Saturday, April 30, 2011

Green Lantern Classics: Low/Maash

I pre-ordered this guy (guys?) from Amazon, then waited about 6 months for them to show up. I had to confirm I still wanted him once or twice, and I can't remember how many times they changed the shipping estimate.

But, in the end, Mattel and Amazon came through for me, and it showed up.

I mainly ordered him out of curiosity. If memory serves, this was the first of these figures to come with an alternate head (well, first of the mass-market ones, anyway).

Collectors have been begging Mattel to start including those forever. Although, to be honest, I don't think this is really what we had in mind. I generally prefer alternate versions of the SAME character. There's a little less incentive in getting two heads for different figures, since you can only display one. And buying an entire second figure just to use the other head kind of defeats the point.

However, it does mean one less figure in the wave if you want to build-a-figure (in this case, Arkillo, whose leg is pictured above). Plus, customizers love having spare parts. I know I do.

The figures are more or less what we've come to expect. I really like Maash (the one with three faces, for those of you who aren't total geeks). Low's also cool, but I'd say the sum of his parts feels better than his whole. Guess which is going on display and which is getting used for customs....

I was happy to get this through Amazon for fifteen bucks, especially when I stopped by Toys R Us, where they're charging $21. That's... pushing it a bit.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's Time to Dare to be.

I'm not a huge Transformers collector, though I do have a handful of figures I've picked up. I have a halfway decent Prime, a bunch of Bumblebees, and some other random toys.

But this is an exception.

Wreck-Gar is, by far, my favorite character from Transformers. If you have no idea who this is, don't feel bad: he's pretty obscure.

In 1986, Transformers: The Movie was released. Wreck-Gar, leader of the Junkions, was voiced by Eric Idle. He spoke only English he'd learned from watching Earth TV (apparently mostly commercials). There was a dance party.

And it was glorious.

I never really thought the character would be remade, at least not the original design. But here we are. The likeness in the face is just about perfect. The character design has been streamlined, but that's life.

It takes some serious effort to transform this guy, so I'm kind of planning on leaving him in robot mode. Some day, I'd like to have another (he's designed so he can ride the toy in motorcycle form, as in the movie). Sadly, I'm not sure that will ever happen, since I'm in no hurry to drop another $25. Did I forget to mention that?

Yes, since I haven't seen this in stores (despite looking for months), I broke down and ordered him online, a move that set me back some serious dough. Oh, well. The things we do for love.

At any rate, I hope to someday find another for a more reasonable price. Until then, Wreck-Gar will just have to ride a robot dinosaur into battle. Because he's just too damn cool to walk.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Pain.

I spend years - YEARS - waiting for a DC Universe Classics Swamp Thing... and they finally make the figure... and it's a San Diego Comic Con Exclusive.

Mattel! You bastards!

Wait, wait. Calm down. That's just if you want the Un-Men, which I can live without. Okay. I can relax, because the figure will also be available... ON MATTY COLLECTOR?

Mattel! YOU BASTARDS!!!!

In Brightest Ebay...

Sometimes, I love Ebay. Most of the time, of course, I despise it. But that's because most of the time I lose auctions (generally because I use the laughable and baffling strategy of bidding the amount I'm willing to pay, then waiting for the auction to end - I know: weird, right?).

Once and a while, it pays off, and I wind up with something like this. It ran me $40, which is a good ten bucks less than I would have paid on Amazon. I'm assuming these are going for a whole lot less at Walmart stores across the country, but - as some of you may know - Walmart doesn't have any stores in New York City, so that doesn't do me a whole lot of good.

I wasn't expecting much from the set, but I was pleasantly surprised. All five figures have something going for them. The one that most surprised me was John Stewart. I expected to dislike this version based on the pictures, but in person he's kind of awesome. I'm not going to replace the one I've got, which I still like a little better, but I'll admit this one comes closer than I was expecting.

Hal Jordan, repainted with his "Parallax" hairdo, looks really nice. Unfortunately, this isn't exactly the right body for the figure, so it's not really something I'll be displaying. Sinestro's also great - I really love that they've given him emerald green eyes - but I prefer Sinestro with a yellow ring.

The only two figures from this pack who are going on display as is are Guy Gardner and Tomar-Re, two core Green Lantern characters who I didn't already have. I love Tomar's head: the Four Horsemen nailed it, as usual. Guy's also better than I'd expected. The outfit and boots look great, though his face really could have used a coat of paint.

The set also came with accessories: each figure has an identical lantern. These are done with a nice, metallic green paint, too. Granted, I'm not sure I need FIVE lanterns; plus, some constructs would certainly have been nice....

If I had bought this set for two figures, it actually wouldn't have been a horrible deal: $40 divided two ways is just twenty a figure. Wait... that IS a horrible deal. It's just that I'm already used to paying that much for a DC Universe Classics figure. Like a sucker.

Ah, but not this time. You see, while I'm only displaying two of the figures, I actually bought this for all five. These things were practically made for customizing....

Grendel's Mother Is So Cheap....

Grendel's mother is so cheap, I bought the action figure just so I could break it and use it for SPARE PARTS.

Huh. I don't get it.

Remember the CG Beowulf movie that came out a few years ago? Me, neither. Apparently, someone at McFarlane Toys thought it was going to be big, though, so they picked up the license and made a ton of action figures, including the one above.

I'm guessing that didn't work out so well for them.

It worked out pretty well for me, though: I grabbed two of those for around $2 each about a year after the movie came out. Then I pulled the figures apart (which is why the bottom half isn't actually connected in the above photo, in case you were wondering).

I got a lot of mileage out of these broken toys: the snake tails double beautifully as tentacles. I used them as miniatures in a D&D game once, and they went over well. Actually, I used the top halves as "statues" in another game once. And when I say "statues," I actually mean statues: despite the checkered floor in front of them, they were inanimate and entirely harmless. I thought the PC's were going to wet themselves.

Ha! Good times.

I also used the "tentacles" in a bunch of photos, including this rather amateurish photoshop job at my fiction site.

About a week ago, my wife and I rather literally divided one of these up, which is why I'm mentioning it here. I took the head; she took the arms. More about those projects soon....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meet Squid-Face

Meet Squid-Face, the newest addition to our happy family. This is one of Lindsay's customs. He's an original character made from a recycled loose Batman figure we had laying around. Check out some more pictures at The Blue Fairy's Workshop, when you have a moment.

Now I have a Phaser....

Toys R Us has been carrying a number of Diamond Select's Star Trek accessories since Abrams' reboot came out a few years back. My wife and I love Star Trek - particularly original series - but we were a little hesitant to pay full price for some of this stuff.

Fortunately, that's no longer necessary. While the movie merchandise has been on clearance forever, Toys R Us left the "classic" replicas full price... until recently.

This is one of two variants, the other being darker in color (Toys R Us only carried the one - I think I'd have have gone with the other if everything else was equal).

I like Diamond Select. They're good at making toys for grownups. Sure, you could buy a far nicer replica, but good luck picking it up for twenty bucks.

The buttons and knobs function as "settings," allowing you to set your phaser to stun, kill, torch, or disrupt. You can even set it on overload, and it'll make a "self destruct" sound. The red light flashes at different speeds depending on your setting.

Take your pick, but remember: stun is for pussies.

You can also disconnect the top, converting it into a hand-phaser. You know, so you don't need to haul the whole thing around when you're wiping out alien civilizations.

All in all, it's pretty sweet. These seem to have disappeared from the Toys R Us stores around here, but if you're living outside NYC, it might be worth a trip to see if they have any at a good price.

Skeletor's Sad....

Why? Why does Skeletor cry?

Skeletor's crying because I refused to go on Matty Collector and buy Panthor. And now he's just read Michael Crawford's review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Comfort Levels

Sometimes, being comfortable with your sexuality means being willing to buy a Barbie, when said Barbie is freaking awesome:

Just a reminder, guys: don't fear the pink.

Custom Accessories: Pirate Skeletor

This is sort of a continuation in a series of Custom He-Man accessories that started on The Clearance Bin. The sword and shield came from Skelestriker (one of the Skeleflex Warriors reviewed here). There's no additional sculpting: just a lot of paint (eyes were done with a mixture of red and gloss varnish). The base is from a Pirates of the Caribbean figure (no changes, other than shaving down the peg to fit Skeletor's foot).

The cape was sewn by Lindsay - more on that here.

If He-Man occupies a special place in your heart, you may also want to check out these two customs I discussed in The Clearance Bin:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Found in my Apartment

At one time, those were connected to the arms of a Barbie. Now they are not.

Some days, I'm a little freaked out by what my wife's up to. Can't wait to see it finished, though.

Green Lantern Classics: Kyle Rayner

Kyle Rayner isn't a bad character, but, to be honest, I probably find him the least interesting of all the Green Lanterns.

I don't just mean the humans, either. Of the thousands of Lanterns from all corners of the Universe, Kyle's just kind of dull. Sure, Hal Jordan comes off as generic, too, but Jordan's interesting as the leader, the best of the best.

Kyle's just an artist who was randomly handed a ring.

That said, the Corps wouldn't feel complete without the guy. So I'm glad that, after making every other human Lantern - including Alan Scott, who's not technically part of the Corps - as well as a handful of aliens, Mattel grudgingly released Kyle Rayner.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Setting aside the character, this is probably the best human lantern figure Mattel's made - no surprise; they've had a lot of practice. The mask, painted in the same shiny green they've been using on the rings, looks fantastic, and they did some good work on the outfit.

The real payoff comes with the accessories, though. In addition to a unique power battery and the leg of Arkillo (a Collect-and-Connect figure I want, but don't anticipate ever completing), he comes with the best energy construct Mattel's included to date: that kick-ass sword and gauntlet.

He also comes with a pair of 3D glasses. How about another picture of that sword?

At the price point these are commanding ($18 - $22, unless you get lucky; $25 or more or you get desperate and buy online), I can't imagine this appealing to anyone who hasn't already assembled a group of eight or nine Green Lanterns. Then again, who else is collecting the line anyway? At least those of us willing to hand over that kind of cash are getting something decent for our buck.

It might not be a good value, but that sword makes getting scammed a lot easier to swallow.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In Loudest Din....

Michael Crawford has a guest review up looking at the Green Lantern Movie Master figures. Check it out, if you haven't already.

I'm going to try to snag a Hal when they show up, but I don't think I can justify spending any more than that, especially without seeing the movie first.

Speaking of the movie....

The review includes Rot Lop Fan, sole member of the F-Sharp Bell Corps (his species has no sight or concept of light; only sound), and I'm assuming the toy's existence means he'll be in the film. The fact they paid this much attention to objectively trivial details (like having his symbol differ from the rest), suggests a serious commitment to the property and history.

That makes me far more optimistic about the movie.


Welcome to Toy Remix, sort of a spin-off of The Clearance Bin, a toy and action figure website I've been running for a few years now.

So. Why the new format? If you've been following me at The Clearance Bin, you've probably noticed that the posts are becoming less and less frequent. There are a couple of reasons for this: first, the Bin has always been a review site first and foremost. And, frankly, I feel like my reviews have gotten a bit redundant. For example, I recently picked up a handful of Mattel's new Green Lantern Classics figures. About 90% of what I have to say about them is identical to what I've already said about the DC Universe Classics figures that have been coming out for years. I'm getting tired of typing out the same junk about the same articulation, and I can't imagine anyone's getting a lot from reading it.

Second, my interests are changing. I'm collecting a lot less than I used to, mainly due to an ever dwindling supply of display space. At the same time, my wife's introduced me to the world of toy customizing; transforming store-bought figures into something new.

The Green-Lantern Corps Batman pictured above was my first full customization (though I've been customizing accessories a bit longer). I find the hobby extremely fulfilling; these days, I'm far more excited about my customs than the next wave of action figures hitting the shelves.

So, rather than continue devoting a few hours a week to writing reviews, I'm putting the Clearance Bin on hiatus and starting Toy Remix.

What can you expect? Toy Remix is going to be more discussion than review. I'm going to post pictures of customs I'm working on, as well as links to other (better) customizers out there - first and foremost, my own wife, Lindsay Stares, who makes things like this. Also, I'll offer my two cents on upcoming releases and news affecting the hobby.

I'll still let you know what I think of new releases I pick up, but don't expect anything formal. I'm certainly not saying I'll never review a figure again, but it's definitely time for a break.