Friday, March 6, 2015

GI Joe Pursuit of Cobra: Crazylegs

I don't know what it was about the original 1987 A Real American Hero figure of Crazylegs that I liked so much, but he was always one of my favorite characters as a kid. I was never big into the Marvel comic series so I can't put my finger on why I gravitated to the character, but when I learned he was receiving a modern update in the Pursuit of Cobra series, I was excited.

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Thankfully the designers took that goofy look off his face from the original figure, but other than that it's a pretty faithful recreation of the ARAH toy. Same outfit, same colors, same design.

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His parachute comes on the figure, but can be removed if you so choose to take it off. Thankfully the parachute isn't huge and bulky. It doesn't really detract from posing the figure or does it make him too top or back heavy.

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The only other change, and it's a welcomed one, is that his helmet is now removable. Underneath you'll find Crazylegs wearing a black beanie. I should note that the figure came with a few more accessories than what I've shown. Years ago my display rack that housed many of my Joes fell off my wall and with that I lose many of the smaller guns and accessories.

Overall this is a beautiful figure and I can see how collector's flocked to it. A quick search on eBay shows that this figure, loose and complete, still commands $25-45! Part of me still wishes I owned this figure so I could display it side by side with my vintage Crazylegs, but I guess that will have to wait.



Thursday, March 5, 2015

Transformers 2010: Predaking (reissue)

Several years ago a close friend of mine asked me to help him sell some unwanted Transformers on eBay. One of the items he had was the Transformers 2010 reissue of Predaking. This was the box set that was released by Takara Tomy in Japan as part of the 25th celebration of Transformers. This set would later be released by Hasbro as part of their Platinum series.

Before I put Predaking on eBay, I had snapped several pictures as I planned to do a side by side comparison with the vintage G1 piece. This never happened as time go away from me. This was also before I had a decent set up for photography so these pictures are of a lesser quality than what I prefer to feature on the blog.

Most collectors and fans of Transformers should already be familiar with these molds anyhow, so I'll just point out the changes made for this release instead.

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In typical Takara fashion, the packaging for the Predacons looks gorgeous. Had this been mine, I would've found a way to display the box. A few things to notice. First off the lack of a designation number. The vintage giftset was given the number D-78. New artwork. To me this is what makes this box look so darn good. I like the original box art, but there is just something about this comic style art. The handle on the top of the box is actually a carry over from the original.

vintage

What is your preference? Vintage packaging or the 2010 reissue packaging? In my book you really can't go wrong either way.

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Another change can be found on the inside of the box. Long gone is the beautiful styrofoam tray that securely held everything in place, replaced with a more eco friendly plastic insert shell. You may have noticed the box opens from the front versus from the side. I particularly don't care for this as it makes the box less sturdy. My friend actually used transparent tape to keep the front box flap closed because the box was so unstable.

The other change as you may be able to tell are the colors of the actual Predacon figures. All of the yellow plastic bits have now been replaced with gold. The reds and oranges appear to be the same shade as the vintage G1. This makes the 2nd reissue for the Predacons at this time so a change was needed in order to make it stand out from the previous release and from the vintage piece. I like the change, but I'm sure the G1 purist easily passed up this release.

Razorclaw

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Headstrong

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Tantrum

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Rampage

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Divebomb

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I know the Predacons have always been a highly sought after group of toys and very popular with the collectors, but I just don't care for them. Never had really. I had several of them growing up, both the metal and die-cast versions. When I finally was able to combine them to form Predaking...well I was impressed by his size, but give me one of the Scramble City combiners any day over the Predacons. The only individual Predacon that I think is a great figure in both forms is Rampage.

While this team may not be one of my favorites, I do like the addition of the gold plastic. Dare I say I like it better than the vintage version with yellow plastic?

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I was glad I was able to hold this version of Predaking in my hands as it really is a thing of beauty, but with the high original price tag I skipped this release. I was surprised when it was announced that a similar version was being released by Hasbro and that Amazon.com would be carrying it. Hasbro took the Beast Hunters Optimus Prime sword and cast it in a matching gold plastic for Predaking to wield, but other than that it's basically the same as this 2010 reissue by Takara Tomy.

If you are one of the few Transformers collectors that don't already own a version of this toy, check out Amazon for the Platinum version, or BigBadToyStore or TFSource for this 2010 reissue by Takara Tomy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

GI Joe Sigma 6: Lockdown

Around 2005, Hasbro decided to take a different route with the G.I. Joe brand. Gone was the traditional 3 3/4" scale, replaced with a new look 8 inch scale. It was a pretty drastic departure from what most collectors were familiar with. A lot of collectors would have a hard time embracing or even accepting the new look Joes, but I was intrigued by this new series of toys.

At the start of the line I found the toy's packaging to be almost as impressive as the toys themselves. The top and bottom of the packaging were large pieces of plastic that when removed, could be assembled to form a foot locker of sorts to store the figure's gear and accessories. After awhile Hasbro introduced a lower price point who's packaging lacked some of these frills. Lockdown was one of the Soldier assortment as they were called. While the packaging may have been simpler, the toys still packed the same punch.

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The Soldier assortment still came with a good amount of gear. As you can see here, Lockdown comes with a removable helmet, gun, hand cuffs, a belt, a SWAT shield and a battering ram. I particularly liked this figure due to his similarities to the A Real American Hero character, Shockwave.

For larger sculpted figures, I was surprised at the level of detail and articulation the figures featured. While they didn't feature modern ball joint type articulation, you could get some good poses out of these figures...assuming you had an ounce of creativity.

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I personally liked this new direction of GI Joe. The art style was different, but I like different. There was a brief animated series that accompanied the line, but I don't think Lockdown every made an appearance. If he had I imagine he would have looked exactly like his figure.

In addition to the accessories I've already mentioned, check out his metal dog tags. Small touch, but a very cool little accessory.

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Lockdown's right hand is actually spring loaded. What I mean by that is his four fingers have a spring that runs behind the knuckle area. This allows him to grip and hold his weapons and accessories in a tight manner. When nothing is in his hands, he effectively has a balled up fist.

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The Sigma 6 toys had a lot of play value. Granted the series was focused on the figures and not the vehicles and play sets, the toys were fun. Isn't that what toys aren't meant to be? Yes it was a big departure from the norm, but it seems like that is what must happen from time to time to the GI Joe brand to keep it alive.

This was written in the early months of 2015. The future of the GI Joe brand is up in the air. I hear rumors of a 3rd live action movie...which would help, but military themed toys just aren't as relevant to today's kids as they were in the 60's or even the 80's. As much as I love GI Joe, unless the brand takes another chance and mixes it up a little, I don't see it coming back anytime soon...and that is something that makes this long time fan / collector a little sad.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

You should Play With This Too - A Kickstarter Campaign you must check out

I"m going to take a few moments from reviewing toys, to talk about some new toys in the works that you must simply check out. While this may be new to some of the readers, to many you've probably already heard of a new company called Play With This Too. PWTT for short, is comprised of many former guys from the likes of Hasbro, Mattel, IDW and other companies. Having worked on such popular toy lines as Transformers, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Masters of the Universe and many other lines, these guys have come up with a new series of action figures they are calling the Lost Protectors.

They just launched a new Kickstarter campaign on Friday, February 27th for their new series of figures and in less than 24 hours, people had pledged nearly 40% of their initial $80,000 goal. Now these guys don't need me to help them achieve their goal(s) as I'm sure they'll hit their marks, but how could I not say something about them when they have, basically, new versions of some of the classic Generation One Pretenders that I so dear love?


One of the first figures in the series is Desolataur...or Skullgrin as I'll refer to him. Now this is an early resin prototype here, but look at just how awesome this thing looks. You can read up on the Kickstarter campaign page to learn more about the figures and the series in general, but I just wanted to share a few pictures and see if those alone will be enough to entice you to check them out.


One of the neat things about these figures are that the pieces will be interchangeable with other figures in the series...or with other 6 inch action figures (to some degree). Think of Hasbro's new Mashers figures, but way better sculpted and with more accessories.


Where as the original G1 Pretenders had smaller transformable robots that hide inside the Pretender shells, these come with what PWTT is calling Tech Drones. These are 3 inch tall figures assembled via 5mm ports or pegs. You can also disassemble the drones and use their parts with the larger figures as weapons or accessories.


If you aren't familiar with how Kickstarter campaigns work, here is an example of how this particular campaign works. If you pledge $55 and the main goal of $80K is met, then you'll receive the awesome Bloodbath figure (aka TF G1 Pretender Bomb-Burst) sometime next February or March. Simple as that.


Or you can pledge $55 and receive the awesome Desolataur figure. I'm currently on the fence over with character to back, as you can only choose one...unless you have a 2nd Kickstarter account I'm assuming.

Now there are other versions of these two figures, some exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign that you can check out as well, but I'm mainly interested in the G1 Transformers themed characters...such as the two above.

Larger, closer look at the pending Desolataur figure

They also have several stretch goals to meet after the initial goal has been met. What is a stretch goal you may ask? Well essentially the more money that is pledged to them, the more items available for purchase will be unlocked. Some of these are new heads or accessory packs that are compatible with the Lost Protectors figures or other similar 6 inch figures. Some of the later stretch goals include new characters such as...


Jetstrike, an obvious homage to TF G1 Pretender Starscream! They even have plans to do the other seekers using this mold!

"Thundercracker and Skywarp"


Check out their version of TF G1 Pretender Grimlock, aka Boneyard. Nice, right? Looks like the Tech Drone even turns into a little T-Rex.

There is so many cool things they have planned...assuming they can get the initial goal met. I for one hope they succeed as I can't wait to see what these look like in person. I'm in the process now of trying to decide at what level I can afford to support. I encourage you to take a few moments and check out the Kickstarter campaign if anything you've seen here intrigues you.