Sunday, June 29, 2008

Devo Sues McDonalds

In its American Idol promotional toys, there's a "New Wave Nigel" character that's essentially a ripoff of Devo's costume in the early 1980s. And guess what? They're going to defend their trademarks. Gerald Casale has not been quoted as saying such but it's a safe bet that someone in the media will ask if they will whip it, and if so, if they will whip it good.

Comedy is Dead

A friend of mine has been posting stuff on a new blog that's early in development called "Comedy is Dead," a name whose origins are best left unsaid. He's been reviewing all sorts of shows and albums, and I've been meaning to pitch in as well.

On that note, I watched the new Dana Carvey special on HBO and I didn't much care for it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Droid Factory

I just posted a big post with lots of junk in it regarding the new Droid Factory stuff from Wal-Mart. I've got shots of the PDQ display, the built C-3PX figure, and all that jazz. Check it out.

I was not able to find the new comic packs, sadly, so the hunt continues for those. And I saw a ton of unsold Lugnuts-- like, dozens-- meaning that Grimlock (which ships in the same proportions) is insanely popular.

Buy 2 Get 1 Free DS Games at Toys "R" Us

Toys "R" Us is running one of its popular buy-two-get-one-free Nintendo DS game promotions this week. Since Arkanoid and Space Invaders Extreme came out last week for $19.99 a whack, there are some good new opportunities in there.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

LEGO Vintage Minifigure Collection

I keep forgetting to post this, also to go out and get it. The Vintage Minifigure Collection has 5 classic figures, including a red classic Space figure, a fireman, a mad scientist, and other goodies. Totally awesome. Do go check it out.


Made some new videos for work yesterday morning. Basically they're just short demos. They are as follows:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Robots & Invaders from Space

Yesterday (earlier Today) was an exciting day! Diamond/Previews announced three new exclusives, including new Mighty Muggs, a new Star Wars: Empire themed TIE Fighter, and a Funko Commander Gree Bobble Head. I posted about some of it here.

I also shot up more impressions of Cybertron Mode Optimus Prime, complete with pictures. The short version: it's great. The long version: it's really great, and there are 23 photos of it for you to check out if you like such things.

This week's downloadable Wii and Xbox 360 games weren't thrilling, but I'll complain about those later when I post the next update. Oh, Space Invaders Extreme for Nintendo DS comes out today. I'm very much looking forward to trying that.

Oh yeah, and the new Transformers Animated DVD with the pilot comes out today. I hear the Target bonus disc should be interesting.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday Night Slog

Oh, the fun of Sunday nights! I'm getting all my sites in order, so you may notice things like a personal Twitter on this very blog (NEW), and updates to and Galactic Hunter. Q&A is shorter this week because the one question everybody wants to know-- "What Star Wars stuff will be out July 26?"-- has no answer.

A number of new photos were shot and are being edited-- and more still need to be edited to keep on top of everything. There are a lot of toy pictures to deal with.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Transformers Animated A-Plenty

This weekend, I saw Transformers: Animated has hit Kay-Bee and Toys "R" Us, meaning 4 of the big 5 chains now have them on sale at a few locations, if not more. Also, if you're checking my Flickr photostream, you'll be noticing lots of updated and new additions to the Transformers Animated area.

More pics are coming, I'm just trying to get more stuff up in big batches. And there's a lot of batches, let me tell you. I'm also sitting on thousands of unuploaded images from over the years which will probably eventually go up to Flickr so SOMEONE can see them. It's really amazing how much stuff I never finish.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wall-E Basic Figure

Thinkway Toys put out a fairly robust line of Wall-E merch, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. I bought this little guy for about six bucks, and he comes in packaging very similar to that of the Titanium Series line from Hasbro.

The little bugger stands about 3-inches tall and has articulation at the shoulders, neck, wheels, and hands. Basically, his hands can open and close to grasp things.

I picked up one other Wall-E item which I'll get around to shooting eventually, but this is a fine little robot toy for about six dollars. It's from Thinkway Toys, and so far I've seen these only at Kay-Bee stores and select Toys "R" Us stores. Distribution is a little thin so far, but odds are it'll expand in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Incredible Hulk Toys at Burger King

I walked to lunch at Burger King again today, hoping to score another Indiana Jones toy. Well, they're all gone. But they did have this.

It's called "Hulk Smash." How original. You pick it up and slam it down, hearing a springy smashing sound. I guess it's kind of neat, and should give any child literally minute of fun. (That's not a typo.) The other toys looked pretty good, as there were a lot of little figures and other gimmicky things. I'll post more if/as I get them.

Oh, and if you're reading the tags, I recently found out "QSR" stands for "Quick-Service Restaurant" in the toy world, so it seemed a decent way to start categorizing these little toy posts until I make a fast food toys blog. Which is probably going to happen soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Grimlock Video

Another video I cranked out for work in my back yard this morning. It helps I live next to a noisy warehouse.

More Goodies

More robots in disguise. I snagged Starscream from Transformers Animated, and it's a great toy-- but mine was literally missing a few screws, and as such, could not hold himself together. So he had to go back to the store earlier this evening, and I am now without a Starscream. Woe is me. It's a nice toy, though, and I'll probably post about him more on the Transformers blog soon.

I also picked up the deluxe toys Bumblebee and Lockdown on the way in to work on Monday, and am now trying to get some of those packaged shots edited and posted.

Bumblebee is a figure I wish I liked more. He's colorful, but his yellows don't match and he's a little clunky with panels hanging off his person. He's lively and has a great personality, and as many a wise man said, a little personality goes a long way. Unfortunately, those bits hanging off him don't do him any favors, and the deco is frankly bad. Hasbro could probably swing a "premium edition" figure of this one.

Lockdown is pretty neat, but also suffers from flaws-- at least on my sample, the legs keep popping off during transformation. In robot mode, he's incredibly tall, taller than the mighty Grimlock. He has two snap-on weapons, a hook (which makes him a "pirate") and what I guess is Ratchet's EMP generator as seen on the cartoon. It actually plugs into a socket in Ratchet's arm, which I have to say makes this toy worth buying just for that. The little add-ons really make this toy exciting, otherwise he'd be pretty flat and fall-apart-y.

If you're short on cash, I'd say I like Blackarachnia and Ratchet more, but hey, they're all good for different reasons.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Today's Haul

I was feeling punchy so I went on a toy run today. Here's what I found (and for the most part, purchased.

G.I. Joe
Comic Packs wave 4. (Copperhead, Red Star, etc.) Still just $9.99 a whack at Target. They look great.
All of Toys "R" Us' 5 exclusive sets. Did not buy these, but at least they're continuing to ship.

Transformers: Animated
Blackarachnia and Ratchet. Bought both. Both are really good for different reasons. Ratchet is a great character on the show, and the toy is solid in both modes. (His wrist-mounted weapons are a little touchy though.) Blackarachnia has a good transformation, a stunning robot mode, and a decent spider mode. All in all, I did good.

More on these on the specific Joe and TF blogs as I can take shots and post them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hitchcock's The Birds + Mattel's Barbie = This

Part of my day job is reviewing and adding items to my employer's web site. This particular item really made my month, because it shouldn't exist. When you think of collectible dolls based on licensed properties, perhaps you think of Cher, or Grease, or perhaps even Supergirl. You don't think of Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 horror classic The Birds, but apparently someone at Mattel did and will no doubt reap the benefits of an entirely new audience of Barbie collectors. I mean, I don't do dolls at all and I can't help but be delighted by this image of Barbie being attacked by three black birds.

It's entirely possible this may have something to do with the Michael Bay produced 2009 remake supposedly staring Naomi Watts, but we really hope not.

Transformers Blog Launched

...I figured it'd be easier just to launch a specific blog than dump the content here. So Go here for the super early beta of my new Transformers blog.

Animated Grimlock: First Impressions

Since I have a flight really freaking early, it made sense to stay up, photograph, and open new toys. It's either that, or try to sleep for a couple of hours. First up: Grimlock! (Boxed images below. More images may be added as time permits, this will be obvious as you will look at the widget and you will see images.)

"Where are DECEPTICONS? Me GRIMLOCK getting hungry!" (Quote from back of packaging.)

The figure is a decent size, sporting a massive lower jaw in both modes. By enhancing this feature, the character has a meaner, more active appearance where it almost looks like he should open up his mouth and talk to you. Sadly, he's only going to talk if you provide his voice, and his robot mode jaw does not move. (It's worth noting that it's so big, you'll probably think it should.)

Our hero's lone accessory is a big flaming sword. If you put it in his wrist and twist his appendage, additional flames will pop out. It's a decent feature, certainly not stunning, but neat enough. In robot mode, the instructions don't really say where the sword should go, but the box implies that it can act as "flame breath." I guess you can cram anything into the dinobot commander's mouth, but it doesn't mean it's going to look good there.

Packaging has been a hallmark of Hasbro's marketing, and they seem to be going out of their way to do a more stunning job in each subsequent generation of toys. Animated is no exception. The box is absolutely gorgeous, with halftone patterns, bright colors, and character-specific illustrations from the series. I don't collect packaged toys as a rule, but I love these boxes so much I may get one or two pieces to leave sealed, just because it's so nice.

The toy costs $19.99 (or so), ships in a case with Lugnut, and is pretty good. Grimlock's transformation is similar to his Generation 1 toy, with a few differences. The tail still splits, the back still forms the leg, and the head and neck still essentially act as a backpack.

PROS: Nicely sized toy, looks a lot like the cartoon. Fun dinosaur "chomping" mouth, awesome flaming sword of death, articulation above and beyond what is expected from a toy of this nature. Solid construction, stiff joints. Good ability to balance in many poses in either mode. Shoulder articulation is well-engineered. Transformation is mostly solid, with many of the folding panels and pieces sculpted with tabs and slots to fit together to ensure the robot doesn't have loose, flailing bits of kibble.

CONS: Autobot logos are silver-- the animation model (and box illustrations) show red symbols with white outlines, which are cooler. Arm transformation is a little awkward, and the figure looks best with his elbows bent.

VALUE: It's not a lot of toy for $20, but odds are if you found my blog you're either a close personal friend or a big toy fiend who already is inclined to buy such things. As such, you should totally buy one of these IF you like Transformers as a whole or the new cartoon.

OVERALL: Grimlock is largely inspired by the toy of old, given new life with design elements of the 21st century. I squealed with glee when I saw this in the store (in a case, partially sealed on a palette, which I cracked open) and am presently having much fun with it. Kids should adore this toy, and older fans will get a lot out of it too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Just found a stash of some Transformers: Animated at Wal-Mart... and bought them. Also found Nerf Herder IV. Will be posting images and impressions as time permits, I've got a business trip at 6:00 AM and will be pulling an all-nighter for you. And me. Mostly me, I want to play with this new Grimlock.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ahead of the Game

As you have no doubt figured out, my web projects will all be undergoing some sort of facelift over the next few months. This means I have to not only continue my daily and weekly columns, but shift stuff over, make new layouts, and try to figure out how to wrap the whole thing together.

Last week, I was out for a few days due to a road trip. This week, I'll be gone a few days due to a business trip. I'm testing (and taking) new equipment to work on this stuff, so hopefully I'll be in good order to further entertain my literally tens of readers even sooner.

16bit's updated, and so has my SW Q&A-- which is now at Galactic Hunter and my Star Wars News Blog, and it's likely going to be in both places for the foreseeable future.

I also had the good fortune to spend some time with Nintendo's Wii Fit, and I posted some rough impressions on today's update. It really is a unique piece of hardware with a piece of software that's essentially Wii Sports II with Yoga. It's not a bad thing, and these new input devices have lots of potential. I'm hoping to see someone say they figured out how to connect a Wii Balance Board to a Mac so I can use it to copy/paste things, or perhaps set it to certain keystrokes so I can increase my number of Zerg rushes.

Oh yes, and I also hit up Gregory's Toys in Encino. The store now has a massive sale going on, which they generally didn't do in the past. I started hitting them up for Playmobil, and while their prices are frequently more expensive than my favorite spot in Phoenix, that place closed down so I'm sort of out of luck. It's about on par with Playmobil direct, so I suppose I'll be checking them out in 2009 when the good stuff starts to hit. Today they had a new Pirates Super Set, some Specials, and the Water Zoo collection which FAO had many months ago.

I've got two days ahead of me before hitting up the airport for this trip, so odds are it's going to be slow posting for a few days. Which means, I'm sure, lots of exciting news will start to come out as soon as I turn my back.