Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas To Me

When Mattel started the Masters of the Universe line in 2008, they really had no idea what it would eventually evolve into. The plan was simple, release an updated modern version of a Masters character every month and sell it online. Pretty soon however, they realized that what they had was something special, and the line took off like a rocket. Little by little, they would pepper in larger scaled figures and beasts into the line. One year they actually released a vehicle. But the one thing that they were adamant that would probably not happen…ever, that many fans were clamouring for from the very start was a new modern version of Castle Grayskull.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Like Paris Going To War

Imagine yourself chillin in your own swanky cyberpad situated on the remote side of Moonbase One. You just spent the entire day on a successful turbofox hunt with your friends and are now updating yourself on the latest high society events and happenings around Iacon City with a glass of vintage class energon in your hand. Then all of a sudden your peaceful evening is rocked by the sudden entrance of a panicked service bot with some shocking news for you. War has broken out! The Decepticon uprising has begun, lines are being drawn and all of Cybertron is in turmoil. So….what do you do?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

You Say Zodac…I Say Zodak

The first 2 Masters of the Universe figures I ever got were Stratos and Zodac. One was a strange grey furry looking monkey man with feathered arms and a jet pack. And the other was this cool looking futuristic dude with a gun who oddly enough had demonic 3 toed feet. If it wasn’t for the odd feet, I would at first glance assumed that Zodac, the futuristic human looking figure was the good guy and that the furry grey dude, Stratos was bad. Turns out I was wrong….kinda.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Dark Night....Hawk

Years ago…Marvel comics released an interesting set of books called the Marvel Universe Book of the Dead. Now the Marvel Universe ‘series’ was basically Marvel’s version of an encyclopedia (Wikipedia to all you young’uns) where one could learn all they needed to know about their favorite Marvel character. The Book of Dead was pretty self-explanatory, it was also a source of information to Marvel characters who had one thing in common…they were all dead (or at least they were at the time of printing).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And Sat Down Beside Her

Meet Elita-1, Autobot Academy cadet. She had the unique ability to borrow powers from fellow Transformers and enjoyed going on adventures exploring other planets. During one adventure on the planet Archa Seven she and her teammates were attacked by giant spiders (you’d think the planet’s name would’ve tipped them off) and unfortunately believing she was a lost cause, was abandoned by her teammates.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Along Came A Spider

By 1984, the Masters of the Universe toyline was on high gear and the new characters coming out were more varied. For most of the non-human characters, it became apparent that Mattel was employing a tried and true formula, take a human, cross with an animal and voila! Instant Master of the Universe. In this wave alone, we got a half man half lobster, a half man half crocodile, and snake man and well…what was supposed to be a half man half spider.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

....Party On Darth

I think it’s safe to say that of all the Star Wars movies, Episode 1, the Phantom Menace is the one most people would say is the weakest. Thanks to this movie we were introduced to Jar Jar Binks and midichlorians. And with one joyful “yipee” our image of the fearsome Sith Lord Darth Vader was forever tarnished. It’s not all bad though, in fact, one of the best things about The Phantom Menace was almost enough for me (at least) to look past all its flaws….almost.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Party On Dwayne....

The first live action G.I.Joe movie, The Rise of Cobra has a lot of negatives going for it. For me it was just OK. It’s biggest problem in my opinion was that fact that they got a director who had no idea what G.I.Joe was and was not interested in getting familiar with the franchise. He just set off and made a generic but enjoyable action movie…it just wasn’t Joe.

Friday, September 27, 2013

You'll Get A Quick Kick Outta This....

Although it had a rather modest start in 1982 with a handful of figures mostly dressed up in fairly traditional “green” army gear with basic specialties & designations, as the Real American Hero line of G.I.Joe line progressed through the years, things got a lot more creative and colorful really fast. Pretty soon, the Joe ranks were populated by soldiers wearing sports jerseys, bright neon colors & seemingly village people inspired uniforms. And the more basic combat specialties like rangers, commandos & marines were joined by deceptive warfare & hostile environment specialists.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kronicle of Kronis

Meet Kronis. I know it usually isn't very fair to judge a person based solely on looks…but in this case, I’ll make an exception if you do choose to jump to your own conclusions. Maybe it’s his dark blue skin and scarred body, or his evil looking grin, or maybe it’s because he’s standing next to that one eyed dude and a big furry ape man with spikes. Either way, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Kronis isn't the type of person you’d like to run into on your own in a dark alley late at night.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Let Me Make You Kwinn-To

In 1982, Marvel started publishing the comic “G.I.Joe – A Real American Hero”. This together with the cartoon series that started a year later was part of Hasbro’s master plan of using different media to help promote their product. So really as far as Hasbro was concerned, the comic really had one main purpose, to be a glorified catalogue to feature and help sell more of their toys.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

All Fired Up Over A Jet

When I was a kid, my dad went off on numerous business trips out of the country. And when he came home, he would more often than not spoil us silly with all the pasalubongs (gifts) that he would bring back for us. And when he went off on one of his trips in 1985, I had only one thing on my mind for him to get for me…Transformers. I don’t really remember asking him for anything specific…at that point didn’t really have any real Transformer toys, just a solitary Diaclone jet that was meant to be Thundercracker. So really, I would be happy with ANY Transformer he would bring home.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mini Monster Mash

Who doesn’t love monsters? And by monsters I’m referring to those iconic ones like Dracula, Frankenstein, the werewolf, etc. Ok truth be told…when I was younger…I was terrified of werewolves…but that’s beside the point. When I was a kid some of my favourite tv shows starred many of these monsters. Now at the risk of actually revealing how old I am, I figured it would be a fun exercise to look back at some of my old favourite monster shows…
so without further ado, let’s start with….

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Fondness for Male Sheep

One of the main reasons why the original He-Man & The Masters of the Universe toy line was so successful was because of the relatively resourceful method they employed for making toys for all their numerous characters. Two words: Shared Parts. Look at almost every Masters figure and you will notice that almost 90% of them share the same crotch/furry underwear piece. Over 90% have the same body structure. And when it comes to arms, feet and so on, you will usually find only a few variations of each scattered amongst hundreds of figures. More often than not, the only unique items each character would have were their head sculpts, armor and weapons, and even a good number of those were used at least more than once!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hawking It Up To Nostalgia

When I first decided to go all out on collecting the 25th Anniversary G.I.Joes way back in 2009, I gave myself ONE restriction. I told myself that I would collect whatever figures I wanted from the toy line BUT I would stay away from getting any vehicles. My reasoning was simple, first, I wanted to keep my toy spending down (yeah right!) and second, I literally didn't have much display space for larger scale toys. Four years later, Joes have remained a major part of my collection and for the most part, I have managed to follow my self-imposed rule. Every now and then I would find myself getting a smaller scaled vehicle (like a motorcycle or a single manned cannon) in order to get a particular figure that came packed with it. But yeah, I managed to stay away from anything bigger. That is until this year when the bastards at Hasbro decided to release this baby….

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Perfect (Sand)Storm

In 2013, Hasbro released a proper modern update to the Transformer Springer. Unlike the past “updates” to the original G1 toy, this wasn’t just a simple repaint of another character. This was a true triple changing Springer with all three modes nicely executed. But more importantly, it was an all-new design that wasn’t previously used for an older character. This was 100% all Springer. Or so we thought….

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Everybody Loves Logan...

Except me. Ok wait let me re-phrase that, if I really thought about it I don’t really hate Wolverine the character per se. I do believe he plays an important role in the Marvel Universe. I mean who wouldn’t love a troubled hero with the mysterious past who although at times is prone to fits of animalistic rage and goes totally berzerk ultimately has a heart of gold that everyone can identify with (cue violin music).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Alpha Bits Too

Next up is box set #2 with Northstar’s sister Aurora leading the way. As I mentioned earlier, she possesses similar speed and flight abilities like her brother, unfortunately she also suffers from a bad case of split personally disorder, which ironically makes her character all that more interesting.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Alpha Bits

When I was in New York, I came upon a cool toy/hobby shop called the Forbidden Planet. While I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, as always, something managed to catch my attention….

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Mini Introduction...

What do you get when you cross an action figure with a minifigure? OK OK so there really isn't a definitive answer to that question, but if you've ever gotten your hands on a minimate before then I’m pretty sure you’d agree that this is as close as its gonna get to an action+mini figure offspring.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making The K'nex-tion

It was sometime last year when my girlfriend and I really got into collecting minifigures. Since then we have put together her collection of Lego minifigures which now has been updated all the way up to series 10. So just as I thought I had seen all the minifigures there were to see, one day I came across a delightful surprise while checking out the toy aisle at Target, while visiting my sister in New York….

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ice Ice Berg

The 1986 line of G.I.Joe will always be fondly remembered by collectors. For starters, it was the year that both Sgt. Slaughter and the Fridge joined the Joe ranks. But more importantly in my opinion, it was also the last line of Joes to be heavily featured in the much loved Sunbow produced cartoon, which also got cancelled that year. Given this, I find it ironic that at the end of the 25th anniversary toyline, many of the more popular 1986 joes were left without any modern updates.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Rainbow Collection

When writer Geoff Johns introduced the concept of the “other” colored lanterns, that basically meant one thing for toy collectors like myself….MORE TOYS. Now while I couldn’t really afford to start collecting yet ANOTHER toyline, I figured putting together a little set of figures with each color being represented by one member wouldn’t hurt my wallet TOO much. So this exactly what I set out to do....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Happens When You Open a Bag of Nips?

In 2004, comic book writer Geoff Johns almost single-handedly saved the Green Lantern comic which was at that point languishing in second tier obscurity, constantly being overshadowed by the DC big three, Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman. Through the years, his expert writing introduced many memorable story arcs and new characters that propelled the whole Green Lantern character and mythos to epic levels.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Thar’s Gold In Them Toyshelves….

Lego minifigures ROCK! What else is there to say about this awesome little blind bag sub-line that Lego has unleashed on us? Surprisingly, I have been able to resist the temptation of collecting each and every figure released and managed to just cherry pick the ones I really want. Plus I decided that it was good enough to live vicariously through my girlfriend’s minifigure collection. For her, it was love at first minifigure, and since that fateful first, she has gotten every single one released…with a little help from her ever supportive boyfriend of course ☺

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Yo Kreo!

If I really thought about it, I would have to say that Lego was my first real toy obsession. When I was a kid, my dad did a lot of travelling and when he would come home, he would never fail to bring home a nicely sized Lego set or 2 for me and my brother. I would spend hours building the sets according to the instructions, tear them down and then build my own creations. That was basically the “circle of life” for most of my Lego sets.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Michonne

When it comes to the Walking Dead, I guess you could say I started out as a casual fan. I had never really heard of the comic book and my first taste of the series came with the TV show. I wouldn't say I’m a big fan of the zombie genre in general (although I have seen most of the big Hollywood zombie movies) and I decided to check out the series mainly because it was getting a lot of fanfare.

A Quick Explanation....

I know, it’s been quite some time since my last entry. While I have tried my best to keep a regular schedule with at least 4 entries a month, Stories from the Toyshelf remained largely unchanged for April and a big portion of May. Well don’t worry, I haven’t lost interest in this little blog of mine and my lack of any update is easily explained. I was out travelling.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Baby You're a Firefly

1984 will always be known by G.I.Joe fans as the year when one of the most famous and iconic Cobra characters was introduced. Storm Shadow turned out to be a homerun for Hasbro as apparently EVERYBODY loves a ninja. For me however, I actually prefer another Cobra character that also made his debut the same year. He didn’t reach the same heights of popularity as Stormy or even the Baroness & Zartan also introduced that year but he has managed to maintain a low key cult following, which based on his speciality seems quite appropriate.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What The Puck???

When you go through the rosters on most classic superhero teams, you will find that many of them share characters with either similar personalities or powers. Most of them have your token “big” or strong guy, a speedster, a water guy, maybe someone mystical, a god and of course a leader who’s either draped in a flag or at least has the personality of a boy scout. That’s one of the reasons why Canada’s own Alpha Flight has always been one of my favourite superhero teams of all time. Although they have all the usual suspects on their roster, Sasquatch (strong guy), Northstar (speedster), Marinna (water girl), Shaman (mystic), Snowbird (demi-god), Guardian (leader draped in the Canadian flag) they also have something that most teams don’t have…and that’s Puck.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fear of Offending Asians...

I don’t really know what it is that makes me gravitate towards the more obscure characters in a toyline. For some reason I just find them infinitely more interesting than the more popular ones. Or maybe it’s because we hardly know anything about them that it leaves more to the imagination, making them more your character to do as you would. When it comes to Masters of the Universe main vintage line (I don’t count the last minute characters thrown in towards the end of the line), no one comes more obscure than Jitsu.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Springer Awakening

What’s better than a robot that could transform into an alternate mode? Why, a robot that could transform into TWO alternate modes of course! This is eactly what the Transformers guys thought of coming into the 3rd year of the toyline. So in 1985, the new Transformer “triple-changer” concept was born! The concept turned out to be quite a hit despite the fact that limited technology (and creativity?) actually just delivered another “brick” that transformed into 2 different looking bricks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Occupational Hazard

Meet Jim, from a land called “various countries”. Ever since he was a little boy, Jim yearned for a life of adventure. He knew deep down in his heart he was destined for great things. So when the Cobra special forces recruitment wagon passed through his town he didn’t think twice and signed up to join their ranks. And eventually, after a few missteps and false starts within the Cobra organization, Jim finally found his true calling, that of a Cobra Hazard Viper!

Monday, February 25, 2013

An Airtight Gap in the Collection...

“It takes a mighty weird person to walk into a cloud of toxic gas strong enough to fell a mutant weight-lifter cockroach wearing a protective suit built under contract for the government by the lowest bidder. “

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cliff Notes

I’ve always believed that a main reason why the Transformers as a brand/franchise survived all these years is that from the very beginning they established good characters with distict and memorable personalities. Through every iteration you always had the heroic Prime and ruthless Megatron, but you also had in many cases more interesting secondary characters like the traitorous Starscream, the emotionless Soundwave, the underdog Bumblebee and the rough and gruff veteran Ironhide, the list goes on and on…..but one of my favorites will always be the delusional Cliffjumper.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ex X-Men

The year was 1975 and the original X-Men weren’t doing very good. No, they weren’t getting their butts kicked by Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. They were in bigger trouble, they weren’t selling very many comic books and were facing a fate even worse than defeat…they were facing cancellation.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Building a Better Man (At-Arms)

During the first official year of the Master of the Universe Classics toy line, a new Man-At-Arms figure was pretty much expected. The only question was exactly which version of Duncan would we end up getting.  Vintage?  Filmation? 2002? or something completely different?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Duncan Donuts

When I got my first two Masters of the Universe figures, I did what every kid instinctively does when he gets a new toy, look at the back of the packaging to see what other figures were available in the line. Unsurprisingly, my eyes didn’t navigate to the scantily clad muscle man in furry briefs and instead focused on the guy next to him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Twelve for Twelve...Point Two

I’m back with the second installment of my Twelve for Twelve. This is where it gets a little tricky as a waffled back and forth with the placement order of the final three or four entries. I also wasn't quite sure if a couple of toys I was set on placing on this list were actually bought in 2012 so in the end I decided to just leave them out. Oh and in case some people may be wondering, a bunch of these entries aren't actually individual toys but a groups or pairs. I decided not to be so strict with that…anyway my list, my rules and all that…Anyway so let’s continue with the countdown shall we?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Twelve for Twelve....Point One

My original intention was to finish off December with one more Ewok entry…unfortunately, the holidays got in the way and before I knew it, December was over. I’ll eventually get to that last Ewok entry but in the meantime, I figured I’d do what many bloggers do or have done to properly cap off their 2012. At the end of every year, It seems almost obligatory and expected to look back at the year and recall all the significant events that happened. So I’d like to join the trend and present to you my top 12 toy purchases of 2012.