Announcement: To Those of You Attempting to Contact Me or Comment

Hey everyone, I want to make this short and sweet but if you’ve tried to CONTACT ME or left a COMMENT in the past that was never approved or never replied to, please take a second to read this!

First of all, thank you thank you thank you for all the interest and support in my humble attempt at chronicling my toy collecting. I really had no idea this was reaching so many people and if I’d known I’d probably force myself to set aside more time for the blog. After my recent stint of inactivity I was kinda bummed and resolved to really hunker down and bang out content. I’ve got sooo much stuff I want to share!

Anyway, in order to at least partially insulate myself as a person from the blog itself, I have a separate email address that’s linked to site. This is the email where all the “Contact Me” messages go, this is the email where all the notices about comments go, and to be honest, I just haven’t gotten used to checking it regularly. It dawned on me today that it’d been a very long time since I’d glanced at it and when I did so, I was totally shocked at all the messages that I’d let roll by without any kind of response or acknowledgement. A big part of why I started doing this was to connect with people with similar interests and here I sit, completely squandering the opportunity. I genuinely feel terrible and believe me, the last thing I wanna be is that unreachable, inaccessible guy.

I don’t want to make any grand promises, but I will say that I’m gonna do my best to reply to every single Contact email sent my way and keep a much closer eye on Comments while responding when pertinent.

I’m going to try to work through my mailbox and write back to some of you, however, if you really want to be sure to get in touch with me, just resend it, make another comment, whatever it takes, and I’ll be on the lookout!

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Odd Distribution of Character Cars

Important Note: I apologize for the lack of original images in this article. I use a separate computer for my photo editing and I don’t have reasonable access to it at the moment. So in lieu of waiting around for my computer issues, I’m publishing this anyway. I’ll post an update once I get this (and any possible future) articles all fancied up with pics! Thanks!

Recently we’ve had a lot of Character Cars dropping all over the place. There’s been Infinity War waves 1 and 2 (the second wave did not include any newcomers), a round of Solo Character Cars with at least one more wave in the works (not to mention the All-Terrain vehicles and Battle Rollers), the Donkey Kong one-off with a re-release of the Super Mario series, the Jurassic World series, and last but not least, a bespeckling of DC entities. Naturally this stuff tends to show up on eBay before I spot it in a store, but over time I’ve learned that a little patience can save me a decent amount of money and around 75% of the time I can find what I want – with diligent searching, mind you – without about 1 to 3 weeks. When it came to the new DC stuff and Jurassic World, I was fruitless after each and every excursion.

So I broke down, ordered the Jurassic World set for a nominal but not entirely unreasonable markup, and then scooped up 3 of the new DC characters as well: Batman Rebirth, Robin 2.0T, and Cyborg from Injustice 2.

Since then, I’ve slowly seen the Jurassic World series creep onto the shelves of at least 4 stores now. As you may or may not know, these larger Character Cars come in cases of 8 cars each. Now there are 5 in the series, and obviously 5 doesn’t divide evenly into 8, so some vehicles are going to be inherently rarer than others, at least until the market is saturated (which may happen very quickly or not at all, it is impossible to tell with these things). For reasons unknown, it looks like entries 3/5 and 5/5 have gotten the short end of the stick. As of right now, and in this particular geographical area, it appears that each case has 2 of each of the remaining 3 cars (2 × 3 = 6 total) plus 1 of each of 3/5 and 5/5 (6 + 2 = 8 = a case). Number 3 is the Triceratops while number 5 is “the big’un,” the aquatic Mosasauras. So if you can’t snatch ’em up all up at once, put the Triceratops and Mosasaurus at the top of your list.

The DC cars seem to be experiencing an oddity of their own. I saw them late Friday / early Saturday for the first time in retail alongside the second wave of Solo Starships that I mentioned previously (and also the first appearance of the Jurassic World set at that particular location). Yet again the magic number is 8. Well, first of all the case contained the entire Injustice 2 sub-set with the four previously released cars (Superman, Supergirl, Batman, & The Flash) along with the long awaited (was it…?) 5/5, Cyborg. So what about the other 3? Batman Rebirth, Robin 2.0T, and the “new” (I have news about this; read on) Wonder Woman, right? Well no…close but no cigar. Instead we’re treated to a new Wonder Woman and a double dose of Robin. So where’s Batman Rebirth? What else is in “his” case? I don’t have the answer just yet.

And to quickly address the “new” Wonder Woman situation now that I have one in hand: yes, this is in fact a “new” and “different” version of the heroine despite the lack of First Appearance on the card. You can go back to this article when I first began to ponder the subject, and yes, the back half of the car is a glossy, very deep shade of blue. Wonder Woman has undergone several minor changes ever since she was redesigned for her Batman v Superman release, and although this is somewhat subtle, it is technically different. It can actually be difficult to tell what color the back is and it’d be easy to mistake it for a black or very dark slate color, but if you get yourself a nice, bright LED flashlight (use the one on your phone) or something comparable, the rear is unmistakably blue with dark (black?) striations akin to wood-grain, contributing to he confusion. I gotta say I’m a little miffed…if they wanna make it blue then I’m all for it, but if it’s ‘sposed to be blue, the make it friggin’ BLUE.

So yes, weirdness abounds when it comes to these new releases, so good luck your hunt. None of these are particularly expensive on eBay, so if you’re really desperate you won’t necessarily break the bank. I can’t speak for everyone’s area, but around here, I give Walmart the edge. Since I started writing this I’ve visited a few more stores, and so far, more Walmarts have had the Jurassic World set than Targets, and I’ve only seen the new DC stuff at a single Walmart. I’m sure this will change, however, I’ve never seen the Injustice 2 stuff at any Target.

What kinds of experiences have you had tracking down these (or even other) vehicles and the like? Share your story! Stick around; next up we’ll either be going over upcoming Battle Rollers, a particularly interesting instance surrounding a Batmobile, or we might just talk about some dad gum MONSTER TRUCKS!

Until then

Second Wave of Starships from SOLO Now Available!

Important Note: I apologize for the lack of original images in this article. I use a separate computer for my photo editing and I don’t have reasonable access to it at the moment. So in lieu of waiting around for my computer issues, I’m publishing this anyway. I’ll post an update once I get this (and any possible future) articles all fancied up with pics! Thanks!

I knew these were coming a couple of weeks ago as per Mattel’s website and though I had every intention of writing a piece on them, time got away from me. But now we can kill 2 birds with 1 stone; late Friday night / early Saturday morning I walked into Walmart. Honestly I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, though I have seen a new Star Wars “tribute” series of 1:64 cars that I thought might pop up. I didn’t find those, but I was lucky enough to run across the latest run of Starships in conjunction with Solo: A Star Wars Story.

We’ve got a few re-issues like Fett’s Slave I, Vader’s TIE, and the Naboo N-1 Starfighter, but perhaps the “best” would be Darth Maul’s Sith Infiltrator which was never an easy piece to find (and who knows, it may not become any easier to find this time either). There are a few others as well, but I mainly want to focus on the new ones, which Hot Wheels has started designating First Appearance to stave off any potential confusion. In no particular order…

  • First Order AT-ST (With partial removal of “head” and driven/piloted by BB-8.)
  • Imperial Patrol Speeder (Previously with the word “Mimban” sometimes attached, as in “Mimban Speeder;” this seems to have been dropped on official packaging.)
  • B-Wing Fighter
  • AT-TE

Very little of this has anything to do with Solo, but it is very cool to have diecast versions of them nonetheless. The “Mimban Speeder” or Imperial Patrol Speeder as it has now officially been dubbed is the only vehicle from the new film. I might’ve missed it in the film if I hadn’t already been familiar with the LEGO version, but the speeder makes a brief appearance during the chase between Han and Moloch on Corellia early on. The First Order AT-ST, commandeered by BB-8, is of course from The Last Jedi, while the criminally underused B-Wing makes a very brief appearance in Return of the Jedi, despite having a large-ish role in the battle canonically. (If I recall correctly, the thinness of the fighter (thin like a blade, hence B-Wing) created visibility issues with the greenscreen and ultimately most shots of the B-Wing were scrapped.)

And finally we have the very freakin’ cool AT-TE or All-Terrain Tactical Enforcer, a Clone Wars-era “tank” seen in Episodes II and III (I think) and used by the Republic against the Separatist Droid Army. If you’ve been reading these entries of mine long enough it probably goes without saying, but I’m very glad to see the prequel trilogy continue to receive some degree of recognition / acknowledgement. The AT-TE also appears to be fairly prolific in the Clone Wars animated TV series as well, though I wouldn’t know first hand. (I’d love to know the content of these stories, but I just don’t know if I can sit through that basic-ass, oddly disproportionate, CG animation! I prefer that sort of hyper-detailed stuff from the 80’s and the early half of the 90’s to an extent…you know, lots of forgettable space cartoons (Sectaurs, InHumans, Blackstar), even stuff like G.I. Joe, Captain Planet, or The Real Ghostbusters. But alas, it looks like I’m missing out on a lot of stuff, more and more of which is being referenced in the sequel trilogy and anthology films. Bring back SHADOWS of the EMPIRE!)

I owned several of these ships as plastic models from MicroMachines as pre-teen (this was the massive merchandising wave that surrounded the “new” Special Editions of the original trilogy), though obviously I was relegated to only the first 3 films. They were wonderfully detailed, but the plastic was often thin due to the small size of the models and prone to deformation, even within the package itself. Not sure if MicroMachines proper is around anymore, but I do remember as recently as Rogue One Hasbro released small, plastic models of vehicles, and I daresay the quality of the plastic in these is even worse than the old MicroMachines. Anyway, I just wanted to hit on the fact that in general these pieces are nice and heavy for their size though many do make a liberal use of plastic. Articulation is limited, i.e. the B-Wing doesn’t fold flat, the AT-TE’s middle set of legs move about 1/8″ in each direction, and the legs of the AT-ST are locked in place, but this doesn’t bother me a whole lot. Ideally it’d be nice to have slightly larger models sans plastic wherever possible, and very basic articulation such as legs, S-foils, wings, and turrets where applicable. I guess I should note that Hasbro’s Titanium Series fit this bill pretty well until they inexplicably changed this come The Force Awakens.

And that’s all I got for you for on the Starships front. I’d like to think these will continue to trickle out during the series’ down time between now and probably the Fall of 2019, but I won’t be holding my breath. I suppose a 3rd wave is possible, and Hot Wheels should definitely consider Moloch’s Speeder; other than that I think Solo is well-represented. They could take the time to fill in some gaps from Episode VII ’til now, like the Supremacy, the Raddus, the Quadjumper, Starkiller Base (I realize the scale would be off, but if you consider starfighters versus capital ships scale just isn’t something that can always be taken into consideration in this format), Krennic’s Shuttle (I think we only have a Titanium Series version of this), and probably half a dozen others I can’t think of at the moment. And naturally I wouldn’t mind ’em reaching back in time for beauts like the Naboo Royal Starship, the V-Wing, the Jedi Interceptors, Droid Tri-Fighters, The Invisible Hand, Dooku’s weird “solar sail” thing, and that giant space station-like thing above Naboo that housed Nute Gunray and the Trade Federation (it’s called the Saak’ak apparently and classified as a ship, not some sort of space station…alrighty).

Brand New Line of Hot Wheels Star Wars STARSHIPS – Concept Series

Man, Disney must really be gearing up for one last resonating wave of Star Wars merchandise before it goes dark for the next year and a half! One thing that the boys at Hot Wheels have up their sleeve is a new line called Concept Series. For the most part, whenever we see preliminary concept versions of something they’re typically in the form of a drawing. However, as part of their Star Wars Starships line, Hot Wheels is producing diecast versions of these unused concepts. No word on exactly when these will drop just yet, but so far it looks like there’s a planned “Series 1” with a total of 5 ships.

Concept Landspeeder

Landspeeder

Concept Star Destroyer

Star Destroyer

Concept Millennium Falcon

Millennium Falcon

Concept Card Back

We don’t have clean pics of the X-Wing or TIE Fighter yet, but we can catch a glimpse on the card back.

So for the record, the 5 concept ships are a Landspeeder (Landspeeders vary widely, but I’m assuming, without any further qualifications, we’re talking about something akin to or that became Luke’s speeder), an Imperial Star Destroyer, the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing Starfighter, and a TIE Fighter.

The Falcon is especially interesting to me because its basically been reduced to a flying rod. The ship has always had a memorable yet awkward shape, but this tubular design seems really impractical. Seems like the only thing carried over to the final version was the cockpit design. The other major deviation is the Landspeeder with its tiny little seat and giant, plate-like posterior. I’m glad they left this on the drawing board, as it seems far too bulky to operate in all but the most open places.

Even if it is a bit of a novelty series, I’m excited to see more of it. I’d love to see early versions – if they exist – of things like the various Walkers, the Death Star itself, and other one-offs like the Slave I, Maul’s Sith Infiltrator, and even Vader’s X1 TIE. Which ones do you like the best and what would you like to see? Lemme know!