Friday, November 26, 2010

I HAVE THE POWER! (To Erase Pencil Marks)

Back in 1982, me and my best friend were nuts for Masters of the Universe. We played with He-man figures almost exclusively for an entire year and we weren't going to let a little thing like being in school stop us from doing that.

Luckily, we had these official Masters of the Universe figural erasers! You see, this was a brilliant loophole for us in the whole "No Toys in School" rule since these little colorful figures were technically erasers, with which one could erase their wrong math quiz answers in  order to right down the correct answer, and they didn't want us getting answers wrong, did they?! These weren't toys! These were school supplies!


We would sooner eat another kid's booger before we would sully our beloved MOTU erasers, but the loophole worked well enough to keep these little rubbery heroes and villains in our desks, ready to be whipped out in a moment's notice in case any spare play time presented itself.

Here we have He-man himself, who doesn't really look like He-man much in the face and his flesh colored boots gives him sort of a disfigured-lower-leg look, but that didn't matter back then. He's a cheap eraser, so we shouldn't epect much. In fact, you shouldn't expect too much from any of these eraser figures.

Next we have Man-at-Arms (which I always thought was a weird name, and more of a title, really). This eraser looks pretty good except for his bizarre left arm position. Is he punching the air? Is he scratching his armpit with his mace? No idea...

Here we have Teela, and I admit that this chick looks nothing like the Teela we all loved back in the day. What's with the green one piece swim suit with the '70s disco collar?

You can't have He-Man without Skeletor! This figure is actually pretty nicely done for a figural eraser. His feet are nice and big to keep him standing and his colors are pretty accurate considering. Too bad the one (which I got on eBay as a lot) has a chewed up sword. But then again, I understand the temptation.

Next up is Skeletor's right hand man, Beastman! Always one of my favorite action figures, his sad figural eraser representation got robbed of a weapon. Oh well. He's orange, and I love things that are orange.

And finally, we have the mighty Merman, complete with his Corn Sword (a term which I still claim I invented). In fact, his Corn Sword is crazy prominent in this figure! Look at the size of it compare to the size of the other figures! It's massive! Out of all of the figural erasers, meant to represent the finest warriors in the universe, it's the fish guy that's the most ready to throw down.

So those are my Masters of the Universe figural erasers. Never did they back down from a fight during free time, and never did they eradicate a mis-spelled vocabulary word, for that would have gotten them dirty.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Dragonriders of the Styx!

I'm starting to realize that I have (and have always had) a penchant for cheap-o, no name toys. When I was a kid, while I dearly loved all of my Star Wars and G.I. Joe toys, I also equally enjoyed my collection of the kind of toys one would find at those "discount" stores, who's toy aisles were often packed with Sgt. Rock, Warrior Beasts and (a personal favorite) Dragonriders of the Styx.

So, naturally, being obsessed with hunting down every toy I had as a kid, I've managed to accumulate a pretty decent collection of Dragonriders figures and I'm only missing the ones that are hella expensive, but I'm sure that one day the gods of the toy hunt will shine down upon me and I'll get them too.

But let's take a look at the figures I'm amassed so far... (click the images to view dragon sized)

The Dragonriders line basically cashed in on the brief, yet massive, mainstream popularity of Dungeons & Dragons, following the launch of their killer toy line from LJN and the debut of the Saturday morning cartoon. In fact, for a while there, fantasy stuff was a hot commodity and smaller companies were quick to fill toy aisle pegs with cheap fantasy toys.

Let's take a closer look at these dudes...

First up is "The Demon", who... well... is pretty much just a demon. I never said these toys were original. But every kid needs a good denizen of Hell in my opinion and as a kid, I made this figure terrorize my more unfortunate protagonists on a regular basis.

Note that although super-cheap, they at least had knee joints which is more than Kenner could give to their Star Wars figures. Of course, this figure is literally just a red plastic mold with one pass of black paint. So, the action figure gods giveth and taketh away.

Here we have "The Wizard", who probably had a name, but I'm too lazy to go look it up. In all honesty, I hated this figure as a kid, and only have him now for completionist reasons. He always looked like Robin Williams dressed a s a wizard to me. Wizards aren't supposed to look that derpy. He looks like the only spell he's mastered is the Curse of Getting Off My Lawn.

Here we have "The Dragonman"! While kind of a doofy looking creature, with his "I'll gladly go chase a stick if you throw it" look, the concept of a half-man/half-dragon was just too awesome to me as a kid. This guy popped up in my adventures often back in the day, usually playing the role of some sort of swamp monster. Probably because he was green. I wasn't that creative.

"Ragnar the Warrior" was the closest I was ever going to get to having a 3.75" Conan figure. Ragnar, who I eventually renamed "Thundros" actually ended up taking the lead heroic role in my Dungeons & Dragons adventures, usurping Strongheart, and often going head to head in a series of knock-down, drag-out sword fights with none other than Warduke himself. Those were heady days, my friends.

And finally, we have "Guliz the Ogre", a truly beloved figure in my collection both then and now. True, he's simple and not very detailed, but between his vampire fangs, skull necklace and blue skin, he was a perfect storm of awesomeness as far as I was concerned as a kid. Again, in my more fantasy-fueled Dungeons & Dragons adventures, Guliz often played the roll of the secondary baddie who showed up as hired muscle. One adventure that I still remember to this day involved a battle to the death in a gladiatorial arena between Guliz and Crystar (from the classic Remco line). Needless to say, Crystar won, but Guliz didn't make it easy on him.

So those are all of the Dragonriders of the Styx figures I have so far. I'm still missing the Black Knight and some of the vehicle/monster drivers (which are ridiculously hard to find and thus crazy expensive), but who knows; I may stumble on to them eventually.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yeeeeeeeeeeeee HAW! A Look at My General Lee Collection!

I've never kept it secret that I have been a dyed-in-the-wool Dukes of Hazzard fan since I saw the very first episode when I was 5 years old. I had a bunch of Dukes toys back in the day and have recently gotten on a kick collecting as many toy General Lees (and their plethora of knock-offs) as possible.

So let's take a gander at my little garage full of orange muscle cars. (Click all images to view Boss Hogg size.)

The first General Lee is my most prized in the collection and one that I loved dearly as a kid. It took me a while to find another one (that I could afford) on eBay, but one finally popped up and not long after that, I managed to find the Bo and Luke action figures that originally came with the 1:18 scale Mego classic...

Next up is one of the many oddball knock-offs that were everywhere back in the day. Every junky toy company tried to get in on the Dukes craze, remolding whatever toy car they already had in orange plastic, slapping a confederate flag on the top an adding whatever number most resembled an "01". In this case we got an "07". I really dig the arbitrary "REBEL" sticker.

Next we have a sweet "rev-and-go" action General Lee that originally came with some sort of stunt set, complete with country fences to crash through and barns to jump over. I just have the car. Nice spoiler, eh?

Who remembers Wrist Racers? Yeah, they were hella bad ass, and having a little wind up General Lee on your wrist was double bad ass back in 2nd grade. I won so many Twinkies with this bad boy at recess.

Next up we have the gen-yew-wine article! The ERTL 1:64 scale General Lees were a staple of kid-dom back in my day. Every single boy (and a couple of girls) that I knew back then had one of these. I went through a few myself. Here we see a couple of versions; the original with the white printed stickers and the later, arguably nicer looking clear printed sticker version.

This next little orange oddity is what I believe to be a knock off from a company called "Tootsie Toy", makers of low-grade toy cars back in the '60s-'80s. I found this one in a cheap-bin in a junk shop. It was all of 25 cents. Score!

A smaller cousin to the Wrist Racer General Lee was this little baby version that actually launched from a tiny ramp worn on your finger. Not as cool. But adorable.

Not quite a knock off, but clearly highly influenced by the show's success, Hot Wheels came out with their very own orange muscle car, complete with confederate flag on top. This is rather uncharacteristic of such a company as Hot Wheels, but I can't blame them; The Dukes of Hazzard was the hottest thing on TV back then.

And finally, my tiniest of General Lees from the Racing Champions line. The detail of a toy car not much larger than a penny is astounding!  I had to fork over quite a bit to grab this one on eBay (well, quite a bit for a tiny toy car) and still couldn't resist taking it out of its packaging and displaying with the rest of its brethren.Seriously... how cute is this little guy?

So, that's my General Lee collection! There are only a few more out there that I'd like to add. Some are a bit too expensive and some are hard to get a hold of (most of those are from other countries), but that's the point of collecting; getting them eventually through patiently hunting.

Anyway, see you Monday with another video blog, and thanks for reading! Yeeeeeeee HAW!

A Cartoon Bats for Chunky B!

Some of you may have heard about the "Battle for the Cowl", a contest in which I was soundly beaten by my most worthy opponent, Chunky B of Eclectorama. Part of the deal was that the loser had to fork over a Batman figure and to draw the winner an original piece of Batman art, declaring the winner the king of all Batman figure collectors.

And since I lost, here's what I made for Chunky B...

This is a newer style for me. A mix of basic shapes in Adobe Illustrator and then refined a bit in Photoshop. I had so much fun with this piece that I may just have to put the whole CARZ! thing on hold for a bit and maybe do a series of character portraits in this style. We'll see.

Until then, I have an "assignment" to draw a pirate/ninja/zombie fight. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 5, 2010

CARZ! - Tron Light Cycle!

Here's another one for my cyber-homie, Bubbashelby. Not that he requested it, but he's the biggest Tron fan that I know. Consider it an early birthday present!

Here's the short version of my feelings on Tron: Thought the movie was okay. Thought the action figures were pretty awesome. Thought the video game was MUTHA EFFIN EPIC! And I think the new movie is going to completely suck a glow-in-the-dark frisbee. And there you have it.

(Click the image to view Sark sized.)

AD&D Plastic Mini Figures!

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I'm a total nutjob over the classic LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line of toys from way back in 1983. (I have mentioned this before... lots.)

In fact, I wrote a little something about my all-time favorite D&D baddie, Warduke, over on my site. And also on the same site, you'll find a small gallery of LJN AD&D action figure card backs.

But today I want to talk about a collection of AD&D toys fromt he same period that aren't seen very often and I had never seen in real life until I scored some on eBay recently. I'm talking about thse killer little AD&D plastic mini figures...

There little fantasy denizens stand just slightly taller than your average green Army man, but these guys have the bonus of being fully painted (in Warduke's case, very poorly painted, with is giant red paint splotch where his eye should be).

I'm not really sure on when or in what format these were released, and quite frankly, I'm too lazy to research it right now. I imagine that they came out around the same time period as theri fully articulated counterparts, but as to whether they were sold in sets, on a card, in a box or perhaps in a gumball machine is beyond me.

Here we see the far more nicely detailed goody-two-shoes, Strongheart...

Here we see the blue-bearded dwarf, Elkhorn, who's name always bothered me since he clearly had the horns of some sort of bovine-related animal on his helmet and not the branching rack of an elk. And besides, elk don't have horns, they have antlers. But I digress.

And finally (in my collection, at least) is the good wizard, Ringlerun, which is a stupid name. he sort of reminds me of the Winter Wizard from Rankin & Bass' Santa Claus is Coming to Town. You know, like after he got his choo-choo and got all warmed up and pink-skined. Just sayin'.

If memory serves, I believe there was at least one more figure in this series of some sorceress chick in a black dress. Maybe one day I'll find her.

In the meantime, I'll busy myself repainting poor Warduke's glowing red eyes.

These are odd little figures, since they're too large to actually use playing D&D (Elkhorn would be a giant!), and too small to use in play with the other figures (even the rubbery non-posable figures from the line are much larger than these harder plastic figures). But their sheer oddity is what I find so endearing about these toys. I wonder what their ultimate purpose was? What was LJN thinking?

Well, who cares. They've earned a place on the mighty shelf of nostalgia here in the Nerdatorium, and there they will stay.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CARZ! - Captain Caveman's Teen Angel Van!

Okay, here's an undeniable fact: Captain Caveman is a straight up pimp. He's hairy, unintelligent and probably smelly, but that grunting bastard gets to travel around with three hotties in their van solving mysteries. Pimp... ass... caveman.

And now that I think about it, who the hell thought up this cartoon? I mean seriously, this is one bizarre concept. Remember how he had that club with the various gadgets inside, usually powered by a small pterodactyl? Those Hanna Barbara dudes were smoking some serious weed back then.

Fun Fact! This cartoon single-handedly kicked off my love for black girls, because that Dee Dee was quite a peach. Just sayin'.

(Click image to view Laffalympics sized.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

CARZ! - Partridge Family Bus!

Okay, so I have to admit it; I hated The Partridge Family. The mom had stupid hair, the alleged "hot" chick wasn't hot at all, their manager Ruben seemed like a pervert, and I knew that the red headed kid would one day grow up to punch a tranny hooker in a motel room.

But their tour bus was dope. And that's enough to make it in this series.

(Click image to view David Cassidy size.)

Random Toy Pic #2