Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere!

While I was thrift store shopping for cool toys the other day I came across a big sack of M.U.S.C.L.E. men.  They aren't something I normally collect, but there were 51 M.U.S.C.L.E.guys, plus a few other figures, all for less than 3 bucks.  At that price, I couldn't resist.  I set them up on an Imaginext Space Station playset that I bought at the same store for less than 4 bucks.  Check them out:

Okay, I may not have "millions" of unusual small creatures lurking everywhere, but I have 51 of them.  That's a start.






"Wait'll they get a load of me!"

He ate a crocodile.

These two space creatures came with the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.  They are bigger and squishier than the real M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.

Monday, July 28, 2014

99 Cents Store Double Feature Part 2: Military Play Sets

Hey there!  Welcome back to the second installment of my exciting two part exposé on weird junk I bought the other day at my local 99 Cents Only Store.

What's in the 99 Cents Store Bag?
What's in the 99 Cents Store Bag?
 Last time, I showed some pictures of a couple of boxing skeleton toy candy containers.  Today, we will be exploring the world of modern warfare, as I play with...

MILITARY PLAY SETS

Qi-shi Ho - A Real American Hero

I picked up three packs of "Military Play Set" toys at the 99 Cents Store.  Each pack comes with a 3 3/4" military action figure, and a variety of accessories.


According to the package, these "Force of Action" Military Play Sets come with the following fascinating features:
  • Fully Articulate
  • Total Realism
  • Latest Trend Version
 I'm glad to hear that these action figures are "fully articulate."  I hate it when I can't understand what they are trying to say.  I'm a little concerned about the "Total Realism" though.  For a military figure wouldn't that include things like head wounds and what not?  That doesn't sound like it would be a fun toy.  As for "Latest Trend Version," I have to admit, I'm getting older, and I'm not really sure what the latest trend is anymore.  Is it "twerking?"  I really don't think I want to see these guys twerking.  I bet any teenagers who are reading this right now are rolling there eyes and saying "OMG!  Twerking is so 2013!"

"It's our party, we can do what we want."

Right off the bat, I've got to say, these might be the butt-fugliest action figures I have ever seen.  I mean just look at these guys.  First off, we have some sort of ski-mask ninja with two "Little Orphan Annie" black dots for eyes.  He looks like he is just peed his pants in a combination of confusion and fear.

"A g-g-g-g-ghost?  Zoinks!"
Next, there is this character, wearing a pair of scuba goggles that are twice as big as his head. The goggles also sit so low on his head that the nose piece covers his mouth, and the top frame of the goggles covers where his eyes would be, so I'm guessing the guy can neither breath nor see.

"But what really knocked her out was my cheap sunglasses.  Oh yeah!"
 To be fair, Mr. Goggles may be covering his mouth, nose and eyes on purpose, in order to avoid seeing or smelling this next character...

Geez, China, when I made that joke about "total realism" meaning a head wound, I didn't expect you to actually do it!
This guy has the whole left side of his face caved in!  I'm pretty sure that it was just some production error, like it was a cast from a damaged mold or something.  But it seems like the "artist" who painted this in some Chinese sweatshop tried to make the best of it, because he or she extended the flesh color of the paint to cover the whole caved in part of the head, and then tossed a few red spots on there as well, as if he was bleeding.  Plus, and this is the best part, look at his eyes.  Rather than paint him looking straight ahead, they painted him looking to his extreme left, as if he was desperately trying to see what is going on on the side of his head.  He also has a large chunk of jagged plastic flash sticking out of the back of his head.  Again, while this is almost certainly a production error, I can't help but think of it as an "exit wound."  Perhaps these were actually designed to teach children about THE HORRORS OF WAR.

"Which way to Miley Cyrus's house?"

The fact is though, I didn't really buy these packs for the action figures, I bought them for the accessories.  Each figure comes with 5 or 6 pieces, including guns, shields, and even a kayak, and they looked like they would be great to use with some of my real 3 3/4" inch action figures.  So I grabbed a handful of action figures I had nearby to test them out.  Testing out these accessories will be two of the Power Lords Power Soldiers by the Four Horsemen, as well as Zica Toys' Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Bigfoot figures.


To begin with, it turns out that the Power Lords figures hand openings are too small to grip any of the accessories in these packs, which is a disappointment.  However, the handle from the riot shields was able to snap on to their wrists, so they could use those.  And actually, equipping a small army of Power Soldiers with those shields could look pretty cool.  I'm currently waiting for a package to come in the mail from the Four Horsemen with a bunch more of these soldiers, so I might end up doing that.


The rifles that came in these packs look great, there is way more detail in their sculpts than there is in the crappy action figures.  But, and this is a pretty big but (cue Beavis and Butthead laughter), the handles aren't designed to fit in the action figures hands!  Instead, two of the rifles have pegs toward the end of the rifle that fit into an action figures hand, but this means that the trigger for the gun ends up sitting around the action figure's elbow.  That is lame!  The third rifle doesn't even have one of those pegs.  I was able to squeeze it into one of the action figure's hands, but I had to point the gun sideways to do it, so there really wasn't really any point.

"Triggers?  I don't need no stinkin' triggers!"
However, there were a couple of accessories that I thought were pretty great,  The first was the kayak and the oar.  Steve Austin looked great in it, and I could just imagine him kayaking around some jungle river somewhere, in search of the Bionic Bigfoot.  He could even hold the oar in both hands, which was pretty cool, seeing as how the official figure it came with could only hold it in one.  The kayak even has some nice sculpted details on it.  It's just a custom paint job away from being a high quality toy.  Plus seeing as how the whole package only costs a dollar,  you could just take the kayak and oar, throw away the rest, and it would still be a great value.


Finally, there is this nifty machine gun toy that comes on it's own tripod.  It can rotate up and down and side to side, and looks really cool.  Plus, I was stoked to find that Steve Austin's hands fit on the handles perfectly, like the toy was designed for him.

Maskatron Doesn't Stand a Chance!


Even though half the items in the package turned out to be duds, at a dollar a piece, it didn't really matter.  I'll definitely be heading back to pick up some more of the machine guns, shields, and kayaks, as well as seeing if there are any other varieties that I missed.


BONUS! MUSIC VIDEOS:

Kate Bush - Army Dreamers

 

 Fear - Let's Have a War


Black Sabbath - War Pigs (Live in Paris, 1970)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

99 Cents Store Double Feature Part 1: Halloween in July

Hi kids!  I stopped in to my local 99 Cents Only Store yesterday, and found some fun stuff to post in ye olde blogge.  So without further ado...

What's in the 99 Cents Store Bag?
What's in the 99 Cents Store Bag?

HALLOWEEN IN JULY

One of the first things I noticed at the 99 Cents Store was that they already have Halloween products on their shelves, and it's only July!  Can you believe it?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  Halloween is far and away my favorite holiday.  Heck, if it was up to me, Halloween would be once a month, not once a year.  They don't have their full selection of Halloween items yet, as half of their seasonal section is still full of Summer-themed items like cheap sunglasses and beach balls, but they still have a lot of stuff.  They have a whole aisle section of weird Halloween candy, like gummi eyeballs and lollipop skulls, as well as another section with a small assortment of rubber masks and costume pieces.  I don't need any of that stuff, but I wasn't going to leave there empty handed, so I picked up a couple of these...

"Hello sir, we have some free literature we'd like to share with you.  Did you know that Jesus Christ was actually a skeleton?  It's true!  This pamphlet will tell you all about it."

These are basically, like, skeleton versions of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.  They have two levers on the back, one for each arm, that you can press to make their arms punch, and it also moves their jaws and makes their eyes light up.  I really liked the look of these as soon as I saw them, as they are equal parts creepy, cartoony, and fun.  However, these are really cheaply made.  Several of them had their arms falling off, and I had to rifle through quite a few of them to find two that worked properly.  I doubt they'd last more than a few minutes in the hands of a playful child.

Look at those grins!  These guys sure seem to love punching each other in the face!

These toys are filled with some kind of candy pellets.  However, the candy was made in China, so I think I'm going to take a pass on eating it.  I'm pretty sure in China, lead paint is considered to be a vitamin.


Nutrition Facts:  120% of  your recommended daily dose of radium per serving.  Serving Size: 1 pellet.  Do not eat if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or were given birth to by someone who was pregnant.

Speaking of "Made in China," I also picked up three packs of "Military Play Set" toys.  I'll be posting about those soon, so stay tuned for 99 Cents Store Double Feature Part 2!


Monday, July 21, 2014

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - Sole Survivor (1978)

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries

"Sole Survivor" is an interesting episode of the Hardy Boys.  It opens with Joe Hardy slipping in and out of consciousness in an ambulance after some kind of accident.  He finally wakes up in a hospital in Hong Kong, and is told that he has been in a coma for a year, and that his brother and father are dead.  Heavy stuff.  Of course, since the show wasn't retitled "The Joe Hardy Mysteries," it won't come as a surprise that all is not as it seems.  But it's still interesting to watch Joe as he reacts to his new circumstances, and then starts to unravel the mystery.

Doctors Examine Joe's Hairless Chest


The style and tone of the episode is also a bit different than usual.  It kind of seems like a cross between a film noir and an Italian giallo, albeit one filtered through a 1970s television sensibility.  In particular, there's a few scenes that take place in an closed clothing store in the dark, with the rooms full of shadowy mannequins, that were just a violent stabbing away from being part of a Dario Argento flick.


A Killer Stalks the Fashion Boutique
Eventually we check in with Joe's brother and father, Frank and Fenton.  Just as Joe was told that they were dead, they believe that he is dead, after his car is fished out of a river, but no body was found (they believe it washed out to sea).  It's kind of weird, because the show has the brother and father react not with tears or grief, but with extreme stoicism.  They lay on their hotel room beds fully clothed, with the lights on, just sort of staring into space, and then Fenton grits his teeth and basically says that they are in Hong Kong with a job to do, and they can grieve for Joe after they finish it.  I guess in 1978 this was supposed to show Fenton's strength of character, but by modern standards it seems unfeeling and f---ed up.  It wouldn't hurt your masculinity to show some emotion, and maybe give your son Frank a hug, Fenton!

Frank and Fenton Sleep in their Hotel Room.  Fully Clothed and With the Lights On.
Overall, I found this to be decent episode, and the focus on Joe having to unravel a mystery on his own was a nice change of pace.

BONUS!  MUSIC VIDEOS:

Herman's Hermits - Sleepy Joe


The Rolling Stones - Soul Survivor


More screencaps after the break...





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