Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Where have I been?

So there haven't been any updates to the blog for a long time now.  I've been really busy with work and a permanent international move.  If you've ever moved to another country before, you'll understand. ;)


I've also been really busy selling a large amount of my toy collection, and dealing with shipping what was left to my home in Spain.  I've sold over 1000 of my 3.75" figures since June 2014, and sent over 80+ pounds of plastic goodies to my apartment.  I will be back posting more soon once I get life sorted out better.

Monday, March 3, 2014

#052: Uncle Owen (2010 SDCC Comic Pack)

#052: Uncle Owen (2010 SDCC Comic Pack)

Uncle Owen

Character Name: Owen Lars (Uncle Owen)
Series/Property: Star Wars
Toy Line: Saga Legends Comic Packs / EU: Visionaries / San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive
Company: Hasbro
Year Released: 2010
Size/Scale: 3.75 inches
Original Retail Price: US$14.99
Character's First Appearance: Star Wars (1977)
Toy Based on Appearance in: Star Wars (1977) / Dark Horse Comics
As portrayed by: Phil Brown
Style: Modern Action Figure

I haven't been keeping up with this for a while, need to keep documenting the collection so I stop buying doubles!  Anyway, today we look at the best Uncle Owen figure to date.

There have been three Uncle Owen figures released to date- one in a 3-Pack from the 90's, one that was included in the Disturbance at Lars Homestead set, and this one, which sources from a comic book from Dark Horse that brings back Darth Maul, just with robot legs.  I am not a fan of the comic, or the Darth Maul comes back to life plot, which was also used for The Clone Wars cartoon series.  What was great about Star Wars was imagination and new things, new characters and creative ideas; not tired old comic book cliches.   It also was the final nail in the coffin for the TV too, at least for me.

This Uncle Owen figures is very well articulated, so he can deny Luke a trip to Toshi Station in any pose you desire.  The cloth goods are well done, very similar to the coat the EPII Owen had as well. The figure is sourced from a comic which takes place between EPIII and EPIV, rather than the EPIV film, so his hair is not as gray as the film, but I think it looks good.  Sometimes toy companies overdo gray hair on older figures, making them look either too white, or too dark gray.  This one looks pretty good in my opinion, but maybe some will want to give him a hit of gray paint to match the movie better.

Since it comes with a robot Maul figure too, this SDCC exclusive set has risen in price quite a bit over the years, and it can be difficult to get the set at a low price.  It was available for $14.99 in 2010 after SDCC was over from the HTS website, and was often discounted in the year that followed.  I was able to pick up several of these sets for under $5 each on eBay, with plans to trade them in the future (Hasbro SDCC exclusives have a tendency to be difficult to get, both at the show and online afterwards.)  And as the price increased, I sold all of my extras for ever increasing amounts.  Even my loose Maul went for over $50 in 2013.  In 2014, this set is selling on average around $50-100 for one mint in sealed box, making it one of the more expensive sets of the modern era.  This type of price increase is to be expected at this point for the 3.75" EU characters.  I don't think it's worth quite that much (especially if you just want the Uncle Owen figure) but like many other EU figures, and toy collecting in general, fan demand sets the price, and patience is your friend.  There's been a few that have gone for under $30 shipped in the last 2-3 months, which is great for those with small wallets and lots of time to search for a lower price.  Which reminds me, one day I should do a post specifically geared towards new 3.75" Star Wars collectors, as often new fans overspend on some items, and hold out hope to get rare, expensive pieces at bargain prices that just ain't gonna happen...

I love this character, and hope the figure is reissued one day.  It's definitely a must have for fans of the original 1977 film.  Now if only they'd do a new Aunt Beru to match- I doubt that will happen.


Sources:

Wookieepedia:  http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Owen_Lars

Rebelscum:  http://www.rebelscum.com/tvcEXSDCC_Maul-Owen.asp

16 Useless Star Wars figures (that I love): http://io9.com/the-16-most-useless-star-wars-figures-in-the-galaxy-1467580491

Thursday, January 2, 2014

#051: Escape Pod - 2004 Tatooine Escape Deluxe Ultra Figure

#051:  Escape Pod - 2004 Tatooine Escape Deluxe Ultra Figure

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Character Name: Escape Pod
Series/Property: Star Wars
Toy Line: Saga 2004 (included with C-3PO Tatooine Escape Deluxe Figure)
Company: Hasbro
Year Released: 2004
Size/Scale: 3.75 inch scale
Original Retail Price: US$9.99 (for the whole set)
Character's First Appearance:  Star Wars (1977) (Episode IV: A New Hope)
Toy Based on Appearance in: Star Wars (1977)
Style: Modern Action Figure Vehicle

One of the few items made depicting the escape pod.  Interesting as it was heavily featured in the promotions for the first film, and was one of the first vehicles (as part of a playset) in the Kenner line of the 70's.

This was an accessory to the C-3PO "Ultra" figure.  Basically the "Ultra" figures were like the "Deluxe" lines of the 90's, just much, much cooler.  Many retailers were burned in the 90's by the poor-selling Deluxe lines and did not order many of the Ultra figures.  Their higher price point also scared many away when they were at retail almost a decade ago.  I was not one of these people.

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I think it may be a little small for scale, but it looks great in your diorama.

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The pod opens and you can store R2-D2 and C-3PO figures inside.  Sadly, no window for them to look out and complain about things.

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Down the LFL rabbit hole.

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Included is this C-3PO figure.  He's pretty cool, but his face is a little too cartoony.  He can completely disassemble (including head) similar to the vintage figure.  We'll cover him on his own later.  There are better options now, nine years later, but many collectors still prefer this version.

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The total package.  For a few years this was considered the best C-3PO available by many collectors.  I think it still holds up well today.

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Nice detailing to the engines.  The three little engines on the bottom can swivel.

I could see someone taking amazing pictures at a beach with this just this set and an R2-D2.

Sources:
Wookieepedia: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/R2-Q2
Rebelscum:  http://www.rebelscum.com/sw04ultrac3po.asp

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

#050: Batman (The Dark Knight Returns) - 2013 Batman Unlimited (DCUC / MOTUC)

#050: Batman (The Dark Knight Returns) - 2013 Batman Unlimited (DCUC / MOTUC)



Frank Miller Batman


Character Name: Batman
Series/Property: DC Comics Universe
Toy Line: Batman Unlimited / DC Universe Classics
Company: Mattel
Year Released: 2013
Size/Scale: 6 inches / 7 inches
Original Retail Price: US$19.99
Character's First Appearance: The Dark Knight Returns (1986)
Toy Based on Appearance in: Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (1986) / Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Animated; 2012/2013)
Style: Modern Action Figure

One of my 80's dreams come true:  a Frank Miller Batman figure.  While there has been a few made over the years by DC Direct, a statue, and other merchandice made of this design (not to mention my friend's tattoo) this figure uses the Masters of the Universe classics body to make it a similar build as in the comic.  Actually this figure isn't based on the comic, as it's face shows.  It's based on the so-so animated movie from 2012-13- hense the smoothed out face, lacking all the wrinkles and grit Miller put into the art of the comic.

Batman Unlimited Dark Knight packaged

Batman Unlimited Dark Knight packaged

As you can see, the packaging is modern, boring, and awkward, with a lot of wasted space.

DCUC Batman TDKR

Batman shines once he's freed from his plastic prison.

Batman - Frank Miller

It's a really nice figure, and a must have for Dark Knight fans.

Sources:

Cool Toy Review:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#049 Luke's X-34 Landspeeder - 2002 TRU Exclusive Saga Luke Skywalker and Landspeeder

#049: Luke's X-34 Landspeeder - 2002 TRU Exclusive Saga Luke Skywalker and Landspeeder

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Character Name: X-34 Landspeeder (Luke's Landspeeder)
Series/Property: Star Wars
Toy Line: The Saga Collection (2002)
Company: Hasbro
Year Released: 2002
Size/Scale: 3.75 inch scale
Original Retail Price: US$19.99 (for set with figure)
First Appearance:  Star Wars (1977)
Style: Modern Action Figure Vehicle


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While a more accurate version has come out since, I like the VHS-colored speeder still.  Note mine has a slight bend on the top engine pylon; this was very common on these toys at the time of release.  It took me months to find one in as good as shape as this one is.

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with TLC Obi-Wan and VOTC Luke Skywalker

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All it needs is C-3PO and R2-D2 in uncomfortable positions in the back, and we're good!

Lars Homestead Display
My modest Lars Homestead shelf display in disarray while moving, 2013.

The Luke figure it comes with is useless nowadays, while it is pretty cool, there are several much better versions to buy.

Sources:
Wookieepedia:  http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/X-34_landspeeder
Rebelscum:  http://www.rebelscum.com/sagalandspeeder.asp

#048: Moisture Vaporator - 2008 Legacy Collection TRU Exclusive Disturbance at Lars Homestead

#048: Moisture Vaporator - 2008 Legacy Collection TRU Exclusive Disturbance at Lars Homestead Set / 2007 30th Anniversary Collection Luke Skywalker (Moisture Farmer)


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Character Name: Moisture Vaporator (Toys R Us Exclusive Disturbance at Lars Homestead Box Set)
Series/Property: Star Wars
Toy Line: The Legacy Collection
Company: Hasbro
Year Released: 2008 / 2007
Size/Scale: 3.75 inches
Original Retail Price: US$49.99 (for entire Homestead set); US$6.99 (for Luke figure version)
Character's First Appearance:  Star Wars (1977)
Style: Modern Action Figure Diorama Accessory

An amazing accessory.  Great detail and heft for the price.  Even the little control panel is present.  Can you believe they made these?

The more pearl colored version is from the Disturbance Exclusive set.  The more matte one came with a Luke Skywalker figure in 2007, which still holds up pretty well today (it is a little stiff and Anime-style.)  Both can be pricey alone and I've found it's best to wait and find the complete sets for cheap and trade what you don't want with other collectors.  As always, patience will keep your wallet happy.

I need more of them!

Sources:
Wookieepedia:  http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Moisture_vaporator
Rebelscum:  http://www.rebelscum.com/tlcBPlarshomestead.asp
Rebelscum:  http://www.rebelscum.com/TAC18luke.asp

Monday, December 30, 2013

#047: R2-Q2 - 2006 EE Exclusive Astromech Droid Pack Series 1

#047: R2-Q2 - 2006 EE Exclusive Astromech Droid Pack Series 1

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Character Name: R2-Q2
Series/Property: Star Wars
Toy Line: Saga 2006 Entertainment Earth Exclusive Astromech Droid Pack Series 1
Company: Hasbro
Year Released: 2006
Size/Scale: 3.75 inches
Original Retail Price: US$39.99 (for the whole set)
Character's First Appearance:  Star Wars (1977) (Episode IV: A New Hope)
Toy Based on Appearance in: Star Wars (1977)
Style: Modern Action Figure

This grey robot was shown twice in the first Star Wars movie, first onboard Leia's ship the Tantive V at the beginning of Star Wars. It's shown captured by stormtroopers being led down a hall with other human prisoners.  Then, later on in the movie, it was also in Luke's friend Biggs' X-Wing fighter when it was shot down.

So is it two different robots, just painted similarly, which would make sense?  Or is it the same astromech, rescued by Biggs when he returns to his Imperial ship and brought to Yavin IV to serve the Rebellion?  Remember there is a cut scene where Biggs is on Tatooine at the beginning of the film, telling Luke about his plans to defect to the Rebellion.  Maybe he returns to his Star Destroyer, and rescues the prisoner Rebels and R2-Q2 in order to find out where the hidden Rebel base is.  But, wait, isn't Darth Vader and a ton of loyal Imperials up there on high alert scouring Tatooine for the Death Star plans?  How could they rescue all these robots and soldiers and get away clean? Or maybe it was just the prop people working on the movie, they thought that R2-Q2's dome was too cool of a design to be used just once, and used it again.  Maybe I shouldn't think about this type of stuff too much.

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A variety of Star Wars robots, circa 2011.

Sources:
Wookieepedia: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/R2-Q2
Rebelscum:  http://www.rebelscum.com/tscastros1.asp