After spending the first 3 days hitting up my major toy destinations, I took a break from the toy shopping to focus more on the other cool stuff Tokyo had to offer, such as the fantastic food and sites and attractions and of course quality family time. Of course before the trip ended I managed to sneak in a few more toy hunts here and there as well as one more major trip back to Akihabara.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Friday, December 8, 2017
On my first trip to Tokyo I was pretty much overwhelmed with what I saw and experienced. I was a wide eyed newbie not quite sure how to go about my toy hunt in this wonderful new land! This time around I felt more like a seasoned shopper. I had my wishlist laid out and more importantly, I had a better idea of where to go and what places not to bother with. This time, things would be different.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
My wife’s family loves to travel. Every year they have their favorite destinations that they like to visit, and for the past few years, Japan has been their regular November getaway. After a couple of missed opportunities, my wife and I were finally able to join them last year. It was my first real visit to Japan (not counting a short stopover many many many years ago) and was amazing! So amazing that I knew that we would have to come back one day.
Friday, November 17, 2017
Now of all the sub groups I was intent on completing in my Star Wars 6” collection, the main cast of Episode 4, A New Hope was on top of my list. Thanks to SH Figuarts I already had my farmboy Luke, and they had already announced Han Solo, but a proper Princess Leia was no where in the horizon. Hasbro had their version and it was pretty, pretty pretty....bad. It was so bad that Hasbro literally went back to the drawing board only a few months after the initial release, and re-released the figure with an *slightly* better head sculpt. Unfortunately I had the first release and I figured that there must be something I could do with it.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
In 2013, Hasbro got the attention of Star Wars toy collectors everywhere when they announced their new Black Series action figure line targeted mainly toward older collectors. Aside from the supposed higher articulation and accessory count as well as added details, the main difference with this new line was that it would be the first ever Star Wars toy line to produce 6” tall action figures.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
In 2007, the first live action Transformers movie was released and made tons of money for toy company Hasbro. Hoping to duplicate this financial success, they fast tracked a live movie for arguably their next biggest boys toy franchise, G.I.Joe. While for the most part, Joe fans were quite excited for a live action movie, when news came out that actor Marlon Wayans was given a main role in the movie a good number started to genuinely wonder if the producers actually knew what they were doing.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
When I started this series of posts a few months ago, there were already quite a lot of 3rd party companies out there competing for your hard earned buck. While I covered a whole lot of companies in the previous posts, there were a lot more that I didn’t write about basically because at the time of writing I didn’t own any of their products or simply well...they didn’t exist yet.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The Transformers 3rd party scene is alive and well. It seems like every day there is some new toy company crawling out of the woodworks with some new plastic version of your favorite Transformers character. Case in point, when I set off to write a post on my own firsthand experience with a number of 3rd party companies and their products, it ballooned into a 3 part piece. And now, here I am just a few months later with a whole lot more to write about, so here we go with part 4.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
A successful & healthy marriage is all about sacrifice, putting your partner’s needs ahead of your own. Since getting married 3 years ago, my wife and I had to learn how to live with each other regardless of our differences. One thing that we had in common though was our mutual love for toys. Sure my toys were more on the robot-y violent side and hers were more...cute? But one toy thing we did have in common was that we both liked Care Bears. Yes I like Care Bears. Unfortunately, it was this mutual love of those colorful bears that led to a major disagreement in our marriage. One that I would not back down on….you see, when it came to Care Bears...I AM GOOD LUCK BEAR.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
In 1984, Hasbro started getting a little more creative with their Cobra characters. Aside from adding more unique soldiers such as an anti-armor specialist and a saboteur, they even went further by including a ninja and possibly….a mutant?
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
As a kid, my dad would go on a lot of business trips out of the country. I would always look forward to his trips not because he would be gone, but because when he came back it usually meant new toys for me. After one particular trip to Japan, he brought home a bunch of little robots I had never seen before. While i’d had my fair share of robots up to that point, these ones were quite different as they each transformed into some kind of vehicle, one turned into a helicopter, another a van and still another, a spaceship. Another peculiar thing about them was their names, they each had a unique number designation, but they all went by the name “mister”.
Friday, September 8, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
Almost every successful toy line owes their continued success to the various “gimmicks” they introduce through the years. For the Transformers, it was easier than most to expand from the central concept of robots transforming into an alternate mode. And one of the first “gimmicks” they introduced has remained one of the most popular ones to many fans and collectors. Simply put, what would be better that a robot that could transform into one mode? Why not a robot that could transform into TWO! And with that, the “triple changer” concept was born.
Monday, August 14, 2017
At the height of its popularity in the 80’s the G.I.Joe A Real American Hero toyline was churning out quite a lot of new characters and action figures every year. The majority of the new characters were Joes of course with just a few slots going to Cobra. And of those few choice slots, half of them were usually new types of army building troopers. We rarely got too many unique individual Cobra characters. That is until 1987, when Hasbro released a quartet of some of the most cooky operatives to ever sign up for Cobra.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
From the very start of the toyline known for numerous action figure gimmicks, the one defining gimmick that almost all Masters of the Universe characters had was the ever reliable “power punch”. It was a pretty simple but effective gimmick really, just wind back the upper body of the figure and let go. With the help of some elastics in the waist, the upper body would snap back into place, and if you had the arms positioned just right, it could create a “power punch” to knock down any unfortunate enemy who would be in the way.
Monday, July 24, 2017
When you are the archenemy of America's daring, highly trained, special mission force, you have got to employ some of the biggest, baddest and in some cases, craziest individuals and characters into your your ranks in order to have a fighting chance. Now if I were in charge of Cobra’s recruitment agency, I’m pretty sure that a biker gang wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of my to wish list of ideal recruits.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
If you took a look at the entire original Autobot toy lineup introduced to us in 1984 and was asked to pick out who you thought was the physically strongest of the bunch (aside from Optimus Prime of course), chances are pretty good, that you would pick the wrong one. With his toy being one of the smallest, the Autobot Brawn would definitely fit the bill of one who is “more than meets the eye”.
Monday, July 3, 2017
I know, I know, a collector’s toyshelf will *never* be complete. There will always be something out there that we will *need* to add to the collection. The war can never be won, but we can win little battles here and there. Completing a set, a team or lineup of characters, no matter how big or small will always be satisfying. On the flipside of that is the frustration when the opportunity to complete said team is beyond our control. And all we can do is just wait...and hope. Here are some more “missing pieces” in my collection.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
When it comes to toy collecting, there is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than completing a set, a lineup or a team of characters that are meant to go together. Sometimes the gods smile upon us and give us the entire team we want in one swell swoop of a special boxed set. But other times, it can be a slow and drawn out process spanning years of waiting.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
In 1984, a group of alien robots woke up from a billion year slumber to a new home called Earth. This in a nutshell is how the story of the cartoon series The Transformers began. Now while a majority of the Autobot crew took an immediate liking to Earth and it’s inhabitants and welcomed the experience of establishing a new home, a few others weren’t quite as happy.
Monday, June 19, 2017
When I was young I used to have very prominent white horizontal lines around my neck, it made my neck look segmented....like an accordion. Even if you could argue that it was quite a unique feature, it wasn’t very fun growing up with such distinguishing marks. Kids can be mean and I was constantly being compared to a turtle and always being asked to “stretch” out my neck. It got even worse in 1982 when the hit movie E.T. the extra terrestrial came out. If I had a dollar for every time a kid asked me to “phone home” I’d be filthy rich. But it wasn’t until 2 years later when I finally got the nickname that pretty much stuck with me for the rest of my childhood.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
With over 500 unique action figures produced in the G.I.Joe toyline from 1982 to 1994, it would be quite impossible to keep every character relevant in the eyes of fans and collectors. It’s quite natural for certain characters to be easily forgotten. For every Snake Eyes, Duke & Scarlett, there are a whole lot more members of G.I.Joe that don’t get as much recognition. But there is one bunch of Joes that I will never forget, while individually, many of them may seem rather plain, as a unit they will always remain a favorite of mine. And these would be the guys who started it all, the first wave of G.I.Joe figures better known as the Original 13.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
The G.I.Joe A Real American Hero toyline will always be remembered as one of the most successful lines from the 80’s. From its start in 1982 up until its death in 1994, Hasbro created well over 500 action figures and 250 vehicles & playsets, a feat most other toylines, past or present can only dream of accomplishing. Yet despite all of colorful characters and cool action figures that were produced, I will always hold a special place for the first Joes that made their debut in 1982, the first real American heroes that collectors endearingly refer to as the “Original 13”.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Well this took longer than I originally thought, who knew there would be so much to write about? With so many options and toys of even the most obscure characters being produced, there really hasn’t been a better time to be a Transformer collector than now. Anyway enjoy the final part of my 3rd party rundown.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you must know that when I write about Transformers, I usually mention the term “3rd party companies” a lot. For those of you not familiar though, these are basically companies that produce unlicensed toys that are meant to be a part of the Transformers toyline.
Friday, March 17, 2017
If you were to arrange the cartoon/toyline properties of the 80’s directed towards boys into tiers based on their popularity I think almost everyone would agree that Transformers, He-Man & G.I.Joe would easily take the top tier. After that, things get a little trickier, but if you ask me, on the second tier you would find properties such as M.A.S.K., Gobots and those half man half animal heroes and villains from Thundera, the Thundercats.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
When you are a member of American's daring, highly trained special mission force whose purpose is to defend human freedom against Cobra-a ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world, it takes a lot to stand out above the rest. Unless your name is Duke, Scarlett or Snake Eyes, you’re most likely going to be forgotten once the next batch of Joes get introduced to sell new toys.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Way back in 1985, during a trip to the US, I was with my mom at the grocery store in line at the check out counter. I decided to wander off a bit and something caught my eye at the end of the counter. There stacked neatly in a display were a bunch of new Transformers that I had never seen before….these weren’t the usual cars or planes that I knew…these were something different….these were…dinosaurs!
Friday, February 24, 2017
When it comes to almost every major toy or cartoon story, there are a number of uniting traits similar to most of them. One of which is that for every evil super villain, there is always at least one prominent henchman behind him either following him with blind loyalty or endlessly scheming to take over the top spot. And in the world of the Masters of the Universe, there is no other character that defines the role more of a “henchman” then Beast Man.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Back in 2015, after being tempted and resisting for so long, I finally fell to the Black side. It took a few intermittent purchases here and there, and a successful Force Friday hunt to finally sway me, but in the end I finally accepted my destiny to become a full-fledged Star Wars collector. A year later, I have managed to get all the Black series figures I currently wanted, but with all the excitement of the 2016's Rogue One movie, I have found myself wanting more. Luckily, when it comes to 6” scaled Star Wars action figures, the Black series isn’t the only option out there for collectors.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
If you read the previous part 1 & part 2 you will notice that a certain Transforming line has pretty much dominated my best of list. No surprises here but they continue their dominance in the last part as well. Between the successful Combiner Wars and Titans Return lines from Hasbro and so many amazing 3rd party releases, 2016 was simply a great year to be a Transformers collector. But, spoiler….none of the Transformers I got managed to snag the top spots…so what beat out those robots in disguise? Read on to find out…
Sunday, January 8, 2017
New years resolutions rarely hold true past the first half of the year they are made. Case in point, despite the fact that I made a conscious effort to try and cut down on my toy purchases this year; I ended up going pretty crazy towards the later half. There was quite a lot of great stuff released last year. Definitely more than what I had originally set out to get at the start when I made my resolution. Oh well…. So with that let’s continue on with my list of the best of what I got in 2016.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Like the years before, 2016 was a pretty great year for toys. Despite the fact that was G.I.Joe pretty much dead and the He-Man Classics was basically finishing up as well. My collecting in 2016 focused more on my first loves of The Transformers & Star Wars, with a few Marvel Legends and other random stuff peppered in. Even when following my whole set up of increasing my top list by one to match the year (eg. Top 16 of 2016) it was still quite difficult to come up with a short and concise list, there were just so many great stuff released last year. So anyway without further ado, let’s get started with my “top 16”.