Episode 093: Just Put The Mask On And Shut Up

The_Bella_Twins_WrestleMania_31In this episode, the fellers begin to settle into the new reality of this world gone mad filled with personal upheaval and global sickness as they record their very first episode of 2020 and, boy howdy, is it a snazzy humdinger of an episode!

We start off discussing our various coping mechanisms as Fitz starts fondling little men made of plastic and reviving a long dormant segment about it, then he reveals an earth shattering discovery from the depths of his kidhood that warms the cockles of his adulthood.

Doom tries talking about Star Trek, but gets sidetracked bitching about the WWE Hall Of Fame, which leads to him bitching about a bunch of other Wrestling stuff, and then they ask YOU, the long suffering listeners, for your opinion on the future of The Nerd Blitz, so listen up and tell your friends!

URL: Episode 093: Just Put The Mask On And Shut Up
Direct Download: tnb093.mp3

TNB Commentaries 045: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

templeofdoomPlease turn off your cellphones and get ready to crack that whip, give the past the slip, step on a crack, break your momma’s back, cause some big bad problems are sure as hell about to come along in this action packed, exciting, and adventurous tale for the ages!

For our 45th Commentary, we travel back to within a sankara stones throw of 1984 for the second installment in this iconic franchise starring Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, & Amrish Puri in a trip to the deep jungles and dangerous mines of India.

We talk the latest developments in the world of Indiana Jones, for better or worse, why Silent Night sucks asshole ball juice, Billy Joel, why one of us may not like this movie as much as the other, and generational gaps, all while technologically failing to start the damn movie, so buckle up for another typical Nerd Blitz Commentarial ride!

URL: TNB Commentaries 045: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Direct Download: tnbc-045-temple-of-doom.mp3

This has been a feature of TS-D/JA Productions and JJ2E Media 2019

Fitz’s Toy Chest #11: R5-D4

Welcome back again guys. It’s time to open up the toy chest and rediscover another vintage treasure!

This week we’re going way back to circa 1979 to take a look at one of the figures released in 1978 as part of the first expansion of the Kenner Star wars line.

The Kenner line started off with just 12 figures but soon expanded to 20 when they began producing figures for “blink and you miss them” background characters like Snaggletooth, Hammerhead, etc.

Our subject this week is one of the more unlikely additions, since their entire on screen performance consisted of rolling forward a few feet and immediately exploding. While this proved to be possibly the most critical turn in the entire Saga, it doesn’t really do much to make for an exciting action figure.

Today we’re going to take a look at none other than the owner of the baddest bad motivator in the galaxy, R5-D4.

R5-D4
Company: Kenner
Acquisition Year: 1979?
Acquired via: Purchased ???
Years In Possession: 41

When I think back to those early days of Kenner Star Wars collecting, believe it or not the place that I’m reminded of most is Sears.

I can still see the 60s/70s tile on the floor that looked like millions of tiny stones embedded in the floor. The brown metal door frames of the entrance, with the big wide handles, and the snack bar that greeted you just inside the entrance. It had high bar tables and smelled like butter from all the ever present spilled popcorn on the ground.

It was just past this snack bar that the toy section could be found. My palms still get a little sweaty when I think about seeing the old 12 and 20 back figures on the pegs. I can still remember seeing an endcap display containing a pile of landspeeders and cantina playsets.

And it was there that I saw R5-D4 on the pegs for the first time.

Not the most glamorous figure to be sure, but being the only other astromech besides R2 in the original line made him kinda cool. (Even though this figure is 75% the exact same as the R2 figure)

He has the same leg sculp and body as the R2 figure with just a different color scheme (an odd orange color reminiscent of the sauce in Spaghettios)

One thing about the Kenner astromechs is, they weren’t overly concerned with the accuracy of their dome sculpts. Obviously the technology in the 70s didn’t allow for super detailed figures, but these droids only look like their onscreen counterparts in the loosest sense possible. However, that only adds to the charm in my opinion.

R5’s 3 orange “eyes” are just as real in my head canon as R2’s giant blue “eye”. Neither look anything like the film prop, but who cares?

As always thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon to share some more gems from my personal collection of old ass plastic junk.

Share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TNBToyChest, and let us know what you think!

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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!