Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pew Pew Pew!



Super sleek.


Exquisite detail.


Sound effects. 


Movie accurate. 



Kenner's Blaster Pistol - Or as fans have come to call it, Han Solo's Blaster is the perfect toy for kids (and adults) looking for the ultimate movie accurate DL-44 Blaster replica and a fun trip of nostalgia down memory lane - Okay, maybe if it didn't have the "Star Wars" sticker on it.

If there's one complaint to be found, its that it doesn't actually make a blaster sound you'll hear in the movie. Rather it's a generic ray gun. Despite this flaw, there's a major fun factor to quick drawing the pistol and striking a dashing scoundrel pose. With the addition of batteries you even get a nice weighted feel to it.

I could seriously sit here and gush over the details sentence after sentence, but quite honestly that would get boring fast. So please, let me step back a moment and let you take in the beauty of this toy for yourself.





Beautiful.

What's interesting about finding one of these guns today is that a lot of times the battery covers are missing - Which is a real downer. Also, the sound effect is prone to not working because the battery compartment has a lot of corrosion in it. I'm happy to say the one I have came from storage where it safely sat for 25+ years - Or so the seller claimed. Not only does it have the battery cover, but also working sounds - With the aid of two "C" batteries.

Perfect for facing down Darth Vader in Cloud City...


There are a few versions of this gun to be found. The one shown here is the original released for the first (4th) film.

When The Empire Strikes Back toys began production, Kenner replaced the "Star Wars" sticker with one for the new film. A second version was later released that replaced the trigger and grip button to a red color. The knobs for the battery cover were also changed, now painted silver.

In 1983, Kenner released the gun again with a black and silver "Return of the Jedi" sticker. It was released a second time with a black and red sticker.

I haven't decided yet if I am going to attempt to track each version down. As I said above, finding one with the battery cover and in working condition is a little difficult.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Gre-Gory (Mattel)



Gre-Gory
Mattel
1979

Yes! This is classic toy making at its best! Mattel's Gre-Gory showcases everything that is the beauty of vintage toy collecting. From the classic box artwork to the gory features on the figure, this is what any fan of horror related toys should be looking for.

With gigantic wings which flap up and down, and a chest full of blood which can be pumped around, Gre-Gory is not only awesome, but gross at the same time. The only unfortunate aspect here was that Gre-Gory was a one and done "figure" with no other creatures produced in the line. Still, he could incorporate nicely into a fantasy story with your other figures or monsters (more on that below).

Another added feature was his looped feet which could be threaded through with a string to hang Gre-Gory upside down - Which is totally the essential way for displaying him in your collection these days (if you have one).

Though Gre-Gory was a one and done toy, Mattel did produce other "creatures" which could be easily incorporated with him. Creatures such as Suckerman and Krusher (which we will look at a little later down the road) fit perfectly in size and style, and were also released around the same time frame.


Now slow down a minute before you go rushing to ebay to track your Gre-Gory down. Be ready to drop upwards of $250.00 for a loose one, and about two to three times that for a sealed one. Another thing to keep in mind is the blood feature on many loose ones seems to have stopped working - Dried up perhaps? What ever the cause, make sure you ask the question before buying.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A New Marshall in Town



There's a new Marshall in town... 


...And he's here to ensure the citizens of New Texas can sleep safely at night...


...Here his call - "Eyes of a hawk! Ears of the wolf..." 


..."Strength of the bear! Speed of the puma..."


...He is...



..Bravestarr!

Marshall Bravestarr was one of only two figures I owned in the original Mattel line as a kid and believe it or not, the second was not Tex Hex. No, it wasn't even his trusty steed, 30 / 30. It was the bartender, Handlebar. While I liked the cartoon a lot as a kid (and even more so as an adult), I never really got into the toy line. By 1987 - 1988 I was way more into G.I. Joe, He-Man and the Nintendo Entertainment System. However, this didn't stop me from dabbling in what looked cool at the time.

Doesn't he look cool?

He's got all kinds of good stuff which comes with him that scream at kids, "BUY ME!"; Major articulation, two great weapons - With a holster for the pistol, Kerium nuggets, a vest and hat (which is apparently difficult to come by these days) and let's not forget the quick draw action button on his back. About the only thing they missed on this guy was a slot on the back of the vest to pop the rifle onto, but who really needs that when it fits so well in his hand?

I love the fact that this figure is so well articulated that you can pose him in so many positions. His heavy weight and sturdy plastic make it so you can great action stances. The way you see him in the above photo is how I actually have him displayed in my cabinet - Which personally speaking I think looks so dang cool.

It seems Mattel spared no detail when it came to producing this figure. I mean, come on - They even emphasized the guy's butt crack in his pants for his very tiny and oddly shaped behind.

Okay, so maybe the back side of him doesn't look as cool as the front.

If you slide back up towards the top photos showing the close ups, really give them a good once over and take in all that great detail in the sculpting. The shirt and pants have a whole lot of meticulous detail in terms of making the hard plastic actually look like fabric for clothing - An effect which I believe is pulled of beautifully. Believe you me - You'd pay big bucks for a figure like this these days at your local toy store.

Not that these figures were cheap in 1987. At $8.99 - $9.99 they were some of the most expensive figures on the market. Compare this price to that of the average G.I. Joe ($3.49 - $3.99) or He-Man ($4.99) figure, and you can see how these toys weren't exactly priced to move. 

Uh oh...



You didn't think that just the Marshall would come to this party, did you?


Oh, no, no, no.


Not if the vile Tex Hex has anything to say about it.


Admittedly I feel like there was a missed opportunity by Mattel to incorporate a battery operated glowing eyes feature. That would have been really awesome for this character especially in light of those deadly looking red eyes.

Tex Hex essentially features the same guns as Marshall Bravestarr with the exception of them being gold. He also includes two sweet looking knives as well as a black hat and "vest" which are unique to the character. Lastly, he comes with two additional pieces of Kerium.

The toy also features all that great detail to the clothing as noted above - Which is admittedly no different in style from that of Marshall Bravestarr. So I guess with that said, it's kind of no surprise that it would. In fact, now that I really look at him, I dare say this is the exact same sculp from the neck down. Well...Isn't that cheap of Mattel. No surprise at the end of the day, but cheap nonetheless.


Well, that really wraps up about all I can say about these two figures. I hope you've enjoyed looking at them with me.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Energized (Remco)



Energized
Remco
1978 - 1979

There have been a ton of toys produced based on Marvel and DC Comic heroes. It seems like just about every toy company out there has produced some form of plastic item showcasing any one of the number of iconic characters from comic pages. As such, it's not surprise Remco got their chance in 1978 with their Energized line.

The concept for the figures was pretty simplistic with each of them featuring some form of motorized aspect in conjunction with a "string". For Spider-Man, Green Goblin and Batman this feature was designed to showcase the character climbing. Superman's feature was flying, and Hulks feature was pulling a stone wall down. Like we said, simplistic - But it works well for what it is. These are by no means bad figures.

Energized Web Climber Spider-Man*Energized Spider-Sense Spider-Man

Energized The Green Goblin*Energized Hulk


Energized Batman*Energized Superman

If you couldn't tell by how Spider-Man got two figures (as well as a villain), and everyone else got one, Spider-Man was definitely the focal point of the line. This concept was hammered home by the only vehicles and accessories released for the line being all Spider-Man based.

Energized Spider-Copter

Energized Spider-Man Accessories

In addition to the above, we've seen catalog photos of an Energized Spider-Man Command Center. However, we have never actually seen the physical toy. It's possible this item was never released.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Spoils of Ebay Gift Cards



For those of you who remember, I got a few ebay gift cards for Christmas which I promptly utilized to nab up some long wanted toys which I simply couldn't take the plunge on when they would have resulted in a strain on the ole bank account.


Last year I used my ebay gift cards to finish my He-Man collection. This year I used them to start a collection which is actually the first toys I remember owning and playing with as a child a long time ago...


It was 1980, and I saw for the very first time a commercial which advertised Star Wars figures from Kenner. I immediately began hopping around the room asking my mom if she had seen the commercial, and more importantly if I could have them. I had been watching Star Wars on father's Super 8 projector via the Ken films reels for a little while at this point, so I was all too familiar with who the characters were.

By the time my birthday rolled around that year, my mom not only got me figures, but also made a cake which she put them around. I remember getting Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO and R2-D2. Additionally, my mom also goofed, and got me the Mego Star Trek figures from the first film...Yuk!

From there I was hooked. Every year for Christmas and birthdays it was Star Wars, Star Wars and more Star Wars. This would continue for the next few years before Star Wars inevitably "ended", and the figures were discontinued.

I had all the figures for the original Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi lines. However, by the time the original Power of the Force line launched I was well into G.I. Joe and He-Man. While I received a few here and there they weren't a high priority on my kid radar, so I never ended up with all of them.

As the tale goes for most of us, my toys inevitably disappeared for various reasons as I grew older and older. However, while I focused my efforts on collecting the various toys from my childhood, one I never returned to was the vintage Kenner Star Wars figures. Price wise they just weren't justifiable. Not only that, but I felt they would be fairly unobtainable.

I'm happy to report that while it did take a lot of searching, question asking, and finding the right dealers, I have been able to put together a set of all twenty-one of the original 1978 / 1979 Star Wars figures - My first set in what will hopefully become a complete collection of the vintage line.


Granted I'm not going for a 100% collection of all variants (for now). I really just want one of each, and I'm not too preferential about which versions those are (for now). Additionally I have no aspirations (or money) to own the expensive variants such as a telescoping saber Luke, Vader or Obi-Wan, nor the vinyl cape Jawa.

When diving into my collection I wasn't particular about the country of origin for the figures. Instead I focused on good paint applications and authentic vintage accessories / weapons. This proved to be the biggest challenge, and only set to prove the importance of finding only reputable dealers to buy from. I fared well with what I eventually came away with - With the exception of one figure.

Luke Skywalker was originally released with blonde hair which was switched to brown midway through the Empire Strikes Back series. I may go back and nab up the brown hair versions later, but for now since I am focusing on the original Star Wars line it was blonde hair all the way for me.

Luke Skywalker (blonde hair)


Princess Leia Organa was the only figure I got which I am going to need to replace. While I got the vintage cape and vintage blaster, I missed the part where the front collar of her clothes around her neck was broken.

This aspect really burned me up because for the price I paid (which wasn't cheap), the seller should have noted the figure was broken in the description. Granted the photo shows the damage, but if you don't know to look for it, it looks normal the way it is.

Fortunately since I have the vintage accessories with this one I can focus on finding an incomplete figure which will hopefully be relatively cheap. The problem is finding a cheap one which hasn't yellowed, and has eyebrows.

Princess Leia Organa


I ended up with the big head version of Han Solo because out of the two this one had the best paint application. The big head version was released right on the tail end of the 12 back cards, and replaced the small head version which was discontinued shortly after Empire's 31 back card made an appearance.

Han Solo (big head)


There aren't any variants of Chewbacca I know of which allowed me to simply focus on finding one with a good paint applicatoin. The back portion of the bandolier could have been better, but the selling point for this one was the bright blue eyes.

Chewbacca


It's tough to find R2-D2 with not only a vibrant dome, but also a good sticker application. Many are in such a poor state, or worse with reproduction stickers. It took me quite a while to find this one out of the twenty-one in this series. Fortunately the search was worth it because I also found another difficult to find figure from the same seller (which I'll talk about a little further below).

R2-D2


C-3PO is another difficult figure to find with a solid and vibrant gold color to it. Because this figure had no accessories it was easier to focus on finding a great condition one - Which I feel I definitely did. The joints are tight, and the figure doesn't show a speck of "tarnish".

C-3PO


Obi-Wan was proving to be a difficult figure to find with a good condition vintage weapon. In fact, most of the lightsabers for all the figures with one tend to have the ends broken off. There weren't many to be found when I was initially looking.

Obi-Wan Kenobi  (white hair)


This was one of the more cheaper figures I was able to obtain - Once I remembered it was called Sand People and not Tusken Raider. Because I was focused on collecting the "Star Wars" run, I had to make sure not to get the hollow tubes version - Which was released on Return of the Jedi and Power of the Force cards.

Sand People


As I said above, I have no plans of ever obtaining a vinyl caped version of the Jawa. Truth be told I prefer the cloth caped one anyway. It looks better.

Jawa (cloth cape)


Want to see what a mysterious Jawa looks like without his hood? WOW! A plastic hood! Neat! Oh well. At least I got one with a really good eye paint.


Darth Vader seems to be the most common figure in the series to obtain. Kenner must have made a ton of these - Which would make sense considering he he was carded for all four series from 1978 - 1985 with no changes beyond the photograph on the package.

Darth Vader


In hindsight I wish I would have gone with a second Stormtrooper I was looking at as opposed to this one. This version I ended up with shows a tad more yellowing than the one I passed on - Of course I saved about ten bucks doing so. So perhaps it was worth it.

Stormtrooper


Death Squad Commander - Or, Star Destroyer Commander as his name was changed to when released on an Empire Strikes Back card is one you really have to be careful about when purchasing loose. Due to being played with, a lot of times the blue and red "rank" on his chest have rubbed off. I made sure to only pick up the best I could find. With how "cheap" the figure was as compared to others in the series it was easy to hold out while continuing my search. I fared well in this decision.

Death Squad Commander


Blue Snaggletooth is definitely a figure I'm considering picking up in the near future. For now, I'm happy with the standard carded red version - Made more appealing by the low price as compared to the blue version.

Snaggletooth


I probably could have been a little more selective about the Walrusman I ended up buying. Out of all of them, he seems to have the "worst" paint application. The green portion of his face / head is bleeding onto the mouth portion and the eyes are running into each other in terms of the yellow outside and green pupils. My main driving force for buying this particular one was I got it from the same seller I got five other figures from.

Walrusman


Whether you believe Han shot first or Greedo did, the bottom line is you can't play out the scene without this awesome Greedo figure! Look at all that detail in the sculpt and paint. All the bumps, ridges, the white pupils. Why can't figures these days have this kind of detail?

Greedo


Speaking of detail...For being just brown and blue, Hammerhead has incredible detail in the sculpt to make him stand out as one of the best (if it is even possible to pick a "best") in this line.

Hammerhead


For as simplistic as Power Droid is, I have to admit it has always been one of my favorites. With its clicking feet and fun shape, it's just pure coolness.

Power Droid


R5-D4 is the second figure I purchased from the dealer who I got R2-D2 from. This was another figure I was having a difficult time finding a good quality vintage sticker for.

R5-D4


Death Star Droid is the last droid in the first wave of twenty-one figures, and much like C-3PO is rather difficult to find in a shiny paint application with no sign of "tarnish".

 Death  Star Droid


Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Flight Gear outfit holds a special place for me because I so vividly remember getting it as a kid. It was one of four figures in a Sears four pack which included R2-D2, R5-D4 and Yoda.

I love the paint application on this particular figure. It was really important for me to find one with a good chest plate and the Rebel symbols on the helmet.

Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Flight Gear)


The last figure released in the original Star Wars line was Boba Fett. Admittedly, he's not one of my favorite characters. I don't get the hype. 

Boba Fett


Believe it or not, I've already started my Empire Strikes Back collection, and even picked up a couple from the latter Power of the Force line - Which is ridiculous expensive. Thank goodness there are only fifteen in the final series of figures. Of course I still need to get about thirty Empire figures and thirty Return of the Jedi ones. This is definitely not an overnight collection, but it's certainly a fun one to be collecting. As I hold them and fidget with them I feel like a little kid again.

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