Category Archives: Toys

Where do you let King Kong Sleep When He Visits?

So recently Brian over at Cool & Collected got the idea to start up a new community toy project called the King Kong World Tour.  Basically Brian has sent one of his Kong Imperial action figures on an extended vacation traveling around the world.  I took part in a similar project with a Spock Mego figure a few years ago and had a blast hosting him, so I thought it would also be fun to show Kong the sites in Atlanta and at Branded in the 80s HQ.  Here are some of the highlights…

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First off, no visit to Branded HQ would be complete without taking a gander at the action figure wall.  Kong really wanted to join the ranks of the Joe team, but Cobra always ended up picking him first…

Joe Kong

Kong also Mumm-Ra.  You think the two would pal around, but that ancient spirit of evil is kind of a nutty fruitcake…

KongderCats

I had to show Kong my framed Crestwood Monsters book as it’s sort of like a high school yearbook for him…

Crestwood Kong

Now as far as Atlanta goes, I took him to some of my current favorite spots, and it wasn’t until I was processing the roll of film that I realized I apparently love places that start with the letter “V”.  Case in point…

Vortex

…the Vortex (my favorite Atlanta building and a great place for Fried Pickles)…

Varsity

…the Varsity (great hot dog place)…

Videodrome

…and Videodrome (one of the last surviving mom & pop video rental places in the southeast)!

Anyway, head on over to Cool and Collected to check out more pictures from Kong’s stop in Atlanta as well as the other stops on the tour so far!

My Trap Jaws are Ver-Clampt…

So while taking the below picture this morning I realized two things.  One, I need better lighting in Branded HQ, and two, I think Trap Jaw might be edging out Merman as my favorite character design in the Masters of the Universe toy line.  It worries me a little as I wonder if I’m falling into the Boba Fett trap (no, not the pit of Carkoon, the one where he gets a lot of love based on his design and not the actual character.)  Think I need to watch some more MOTU episodes this weekend and reacquaint myself with the character…

I just got my new 2000-era Trap Jaw in the mail and it seemed like an opportune time to snap a picture of it with one of Jerzy Drozd’s awesome crayon-colored sketches I have framed.  One of the things I’ve been trying to do this year has been changing the way I spend my Amazon Associates kickbacks.  Instead of just buying DVDs, I’ve been saving them up and buying some of the 2000 reissues of the MOTU toys for the walls at Branded HQ.  They go great next to the 25th Anniversay G.I. Joe figures and the vintage-style Star Wars toys.  Love starring at this stuff while I podcast.

Hun-Dred Crushed the Life Out of My Comments Section…

So, just wanted to post something quick to acknowledge that, yes, the technical aspect of the comments section of this website suck.  Like, the ability to post or see comments that is, not anyone’s fine musings (which like most folks who run sites I love hearing and responding to.)  The framework that this site is based on is pretty poor and basically held together by my heartfelt wishes and duck tape anyway, so it’s not surprising.  That being said, I’m always available via Facebook, Twitter, or Email, so yeah.

In other non-integral news, yesterday was an amazing mail day.  When I came home I was greeted with a mint-in-package Robo Force Hun-Dred 30 year-old toy robot.  I’ll probably be writing more about this beautiful specimen in the coming week, but for anyone that cares I’ll be spending the rest of the week and weekend staring at and most likely cuddling with it when I sleep.  TMRLI, I know.  (Too Much Robot Love Info.)  Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go exercise his hugging crushing action on some of my other action figures…

Just playing with some toys…

Been rearranging the toys on my bookshelves in Branded HQ.  Though I don’t have a ton of vintage 80s stuff, there is a little bit peppered in with the more or less retro themed toys…

Some of my favorites are the Transformers Classics Jetfire (just a great toy all around), the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, my Weaponeers of Monkaa Crystar custom build, and my ginormous Mumm-Ra who is currently the king of my collection…

What are some of your favorite toys?

My Beastmen…

Sometimes I have to remind myself that not every post has to be something precious where I do a bunch of research and try and dig into my memories of the 80s.  Sometimes I can just throw up a picture of my Beastmen…

Talking Failed Movie Toy Lines on the Nerd Lunch Podcast…

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the folks at the Nerd Lunch podcast to have an interesting conversation about failed movie toy lines…

CT, Paxton, 4th chair guest Kirk from the Schlock Treatment podcast and I talk about what we think goes into making a successful movie toy line, what movie toy lines we though tanked and why, and what lines we would develop given the opportunity.  We throw out some pulp detectives, Visitors from another planet, professional arm wrestlers, crane-kicking kids, and those Lone Ranger figures I mentioned in the League post yesterday.

So if you want to hear me and the guys talking about toys, head on over to the Nerd Lunch site, or heck, you can download the episode by subscribing to the show on iTunes, or even directly right here!

I’m a member in good standing in some pretty prestigious clubs…

I thought I wasn’t going to find time to post this week, but I didn’t want to sit on the following cool stuff for another month (considering I’m going into Halloween lockdown mode soon.)  I recently had a few extra bucks lying around (rare these days) and felt like it was a great opportunity to pick up some really cool stuff from a couple of really swell sites.

Up first is the mega-awesome 8-Bit Zombie Kid’s Club Pack!

I’ve been drooling over the neat clothes at 8-Bit Zombie for awhile, but I always tend to miss out on the shirts that I really want considering they’re released in pretty low print runs and tend to be gobbled up ultra fast.  So when I saw the tweet go out announcing the release of their new Kid’s Club pack I didn’t hesitate and ended up grabbing one post haste.  Let me tell you, I think I would have plunked down the price of admission for their retro custom lunch box alone.  Included in the pack are the super cool lunch box with artwork by Matthew Skiff (featuring such pop culture, cartoon and video game luminaries as Slimer, King Hippo, Cobra Commander, Mr. T, My Pet Monster, Skullface, and Castle Greyskull, as well as 8-Bit’s own Thrashor zombie skater), a club patch, a swell “Nickelodeon Slime” green club t-shirt, and a handful of stickers and buttons.  8BZ was also kind enough to include a vintage pack of Topps TMNT trading cards and a neat M.U.S.C.L.E. figure (#146, Playerman, the living record player!)

One of the aspects that I really dig about 8-Bit Zombie is their keen sense of design and ostentatious use of branding, which always gets me excited.  Heck, even the box they sent the club pack in was covered with awesome branded rubber stamps featuring some of their past t-shirt designs as well as their various 80s-inspired logos.  Sadly, the Kid’s Club Pack is currently sold out, but I’ve heard rumblings of future offerings in the works, so keep your eyes peeled and maybe you can also become a member in good standing…

The second awesome pack I picked up came from the multi-talented Tommy Day over at Top Hat Sasquatch

Tommy recently had a limited run of rad THS t-shirts screen-printed, and he’s currently offering them over at the site (though I’m not sure how many he has left, so if you want one you better head on over and put in an order!)  I was so excited to open the delivery, not only because the t-shirt is swell, but because he also packed a vintage TMNT goody bag to go along with the purchase.  It goes without saying that I love getting stickers, but the buttons and cool trading cards were a great bonus.  Believe it or not, that pack of ALF cards contained a card I desperately needed to complete my set!

When there’s no more room in the toy box…

Well, I can’t help but be in full on Halloween mode right now.  Not only are a lot of stores flinging up their yearly spooky displays, but there are a bunch of toys hitting the pegs that are really getting me in the mood.  Earlier in the year I wrote a bit about the Jakks Pacific line of minifigs called S.L.U.G. Zombies (Scary Little Ugly Guys), as they sort of tie into my love of the OMFG minifigs both in that they share some common influences (namely Monster in My Pocket and M.U.S.C.L.E. minifigs) and as it turns out George Gaspar, the swell dude that’s one half of October Toys, put in a bid for the sculpting job on the Zombies line and even had one of his sculpts make it into the series.

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As far as the line goes, I really love what Jakks is doing by bringing this scale of minifig back into the mainstream.  Though there are a lot of kids buying the heck out of the tiny Squnkies figures, this 1.5″ scale detailed minifig holds a special place in my heart, and I’ve been seriously lacking in toy-buying fodder ever since Hasbro started to curtail their “Heroes” line of figures.  To be honest, I was also waiting for something that wasn’t riffing directly off of a brand I loved as a kid (ala the Transformers, G.I. Joe and Marvel “Heroes” figs), and these S.L.U.G. Zombies really fit the bill.  The first wave of figures hit store shelves back in March, but they were sort of spotty in terms of distribution and it seemed like only a handful of people were actually finding them in the wild.  I was lucky enough to pick up the complete first wave, and was super excited to finally see wave two hit the pegs and in more stores…

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I had heard that Jakks planned on making 100 figures in the Zombies waves of the S.L.U.G. minifigs (I’ve also heard that they’re planning other waves with different themes), but I wasn’t sure how they were going to be releasing them or if this first wave was going to be popular enough to sustain the line long enough for us to see all 100 figures.  I guess it’s doing well enough though, and I relished in the opportunity to pick up a 12-pack coffin set of the second wave.

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Aside from a bunch of new zombie sculpts/concepts, the most interesting factor in wave two is the introduction of some non-zombie figures, the Hunters.  Cast in a more M.U.S.C.L.E.-esque pink/flesh colored rubber, the hunters are pretty darn cool and are infusing some more specific pop culture references into the line.  Whereas the zombies are conceptual for the most part (featuring various sports, occupation, and historic cultural references), the hunters are introducing some more specific character references like the Rambo and Crocodile Dundee figures below…

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Though a lot of these references are mining the nostalgia of the 80s, I do think it’s not so specific that it would mar the enjoyment a kid would get out of playing with and collecting these.  I mean a muscled dude with a rocket launcher should be fun regardless if something identifies him as a Rambo knock-off right?

Well I was all set to write up my thoughts on this second wave last week when all of a sudden I started to hear word on Twitter that folks were already spotting series 3 in stores.  So I went back out on the hunt and secured a couple of the smaller packages with my favorite figures from this new wave (which includes a swell Sean of the Dead minifig hunter as well as my favorite zombie yet, Extra Crispy (aka Colonel Sanders!)

I’ve been having so much fun setting up these little guys on my desk at work, though I’m wondering where I’m going to find the space to display them all if I keep buying them…

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If you’re interested in seeing all 100 proposed figures, Jakks has released this handy checklist poster via the S.L.U.G. Zombies website.  Click on it to blow it up and start checking off the figures you want to collect!

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Oh, and for those wondering, I hear that the special glow-in-the-dark variations of the figures will be available in special tombstone-shaped collector’s cases that are due out in Spetember.  Also, according to Entertainment Earth we can expect a new wave of the zombies to be released each month over the next three months at least

OMFG! Series 2 kickstarter is live!

It’s gonna be a hectic week behind the scenes at Branded this week what with the holiday coming up and some boring day to day stuff.  Posting might be a little light, but I did want to take a second and point out that the Kickstarter campaign for the 2nd series of the OMFG! minifigures has begun

If you’ll remember from a few months ago, I fell in love with this project and it’s been a while as the 2nd series design were voted on, sculpted, and are now ready for production.  This second batch looks pretty darn fun, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Puke Knight and Shirtle figures in particular.  The below image is a rough of what the back of the packing art should look like (art by Redjarojam from the October Toys forum)…

Below you can get a glimpse of the final sculpts for the five new figures in series 2…

As before, the actual production figures will be available in the standard M.U.S.C.L.E.-influenced flesh colorway, but you can also get your hands on an exclusive black set via Kickstarter.  I’ve already heard rumblings about some other exclusive colorways being considered as exclusives for different online shops, much like we saw with the first series.  The goal that needs to be met in the next 30 odd days is $12,000, but considering it’s already past $3k as I’m typing this I think the funding will be successful…