Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Batman, Batman, Batman. Na, na, na, na, na, na, na...Batman! (Imaginext DC Super Friends)

If you've known me long enough you may be surprised to hear that I LOVE variant colors of a toy. Not paint app errors or simple color swaps like blue eyes instead of yellow, I mean actual straight up full body color changes on a figure that creates a new release. I may bitch and complain a lot about what companies do with their toy offerings, but when one of my favorite aspects of the 80's ARAH G.I.Joe line was Tiger Force, re-using old molds in new colors isn't be one of issues I have.
batman dc comics Fisher-Price imaginext Kenner super heroes アメコミ バットマン
So when it comes to the Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends line I am in heaven. There's all kinds of cool re-uses and alternate color figures, vehicles and play sets(!) to collect. Sure some toys get used more often than others, and it's probably no surprise who gets re-purposed the most, Batman! In a World where adult collectors moan and sigh at each new Snake-Eyes or Optimus Prime re-color released it's funny to learn how kids react to these Imaginext figures. Time after time parents are posting (on Facebook groups) that their kid had just passed up the newest cool hero or villain release for a Batman figure instead. My brother says my nephew does the same thing.
batman dc comics Fisher-Price imaginext Kenner super heroes アメコミ バットマン
I can't fault them for passing on some of the figures for a new Batman, Imaginext features some great Batman designs. The look and style of the Imaginext Batman offerings really takes me back to the early 90's Kenner Batman Movie and Animated releases. I loved the Kenner Batman Returns Movie figures like the Arctic Batman and Deep Dive Batman. And for as much as I liked those old Kenner figures, I actually like the Imaginext stuff better. Fisher-Price has me on their hook and I'm not even trying to get away. There's going to be a re-release of the $70 big ticket BatBot toy with a new exclusive Batman figure. The Bot itself features a styling nod to the 60's Batmobile. It'll be about $70 like before and I'm not even going to fuss over it, it's as good as bought.
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Friday, June 24, 2016

I'll Wait For Ross To Have It. (G.I.Joe Transformers Marvel)

note: This post has been waiting in queue since mid-September 2015. So some of the wording about items being "new" is relative to that time.


LEGO Star Wars スターウォーズ Boba Fett rare exclusive mini figuresLEGO Star Wars スターウォーズ Boba Fett rare exclusive mini figures
 I walked into a Marshall's one day to scope out the toy section and spotted the newest LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia sitting on the shelf. This was my first sighting of the book, something I was planning to buy via Amazon when I had a chance. But here it was, and as luck would have it, $6 under list price.
LEGO Star Wars スターウォーズ Boba Fett rare exclusive mini figuresLEGO Star Wars スターウォーズ Boba Fett rare exclusive mini figures
I don't normally find new items like this for sale at Marshall's. I'm often picking up random items that pop up there that have come and gone from other stores. I know buying out of discounters is getting to be an issue with those who have to buy things right away, or earlier at crazy inflated 100x retail prices via ebay just to be able to have things first. And in a sense I understand one side of their argument, that is you wait for things to leave the primary retail chains you stand to loose out on future offerings being produced. However, that's not always what gets these folks riled up. It's also the idea that they paid way more than they had too. But that's on them.

I no doubt believe there are those who will wait til things go to Ross, TJ Maxx, or Tuesday Morning just to get them cheaper. However, the difference between waiting for an item to hit a discounter and buying an item at a discounter you missed brings up another couple arguments in favor of shopping them. Discounters help collectors who were not collecting something when it was in major stores and only able to be found later on. And discounters help get product that larger retailers passed on and would instead be released only in foreign markets.
Transformers クレオ トランスフォーマー Hound Shockwave Masterpiece Kre-O LEGO
I didn't start collecting Kre-O when it first hit. Kre-O is nothing but a LEGO knock-off, a cheaper made imitation toy line. It just is. At first this was enough for me to totally blow it off. Hasbro was just being lazy and trying to snatch up some of the crazy money LEGO takes in. What finally got me collecting Kre-O was the G.I.Joe line. After I was in on Joes, I began to grab a few Transformers Kreons. But at this point most of the single pack waves had been long gone from toy shelves. Thanks to a second life at discounters and even the dollar store I was able to grab some of what I missed on.
Transformers クレオ トランスフォーマー Hound Shockwave Masterpiece Kre-O LEGO Transformers クレオ トランスフォーマー Hound Shockwave Masterpiece Kre-O LEGO
One problem that shopping only at Toys R Us and Target would never have helped me on is the issue where what if they didn't want to stock the items in the first place? Is it not okay to shop at Ross when Target had something first, but fine to shop at Ross when they didn't? Well in the case of some of the later non-movie line Transformers Kre-O toys they were shipping only to regular retail in the Philippines. I don' think most collectors in the U.S. even thought they had much of a chance, but then they showed up at Marshall's and a lot of us Kre-O fans were pretty damn excited.

The mantra of some of those against discounters is pretty strong, it's an all or nothing idea. Shopping Ross for Joes killed the G.I.Joe 25th line. Of course it didn't, but you'd think it did if you were listening only to what some on one of the larger Joe boards said. It's not a right or wrong, black and white issue. These stores serve a genuine purpose, whether they are there to alleviate the problem of excess stock for larger manufacturers, or offer those of lesser means an affordable product. It's just comes off as pure selfishness to try and dictate where a collector should shop based on what they are willing to or can afford to pay for items.
Marvel アメコミ Deadpool Hero Mashers Legends Xmen action figures
Let's also not count out the fact that so many great toys are scooped up by shitbag scalpers on a daily basis. I had never even seen the Marvel Hero Mashers Deadpool at normal retail. Had it not been for a chance find at a Marshall's I would not have been able to pick one up at a store. So that's another check in favor of discounter shopping for me.



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Monday, June 6, 2016

Sorry Dia-Battles, I Just Don't Like You In That Way. (Diaclone)

80's chogokin Diaclone Japanese Robots Takara Transformers ダイアクロン タカラ トランスフォーマー
This weekend we'll either get a look at the next toy in the new Diaclone Rebirth series or at worst just a statement confirming what that toy will be. It's going to have to be pretty spectacular to get me excited about this series. As a huge, and long time fan of Diaclone that may surprise some who know me. Truthfully I'm more interested in the story lines of the new series than the toys so far. That said, I am glad to see a wave of interest in the new revamped Dia-Battles among the Transformers community.

There's a few reasons I've soured on Diaclone over the past few years, I won't get into that here though. So when TakaraTomy announced that it was Dia-Battles that would spearhead this new venture into Diaclone I wasn't exactly going bananas over it. It doesn't help that the original Dia-Battles toy is the ONE toy in the 19080-1982 era that I truly despise. It's an awful toy. Just crap. The one other issue I have with the Diaclone Dia-Battles V2 is that this is what I see when I look at it:
80's chogokin Diaclone Japanese Robots Takara Transformers ダイアクロン タカラ トランスフォーマー
...a Transformer! Yes, that's what I see. A Transformer styled toy, with bits of  Binaltech and Masterpiece TF elements mixed in with a vague outline of the original Dia-Battles. Just going on the look of the toy alone I am not impressed. Some people are, and maybe even more are taken with the actual play value of the toy. There's a chance that if I had this in-hand I would like it. But that chance is slim. This isn't about being stuck in a era long passed on and just being resistant to change. I loved the Microman 1999 revamp. I love the new Machine Robo revamp. Similar ideas as with this new Diaclone series and yet I am just not excited about this one. Maybe a crazy awesome new Battle Buffalo will break me out of my Diaclone funk.




80's chogokin Diaclone Japanese Robots Takara Transformers ダイアクロン タカラ トランスフォーマー

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Imaginext Toy Photography Fun. (DC Comics Super Friends)

Batman Red Tornado Slade Deathstroke DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
These past two weeks I have been using what bits of free time I have to finally start to open some of my Fisher-Price DC Super Friends toys. I opened them to be able to photograph them all. It hasn't been easy, I actually decided on a pretty poor time to do it. The apartment complex I live it just happened to schedule 3 different inspection visits during the last two weeks. None of which had exact times attached. I don't like looking like a slob, even though I have crap everywhere in my house (I've shared the pics here). I made sure to keep my stuff boxed up and out of the way for the first inspection, and then got it all out and set-up for shooting. Then a 2nd inspection notice came and I had to pack up again. Before I could unpack and get back to work a surprise furnace inspection came about. Normally I would be pretty pissed because they are supposed to give 24 hours notice, but since I had most of my stuff already stored away it was a big deal. Last Friday I was able to get the bulk of the photo shoot done. I may still need to do a few re-shoots on the larger items but most of the 400+ pics I took look pretty good.
Batman Poison Ivy DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマンcheap Batman DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Batman Mr Freeze DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマンBatman Mr Freeze DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
 The toys I opened for the shoot are all duplicates in my collection. I decided some time ago that I was going to collect the DC Imaginext toy in package. As some of my favorite DC characters were made into Imaginext form, I picked up extras to just stash away. I knew I'd want to open guys like Red Tornado and Deathstroke to play around with, but wanted a MIP set for my collection as well. Various really good deals came up and I'd grab a few things here and there that I already had. When you can buy the figures at just a couple bucks a piece it's hard to walk away empty handed. When I got to organizing things I found I had quite a bit of doubles and it was about time to get them all opened up.
Batman Joker DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Batman Mr Freeze DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマンBatman Mr Freeze DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Batman Mr Freeze DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
 It was my first toy photo shoot using some new studio lights I got earlier in the year. There was a bit of testing and tweaking going on. Even looking over the final pics I feel like I could still use a lot more practice with this new set-up. Overall I am really pleased with the outcome of the shoot, and I like the look of the pics I got.
Batman DC Comics Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Powers action figures super heroes イマジネックスト アメコミ バットマン
Now if you buy and collect Imaginext you may be asking why I would even bother spending so much time on photographing all these toys. Fisher-Price already puts out tremendously good promotional stock photos of virtually every Imaginext release. I did it partly because it's a  lot of fun, and also because when it comes around to various projects I create I prefer to work with my own original materials where I can. My camera is unfortunately older and I can't get the same quality that the Fisher-Price images have, but I like that I have my own stockpile of pics to use as I see without any issues. Not that I have anything planned for Imaginext just yet, but you never know.



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Thursday, June 2, 2016

It's Hard To Disagree With Free. (Star Wars Detroit Lions)

Detroit Lions Football 2015 Oyo Sports Toys NFL
A few weeks back my wife came home from a shopping trip to Kohl's with a gift, a set of Detroit Lions NFL brick figures.Not only were they already at a really good clearance price, but she got an extra 30% off using a coupon. I've wanted to grab some of these for the few years I've been seeing them come out. The pricing is just out of my comfort zone. When its like $10 for just a single newly released retail brick figure I have to pass, no matter how cool they are. But when my wife gift's me a set that she paid 40% less than what just 1 of the figures retails for I'm quite happy.
Detroit Lions Football 2015 Oyo Sports Toys NFL
This set comes with 2 Detroit Lions players, a Ref, and plates to create a partial field to play on. The players in these larger sets are always un-named, but you can get licensed named figure sin the single packs and I think online via the companies website. Also, these are typically regionally based, so if you want a team from another State you will have to mail order. The brick figures are of a unique design, but as you can see in the pic they do state (and are) compatible with LEGO toys. I opened them up for just a second to fiddle around with them and they are fun. It isn't football season right now, we're right in the middle of baseball, so these will probably go away for a few months and re-emerge in the Fall.

The other thing my wife handed me along with these Lions figures was a Kohl's coupon for $10 in merchandise. It was payback for a $10 coupon I let her used weeks before. At the time I couldn't find anything to buy and it was about to expire. A few days later while checking in to see if any Imaginext was re-stocked I found the new-ish Darth Vader 4" figure from the Force Awakens assortment on the pegs.
Star Wars The Force Awakens Darth Vader スターウォーズ hasbro Kenner
Kohl's does not price their toys cheap, or even close to normal MSRP so sales are a must for making purchases there. Sadly they tend to only give about 10-15% off via sales for Star Wars and other boys action figures toys. This Darth Vader is missing from all other stores around me however. The glut of secondary (and worse) characters has pegs filled at Target, Meijer and Kroger where prices are much better. The reason for the Kohl's purchase though was with a sale going on, an extra 20% off coupon and the $10 coupon I didn't have to pay anything for this toy. I do already have this figure, I picked one up last year. But even with already owning this toy I was really attracted to the package design. Much like the other recent Force Awakens branded pick up of mine, this one has gorgeous style to it. This will probably stay sealed up, I like these 5POA figures but I don't need multiples opened up.



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