Monday, November 29, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day 27, 28, and 29

One more update to go and we are done with the 30 Days of Booley!
I tried to do it everyday, but I found that I just don't have it in me to be able to update every day.
I'm going to try to have more updates, but I can make no promises.

We have three basic features for you today.
Hasbro has hit Transformers fans with a ton of assortments right before Christmas. Here, you will see Steamhammer and Skullgrin. I also got Thunderwing and Grimstone, but my camera decided to let me erase the pics before I could post them. Why does my memory card restart at 001 all the time? It makes things difficult, I tell you.
Anyway, enough tech ramblings - Skullgrin is a great update to Straxus. Skullgrin was one of the first Pretenders I acquired (with my own money!) as a kid, so I was glad to see him return. I really like the mold, and the way the colors pop on the figure. Steamhammer is a great realization of the PCC concept - plenty of articulation, thumbs on his hands, and nice colors. The bio is even great - paraphrasing as follows: "Steamhammer knows there is another team of Constructicons, but he doesn't care because he knows he can kick their asses." Steamhammer is basically crazy.
Thunderwing is relatively simple, being executed at the Dlx. price point. I would have liked a larger one, but TW captures the essence of the character and the design well. Grimstone is a lot of fun, using some different dinosaur designs for the drones. I'm currently looking for the new Jazz and Tracks, but no rush - I know they will be everywhere in a few weeks. (the TFW sightings keep telling me that they are hitting all around me, but at X-Mas, the stock in stores is changing daily - my brother found Spidey 2099 Monday, where there was no sign of that wave before last Saturday.)

Phaseon Gendrones! I like the design, and have a lot of these parts laying around unused, so now they will be Gendrones.

With the advent of the Gobon Renegade Custom Corps arriving in the mailboxes of fans this week, I wanted to feature an older Custom Corps.

From the official Glyos blog on 5/18/10:
"After traveling for what seemed like an eternity, Phanost began to weaken, slowly losing his once formidable power to an enemy he had yet to conquer.... the enemy known as age. Falling into despair, Phanost drifted from planet to planet, from derelict bases to lost asteroid belts until he unexpectedly came across a secret armory used by the Order on a small moon. This heavily fortified stronghold housed many rare weapons, ancient artifacts and classified information, detailing the many hidden bases that the Order had in operation throughout the Glyos System.

In a last ditch effort to gain the power that he believed was contained inside the structure, Phanost attacked the Order with all the energy he could summon. Only after one of the fiercest battles ever burned into the history of the Glyos System did Phanost emerge victorious. What he found within was beyond anything he could have imagined. The Order had recovered three separate Dimension Gates that still pulsed with raw power. Phanost realized that the Order had been unable to use the Dimension Gates, due to the fact that they did not share his bloodline, for only one with Traveler lineage could activate such mysterious machinery.

Focusing his concentration, Phanost unlocked the three gates and absorbed the seemingly unlimited stream of pure energy into his body, as well as everything else in the armory -including the special armor used by the Order Elite! After nearly draining all three Dimension Gates, Phanost stood reborn. Newly armored and now possessing strength far superior to anything he had ever known, he reshaped the moon into a mobile base, one he could wage his special missions from. He then created a unique type of hybrid warrior from the remains of the Order he had defeated. Merging the strongest aspects of Phase and Dome Technology, the armor of the Order and his own Traveler imprint, Phanost succeeded in making a modified breed of the form changing Echo Morph- one that obeyed only his orders -the Morphisar! With a reforged resolve and a growing army of shape shifting soldiers, the self titled "General" Phanost leads his Morphisar forces in search of the remaining Dimension Gates scattered across the Glyos System... "

General Phanost goes through many incarnations in his quest for power. You can see all four of the variants from this Custom Corps above. Thanks to those who helped me acquire them all through trading!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day 24 and 25 and 26!

I will be out and about tomorrow with some movie work, so I'm updating early!
The League has some new members. Can you figure out who?
(if anyone out there has some Silverhawks to trade for Glyos, hit me up)

Team Greyskull! Irony is defined as finally finding a tough-to-get figure in the same week as his re-release. I just got the original King Greyskull, and now I also have his re-release. Which is cool - they clearly depict him at two different stages of his life. This would be the earlier KG, pre-Power Sword.
The OSM have reactivated one of their old bases in a quest to find the evil Metamorpho - the Space Rig!

It's Robo-Thanksgiving at the Ark, and all of the Transformers are attending (picture circa 198X).
Seriously, after watching the past few weeks of G1 episodes on the Hub, I wouldn't be surprised to hear Robo-Thanksgiving. There is some serious cornyness in those old episodes. I have no problem with it. But you know what I want now? A figure called "Decepticreep".

And view with sadness my current 3 3/4" figure display. As time has moved on, I have moved away from this once most-beloved scale of figures. I have plans to bring a Joe shelf back into the house, but I need to free up some space first. It might be time to box up some of the Transformers I'm not currently featuring and make room for Joe HQ again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day 22 and 23!

Quick updates:

In a recent Phanost storyline, he took over a planet and made it into his fortress. I emulated that story, using the figures from that Custom Corps (and help from a yellowed TMNT Technodrome)

The clone pit. Phanost realizes he can only increase his power so much, so he starts to make clones (being sure to make them inferior - can't have Phanost competition)

A more advanced clone is the jailkeeper.

Phanost, his main clone, and a clone of Callgrim make plans in the command center.
The Dome Lab.

And the overall pic again. You can see Regal Domius Callgrim infiltrating the planet...

A quick update:
the box for Monstroid! Why? It means something to me. I was lucky enough to befriend the inventor of this item before his passing a few years back. He was a great person, and a dear friend. I think of him often, and hope that if there is some place beyond this one, he is there and happy. He certainly made many of us happy with the things he invented.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Fourteen through 21!

Alright, back from a fine day of films and shopping (and secret project work #45).

Marvel's Shogun Warriors is one of the first comic books I ever remember purchasing. Issue #13, to be exact. By the time I bought it, long after the comic had ended its run, Shogun Warriors were nothing other than the fare of garage sales and flea markets.
I always wanted to get SW figures, but never really understood what the figures were. There was a comic book ad that was in a billion Marvel comics back then that just had all of the characters and line art for the vehicles in one picture, so my childhood mind combined all of the items into one large toyline - which technically, they are, but very few of the items are in-scale to each other.
Anyway, late 90s and I am looking at the internet and see that there is a new "Mazinger" figure being sold overseas! Of course, the picture they show is not Mazinger to me, but Tranzor Z. Mazinger is a Shogun Warrior, and a completely unrelated robot. How much I had to learn...
The short story is that Shogun Warriors were just tons of unrelated robots and die-cast vehicles from live-action films, "Power Ranger" type shows, and other toys Mattel licensed to sell in the US. It was always my dream to have the three Shoguns featured in the Marvel comics, and this is my display of them. I haven't been able to get my hands on the Danguard Ace modern figure yet, so the original Shogun version is taking his place for now. (if anyone wants to just buy it for me, I would have no qualms about accepting it as a gift)

Roboskull! When Gi Joe was licensed to the UK, they had already been releasing a line called Action Force. The Roboskull is a UK-only creation. Now, Phanost has obtained the Roboskull in his insane quest for greater power.

A quick update on Power Lords - the forces of good have been joined by Savor, the large human with tank treads shown in the back. My warning to all - if you decide to collect these, be careful. The plastic has not been appreciative to the passage of time.

In another installment in my Transformers: Neo Generation project, meet the updated Throttlebots.
The reuse of names has increased over the last few years, giving me easy avatars for Rollbar, Wideload, and Searchlight. Wideload and Rollbar are identical - I think that matches my idea for them nicely. Wideload was originally a garbage truck - his bio (courtesy Wikipedia) is that he is concerned with his appearance. He's been reformatted from a garbage truck in this generation, so he no longer has as much concern about this. One of his mortal enemies is the Decepticon Sonar.
Rollbar is a "brave, battle-hardened veteran." He was the leader of the Throttlebots before Goldbug was put in charge, but he finds that he works better as an advisor to a leader more than being the leader.
Searchlight (the helicopter) is a curious creature of the night, skilled in search and rescue. Would prefer to be alone, but works well with the Throttlebots in his rescue operations. Gifted with Power Core technology that allows him to combine with PCC drones. Also granted a Minicon, Backwind (back-wy-nd), who assists him in fighting Decepticons.
Chase is a free spirit, and wears the sigil of the New Autobots. His belief in this political faction makes the other Throttlebots leery of his dedication to the Autobot cause.
Freeway (not pictured) was damaged in battle and is currently in stasis, awaiting repairs. He has been offline for a number of years, as the technology to complete his repairs has not yet been invented.
Goldbug is a mystery to his soldiers. Optimus Prime pulled Rollbar aside and explained that Goldbug was the new leader and to trust him. Rollbar did so. Goldbug is a bot of few words, and fights with the skill of a long-lived warriors. He wears a purple Autobot symbol, but what this means is lost to the other Throttlebots.

There is a subculture of collectors who like reissues. I myself do not mind reissues - I just want the toys, basically, so my preference would be for the cheapest possible options.
This is not a reissue.
You get some toys that are ridiculously hard to get that start to draw a massive price tag. This happened in Transformers for a set of Japanese-only Headmasters that did not come with bodies - only the heads. One of these figures, Shuffler, was going for $1600 at one point! For a head that turns into an elephant.
I basically accepted that I would not have this figure.

Cut to last week.
An enterprising overseas source found a way to make molds for these figures and make reproductions, including the rare heads of Black Zarak (no GPS!) and the two Maximus heads. To top it off, he made a really nice box for them.
I usually don't support bootlegs, but in this case, I accept this set for display in my collection. I would never have spent the money for any of these, so this set gets them on my shelf. And the quality is pretty good too.
You ever play with giant pieces of foam as a kid?
I got a new TV this summer and I was looking at the foam that came with it, and I said, "you know, that looks like a playset."
So, it was just thinking of what the set should be. I wanted somewhere to put my Gobons, so I thought of this set.
In one part of the Glyos storyline, Phanost is collecting Gobons more powerful. You guys know how Phanost is - he is always collecting artifacts and powering himself up. However, this is a Dimension Drifter Phanost. Not the Phanost we always follow, but some other version of him from an alternate time and place. (In my personal Glyos, he is the only other Phanost that is not a direct clone made by Phanost himself.) He has assembled his Gobon army, and Govurom and his Chaos run into the Phanost operation during their quest for Chaos DNA.
"Let's check in with Eternia. Looks like the Masters are about to have a massive battle yet again!"
Someone forgot a box of fun.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reality check - why I allowed my membership to be "banned".

I've tired of the alternate universe they live in.

Read this, if you dare:
Stupid debate about how much a new Castle Greyskull should be sold for.

Here is something I posted a few months ago to show them REAL examples of non-toy items and mold costs. Forgive the references to "your" and such - contextually, this was in reply to some guy saying "Why can't we get Ram Man - Mattel is lying to us about mold costs!":

molds cost the majority of the money on these toys.

"The total investment in tooling for mass-produced consumer items can quickly become prohibitive. For example, in the case of a telephone housing molded in a single-cavity molding tool...[the] average cost is $50,000 per molding tool."
A telephone housing has no moving parts, so we cannot get a direct comparison from this mold to the mold for a toy, but it gives you a general idea of mold costs.

So, concept #2 - the cost for a mold is spread out over the number of units created with the mold, under standard accounting procedure. This practice is called cost allocation.
So, the very first cell phone casing created with a mold, if we use the mold cost above, not counting the cost of an artist to sculpt it, is $50,000; the cost of the second casing out of the mold splits that cost to $25K each, and so on. If we can get fifty-thousand casings from this mold, then the cost of each casing becomes $1.
(here is a super-detailed example using manufactured hand holds used in rock climbing:

To answer your question:
"How is it possible that action features were not too expensive in the 80's or even in the 200x line, but that suddenly, Mattel cannot (edit : DOESN'T WANT) to make them ?"
Molding costs.
Ignore the "no action features" mantra of the new line. Webstor's backpack is a simple example. The mold cost x. It can only be used for Webstor. The cost of the backpack with the mechanism inside cost 2x, which then means each Webstor backpack cost 2x over the allocation of cost per unit. If it follows standard business procedures for costing, Mattel as a specific number that an item has to cost to make it economical for them to produce; if the backpack mechanism puts them over that per-unit cost (or a paint application, or an accessory, or a new head, etc), they will see if alternate means can be used to produce it or omit it from the product pre-molding process.

Another poster brought up WWE figures from Mattel. More tooling is allocated for those figures because more figures are produced. Some outlets have reported that the run of MOTUC Classics is in the 10K-20K per figure range. There might be 100,000K WWE John Cena figures run for that one assortment.

When we look at King Hiss, how many of those parts can be reused? Or how many parts can be reused from other figures? Since we don't know what the exact cost of the molds are for these figures, an example would have little meaning - but knowing that the actual cost of materials for the steel mold is a high part of it, the smaller the mold, the lower the cost. So an individual head made later would probably cost less than a full limb that was a larger size than the head, unless the machine could only run the full-sized mold...there are many factors involved. I can tell you from panels heard first-hand at Transformers conventions and SDCC that Hasbro has no budget to make new heads for exclusives and repaints (in most cases - the upcoming Grappel is one that obviously falls in a new budget year and could utilize new money for remolding), BUT now, they are pre-planning to tag that cost into the original mold creation. This way, the new head is merely a different piece on the existing mold, even if we don't see the second head for months.

In the end, think of this: Mattel has some budget number for each year of MOTU mold creation. You might be able to figure it out by going back over the 2009 year and determining how many unique pieces were made after looking at each figure, assuming it hasn't changed. They will make as many new pieces as possible until that budget is exhausted. A combination of King Hssss, Ram Man, and Horde Trooper might spend the entire budget for the year, leaving the opportunity to do only repaints; I'm sure that no POP fan would be happy with two characters that were completely repainted from She-Ra and Adora parts. Spacing out those 100% new, non-reuseable molds over a number of years allows the line to continue giving the maximum number of new parts per figure.>>

People have to forget that these are TOYS and look at it as a business. Everything costs money and that is why we can't just get anything we want.

Specifically, regarding the Castle Greyskull, people have to understand that it is not "the cheap plastic castle" that makes the damn castle approach the $300 range. It is the STEEL MOLD that is made to create the castle.
Here's the cost for a six inch by six inch piece of steel - $41.00. Extrapolate that out - the cost just for the steel to make a mold for something like Greyskull is massive! This doesn't take into account whatever Mattel is being charged to create the mold itself.

Okay, so now they made the mold. Just as I previously mentioned, the less you make, the more cost each of those units carry! This isn't sorcery - it is basic economics and accounting. There is currently a Barbie Dream House selling for $150 retail cost at your local Target store. It was made in a massive enough quantity to be available at most, if not all, of the nearly 2000 Target stores in the US. Without knowing the exact quantity of those Dream Houses, I guarantee you that it is many, many more than the number of Castle Greyskulls Mattel would make available through Matty Collector. Thus, the cost goes up.

If anyone wants to have a RATIONAL discussion about this, post me a comment and we can talk there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Thirteen

Updating early because I will surely be tied up with BOOLEY debut madness on Saturday.

Highbrow! Found him at the K-Mart while running errands today. Great alt-mode. The arms are a little weird in robot mode - the propeller blades are in the center of the arm, on the outside of the makes the articulation a little off and it looks strange. Still, that's two out of four Headmasters done. Hopefully we get Brainstorm next!

I meant to cover this earlier this week, but this was my haul from a con last weekend. I'm building quite the 80s toy collection. Here you have four Power Lords, Twiki from Buck Rogers, and Crystar, the newest recruit to the League of Kenner Gentlemen. Picked up this motley crew for under $25. Fun!

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Eleven and Twelve

Another double update.

Here is one of my favorite Maximal figures: Mach Kick.

(note: all info sourced from TF Wiki - thanks guys! If you want info about Transformers, you should start at TF Wiki.) "Mach Kick is the former sub-commander of the Thoroughbred Corps. After their destruction at the hands of the Predacons, he was left the only survivor. Once he recovered, he voluntarily joined up with Big Convoy to aid in his quest to obtain the Angolmois capsules.

Mach Kick has a very free spirit and a rowdy attitude, cavorting about and partying like he was in a college fraternity rather than a grisly war. This behaviour continually causes him to butt heads with his "old buddy", Longrack, who is a notorious stick-in-the-mud. Mach Kick has something of an "idol worshipping" complex in regards to Big Convoy, whom he respects for being so powerful and "cool". He strives to do his best to impress his commander, even at tasks as menial as KP. His attempts to "do a good job" typically result in him encoraching upon the personal space of his peers, who just can't stand him."

A horse alt-mode is just so much different. Actually, this was the result of a fan poll in Japan, who also voted for an Ankylosaurus and a prehistoric bird.

For my second update, there is little to say.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Seven, Eight, Nine, and TEN!

Super-busy - having the 1st public showing of BOOLEY this weekend and time has escaped me.
But enough excuses - here is CONTENT!

For Day Seven, in honor of a collaboration with the ParryGamePreserve, is a pic of me at the Monroeville Mall, where Dawn of the Dead was filmed.

Obviously, these pics are more recent than 1978, but I went there to see where the magic happened. Some of the decor is still similar to the movie.

At NYCC, there was one figure I missed because of delays at the con - the DIM BULB from the Sucklord:
Pretty cool. I made a new Sucklorian to go with him:
This figure features a glowing "hand of death" sculpted by Evil Earwig, and cast by Spy Monkey Creations. Check the Glyos forum if interested - the quality is good, and the sculpt interesting.

I don't remember featuring a Madball before - here is one - SPLITTING HEADACHE.
I'm featuring him because he was supposed to be part of the canceled Madballs series 4 (or it might have been three). Thus, this is the only version we will ever see. Sigh. The new one looked awesome. If you have a connection who can get their hands on a proto, let me know.

Finally, from a recent Glyos release that ties in to another recent Glyos release - the GRANTHAN GOBON.
Another great paintjob by Dead Presidents. I've run out of adjectives for how beautiful these pieces are in-hand.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Five and Six

Sorry dudes! Passed out last night before I could update - so today is two posts-in-one (using the Marvel Comics title phrasing).
Freddy Skeleton! Once upon a time, there was a toy company called Mezco, and they put out quality items at competitive prices (for lines that were more Tower Records and Suncoast Video-level of production than TRU) [of course, now that I read this, I realize that there may be some collectors out there who never shopped at these stores. Moment of silence.]
Then, a few years back, they announced they had the license for Freddy Kruger, Jason Vorhees, and Leatherface under a new banner, "New Line's House of Horrors". (EDIT - whoops! I had taken this title from a comic put out by DC. The actual title of the Mezco line was "Cinema of Fear".) The initial wave was pretty strong: Leatherface from part one (previously done as a McFarlane Movie Maniac, but still a good choice); Chop Top from TCM 2 (never done at any scale!); Jason from Friday 4 (probably my top choice at that time for any Jason figure); and a Freddy from Nightmare 3 (dressed in a tuxedo, another 1st time figure).
The Jason figure is incredible, and the rest are solid choices...but I would recommend the Freddy over the TCM figures for one reason: the Freddy Skeleton.
Yes, Mezco decided that they would give us what is essentially a second figure in that pack. It is not as articulated as a standard figure, for one key reason: you can disassemble him and put him into the "pile of bones" configuration shown in the film! Now if only there was a six-inch scale Craig Wasson to fight him...

The second of our two posts is inspired by a recent post over at Poe Ghostal's site about googums Basterds of the Universe. My post from Day Four of this series detailed the Kennerverse. These are three toys that I did not have as a kid, existing only to fill in the blanks from what Kenner did.
Silverhawks is one of those lines I have to stop myself from purchasing when I hit my local collectible shops. The colors are very vibrant and the designs interesting.
Visionaries don't mean much to me - I have probably twenty figures from the line (some duplicates). They are upscaled Joes with holograms on their chests. Not super-exciting to me.
Sectaurs are out-of-scale to most lines I like, so they are another one I have avoided.
Still, there is something about seeing them all together. I'm tempted to get a Mattel six-inch Batman to be their leader. I can imagine them having adventures together, throughout the universe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Four

One of the really captivating aspects of toys to me is the interaction between toys.
I generally didn't mix toys as a kid - Joe played with Joe, Transformer with Transformers, and Secret Wars with Secret Wars. However, the bleedover began when I was a little older and Toy Biz began creating the five-inch Marvel Universe. Soon, most toys were in the same general scale, so I felt they could all play together. Mentally, I could make any figure fit. Joes were normal humans, so they were smaller than Wolverine, while a 12 inch figure was a giant, and Matt Trakker and his team had accidentally been minimized during a botched experiment.
The world of toys was one of imagination and wonder, so anything was possible and every toy could be in the same universe.

It was only in my later years that I put a greater emphasis on continuity. In my revised thoughts, every toyline was its own universe - Transformers being one universe, He-Man another, Lego, etc etc. It was then that I started to notice that many of the Kenner figures were in a similar scale. My mind formed the connections - how could all of these concepts relate to each other? In honor of the lost best toy company ever, I would call this universe the Kennerverse.
All of the classic Kenner lines would be part of it. And some non-Kenner toys.
There are two parallel stories - the present and the future. The Present revolves around a mythical city called Cincinnati, where everything happens. A number of heroes come to the city, driven by...divine purpose? Or something more sinister? Eventually, a League is formed.

In the future, a skull-headed arrives from another dimension, bent on destroying everything. But the real story concerns what happened to the Kenner heroes....

A world of adventure and intrigue awaits...but will the heroes be able to figure out the mysteries before time runs out? YOU DECIDE.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Three! A groovy mystery

Transformers has been hitting on all cylinders lately. Check out some of the newest recruits to the Autobots and Decepticons.

Also, time for a RARE game in the Doctor's life - Stump the Doc! I bought this at one of my favorite vintage toy places, the House of Fun in Oaklyn NJ. What the hell is it? Markings read "Bandai, 1999". Now, I could have just Googled it, but where's the fun? Let me know in the comments section. I had to get him- he is pretty cool! Looks like a demented unproduced Rock Lord to me.

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day Two!

Meet Scratch. He is rare. Maybe only 600 pieces produced, making him the lowest production run TMNT ever. (I'm going to have to pull out that Lee's article again)

What is it about rare toys that they are never something essential to a line*? Except for Real Ghostbusters, of course.

*I already know why, just being dra-matic.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of BOOLEY - Day One!

Seeing that this month will be the first public showing of my new film BOOLEY, I'm going to try to do 30 days of content.

We'll start off with something easy (as I begin to type this at 10 till on Monday 11/1/10): a shelf featuring Glyos customs from my good friend Bah'Glenn.
We have the four main Alien Mercenaries, their friend from season two Tkk'tkk, an unnamed character from the Alien Mercs universe, a giant MORDLE from RBT, and Deer Stalker from an unnamed series of animal combatants. You also see some customized Glyos figures from another guest artist, but we'll get to those in time.

Be sure to check out Bah'Glenn's page of customized figures and Alien Mercs comics through the link on the right hand side of this page.