Friday, November 16, 2018

Hot Wheels: '15 Dodge Challenger SRT (Muscle Mania 4/10)

From time to time when I'm rummaging the toy department at my local Target or Walmart I'll find myself on the die-cast vehicle aisle looking at Hot Wheels. While I've longed given up on "collecting" Hot Wheels and other die-cast vehicles, I can still find a few that catch my eye. This 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT is part of Hot Wheels' 50th Anniversary, part of the Muscle Mania subset.

I'm not a "gear head", bur I can recognize the beauty of this muscle car. I love the shiny black paint with the subtle touch of blue used on the nose and on the sides.

Sometimes less is more and I feel like that is what Mattel gave us with this version of this mold. The wild and tacky deco that is used at times on these cars may attract kids and other people, but I like the toned down more "serious" look and this deco fits that bill.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New Comic Wednesday - 11/14/18

The last few weeks at the local comic shop have been rather light for me (i.e. non-existent) since the bulk of my books are coming from Discount Comic Book Service in a monthly shipment. However this week a few books that weren't originally on my radar were released.

I understand that some may not understand how a book like Uncanny X-Men #1 wasn't on my radar. I haven't really picked up a mutant book (minus Domino) in quite sometime, but I've been reading up on the story in this issue and I decided to go ahead and grab the first issue. My LCS, Nikelspot Comics doesn't usually mark up variants and they had a good many of the non J. Scott Campbell covers to choose from so I went w/ this Skottie Young variant. 

Buying a title from a series that I don't normally read does have it's advantages as I was able to sit down this afternoon and read the book...even though I'm still woefully behind with most of my current books. While I may not understand all of the back stories going on, I really enjoyed the stories despite some of the negative reviews I've already read online. It's going to be a weekly title for the first 10 issues, similar to the Avengers No Surrender story...but that just means I at least have one new reason to look forward to Wednesdays for the next 9 weeks!

Speaking of J. Scott Campbell and variants, there was one left of Venom #8. I don't normally pick up variants to issues I've already bought, but I caved with this 90's esque throwback cover.

Originally I didn't buy any of the Infinity Warp issues so it made sense to add this one to the stack. Mister Invisible and Hot Rocks? Green Widow? Moon Squirrel and Tippysaur? Marvel already warped other Marvel heroes so why not a few more?

I picked up several issues of Daredevil back during Marvel's Legacy period and while I missed a few new issues here and there, this one came up on the Key Comics app as the first appearance of a new villain. Plus I absolutely love Phil Noto's art so this was an easy pick up on a relatively light week.

I'm still in the midst of reading the Witching Hour story that ran through Wonder Woman's book so I may be taking a gamble continuing to pick up her book. I really wanted the Jenny Frison variant, but the regular Terry Dodson cover was all that was left to choose from.

Now that things seem to be slowing down a little both at work and around the house, I'm going to try to dig into my backlog of new books and see if I can't make a dent between now and the end of the year. Lots of great books that I've been waiting to get to...wish me luck!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Transformers 3rd Party: X-Transbots - Crackup

I've made it pretty clear here on this blog that I don't buy many 3rd party Transformer toys, however I do make a few exceptions from time to time. X-Transbots is a 3rd party company that I haven't had any previous experience with and a lot of what I've heard about their products and the overall quality wasn't all that great. However when they decided to dip their toe in the Stunticon pool and offered their first release, Crackup (aka Breakdown) so cheap and the early reviews were good...why not give them a try? I placed my order w/ Captured Prey and patiently waited for it to arrive.

Right off the bat I was impressed with packaging. The box featured a matte black look that was very similar to official Masterpiece Transformers. The artwork on the front and back of the box was a nice touch. One end of the box features a layout that is very similar to Takara Tomy's official MP product, while on the other end has a product shot of Crackup. One side of the box features Crackup's motto done in silver foil in a very ornate script...which is a little over the top for me. The other side of the box features a nice tech spec that is based on the original Generation 1 toy packaging. I found this to be a very nice touch in my opinion.

Crackup came nestled tightly in a block of foam inside the box. The foam has a removable lid and is hollowed out perfectly to fit Crackup in his alt mode. I appreciate the level of protection that 3rd party companies continue to use in their packaging. It's refreshing not having to cut plastic straps and twisty ties when opening a new toy.

Also included in the box is a small plastic bag that is packed full of items. The instruction book is so much thicker than I would have imagined (and very detailed), along with a thick plastic character card, his weapon along with a screwdriver and an different face plate. Since I don't buy a lot of 3rd party stuff, maybe the inclusion of a screwdriver is the norm, but to me I found this to be a nice touch as the screw you have to remove to change the face plate is very small and unless you wear eyeglasses you may not have that small of a screwdriver lying around.

Going in I knew that X-Transbots went with a creme colored plastic and I love this decision as it matches the original G1 toy perfectly. Some of the other companies that are doing their own version of the Stunticons went with white over cream and while it comes down to a personal preference, I like the homage to G1. The Lamborghini mode is beautiful and has a good bit of heft to it. All the panels lined up and the figure felt as if it was made with good materials. Where is the trash that others said X-Transbots was famous for? Granted I hadn't begun to transform the figure yet, I remained impressed with the product.

I noticed how well the car rolled on a smooth, hard surface so I had to take a look at the undercarriage of the car. There are a few parts that don't leave a lot of clearance, but that seems to be on par when compared to the car it's modeled after. I also love that you really can't see any of the robot bits beneath the car. If a random person were to pick this up I'm not convinced that they would even know the car transforms.

The original G1 Stunticons had weapons that attached to the rear of their vehicle modes. While X-Transbots didn't go this route, they did add a 5 mm peg hole towards the back of the vehicle where the hand gun could be plugged in. I particularly don't care for this look, but it's there if you want it.

I found that the included instruction booklet was very helpful with the transformation process. I'm not a fan of overly difficult transformation sequences and I'm happy to report that I thought Crackup was fairly easy to convert from his vehicle mode to this robot mode. I will mention that I forgot to slide is feet over to the center before I took these pictures...oops! With the exception of the small backpack, the figure folds up pretty tightly. Thankfully they added some log heel spurs to the feet so the backpack kibble doesn't pull the figure over backwards.

I love the look of the figure, especially the chest and the head/face as it looks a lot like the Sunbow animation model of the Breakdown character. I haven't tried to swap out the face plate as I'm OK with the straight face look he comes packaged with.

Another thing I'm not the greatest at is striking dynamic poses with my toys, whether it's Transformers or Marvel Legends. Crackup however does feature enough points of articulation that if you are good at posing your figures, you'll have fun with this figure. Crackup has all the modern articulation points that you would come to expect from a 3rd party transforming figure.

A lot of the comparison pictures I saw early one used Masterpiece Lambor (Sideswipe) as they share the same Lamborghini model, however I'm lazy and didn't want to transformer him back so I just used MP Sunstreaker instead. While their are some differences between the style of the two cars, I think you can get a good idea of how well be scales with other official Masterpiece Transformers. Unlike the G1 toyline where nothing seemed to scale well, Crackup meshes well with the size of the Autobot cars.

Crackup scales just as good in robot mode as he does in vehicle mode, just coming in just a hair taller than Lambor. I'm very impressed with this figure. Of course getting him for like $45 helped, but it also gives me more confidence about buying the next figure, Flip Out (aka Dead End) once he becomes available. I think the MSRP price going forward for the other "Stunticon" cars will be $59.99 and I'd be OK paying that price based on Crackup. Now I've heard that this design was stolen and that's why Crackup was being sold so cheaply, but don't think that just because the price tag was low or that it's from X-Transbots that it's crap because it's not. This is coming by the way from someone that isn't biased towards one or two particular companies either. Going in this was more of a experimental purchase and I wasn't sure if I'd be on board for picking up the rest, but I'm now sold on what X-Transbots is doing here. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

New Toy Blog Added to Blogroll - Child Sized Coffin

While getting a few things prepared the other day for my eBay store I ran across a "new" toy blog in a random Google search that caught my eye, Child Sized Coffin. Yes, the title of the blog may be a little unnerving to some, I liked what I saw in terms of their reviews and photos. Transformer fans, especially 3rd party fans may want to take note here. I'm always on the lookout for other good blogs and I love to share them with others so if you have a toy blog or know of a good one I don't already have on the blogroll, please comment and I'll get that added.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New (old) Comic Weekend Round Up

My work takes me out of town quite a bit and in each city I have a few places that I like to visit and look for good deals. While in Greensboro, NC late last week I went to the local McKay's Bookstore specifically to check out their comic selection. Last time I was there I noticed long boxes of comics as I was leaving so I didn't have a chance to go through them. I'm glad I went back on my next visit to the area because I found some good stuff in their long boxes marked "Discount".

I'm a sucker for the classic Marvel characters and Iron Man has always been a flawed character I enjoy reading. To say the least I was surprised to see some earlier issues of his original title in the box. And yes, you are seeing correctly...the price tag for these books were just $.20 each.

I'm always on the lookout for Spider-Man books and I found a few I didn't have. I was surprised to find the Maximum Carnage issue of Spider-Man, let alone for $.20. For some reason there were even new comics in the discount box so I grabbed the Spider-Punk variant of Edge of Spider-Geddon #2. The Amazing Spider-Man Brand New Day Yearbook was new to me and featured bios and more for many of the key players in the controversial Brand New Day storyline. Lastly was one more issue off my want list of the Scarlet Spider (Kaine) solo series.

There are a few storylines I'm piecing together featuring the some of Marvel's supernatural characters. I was thrilled to pick up these two issues of the Midnight Sons story. The New Warriors #1 set me back a quarter, and even though I have this entire run I couldn't leave the first issue behind.

The first book I found in the discount boxes was X-Men 2099 #25, one of 3 issues I lacked. I was so excited to find it though I failed to give the book a good look over. Once I got back to my hotel I noticed that the book had a big crease along the back of the cardstock cover. Bummer, but it was only $.20 so who am I kidding? I've also been buying the current Weapon H book, but I missed out on his introduction in Weapon X. Found issue #5 and I figured why not for $.20?

I arrived home late Thursday night, only to have to hit the road again Saturday morning. this time I  had to make the short trip down to Greenville, SC to take care of some business on Saturday afternoon. I decided to take my family with me and make the trip a little family outing. The time turned out to be pretty perfect for me as one of the local comic shops there, Borderlands Comics & Games was having a Halloween sale where pretty much everything in the shop was discounted. The real draw for me however were all of the long boxes out on the covered sidewalk that were $.50 a piece.

Right off the bat I found a nice run of John Byrne's run of Amazing Spider-Man, issues that I rarely see even in dollar boxes. Very happy to find these to say the least.

I don't always buy Marvel Age books, but for some reason I had issue #67 on my want list. I grabbed the other because I thought it was still sealed in it's polybag, which it wasn't, but still came with a cool Fleer Marvel Masterworks promo card of the Hulk. I'm slowing piecing together the Malibu Comics tie-in issues with the Marvel Universe and this UltraForce/Spider-Man was one I've yet to find.

Of course I'm going to pick up any Spider-Man book I don't already have, especially at $.50 and these earlier issues of Web of Spider-Man I didn't have. Volume 2 of Strange Tales I've owned before, but I must've purged them at some point. Initially I skipped over these until I saw nearly the whole run. 

Before I hit the cheap boxes by myself, the family started off inside, taking a quick look at the new comics. I wanted to show my wife the new Rainbow Brite comic by Dynamite, but she wasn't interested. In fact, she was turned off at how the art from the cover and the inside varied! I love her innocence! We then moved over the displays of Pop! figures as my daughters have both started to take a liking to those.

Let's just say my youngest daughter, Winnie, was thrilled to find a Captain Underpants Pop! figure. I didn't even know that one existed. I like how my daughters are starting to like things similar to me, but branching out on their own. They like what they like for their own reasons, but just because daddy likes comics and such.

After our trip to Borderlands, we proceeded to get checked in at our hotel and took a little rest before venturing off for dinner and to head to one last store, Mr. K's Used Books, Music and More. I had been to this bookstore once before and I knew they had a section of comics, but last time I looked I didn't find too much. On this visit I noticed a sign on the front door as we walked in that all their $1 comics were half price. Yes!! More digging through boxes I got to do. This time my digging was more eventful.

I don't own a lot of Daredevil and it's a title I only pick up if I can find for the right price (i.e. cheap). I was never a huge fan until the Netflix series came along. I'm slowing piecing together a small run of his.

Four more Spidey books I needed. Especially happy to find Spider-Man 2099 #24. All I ever find of that title are the really early issues.

Slowly getting close to finishing vol. 3 of Invincible Iron Man. Isn't the cover to issue #40 beautiful?

Last but certainly not least I found the entire 7 issue mini-series of Shanna the She-Devil by Frank Cho. As I was flipping through my stack of books getting them organized my wife came over and made a comment about how scantily clad she was. That's when I had to point out to her that she lived in the Savage Land and that was the normal attire. Not sure if she understood or bought it (doubt it), but alas to the register I went to check out.

All in all it was a great week for comics. I told my wife as we were loading the car Sunday morning to come home that I felt as if I had been to a comic convention because it sure felt like it with all the new old books I acquired. Well that's it for now. Let me get back to editing photos for items I'm adding to my eBay store and get to work on typing up my next toy post for this blog. Until then...