Category: general nerdery

Toy Review: WWE Ninja Superstars – Raphael as Sting (Playmates Toys)

If there is one action figure line that can get away with ridiculous variants and theme mashups it would have to be Playmate Toys’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.  The latest genre mashup was a result of a partnership with WWE which transformed our favorite foursome into new versions of some of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever to grace the squared circle.

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  • Leonardo as WWE Superstar John Cena
  •  Raphael as WWE Hall of Famer Sting
  •  Donatello as WWE Superstar Undertaker
  •  Michelangelo as WWE Hall of Famer “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Playmates Toys has been the master license holder for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for well … forever (1988 to be exact).  And when I was offered a chance to get an early look look at one of the Walmart Exclusive Ninja Superstar figures I couldn’t say no.

Once the package arrived I was greeted by Raphael as Sting, which in my opinion could be the truest Turtle-to-WWE Superstar translation of the series.  At the 6-inch scale, Raphael has 12 points of articulation and is capable of some really great poses despite his duster, which is more flexible than your would think just by looking at it.

 

img_3366As far as accessories go, Raphael comes with Sting’s iconic bat, a kendo stick and a trash can lid.  The paint applications are spot on and my review sample was free of any smudges or smears.  I imagine that this figure in particular will appeal to wrestling fans of a certain age as the height of Sting’s career was in the now defunct WCW (which was purchased by WWE in 2001).  I fully believe that the Leonardo as John Cena will sell because … John Cena.

Sting returned to the WWE Universe to much acclaim in 2014 with appearances in SummerSlam and Wrestlemania 31 and was enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.  In the grand scheme of things, this really isn’t the weirdest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mashup we have seen in the near 30 year old line.  The WWE Ninja Superstars are a fun combination of two of the more popular boys action figure lines right now.

 

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(L-R) Grand Slammin’ Raph (1991), WWE Ninja Superstar Raphael (2016), Classic Collection Raphael (2013)

 

As stated earlier, this limited series is a Walmart exclusive and has a MSRP of $19.99.  Now my toy hunting days are somewhat behind me, but I can tell you that I have yet to see any of these at the two Wally Worlds that I frequent.  If you can track one down, this would make an excellent gift for the 10 year old boy or the 34 year old man in your life.  Good luck and Happy hunting!

 

*Note – This figure was provided by Playmates’ Toys for review.  

 

I Went To The #ForceFriday Midnight Madness Event So You Didn’t Have To

file-sep-30-10-13-28-amThe official retail kick off for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story AKA Force Friday was officially underway at 12:01AM on September 30th, 2016. And because I was up anyway, I decided to take part in the midnight launch at my local Toys ‘R Us. I arrived at 11:55PM to find myself the 11th person person in line, at which time staff were handing out passes for their exclusive 6″ Black Series Imperial Hovertank Pilot.

There were also giveaways (provided you gave Geoffrey a high five) which consisted of a Rogue One Funko T-Shirt and a poster.  At the stroke of midnight they let us into the store and back to the Star Wars area which had been restocked with approximately 3 cases of Black Series figures (the Death Troopers and K2-SO were the first to disappear) and a ton of 3.75″ basic figures (5 POA), vehicles, role-play items and LEGO sets.

I was in the store for maybe 25 minutes, during which time maybe a grand total of 30 people came in (and even one female!).  The event was low key and very orderly and no one got stabbed, molested or harassed.  My haul was modest along with the giveaways, as I picked up a 6″ Black Series K2-SO and a 3.75″ Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels.

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Not interested in dealing with the teeming, sweaty masses?  Head over to our friends Entertainment Earth who have a huge Rogue One shop set up with everything you could possibly desire.

 

Has Wizard World Left the Average Fan Behind?

It’s almost May which means that ‘Con Season is nearly upon us.  Convention centers and hotel ballrooms across this great country of ours will soon be filled with cosplayers, panels, and merchandise that touches all corners of fandom, everything from Dr. Who and Star Trek to The Walking Dead and My Little Pony.

While nearly a quarter million people will be descending onto San Diego Comic Con in late July, most genre fans will find themselves walking into a convention put on by Wizard World.  In 2016, Wizard World is putting on 19 events (down from 25 in 2015), with stops in nearly every major metro market in the continental United States.

wizardworldfloorAlmost two weeks ago it was announced that Wizard World suffered a $4.25 million loss in 2015.  Overall convention revenue was down roughly 33% in 2015 and when combined with their obligations to the albatross of ConTV, a digital geek content channel, it made for a rough go of things for the ubiquitous convention promotion.  It came as no surprise that Wizard World President & CEO John Macaluso resigned from his position shortly after this news broke.

I’ve been attending Wizard World Philly pretty regularly for the better part of a decade and have seen the show grow exponentially in that time frame.  Now, there were years where the biggest booth was for Norton AntiVirus and there was no representation from Marvel or DC Comics on the show floor.  Oddly enough, there was always a Bath Fitter booth, which must be some kind of union thing.

Over the last five years Wizard World has become a very large (and very expensive) autograph fest spread over four days taking over nearly all of the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s recent addition.Four-day tickets will run you $89.95, with one day admissions varying in price.  (**Pro Tip, Saturdays are notoriously known to be shit shows, I prefer Fridays and Sundays).

These days, most of the show floor was been ceded to Autograph Alley, where genre A-Listers like Chris Evans, Chris Helmsworth and Norman Reedus will sign autographs for fans that paid anywhere from $350-1300 for VIP packages that guarantee signings, photo ops, panel seating, and “exclusive laminate passes”.  Vendors have seen their booth prices increase on an annual basis, so much so that some local comic shops don’t even set up anymore.

ww_hemsworth-evans-hiddlestonPresently Wizard World is advertising an Avengers VIP Package for $1350.00 where you can meet Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. That’s a mortgage payment for what would be an amazing memory, but one that your average fan will be paying off at 16% interest rate because they threw that charge on their credit card.  But at what point is it just too much, and fans refuse to show up?

Here’s the thing.  They always show up the Pennsylvania Convention Center will be packed out this June with the stench of unwashed Wookies and the Reading Terminal Market will be overtaken by Harley Quinn cosplayers.  And inevitably there will be a very sad 7-year old sobbing on the show floor who won’t understand why he won’t be able to meet Captain America.

 

Let’s Enjoy A Look Back at the 1980 LEGO Assortment Guide

In a recent haul of vintage LEGO, one of the highlights was a near pristine copy of the official LEGO Assortment Guide from 1980.  At this point I would probably start to sound 1980_LEGOAssortment_CVRlike one of those crotchety old AFOLS who proclaim that, “back in my day we didn’t have all these modern purpose specific bricks”.

This specific assortment guide spans only a few pages but features some classic sets from the LEGOLAND Town and LEGOLAND Space themes.  Duplo, the often maligned (and forgetten) Fabuland, and the Universal Building and Expert Builder Series are featured as well.  The back cover features something called the LEGO Homemaker series which where focused on girls and allowed them to, “furnish her imagination …. 4 different rooms you can build and play house with.”

But I think we should just let these catalog scans speak for themselves and take a minute to enjoy the nostalgia wave and pine after these sets that are now reaching astronomical prices on the secondary market.

Philly Nerd Alert! Check out Zolocon 2016 at The Fuge This Weekend

Look, it’s going to be really, really, really cold this weekend in the Greater Philadelphia area, and odds are you’re going to want to get out of the house at some point.  Well it just so happens that Zolocon 2016, Bucks County’s largest toy and comic show, is taking place on Saturday, February 13th in Warminster, PA running from 9:00AM – 3:30PM at The Fuge.

What better way to spend a few hours than perusing tables in search of that elusive StarMax Bomber from STARCOM or that LAST piece you need to complete Castle Greyskull?

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The Fuge is an awesome event space that used to be home to the most powerful human centrifuge in North America and was then known as the Johnsville Naval Air Development Center, which the US Navy used to develop technologies and training methodologies for the still developing manned space program.

Zolocon 2016 will boast 14,000 square feet of retro goodness, a slate of guest artists and celebrities along with enough plastic stuff and moldy four-color comic pages to make your heart go pitter patter.

Event Details:

Zolocon 2016
The Fuge . 780 Falcon Circle . Warminster Pa. 18974
Tickets – $7.00 at the door, children under 12 are free

Official Website – Zolocon.com / Facebook Event Page

Getting Back in the Water with TigerSharks, aka the ThunderCats of the Sea

In the year of our lord 1987, Rankin-Bass, the production company behind ThunderCats and SilverHawks, wanted to see if the third time was the charm and launched TigerSharks. Ostensibly, the TigerSharks were essentially the ThunderCats of the Sea.  The 22-minute series was part of their Comic Strip block of programming and aired only 26 episodes before cancellation later that year.  If anything, the TigerSharks maintained a decent theme song but the concept as a whole was a bit … salty.

Now the TigerSharks garnered their aquatic powers through the use of the “Fish Tank” onboard their submarine/spaceship dubbed the Sarc. Now this team of super-powered fish people traveled to the planet Water-O on a research mission where they ended up as protectors of the gentle Waterians and waged battle against the evil T-Ray and his minions.

With nearly twenty years removed from its last airing, I think we can all agree that TigerSharks is near unwatchable.  Aside from a brief cameo in the 2011 ThunderCats reboot, the TigerSharks have been barely a blip on the pop culture radar.  Now the one area that they remain popular is in the realm of obsessive toy collectors. LJN Toys produced a toy line of action figures that lasted just one series, but did not see massive distribution at the time due to a lack of interest.

tigersharksLJNThese days any of the TigerSharks action figures will fetch insanely high prices on the secondary market.  As someone who sees himself as a rather astute collector, I can honestly say that I’ve only seen a TigerShark action figure at a handful of toy and antique shows over the years with prices so high that convinced me that owning this particular piece of pop culture history just wasn’t worth it.

This Japanese “Star Wars” Commercial from 1978 is Absolutely Insane — 30ish Days of Star Wars

Back In 1978 the Japanese-based Hagaramo Foods Corporation decide to cash in on the Star Wars craze.  Except they didn’t sell sugary cereal or action figures as their primary product line was canned foods, which is notoriously boring.

hqdefaultWhat better way to get people excited about eating their product than to have a splashy, special effects laden commercial with the likes of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker? Now I’m sure there was Japanese ad executive who said, “of course we can get LucasFilm to sign off on this!”

It should come as no surprise that LucasFilm did not sign off on this licensing agreement which led to one of the most insane Japanese commercials in the history of insane Japanese commercials.

I’m not quite sure what my favorite part of this commercial is.  Right now it’s a close tie between the explosive entrance of Darth Vader and the roller skating C-3PO serving up a delicious tray of sea chicken in the most hilarious way possible.

I don’t know about you, but I could go for some sea chicken right now.

via [Tech Crunch]

Infuriating LEGO Math: The “Scooby Doo” Edition

img160x210_scooby-dooOn August 1st The LEGO Group will be releasing their line of sets based on Scooby Doo, which is a franchise that has been on television in one variation or another since 1969.  Cartoon Network is launching a new series, Be Cool, Scooby Doo, later this year and I guess it seemed as good a time as ever for some new merchandise.

Our LEGO Overlords are quite cruel when it comes to these licensed themes, breaking up teams across multiple sets to ensure that parents and AFOLs alike will have to spend a good amount of money to round out the group.

The members of Mystery Inc.are spread across five sets in this initial wave, with Shaggy and Scooby in every single set.  Velma and Fred appear in only one set each, with Daphne making an appearance in two sets.  There are two variations of Scooby Doo, one sitting and the other standing.  The sitting Scooby appears in two sets while the remaining three have the standing variants.

In order to complete the Mystery Inc. squad (that will give you both Scooby variants) you are going to have to pick up 75902 Mystery Machine, 75904 Mystery Mansion, and 75901 Mystery Plane Adventure at a total of $139.97!  Zoinks!!!!!

I have a distinct feeling that 75902 Mystery Machine will be the hottest seller of the bunch, and may prove difficult to locate at retail, much like 76031 The Hulk Buster Smash was leading up to the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Keep in mind this pricing is based on the prices listed at LEGO Shop @ Home.  If you are shopping at Toys R Us or any of the big box retailers expect to pay a little bit more of a markup.

Arm Chair SDCC ’15 – Hall H Line Chaos, Transformers Combiner Wars, Mondo’s Mutant Turtles and More!

ArmchairSDCC15The dust has settled on the first day of San Diego Comic Con as attendees are hurrying back to their hotel rooms to try and flip exclusives on eBay or sneak into industry after parties.

While the big panels in Hall H are gearing up for Friday afternoon, there still was a fair bit of awesome stuff coming out today.  Read on for some of the highlights from day one!

The Hall H Line Almost Descended into Chaos!

Apparently some unscrupulous Hall H line waiters exploited a weakness in the crowd control barriers and were able to sneak through an area that was intended for ADA use.  their victory was short lived as the Internet outed them and the SDCC Sheriffs sent them packing.

[via Comics Beat]

AutobotTF_SDCC Combiner Wars Seriess … COMBINE & ROLL OUT! 

Hasbro announced that a “grown up”  animated Transformers series will be debuting later this year on Machinima.  It will be based on the current theme of Combiner Wars, so expect lots of gigantic robot on robot action with none of the Micheal Bay!

The Autobot combiner Superion is featured on the key art which was unveiled at the Hasbro panel, so I imagine that he will be playing a big part along with Devastator, Bruticus along with the all-new, all-female combiner Victorion   [via io9]

Mondo Goes Mutant

SDCC TMNT MondoThe Austin-based purveyors of limited edition posters, vinyl records and t-shirts quietly got into the collectibles game last year.  One of the biggest surprises in their booth was that they acquired the license to produce 1/6th scale Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures.

These fully articulated action figures will have interchangeable heads for their comic and cartoon appearance along with a smattering of other accessories.

The word is that each of these figures will go for roughly $150 and Mondo is committed to producing the core characters.  The display was littered with teasers like Krang, Mousers and a 1:1 scaled Casey Jones mask.  These really do look fantastic but are WAY out of my discretionary spending budget.

[via Awesome Toy Blog]

Ben Affleck Will Direct the Solo ‘Batman’ Film

Everyone assumes at this point that part of getting Ben Affleck to sign on as the Caped Crusader was to guarantee that he’d get to direct himself in the planned stand alone Batflick.

Ben-Affleck-Batman-The biggest news is that Geoff Johns, DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer will cowriting the film with Affleck also.  It will be a while before Batman starts production as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League are all ahead of the project.

[via Comics Alliance]

The Uncanny & Unspectacular Marvel Experience

The Marvel Experience was billed an immersive multimedia event which allowed fans to interact with their favorite superheroes from the Marvel Universe.  The $30 million dollar production was set for a nationwide tour after premiering in Philadelphia in June.  However the production was beset by technical difficulties and poor reviews from the press and fans alike.

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The remainder of the tour was abruptly canceled by the producers, leaving many ticket holders disappointed, probably less so than those who actually went to the event.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Producers of the show — which includes 360-degree projections, holograms and a 4D motion ride — said Sunday that its big debut in Philadelphia will be its one and only stop. The Chicago, New York and St. Louis legs have been canceled.  Refunds will be available. No reason was given for the show’s abrupt cancellation.

The underlying reason why The Marvel Experience was shuttered was due to the fact that it was an overpriced mall attraction fraught with technical difficulties and poor word of mouth.

Reddit user Trill_McNeal relayed this rather ridiculous anecdote from their visit

We got stuck in the holding chamber between the two domes (where you get the safety briefing from spidey) for about 10 min. The hulk arm that was supposed to open the door at the end of the video malfunctioned and the door would only open a few inches then it shut. The workers just looked at each other and shrugged and let the video play again and tried to open the door at the end. It didn’t open so they let the video play again. It wasn’t a big deal, there were only about 20 people there at that point and we just thought it was amusing.

In his review on Philly.com, Nick Vadala expressed that the lack of cohesion was problematic and that technical difficulties were ever present.

At various stages, video screens froze and restarted themselves entirely. At others, Halloween costume-quality props hung a cheap pall over the Marvel Experience’s shot at being immersive. Not exactly what you’d expect for about $50 a person.

Interestingly enough, The Marvel Experience had already been retooled after its initial test run in Arizona last December.  It seems as though Hero Ventures was never able to execute their vision. This seems to be a trend as they were also behind the abomination that was Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.

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