Monday, 31 August 2015

Star Wars Force Friday (Non) Countdown


Found in Toys R Us Brislington today, the countdown display for Force Friday this week. Empty space was made anywhere on shelves where Star Wars items were sold. Force Awakens merchandise is set to take over.

The staff at Customer Services caught me taking a snapshot of the Countdown Display and were not happy, but didn't/couldn't do anything about it. One of them ranted about the display malfunctioning and quickly turned it around the opposite way as a gesture of embarrassment. This would not be the first time Toys R Us Brislington Desk Staff have gotten crabby over nothing, and probably not the last...  


There was nothing to hide at this point. The sign was for public view and the wave 1 toys catalog has already hit online (Click Here). As far as I can see, the catalog does not spoil anything for the movie for those concerned and shows stuff that has been shown in the first trailer. I think the real meat in the sandwich as far as toys go will be saved for December. This wave 1 is the appetizer.

Oh yeah, Nerf Gun Chewbacca Crossbow is sure to be a hit! -HERO


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

REVIEW: Atilla The Frog, (TMNT Basic asst)

From: Playmates
Retail: £9.99
Accessories: None.

"Atilla The Frog Action Figure is the leader of the mutated frog family. Atilla is on a mission to expand the reptiles' power. By obtaining the mutagen that April's mum dropped in the forest he has a plan to build his own mutant frog army. His hatred for Turtles and humans cause him to try and eliminate April, Casey and the four brothers. However after a dangerous fire threatened the frog fortress and his mutant frogs, the Turtles, April and Casey save them and the alliance between Turtle and frog was born."

One of the most awaited Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures of 2015. Attila has finally surfaced, and seemingly in UK stores first.

Unlike his Hawaiian shirt wearing namesake of TMNT past, this newer iteration of the character is depicted as a burly mob boss (voiced by Maurice Lamarche) and leader of the Punk Frog tribe (The Croaking, episode 3.04). Attila is most notably blue in appearance and likely based on a poison arrow frog.


The primary selling point of Attila is his lever activated tongue gimmick, hence the poison arrow idea. Sealed in package, there is a “Try Me” feature where the back lever is exposed via a gap in the backing card. Probably a first.

 
Due to Attila's round portly design, there isn't much to be expected as far as articulation goes. The arms move and the tongue moves (thanks to the play feature) - but that's about it! Attila comes across as mostly static as a result and could easily be mistaken as a MacDonalds Happy Meal toy. The moving tongue play feature redeems some action in this action figure and is almost a saving grace.

Playmates have executed a reasonable colour-palette with Attila. Whilst there is always room for more depth, some effort has been made with a shaded belly and colored in key design features such as the birds nest crown, tribal necklace and leaf cape. The main aspect that's missing is the black spots as seen on the other Punk Frogs animation designs. In comparison, Monkey Brains, another figure who was released around the same time did not receive as much attention with colours as Attila (especially the lack of purple trousers). Rockwell in the plastic certainly drew the short straw, and it shouldn't be like that. 


Attila The Frog is arguably the lowest quality action figure in the Basic Turtles assortment yet. Despite the initiative of interactive packaging, the overall offering feels like a Fast Food promotional toy packaged as something else with the price tag to match. Buying Attila The Frog depends on whether you like the character or not and won't mind being shortchanged for it.

On the plus side, it is good to see another mutant on the Team Turtles' side of the fence to tip the ratio a bit.




Monday, 24 August 2015

Monday, 17 August 2015

Car Boot Haul, August 2015


Its been a while since I've been able to hit the Sunday Rugby Ground Car Boot sales before the Summer season is out.

As you can tell by the distant photo, typical British rain was teased but didn't deliver. The Car Boot would have been hardcore and carried on relocating clutter regardless.



After an hour or so, I eventually left with a handful of vintage toy treasures and knick knacks. Among the loot of 2nd hand acquisitions the figure highlights included: Hasbro WWE Ravishing Rick Rude, some Smurfs, Dragons of Berk, an old Kenner Proton pack, Yet another R2D2 Happy Meal toy for the army build and a King Kong!

The rest are in the polaroids. See what you can spot...
 
Some other bits and pieces I passed up, because I already had, I don't scalp or just simply don't need. No vintage Christmas Decorations on this visit either. That's a record!


 
Now all that's left is deciding what to keep, what to let the kids play with and what to possibly sell on. Rick Rude is a definite a keeper!

So are these!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

WEEKEND CAPTION FUN #22


Mr Stay Puft lit up for Christmas a little early...

Reply with a caption.

Be Immovable like a Mountain (Boss)

Vision Quest Donatello (2015)

Had a bit of a clear-out and inspiration struck.

I was in two minds about adding the text. I felt like it needed it, but on the other hand it makes the image come across as a pilgrimage postcard.

I'm in the majority that believe Playmates Toys could have executed the Vision Quest Turtles figures a bit better. Poor coloring was a real let down on some brilliant toy designs.

I touched up the palette (or lack of) on Donatello a little. This was all in all a fun outlet.

-HERO

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are (c) copyright Nickelodeon 2012. Based on the Season 3.8 episode Vision Quest.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

5 Randomly Retro Pin-Badges, Part I




Ample pin badges are amongst some of the treasures I've accumulated over the years. These buttons are either promotional, collectable or fan club items. Some of these go back almost 4 decades with the rust on the back to show for it. 
 


1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (1977)

The iconic spaceship from the movie compositions well within this button. Unlike the motion picture, this promotional pin badge obtained from a picture house hasn't aged as well. The design is still intact, but the rust continues to get worse. Still a cool little relic to have.


2. The Muppets, The Fabulous Fozzie Bear (1982) 

Muppets badges were among some of my favorites to collect. Well-loved characters, vibrant colors and fantastic design. This Fozzie badge was a personal favorite I wore on my jacket at Primary School. Wakka Wakka!


3. Clarks Hardware Insignia Badge (Late-80s)

Clarks Hardware was the cool promotional shoe range aimed at the under-11s. The TV commercial depicting a boy zapped Captain N style into a video game battleground to defeat the incoming enemy game sprites with those 'Fit For Heroes' shoes was a successful sales pitch. This badge came free with every pair of shoes. It was awesome! 


4. Robertsons Golden Shred, Buy British (1980s)
Probably the most controversial sign of the times badge I have. Whilst this is very un-PC and won't hold up today, it is is a piece of history and not one I'd ever wear in public or at all. The Robertsons Golly has long since been dropped (and rightfully so) from the brand. At the time the character tokens and badges were very popular with the public. (Extra source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1505411.stm



5. NatWest Piggy Banker (mid-80s)

Natwest bank at one stage had a popular family of mascots aimed at the younger banker with a range of still popular character piggy banks, wobbly wallcharts and other fan club like merchandise. The adverts and 'piggies song' were also popular. The baby character was the most iconic of the bunch and his moneybox figurine also made cameo last year in a modern Nat-West commercial. In some circles this popular promotion from back in the day would now be deemed offensive and 'un-PC'.

That wraps it up for now as far as the badges go. There will certainly be more pinbadge purveying on the horizon for sure.

END OF PART 1. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Goodfella's Star Wars Pizza

 
Star Wars and Pizza... Let's Do This!!!!

From Goodfella's, the Star Wars: Meteor Meatball Pizza as part of their Little Fella's range.

Sporting a cropped product photo and some Darth Vader stock imagery and modern orange 'Star Wars' logo to make the packaging eye-catching, the job is done well. There are also Frozen and Mickey Mouse: Clubhouse options too, but we'll focus on Star Wars for this entry. With a long-awaited movie sequel out in December and an animated show doing very well, Star Wars is set to be the big and more recent merchandise monster set to take Christmas 2015 by storm. Anything with Darth Vader and co pictured on is guaranteed to do big.


As an added bonus, the pizza box sports inside a Wordsearch puzzle and a couple of color-in and cut-out figures (see bottom of article). The cardboard figures are a random pairing of Boba Fett and Yoda from the original trilogy and are the only two to collect, as all the inside prints are the same (judging from the 3 boxes purchased).
 

These pizzas are a good serving size, but that is down to opinion. The packaging and website both shill the nutritional information of the pizza product, and they pull no punches doing so.

These are also great for kids parties, and at £1.50 a shot there isn't a lot of waste involved. There are arguably more unhealthily engineered kids-licensed foods out there, and small Disney branded pizzas claiming to provide one your '5-a-Day' aren't among them.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

NERF Zombie Strike Doominator!


Outdoor play is big business in the summer season. That means water blasters, bikes, sports equipment, and... NERF guns!

Under the Zombie-Strike sub-brand NERF has unveiled this beast of a gun - The DOOMINATOR!

The specs alone are impressive. four interchangeable 6-dart drums, 24 Zombie Strike darts, Shoots over 23 Metres, 3-position handle, and can fire up to 24 darts without reloading


I praise the NERF brand for the portrayal of audience in their TV advertising. Rather than narrow down to the school kid demographic, the commercials show a varied age range of NERF gun users demonstrating the products.


I'm a pushing-40 father of two and happy to add my contribution.

It is 2015 after all.



Out of my birthday funds, it was a choice between The Doominator or the Indominous Rex. Overall, I'm happy with the outcome. You never knew when or if a zombie outbreak might occur, and foam darts could mark survival of the apocalypse.

The best £/$30+ you can spend on ones self this summer. - "It's NERF or Nothing!"

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Cheetos Return to the UK!

"It ain't easy being cheesy".

For the first time in over two decades, Cheetos are being sold on British supermarket shelves.





The familiar Cheetos logo is there, but something noticeably missing. Or should that be someone?

Chester Cheetah, the snack brands signature mascot is nowhere to be seen. Why remains a mystery.

Chester could not be reached for comment.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Rowdy Roddy Piper RIP



Sad news this weekend with the passing of iconic wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Whether he was the bad guy or the babyface, Piper never failed to entertain. The moment I recieved the news, I dug out my old action figure I've owned since 91' via my BFF at school and whipped up a couple of skit photos. Roddy Piper has an endless collection of witty quotes and phrases from his promo and announcing work with much potential to work with.

Reader, Feel free to share these images.

-HERO