Saturday, 29 August 2015

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report

And now another entry into show & tell ‘Crap I Waste My Money On’ because they’re fun to write, even if they’re boring to read

I was going to turn this into some new theme, ‘Bootsale Action Figures’ or something but bootsale season is winding down and I’m particularly paranoid about how many action figures I've been buying of late, and next year will see a drop in figure buying anyway, so instead we’re doing this.

For the imaginary American readers; car boot sales (‘bootsales’) are really just outdoor flea markets, normal people turn up at a pre-designated field and pay a small fee to sell other people their old crap, these normal people are interspersed with ‘new stalls’ (market stalls) and ‘regulars’ who make their money from buying and selling other people’s old crap cheaply. The odd name has nothing to do with shoes, but rather because originally people would turn up and sell things out of the trunks of their cars, which we call a boot, now they all have fancy things like tables and tarpaulins. I love bootsales, I like just going to them, they’re endlessly fascinating with their mad people and bizarre things for sale and there’s always cute dogs to temporarily fill the void in my life left by having no pets, I also buy a load of old shit –these places are great for second-hand records but my living conditions at the moment don’t really allow me to play much vinyl so it’s mostly old action figures and the odd DVD or book.  

The last two bootsales I’ve been at have been complete opposites of one another – one was huge during a heat wave and nearly killed me, the other was ridiculously small during what felt like a hurricane and only made me dusty – but both were pleasantly bountiful, one even yielded a vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, rare at bootsales because everyone instantly puts them on eBay with ‘look – rare’ in their titles, not realising that this makes them fucking obnoxious.  

I always take these ‘haul photos’ after I’ve cleaned up my new prizes, for the simple (if not bizarre) reason that I find groups of random action figures standing together very aesthetically pleasing. It’s also handy for other, sadder, reasons.  Anyway, let’s get to the actual bloody items shall we?

The Emperor!
(Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, 1984)
The Emperor has returned! I lost my old Kenner Emperor figure, it made me sad. I’ve been trying to convince myself to buy another since I found out but I have difficulties giving a fuck about Star Wars merchandise beyond Wampas, Twi’leks and Ewoks and original Kenner figures are never acceptably priced anywhere, despite the fact that they were made in astronomically huge numbers by the time you could send off for Palpatine here. But that friends is why bootsales exist, a particularly stereotypical 30-something nerd was selling a shoe-box full of Kenner SW figures for £2 each, expensive by bootsale standards but free by Kenner Star Wars standards, I probably should have bought the whole box and sold the ones I didn't want on eBay (look – rare!) but I’m not an arsehole, so I just replaced my beloved Emperor, now my old coalition of big bads have their final member back again.

Applause Batman Returns Penguin!
(Batman Returns, 1992)
From the same Comic Book Guy looking fellow who sold me the Emperor comes the best Penguin figure ever produced. A somewhat eerie find as my favourite blog Dinosaur Dracula, who I frequently rip-off draw inspiration from for this pile of crap had found one of these and written about it in his last Flea Market Finds [], which is where I ripped-off took inspiration from for these posts, and I’d read it just the day before the bootsale – spooky, or possibly boring and very sad trivia. His was cheaper than mine (this was £3) but his looks like it just got done having its arse kicked by Lady Rainicorn, so I guess it evens out, we’re both missing his swish fabric coat but I’m ok with this though because I hate real fabric on my figures.

Boxed Real Monsters!
(Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, 1995)
I have a huge fetish for Monster toys, I bought all the classic monsters from Matt Hatter Chronicles and I’ve never even fucking seen Matt Hatter Chronicles, in fact I’m not even sure it’s actually a cartoon, I just assume it is because everything is a cartoon in this post-G.I. Joe: Real American Hero world we live in.  Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, which is nothing at all like Monsters Inc., at all, I have seen, and have liked, and still like, in fact I’m watching an episode now; it was funny, creative and the only toon that ever suited that ugly art style from Klasky Csupo (y’know the Rugrats blokes), oh and The Gromble was Frank N Furter in monster form, did Monster Inc include a cross-dressing madman? I think not.  Mattel’s line is actually made up mostly of wonderfully bizarre original creations from toy designer legend and full-on genius Mel Birkrant (read all about it here) so in order to pay tribute to such a great designer…I bought only ones from the cartoon, I suck.

McNuggets Buddies!
(McNugget Buddies: Sports Buddies – 1992, Halloween McNugget Buddies – 1993)
More of that monster toy fetish; coming in just below Changeables in the ‘Greatest Happy Meal Toys’ contest are the McNugget Buddies, if you’ve never heard of these they were plastic Chicken McNuggets with faces that came with swappable plastic costumes and hair and the 1993 Halloween set are easily the most well thought of, also you should be ashamed.  I got a bag of six for a £1 with half of them being the aforementioned 1993 Halloween series and the other half being the Uk-only Sports Buddies, who people like to overcharge for on eBay - to my utter joy included was Monster McNugget, the wonderfully derpy cross-eyed Frankenstein’s Monster McNugget, he’s just so loveable, he looks like all he ever says is ‘Cake’ and ‘Bunnies, he’s my favourite but I’d also like to mention the Javelin Thrower because it makes no fucking sense – how can a thing with no arms throw a javelin? Or anything actually?

Bruno Sammartino!
(Wrestling Superstars, 1986)
This is the first LJN wrestler I’ve ever owned; feel free to heap scorn and disapproval on me, it’s also the LJN figure I’ve wanted the most (yes, more than the Iron Sheik) and as it was only a £1 I am going to sit and feel well chuffed.  Aside from just thinking that Bruno Sammartino (who was the 70’s version of Racist McRacist Hulk Hogan, pretty much) is incredibly cool, the thing I like about this figure is how terrifyingly accurate it is – this is probably because Sammartino has a caricature for a face in real life but y’know, credit where credit’s due. The only downside to this wonderful find is now I want more of these giant bastards to go with Bruno, and I’m supposed to be cutting down.

Rudey the Pug!
(The Ugglys, 2014)
These things are fucking expensive new - £20-£30 for a farting puppet. That annoyed me, because as a Boglins devotee I like to seek out anything that would thematically fit sitting next to them – I have all the Smash Ballz (except that kinda racist Japanese one)  for instance – and these are like Boglins and Smasha Ballz combined! All in all they’re very Boglinsy, they’re even rubbery puppets, but they also fart, burp and as I found out while walking around the bootsale - snore when left to their own devices for too long. The woman who sold this to me a for a criminally low £3 turned it on to prove it worked, and then left it on, I already feel self-conscious being a grown man buying toys, that self-consciousness was compounded by being with my mum for this particular bootsale, then my beautiful Tescos bag stars burping and farting and I explode from paranoia and other people’s judging, JUDGING eyes always on me, looking at me and thinking ‘man-child’ and wondering why I don’t have a neck beard and AAAAGHG GO AWAY I DON’T EVEN LIKE STAR TREK!!!

i totally do like star trek

Rad Badges!
(Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rad Badges, 1989)
These are apparently badges, except they’re ginormous, clip on and made out of that same plastic you make bath toys out of – meaning they’re badges only because Burger King couldn’t think of a better name for them, they’re also embarrassingly the first TMNT thing to appear on this blog despite the Turtles being officially the greatest thing ever (just followed by Sonic the Hedgehog).  These came out just as I was getting into TMNT (I was 4) and from a place no-one in my family ever ate in so I've only ever had two, and I lost one at some point. A shame as I really like ‘em, Burger King toys always felt slightly better quality than McDonald’s but they were never quite as creative and rarely got the good licences, these buck both those trends, and are totally worth paying £1 for, or rather they were until I found out that Donatello is broken, his clip disappeared between me buying it and me cleaning it, I reckon the seller ripped it off in some kind of completely motiveless vandalism.

The Phantom!
(Tomland Famous Monsters of Legend, 1981)
So that monster toy fetish… well at least it lead me easily my best find: one of Tomland’s ‘mini-monsters’ from their Famous Monsters line of toys that collectively say ‘fuck you’ to copyright laws. These are a bastard to find in the wild and sell for way more than their cheap-ass mini-figure shittiness should allow, but it’s that same cheap-ass mini-figure shittiness that makes them just so appealing – look at this little guy, he’s bright yellow, he’s got a centre parting, and he’s trying to be scary – bless him. Anyway I couldn’t find a price for the last loose mini-monster to sell on eBay (carded ones are extremely rare, I think the last one sold for about $750, so I ignored that) but they’re a lot more expensive than the £1.50 I paid for the sandwich bag full of crap that this came in – I got this on the second-from-last isle of the pissy small bootsale, I could see his ugly mug amidst the battered, sandy pencil toppers. He’ll almost certainly never have any friends, but I think I’ll position him as the overlord of all the Monster in My Pocket monsters.

And that’s it; I thank all you imaginary people for reading about other people’s old toys. 

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