Fitz’s Toy Chest #9.5: Star Wars Toy Fair 2019, or, Dude I Think I Just Filled The Cup

Hey gang welcome back to the Toy Chest!

I know this space has been bare since the holidays, but real life happens sometimes. I hope to get back to bi-weekly posts soon, but I had to (Doom made me) pop back in to give my 2 cents on the big Star Wars news coming from Hasbro during this year’s Toy Fair!

(And before we start let me just say sorry bleedingcool.com, I’m totally using your pictures. I hope you don’t mind)

I’m not one to drool too hard over modern toys, especially from Hasbro, but…

Holy. Shit. What I’ve seen online the past two days looks incredible.

First, I want to go through the standard fare: Hasbro’s new additions to the Black Series line.

To me this line has been pretty underwhelming in the past. For the $20 price point on these things I would expect way better face sculpts. Some of them have been decent, but most have been downright awful.

But. I have to admit what they showed off this weekend looked really nice. The new waves have a good selection of characters from across the saga and their sculpts look pretty accurate. Of course I suspect they being higher quality pieces to Toy Fair than what end up on store pegs.

Of the lot they displayed, the 3 that caught my eye were:

1. Geonosis Padme – This figure looks beautiful. This is one of my favorite Padme looks of the entire PT and they really nailed it.

Screenshot_20190218-193524_Twitter.jpg

2. Chopper – I love this one just because it’s a large scale Chopper. The paint job is fantastic. The orange of his dome and the orange of the rocket fire provide a cool visual balance (although it does kinda look like he’s fart propelled)

Screenshot_20190218-193330_Twitter.jpg

3. Mimban Han Solo – This was easily the best looking figure out of the 6″ assortment. The details on the armor and the removable mask are dope af. The face sculpt really captures Alden Ehrenreich’s likeness. It’s been years and years since I’ve purchased a Star Wars figure, but I might actually need this one.

Screenshot_20190218-193659_Twitter.jpg

The 3 3/4″ Black Series had a big reveal as well, finally delivering a toy that Kenner promised way back in 1985 and then left us all hanging when they cancelled the entire Star Wars line.

Of course I’m talking about the Sarlacc Pit Skiff from Return Of The Jedi. I can still remember staring at the picture of it in the J.C. Penney Christmas catalog the year it was supposed to come out and dreaming of making my Jedi Luke walk its plank.

So it’s no wonder that I let out an audible gasp when I saw the picture of the new version from Toy Fair. I’m sure I won’t buy it, but it makes me feel good knowing it exists. This looks way better than the Power Of The Force 2 skiff that was released in the late 90s.

And if you were one of the lucky ass rich bastards that got in on that sweet 3 foot long Jabba’s Sail Barge they kickstartered last year, this Hasbro skiff is going to look amazing displayed next to it.

2e1943e34e9e47f5ab19259487379f09lg.jpg

Finally, I’ve saved the best (in my opinion) for last.

Over a decade ago Hasbro launched what I consider the crown jewel of their modern Star Wars lines, the Vintage Collection. I was so excited when I first saw them. Seeing those original package designs on the pegs made my palms sweat. My only issue with them was that the figures looked way too fancy. Something about the combination of the modern figure designs with old school packaging felt off.

Well. Much to the chagrin of hardcore vintage collectors, Hasbro is taking it up (or maybe it’s down?) a notch by releasing a new Vintage Collection line featuring not only repro packaging from the original line BUT also exact replica figures!

Splooosh.

These are a thing of beauty. With owning the real things being competely off the table for 99% of fans, these are a fantastic looking alternative (They even include shelf wear on the card back edges).

My only gripe (aside from them doing a big head Han instead of the better looking, imo, small head Han) is the obnoxious red circle on the packaging letting you know it’s definitely NOT a 40 year old toy. I feel like they could’ve come up with something a little less distracting. It really takes away from the overall look. Although, the more I look at it, the more it’s growing on me. It reminds me of the old mail away advertisements they would stick to the front of the cards back in the day.

Either way they look gorgeous. I can’t wait to stumble across these at my local Target. I might actually cry.

Screenshot_20190218-193223_Twitter.jpg

Screenshot_20190218-193836_Twitter.jpg

What’s even more exciting is that in addition to releasing original figures from the Kenner line, they plan to release characters that Kenner never made in that same chunky o.g. style.

Look at Tarkin! He looks legit right out of 1978. They even got the crotch right, using that same squared off leg joint design that the old figures had.

Screenshot_20190218-193356_Twitter.jpg

Overall I don’t think I’ve been this impressed by anything from Hasbro since the first wave of the Vintage Collection back in 2007. I’m almost definitely going to be buying a few of these. Just looking at the pictures makes me happy.

Ok enough of me drooling. If you want to see more of what was shown at Toy Fair, including a pretty overpriced “hyper real” Vader, go on over to bleedingcool.com they have a lot more pictures and information from the show.

Thanks for reading guys, come back next time for more toy talk!

Advertisements

Fitz’s Toy Chest #9: Superion

Hey guys welcome back.

This week I’m going to break format slightly.

Up until now every installment of Fitz’s Toy Chest has showcased an item that’s been in my collection since childhood. But this week will be a little different…

Every year around Christmas I’m reminded of the one that got away. My “Moby Dick” if you will. This year was no exception, and so I thought for this edition of the Toy Chest I’d share one of the few, possibly ONLY, item I had my heart set on as a child that Santa didn’t deliver on.

I’ve mentioned before what a hardcore Transformers kid I was between ’84 and ’87. It’s hard to believe that all of those Transformers memories took place in 3-ish years.

Transformers were awesome. And yet in 1985 they figured out a way to make transformers robots even AWESOMER.

How could they accomplish that you ask? Simple. By taking transforming robots and giving them the ability to combine together to form and EVEN BIGGER robot. Genius.

The first of these “combiner” teams was the evil Constructicons who, naturally, transformed into various kinds of construction equipment. Dumptrucks, cranes, cement mixers, etc. They could then combine together to form the titanic 50 foot tall Decepticon, Devastator!

When they debuted on the cartoon our minds were completely blown. How would the poor Autobots be able to fight off such a behemoth? And more importantly what would the toy look like? It didn’t take long to find out.

Hasbro release the constructicons both seperately and boxed together in a complete set gift box. I can still see the bright green and purple Constructicons singles hanging on the pegs at Sears (yes at one time Sears was an awesome toy store).

transformers-g1-devastator-brand-new-12fd

Is it bad but I can’t recall for sure whether I got the gift set or if I got them individually, but either way I got them and even though the toys didn’t quite fit together as nicely as they did on the cartoon, they were still badass and towered above the puny autobots. (Stay tuned for a future Toy Chest where I dig out my Constructicons…)

Then not long after the Constructicons were released, the answer to my second question came and as usual it came via the cartoon. How would the autobots defeat Devastator? Easy. By creating a combiner team of their own. The Aerialbots.

Aerialbots (Superion)
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1985
Acquired via: n/a
Years In Possession: 0

 

Air Raid, Fireflight, Slingshot, Skydive, and their leader Silverbolt (who I shit you not transformed into the Concord)

maxresdefault

These robots in disguise (as various airplanes) could combine together to form Superion, the natural enemy of Devastator.

63380

I wanted Superion SOOOOO bad. The anticipation for this toy’s release was crazy high. My friend and I would call both Toy Chest AND Children’s Palace multiple times a week to pester the poor clerks there about whether they had Superion in stock just so we could go look at it.

Every time we were met with confusion, irritation, and an inevitable “no”-click.

See the thing is, that first year they were available, it was almost impossible to find them. Like the constructicons, the aerialbots were released as a gift set containing all 5 planes and the pieces to form Superion.

transformers_g1_superion_aerialbots_gift_set_reissue_12789761_0

transformers-g1-superion-reissue-brand-new-c729

But UNLIKE the Constructicons, they weren’t release as single toys until later. They were also (if memory serves) released late in the year which made them one of the hottest toys that Christmas.

61073a3e-78ee-45f3-e0f4-fba87d9cc702

I think I managed to see the bundled set once in the store. Ever.

But it didn’t matter. I knew Santa would come through. (Yes, I know I was 12, stf up).

Christmas came and I did not. There was no Superion for me.

It sounds really terrible to talk about how disappointed I was. I got plenty of great stuff that year, and every year. We were lower middle class, we weren’t made of money, but my parents always made sure we never wanted for anything (well, for the most part we never missed out on stuff). So it feels really shitty to still be lamenting this after 30+ years (albeit in an exaggerated way to be humorous)

But still, this was a real bummer. And to make matters worse, my best friend DID get one. Jealous.

So at least I got to play with “a” Superion even if it wasn’t “my” Superion. It was better than nothing.

Vintage-1986-TRANSFORMERS-G1-SUPERION-AERIALBOTS-SILVERBOLT-VINTAGE

With the exception of maybe the Kenner Return of the Jedi sarlacc pit skiff (which was pretty much advertised and never produced meaning it would literally have been impossible to get) I can’t think of anything I wanted for Christmas and didn’t get other than this stupid hunk of metal and plastic.

Looking at it now, that toy is pretty awkward and kind of ugly as hell. I can also remember it being even harder to keep put together than Devastator. The design of its connections were definitely not well thought out, and the big robots body (which was Silverbolt) always had loose joints and stuggled to stay standing upright. Of all the many combiners they would eventually make, I think Superion had the most issues with this and was by far the most fragile.

tumblr_op6977SPRQ1qcrr5qo5_500

To this day, from time to time I circle ebay like a creepy old dude in a van, scoping out prices for a complete Superion. Out of the box it’s really not that pricey relatively speaking. Especially compared to MIB specimens.

One of these days I’m going to pull the trigger on one and fill the hole in my collection.

But for now I’m content just occasionally day dreaming about of one that got away.

Well that’s all for this special edition of the Toy Chest gang. Possibly the last entry of 2018. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to more vintage toy talk in 2019!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays. May you all get the Superion you were wishing for!

G1-Transformation-TFC-Superion-5IN1-KO-Reissue-Version-Action-Figure-Masterpiece-70s-80s-Classic-Collection-Robot

Fitz’s Toy Chest #8: Luke Skywalker

Hey guys, this week we’re opening Fitz’s Toy Chest and taking a look at what might be hands down my grimiest most well-worn and battle damaged Star Wars figure. I gotta be honest, I’m almost embarrassed by the state this poor guy is in.

Without further pre-amble, let’s take a look at the original 1978 Kenner Luke Skywalker.

luke.jpg

Before we move on, just take a second with me and marvel at how bright the colors are on this pristine carded figure. Look how WHITE his tunic is. It’s whiter than Dennis Hoff’s teeth (RIP). It’s unbelievable to me that my figure once looked like this.

Now.

This is what a well loved Luke figure looks like after years of rough play and 4 decades of exposure to sun, cigarette smoke, and less than ideal storage conditions…

20180922_131131

Luke Skywalker
Company: Kenner
Acquisition Year: 1978
Acquired via: Purchase, Gasen Drug
Years In Possession: 40

First off, in my defense, all of these guys in my collection that lost their heads and had to be glued back on, none of them were my fault. I literally did nothing to them and their heads would fall off. Luke was no exception, as you can see by the terribly crude glue job. I think this might have been the second repair on this figure’s head, probably done by my me instead of my dad, hence the unsightly glob of glue sticking out of his neck like a goiter.

20180922_131143

Unfortunately for Luke, that broken neck was not his only trip to the infirmary. You can’t tell from this picture but his non-saber arm is also glued back on and frozen forever in that position.

The final broken appendage on this figure is his left leg. You can see how much farther from his torso that one sits, even see daylight through the joint. As soon as this happened it meant this Luke’s days of piloting X-Wings and Landspeeders were over. He’s been standing ever since.

20180922_131221

You can also see how the paint has worn off of his hands, revealing the yellowing plastic underneath.

20180922_131201

It’s pretty amazing to me that I never replaced this figure back in the day. I had multiple Vaders and Chewies and Stormtroopers over the years, but never asked to have this guy replaced despite all the wear and tear. I’m not sure why, but I must’ve been really attached to this specific figure and a replacement was just not acceptable.

Anyway, now I’m off to scrub this filthy beast. I think he deserves a nice rub a dub in the tradtion of the wildly entertaining Toy Polloi.

Come back again in 2 weeks for some less disgusting toys.

20180922_131242

Fitz’s Toy Chest #7: Cobra Commander

Hey gang thanks for joining me for another look into musty toy collection!

So far in this series I’ve covered a couple of Star Wars mail-away figures.  This time I’m sticking with that theme but switching franchises!

In 1982, the first wave of G.I. Joe figures only offered 2 figures for the Joes to fight, a Cobra soldier and a Cobra “officer”. They basically looked identical with just a slight difference in their paint schemes.

Then Hasbro pulled a Kenner and introduced the first G.I. Joe mail in figure.  And it was a DOOZY.  No longer were these two hapless Cobra soldiers running around the battlefield willy nilly, now you could add their supreme leader to the fight!

75089

I can remember he arrived packed in just a clear plastic bag with his file card.  No cardback or bubble.  Which I should’ve mentioned in the previous mail in posts was the standard for these things.  No fancy packaging whatsoever.

Cobra Commander
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1982
Acquired via: Mail-in
Years In Possession: 36

This figure was a bold departure from the color schemes they had been using on these guys. Up until now they had been all greens and browns and navy blues.  But this cat came kitted up in a bright, almost baby, blue dress uniform.

20180922_123946

But what really made him cool was that mirrored face plate.  Unfortunately, it was around this same time that scratch off lottery tickets and other “scratch off” items were getting popular and to my stupid 9 year old brain I thought OH SHIT I wonder if you can scratch that silver off and reveal his real face?  Dumbass.  So that’s why mine is missing some of the silver paint.  Spoilers: there’s nothing underneath it.

20180922_123955

You can also see this one has the chest emblem that was only available on the mail in version of the figure.  Later they did put this guy out as part of other sets and as a carded figure, but the chest logo was tightened up and looks a lot smoother.

I also discovered a bit of trivia while looking up the history of this figure.  This was the last Joe figure to be made with the “straight arm” design, after that all the figures changed over to the swivel arm battle grip.

20180922_124005

Another cool feature of this figure was a unique channel on his back where you could snap his gun in and have him carry it on his back.  Mine never really stayed in place, and was lost to the ages.

This is one of my most prized Joes, and is one of the more rare and valuable loose figures around.  There were a couple of times I nearly parted with this figure during a figure swap of some kind with my cousin who was also way into G.I. Joe (possibly even more than I was).  I was very lucky not to have let this one go.  And even though his face is marred, shockingly his thumbs are still solidly intact!

That’s going to do it for another edition of Fitz’s Toy Chest!  Thanks for reading.  Come back in 2 weeks for another trip to the 80s!

20180922_124018

Fitz’s Toy Chest #6 – Bossk

Welcome back guys to another random pull from Fitz’s Toy Chest!

Last time I put the spotlight on a Kenner Star Wars figure it was a mail away figure and this time I’m keeping with the same theme.

The Empire Strikes Back introduced not only the most famous Bounty Hunter in the Star Wars universe but gave us and entire TEAM of a intriguing characters in what was basically a throwaway moment aboard Vader’s Star Destroyer.

Out of that crew the coolest and more interesting member has to be Bossk (not counting Boba Fett obviously). And Kenner must’ve felt the same because not long after the new ESB line of figures came out they gave Bossk the distinct honor of being first mail in figure since Boba Fett.

I saved up my proofs of purchase, mailed them off, and anxiously awaiting the agonizing 8 weeks for delivery. And guess what? It never arrived.

cdn_esb_31back_bossk_a

Bossk
Company: Kenner
Acquisition Year: 1980/81
Acquired via: Mail-in* (*special circumstances)
Years In Possession: 38

 

In today’s world of 1-click purchases on Amazon and 2 day shipping, it’s unthinkable that in 1980 you would literally put little pieces of cardboard in an envelope, address it, stamp it, and mail it, and then wait MONTHS to get your “free” figure.

But that’s exactly what I did.

Only my figure never showed up. I was crushed. What happened? Where was it? Was it ever going to come?

Weeks turned into months. By the time Christmas arrived that year I had given up on Bossk completely. It was so unfair. I did what they said. I mailed in my proofs of purchase and they stiffed me!

Then something amazing happened. When I was digging through my stocking I found….Bossk!!!

20180922_130953

Santa Claus sure was smart. He knew Kenner did me dirty and set things right.

It wasn’t until many years later that I put the pieces together and realized what had actually happened. And it was years after THAT (after I started to understand how cash strapped we were when I was growing up) that I understood WHY it happened that way.

Obviously that Bossk had been intercepted before I could find it in the mail, and it was the perfect way to pad Christmas without spending any additional money.

Anyway, onto the figure itself.

20180922_131001I was always fascinated by the shape of this fugure’s gun. Kenner reused a lot of weapons between different figures, for example X-wing Luke and Han shared the same gun, IG-88, Snowtrooper and Dengar all had weapons in common, hell even Boba Fett’s gun was just a repurposed Stormtrooper blaster.

It always stood out to me when a figure was given a unique weapon, and Bossk’s was definitely unusual.

20180922_131013

I also liked how the ESB bounty hunters were such a mishmash of other costumes. With Bossk it was the inclusion of the rebel pilot chest harness that captured my imagination. I’m not sure why but it looked very primitive and wild on him.

All in all, Bossk was one of my favorite action figures from the old Kenner line. He really stands out.

Well that’s all for this week gang, come back again in 2 short weeks for another dive into Fitz’s Toy Chest!

20180922_131026

Fitz’s Toy Chest: #5 – Hound

What’s up guys, welcome back to Fitz’s Toy Chest!

I’ve mentioned it before, but there were 3 main pillars of toy collecting in my life. I’ve shown you pieces from two of them so far, Star Wars and G.I. Joe. This week I’m digging into the third.

In 1983 I started seeing commercials for these new toys that could change from cars and jets into robots. As you can imagine, they blew my mind.

These toys were called GoBots and they were tits. I had at least half a dozen, maybe more. They were small, rugged and pretty inexpensive.

Then, in 1984 I saw something that made GoBots look like the hot garbage they actually were. Commercials started appearing for a line of GoBot killers. They were of course, Transformers.

Hound
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1984
Acquired via: Gift
Years In Possession: 34

744.jpgAt first I was resistant. I’m loyal to a fault, even in regards to toys. I didn’t want to like these GoBot ripoffs, but it didn’t take long for them to break me. They were bigger, shinier, more well designed and overall sexier than the the GhettoBots.

Their cartoon was even light years ahead of the shitty Challenge of the GoBots show.

Many of the G1 Transformers were just repackaged and rebranded toys from Japan. They were made with higher quality craftsmanship and the steps to “transform” them were far more complex. They were like action figure Rubik’s Cubes.

Of course they were also way WAY more expensive than GoBots, which presented a challenge for me, a kid from a lower middle income family.

I would obsess over the sale ads in the weekend paper, pointing out which ones were the coolest looking. For some reason I was drawn to the army jeep (maybe because it reminded me of G.I. Joe?)

It took awhile, but one day my dad came home from work with a surprise. My first Transformer. I don’t know where he got it, but it was the jeep, Hound.

20180902_152810.jpg20180902_145845.jpg

I loved it.

Did I mention the added fun of putting all the decals on yourself? They came completely unadorned with a small sheet of stickers and an instruction booklet. The instructions not only showed you step by step how to transform the toy, but where to put all the stickers.

Much like the Joes, Transformers had a profile card on the packaging. The gimmick with these cards were the ability stats were “encoded” for secrecy. To “decode” them, you placed a thin piece of red trandparent plastic over the card which canceled out the red noise printed over the stat graph. It was genius and captured my imagination.

20180902_152939.jpgOver the next couple years I took it DEEEEP with Transformers. It defined my Christmases in 84/85. It seems like that period lasted so much longer. It’s hard to believe that it was really just 2 years between my first introduction to Transformers and the release of Transformers The Movie which effectively killed my passion for the line for many years. Looking at it now, that movie is fantastic, but it’s hard to watch so many characters meet their brutal end. Definitely scarring for a kid.

Luckily I got over it, and to this day I love the G1 Transformers and enjoy revisiting the original cartoon (fuck you Beast Wars) from time to time.

Well, that’s all for this week guys. Join me again next time for another peek inside Fitz’s Toy Chest!

20180902_150406.jpg

Fitz’s Toy Chest: #4 – Anakin Skywalker

Welcome back to another edition of Fitz’s Toy Chest!

This week I’m going to take you back to the world of 80s Kenner Star Wars and share with you the very LAST figure in the original line that I ever purchased….

Anakin Skywalker
Company: Kenner
Acquisition Year: 1991/92
Acquired via: Purchase, Decades Of Toys
Years In Possession: 27

Yes you read that right, 1991/92.

But Fitz, wasn’t the original Kenner line defunct and totally out of stores by 1987?

You’re correct, it was.

By 1991 there was only one way to get your hands on Star Wars figures outside of the odd garage sale or flea market, and that was at a vintage toy store.

Before the very late 80s early 90s, there really was no such thing as a vintage toy store. You can practically thank the Kenner Star Wars toys for creating that niche business.

During my senior year of high school my friend Ken and I noticed a new store had opened up near the high school in the tiniest shithole building you could imagine. We saw it driving home one day and what grabbed our attention besides the garish yellow painted brick facade was the fact that out front the owner had set up some very familiar play sets.

“Is that the fucking Ewok Village?” I said in disbelief. It sure was.

The store was called Decades of Toys and it was a glorified hoarder’s basement.

When we finally went in there one day there was shit stacked EVERYWHERE. And nothing was even approaching “mint” condition. It literally felt like someone just gathered up all the old toys from everyone they grew up with and opened a store to sell them. I’ve since seen nicer flea market stalls.

But despite the thin film of grime and dust on everything, it was awesome to see so many vintage toys in one place. Not just Star Wars either, he had a little bit of everything.

The kind that owned the place looked like Doug Henning’s mildly retarded brother. Or a thinner version of the filmaker’s friend in American Movie. He didn’t say a word as we browsed around his shop, instead he just sat there grinning at us behind a pile of toys. It was pretty unsettling to be honest.

He had the gray trays from the old Star Wars vinyl collector case set out on a counter displaying loose figures for sale, and one caught my eye. It was one of the very few figures I never got my hands on.

It was Anakin Skywalker. The old man version from end of the original cut of Jedi. Sebastian Shaw was the actor. And I had to have it.

20180901_111426.jpgAnakin was orginally one the many mail away offers that Kenner had over the entire Star Wars run. It was a genius marketing tool that they basically invented out of necessity when the toys weren’t ready for Christmas ’77. The first mailaway figures were the ones that came in the famous “early bird” set. Of course my first mailaway opportunity was the famous (or infamous) rocket firing Boba Fett (which of course arrived minus the advertised rocket firing action). Every major expansion of the line had a mailaway offer. Star Wars had Fett, Empire had 4-LOM and Bossk, Jedi had Nien Numb and the Emperor. Mailaways were awesome. All you had to do was save up 5 proofs of purchase and mail them in and a short 6-8 weeks later BOOM a new figure showed up in the mailbox.

Anyway.

20180901_110629.jpgAnakin was one of, if not THE LAST, mailaway figure Kenner offered and for whatever reason I just wasn’t in a hurry to get him. I guess I thought there was plenty of time, and they always reissued the mailaways as a carded figure that you could buy in the store. But by the timr that happened for Anakin, the line was winding down and getting harder to find in stores (at least new figures and not the same peg warmers that were always available and would eventually be clearanced out).

So I never got him.

He wasn’t exactly the same white whale as say a Yak Face, but when I saw him there in Decades of Toys, I wasn’t about to pass him up.

I want to say he was maybe $6 at the time? Even carded figures back then were still incredibly cheap compared to 2018. He wasn’t carded but he was absolutely pristine. The plastic still had a glossiness to it.20180901_105036.jpg

Maybe a year later Doug Henning moved from one shithole across the street to an even shittier shithole, and that’s where he stayed until, shocker, his business folded by ’93.

20180901_105130.jpg

20180901_105209(0).jpg

Well that’s all for this week, come back next time for another deep dive into a middle-age man-child’s happy place.  That didn’t come out right.  Come back in 2 weeks for another Fitz’s Toy Chest!