Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Missing Piece part 1

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.

On the flipside of the satisfaction of completing a team is the frustration of *almost* getting there with just a few or even worse just one more member missing. Anyway I figured I would write about the missing pieces in my collection. Those last pieces that keep me from completing a certain team or lineup, the ones that have been driving me crazy.

The Movie-verse Wreckers
Missing Piece: Leadfoot
For those of you not familiar, the Wreckers were a ragtag group of grizzled hardcore Autobots whose specialty was taking on missions that normal Autobot would avoid. When the 3rd live action movie rolled around, the introduction of the movie-verse Wreckers in the film was one of the highlights for fans. We got 3 Wreckers in the movie, Roadbuster, Topspin and Leadfoot. They all transformed into rally cars with a second battle mode which were basically cars with additional armor and guns. Anyway, in one of the most mind numbingly frustrating and dumb moves on Hasbro’s part, they produced toys for all three characters along their different toy size classes (Legends, Deluxe, Human Alliance) but either never completing the three in ANY size class, or if they did, they made them transform into different modes.

So for the legends tiny size we fortunately got all 3, but two of them transformed into their battle mode cars while the third Didn’t. For the deluxe size, which was the size I collected, we got Topspin and Roadbuster but sadly no Leadfoot (actually we did, but he was released in such small quantities before being ultimately cancelled that he now fetches insane prices on the secondary market). And to make matters worse, of the 2 we got, Roadbuster transformed into his normal car and Topspin into his battle mode!

Finally, on the larger human alliance scale, we DID get a Leadfoot and Roadbuster but no Topspin! And as you guessed it We got one (Leadfoot) who transformed into normal car mode and the other (Roadbuster) into battle mode!

Fortunately, KO companies have come to the rescue on this one this year as there are at least 2 of them coming out with KOs of the deluxe sized Leadfoot to help all of us frustrated collectors complete at least our deluxe Wreckers lineup. But at this point (especially since they pretty much killed off those characters in the next movie) I’m not sure if I even care to complete them.
Chances of Completion: 5/5

The Annihilators
Missing Piece: Ronan the Accuser
OK this is kinda obscure, but in 2010, Marvel released a teaser pic of a group of their major cosmic characters standing side by side. While not all of them where what you would call mainstream characters, they were all recognized as being pretty powerful individuals, and seeing them all gathered together to seemingly form a new super team got a lot of people excited, myself included. Turned out they did form a sort of loose group called the Annihilators that starred in a few limited series runs and them pretty much disbanded.

Regardless of how short they were actually together, I thought it was a pretty cool assembly of characters, and looking at my collection of Marvel Universe 3.75” I realized that I had inadvertently collected 4 out of the 6 members of the group, that being, Nova, Silver Surfer, Gladiator and Beta Ray Bill. And I was only missing Quasar and Ronan the Accuser. Still I figured completing the entire group would still be a longshot, until Hasbro released a Quasar last year then all of a sudden the notion of a complete team became a possible reality. Unfortunately, it seems like the 3.75” line is dying a slow death and the chances of seeing them actually release a Ronan are slim to none. Their best chance of releasing him was during the release of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie...but that ship has since sailed.
Chances of Completion: 1/5

Star Wars Black Bounty Hunters
Missing Piece: Dengar
When Hasbro started off their 6” Black Series line, they said that only key characters would be released. So It was no surprise to anyone when Boba Fett was part of the 2nd wave. A year later though, they released his fellow bounty hunter Bossk which wasn’t expected, but I thought cool, someone to keep Boba Fett company on my shelf. Then to everyone’s surprise, they released another hunter, IG-88 and then all of a sudden, the thought of having a complete 6” Empire Strikes Back bounty hunter became a reality. And that got me excited.

Now I know there were six bounty hunters that were hired by Darth Vader to hunt down Han Solo but of the six, only action figures of Boba Fett, Bossk, IG-88 and Dengar were released around the same time from 1979-1980 for the original vintage line. The other two, 4-Lom & Zuckuss, came out later in 1982. And for that reason, I’ve always considered only the first four as the only essential hunters to have. And of those four, we’re only missing one, Dengar. Now don’t get me wrong, I would be very happy if Hasbro were to produce Black Series versions of 4-Lom and/or Zuckuss (2-pack?), but Dengar HAS to be done first (How about a Bounty Hunter 3-pack?). Just to get that first foursome done. And speaking of firsts, Dengar was the first bounty hunter figure I ever got, in fact I had two! So he also has some sentimental value for me. A good thing to note is that Hasbro at least have him on their production radars, as Dengar was included in the last fans choice figure list by Hasbro, unfortunately he lost. So I guess we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.
Chances of Completion: 3/5

Superior Foes of Spider Man
Missing Piece: Overdrive
In 2013 Marvel released a new series called the “Superior Foes of Spider Man” which was a play on their current “Superior Spider Man” story arc that they were pushing at the time. It was centered around a new lineup of the Sinister Six led by B-level (at best) spider villain, Boomerang. Actually this entire iteration of the Sinister Six was made up of B & C-level villains, namely The Shocker, Speed Demon, Overdrive and a new female Beetle. And no I didn’t leave anyone out, their sixth member, The Living Brain was lost to them following a defeat at the hands of the Superior Spider Man. 

Anyway the series was a sleeper hit that year receiving widespread praise from critics and fans. Naturally Hasbro saw this as an opportunity to cash in on some Superior Foes action figures. Peppered in throughout various Spider Man Marvel Legends waves, we got Boomerang, Speed Demon, female Beetle and The Shocker. Unfortunately their popularity in the comics didn’t quite duplicate itself on the toy aisles with most of these characters becoming peg warmers on shelves. I am still hopeful that Hasbro will still eventually throw us a bone and give us an Overdrive to finish up this oddball lineup, but with every passing Spider Man wave that is released with no Overdrive in sight, that hope is slowly fading away.
Chances of Completion: 2/5

to be continued...