Episode 099: Faultful

CaptureIn this episode, we are jam packing the road to 100 with all the content you’ve come to know and love from your 2 favorite dive bar pool table enthusiast dillwads, snark and filth fully intact, so strap in and prepare for this extra long extra nerdery filled episode, gang!

We start off with a review of the recent 5 Part WWE Network Docu-series, Undertaker: The Last Ride, and the reveals and revelations within as The Undertaker AKA Mark Calaway comes to terms with the end of his legendary 30 year in ring career in this unprecedented look behind the curtain.

After that we unveil the OFFICIAL Nerd Blitz ranking of every single Scooby-Doo series, then we have a deep diving, all encompassing Pimp Spot that leads to the 2nd half of the show being the perfect example of this show’s title, so kick back and relax as we bring this 1st 99 episodes of the main show to a hopefully satisfying close!

Nerd Blitz · Episode 099: Faultful

URL: Episode 099: Faultful
Direct Download: tnb099.mp3

Fitz’s Toy Chest Special Feature #1: Thundercracker Build

Greetings everyone and welcome to a Toy Chest SPECIAL EVENT! This will be the first of what I hope will be an ongoing feature in the weeks to come where I chronicle my adventures attempting to pick up new vintage items for my various collections that I missed out on as a kid.

This week I’m going to take you inside a Thundercracker rebuild!

I’m not sure if “rebuild” is the right term, but it’s what I’m going to use.

What do I mean by “rebuild”? Well, I recently got my hands on a G1 Thundercracker fuselage and wings, far from a complete specimen, so I decided to search eBay listings for the missing pieces.

While that was relatively easy, there were a few missteps along the way and some important things I learned while trying to re-assemble him with pieces orphaned from random broken Thundercrackers.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

First, some background.

Thundercracker was one of the 3 Decepticon jets based on real life US F-15 fighters. Along with Starscream and Skywarp, he completed the trio of jets that were the muscle of the original Decepticon lineup. In the original Takara toy line, these 3 jets were referred to as “Seeker Jets”. I have no clue what that was supposed to mean, but it sounds pretty damn cool.

Of the original 3 jets, I had Skywarp. My best friend at the time had both Starscream and Thundercracker so together we had the full assortment to terrorize our Autobots with.

While these jets are all basically identical, each has its on unique color scheme that somehow manages to make them seem like completely different toys.

For some reason, Thundercracker always appealed to me more than the other jets. I think it was the specific blue they used that I really dug. It always reminded me of the color of a baseball helmet.

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The picture above is obviously NOT my Thundercracker, but it is cool to see one mint in box. Notice how it’s still completely bare with no stickers added yet (that’s right kids, back in the day ALL major toy lines expected you to put your own stickers on).

Honestly when I started this, I was just looking for a reasonably priced Thundercracker to buy outright, but unfortunately like most old toys, “complete” sets are usually much much more than ones with missing or broken pieces.

So, eventually I settled on a lot that was the main body, wings and tail uprights. It looked pretty good even though the decals on the wings were more than a little rough. It was missing several pieces (important ones too) but the price was right and I figured it would be a fun challenge to source all the missing pieces.

It also felt kind of spiritual in a weird way, to be taking these cast off pieces and putting them together to make a complete toy. It felt like I was helping these pieces of plastic achieve their full potential after being abandoned for decades.

This is the listing that I purchased. You can see right away that it is missing its tail fins, fists, and front landing gear, but otherwise it’s in pretty decent condition and looks like it fits naturally with the rest of my collection. (Yes it’s missing accessories too, but I plan to worry about that later)

Uh-oh. Wait a second. When I put those wings on the body something didn’t look quite right. Can you spot the problem?

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WTF is up with that right wing? Why doesn’t it fit flush against the fuselage?

And here is where the trouble begins, and my fun little project gets way nerdier than I ever anticipated.

Turns out, Takara must not have been the most consistent when it came to stamping these babies out. Doing some research I learned that not only are there multiple different variations in the COLOR OF BLUE that these plastic parts were molded in, but also, there are 2 distinct types of wings. One kind with short pegs, and one kind with long pegs. Long peg wings only fit bodies that were made in the same run as the wings. So guess what?

One of my wings was now incompatible with this body style.

As you can see, one post is clearly longer than the other. What I needed now was a short post replacement.

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Off to eBay I went again now looking for a wing with a shorter post. The problem with eBay nowadays is that toy sellers seem to only be interested in selling “complete” items. So anytime a spare point comes up they’re quickly snatched by someone essentially doing exactly what I’m doing only their intent is to sell the thing when they’re done.

Finding single bits and pieces proved more difficult than I thought, but eventually I did find a set of wings with shorter posts and had to settle for buying a pair instead of just one. The upside turned out to be that the stickers on both new wings were in way better condition than the ones I originally purchased with the lot.

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With the wing situation sorted, it was time to find the tail fins. Here again, finding spares on eBay was a challenge. Unlike the wings, I did eventually find a listing for a pair of fins. Curiously, the description of these fins said “large tab”. I wonder what that could mean? Oh well they look perfect. Buy.

Aaaaaaand here’s problem number 2.

Apparently, in addition to different wing post sizes, there were also differences in the tail fin posts and the holes in the vertical black fins that the tails fins snap into. You guessed it, “large tab” and “small tab”.

Which size do you think my vertical fins were? If you guessed “small tab” because the universe always screws me, then you’d be correct.

My brand new tail fins didn’t fit. Looks like they would fit, but don’t let this picture fool you, they didn’t.

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So, now the question became, which one do I change? The tail fins with the big tabs or the vertial fins with the small holes? Turns out eBay chose for me because I could not find small tab tail fins to save my life. I returned once again to the awesome eBay seller WheeljacksLab and they were able to hook me up with large hole vertical fins.

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As you can see in this picture the difference in hole sizes is almost imperceptible.

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But just like magic, the new tail fins fit the new black fins perfectly and once I had those swapped out on the fuselage it was time for the next piece of the puzzle.

Thankfully, the fists were pretty easy to find, although as usual noone had a listing for a set of BOTH hands together. Instead I had to get them from 2 different sellers and of course, pay double shipping. Thanks guys.

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By this point I was running short on funds and patience so I decided to wait on the landing gear and accessories for a future date. For now my quest for parts was complete and I could finally re-assemble a mostly intact Thundercracker.

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Notice how the new wings both fit flush against the body of the plane. You can also tell the slight difference in the aging of the stickers (and the placement now that I look at them, one Decepticon logo is much farther back on the wing than the other. Must…fight…OCD)

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For now I consider this re-build to be complete. I wasted money. I learned some stuff. I wasted more money, and learned yet more stuff. He still needs missile pods, missiles and front landing gear, but there’s time for that later.

All things considered I think this turned out pretty well and despite a couple of snafus with replacement parts it was definitely a satisfying experience to cobble together a “new” toy from discarded and incomplete bits of discarded toys. I’ve always had a habit of anthropomorphizing my action figures and other toys, so I like to think that this Thundercracker is happy to have most of his parts back.

He looks damn good in my collection too, the wear and tear fits in perfectly with my original Transformers. You can see the comparison here with my original Skywarp.

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I definitely plan on doing this again at some point, and next time hopefully I won’t get burned by incompatible parts. At least I’ll be aware of the possibility and double check before clicking that “Buy It Now” button.

Well, that’s it for this first ever Toy Chest Special Edition. Hope you enjoyed it and enjoyed learning from my mistakes. Until next time, happy hunting!

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Share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TNBToyChest, and let us know what you think! And if you want, let us know what some of your favorite toys were growing up!

Episode 098: We Are Birth

20200626_163518.jpgIn this episode, we are all over the place as we jam pack this show with all the news and opinions you’ve come to know and…I guess tolerate from the two biggest yahoos you apparently stumbled across while you were drunk or forgot to hit pause that one time and now your podcast app won’t stop downloading it so you’ve just grow to accept it…I mean, what?

Doom comes in hot with a (surprise surprise) pissy fuckin’ attitude cause somebody pushed his buttons by showing him an article that was dumb as shit, and then he calms down and Fitz brings up an article that made him have a rage boner too.

Scooby-Doo, Star Wars, Star Trek, the last movies we saw before the world ended, are all topics on the table as well as us eulogizing iconic comic book writer and editor Denny O’Neil, then we ponder why Amazon packaging is completely dogshit for books and everything else now, all that and more as we continue the long trudge to ep 100!

P.S. Watch for some additional B-Roll content from this episode that will be dropping on Patreon soon!

Nerd Blitz · Episode 098: We Are Birth

URL: Episode 098: Goddamn, You Are In A Mood
Direct Download: tnb098.mp3

Episode 097: Goddamn, You Are In A Mood

scoob-trailerIn this episode, betrayal is in the air, every where I look around…betrayal is in the air, every sight and every sound, and the stank permeates the entire opening 30 minutes of the show and sets us on a rageful path for the rest of the episode, and also fun happens…we swears it!

A brand new friend and his son stop by to promote a new project and it may or may not lead to one of the most disturbing things in Nerd Blitz history and as you may well know, loyal listener, that is saying quite a lot, also we learn what the primary mode of communication is for one of us!

Doom is in a pissy ass mood (shocking, we know) as we talk Scoob!, Star Trek: Discovery, and our recently launched Patreon as Fitz almost agrees to something that has been joked about for nearly 4 years and nearly brings the show to an end before we make it to our star studded 100th episode spectacular!

URL: Episode 097: Goddamn, You Are In A Mood
Direct Download: tnb097.mp3

Fitz’s Toy Chest #17: Brad Turner

Hey guys welcome back to a new installment of Fitz’s Toy Chest. Over the last 16 entries in this series we’ve taken a look at items from the 3 of the 4 biggest toy lines of the 80s (sorry MoTU fans, I never got into those figures).

Recently I’ve been remodeling and reorganizing my basement and in the process I unearthed some more obscure toys that I absolutely loved as a kid.

This week we’re going to be taking a look at one of those toy lines which naturally had its own afternoon animated series as well. Produced by Kenner, this line of toys was really all about the vehicles, with the small scale figures as accessories.

Of course I’m talking about M.A.S.K. And today we’re featuring my first purchase in this line.

Condor w/ Brad Turner
Company: Kenner
Acquisition Year: 1985
Acquired via: Purchase (Venture)
Years In Possession: 35

M.A.S.K. stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, basically a team of agents and their Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark-ish leader Matt Trakker. Together they worked to fight crime and a terrorist group known as V.E.N.OM.

Trakker, much like Tony Stark uses his vast wealth and techno smarts to equip his team with super cool transforming vehicles as well as unique masks for each member that have specialized powers.

Naturally, the leader of V.E.N.O.M. was partners with Trakker at one point and betrayed him taking a bunch of tech with him, so of course his band of criminals all have the same kind of masks and transforming vehicles as the M.A.S.K. team.

Trust me, it’s as hokey as it sounds, but the show was pretty well animated, the designs were DOPE and most importantly the toys were so cool!

Unlike the Star Wars line where vehicles were always “figures sold seperately”, M.A.S.K. figures came with their designated vehicles (later they introduced battle packs of figure repaints that came 2 figures per card).

And that isn’t the only difference. Another unique feature that set these toys apart was how small the figures were. The standard size of figures back then was 3 3/4″. Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Indiana Jones, Tron, you name it they were all 3 3/4″ tall. He-Man broke that mold by going larger, while M.A.S.K. went the other direction. Each figure in the line was roughly the size of a jawa from the Kenner Star Wars collection.

The figures were relatively simple in their sculpt and paint jobs, most of the focus was put on crafting the masks, but the real focal point were the highly detailed and transformable vehicles.

As I said, Brad Turner was the first M.A.S.K. toy I bought for two reasons. 1, being one of the smallest vehicles it was also one of the cheapest, and 2, who doesn’t think a motorcycle that converts into a mini-copter is a badass concept?

Brad Turner’s mask (like all the others) was my favorite part of these toys. While the vehicles were obviously intended to be the main attraction, I loved the characters and was way more into the figures. Which I guess is true of all the toys I collected. For me the figures have always been the point of collecting.

All the vehicles and masks had their own names. For Brad Turner, his vehicle was codenamed “Condor”, which is a pretty apt name. Likewise his mask has a similar on-the-nose name. Its ability was that it could project holographic images to confuse and fool the enemy, so naturally it was codenamed “Hocus-Pocus”.

One thing that always looked bizarre, and is indicative of how little emphasis they put on painting these figures, is his goggles are all black. Lenses and all. Just a blob of black paint. To further the weirdness, his eyebrows (for some reason) were sculpted above the goggles and also painted black. The problem is, the head of the figure is so small there’s no room for seperation between the goggles and eyebrows, so it just makes for a bigger black blob.

Couple the dark goggles that look like sunglasses with the dark hair and this figure always reminded me of Roy Orbison (interestingly the figure’s head is considerably off model from the very NON-Roy Orbison design on the cartoon).

Anyway gang I’ve rambled enough. Look for more M.A.S.K. figures in the coming months as well as toys from other properties that will be making their debut!

Share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TNBToyChest, and let us know what you think! And if you want, let us know what some of your favorite toys were growing up!