Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hot Wheels: A Team van

What kid didn't grow up enjoying Hot Wheels?  I know I had TONS of them when I was younger so it should come as no surprise that certain ones still catch my eye as an adult.  In addition to Corvettes I'm open to a select number of vehicles that fall under the "other" category.  This is one of those.  2011 New Models - the A Team van.

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I remember watching the A-Team with my brother growing up.  I don't know what it was about the show that I enjoyed so much.  However when I saw Mattel had done a Hot Wheels of their iconic GMC van I had to pick it up.

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What an odd choice of transportation for a group like the A Team. Ah, who cares when the fan looks this sharp?!

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The red chrome wheels were a nice touch Mattel.  Only B.A. Barachus could take a 1983 GMC van and make it look so awesome.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Missing instructions for your TFs?

I'm in the process of cleaning out my file cabinet where I store card backs and instructions and I realized I still have instructions for toys that I no longer own!  All have been flatten to store in my hanging files and are the originals in good condition.  I'm not looking to make a killing here - just basically a small cost to cover shipping.

So if you have some TFs and you're missing their instructions then click on the TF link in the Toy Store (see sidebar).  Series range from Beast Wars to the Unicron Trilogy to Universe and a few things in between.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mega Bloks Halo: Series 4 Blind Packs

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The Halo blind packs are back with an all new series 4!  I recently found them at a local Walmart and grabbed a pack.  I don't keep up w/ Mega Blok's release schedule so I was a little surprised to find these.

I like the new die-cut bags they are using this time around.  There are 8 new figures to collect.  1 ultra rare (Cortana), 2 rare and 5 common.  Price per figure is up a little from series 3.  I believe they are up to $2.97 each or something similar.  Enough talk though let's open it up and see what figure we have waiting inside.

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Not surprised that we got one of the common figures.  This is the green UNSC Marine.  I don't think I have a Marine with this head sculpt so that is cool.  The only thing that seems off to me is the neck.  Doesn't it look like the head is floating?  I love the green color and the weapon is a first for me.  I also like the new thinner "stand" packaged with series 4.  There are only 3 pegs and since these figures have a wide stance the figures look better standing on a 3 peg piece.

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The rest of series 4's line up looks pretty solid.  I could've done without another Covenant Brute, but that's just me.  The Cortana figure just doesn't cut it for me.  I'd rather chase after the yellow UNSC ODST.

If you've been waiting for these to hit your area start checking Walmart.  It seems that these are part of their new spring reset so get to hunting!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Return of Marvel Legends - Terrax Series

I blame my brother for my Marvel addiction.  It all started in the very early 90's when he got me hooked on two Marvel comics that were just starting off - Guardians of the Galaxy and more specifically the New Warriors.  Even though my interest in the comics waned over the years I always seemed to come back.  When ToyBiz first introduced the Marvel Legends brand I wasn't all that excited.  I bought the Captain America figure at the time because I was (am) a big Cap and Avengers fan.  I bought select figures over the years, but I never went crazy for Marvel toys.

A lot has changed since the introduction of Marvel Legends.  Hasbro took over manufacturing the figures and sales seemed to be good.  For whatever reason (I'm still not sure the reason behind Hasbro's change of direction) the scale was switched from the traditional 6 inch to 3 and 3/4 inch with the introduction of the Marvel Universe line of figures.  Some fans rejoiced while others spoke out in dissatisfaction.  Me?  I straddled the fence.  I like both scales, but since the MU figures cost a little less and took up less space I embraced the line early on.  However I did miss the level of detail and articulation the ML figures brought to the table.  I also missed the whole Build-A-Figure concept as the last few Hasbro BAFs were awesome (Ares, Red Hulk & Fing Fang Foom).

Hasbro has recently resurrected the Legends brand and they are back and better than ever.  The first wave of 2012 is the Terrax wave and features great character selection.  Unfortunately the price has gone up and now retail for about $15 a figure.  Ouch.  I was able to grab the entire wave early on and sell off the individual figures so it didn't hurt me in the wallet much.  Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of everything so this "review" of sorts only covers some of the figures.  By now though I'm sure you've seen all the figures online.

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Steve Rogers was a must have for me.  This is the variant of the figure and I really really wanted the regular release, but all I could find at local retail was this one.  Notice his shield?  I think it's the "energy" version he carried in the Heroes Reborn series of comics.  Anyhow, the first thing that impressed me was the packaging.  Hasbro has outdone themselves here.  I love the huge Ed McGuinness art...very nice touch.  To the right of the figure you can clearly see which part of Terrax you're getting.  In this case it is the lower torso piece.  More on Terrax later.

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The back of the packaging is equally impressive as the art work is much larger.  You can also see the other figures in the wave.

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Steve comes packaged with 3 accessories.  Of course his shield is one and the others are a pair of silver hand guns.  His hands have been sculpted to hold the weapons.  While this makes holding the gun easier and gives a better look it leaves his hands looking odd when not equipped.  At least he can still somewhat grip his shield as he prepares to hurl it at an evil doer.  The shield has a half circle peg that allows it to be attached to his wrist.  The same peg folds in to allow the shield to fit into the small peg hole on his back.  Sculpting of the figure is really nice, but the head sculpt still seems a bit off to me.  I don't know...it's like his jaw is too squared.  Articulation is up to standards with past figures.  Ball joints galore let you pose your figure in all sorts of ways.  Sadly this is one area where I lack creativity so you'll have to excuse my boring poses!  Overall though this is a very nice figure and one that will fit into my (now) very small Marvel Legends collection.

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I don't much about Hope Summers as I haven't kept up with anything X-Men in quite sometime.  My older brother tried to fill me in, but I got lost with all the time travel stories so I'll just marvel at the beauty of the art.

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The figure really is good figure, but the legs suffer from the way it was posed inside the packaging.  I had a hard time getting the legs in a position where she would support her own weight and stand up without assistance.  She comes with one accessory - a really large gun.  You can probably see that it too was slightly bent in the packaging.  Easy enough fix though with some warm water.  Hope's head sculpt looks beautiful and the removable scarf  is equally impressive.  The green paint has a nice metallic touch which looks great on this figure.  She comes packaged with Terrax's head and giant axe.

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Like with Steve Rogers I could only find the blue stealth armor variant of Iron Man.  This is Iron Man's Extremis armor.  I won't even begin to try and describe what Extremis is...just read the comics or the Wikipedia page.

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The sculpt is nicely done and I wish I had been able to find the traditional red and yellow version as I probably would've kept it.  Both versions of Iron Man come packaged with Terrax's right leg.

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Klaw is probably the peg warmer in the first wave.  My guess is that a lot of toy collectors may not be that familiar w/ the character so he's the last to be purchase.  I think he was also packaged 2 or 3 per case.

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I remember Klaw from the Armor Wars II storyline in the original Iron Man comic.  I always thought he was a pretty cool character and I never understood why he seemed so under used in the Marvel universe.  This is another great sculpt, specifically the head.  I can see how this figure may not be as "sexy" as some of the others, but it's still a great figure.  Klaw comes packaged with Terrax's left leg.


Constrictor was the other figure in this wave that I couldn't wait to get my hands on.  I love the way the character was written during the Siege storyline.  I like the Marvel Universe version of this figure, but some characters just turn out better in the larger 6 inch format.  


Great sculpt, great paint and great articulation.  The coils on his wrist gauntlets are a soft plastic, but allow for some great poses.  There isn't a wire inside the coils which would've been a really nice touch as it would allow for even better poses.  I think I have to give a nod to him as the best figure in the wave...sorry Rogers.  Constrictor comes packaged with Terrax's upper body.


Ghost Rider was the only figure that I never saw at retail...until wave 2 was released.  That said I never bought the guy.  I just opted to buy the BAF parts online.


I never read any of the Ghost Rider comics.  I always thought the character was cool, but I just never got into any of his titles.  The only time I remember reading him in any Marvel stories was way back in the Fantastic Four #347, #348 & #349.  This is great looking figure and comes with a orange flame variant.  Comes packaged with both of Terrax's arms.


Thor is the 7th and final figure in the first wave.  I haven't bought this figure, but I really really want him.  I love his design and there is just something inherently cool about the larger sculpted figures.


Thor doesn't come packaged with a part for Terrax.  His only accessory is his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.  From what I know this is the same figure that was released last year as a SDCC exclusive.  I'm sure this figure will find a way into my collection at some point.

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Put all the parts together and you have the very first Build-A-Figure of 2012!  My appreciation of Marvel's cosmic characters as grown immensely since I read the Annihilation story.  However I first learned of Terrax in the pages of Thor #411 & #412 when the New Warriors were first introduced.  I'm still holding out hope that Hasbro will make Marvel Legends of the original New Warriors.  So far only one have been done (Nova) so for now I'll have to pit Nova all alone against Terrax.

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Once assembled the weapon packaged with Hope is pretty big and impressive.  It isn't quite as tall as Terrax himself, but large none the less.

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Like with a lot of the head sculpts Terrax sports a fantastic looking mug. I love the disgruntled look and the veins in his forehead are a very nice touch.

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The size of the BAFs seems to be decreasing, but that doesn't take away from how great Terrax is.  This is easily one of my favorite Marvel Legends hands down.  I hope that more of the cosmic characters get the new ML treatment in the near future.  I know a lot of people have commented of how hard the first wave has been to find at local retail.  Wave 2 just started to show up right after I completed this wave so if you are late to the party good luck finding the characters you want.  No matter who you choose Hasbro has done a great job bringing Marvel Legends back to life.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Transformers G1 Zone: Skyhyper w/ Deadwheeler C-346

By the time Micromasters had hit retail shelves interest in Transformers was waning.  Hasbro and Takara tried to take advantage of the Micro Machine craze by shrinking the size of the Transformers.  To go along with the various 4 packs several transforming play sets were created.  In the U.S. there were Micromaster combiners, combiner transports and larger vehicle play sets.  For whatever reason Japan didn't get a lot of the Micromaster toys and most of the ones they did get were all Cybertrons (Autobots).  I believe only one 4 pack released in Japan were Destrons (Decepticons).  Some of the vehicle play sets were released in Japan, but were slightly changed from the U.S. release.

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Skyhyper is one of these releases.  Better known as Skyhopper in the U.S., this Micromaster helicopter transforms into a decent sized battle platform / base.  Not only did Skyhopper undergo a faction change on his trip to the east, but his colors were drastically altered.  You probably noticed that the Micromaster included is different too.  No longer a jet we now have a nice red sports car w/ blue windows - Deadwheeler.  Seems an odd name for a Cybertron if you ask me.  Deadwheeler is a repainted Free Wheeler.

Skyhyper was part of the Zone series of Transformers in the early 90's.  Being released at the tale end of the line the toy can be really hard to find.  I know I searched for this figure for a very long time after I learned of it's existence in the mid 90s.  Collectors all have their own "white whale" they chase for their collections and for me Skyhyper would fall into that category.  I had an easier time acquiring all 6 Dinoforce members!  One of the issues with Skyhyper is that the helicopter is mostly white plastic.  As most of you know white plastic has the tendency to yellow over time if not cared for properly.  Even then slight yellowing can occur.  Ask any owner of Galaxy Shuttle (i.e. Arkvander) and they'll tell you how scary owning a white Transformer can be!  Thankfully my specimen was in pretty good shape and came with it's original box and was 98% complete.


Before we jump into looking at the toy let's take a moment and reflect on the beautiful box.  I love the old G1 box art.  There is just something so special about it and Skyhyper's art is fantastic.  The whole presentation on all of the Zone toys was nicely done so I was so happy to acquire the box.

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The top of the box gives a better look at the Micromaster Deadwheeler along w/ Skyhyper in both modes.

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The best part in my opinion about the box is the awesome Micromaster scene created on the back of the box.  I've always said I was going to try something like this with all of my TFs once I had enough.  I even thought about setting up my Micromasters in a similar fashion when I moved my collection to a new room in the house...but I simply didn't have enough room.  One day.  One day I'll do it.  I never really thought about using Metroplex w/ Micromasters before seeing this image.  He actually fits in w/ the scale quite well.

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Since I had everything out of the box I thought I'd go ahead and throw in pictures of the red monchrome instructions.  Next.

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Red is my favorite color so I may be a little biased here, but is this not one sharp looking Micromaster?  I love the blue windows in vehicle mode.  There is a bit of rust on the wheels, but nothing too terrible.  Anyone know of a good way to remove a small amount of rust without damaging the rest of the toy?

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 Side by side w/ Free Wheeler

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If you are familiar with Skyhopper then you know what you are getting here.  Nothing on the mold has been changed - only the colors.  I for one love the combination of the red, white and blue.  Very patriotic.  Seeing how this was meant for Japanese audiences I would saw the homage to the stars & stripes was unintentional.  Mine came with all the stickers applied and for the most part they look pretty good.  All of the stickers have a foil like enhancement.  Over time this foil can rub off and diminish the look of the stickers greatly.  Sadly I don't think anyone has created a set of replacement stickers...not even ReproLabels.

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I do remember seeing a Taiwanese knock-off of this toy floating around the secondary market not too long ago.  From the images I saw (on eBay?) I believe the colors are pretty spot on and comes with all the same accessories minus Deadwheeler.  I'll admit I was tempted when I first saw it, but I'm glad I held out for the original.

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Skyhyper transforms into a battle platform.  Remove the helicopter blades from the rear of the tower portion and you really can't tell this was a helicopter.  It's one of the better Micromaster bases in my opinion.  The yellow seat from the cockpit can be position on either side of the tower and has a small peg to stabilize Deadwheeler or most any other Micromaster.  The red rifle and missile pods can also be arranged to your liking, but these are the official placements for them.

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3 yellow ramps are included.  The longer middle ramp has notches allowing you to attach the opposite end to other Micromaster playsets.  This is Sonic Bomber's base mode.  Highly inferior to Skyhyper's, but I had him close by (hint hint).

 Earlier I said my specimen came 98% complete.  I was missing one small ramp and the radar dish.  Now finding G1 parts can be hard and expensive, but finding G1 Japanese parts can be next to impossible.  Knowing this I bought a cheap radar dish for Skyhyper and attempted to match the blue and paint it myself.  It came out OK.  I'll still be on the lookout for the vintage part, but I'm not holding my breath.  The center sticker on the short ramp that was included was horrible.  It was so faded you couldn't see any of the sticker's detail.  Luckily there was a fellow TFW2005 board member that had a spare set of small ramps.  After a few e-mails we worked out a trade.  I waited for these ramps to come in before I did this post so I could do Skyhyper justice.

I can't begin to express how much I love this toy.  It's such a relief to have finally added it to my collection.  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to fit it in my Ikea display case with the rest of my Japanese exclusive G1 figures, but that is a problem I don't mind at all having!