Monday, June 27, 2011

Taylor's Toy Box Review: Mattel's MOTU Classics The Faceless One

Ok, so here's the breakdown on the Faceless one! So the Faceless one is a character that was exclusive to the 200X or MYP Series that aired between 2002-2004. He looked like this on the series. He is the father of Evil Lyn, as the series has pointed out and continues to be her father as well as a new background written for him stating that he was once a part of the Council of Elders.  Here is his new bio:

The Faceless One™ Bio

Real Name: Nikolas Powers™
As the ruler of Zalesia™, Nikolas Powers™ was entrusted by King Grayskull™ to guard the city’s great magical objects - the Havoc Staff and the mystical Ram Stone. Powers was a core member of Grayskull’s Council Of Elders, great mages from across Eternia® who had the wisdom to tap into the planet’s hidden magical secrets. But by marrying and having a daughter, he broke the Elder’s treaty with King Hssss™ to not produce any heirs. Powers was stripped of his humanity, condemned to never leave Zalesia™ and forced to watch his beloved city destroyed by Serpos. Now called “The Faceless One™,” he asked the wizard-warrior He-Ro™ to use the power of Central Tower to send his daughter Evelyn into the future. There, with his immortality, he hoped to raise her away from the terror of the Great Wars.

So here's the breakdown. At first sight of this figurine on the forums, I was at first, concerned. I had a fear that this great character would not translate well into the Classics line. As soon as I saw the final paint/sculpt, I was very impressed. I checked out a few pre-order guys doing reviews on him and then I was sold. Some of the things that makes this figurine so very cool is a combination of the new body parts, the new Eternian relics, and the great bio newly written for him. 
   One of the big items that a lot of fans are happy about is the Ram Stone. If you are a fan of the 200X series, you will definitely want this piece. The stone is a green metallic and fits right into The Faceless One's hand. And yes, the hands are a reuse of Count Marzo's hands, so they do have fingernails even though he is supposed to have gloves. I know that a load of fans hated...hated this fact with all of their heart. Honestly, I don't mind it at all. Unless you really focus on it, you really won't notice too much. He sports a new waist/belt/skirt sculpt, which is beautifully detailed. It is not too over detailed as you might expect with 200X and not too dulled down. It has the perfect pairing of detail and simplicity to match all of the other pieces within this Masters of the Universe Classics line. This piece is on the soft side so that his legs are not hindered at all for posing articulation with the legs. My one complaint is the cowl/sholder pad/ cape piece. This piece is going to limit the range of how much you can pose his arms and head.  The whole piece comes off so you can reach his head in order to pose, but it is really difficult to reach whilst he has the cape on. But that's not my complaint. My complaint is this, the cape piece sits a little lose on him. I would almost wish that he had a peg that inserted itself into the torso of the figurine. I say this because there have been a couple of times that I have posed my figurine, I felt that the cowl was coming up and covering his face. But that's it! Overall, this toy is a great addition to the Masters of the Universe toy line. I am extremely happy to have him in mine. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Lantern Review: There are some people out there that are about to tar and feather me.

So I just got back from going to see the all new film, Green Lantern, and I will have to say, it's not THAT bad. Before you get all angry and decide that you will stop reading my blog or hire a killer to come take me out, please, please hear me out. Overall, I do agree with some of the critics out there in that the film is not the best thing in the cinema, but Green Lantern is entertaining and is worth seeing on the silver screen.
     Now, I think the best thing to start off with are the honesties. First off, the mask is horrible. Please, Warner Bros, please fix it. It just looks awful! I know that when the first news broke about GL being made into a movie, I was a little excited. When I saw the first images of the costume, I was mortified. "Why?! Why, dammit, why?!", I would scream every time I saw it. Ghastly was all I could use to describe the muscle suit that they CG'ed (computer generated) on Ryan Reynolds. The suit and mask got toned down, the mask, not enough. If GL is to be successful with the all of the crowd, the mask needs to be looked at again.
     Second, Green Lantern is not a sci-fi flick. It is a science fiction/ fantasy movie. With that being said, you really (REALLY) have to hang the suspension of disbelief! Just like Geoff Johns writing for the Green Lantern comics, the film is a perfect adaptation of his story telling, and it makes sense considering he is a co-producer on the film. If you like his writing, you will not have a hard time hanging the, "Implausible! That can't happen!", attitude. So think of Mr. John's story telling littered here and there with Ryan Reynold's quietest jokes. The bad jokes are there, do not think that they are not, but they don't stand out so badly as you would expect from a RR flick.
     Last, some of the acting could be a little better. Overall, Ryan's run on Hal Jordan is a cross of Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner: Hal's will, Kyle's goofiness. Hal might seem a bit goofy due to the fact of who he is played by. I know that Mr Reynolds was not anyone's first choice, let alone any spot within a hundred picks from Hollywood, but he is watchable, if you can forget who he is. Ryan Reynolds needs to be written a little more seriously if he is to hold onto the Green Lantern/Hal Jordan mantle in the future. Other than the star, Blake Lively does an ok job as Carol Ferris, and Peter Sarsgaard plays a convincing Hector Hammond. I believe the best roles picked has to be that of Mark Strong as Sinestro, Geoffrey Rush as Tomar-re, and Temuera Morrison as Abin Sur. None of which have a lot of screen time, which is sad.
     So now that some of the negatively honest remarks are out, there are some rather cool things in the film. If you are a Green Lantern fan, hold on! I saw on Oa, besides for the above mentioned, Stel. I know that there was more actual comic book based characters in the background, I just don't know their names. There was also some play on costume design that might indicate that the movies will one day touch up on the Anti-Monitors. Also, if you stay after the first part of credits, there is a cool scene that will tell you where they are heading with some of the GL story. Does this mean we might see Blake Lively in a Star Sapphire costume? I know that there are some boys who can't wait. But hold on, there's more! John Stewart also has a guest appearance in the film played by Nick Jones Jr.
     So film is ok for most, and a lot of fun for fans. It is not the best film out there, and it is not the best story told, but it is a bit of fun if you can afford to let go of reality. I would say that I give this film 3 of 5 stars. I do wish it was a better film, but it is not bad. Now just as a suggestion to Warner Bros. and DC, listen to your fans closely on the next film. Their suggestions and critiques could help you save a new movie character franchise. But as for now, good, average job y'all. Way to go on mediocrity. I'm going out to buy some Green Lantern toys now.
UPDATE: Oh, so I almost forgot! I found the score to be horrific! So bad. There are parts of the film where I forget about the score and just go with the story, and then there are times when the score stands out so much that it just doesn't fit with the movie. I was reminded of this thought as I was putting up the dishes and heard all of the clanking. That should tell you a little about the soundtrack. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Taylor's Toy Box Entry: Kenner's Swamp Thing Transducer Playset: Great Finds and the Inevitable Curse that Follows Them.

Let me just start off by saying that toy collecting is a hobby of mine. It should be for most people, but there are some who have the time and resources to make toy collecting and trade a working business. So, with that being said, when I talk about toy collecting, for the most part I am approaching the subject as a hobby collector.
Acquired Transducer-Incomplete
     So today, I went by a second hand shop and was surprised to see that they had a 1992 Kenner Swamp Thing Transducer playset. Man! What a find, A and B, only being $1.98 I couldn't resist. I ran back home and scrounged up all the change I could find. I haven't seen this set since I was a kid! So, I went back and I got it. I got the set back home and went to getting the piece clean. So, what's the problem? Why is this a curse? Well, here is the problem; the set, like most second hand bought sets, is incomplete. See pics:
Transducer Complete
Depending on what you find and what is missing can be a collectors ultimate nightmare!

Take for example, I collect some of the waves of Mattel's DC Classics. Wave three features a build a figure of Desparo ( a REALLY cool version of Desparo). I was able to get all of the characters in that wave except for the ever hard to find and rather expensive Wonder Woman (sad trombone). So in order to complete the BOF of Wave 3, I have to spend way out of my comfort zone for a toy. Instead after two years of looking, I was able to find just the leg that a nice person was selling on ebay. Thus, Desparo is now complete.
     But, not all collection pieces end in such a radtastic way. Take as another example, my vintage castle Grayskull will probably never be complete, and if I do muster up enough money to replace broken and missing pieces, it will probably get expensive seeing that the vintage Masters of the Universe toyline is no longer in production. The fact that its 30th anniversary is in 2012 is not encouraging either, being that once MOTU's popularity skyrockets again, some vendors can sell their pieces at astronomical prices.
So the ability to finish pieces comes down to it's popularity and production. A piece like Kenner's Swamp Thing Transducer is pretty hard to come by. It was not very popular and was short lived. I have only seen a few complete playsets, all boxed, for sell on collector's sites and amazon. All boxed sets ranging in the fifty to one hundred dollar range. So far no single pieces or opened sets are for sale. Does this mean that I should be discouraged; no. I try not to look at aspects of collecting as a curse. For me, I like to think of collecting as a puzzle that should never have a solution. Some of the fun of collecting vintage toys is that I like looking for these pieces and finding the best deals available.  I believe that collecting in this way gives one a reason to boast and be proud of their collection. This way makes you work for what you have. To me that's a good way to look at collecting, but for everyone else who sees the inability of completing a set quickly as a curse, then yes, it is a curse.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taylor's Toy Box Entry: Got a toy from a Smoker's Collection? How do you get the smell out of the Plastic?

So, the other day I went to my favorite second hand toy store, Dallas Vintage Toys. I bought a Masters of the Universe Classics Webstor. It's a great piece, except for one thing, he smells of an ashtray! Now I was warned online and in store that he smelled of tar and cigarettes. So I went into a cleaning frenzy when I got home and I've cleaned him three times now! The smell is not 100% gone, and I'm not done cleaning him, but I figured I would share what I used to clean him, so if you end up in the same situation, maybe my info will help. So, this is what I used.

1. Lemon Juice. Basic, environmentally friendly, and strong. I use this to help pull some of the smell out, and take some of the tar off of the plastic.

2. Baking Soda. As with lemon juice above, basic and environmentally friendly. I use this sparingly as to not scratch off the paint or patina.

3. Oxy Clean Pre Fabric Cleaner Spray. Ok, so this stuff is amazing. I used to use the Oxy clean laundry powder back in the day to refurbish the outer shells to Nintendo Entertainment Systems. I am not sure if Oxy Clean is environmentally savvy, but watching the Oxy Clean pull Tar off of my new/used toy was amazing.

4. Basic Dish Soap. I use this to help with smell and to keep the Oxy Clean frothy.

So far, Webstor's smell has improved by about 70%. From what I am smelling, the softer the plastic, the more it seems to absorb the smell. The armor, skirt, and spider legs have been the hardest pieces to get the smell out of them. The harder plastics like the body, rifle, and backback have been great getting cleaned. The smell is almost gone in areas with the harder plastics. I plan to clean him a couple of more times throughout the following week. I hope that this solution works well with him. As I clean him, I'll post more information on what I discover with my solution.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Taylor's Toy Box Review: Mattel's DC Classics Lex Luther vs. MOTU Classics Skeletor

So recently I was able to get my hands on this little beauty 2-pack of nerd-filled awesomeness!
Front of Package
So, overall, I shied away from getting this piece for months. I knew that I wanted the Battle Armor Lex Luthor, and I was gunning for the Lex Luthor vs. Supergirl 2-pack.
     I will have to say, the one reason for this purchase was for Skeletor. I am in possession of Panthor from the Masters of the Universe Classics line and knew that this was going to be the only affordable way for me to get a Skeletor to put on the awesome cat. At first glance I was not very happy with the look of Ole' Bone Face in this pack. His face paint is just so bland and plain. Considering that the original release of Skeletor has tons of color fading and a whole palette of tones, I just wasn't happy with this version. But, the more that I looked at my purchase, the more I have grown to love it. 

Now if you are to compare him to the original release classics line, most would not be that happy, but here's the thing, he is not supposed to be a new version of the original, this Skeletor mimics the comic.

He has the same articulation and pieces as the original release, but is missing his Havoc Staff. The sword that he carries with him is a prop from the comic book that he comes with.  He does have removable chest armor and a removable head. His armor is not as multi-toned as the original release, but as I said before, this is not meant to be that. I do like the simplicity of this action figure and I am absolutely in love with what Mattel has dome with articulation on the Masters Classics line. I would say that this toy would be good for kids as well. It is a little more accessible than the Mattycollector versions, being sold at Toy's R Us and not once a month online. I would say that this Skeletor is well worth the half of the costs of this 2-pack (I'll get to costs later). Now the other half. 

Battle Armor Lex Luthor

Alright, now Lex Luthor. Now, as I had said earlier in this review, I was initially after this version of Lex Luthor. I have to be honest here, I am glad that I waited and got this set of Lex and Bones verses the set with this Lex and Supergirl. I'm not as impressed as I thought I would be with this action figurine. This version of Lex is from the Super Powers line from the 80's now modern-ed up and gussied with new sculpt and articulation. He is a nice addition to my DC Classics lineup of toys and looks great next to Superman. So what's the problem? There's a couple of things that could have been done better. First off, the articulation in his legs are great, but his skirt holds back on the hip/leg articulation. I think that this could have been solved with a molded slit on each side of the skirt. It would definitely help with how well his upper legs move. The second problem is his head and where it is. I love, love the look of this armor. I do, I really, really do...but getting to Lex Luthor's head for posing, is a bit of a nightmare. His armor does get in the way. Lucky for us, the back of his armor is opened as well as the front. This does help a bit. He also comes with 4 power stones. Now Lex is not in the comic book. So he's a bit of a stretch for why he's here.

Overall, for collectors, this is a nice piece to leave in package. The printing work and design that went into this 2-pack is nice. The comic is hidden away in an art sleeve that looks like the card portion of the package, so it does not stand out; it blends very nicely. I do like the bio's on the back of the package as well. 
     I got my 2-pack for 3$30.00. Normally the DC Classics line is about $17.00 and the MOTU Classics is about $20.00 (if you get it the day it releases on mattycollector). So, overall, you get two cool toys and you get to save about $7.00. So, in my opinion, I give this set 3.5 stars out of 5. 

Universe vs Master of the Universe 2-Pack Action Figures - Skeletor vs Lex Luthor on