Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Top 10 Greatest Toy Lines Ever - TLDR!


10: Marvel Legends. I love the superheroes. Great articulation. 

9: M.A.S.K. The perfect blend between G.I. Joe and Transformers. 

8: Micro Machines. Solid, fun and most importantly: Tiny!

7: Masters of the Universe Classics. Great mix of all the various He-Man/She-Ra universes. 

6: Kenner's Star Wars. Started the golden age of action figures. Awesome toys, despite modest articulation.

5: Transformers G1. At its best, the greatest action figures ever. Cool concept, great comic. 

4: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hysterically creative, solid. Awesome playsets. 

3: Dino Riders. Severely underrated. Ridiculously detailed dinosaurs.

2: Lego Collectible Minifigures. Easy to collect, detailed, colorful, cute, and an extreme variation of characters.

1: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Price and selection. Characterization, build quality, articulation. Monumental comic. Vehicles as impressive as they were numerous. 

Read the full article here

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Top 10 Greatest Toy Lines Ever!

This is a list I've been thinking of for a good while, and now is as good a time as ever. If you read my stuff, you would think this list could be named "Top ten action figure lines", but that would actually not work. Sure, it's mostly dominated by action figures, but there may be a few entries that just happens to fall in a different category.

I have collected, played with - and ultimately considered a huge selection of toys for this list. Some of the toy lines were rather difficult to leave out, and I feel like mentioning a few of them (but not all, because that would ruin eventual surprises).

 I did consider the original, 1/6 scaled G.I. Joe, for historical reasons, and the great variety of accessories. They were before my time, but I enjoy them whenever I see them today. In the opposite category, when talking about toys that predate the 80s, are the Mego dolls. I just can't see understand attraction. 

A powerful contender was the Real Ghostbusters line. Creative monsters, solid build quality, all over fun toys. There have also been many great superhero lines, like Toy Biz' X-Men, and the various DC Direct lines. I'm also impressed with many of the contemporary toys, whether they're based on movies, like the Avengers figures, or the toys from the smaller, more independent toy companies, like Four Horsemen.
Japanese toys I considered included the various Valkyries based off the Macross shows (like the Bandai VF-25 in my banner), and the range of anime robots in the mighty Soul of Chogokin line.

While the top ten may be familiar to most of you, and in many ways be "obvious" choices, they were the toys that has impressed me the most and given me the most joy.  Essentially, these are my top ten toy lines. 

Agree, disagree, want to share your own list? Leave a comment below!

Monday, September 16, 2013

MOTUC Extendar in 2014

I couldn't be happier. 2013 has been an awful year for the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line. Filled with characters that people really didn't care for, it's clear that they needed to change things a bit to hold on to the subscribers. 2014 and 2015 will be nothing but the remaining vintage toys redone, and key characters from the 200x cartoon.

I'm glad I didn't subscribe in 2013, and I'm even happier I have signed on for 2014. The year starts off brilliantly, with Two-Bad (MOTU), Glimmer (Princess of Power), Hydron (New Adventures), and Modulok. The fan convention Power Con was held this weekend, and four additional upcoming Classics were revealed: We got to see Blade (MOTU Movie), Scorpia (She-Ra cartoon), and Battle Lion (200x cartoon). All look fantastic, and it's good to see that Toyguru has stopped with releasing self customs, d-listers and extremely expensive three-packs of random, obscure prototypes.

Of course, the big reveal to me was that we're finally getting an Extendar Classics figure. Probably my all time favorite MOTU character. I remember exactly where and when I got him. Extendar was part of the 1986 wave of Masters of the Universe, and

I had of course read about him in the comics, but I never found him in my stores. During a vacation in another country, I saw him lying in a bin in a regular department store. I asked to get him, but was told this was not the time. I can't recall if I became sad, but if my mother reads this, maybe she can tell her side of the story. Either way, Christmas was right around the corner, and as you would expect, I got Extendar.

Such an impressive looking toy, with a relatively simple play feature. He's a mechanical knight that can extend his limbs, going from a bulky, robust warrior, to the majestic "Tower of Power". Extendar came with a large red shield, the same shield that was revealed to us during Power Con. There's no question who owns that shield, and this basically Matty telling us: Extendar is coming next year.

I have gone several rounds with my self, whether I would be disappointed or not, should Extendar be a 2015 release instead of next year. Keep in mind, with the current reveals (which is roughly 40% of the entire 2014 subscription), next year is looking amazing, and significantly better than 2013. But I found myself eager, almost impatient when it came to Extendar. And now I know, and this makes me just that bit more exited for next year. This of course means that Rio Blast - the last remaining original Master, will be the 2015 draw.

Extendar will definitely have similar features to Meckaneck. He will have snap on extentions, instead of the sliding features of the vintage toy. I'm ok with this, it doesn't take away from either playability of display value. Sadly, Extendar is a regular release, and not an "over-sized" figure, like the impressive Ram-Man. This means extendar will be the same size as the other, regular figures. At least when he's not extended. I would have preferred him to be just a bit bigger than a normal figure.

What I'm hoping for now is either extensions that will let Extendar be ridiculously tall, or maybe some extra accessories. Since he looks like a knight, he should have a sword, or a lance. Maybe a sword that can extend to a lance?

Extendar may not be everybody's favorite, but then again, he wasn't used to sell the 2014 subscriptions either. I'm at least sold, and I'm counting down till we get the Tower of Power, the mighty Extendar.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do they really care about enthusiast like us?

A fellow enthusiast, Tom, over at Reasonally Intelligent Rambling, wrote a couple of days ago concerns over his content. With the growing awareness towards privacy, and the not-really-shocking news that NSA and other sections of the government has the ability to spy on regular folks, it makes sense to question our content and who our readers really are.

I see that Tom since then has deleted that specific ramble, but his short article went along the lines that he writes about guns, weapons, plastic and so on. His argument was that since these were key words for automated searches made by the NSA, he could potentially end on a watch list.

Relax. It's not a real gun!
Even though Tom has a much larger quantity of articles about military toys than I do, I guess I fall in the same category. I know for a fact that I have articles with "gun" and "weapon" in the titles. I have written about hydrogen peroxide, a chemical that for all I know could be dangerous. And I constantly complain about a certain huge corporation. I have even written about the great hazard a toy could prove to be! In the right hands, the head of a Minifigure could be lethal!

Is this enough to get me on NSA's watch list? Well, the fact that I publish and article containing the words "NSA" is probably enough. A more relevant question is if they care. I hope so. I hope they care enough to read my articles, because some of them are worth the read. Maybe I even reach that one NSA agent who, at the end of his shift, actually wanted nothing more than to relax, kick back, and read about Minifigures. You're welcome!

Any in any case, do not let the threat of ending up on a watch list restrain you from writing about action figures, and certainly don't let it scare you away from quality content, like the Reasonally Intelligent Rambling blog. Tom writes about military action figures, customizing, contemporary G.I. Joe figures and a lot more. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

High End Toy Lines

Collecting toys can be expensive, or more affordable, depending what you actually collect, and how you vision your collecting. Of course, constantly going for boxed, vintage toys, you can imagine it quickly becomes expensive. But at the other end, you may just pick up huge lots of loose, opened figures, and go for quantity over toys in mint condition.

Hot Toys: Amazing and expensive
It almost the same if you're into contemporary general-release action figures, you usually don't have to ruin your wallet. Usually.

Let us say that you're into superheroes, and have $200 to use on toys. Among your options is to go for a nice double-digit amount of Marvel Legends. You'll get several, durable toys of good quality. 
But should you be interested in the high-end superhero toys, you more or less have to consider the Hot Toys action figures. They are roughly $200 for a single figure. Worth it? Many think so because gorgeous face sculpts, a size that demands attention, and and extreme details on their costume. Oh, and they're also as articulated as any action figure. 

I tend to chose quantity, as I have far too many interests to be able to spend $200 on a single figure. From time to time, I regret the decision of not picking up Black Widow, Thor and the other Avengers, because these are the best looking toys I have seen, and isn't that the whole idea of collecting? To actually appreciate the designs and quality of the toys?

Like I said, I tend to choose quantity, and  go for several different toys from several different toy lines, I fluctuate almost daily between preferring modern and vintage toys. Sometimes I wish I were more focused in my collecting, but that thought quickly passes when I spot something new, cool. 
All this is besides the point really, as I was planning to talk a bit about the robot counterparts of Hot Toys. 

SoC God Mars is impressive. 
I have mentioned the Masterpiece Transformers series, and I even own a couple of MP Transformers: Skywarp, Thundercracker, Optimus Prime. They cost at least five times that of a regular release Transformer, but are of course also more impressive in size and details. They tend to be a bit tricky to transform, but I guess that's a positive thing when it comes to the Transformers. 

Another toy line, similar to Masterpiece Transformers, is Soul of Chogokin. SoC is a toy line from Bandai that focuses on making robots from old anime shows. These robots have usually all had toys already, but with SoC, Bandai goes all out - sort of like what Hot Toys does. And they're absolutely gorgeous. Lots of metal parts, lots of intricate details, tons of play features, tons of added accessories. The display value for these toys are out of this world. 

I have never managed to actually pull the trigger on these mighty toys, even though the combining mecha God Mars, from an early 80s anime has tempted me. As has the monumental Ideon, from the tragic ending show Space Runaway Ideon. These are expensive toys, but if you check out a few reviews online, you may understand why. 

From a safe distance, I've let myself be impressed with Bandai's Soul of Chogokin releases, and one of their latest mechas has even made me laugh. This actually exists: 

Will the Disney Mecha be my first Soul of Chogokin, should I rather pick up some Hot Toys superheroes, or should I simply stick to quantity over quality? 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Candy Store

This is just pictures from a candy store I visited. I have no clue why this post is so popular. Do many people really search for "candy store" images? Do those who search for "candy store" click the pictures of actual candy? I'm certainly confused. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Marvel Legends Nick Fury

I'm almost to the point where I think that the coolest Marvel characters are those that lack super powers. I've written about Hawkeye in the past,and this time, it's the spy above all spies, Nick Fury's turn.

Read on!