Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Big Thank You To The Mattel & Toys R Us Customer Service Teams!

I had little issues pop up and get taken care of this past week. One involved placing an online order with Toys R Us for an Imaginext Power Rangers toy and unfortunately getting the wrong one sent tome. The other issue was with another Imaginext toy which had the wrong parts included that was purchased at Christmas.

When my Toys R Us order arrived I have to admit I was a bit let down to see the wrong toy enclosed in the box. I read the order slip and found the refund policy state it could be returned to a store. Problem was, the reason I had ordered online in the first place was because 2 Toys R Us stores near me didn't have the toy I wanted. Neither did 4 Target stores, 2 Meijers, 3 Walmarts. Even the Fisher-Price online store said the toy was back ordered until mid-February. I went back on the TRU site and found the customer help section and went ahead and got the online help going. The agent who helped me, Jasna Z., was super helpful and not only was able to get a new order setup to get the right item sent to me, but also initiated a pre-paid return label for to use in returning the wrong item. I was even allowed to wait till my replacement came in to verify before sending out the old item. Thanks Toys R Us CS!

My other issue was maybe more on the factory side, where parts that were supposed to be included were replaced with ones that were not. I put in a question to Mattel's online customer service center and just asked about the issue, how it may have come to be, and if I should return the toy o the store? In just 2 days I got a response from Kim S. at Mattel Consumer Services saying that there's no need to return, they have already went ahead and put in an order to have the correct parts shipped out to me at no charge. Fantastic! The parts just arrived in my mailbox today and it completes the toy.

Pretty awesome teams on board at Toys R Us and Mattel/Fisher-Price. Thank You!

Fisher-Price imaginext power rangers イマジネックスト zyuranger sentai 戦隊シリーズ Toys R Us

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy Birthday To Me! A Gift? I Shouldn't Have! But I Did. (Blockman Transformers Marvel)

So last week I celebrated a birthday, and while I didn't plan to get a package in the day before, things just worked out that way. I've been watching this particular toy for 4 or 5 years. The seller originally had it listed at a really high price of $1000, nowhere near it's normal selling price. As the years passed the price slowly came down. It sat at $300 for over a year. I finally just threw in an offer at $250 and the seller came back with $270. I figured, what the fuck, and just took it. I had a bit of cash leftover from Christmas so why not treat myself. So with the purchase, I complete my Takara Blockman giftset collection.
合体戦士ブロックマン トランスフォーマー タカラ Takara Blockman giftset Robotech Robolinks 1984 robots
With a price of $270 it makes this the most expensive toy I've ever purchased. I'm am usually so much more of a deal finder and frugal buyer, but a few things made me jump on this at the price. First, the last few of these to sell may have been at more than $100 saving, but they've all been in far worse condition. The set I have now is mint and unused, with ALL contents including the often missing poster. I'd rather pay more for a mint set. And when I got right down to it, adding up the cost of the previous items, the service fees, and shipping I would have been looking at about $250 anyhow. And starring at this thing for some long was just getting to me. I needed the ease of mind of just owning it before someone else gave in and took it off the market.

As I said, I didn't intend to receive this for my birthday. I ordered this on December 29th, and the seller got it out on December 30th. But here's a tip, don't buy anything from Asia during New Years. I've just found that the new Year overseas means more than it does here in the States. I had two items ordered just before January 1st, this Blockman toy, and a book from Amazon Japan. Even though the seller got the toy to the post office on the 30th, it wouldn't leave there for 7 days. That's a long time before it even leaves the local post. Tack on a few more days in country, then overseas shipping, customs and then domestic shipping and it was just over 2 weeks for an expedited package. The book from Amazon was delayed even longer. That package was supposed to be expressed and it took only a couple days less than the Blockman toy. So in the future I'll try to stay clear of ordering near New Years.
Target exclusive Marvel Legends Avengers Vision Hulk Ultron HasbroTarget exclusive Marvel Legends Avengers Vision Hulk Ultron Hasbro
As for actual birthday gifts, I did get a few toys from my wife. She had the Target exclusive Marvel Legends Avengers set from this past holiday season. I passed before Christmas because I only want the Vision and Ultron from the set, which I have to say is mostly made up of the seriously bulky Hulk figure. She said she got the set for just $15, so a far better deal than the original $50. As I expected, I don't like the Hulk figure much at all. The Ultron and Vision are superb though, great additions to my meager Marvel Legends collection.

While out for lunch on my birthday we stopped at a Target that had just changed their clearance toys to 70% off and my wife paid for/gifted me another item, a Transformers Robots In Disguise Collection set. This set was a steal at $15. Sure it's comprised of almost all 1-Step Transformers, but it's perfect for me. Let's be honest, RID is a silly, silly stupid show. But it's also one of the only Transformers shows in the last 15 years I can tolerate. And if my nephew comes over he can play with this as he's yet to graduate on to more advanced Transformers.
Takara Transformers Robots In Disguise トランスフォーマー RID Steeljaw Sideswipe Target 2015 GrimlockTakara Transformers Robots In Disguise トランスフォーマー RID Steeljaw Sideswipe Target 2015
There's something within RID that captured my attention more than previous shows. While the names of certain character names are familiar, I like the new versions of Steeljaw and Strongarm, and new characters Thunderhoof and Fixit. And again, $15 for 6 toys! I'll just end there.

1984 Blockman hasbro Marvel Legends Robolinks robotech Takara Transformers トランスフォーマー アメコミ タカラ

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Turn And Face The Strange. Goodbye To Mentors.

David Bowie rest in peace rip Bauhaus Iggy Pop
Like a lot of people who first went online on Monday to see what was new, I was pretty shocked to see that David Bowie has passed on Sunday. Yes, you may question why I was shocked that someone who was sick had died, but I think it's ingrained in us now that even those fighting a severe illness can and should beat it. It's a hope that I wish wasn't met with the same shitty cynicism that everything else runs up against these days. Plus there's the idea that your idols, or better, mentors will live on forever. In some ways they of course will.

I don't get choked up, or even tear up when most celebrities pass on. It's really only happened 3 times. Monday was one of those. It's very easy to say that without David Bowie, and those that he worked with, and those he clearly influenced there would be no GanguStars. My very being would probably be so different, that I wouldn't resemble the man I am at all. So much of the past 25 years of my live has been touched in some way by the people who were also touched by Bowie. His style, music and attitude.
David Bowie rest in peace rip Johnny Cash Joe Strummer
The last time I felt this way was when Johnny Cash passed. That was also something that people had expected, but still hurt when it happened. Before him it was Joe Strummer. That one really hit me hard. The Clash was such a crazy huge influence on me, I don't know how to even really put it into words. That band has in more ways than anything shaped me. That includes family, friends and yes, toys.

So goodbye Mr. Bowie. You've still provided me with one of the best live performances I have ever seen. Thank you!

David Bowie rest in peace rip Johnny Cash Joe Strummer

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year With More Transformers, More Imaginext, More....???

Happy New Year!

I really didn't plan on doing a 2015 year in review type post. Because if I have to be honest, things for GanguStars seriously fell apart towards the end of the year. I have yet to fully elaborate on that, and I'm sure I haven't done it because I don't want to face it. But I'm not going to stop posting here just yet. I still have projects I would like to get finished, and some others to even get started.
1984 80's macross factory robotech Transformers soundwave blaster cassettes トランスフォーマー マクロス
I have a few final posts that were started in 2015 that I would like to finish. I also just received one last package of goodies in from Japan 2 days before Christmas. I'm still going through these, but the pic above can tease a bit as to what I got. I made one final big purchase on Dec. 30th, and that marked my last toy buy of 2015. It's something I've wanted for some time, and when it comes I will post about it here.
Even though I am still trying to follow toy lines like Transformers, G.I.Joe, and Star Wars, I'm really just more focused on Imaginext. And I've been moving right along on picking up the things I need. I've really kind of neglected posting about even some of the cooler Imaginext toys I've bought, but that may be due more to time restraints than lack of interest on my part.
Fisher-Price imaginext Pirate Shark Boat Ghost Pirates glow clearFisher-Price imaginext Pirate Shark Boat Ghost Pirates glow clear
This Pirate Shark Boat being one of the most amazing Imaginext toy to date really needed some blog love given to it. Part of the Pirates series sub-theme of Ghost Pirates, this isn't the easiest toy to buy. To date I think it's only been found online, and once even sold out at Fisher-Price with customer service saying it was discontinued (although that changed a few weeks later). It has a great light up features that emits an eerie glow from the Sharks mouth, eyes and belly. It also has shooting rockets, and a very menacing Ghost Pirate figure. It's an item that if it were sold in stores I would have likely bought two of them. Maybe I'll pick another up online. Maybe.
Star Wars The Force Awaken スターウォーズ Star Wars toys vintage
On another late 2015 news, I did get to see Star Wars The Force Awakens. Maybe not exactly when it hit theaters, but not to long after. A little ashamed to have gone on Christmas Day, but my wife and I kind of snuck it in between family gatherings. And as for the movie, I absolutely loved it. I did not feel this same way for any of the prequels when I left the theater. I have that itch now to start buying up some of the toys, and I know I need to put a strict limit on that. I just can't get swept up in Star Wars toy buying again, it's just too overbearing.

So that about wraps up 2015 where GanguStars is concerned. Aside from the eventual post filled with doom and gloom about the GanguStars future. But not concerned with that right now.

Enjoy your New Year!

1984 action figures 80's batman Fisher-Price imaginext macross robotech Transformers トランスフォーマー マクロス スターウォーズ Star Wars

Friday, January 1, 2016

Imaginext Into 2016! New DC Super Friends & More!

While we have a few items still yet to be released that were announced mid-2015, a slew of new items have been announced (and un-announced) for release in 2016. Some of the items still absent from shelves in 2015 are the long awaited Target exclusive DC Justice League Sinestro & Cheetah 2-pack, the Firestorm figure, and the Power Rangers Pink Ranger and Zord set. Calls into the Fisher-Price customer service line get varied answers on release times, mostly saying they've already been released. So unless Target has some crazy backlog in their warehouses, then I feel the Fisher-Price customer service info may be off. Hopefully these missing items will show up shortly along with the rest of these new Imaginext products. There is some other items that we've gotten glimpses of, like a new Batman robot, and a new Toys R Us Batman and Cycle set, but since there's little to no info on them I've left them off.

Imaginext Moto Pilots
It may be sad to say, but these can likely be placed on the "never gonna happen"list. Listings for these toys were found on a Spanish language version of the Fisher-Price site. The "Where to Buy?" option gave no store listings. Could they still be upcoming? Yes, maybe so. But seeing as how the toys have been used as exclusive filler for the DC Super Friends line makes it seem like they've already been taken out of the line-up. For the U.S. market at least. I hope not though, these are pretty cool looking toys.
Imaginext Axle & Motorcycle unreleased new 2016 Joker cycle DC comics BatmanImaginext Axle & Motorcycle unreleased new 2016 Joker cycle DC comics Batman
Imaginext Axle & Motorcycle
Children will be the masters of the road with this amazing bike! Axle is ready to run, fight and do what it takes to become the master of the road! His bike is very fast and is equipped with a secret weapon, if another vehicle approaches you it can be overturned! Axle sits on the bike, black side will turn orange to warn and that indicates it is ready to run. Where will Axle go? It just depends on the imagination of children, fasten your seat belts!

Imaginext Spider & Vehicle unreleased new 2016 Robin 4wd cycle DC comics BatmanImaginext Spider & Vehicle unreleased new 2016 Robin 4wd cycle DC comics Batman
Imaginext Spider & Vehicle
With Spider and his vehicle, children become masters of the road! These pilots are ready to run, fight and do what it takes to become masters of the road! Spider's four-wheeled vehicle is equipped with tongs to catch other vehicles and send them for a ride! By placing Spider in the pilot's seat, stripes on the vehicle appear to indicate to his rivals that he is ready to get going! Where will Spider go? It just depends on the imagination of children, fasten your seat belts!

Imaginext DC Super Friends
Imaginext DC Super Friends Battle Shifterz Batman armor robots イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Imaginext DC Super Friends Battle Shifterz Superman armor robots イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマンImaginext DC Super Friends Battle Shifterz Lex Luthor armor robots イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Imaginext DC Super Friends Battle Shifterz
These toys have seen early release in the United Kingdom, and some varied and unconfirmed sightings in the U.S. in late Fall 2015. Now they seem to be popping up (with confirmed sightings) in the U.S. in a wide release. This series is comprised of 3 figures with add-on battle armor bits. You get 2 re-released figures in the Superman and Lex and another new Batman figure. Seeing as how these 3 will play so prominently in the upcoming Batman/Superman movie makes sense for their release.

Imaginext DC Super Friends blue grey Batman Transforming Batcave イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Imaginext DC Super Friends blue grey Batman Transforming Batcave イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマンImaginext DC Super Friends blue grey Batman Transforming Batcave イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Batcave
The following is the official blurb about the toy from Fisher-Price:
Watch this mini Batcave play set transform right before your eyes! All the features of the original Imaginext Transforming Batcave, minus the lights and 6 inches in the middle. Batman has always had the coolest tools and gadgets to fight crime in Gotham City – and his Batcave headquarters is no exception! Turn the middle Power Pad to transform the play set – the platforms, Batcomputer screens and Batwings open to reveal a “high tech” command center. Turn the top Power Pad to open the armory and gear Batman up for battle. There’s even a sparring dummy that rotates to let Batman practice his Ninja moves! Uh, oh…The Joker is stirring up trouble! Push a switch on the lower Power Pad to open the garage doors so Batman can speed away to his latest crime-fighting adventure. And no Batcave would be complete without a jail, elevator and projectile launcher to add to the story and the adventures! With a headquarters loaded with so much fun, The Joker will be no match for Batman and your young Super Hero’s imagination!

This is a re-colored and slightly altered version of the Transforming Batcave we got in 2015. As stated in the first line from above, a layer has been removed from the toy making it a bit shorter than the previous release. Weird that they even mention that in the text. It also comes with 2 different figure than offered before. Sadly the same Joker we've seen in multiple other releases and a new version Batman figure done up in the traditional blue and grey.

Imaginext dc comics blind bag foil Batman Catwoman Red Hood アメコミ バットマン
Imaginext DC Super Friends "Foil-Bag" Figure Collection
These images popped up on the Fisher-Price website one night and then just a day or so later were removed. The other products that were posted at the same time, the new Transforming Batcave, some SpongeBob items and such were all kept online. Were these items cancelled products? Did someone just jump the gun and posting future items? No clues yet about when, where or if these will be released, but they do look quite cool.
Imaginext dc comics blind bag foil Batman Catwoman Red Hood アメコミ バットマン
Imaginext dc comics blind bag foil Nightwing Batman Catwoman Red Hood アメコミ バットマンImaginext dc comics blind bag foil Slade Deathstroke Batman Catwoman Red Hood アメコミ バットマン
In what would be the first series of licensed Imaginext blind bag figures we get an assortment of fan requested figures (purple Catwoman, new Two-Face), wide release alternate versions of store exclusives (Slade, Nightwing), a couple alternate looks and even a new character (Red Hood).

So I have to keep up ope that some of these items actually find their way into stores, like with the Imaginext Moto toys, and the DC blind bags figures. I don't know if I can take more long standing questions like we have with the Sinestro, Cheetah, Firestorm and Pink Ranger Zord releases. I'm just not that patient of a person.

action figures batman dc comics Fisher-Price imaginext イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン