Saturday, January 30, 2010

There's a snake in my foot!

Chasing down the last figures I need to complete my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Playmates is proving to be harder than I thought. Luckily with the help of some dedicated and obsessive friends who also happen to be TMNT collectors, I manage to add one important figure to my collection, and one that wasn't as necessary but is also nice to have:

Scale Tail and Movie Star Foot Soldier

Both figures come from the 1992 wave from Playmates, released just between the second and third TMNT live action movies. The Foot Soldier is from the sub-series of figures called Movie Stars (that included the turtles, Super Shredder from the second film, Master Splinter and others).

"So, I'll just stand here... Henching... Until my shift is up..."

The Foot Soldier was the only one that didn't crash with my collection. I don't need two Splinters, but these guys were henchmen, army builders, so is not bad to have a movie one and a regular one. (Actually I own a Super Shredder, but I still don't have a regular one... Oh, the shame, the shame). I got Movie Star Foot Soldier used and it shows, the paint is not in the best condition but there's nothing too bad either, the joints are not loose. Here the sculpting fell a little behind, since in the movie the Foot Soldiers were guys in ninja costumes, they had to show him with human proportions. I have to admit I like the original, ape-like robot Foot Soldier best.

Scale Tail, on the other hand is wonderful. Playmates didn't reuse parts for their TMNT lines, so the sculpting is original, with tons of bizarre little details. The lack of an unique buck (Hello, Mattel!), gave them the freedom to create, for example, a character with no legs but a fully articulated tail to stand.

"I also have a gun on my tail... With a snake on it!"

Similar to Masters of the Universe's King Hiss, Scale Tail's right arm is not just a part of the snake he already is, but is formed by three little snakes that come out of the first snake's torso... Where the Hell in nature does that happen? When did snakes get arms in the first place? The paint in this case is much better preserved and he's an incredibly colorful addition to the shelf, as most Playmates TMNT usually are. And as for the bizarre details, just check Scale Tail's tongue.

"I can give you a French kiss... Of death!"

Yes, that's a forked blaster gun coming out of his mouth. This might even be better than MerDude's Knee pads... I never owned a Scale Tail when I was a kid, but I'm starting to think that he would have been one of my favorites, there's just a lot to get from a Snake with a three snakes arm, a snake gun on his tail and a gun in his mouth, the play stories are countless and the crossovers very possible.


Until next time. COBRA!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Black(toy)bird singing in the dead of night

Hello sociology enthusiast, welcome to another edition of: Meet the Geek. This week, we are going to discuss how geeks are usually polytheists. This is a conversation that might take place between to subjects of the species known as The Geek.

Wild Geek 1: How 'bout Josh Whedon?
Wild Geek 2: Man, Josh Whedon is GOD!
Wild Geek 1: Are you going to see Alice in Wonderland?
Wild Geek 2: Sure man, Tim Burton is GOD!
Wild Geek 1: Finished Sandman last night...
Wild Geek 2: Really? Neil Gaiman is GOD, man, GOD!

And so on and so forth... of course the problem with The Geek is that they can never agree about the gods they follow as a tribe, for example:

Wild Geek 1: Man, George Lucas is GOD!
Wild Geek 2: Are you crazy man? Gene Roddenberry is GOD!

That's why I can say without the shadow of a doubt that some of you will back me up when I say "JIM HENSON IS GOD!"

And all that introduction is because today I'll be talking about this:

That's NECA's Chamberlain from the movie The Dark Crystal, directed by Jim Henson in 1982. Let me sum up the story for you: The Dark Crystal is about the journey of a boy-like thing (actually a puppet) called Jen, he's a Galfling (not to be confused with a halfling because of copyright issues). Jen kinda reminds you the Na'vi from Avatar... Except he's not blue, and he's sort of small not gigantic, and he's the last of his kind, and he exist in the real world, and his acting didn't suck... (OK, so maybe he's not like the Na'vi from Avatar, sorry I brought it up).

So, there was this race of Ugly-as-fuck super creatures that lived in harmony with the world and the powerful Dark Crystal, but when the Crystal broke, the creatures were divided into two Semi-ugly-almost-as-fuck creatures: the Mystics, good guys that looked like camel lizards and the Skeksis, ugly bird-dragons that are, of course, the villains of the movie.

"Polly wanna cracker... And your soul!"

There will be a lot of bird jokes in this post, because when I was a kid, the dragon nature of the Skeksis was lost to me, I just saw evil vulture-like birds. The Chamberlain is incredibly well sculpted, he shows his bird side perfectly, he's clearly evil, the detail of the ragged clothes is very well done and molded in soft rubbery plastic to give the impression of cloth, and his (somewhat flabby) dragon side is there too, but you have to be a little more thorough to find it...

One of the greatest things about the Chamberlain was his evil raspy voice. The responsible was non other than Master Yoda himself, Frank Oz. The figure is really good, looks great in my movie display and the best part is that it was a gift for X-Mas! The other great thing about The Chamberlain is that he automatically turns any innocent situation in an evil situation!

The Chamberlain is a devious character that wasn't even liked in his own tribe, he was exiled (and stripped naked) in the middle of the film. Is not a mystery why NECA decided to make only this Dark Crystal figure and not the others (good or evil), because the one that you remember after watching this master piece is non other than the good old Chamberlain.

There's a sequel called The Power of the Dark Crystal that is announced to premiere in 2011. Apparently it will happen hundreds of years after the first story, it will be done by a first time director and it will be written by the guy that did... Moulin Rouge, Romeo+Juliet and a movie with Zac Efron? Yeah, it's probably going to suck.

More bird jokes:

Until next time. EVIL!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Good? Bad? I'm the man with the blog...

As you may have guessed by now, I'm a fan of Army of Darkness (and Evil Dead too of course). This has a lot of reasons, the leading role of Mr. Bruce Campbell (AKA the Greatest Man Alive), the great eye of director Sam Raimi, the short but powerful March of the Dead song written by Danny Elfman, the paper maché skeletons, the cheesy jokes and, last but not least, the fact that I'm a by-the-book geek and we like this kind of movies (especially this one).

But my love for the movie goes back to the time when I was just a proto-nerd in a video store, I was like 13 or 14 and I decided to rent a VHS. One of the first (maybe even the very first) I rented to watch by myself and not with the family. At that age I wanted to rent other videos to watch alone, but the clerk knew my dad and wouldn't let me take home Nice & Naughty - The sexcapades of Ms. Claus - Part III from the restricted section of the store.

Anyway I was looking for cool VHS covers and I saw this baby:

"You had me at Trapped in time..."

I just loved it. Now I own the three movies on DVD, but that's not enough for a guy like me, I needed some plastic people to prove my devotion. Sometime ago, my girlfriend gave me the great NECA's Cult Classics - Wave 6, S-Mart Ash.

"Give me some sugar, baby"

This figure is beautiful, as NECA usually does great sculpting, comes with a bunch of accessories, including a rifle ("this is my BOOM-stick!") that won't fit in the holster without cutting the price tag (he takes it from the gun rack of the store for those of you that don't remember the movie). He has almost no articulation, since this is supposed to be more a collector's statue than an action figure per se. Once you are able to make it stand on his own, is all good. I especially like the details of the metal hand, but that's just the problem with this figure: He has the metal hand of Army of Darkness, but no chainsaw. NO CHAINSAW. Actually that does make sense for the moment of the film, but still... NO CHAINSAW.

So I went and bought this one:


The Ash from Movie Maniacs wave 3 by McFarlane Toys. The year was 2000, the details in this one are no as impressive as the NECA, but the posse, the blood, the ripped shirt the accessories AND the CHAINSAW makes it really worthwhile. The montage scene from Evil Dead, when he cuts the corpse of his girlfriend into little pieces, cuts the barrel of the gun and attaches the CHAINSAW to where his right hand should be is still one of my favorite movie moments of all time.

Here's a comparison shot of the two figures:

"We both kinda look like Bruce Campbell, but you are good Ash, and I'm bad Ash. Little goody two-shoes, little goody two-shoes".

But where the McFarlane figure really pays off is in the accessories department. McFarlane was sure that an Ash figure was never going to sell. So they made it with all the accessories a fan could ever want, that way nobody would complain when the low sales prevented having another Ash figure in the market. So he packs a shotgun (that will go in the holster), a CHAINSAW (Did I mentioned the CHAINSAW?), the metal hand, a Necronomicon (the book of the Dead) and a Mini Evil Ash. How cute is that?

"I shall call him Mini-Me" (I know, I know... That's from another movie...)

Hell, even the Mini Evil Ash comes with an accessory, the fork that was used in the film to force Good Ash to eat one of the little guys in order to spawn a Big Bad Ash. Complicated? Here's another pic:

"Actually, he's not cute at all. He looks evil, and kinda melting".

For all of this and more, McFarlane's Ash and NECA's Ash we'll be together in my movie display shelf. I don't repeat figures, is true. But I think I can make an exception to please the Greatest Man Alive. Don't you think?

Until next time. CHAINSAW!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I can finally say I'm a MOTUC collector...

Let's face it, you can't be a collector of Batman related figures if you don't own a Batman. You can't be an enthusiast of Ninja Turtles and not own the four turtles. You can't be a toy collector and not own an obsessive compulsive disorder. It's just the way the world works. Following that logic, you can't be a MOTU Collector and not own He-Man. I do, but the 200X ad 80s versions of He-Man. I started collecting classics fairly late, so I missed the He-Guy, Skeletor and Beastman.

Too bad (not Two-Bad) I thought, I will have to pay so much money for those. But Mattel was kind enough to reissue them as extra figures starting in November. So I did what a toy collector occasionally does: I waited. And it doesn't matter how much practice you had, how much time you waited for that 52 Animal Man when everywhere else in the world he's been used as custom base because he's so common. It doesn't matter any of that, because waiting is hard. But getting the prize is so much better then.

As I said in Teela's post, I just got these:

Let's start with Scareglow and the move on to the Main Man (the OTHER Main Man, Lobo) himself later.

Scareglow is a great figure, and the proof that, although I love the nostalgic feel all this line has, is not necessary to appreciate it. I never had a Scareglow when I was a kid, he was produced too late in the original line and the company that made MOTU in Argentina (Hot Toys) never finished those last waves. If you wanted a Scareglow, or even Rio Blast or Dragstor you had to buy the original Mattel ones in specialized toy stores, and they were pretty expensive. I remember getting a Snout Spout and treasuring it, a friend of mine had a Mosquitor AND a Rio Blast, I was so jealous...

"This next Tupperware is great for keeping corn, carrots or the keys to Castle Grayskull fresh for all eternity".

There's something weird about Scareglow, if you look at him for just a few seconds you'll see a guy (a ridiculously buffed guy) in a bad skeleton suit for Halloween. With a cape. But after you take a closer look you start to understand the subtle job the Four Horsemen did. After some more time you realize just how great he is. All the little details are not simple at all, but they are designed to make the figure look simple. Scareglow is very much like a surprise punch to the face: You never see it coming. When you get it, you deal with it, you try to rationalize it. And, a few minutes later, the pain starts. Except in this case the "pain" is finally accepting that this figure, with the goofy name and the glow in the dark plastic, looks amazing.

He-Man is just great. He looks incredible, every little detail in the sculpt is perfect and created to be an homage and a new thing at the same time. I saw some reviews of the earlier release of He-Man and he had some kind of issue with the paint apps to his eyes, he looked kinda irritated, the skin a darker tone of red than the rest. It seemed like He-Man had something in his eyes, and scratched them just too many times.

"Perhaps if I scratch it with my sword, the itching will go away!"

In the reissue, that's completely fixed. I won't start with He-Man's wardrobe because that would be inappropriate. He has his usual furry shorts, metal/leather straps and power sword that allows him to call the power of... The power of... (Gay School! Say it! Gay School! C'mon, He-Man and the Misters Universe and the power of Gay School! The Gay porn script almost writes itself...) The power of Grayskull, of course. And you have to remember, for your childhood's sake, that He-Man is the ultimate manly man...

"Not pictured: Heterosexuality"

Oh, shut up!

Jokes aside, He-Man is a great figure, and even more, is the one that allows me to call myself a MOTUCollector. And also, we must not forget that He-Man is at heart a barbarian and, like any other barbarian, he has the potential to be an incredibly badass character.

Until next time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I can see the contents of my wallet sinking like a Lead Zeppelin

No, this is not a post about music, in that case it would have said "Led Zeppelin", nor is a post about Lord of the Rings, in that case it would have also said "Led Zeppelin" or "Leonard Nimoy and Bilbo Baggins"... Oh the endless nightmares that video caused...

But no, I'm just using the expression because it has the key word "Lead" in it, and I know is not a very obvious reference to the topic, but I couldn't think of anything better... Oh, oh... wait... I got one... "It's an eagle, it's moss... It's EAGLEMOSS". Man, that's not only really lame, but if I write down that title why would I put the link to the Leonard Nimoy's video? I need it to look innocent, but the real reason is to rise awareness, you all read the signs... Hobbits unite? This is real, people! It's happening right under our noses, we'll be replaced by halflings and they'll follow Nimoy. Did you see J.J. Abrahams? He kinda looks like a Hobbit...


Where was I?


Oh yeah, Lead and Eaglemoss. Recently I started collecting these kick ass lead figurines from Eaglemoss. They are cast in lead and hand painted, very detailed and wicked awesome.

They are made in the UK and come with a magazine with the title Super Hero Collection, and although the magazine is just an excuse to get the figurines it is very well done with a whole background history of each character, essential reading material and a list and bio of friends and foes. Good thing to have on a bus, for example.

"Flash in a posse a little too serious to be Wally West. Hawkman looks amazing, very dynamic, powerful and massive. Booster Gold, the one that actually dragged me to this line. Martian Manhunter has a very cold facial expression that goes great with Booster and Beetle's. Blue Beetle, also dynamic, very goofy looking, like he should".

I know there's a similar Marvel series, but being a DC Freak I'll keep getting these. There's a lot, almost 50 already released, and they are not cheap in Argentina, so I started with the Justice League, then I'll go for Batman villains, then we'll see.

"Batman with some great details on the cape and a very cool posse, plus he was on the first issue and Superman only made it to the second! Ha! Good thing for Batman fans. Captain Marvel, very big smile as always, very nice sculpt too. The Creeper looks incredibly pissed about something, the best dynamic posse of them all. And finally Guy Gardner, naughty grin and everything, I would have preferred the OTHER haircut, but hey, nothing is perfect".

There are also special statues, bigger than the usual figurine: Bane, Killer Croc, Gorilla Grodd, Darkseid, Solomon Grundy, Doomsday, the Anti-Monitor and a very cool Bat-Cycle. This things are really heavy, I think that if you buy an Anti-Monitor you need to declare it as a possible weapon.

"I mean, you could kill a guy with that thing (or a Multiverse, your choice)".

I still have a long way to go until have all the figurines I want, but this was the start of a beautiful (terrible for my paycheck) friendship.

One more thing: If you are intrigued by the size of these guys, here's a comparison pic:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

14 guys - 1 girl ratio... MOTUC is just like a Comic Con

When I was a kid, Teela from Masters of the Universe wasn't a damsel in distress, she could kick some serious ass, but at the end of the day she always lost the battles because, in my room, the bad guys ruled Eternia. Take that Filmation! Your moral messages at the end of each episode changed nothing! NOTHING! (although I learned is bad to cause forest fires, and that is a good thing).

Tomorrow I'm finally getting Scareglow and the He-Man reissue, and I realized I never did a post about last month's figures Teela and Zodak.

"After the Horde killed Orko, Teela was sad, Zodak tried to look cool, but he was laughing inside. That floating asshole was too damn annoying"

When I let my sister play with my MOTU figures she always wanted Teela, Zoar, Fisto and Kobra Kahn. Nope, that didn't made sense to me either, but if I didn't let her have them she would tell my mom. Anyway, my adventure stories could go on without the freaky sex/bestiality parties that those four were involved in.

Allow me to elaborate a thought now, does having sex with like, I don't know, Buzz-Off counts as bestiality? How about Stratos? He's a flying ape man. Are you aroused and/or shocked by this? Good, let's move on.

The Teela figure from the MOTU Classics line is very well done, the sculpt from the 4H is amazing as always, the extra head a great bonus (I'm not going to display her with it but still counts), and I chose the sword, there are too many staff users in the MOTUC line and besides, the staff only works with the Goddess head anyway. The sword is incredibly detailed, looks like a really heavy weapon and fits perfectly with the character. With all of this said, Teela is the first MOTUC I got that had a QC issue, her neck peg is a little bended and that's why she always looks down with that sad puppy expression.

"Teela: Dad? I... I can't feel my neck...
Duncan: Oh My God! Medic!!"

I've read in several blogs that this was a common issue with Teela, and from the front is not very noticeable so I'm not that pissed at Mattel. I just hope Evil-Lyn is better.

Zodak is not a very classic character at all, he was the revamped version of Zodac in the 200X series. They needed to change the skin color of a character, and they chose Zodac, the intergalactic neutral warrior that nobody really cared about. The role of Zodak in the new series was very important (in season 2) and the character was portrayed with some depth and a couple of twists.

After that I was much more thrilled about ZodaK than ZodaC in the MOTUC line, plus, he comes with wicked glow in the dark tattoos like he's in a Joel Schumacher film, about to be whooped by Chris O'Donnell... Now that I think of it that way, is not cool at all...

Zodak is a nice and simple figure, it has almost no new tooling but still looks very nice in a display. I think it was OK that this was a bonus figure, since some fans might have felt cheated if he was the figure of the month. Still, a great addition.

Plus I want to thank Mattel, 'cause they gave me the possibility of re-enacting with toys one of my favorite scenes from Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult:

Thanks Mattel!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My plastic Plastic Man

So, I haven't been uploading lots of material... Hell, is January the 10th and I didn't even posted any of my X-mas Haul... But right now I'll start to compensate, I have a lot of new figures to share with you and lots of Silly Toys ideas too.

OK, let's start with one of my X-mas gifts to me: DCD Alex Ross' Justice Plastic Man... Man, that's a lot to remember. You may also call him Plas, or also the best version of Plastic Man ever made (until DCUC has a shot at it, probably as an exclusive in the next SDCC, but those are just rumors and I, as usual, digress).

"I know I'm made of rubber, but bare feet? What if I step on gum? Eww..."

Plastic Man is one of my favorite characters of all time, and I'm not even sure why, I guess that the combination of a very cool power, a very weird costume and a very goofy personality is appealing. Maybe is the fact that he wears goggles that are also made of malleable plastic (perhaps they are his eyes, I don't know). I wasn't especially fond of the cartoon series either, I liked it, but not as much as others, the supporting characters always struck me as dumb.

"From left to right: Dumb Blonde, Dumb Hawaiian with bad luck and bad taste, Plastic Man, obviously gay and puzzled tailor"

I also loved the fact that he used to disguise as every day objects but they always were red, black and yellow and nobody noticed. Apparently every villain he ever faced was colorblind. The point is he's a classic, and this version of him does him justice (excuse the pun). I love to see how he's getting lots of love from the Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon, that means he'll hang around in the toy world for some time. I also own, and like too, the original 1999 DCD version, I could have pass on this one if I only had the goggles of that one...

"We have blue eyes? Really??? Also, Why are you so happy... And short?"

Who am I kidding? I wasn't going to pass on this one, the only reason I didn't get it earlier is because getting him complete in Argentina is incredibly difficult. This figure came with three amazing interchangeable limbs/accessories: An alternate set of legs made into a spring, and two long arms, one of them with a huge hand. They are a lot of incomplete figures out there: No legs, no spring, no regular arms, no long arms... It took me at least a year to find a MOC one to open (hate me MOCers, see if I care).

And now, as a way of saying sorry for the long silence Freak Studios opens a new section called SEPARATED AT BIRTH. This week:

Until next time, another taste of why Plas is not just Plastic Man, he's The Man:

And since I am generous, here's the song about Plastic Man in the album Songs and stories about the Justice League of America (from 1968 , or 1975, I don't really know and the Internet can't answer):

Plastic Man Song

See you, and remember "Plastic Man, he's in great shape for the shape he's in", just poetry!

Sunday, January 3, 2010