Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Skull Bucket

Skull

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Jack O'Lantern Candy Bucket 101

I do a lot of thrift store shopping all year long, but probably a little more than normal come October when they start putting out the Halloween stuff.

One of the things that I've been mildly obsessed with for years is old candy buckets. There are hundreds of them in the stores right about now, and most of them aren't particularly interesting, but every now and then something cool will turn up.

Jack O'Lantern
I pretty much draw the line at stuff from the late '70s, but it's a little hard to date things sometimes, so here's how I make the call...

First of all, even if it's just a dollar, I'm only going to buy something that I think looks cool. Secondly, you can generally judge the age by the design of the thing. Most older blow-mold stuff will have softer edges and a more crude sculpting style. With this bucket, the pear shape is different than what you'll see today, and the pins that hold the plastic handle in place are (rusty) metal.

Jack O'Lantern
Another good clue is that this one was made in the USA -- not something you see much anymore. A little research on the makers name shows that they were founded in the mid-1970s and closed up shop in 1990. All of this helped me to decide that this would be a fine 99-cent purchase, and so yet another plastic pumpkin bucket is added to the collection.

Jack O'Lantern

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Random Rubber Monster Mask

The best thing about Halloween for me is the sudden glut of rubber masks in stores, and more specifically, the piles of weird masks that turn up at thrift stores.

For the most part what you find is garbage, but every now and then I'll spot something kind of old and kind of weird like this Frankenstein/witch/ghoul mask. There aren't any markings, so I've no idea who the maker is, but it's got everything that I look for in a mask: sweaty rubber, itchy fur for hair, and vaguely identifiable subject matter.

Rubber Mask
Rubber Mask

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Kronoform - Togor, Wargon, and Multiforce

Before there were Transformers, and slightly after the Mego Micronauts toy line, Takara toys imported a few things from their Diaclone line to America. In the US these toys were marketed as Kronoform, but looked pretty much the same.

Over the years I managed to pick up a few of these figures -- shown below (L-R) is Togor, Wargon, and Multiforce. They're all missing a part here and there, but even so, they're still brilliant, fun toys.

Kronoform
Togor
Togor
Togor
Wargon
Wargon
Wargon
Multiforce
Multiforce
Multiforce
And then there's this...


Monday, June 30, 2014

He-Man Modern Toy Line

In 2002 the Four Horsemen were given the job of re-imagining the Masters of the Universe toy line. I was never a huge He-Man fan back in the '80s, as I was a little old to really get into it, but I did have a younger brother who was obsessed with all things Eternia.

When the new action figures came out I was totally blown away by the sculpts and amazing play value that the Four Horsemen had managed to engineer. It was fantastic stuff, and one of the very few times when I'll say that a new version is as good as the original.

He-Man
He-Man
Trapjaw
He-Man
Castle Grayskull

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Bunny Rattle

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Let's Just Say I Found Some Imperial Entanglements

File this away, once again, under "some day I'll actually build this model kit." Found this Star Destroyer kit by AMT/Ertl (from around 1989) at the thrift store, and even though a few of the parts have been glued together, it's actually all there. Not bad for two dollars.

Star Destroyer
Star Destroyer

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hot-Wheels Bat-Pod(s)

Just to show a quick example of something by Hot Wheels that I've been really happy with, here are a couple versions of the Bat-Pod from The Dark Knight.

The first one is from the Motorcycle series, and comes with a little plastic Batman rider.

Bat-Pod
Bat-Pod
Bat-Pod
This second more recent version is just the Bat-Pod, and it comes on a basic Hot Wheels card.

Bat-Pod

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Where No Hot Wheels Collector Has Gone Before

I've been looking for the Hot Wheels Star Trek Enterprise for months now, and at long last I saw a couple of them at a local store just a few nights ago. About the only thing that I can really say, is that this may be the first time that I've actually been completely disappointed by something that Hot Wheels has put out.

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701
I should probably preface my comments by saying that I'm a huge Star Trek fan. I'm not really a big fan of the new movies -- haven't actually seen the second one yet. But the franchise in general is a big deal to me, so I'm likely to get excited about any new version of the Enterprise, especially if it's being put out by Hot Wheels.

I've tried to deny the fact that I'm a Hot Wheels collector, but it's really pointless. I'm not an obsessive completist, but over the years certain collecting patterns have developed, and I just go with it. I've loved most of the Batman stuff that they've done so far, and a lot of the other movie related die-cast has been great as well. So it would seem logical that a Hot Wheels Enterprise would be awesome... but it's not.

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701
There are apparently two versions of this little ship floating around out there, a plain version, and a "battle damaged" version. I've never seen the plain version in person, so it's actually the version with a few poorly applied scar decals that I've got. In general the toy is underwhelming. I imagine that Mattel had to deal with a safety requirement that forced them to make the pointy parts -- the engine nacelles -- out of soft bendy plastic, and it's not handled well, as the soft white plastic is both weirdly warped and somewhat discolored. The paint on the die-cast part of the ship is pretty shabby as well, with bits of white flaking off around the rivets, and what little detailing there is not lining up properly.

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701
The more I fiddle around with the toy, the more I imagine that a kid wouldn't care all that much about what bothers me. For the most part these are all cranky toy collector gripes, and they don't mean that much in the end. If Hot Wheels takes a stab at other Star Trek vehicles I'll probably hunt for them as well, but it would be nice if they put a little more focus on detail and build quality with these ones, as most of the people hunting for them are likely to be cranky toy collectors.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Worthy of Thor's Hammer

The Marvel Universe line by Hasbro has had its winners and losers, but when a really good one comes along I buy it. This Beta-Ray Bill figure is a good example. Even though I'm more than happy with the larger Marvel Legends version that I got years ago, this Marvel Universe figure has some cool features and is a fun little toy.

Beta-Ray Bill
The concept of a weird looking alien deemed worthy enough to wield Thor's hammer is a bit corny, but it works on a level that I'm not sure I understand... and so I really love the character actually. One great thing about Beta-Ray Bill is that he translates extremely well into toy form.

I once tried to boil down just what it is that I collect when it comes to toys, and I narrowed it to: robots, spacemen, heroes, and aliens. I'm obviously joking when I say "narrowed", but Beta-Ray Bill meets all of those requirements.

Beta-Ray Bill
Beta-Ray Bill
This small but well articulated figure is built solidly, and is painted very nicely for a Marvel Universe figure. The cape hinders play and poseability, but it's removable, so it's really not much of a problem.

Beta-Ray Bill
Beta-Ray Bill has been packed in a few different waves of Marvel Universe figures, so he's not too terribly difficult to find. I'm a fan of both versions, including the Marvel Legends version, so if you can find them I'd say pick them up.

Beta-Ray Bill