  Thank goodness there isn't a maximum age recommendation as I might exceed it by about 30 years.  Just goes to show you that these Bot Shot appeal to various ages on primary level.

Build your own convoy of vehicles to crash or collect at the PGT ebsite.  Wave 2 just hit our shelves.  That's the blue Mirage, clear Bumble-Bee, Ratchet, and more!  Get yours right here from

Do you think you will get one or a few for youself?  Maybe for your kids or family/friends?  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the Transformers Bot Shots.

Until next time, I'll be seeing you in the toy aisles. Steve R. Ticulation