Sunday, 13 October 2019

Halloween Mood Table 2019



It’s Mood Table showcase time, and this year we’ve gone for a different approach…

Arguably, these are mood shelves, but shelves are part of the tables family (kind of). Figured Out this Halloween has a two-tier offering of Monster Mash goodness! 

 
Some old favorites from previous years have returned and are joined by new additions. There's also more lights added in!





There’s a lot going on with all the spooky clutter; so a lot of photos and video have been taken to record this pop-up display as much as possible.

This was an awesome display to put together, and I may use the shelf approach again next Halloween. Looking back at it now, I think there's more I could add to it and how next years could be executed differently. That's part of the fun!



As always, the credit for this idea goes to Dinosaur Dracula who kicked off this tradition in the first place! The influence of the Halloween Mood Table continues through many folk online and always worth a Google search to see how others have made up thier displays.

The Mood Table is without a doubt the Christmas Tree of October and deserves more recognition.

These just keep getting better! 

Friday, 11 October 2019

H.O.P.E vs S.T.O.P & The 2nd Coming of Optimus Prime.



During the late 80’s Transformers had “The Masters” bulking up the toyline with sidekick Nebulons that changed into their heads, guns and engines. A brilliant concept that meant for the partnership of two toys one big and one small that generated extra play value.

“The Masters” had a great run and also meant for return of toys like Hot Rod and Cyclonus now paired with Targetmaster gun partners. 

A big event during the run made for the return of the main bot himself Optimus Prime with a bigger and more powerful design after his demise in both the Animated Movie and Marvel Comic canons. The true Matrix Bearer was making a comeback to the toy shelves, and it was exciting!

Powermaster Optimus Prime, a beefier toy than the original Diaclone design that had a combinable trailer, a Nebulon wingman in “Hi-Q” and more arsenal than before.

It was a must-have toy that sadly I struck out with! Despite opening up a junior Building Society account to save for one - I made about £5.84 towards the £25.99 goal which was later drawn out in the 90’s towards buying a games console. It wasn’t until 2002 I purchased online the re-release of Powermaster Prime’s Japanese counterpart “God Ginrai” (Powermaster Prime with even more extras) that made the 14-year wait worth it.

Ironically, the purchase was the same price I could have paid in 1988.


Optimus Prime’s return has meant for promotional goodness! Hasbro UK launched a fun S.O.S campaign abreast of the already existing Robot Points promotion (where ‘collect and save’ coupons could be cut out from the toy packaging). The storyline behind this campaign is explained in the scanned images. Optimus has gone AWOL and lost his memory whilst exploring (like Autobot leaders do) and it is up to two opposing factions to get to him: The Autobot stable of H.O.P.E (Help Optimus Prime Escape) consisting of Hot Rod, Chromedome and Sureshot; or S.T.O.P (Search & Terminate Optimus Prime) featuring the Decepticon Gunner/Hypnotist tag-team of Triggerhappy and Mindwipe.
 


Any of these 5 Transformers could be purchased via mail away "Mission Enrolment" form on the promotional leaflet. Whilst these toys could already be purchased in the shops, the Robot Point coupons were like a pocket money shortcut to acquiring them.

Toys aside, the crown jewel amongst this promotion is the awesome “Optimus Prime’s Back” T-shirt. Featuring the box illustration from the Powermaster Optimus Prime toy accompanied by the text “I’m Back” on the front. This front design text validates that the “Optimus Prime’s back” behind design isn’t a shirt for Prime himself, but for a child at the time!

 
 Looking at the screenshots, you can agree that It’s an awesome shirt that deserves a homebrewed homage reissue for those of us who have grown a bit since 1988.

Optimus Prime is the comeback king of the robot world, featuring in any excuse for Hasbro to release a new toy version of everyones favorite 'red and blue lorry'.  30+ years since SOS, there's been multiple Primes including a modern "Titanmasters" remake of the Powermaster toy - none of which have had a cool T-shirt costing a 10th of todays inflation backing it. Long Live Optimus!


Monday, 23 September 2019

Cyber Combat 'Attaker' Dart Blaster


Whilst on a random return visit to Poundland, this fun little 'Nerf Knockoff" caught my attention.

And when I say Nerf Knockoff, I mean this little dart firing gun is an uncanny attempt at replicating the Nerf N-Strike Jolt Blaster. The Jolt (for those out of the loop) is a small Nerf gun that is reknowned for being quite powerful despite its size. A backlist of positive reviews on Amazon back this up and show the product continues to do well beyond its 2013 release.

This Poundland offering is its own design, but the scale and pulldown trigger mechanism is very much the same. Despite looking different, it still feels like the Poundland factory this was made at took an existing Nerf Jolt and took some facelifting liberties for thier own lite-copycat creation.


Unlike that horrible dart rifle as shown in a recent Poundland related article, this gun is solid to hold and the mechanism doesn't jam. You're also given 3 bullet darts to fire, wheras the Jolt draws the line at 2. The ammo design is a pretty neat silver and grey design for that bullet effect. Werewolves Beware!


The question until now remains - "Does it fire!?". Oh yes it does! Though not quite as powerful as the Nerf Jolt, but pretty good for a £1 toy gun. The packaging (pictured) states the gun can fire up to 16ft. Exaggeration much? 


What we could be witnessing here is the possible start of Poundland replicating more versions of popular Nerf weaponry. This could be a hit or miss affair (no pun intended). Assuredly, "The ATTAKER Dart Blaster" passes the Figured Out tat test of approval - but when Poundland is involved, don't expect to be blown away (not another pun intended).

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

A £10 Evening In by Poundland 3


Four years have almost passed since the previous Night In byPoundland article. This 3rd and probably final chapter has been put off for a long time and finally another Tenner has been wasted on cheap tat to make this article a reality. 


On this occasion, it had to be a tenner well squandered - and in Poundland that is a task and a half! I made it to my local store with only 10 minutes before closing time and had to think hard and fast to make this haul as decent as possible! This time round, the items had to at least be usable with one another under the duress of closing time and duality of spontaneous but well thought acquisitions.

Making its return from the previous Poundland writeup is the aqua green/blue Sherpa blanket that provided the backdrop for the items.

Welcome back Aqua Blanket!

Here’s a rundown of what made its way back to HQ.

         1. CheeseBalls. 

      A popular Poundland snack stocked at the shelves nearest the tills. There’s also a Beefy Balls variant for which many store patrons chuckle over. Those were out of stock, so Cheeseballs it was!

         2. Smell Good Pens.

To say this product stinks has a double meaning. A pack of low quality gel pens that could have included more colors.  Still, something to write with (if pressed down on hard enough). Jumping ahead to entry 9. I wished I’d have chosen some paints instead.

3. Laser Combat Dart Rifle.

A Laser branded plastic rifle that fires rubber darts. The cheap plastic this was made of made for a lot of jamming. Nerf Darts actually fired better to a degree. There’s no danger of “Shooting your eye out” with this toy firearm, in fact no shooting at all.

4. Shark Mask.

If only these were out a year or two ago. These would have made great for Sharknado viewing parties. Still, Halloween is round the corner at the time of this purchase and my Street Shark low-budget cosplay could be sorted!  


5. Noodles.

A staple of tatshop nights in. We’ve had noodles before on a previous Poundland article, but this is a different set of 3. Sadly, not as good though.

6. Ghostbusters Slime Tub.

This is no way a patch on the Kenner Ecto-Plasm from the 80’s, but works nicely as a no-frills container of Slimer Slime with the Ghostbusters branding on. From what I gather, these don’t retail outside the UK/Europe. They’re also the perfect size for stocking fillers!

7. The Adventures of RoboRex DVD.

How anyone can title a standalone movie “The Adventures of…” is hard to figure out. Starring Farscape’s Ben Browder and the guy who played Nelix in Star Trek: Voyager amongst a cast of kids and a CGI Dog and Cat. Oh, and a real dog too. It was either buy this riffable DVD or one of the Step Up sequels. Roborex almost deserves an article on its own. Here’s the trailer.




8. Prehisterror Dinosaur Egg.

One of the better items in the bunch! The label advertised a “Folding” dinosaur inside, whatever that was. The dino in question turned out to be a transforming sauropod figure that could fit back in the egg like a Transformers pretender shell. The shell works quite well with the Ghostbusters slime for added effect.

9. Brush Pack.

The Smell Good Pens aside, these are the most dud item of this haul. And when I mean dud, I mean that these don’t have any use with the other items unless imagination really pushed to. Still awesome for painting endeavours on other projects though.

10. A4 Sketch Pad.

Now, I really, really do regret not choosing paints over those awful pens. It would have brought this and the Brush Pack into full circle. This sketchpad is spiral bound, and better keeping together as a book rather than tearing out pieces. I mean, who wants a raggedy edge down one side of a masterpiece illustration?  

So there you have it. This probably is not the ‘all bets are off’ threequel article I hoped this would be but I’m glad we got there in the end.  



As for Poundland spending, this probably isn’t the end. There’s always a need for trashy items to suit a trashy occasion.

As for the misadventures in tat-spending, I have charted a new course and set bus fare aside for Brislington where a brand new B&M Bargains has moved in on Toys R Us’s old turf (Yep, the one with the rude staff on Force Friday). I foresee different ranges of tat treasure waiting to be acquired and rambled about.

Keep your excitement contained.