I haven’t been blogging much this year; I just haven’t had the drive
But I bought a load of cool toys at LFCC this summer and they deserve to get a spotlight on as many blogs as possible.
Oh and this allows me to ask this question: what the fuck was up with the queuing this time? Making us walk around one whole side of the venue with just some badly positioned cones to denote where to go? People were pushing in all over the place and the complete lack of fences make you look amateurish and cheap, I don’t want a con that represents my interests to seem like that but more so I don’t want confusing, badly laid-out and badly planned out things negatively affecting my experience before I’m even at the damn experience.
Anyway, it was LFCC, I went on the Saturday which was annoyingly the same day my home town’s Pride parade which meant I couldn’t go and show solidarity because I was too busy buying toys: sorry minority, I need Real Ghostbusters. Shit queue layout aside I had a great time: a huge thunderstorm the night before brought the heatwave that’s been roasting Britain for a month or so down to a bearable level of hot; there was two halls of dealers; the signing area was kept completely separate so neither could make the other extra clogged (though the signing area was much hotter than everywhere else and from what I heard, a common complaint about the show this time); I went with awesome people and bumped into other awesome people; I got to meet WWF legend Jim Ross and Sonic the Comic writer Lew Stringer (who I think I confused, I also think I may have had some BBQ sauce on me at that point from a fucking awesome but fucking messy BBQ Bacon Hotdog, a name I committed to memory because it just sounded so damn good) and I spent a LOT of money:
But hey, that’s what saving is for, so you can go and binge until the crippling guilt takes over and you pass on Marvel Legends figures you really want like Spider-Ham and Domino to make you feel better, a kind of shopping self-flagellation.
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:
If you existed I’d expect you to have the following reaction to the ‘haul’ photo (still need a better name) above: “I don’t care” but if you were more charitable I’d expect: “you know, I recognise most of that but what the hell is that red and yellow lumpy fellow at the top?”, that is Flatchoo and he’s from Small Soldiers. Don’t remember him? That’s because he’s not actually one of the Gorgonites like his action figure is, he’s shown very briefly in the film as an example of an in-development line called the Belch Brigade (he was the leader I think). Gawd knows why Hasbro decided to bulk out the Gorgonites with fart man here, maybe he was originally intended to be part of the faction? Maybe one of the team just really liked the film prop? Maybe Hasbro are just inexplicable? Given that they swapped out the character’s farting and belching action feature for the completely bananas ability to shoot his hump across the room (I shot it across the stall several times while buying it of course, because I am physically incapable of looking cool) I’m leaning towards the ‘are inexplicable’ answer.
Walkabout & Chrome Dome!
£6 ($7.86) for both
Walkabout! Walkaboout! Walkabout the bush kan-ga-rooooo!
Please indulge me a little bragging because this is the best deal I got and I’m still chuffed with it because I HAVE NO LIFE. Cheap TMNT figures are the thing I’m always looking for, bootsales, conventions, charity shops, chip shops, Lidl, wherever; a comic book stall had a box of ‘All Figures £4!” Ninja Turtles which is silly cheap and then the woman gave me £2 off because they were really keen to get rid of those bloody figures I guess. That’s £3 each for two Turtles figures I’ve never owned and, in Chrome Dome’s case, always wanted. Chrome Dome showed up in a few episodes of the original TMNT cartoon and in the Tournament Fighters video games and is exactly what he looks like, a killer robot built by The Shredder, I’ve never met someone who knows of Chrome Dome who doesn’t like him. Walkabout was one of those random Mutanimals the original TMNT toyline had to fill out each year’s assortment, characters like Dr El and King Lionheart who never turned up anywhere else, he’s also exactly what he looks like – a Kangaroo man in a half-shirt and bumbag, I’ve never met somebody who knows Walkabout existed. Walky (my pet name for him, we’re close) even came with two accessories – one for Scumbug and one for Nozone, Nozone who is from completely different toyline Toxic Crusaders. Happily though, I’m missing both of these accessories.
Lotte Ghana White Chocolate!
Seriously? Chocolate? Yes, seriously chocolate, this shit is fucking great. It manages to defy physics and reality and be white chocolate that isn’t ‘too sweet’. As much as I hate to turn my back on my boy The Milkybar Kid I think this is my favourite white chocolate now. My only complaint is that it has a very reserved, very western, looking box for a Japanese candy. I guess it’s supposed to be a more upmarket bar, like After Eight mints or something, but I just like my Japanese packaging to be explosive, colourful, Engrish and insane.
£20 ($26.21) for the ape
Bit of a switch in format for this. This Gorilla is from Mattel’s old Big Jim line, specifically from the set ‘Jungle Adventure’:
While I enjoy Big Jim’s P.A.C.K. (and Kid Acero: El Squadron Lobo) incarnation, I bought this because it’s almost a He-Man toy. I will explain: while developing Masters of the Universe there was plans to re-use three (possibly four1) animals from the Big Jim line: the tiger from the On the Tiger Trail set, the eagle from Eagle of Danger Peak set and the gorilla from the Jungle Adventure set. The tiger (as a panther) and gorilla had also previously been used in Mattel’s short-lived Tarzan line before becoming Big Jim toys. The tiger became Battle Cat and Panthor, the eagle Zoar and Screeech and the gorilla…never came out at all, in fact fans knew nothing of plans for him until Roger Sweet released his book that smelt decidedly of male cow excrement Mastering the Universe. In those pages we were introduced to Gygor:
Roger Sweet intended to use the same method that transformed the other animals: give them armour and paint them ridiculously awesome colour schemes. Ted Mayer was planning on using the gorilla too:
Theleft drawing (at least) being an early version of Beast Man and part of the character’s transition from Red Beast to the final design that would eventually become Skeletor’s most loyal henchman. Though as Mayer (who designed, amongst others, the entire first wave of MOTU figures, Battel Cat, Ram Man and Castle Grayskull - which he also sculpted), had worked on the Tarzan line that’s not too surprising.
Gygor would finally get a toy in the awesome Masters of the Universe Classics collectors’ line, where he was an extra-sized item, so a toy that first debuted in 1971 and was intended to come out as a He-Man toy in 1983(ish) ended up finally getting to market in September 2010. The Classics figure was FUCKING AWESOME though so it’s ok:
And now you know the history of Gygor, but really why wouldn’t you not want to know about how He-Man came to fight a huge Lemon & Lime flavoured gorilla? Anyway as there is no vintage Gygor to buy, I wanted one of the Big Jim gorillas to stand with all my other vintage He-Man toys as reference to all this, stumbling across one was not something I thought would happen but, well, it clearly has and I’m delighted and so is my vintage Battle Armor He-Man, because now he gets to ride on a big-ass gorilla whenever he wants.
Neca’s new Crash Bandicoot figure is amazing. I don’t know if I’ll be bothered to do a full review though so I just wanted to feature it here. It’s based on his model from the excellent (and very successful) N-Sane Trilogy and I bought it just because I’ve always wanted a collector’s figure of Crash (I want collectors figures of most of the 32-bit era platform stars though, Crash, Spyro, Banjo & Kazooie, Conker, Croc, Klonoa, Astal, Tomba, everyone) but having got it out of the box it’s fucking superb. Well the paint around my one’s eyes is crap and his accessories are pathetic but the figure itself is gorgeous, fantastically sculpted, fantastically proportioned and with some fantastically well-hidden articulation points, oh yeah and his eyebrows are articulated! Eyebrows! Do you know how many options for poses that gives you? Neca deserve hookers, lots of hookers.
Though, seriously, you couldn’t have included a Wumpa Fruit or Aku Aku? I’d’ve happily paid a higher price if Aku Aku was in the box, everyone would: because it’s fucking Aku Aku. The accessories for the Contra set were amazing but here it’s just a crappy cardboard crate you didn’t even make a question mark or extra life crate? Pitiful - your hookers will be not be doing anal.
Critters is an annoying franchise to be a fan of if you like merchandise to go with your fandom and you may have noticed but I really like some merchandise to go with my fandom. There’s virtually no official Critters merchandise so if you want some Crites of your own (and I really do) you have to go with the unofficial, a shockingly large industry of small run/homemade/online only merch built entirely on copyright infringement. Apparently you don’t have to get a licence to sell prints, pins, cushions, t-shirts, hats, dresses, cuddly toys, Hama Bead pictures, kitchen ware, masks, sculptures or god knows what else if you’re just one person making them and selling them from a stall at a convention or through Etsy or DeviantArt but I’m almost certain that you fucking do. I appreciate these lawbreaking entrepreneurs and the gaps in the market they fill, I now have a Crite cushion and this has made my life – and bedroom – that much better but I wonder: do these people realise that they’re completely breaking the law and if so do they casually dismiss it with a ‘fuck ‘em’, with some kind of ‘it’s art’ logic2 or just push it back to the back of their minds and ignore it? I mean it’s not so much of an issue with something like Critters or Puppet Master who are owned by small companies but when they’re featuring characters owned by giants like Hasbro, Mattel, Warner Bros, Disney or Viacom aren’t they a little worried? Anyway this is by the talented folk at Alleycat Graphics, who probably don’t want the shout-out from me after I implied they're callous criminals but their shit is good so I’m doing it anyway.
There was a stall just selling toys that are normally only available online, they are called Fhloston Paradise and they are now my favourite retailer even though I have no idea what a Fhloston is. But now: Boglins. Tim Clarke is the co-creator of Sectaurs and Boglins, a former Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop employee and man who worked on Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock and he is now selling hand-made Boglins and small-run Mini-Boglins, including finally giving us the King of the Mini-Boglins (I passed on one at the convention because he’s a different material from the old Mini-Boglins but after much tossing and turning I have subsequently ordered one online - from Fhloston Paradise) and selling them on his website. I’ve been umming and ahhing over them for a while now but at a convention, where there is no postage to pay and when spending £35 on one small toy is acceptable I pulled that Boglin trigger and couldn’t be Boglins happier. Kneep is from Clarke’s Imps line of small Boglins puppets and he, is, so, bloody, expressive. He also has that slightly sleazy quality that the best Boglins faces always had; surely you must have noticed that some of the Boglins look like they have the faces of the sort of blokes who hang out at porn shops right? Boglins should always look like someone you wouldn’t want your little sister to go near; they’re goblins after all, just because we made them our childhood friends doesn’t mean they’re supposed to be nice.
I typed Boglins a lot in that paragraph – it was fun.
As I’m now far more interested in making Kneep interact with everything and everyone in the house I’m gonna stop typing, oh before I do, the code for WWE Mayhem (it’s some game you can play on your phone, I think?) that came with my AJ Styles figure is legit ‘fuck my life’:
Which I think would be anyone’s response to finding themselves in a ring with Styles, so good job Mattel. Anyway ta for reading and ta to my poor friends who put up with me all day at LFCC even though I hadn’t had my tablets and now will have to put up with me making Kneep try to drink their tea and eat their face.
1 There’s this whole theory that Beast Man, originally designed as Red Beast, may have been designed to reuse a bear from Mattel’s Grizzly Adams line that was also part of Big Jim’s Indian Apache Set.
2 Actually I think ‘it’s art’ may actually cover you when it comes to copyright, so some of the pictures and one-off art toys might not be doing anything wrong legally speaking.