Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Toy Tuesday – Phantom Toy Thoughts

Here are some thoughts I had about various toy-related topics over the weekend. They were spurred by my dissatisfaction with Mattel’s 2016 Ghostbusters figures, but branch out from there.

Also, I like them better in their own shoes than in the boots. There’s something charming about Abby’s Chuck Taylors and Holtzmann's Docs.

Will we get nice Ghostbusters figures?

I took my family to see Ghostbusters last Thursday and we all loved it. You can check out my full review on Patreon if you’re a Phantom Friend or above.

Obviously when I like a movie as much as I liked that one I want toys. I bought one of Mattel’s Jillian Holtzmann figures just because I liked her so much in the trailers and I literally could not resist buying a new Ghostbusters toy, but I do not want any more of Mattel’s drek. I want good figures.

Diamond Select Toys recently released their own line of Ghostbusters from the original movie, but I don’t know if they have the license to produce figures from the new movie. We also know that Mezco is producing One:12 Collective Ghostbusters figures, but we don’t know what’s coming from what movie, their release schedule is slow (which is fine and only benefits the line), and the figures will likely be between $80 and $100 each. Of course, that’s still cheaper than these will be:

A company called Soldier Story recently showed these sixth scale figures at the Hong Kong Toy Fair. I think they look awesome, but a bunch of people are already complaining about them online. Because that’s what people do. It doesn’t really matter, though, because they’re sure to be $200 or more and I’ll never buy them unless I either win the lottery or finally find the people who appreciate me enough to put me on TV.

DST’s figures are the middle ground that I’m comfortable with. They’re the right mix of price and quality for me. I’m in love with One:12, but I don’t want to spend $400 on Ghostbusters figures, never mind $800 or more if I want both teams and additional characters or, heaven forbid, the Ecto-1 If they make it. And don’t scoff at that – remember they still have a Batmobile coming.

With any luck, Ghostbusters will make bank (I think it will) and we’ll have plenty of action figure options. Heck, I even hope Mattel’s stuff does well just because it will be good for the franchise.

Why isn’t anyone complaining about the small Giant Man?

As much as the internet likes to bitch, I can’t believe I’m the only one who is annoyed by the size of the Marvel Legends Giant Man build-a-figure. Is that in any way acceptable to you guys?

It’s not just a matter of not being happy with it, I specifically do not want it because it’s uselessly out of scale. Why would I put Slightly Large Man on my shelf? I understand that a properly scaled toy would be almost as big as me, but one that’s not even twice as tall as the other Marvel Legends is essentially pointless. I know we’ll never get back to the glory days of the build-a-figures – the Sentinel and Galactus and Apocalypse (or heck, comic book Giant Man) – but if that’s the case then just don’t make Giant Man.

And yes, I am not normally a guy that say, “I personally don’t like that thing so you shouldn’t make it”, but this has bothered me a lot for some stupid reason. If anything I should be thankful. Black Panther and Nuke were the only figures I wanted from the wave and I’m probably going to skip Nuke. So at least this wasn’t a must-have character.

The best solution to the Giant Man toy problem would have been a Giant Man Big Fig from JAKKS. It wouldn’t have had Marvel Legends articulation, but it would have the size. And their sculpt and paint have only gotten better over time. I think it would have fit right in. Just imagine Giant Man done as well as one of those four foot Darth Vaders! Even one of the twenty or thirty-one inch ones would have been great.

Unfortunately JAKKS doesn’t seem to have the license to produce Marvel Cinematic Universe releases like it does for Star Wars, and unless that changes, we’re not going to get a satisfying Giant Man.

DC Collectibles is producing a TV Supergirl. And it looks… weird.

Mattel previewed their DC Multiverse TV Supergirl back at Toy Fair and my only thought was that I hoped DC Collectibles would make one. In all honesty Mattel’s didn’t look that bad, but it wasn’t great, either. It looks like a Mattel figure:

DCC, on the other hand, has been producing fantastic stuff lately. Their sculpts, paint, and now even articulation has been very good.

Just the other day DCC showed a slew of new DCTV figures that will be coming out over the next year and amongst them was a Melissa Benoist Supergirl. The proportions, costume, and paint look fantastic. The face… doesn’t. It could be early paint and it could just be the way the photograph was taken, but it doesn’t look very good.

It’s great that she has a huge smile on her face, but the face around that smile needs to look a whole lot better. And I have faith that it will.

DC Collectibles does great stuff. I fully believe that Supergirl will end up looking great. I’ll even order it based off of that exact picture. If I’m wrong, you guys will obviously hear about it in the review, but I don’t think I’ll be wrong. She comes out in May of next year, so we’ll all find out then.

At least I don’t have to buy Mattel’s.

Image from ActionFigurePics.com

Speaking of Mattel, it’s stupid that they keep splitting build-a-figures into multiple waves.

This started with Mattel’s hilariously failed Green Lantern Movie Masters. There were five waves and you had to buy all twelve figures to build the equally hilarious failure that was the Parallax build-a-figure.

Google it. It’s the worst effing thing I’ve ever seen.

Luckily for most of the toy collecting world, the distribution on these figures was even worse than Mattel’s usual. The first two waves clogged pegs for months or longer, I never saw the third, and the last two were even hard to find online. It was an utter disaster of a toy line and Mattel should have learned their lesson about splitting up build-a-figures across smaller waves.

They did not.

The relaunch of Mattel’s 6” DC figures started with two waves of figures that would build a Batman robot armor thing from the comics. At this point I have seen every figure from both waves at retail, so Mattel managed to at least get that right.

The Dawn of Justice figures are two waves and you have to buy both to get all of the pieces of the build-a-figure. Of course, it isn’t actually a figure this time around, it’s Batman’s grapnel gun, so nobody cares about it anyway. I’ve also seen all eight of these at retail, but the second wave has not been in anywhere near acceptable quantities.

In short – if you’re still collecting Mattel’s stuff and care about their build-a-figures, I feel badly for you. Especially considering the fact that Doomsday is the next one and he’s going to be extremely popular. Good luck.

Big Trouble in Little China toys.

Despite the assortment of colorful characters and the cult status of the movie, we’ve never seen many toys from my personal favorite movie of all time, Big Trouble in Little China.
Back in 2002 a company called N2 Toys released a line of six figures – Jack Burton, Lo Pan, Egg Shen, Wang Chi, Lightning, and the Chinese Wild Man. I bought Egg and Lo Pan at retail just because they were the first two I saw and I had to have toys from my favorite movie. Eventually I came across every figure except for the Chinese Wild Man and I ended up passing on all of them, even Jack Burton. They didn’t look great and they had no articulation. Jack looked bad, but Wang looked awful. And there’s nothing worse than an ugly Wang.

Last year Funko released a wave of Big Trouble in Little China figures as part of their ReAction line, as well as a set of six Pop! figures. I bought them all. Obviously neither style is necessarily what I prefer, but they are great toys within their respective styles. And if we had actually gotten Big Trouble in Little China toys in 1986 when the movie came out, there’s a fair chance they would have looked like ReAction figures. Which tend to be the best kind of ReAction figures.

I’m happy to own the Funko releases, but I want a line that hits my sweet spot – 6” scale figures. While I would gladly buy any number of $80 One:12 releases, I don’t know that that’s the right format. They haven’t produced any monsters or women yet, and you can’t have Big Trouble in Little China figures without Gracie Law, the Chinese Wild Man, or the beholder.

Side Note: I don’t know what Lo Pan’s floating eyeball creature is called in the mythological context of the movie. Materials from the film merely list it as “Flying Eyeball Monster”. Also, it would probably just be an accessory that comes with Lo Pan, like in the ReAction line.

The only thing that excites me about The Rock being involved in a remake of Big Trouble in Little China (and he is) is the possibility that it could lead to new toys. The trend nowadays is to do regular lines and “Classic” lines, so hopefully we would get toys from the original movie as well as stuff from whatever the new one turns out to be (awful).

My company of choice would be NECA, with DST being a close second. NECA generally produces superior product, but DST seems to stick with things a little longer. It would be heartbreaking to see NECA launch a line only to have it end prematurely like the Prometheus line did.

Can someone please produce an effing owlbear action figure!?!


It feels good to not buy toys.

I found the whole wave of DC Multiverse Suicide Squad toys at Toys R Us the other day. Deadshot looked good. One of the Jokers looked okay. Both of the Harley Quinns looked like crap, mostly due to the way they designed her shorts, but also because they just looked like Mattel figures. A couple of years ago I would have bought every single figure just to have them.

I didn’t buy a single one, and it felt good. It still feels good.

That’s been happening lately. I’ve been resisting the urge to impulse buy and it’s leaving me with this strange feeling of accomplishment. I also found the first wave of Muppets Select figures. They were only $12.99 apiece at Toys R Us, but I left them there. I think they look fantastic and I’d love to own them, but I just don’t need them. I don’t need to start a new thing.

I still love toys and I still collect toys, but I’m doing my best to be more selective. I need that money that I used to spend on impulse buys or on habit lines for other things. Fortunately I get a little bit of a thrill out of making responsible decisions, so that helps me not be dumb.

Final Note

If you’re collecting Mattel stuff, I apologize for being so harsh about Mattel all the time. Part of it is that I’m kind of mad at myself for buying so much from them that I wasn’t actually very happy with over the years. I have spent hundreds of dollars on Mattel products that I feel simply weren’t good enough, but I bought them because they had the license and were my only option if I wanted a certain character in a certain style. I am doing my best to not let myself be that way anymore and being bitchy about Mattel helps me with that.
Also, they really do crank out some substandard, overpriced crap.

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