Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dickie Toys Holiday Camper Review

Who remembers the pure awesomeness of the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle from the movie Stripes? Such a silly ass movie, but still a load of fun. Wouldn't it be awesome to have something similar to the EM-50 for 4" action figures? 
What I would really love to have would be the Coyote from G.I. Joe Renegades, but it only reached the prototype stage. Too bad, I would have liked at least two of them!
I don't really recall where I first saw the Holiday Camper from Dickie Toys. I'm pretty sure that I saw a custom version of it somewhere on a G.I. Joe related web page or Facebook page. I was able to locate it on Amazon, but I hesitated at first and the price jumped up beyond what I was willing to pay. 
A few weeks ago, I checked again and the price was down to around $26.00! I quickly ordered it and just a few days later, I had my own Holiday Camper for my G.I. Joe team!
The packaging was a bit beat up, but who cares? It didn't take me too long to free it from its cardboard prison. 
For this review, I took quite a few pictures to try and capture all of the features and details of the the camper. Way too many for just one post. 
I've decided to create a separate page for all of the pictures and my thoughts about the camper. Click here to check them out!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

SDCC Revolutions: Roadblock

Roadblock! Roadblock!
ROADBLOCK!!!
Yeah, he's really the reason that I bought this set. I like most of everything else, but Roadblock is really the star of the set, at least to me.
This version of Roadblock comes from the short-lived GI Joe Renegades series. Renegades was an amazing series, with kind of an A-Team feel to it in general. Cobra was portrayed as a multinational company that had insidiously infiltrated society. Much of that vision of Cobra influences my own fictional GI Joe world.

A version of the Renegades Roadblock was revealed alongside the unreleased Coyote truck. Oooh, that would have been sweet!

I don't recall the build, but I'm sure the body was quite different. Hasbro resurrected the head sculpt and the vest, but used the Roadblock/Rock body from Retaliation. The combination works great! 

While the Resolute version of Roadblock was pretty cool, and the Rock/Roadblock version was awesome. But this guy... He's now my default Roadblock. The Roadblock of the original 80's characterizations is gone, replaced by a Renegade!
The team is finally together! Wait, what about that Snake Eyes? I never really liked the Renegades portrayal of Snake Eyes and never really liked the figures and never bought any of them. City Strike Snake Eyes works well enough for me!

I'm so thrilled that I was able to secure this SDCC Revolutions set! If you were able to get the set, which is your favorite figure?

SDCC Revolutions: Jetfire

I remember having the original Jetfire Transformer figure and just loving it. I liked it more as what the original Transformer was - a Macross Veritech. Hell, I remember when I bought him at the same KMart where I bought my first GI Joe figures. There was a huge display of them, dozens and dozens of them. And I only bought one. Crap.

Unfortunately, I sold him off several years ago to help us get past some rough financial times. Sad, but necessary at the time. 
I'm not a huge Transform fan, I've liked some of the comic stories much more than the toys. There has been an amazing change in the design and engineering of the toys for quite a few years. When the vehicles transform, you actually have an action figure. Usually a well made one!
The look of Jetfire in his fighter jet mode looks enough like the original version so that I really like this figure. Plus he still reminds me of one of the later advanced Veritech fighters from later Macross series.
That's pretty much where the connection with Macross ends. But how does he stack up against the rest of the SDCC set? He's definitely got them beat on the height difference. I think that he works well enough that I'm quite pleased with using him right alongside the regular figures.

Well, what about his jet mode? Maybe his alternate mode just mimics the form of a jet fighter and doesn't have to be in "scale". Works for me.
I think that Jetfire makes for a great part of the team!
The Micronauts look pretty cool hanging out with him. I'm guessing that they are much closer in scale to each other over the 4" figures.
Jetfire is a definite keeper!

Looks like there's just one more SDCC Revolutions review to do!

SDCC Revolutions: Action Man, Rom, & Dire Wraith

Next up on the SDCC Revolutions mini reviews - Action Man, ROM, and the Dire Wraith.
I've had plenty of exposure to Action Man, specifically the 12" versions that came out several years ago. I have no idea what's going on now with GI Joe's British cousin. So what about the figure?  Decent, but still kind of a miss. The biggest issue is that his head is a bit too big for the body. And what's the deal with that Tron suit that he's wearing?

I sort of see him as an enhanced human or at least someone wearing a powered suit of some sort. Cool figure, but still not sure how to integrate him.
Yeah, like integrating ROM will be easy! ROM was a rather clunky large scale figure from the late 70's that appeared in comics in 1979. The comic started slowly, but it really developed into an amazing series once other space knights were introduced. The Dire Wraith subplots were also pretty well done, at least as far as I can remember.

The figure turned out... okay... I think everything works out until we get to his legs, they're just too short when compared to the rest of the body. But still... Holy crap, I've got a GI Joe scaled ROM figure! Pretty frikkin' awesome!
How about ROM's enemy, the Dire Wraith? Absolutely fantastic! I'm not sure where the body came from, but it works quite well. Hasbro integrated the mutant zombie viper arms into the execution of the overall design and it works out quite well.
Look at this head sculpt! Simple, yet very creepy. That damn, wide evil grin is so cool! Just so alien and creepy! I love it!
How do I integrate this creep? Not sure, but I could definitely tie him into the mutant zombie viper figures, especially when you add the mutant arms. Not sure exactly how yet, but it could work.

A couple more SDCC Revolutions reviews to go. Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

SDCC Revolutions: Matt Trakker, Leoric, Micronauts

Let's get these SDCC Revolution reviews underway. For this post, I will be looking at Matt Trakker, Leoric, and the Micronauts.

I'm generally indifferent towards MASK and the Visionaries. I never bought any MASK sets when they first appeared way back whenever. I liked the 3 3/4" scale over the MASK figures. The Visionaries were a little larger than GI Joe and weren't of much interest to me. I think I bought one figure.

The Micronauts toy line and comic actually predate GI Joe by at least three years. When I first read the Micronauts comic, back in 1979, I was immediately enthralled. The stories by Bill Mantlo combined with the art of Michael Golden were just phenomenal. Just amazing stuff, but to me, the toy line didn't live up to the comic. I had a few of the Micronauts toys, but I never really went GI Joe nuts over them.

So let's take a quick look at these new versions based on the Revolutions story lines. A quick disclaimer: I haven't read much of any comic book in the past several years. I think I may have read the first couple years of GI Joe by IDW, but I've been done with comics for quite some time. So basically, I have no idea what the whole Revolutions concept is about. 
First up is Matt Trakker from MASK. The character first appeared in the GI Joe line in 2008 as a cool nod to the MASK line. 
Oh look, he's now black! Yeah? Who cares?
This new Matt is equipped with same basic gear as the original 2008 version, same helmet and chest gear. He's got a new body but I'm not really sure of the origin of the build. Works great wherever it came from. Damn fine head sculpt as well.
So how do I add this guy into my weird world? My thoughts, currently, is that he's a highly skilled engineer and has developed an integrated suit that works with a modified XP-14. My idea is that the suit interfaces with the controls of the jet, giving a much faster response time based his mental connection.

I've sort of got an idea that he destroyed the first experimental SkyStriker because he exceeded the limitations of the air frame of the plane. It basically started to tear itself apart due to the stresses that he put it through. The new SkyStriker, that version from last year's SDCC set, is a much more structurally sound aircraft. Yeah, sounds silly, so what.
So what about Leoric, the leader of the Visionaries? Wow, so much baby blue. Ugh. I just can't figure out how to integrate this guy. I've read suggestions about him begin kind of Asgardian, in that his technology is so advanced, it looks like magic to us. Maybe...
The head sculpt is great, looks like the animation models for Hector Rivera from the GI Joe cartoons. Maybe I'll figure out a different use for the head. Leoric is unfortunately at the bottom of the list in terms of ranking the figures. The Micronauts? Well, they're in a different category.
I like them and I don't like them Yeah, I get the idea that they are tiny characters, but the execution is just a bit lacking. Paint apps for figures of this scale can often tend to be clumpy and lacking in detail. Really unfortunate. Due to the lack of articulation, these guys are designed well enough, but just a bit of a pass. Oh, I would prefer an awesome Acroyear figure in the same size as the 4" figures.
Baron Karza is such an awesome character, the Microverse version of Thanos or Darkseid. So cool, but so disappointing at this scale.
Acroyear is actually well designed, but only after considering the scale in which he was made. I wish he was bigger. Oh well.

Stay tuned for more quick looks at the rest of SDCC Revolutions!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

SDCC Revolutions!

This guy... This guy right here... He's the prime reason that I became interested in the San Diego Comic Con Hasbro/IDW exclusive set. Once it was revealed that Roadblock, using the head sculpt from Renegades, would be a part of the set, I knew that I had to pursue it.
Usually, a couple weeks after the SDCC, HasbroToyShop.com will sell excess stock on the site. That's how I snagged the two Jinx figures from a few years ago. Last year's SDCC exclusive (or was it the year before) set wound up at Ollie's Discount Store. SNAGGED IT!
Dare I wait for a possibility of this set showing up at Ollie's? Heck no! I monitored the site during the day, but my son was able to actually snag the set for me. Hot damn! Got it!
There are quite a few cool figures in this set. Stay tuned, I'm going to be looking at all of them, just a few at a time.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

One Year Ago

It's sometimes hard to believe that one year ago today, I had open heart surgery. I had a quadruple bypass. My chest was cut open and surgeons and nurses worked on my heart. My surgeon held my heart in his hands. It's still surreal and a bit mind boggling. 

Just a quick recap: my sister had a heart attack in June of 2015, with no damage but she needed a stent in an artery. During my yearly physical in February of 2016, my doctor believes that I should have a calcium scoring test which can determine if their are any blockage issues with arteries. After putting that off, I finally have the test done in June of 2016. Bad news, very high numbers indicating that I have some blockage issues. I get to a cardiologist on July 3rd and he recommends that I have a cardiac cath to determine the extent of blockage. So on July 11th, I have the cardiac cath. Good news: cardiac muscle is fine. Bad news: significant blockages, surgery needed. Soon, like in two days. Sure enough, on July 13th, I'm in surgery getting my chest cut open and arteries rerouted and reworked to improve blood flow and avoid one of those pesky heart attacks.
So now what? It's been a year. How has my life changed? For quite a few months after the surgery, of course, I was just simply in recovery, just healing and recovering. But now, one year later, I'm doing pretty dang well. A large part of the scar on my chest has faded as it has healed. The lower portion is still thick but it seems to be slowly fading. 

It's hard to say how well I've recovered physically. I think I'm doing quite well, but I do seem to wear out a little quicker after a lot of exertion, like mowing the lawn. But how much of that is a result of surgery or my own natural laziness to get any significant exercise? 

My biggest issue, to me, is that I didn't have any significant event prior to my surgery. Basically, I had preventative cardiac bypass with some pretty spectacular results. I had an ultrasound scan of my heart a few weeks ago and everything is pumping quite nicely. My heart seems to be doing its job very well. Eventually, in 10-15 years, I may need some additional work on my heart, maybe a stent or two put into the new arteries around my heart. 

Since I didn't have any prior events and everything seems to be fine, I find myself being a little lax on addressing the issues that got me into this situation in the first place. Am I eating better? More heart healthy foods? Yeah, well, not so much. Sometimes, but not as a rule or a new habit. I've grown accustomed to having a beer or two or three a little more often. I could really step up the exercise a bit more than I have. Honestly, I just need to stop putting my health on the back burner. I need to just stop being a lazy ass and take better care of myself.

I am and always will be a cardiac patient. I will always have the possibility of a cardiac event in my future. One day, I may need to go back under the surgeon's knife for new repairs. 

As I've said before... take care of your sh!t.

Friday, June 30, 2017

My Marauder Crew

Just a photo dump of my current Marauder crew.
Major Bludd - because Hasbro hasn't gotten him right yet.
One of Major Bludd's top team members.
Bludd Hounds?
Bludd Hound #2.
I finally found a use for the "Ripcord" head sculpt from RoC.
One of my first Marauder figures.
The addiction began then.
The other of my first Marauder figures.
What was this character from The Force Awakens?
I don't remember, but I liked the head sculpt enough to build the body with Marauder gear.
Orange Marauder gear because why the hell not?
Red and black because I said so.
This is actually the JoeCon 2017 Val exclusive, but not exactly because I swapped out different bits of gear. I like the green/black contrasts.
I believe that this is a new color palette for the male body. 
Whatever, I liked the figure enough to buy him at JoeCon.
"Shooter" - sort of. Inspired by the Shooter concept and much better than what Hasbro tried.
Rock n Roll - kinda'
I really like the shorter sleeves. 
The skin tones for the plastic are perfect.
Love the colors of the uniform!
Black Widow head on a Marauder body.
Nothing but love!

I've got to save up some $$$. The prepackaged sets from JoeCon were so loaded with gear that I have loads of it left. I need more bodies and more of the smaller bits! And more weapons! And more head sculpts! 
And more and more and more!!!

Doesn't Marauder just rock?
What are your thoughts?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Collector's Club Cobra Officers

When did the Club release these figures? Last year? I think so. They looked cool at the time, but I put off buying any - until I made plans to go to JoeCon 2017. These lethal ladies were available at the club store, so I added them to my order of Convention souvenirs. 
I'm quite pleased with these figures! This is a case where the Club definitely beat Hasbro in figure design. Well, Hasbro had to approve, so... Anyway, these figures are far superior to the female Cobra officer that they put out as a part of a three pack of figures from last year. A much better parts selection over what Hasbro had done.
The Club had released a three pack of female figures as part of one of their convention sets several years ago, back in the o-ring days. This modern update was a great nod to the those figures, even matching the hair colors.
Decent, but minimal accessories. The helmets don't fit great, but they're okay.
Okay, this next observation is a bit... odd. Especially when considering that these are just toys. The Club used the same upper torso that they used for Pythona, which worked well for her, but not so much for these ladies. These ladies are quite well endowed and actually quite vulnerable. Yes, as a guy, female breasts are quite lovely to behold, but these are a bit too big and unprotected. It almost appears that their shirts are either quite stretchy or have built in boob pockets.

With my recent purchase of Vals from Marauder and, well, comparing the, uh, let's say, the anatomical sculpt of the figures, there's a difference between realistic and comic portrayal of female anatomy.  Having grown up reading comics, these Cobra ladies mirror the basic look of the superhero female. 

Back when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, there were various spasms of nerd rage when Captain Phasma appeared and she didn't have female armor. In nerd speak, that means that her armor didn't have defined breasts. I found an article about how armor, if designed to enhance and not protect the female form, then it would leave the warrior very vulnerable to attack. The area between the breasts, if designed to have, uh, cleavage, would be a weak spot in the armor. Not so with Phasma's armor, or even the Marauder female gear.

I'm thinking of a future post covering female action figure breast sculpting. Is that just too weird? Am I just a sexist pig if I did a post comparing female head and torso sculpts? I think I actually commented on the Jinx figure's breasts back when I bought the SDCC figures.

In these days of acute cultural society, perhaps I shouldn't. But then again, who reads this silly ass blog anyway? What are your thoughts?

Big Lob - Collector's Club Figure 2017

Big Lob makes his move!

In the Club Store at JoeCon 2017, there was a supply of carded Big lob figures that quickly sold out before I even made it through the line! No worries, I knew I had my Club figure arriving in the mail soon enough.


Well, he didn't arrive while we were gone, but just a day later, that familiar small box arrived.
Big Lob! Now who the hell is Big Lob?
Big Lob was basically a one shot character who was in the animated GI Joe movie. He was a part of a group of new recruits called the Rawhides. They were under the gentle care of Beach Head. Every other Rawhide made it into plastic form, except for Big Lob. I'm sure there's a story out there somewhere as to why he didn't make it into production. Perhaps, like Pythona, he was planned for a second wave of movie related figures that didn't make it into production due to poor response to the movie. That's a discussion for another time.

I never really liked the character that much. Maybe because he didn't make it into action figure format, I just never connected with Big Lob. This actually is the second version of Big Lob. The Club made him as part of a Convention set or a Convention exclusive. (too lazy to look it up)

Despite my disinterest in the character, I'm really quite pleased with what the Club did for the build. They took the first Roadblock/Rock body from Retaliation, without the weird hand, and probably used the hands from the second Roadblock/Rock figure from a Retaliation three pack to complete the figure. The brand new head sculpt is really well done and captures Big Lob quite well.

No ankle joints or double jointed knees? So what? Not a huge deal. Good job by the Club and I'm looking forward to next year's membership figure, Rock n Roll version 2!

What's your thoughts on Big Lob? Yea or Nay?