Category - Action Figures

They’re not dolls goddammit!

Still collecting TMNT stuff 20 something years later

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I guess my love for the Ninja Turtles will never truly fade. I’ve loved the Turtles since the second or third grade and while I didn’t really follow the comics, newer animated series, and the terrible live action series, I’ll always have a special spot for them.

As a grown adult, I still enjoy my fair share of TMNT merchandise. A buddy of mine handed me this super sweet “Artobiography” about the original TMNT comics that is full of all sorts of great content. The book is packed with tons of drawings, story boards, character designs, and behind the scenes insight all compiled by Kevin Eastman himself. It’s a great book, even if looking at it now shows me that Eastman and Laird weren’t exactly the greatest artists. That doesn’t matter because their idea was so solid, and their work ethic so dedicated that they were able to take TMNT from their small apartment and turn it into a world wide phenomenon that has become ingrained in culture as much as anything from Marvel or DC.

Second, I ordered a beat up copy of TMNT: Fall of the Footclan for the original Gameboy for a whole six cents off eBay. The thing looks like it’s been through a bomb blast, but I cleaned it up, threw some double A’s into the old green beast and played through the first stage of the game. I loved this game back when it came out, but it’s a rather average action game these days. Since I didn’t want to deal with the ancient Gameboy screen, I ended up playing through the whole game using Super Gameboy. There was some great TMNT fan service in here including lots of great stills right out of the pilot episode of the cartoon. Sure, it’s really dated now, but back then Gameboy games just didn’t have graphics that looked like the real deal.

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On top of all that, I was also handed a cardboard box full of over 30 loose TMNT action figures. To be quite honest, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with these things. I was doing really well in my quest to sell or throw out all of my old action figures and now this comes along. I’ll likely pick through it and grab some of the figures I really want, like the original four Turtles, and Mecha Turtle. Mecha Turtle was the first TMNT figure I ever had when I was growing up, so that figure in particular means a little something to me, and even though I still have my original, he doesn’t have any limbs. It is kind of crazy that I had most of the figures that are in this box at some point in time, so it was actually worth the memories alone.

Being that this is the 25th Anniversary of TMNT, this year in particular is seeing the release of all sorts of cool TMNT stuff that I’m tempted to grab. There’s a bunch of new action figures, DVD releases, and even screenings of the original film at certain theaters. What I’m interested in however is the new Smash Brothers inspired TMNT game for Wii from Game Arts, which could be something worth looking into. Then there is the recent announcement of the Turtles in Time remake for Xbox 360 and PS3. While I’m pretty turned off by the artistic approach to the game (the game loses much of it’s charm with it’s new 3D graphics), I’ll probably get it and enjoy the hell out of it.

So yeah, I still love TMNT and at this point, I probably will for the rest of my life. Cowabunga dude.

Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe trailers tonight

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So during the Superbowl tonight, we’re supposed to be treated to new official trailers for both Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe. It’s kind of fitting that the both of these are shown in this manner as I remember the two franchises coming on almost simultaneously back in the 80’s. Myself, I fell in love with robots that turn into cars, planes, and guns as opposed to a bunch of misfits dressed in silly fatigues ejecting out of helicopters.

Think about that on there for a second, and you’ll realize that these franchises are simply steeped in the ridiculous. It doesn’t cease to amaze me that people from my generation don’t seem to grasp this concept. For example, I just read a comment from someone on Comingsoon.net that went something along the lines of “I hope they don’t ruin my childhood”.

Now think about THAT one for a second as well. How can any of these big budgeted Hollywood films even come close to doing any of the original material for these properties any justice when they are already based on ludicrous ideas. The fact that there are giant sentient robots from another planet that can somehow turn into a firetrucks, and no one even notices until it starts shooting lasers from its headlights is insane. No one in G.I. Joe ever dies…well, Duke came close to death in the animated feature from the 80’s, but he came through. The premise of these shows is paper thin in the first place.

The fact is, just about EVERY animated series from the 80’s was nothing more than a giant 22 minute commercial designed to sell toys. The sole purpose of killing off a large majority of the original characters in the animated Transformers feature from the 80’s was solely to introduce a new toy line. This trend continued even beyond the animated Transformer feature when they once again attempted to change the line by introducing the Power Masters and Head Masters. This was when I started to loose interest in Transformers, and apparently I wasn’t alone as it was around this time period when Transformers’ popularity began to decline. The claim that these new live-action features based on our cherished childhood make-believe friends is nothing more than an easy cash grab by Hollywood is…well, exactly right. However, it isn’t anything new, and is really nothing more or less than what G.I. Joe (its 80’s iteration anyway) or Transformers was intended for in the first place.

I’ll try to post the trailers here when they become available.

Jack Bauer figure in the house

Bauer_smallI was over at the local mall today buying myself a new pair of glasses. I decided to take a trip to Samgoody, aka the most over priced store on the planet, and see if they had anything cool. Samgoody is an awful store by the way. I was trying to browse through their Playstation collection and it was a nightmare. Nothing is in order, it’s this mix of old and new product, and everything is ridiculously expensive. There was a used copy of Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter which looked like it was wrapped up in a shit, and was going for 20 dollars, where as I bought a copy for myself at Gamestop a few months ago for 6.99.

Unfortunately, there are no more specialty shops in this mall, so this store is the only place where you’ll find cool American and Japanese toys that you likely won’t find at Toys R Us. Case in point, the new Jack Bauer figure from McFarlene. I wrote about this figure before, but it looks like it finally came out. At 20 bucks, it’s a little steep. Problem is, even if I found this thing on the net for cheaper, I’d probably still end up paying around 20 dollars with shipping. Since I’ve been looking so flipping forward to this figure, I didn’t mind the price so much. Heck, I’m on vacation too, I’m allowed to toss away some money if I want (glasses not included).

Of course he doesn’t look as good as the prototype, but it’s damn close. The problem is I don’t really have room for this figure anywhere. I’m debating taking it out of the box, not that I’m anal about that stuff, but sometimes certain figures look better packaged. This one might be one of them. For the Bauer fan, it doesn’t get much cooler than this.

How to fill the 24 void in your life

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We Jack Bauer fans have a lot of waiting to do over the next few months. Okay, so this past season of 24 certainly wasn’t the finest in the series, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss spending Monday nights with my favorite CTU agents.

That said there is a whole world of 24 out there, including plenty of ways to spend time with Jack while we wait for Day 7 to arrive in January. You might be surprised by the amount of options, ranging from books to video games. Take a look.

24: Declassified Books

There is an entire series of paperback books based on the 24 world. They all happen before the events of Day 1, so you can expect a handful of familiar faces like Tony Almeida and Nina Meyers. I actually haven’t read any of them myself, but I usually hear positive things about them, and I know for a fact they take place in other locations, like New York. There are five books in all, meaning there is plenty to keep you busy. You can of course find these books in any book store or online.

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24: The Game for PS2

Let me get this out of the way right now, 24: The Game is absolutely terrible when it actually comes to the game itself, and somehow they managed to make Michelle Dessler look ugly. However, it actually has a decent narrative compared to most video games. It bridges the gaps between Day 2 and 3, answering such questions like “What happened to David after the attack?” and the most important question of all “How did Kate Warner have Jack’s leather coat in the first episode of day 3?” If you can stomach and survive the boring gun fights, poor driving scenes and maddening interrogation sequences, there’s a bit to love for the 24 fan. Being that it is over a year old, you can probably find it really cheap. Oh, and Callery’s soundtrack is top.

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24 Day Zero

Day Zero is an animated web series that started at the end of this past season. Each episode is only a few minutes long and offers a look into Jack’s past showing exactly how he became wrapped up in his affair with Nina Meyers. It would appear that this series has all the makings to be great, with original voice talents from the cast, and writers from the show, but it suffers from some really poor animation. It’s more like a comic book than an animated show, but it should help tide fans over. Check it out here.

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Pretend to be Jack with 24 Music

Sean Callery’s intense score to the television show can also be purchased on CD. The first disc is a best of from the first three seasons of the show, while the recently released second disc covers tunes from season’s 4 and 5. Relive some of the shows finest moments like the fan favorite “Jack’s Humanity.” Worth a listen if you’re into this sort of stuff.

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Worship Jack with his action figure

Due out sometime during August is this awesome Jack Bauer action figure from McFarlane Toys. So even if you can’t watch the show, at least you’ll always have a little reminder of him at your desk. I’m personally stoked.

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Enjoy 100 of the show’s greatest moments

The gang over at Progressive Boink put together an amazing list of moments of the first five seasons of 24. They seriously have everything covered, and I found it hilarious that they picked up on and love the same sort of quirks that I do. I thought I was the only one who laughed at stuff like Mike Novak peeking around corners. They also refer to certain scenes by the same names as my friends and I do, like “American Hero.” All of the scenes are accompanied by YouTube clips, so leave open a day or two to go through it all. It’s awesome, go check it out.

Hopefully these few items will help tide you over while you wait for Day 7 to begin. If you haven’t watched 24 before, than use this time to brush up or watch all of the previous seasons. You’ll thank me later.


M.A.S.K. Come See The Laser Rays

mask_logo.jpg I certainly was a child of the 80’s. I remember when the very first episode of Transformers was aired, and then witnessed the glut of cartoons based off of toy lines sprawl across television. It was quite a spectacle. In an earlier post, nerdlogger “tdb” suggested we do a post on one of the other cartoons with transforming vehicles: M.A.S.K. I thought it was a damned good idea.

M.A.S.K. stands for “Mobile Armored Strike Kommand”. Dig that “K” in there. Now, if you ask me, Ed Boon and John Tobais must’ve been a huge fans of this show when they came up with Mortal Kombat’s title. That “k” just gives it that 80’s edge it so rightly deserves. It already has an insane cast of wacky characters none of whom wear the same uniform yet all belong to the same klub (hah I’m so clever), so all it needs now is a jamming 80’s theme song sung by some hair band wanna-be. Lucky for us it does:

One of the great things about the animation from this time period was that all the opening segments are really well done. Clearly, the budget for an entire half season was spent on polishing up the intros. The rest of the actual show doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by the first sixty seconds. However, we get treated by a menagerie of goofy good-guys and bad-guys that more than makes up for the gaps in the animation.

The show centers around the epic struggle between the M.A.S.K. team lead by Matt Trakker and V.E.N.O.M. which is lead by the sadistic Miles Mayhem. V.E.N.O.M. stands for Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem. That’s some mission statement. The two battle it out using an assortment of transforming cars and planes, and everyone is equipped with their own unique mask that not only hides their identity but also gives them special abilities. Of course, in order to use their mask, they would all have to say the name of their particular mask’s ability, and command it into use. My personal favorite: “Stiletto: Fire!”

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I got into the show when it first came on. I didn’t have many of the toys as I was way more into Transformers at the time. In my personal collection I had “Condor” which was piloted by Brad Turner. “Condor” was a motorcycle that could turn into a little helicopter. Pretty nifty.

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Next, I had “Firecracker” which was driven by Hondo Maclean. His truck could turn into a…tank? It would pop up off its supports and guns would shoot out of its grille. I liked how when you hit the switch to make it transform it would pop into position because it was spring loaded. Really cool and made playing with it a lot of fun, because you could whip out the big guns when you needed them in the blink of an eye. Take that V.E.N.O.M.!

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Finally I had “Gator” which was driven by Dusty Hayes. It was a Jeep that would spit out a little hydroplane. This was a lot like Firecracker in that you’d hit a switch and the hydroplane would shoot out from the jeep chasis. The driver never had to get out of his seat when transforming so he could get right into the thick of things when V.E.N.O.M. is breathing down his neck.

Unfortunately, none of my M.A.S.K. toys have survived the decades. I was actually really good at taking care of my things when I was younger. I mean, I was the kid who when he first got his NES would put it back in the box after I was done playing Super Mario Bros. That only lasted until I got my sweet fifteen-inch B&W television hooked up in my bedroom. So clearly is wasn’t my fault that M.A.S.K. is a mere memory to me.

The honor of destroying my M.A.S.K. figures and a small portion of my Transformers was none other than Shamoozal’s Webmaster, Phil. When I was at school, my mom would let him play with them. She would even rat out my hiding places just to get him off her back about them. That’s how cool M.A.S.K. was. It made a mother turn on her son to satiate the rabid longings for transforming toys of a 5 year old. Many a day I would return home from grade school and find the kitchen table strewn with plastic carnage. Phil would get one look at my coming in and he’d run out the window. A few times of this, and my M.A.S.K. toys were no more. As amazing as these things were, they weren’t meant to take this level of abuse. They were demolished- eroded by the crazed fingers of a toddler who tried to cut his own hair on more than one occasion.

In my Internet travels for this article I found Matt Trakker’s Mansion. This is easily the most ridiculous website I ever saw. It’s great. If you’ve got five seconds to kill, I suggest taking a virtual tour of the M.A.S.K. hero’s home. Its quite fancy.

And so that ends my time with M.A.S.K. I couldn’t keep up with all the new ones that came out and replacing my old ones seemed almost pointless when the prospect of somehow scoring Omega Supreme was on the horizon. I mean, Omega Supreme came with a track that a tank would roll around on and a rocket that all transformed into one of the largest pieces of junk ever seen by mankind.


Sources:

http://www.matt-trakker.com/

http://www.world-of-cartoons.de/mask/

http://www.angelbrain.co.uk/trakkermansion/welcome.html

Capsule Toys from Japan

Remember when you used to go to the grocery store with your parents, and after checkout you would beg them to let you buy a little toy from those 25 cent machines? Yeah, those capsule machines were really cool when you didn’t know any better. However, once you hit a certain age, you realized that the toy inside sucked. It sucked big time.

When I went to Japan a few weeks ago, I discovered that feeling as a kid all over again. Capsule toys are huge in Japan, and some of those capsule toys are really cool. There are literally thousands of different machines to choose from, so the chances are you’ll find a machine you like and pump a couple hundred yen into one.

Honestly, before I went to Japan, I think I finally managed to squash my need for wanting toys. I had told myself that they are a waste of money, and that I simply don’t have the room for them anymore. The truth is, they are a waste of money and garbage, but when garbage is as cool as this stuff, it’s hard to resist.

In Japan, capsule toys can range in quality and price. The machine range is usually between 100 – 300 yen per toy. The 100 yen machines will net you something smaller, while the 400 yen machines spit out miniature action figures that actually require some assembly.

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A tiny Tom Nook for 100 Yen, and Noriko from the anime Gunbuster for 400 Yen


These machines are littered everywhere throughout Tokyo, almost as many capsule machines as there are vending machines. Certain areas, like Akihabara and Ueno, have a ridiculously huge amount of these machines. Some stores even devote full sections to the machines, offering up all sorts of licesned character goodies.

It’s easy to become highly addicted to collecting these little figures. Heck, even Ryo “Do you know where sailors normally hang out?” Hazuki ends up buying a bazillion of them on his quest to find out who killed his father. My wife and I ended up leaving Japan with more then we probably should have, but at least they are priced decent.