Saturday, March 23, 2019

Hot Wheels: Fast & Furious '70 Dodge Challenger (Screen Time 04/10)

As a kid I loved Hot Wheels. I had more cars and trucks than I did of any other toy. To this day I still like to thumb through the pegs to see what's new and some time ago I noticed that Mattel was doing a Screen Time series featuring vehicles from different movies.

Fast & Furious has never been a series of films that I've followed, in fact I'm not sure I've seen any of the movies from beginning to end! However this '70's Dodge Challenger was just too cool to pass up.

I do remember seeing this car in the trailer for the movie and I thought it looked pretty awesome. The lifted suspension, larger tires, the rollbar on the front and the (spare?) tires on the back of the car gave it an edgy look. What I didn't realize until after I took the car out of the packaging was there was real working suspension on the car!

Regardless of this car being from a movie, it's an awesome Hot Wheels car and one that I know I would've played an awful lot with as a kid. As of the time of this post there are new Screen Time vehicles out at retail, but nothing as a tough as this.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Charticon 2013 Exclusive - Baleful

I had the privilege to be on the staff of Charticon 2013, a Transformers convention held in my hometown of Charlotte, NC back in the summer of '13. The brainchild of a friend of mine, Arkvander, one of the exclusive items available only at the show was a new head for the Botcon exclusive Spinister figure. The mold Botcon chose to use for Spinister was pretty good, but the head looked off. Arkvander worked with Wheeljack's Body Shop to cast a new head. Also included in the package with a G1 style tech spec.

The head itself looked much more like the G1 character and was a much needed add-on to the Botcon exclusive. The head attached via a simple ball socket on the neck so it was as easy as popping the old head off and popping the new head on.

Sorry for the glare. I never opened my specimen so the plastic bag it was contained in gave off a reflection of the flash that I couldn't edit out. For a garage kit piece, the head looked amazing and the paint job was spot on. I really don't know much more about how this came to be a Charticon exclusive, but it was nicely done.

On the back of the cardboard packaging was an add for a set of exclusive Mastershooter Collectibles "Targetmasters" Nit-Picker and Firebrand that was available at the show. This really helped round out the new look of the Botcon exclusive Spinister.

Charticon was a blast and we recently got the guys back together to celebrate it's 5th anniversary. Lots of great memories were made that day and if the show were to ever rise from the grave, I'd be there with bells on.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Mini-Con Sabotage Team

In 2006, Fub Publications took the Transformers Armada mold of Jetfire and repurposed him as Astrotrain for their Transformers Collector's Club. Bundled w/ Astrotrain was a repainted Transformers Cybertron Giant Planet Mini-Con team, dubbed the Sabotage Team.

(from right to left) Astro-Hook, Astro-Line, Astro-Sinker

If those names sound familiar it's because it's a homage to Hook, Line and Sinker - heralds to Unicron in the original (US) Marvel Comics run.

The toys themselves were some of my favorite toys at the time they were released. Each of these molds would see various releases and at one point I owned them all. The submarine (Astro-Sinker) was always one of my favorite Mini-Con molds. The molds for this release feature only a deco change as there were no changes made to the molds.

Astro-Hook is some sort of double crane truck? He reminds me of one of the old original G1 Micromaster Combiners in vehicle mode, especially with the two crane arms. The mold does feature a pretty cool transformation w/ the rear wheels forming the upper torso of the robot. Unfortunately the arms really aren't articulated beyond 360 degree movement at the shoulders.

Astro-Line is one of those designs that looked better on paper than in plastic in my mind. While the alt mode is pretty cool plane, the missiles are a little either mode. The nose of the jet covers up much of the robot mode and his legs/feet are thin and small. If you remove the missiles from his hands the robot mode does look a little better, but it's the weak link in this trio if you ask me. The new purple and yellow paint scheme doesn't do much for me either. If you want this mold in your collection, stick with the original release.

In my book the clear winner in this group is Astro-Sinker. This is one of those Mini-Cons that looks good in both modes...something that didn't happen all that often. The submarine is very detailed and translates to a nice robot mode. Yeah the arms are a little long, but I can live it with. I love how the wide the legs and feet are. It not only gives him stability in robot mode, but makes him look more beefy and intimidating. Mix in the new darker color scheme and this is one of the better Mini-Cons released anywhere, period.

I originally kept these trio of Mini-Cons when I was downsizing my collection, opting to sell Astrotrain (and Astrocatcher). Before I gave up my quest to own every Mini-Con/Micron toy, these guys were some of my favorites. The molds were pretty good and the new paint decos were interesting. I have no idea what these guys go for on the secondary market these days, but I know you can find the original Cybertron Giant Planet set for decent prices around the internet. Recommended, but this set is for completionists only.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Scarlet Witch

Last summer I posted about the half of the "Maidens of Might", Captain Marvel from the Odin Build-A-Figure wave. It's about time we look the other half, none other than the powerful mutant herself...Scarlet Witch.


For many years the general collecting community was robbed of receiving decent female sculpted action figures. Either the body proportions would be off, or the face sculpt would look horrible. Scarlet Witch had a few dud figures herself, but finally thanks to Hasbro we have a version of the mutant that is worthy of adding to our collections.

Wanda Maximoff is in her traditional costume, which while may be a little dated is still one of my favorite looks for her. Thigh high boots, long gloves, cape and traditional head piece, the designers have captured the classic essence of the Scarlet Witch.

When it comes to the face of the character that isn't based on a particular actor or actress, as long as it's a decent attempt at the character I'm OK. After all, every artist that draws the character has their own take so I'm happy with the way Wanda came out. The sculpted hair looks nice, with pieces draped over her head piece. She does have a rather somber tone on her face however. Perhaps she's still thinking of how she nearly screwed up the Marvel Universe w/ "no more mutants" she uttered?

Wanda comes packaged with two (heavily) re-purposed "ring" accessories. I can't remember which figure these accessories were first packaged with (Doctor Strange), but they do a good job re-creating her Hex mutant powers. 

Hasbro did an excellent job with this figure in my opinion. While not my favorite female Marvel Legends figure I have in my collection, it makes a good one, two punch w/ Captain Marvel. It seems this figure runs anywhere from $20-30 on the secondary market these days if you missed her from a few years ago.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

New Comic Wednesday - 02/06/19

I haven't kept up with these New Comic Wednesday posts like I would have liked, but between with my work and travel schedule and home life I fell behind. However fear not as I'm back w/ some new books!

Only 3 new books for me this week - would've been 4, but my LCS didn't have one of them. None the less, I still left with some nice books.

I started reading Daredevil (again) during Marvel's Legacy campaign...which I missed a few issues along the way. I was curious to see what was going to end up to Matt since I heard they were killing off his character...then he immediately came back and of course that led to another #1 issue. I do admit I was on the fence, but this beautiful Humberto Ramos variant reeled me in. Normally I don't go for the variants that have nothing to do w/ the book, but this one was too sweet to pass up.

Finally the weekly Uncanny X-Men issues are over! I'm a few issues behind on this title, but it's been fun reading something other than Spider-Man or Avengers related characters again. I went for another one of the Skrulls variants just because I thought it was the best cover I had to choose from. My LCS has the Rob Liefeld Wolverine variant...but it's Liefeld!

During my heyday of reading the X titles I got to witness the epic Age of Apocalypse and Onslaught stories. I loved both and kept reading the X-Man title for awhile after the big crossover stories. I've missed A LOT of stories and stuff since then so I'm really out of the loop, but this Age of X-Man story was enough to keep me reading. This variant of Storm seems to be pretty popular at the moment so I'm glad I was able to grab it.

I also flipped through a box or two of their dollar stock and I was psyched to find 4 books from the the first volume of Captain America. Check out these awesome Mike Zeck covers too.

That's it for now. Until next time...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

M.U.S.C.L.E. WWE Legends 3 Packs - 2018 SDCC Exclusive

Just in time for tonight's WWE Royal Rumble! While hitting up a few GameStop stores looking for clearance items for my older brother, I ran across two 3 packs of Mattel & Super 7's M.U.S.C.L.E. WWE Legends figures. I knew Super 7 had created new M.U.S.C.L.E. figures using other licenses, but outside of Masters of the Universe, I really didn't know what else they had released. Little did I know that Mattel released four 3 packs as exclusives at 2018 SDCC. I'm guessing GameStop bought the unsold stock? I guess they didn't sell that well either since these were on clearance for $3.99 each.

The first 3 pack I picked up contained Andre the Giant, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.

If you were a kid in 1986 when the original M.U.S.C.L.E. toys invaded toy shelves then you know just how awesome these non-articulated 2 inch figures are. If you're a fan of old school WWF (WWE) then these new figures should really appeal to you. 

There isn't anything new here. Mattel and Super 7 haven't re-invented the wheel, but they have struck that nostalgia cord in many of us that grew up as kids in the 80's. Sadly I don't have many M.U.S.C.L.E. figures anymore so I wasn't able to put them side by side with these new ones, however the new figures do appear to be "beefier" than the originals. Makes sense to me since these wrestling characters are a little over the top anyhow. 

The 2nd 3 pack that I was able to find contained Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Junkyard Dog and Ultimate Warrior.

I would have loved to have found the other two packs so I could have rounded out the set. Other characters included "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Iron Sheik, "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Million Dollar Man, Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter. Now that Hulk Hogan has repaired his relationship w/ WWE perhaps he'll be included in a future wave? 

If you'd like to add these to your M.U.S.C.L.E. or WWE collection, start hitting the clearance sections at your local GameStop stores before you'll have to resort to the overpriced secondary market.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Marvel Super Hero Mashers Micro: Spider-Man 2099 vs. Venom

Today we take a look at another double pack of Hasbro's short lived Super Hero Mashers Micro series. I chose Venom and Spider-Man 2099 because, well they are Spider-Man related and awesome characters in their own right.

The packaging for the dual packs is the same across the line, with both figures being prominently displayed with their interchangeable accessory on a blister card. The back of the packaging features additional characters available (at the time) and how the pieces can be interchanged, even with the larger Super Hero Masher figures.

Venom has his trademark tongue hanging out of his mouth, sharp teeth exposed. Spider-Man 2099 is a simple redeco of the Spider-Man figure, but with a new head. Both figures fists and head are interchangeable.

Venom comes with an over sized hand that appears to be forming some sort of sharp weapon? It is a symbiote after all so Venom can do whatever he wants. Spider-Man 2099 on the other hand also comes with a hand, but this one has a blue spike (?) on it. I don't recall anything like that from the comics, but whatever, it's a new part to use w/ other figures.

Speaking of other figures, I had Rocket Raccoon and Groot nearby, along with a few other parts so I mashed them all together to form these guys. 

These little stylized figures on their own are pretty cool, but the fun factor really kicks in when you start mix-matching the various body parts. This means that once you buy a set you'll want others and I'm sure Hasbro was banking on that. Too bad these didn't catch on more than they did when they were on store shelves because they are a lot of fun. They can still be found online (eBay) fairly easy if you'd like to try them out, but don't blame me if you find yourself trying to track down multiples.