Gumby Collection Bendies by NJCroce https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585334702/
Star Trek TNG Antican
The Antican was from the earlier seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Y’know, back when they were still feeling out the direction of the show and before the make up and effects got better. According to the Star Trek wiki the Anticans are a sentient humanoid-canine species from the planet Antica who like to eat their meat still alive and kicking. Think rape-cannibals. Anyways, their prey of choice were the Selay; a reptilian humanoid species resembling cobra people for lack of better terms. The Antican, Selay, Q and the Feringi were tail enders to the failing Galoob Star Trek series and usually command big bucks in good condition. Unless you are a nut and have to have him I would suggest living without him unless you get him for a few bucks, he’s far from being the most interesting toy you don’t own.
Slo Mo from Space Precinct
Oh yeah, that breakout BBC series known as Space Precinct. Right? It played in the US if your market was lucky enough to slip it into a late night/early morning time slot. Those time slots that play just before the channel signs off for the night or they start playing the 700 Club or infomercials isn’t exactly the way to coax people into falling in love with a fairly imaginative hour long tv series. Created and written by Gerry Anderson ( creative mind behind Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet), this live action police drama seemed childish on the surface with silly characters like Slo Mo and brightly designed alien species (using a lot of great make up techniques and puppetry) but had lots of adult undertones and story lines. Needless to say it lasted a year even though rating highly in Europe, the series capped off with 24 episodes and was Gerry Anderson’s biggest budgeted production.
Slo Mo was more than likely in every episode if memory serves me right. Kind of a comic relief mixture of C3P0 and R2D2 to offset some of the tension I bought Slo Mo just because I thought he’d look cool in the background of a Jawa Sandcrawler or some other scene I dreamed of building but never got around to. Now he just haunts a random bin full of miscellanous toys where I’ll probably throw him next to the Antican if I decide either deserves to be displayed.
Macho Man LJN thumb wrestler
Nothing quite like cornholing a bearded man in pink underwear and making him fight another mostly naked man with a thumb up his ass. While I really like LJN’s WWF figures I’ve always had this strange issue with the thumb wrestlers. That and they are incredibly hard to display.
Imperial Space fighters
Here goes my love/hate for bendy figures. Imperial did a few straight bootlegs of other popular space branded toys and made them bendies. This is a green Star Wars Storm Trooper, let that sink in for a minute.
I never was a big fan of the Xena series but then again I wasn’t a fan of the Hercules series till it was off the air and I was much older. Even the times I sat down trying to watch the series with an open mind, I lost interest within minutes. You could almost time me; 7 minutes in and I was done, just like clockwork. I bought this figure to eventually customize into a Slave Leia 6 inch figure but I think I got bored one day and shot it with an airsoft gun. They’re making a 6 inch Slave Leia and I probably won’t buy it anyways because I’m just not that into Star Wars anymore.
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I seem to be forever doomed to write about bendy toys, or it would seem that way as of late. I mean there’s probably in total somewhere between 3 to 7 bendy toys I wouldn’t mind owning, every other one I find outside of that I’d sooner set on fire to rid the world of it. I have an extreme love/hate for these overproduced pieces of rubber but once every so often there’s one that I gravitate towards. Sometimes it’s because a genuine action figure for the character doesn’t exist, sometimes it’s because the price is right or sometimes it’s because I’m strangely drawn to it for reasons beyond my comprehenison. This piece is roughly all 3 of those reasons rolled into one.
My facination for the Leprechaun bendy started over 20 years ago. My aunt ran a collectibles shop where I’d help out by sorting new collections, cleaning toys and piecing them together. One day a collection of miscellanious figures came in with 3 of these bad boys in it. Three was the magical number because it meant I could grab one and the owner’s son could get one too since he liked horror based toys. This was a time before the internet and I had no background on where it came from or what it was worth, all I knew is I wanted it badly. Somehow, my aunt and the owner couldn’t come to an agreement over price for what he was selling and all 3 walked off; never to be seen again.
20 years later most memory of the Leprechaun figure had slipped into the murky recesses of my mind. I had once or twice looked the figure up online but never found any active or closed auctions for the piece, I found rumors about it being a promotional giveaway if you bought the VHS tape when it came out. Sounded logical since VHS tapes back in the early 90s cost a small fortune and there had to be a reason to shell out a bunch of money on a plastic brick with a movie on it. But the internet is vague and no one had much of any real information other than if you wanted the toy it was going to cost you a lot of money for no good reason whatsoever. Screw that noise, I’ll do without.
Years passed and word of a NECA or McFarlane Toys Leprechaun action figure hit the web but the toy never got past prototype stages. Many more years passed before I found the Leprechaun bendy sitting in a collectibles shop in a flea market. Picked up for a quick $10, I gleefully grabbed him up knowing the figure commands $40 or more online. $10 is about right for the toy. He’s a solid and sturdy rubber figure that while his likeness isn’t the best, it’s passable that even my coworkers know who it is when they walk by my desk. No frills here except for the fact the Leprechaun stands on his own unlike his bendy brothers and sisters which is a nice touch and makes him far more displayable than other bendies I own. I can’t see why some people spend so much on this figure unless the Leprechaun franchise is their favorite series of horror movies with a dwarf as the main character.
If I had an editor, lines like that previous one would never make it to print.
He’s also holding a gold coin in his left hand, just in case you forgot the premise of any Leprechaun story in existence.
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Those who read my Who Framed Roger Rabbit flexies review know the extreme love/hate I have for bendy toys. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, bendy toys were in abundance. If the movie or TV show didn’t have enough cool points to warrant an action figure line, there was at least a bendy made of a key character. While the movie Harry and the Hendersons would have been exciting to have gotten an action figure of John Lithgow or David Suchet, we were “blessed” with a bendy of Harry himself. But on the flip side, if it was expected to be a dynamite blockbuster, we got action figures and bendy figures too (i.e. – Land of the Lost, Who Framed Roger Rabbit or MMPR: The Movie). There was a strange corelation though with lines that had both action figures and bendy toys; the whole line usually flopped hard and ended up on clearance shelves shortly. I’m sure someone can point out an exception to that observation but I can’t recall one off the top of my head at the moment.
You’d think bendy figures would be awesome, right? In theory, yes. A figural toy with infinite options for posing. Something that could sit and stand and everything in between without obscuring the sculpt with all the cuts traditional articulation leaves you with. These bendies were usually very droll and if you got them as a gift you knew that person obviously didn’t like you that much or got you a gift last minute. That may sound harsh but I’m totally aware of what it’s like to get sucky gifts. One year my mom’s brother got me a puzzle and a flashlight. Some might say I’m being petty but it’s the reason why I won’t refer to him as my uncle.
Most all bendy toys of the era came on very basic card and bubble packaging. The card art was sparse, usually utilizing few colors and little to no use of movie or show based photos. No matter what the character was they were always in a very creepy arms stretched out pose. Some might say it’s in a ready to hug you pose but I more relate the pose to a crusifixied body. That may sound harsh but I just really hate bendies. Another major letdown was the lack of accessories and the price was roughly equal to a decent action figure, there was no value in purchasing a bendy.
The Rocketeer is a bendy I’ve held off buying for a very long time. I know you’ve read through what amounts to a manifesto against producing and buying bendy figures but hear me out. 99/100 times I find the Rocketeer he is always missing the jetpack. Rocketeer without a jetpack is just a bellhop figure with horse riding boots and a silly helmet. Finding it with the jetpack I see as an accomplishment because I didn’t sacrifice money for an incomplete toy, the only added bonus would have been to find him still carded. While I hate bendy figures I love the Rocketeer and hate that an action figure or affordably priced 12 inch doll hasn’t been made in over 20 years.
***Update*** – Thanks to the fine folks at Plastic Heroes, I was able to add a carded Rocketeer figure to my collection. I’m not sure if that’s reason for celebration but I’m going to count it as such.
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Check out the whole photo archive of these and many other toys at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157630575332860/with/7569764938/
For all the potential Who Framed Roger Rabbit had for toys, Disney sold it way too short. I think handing the license to LJN was probably the worst thing they could have done, worse than just not making toys period. I know I’m talking about the same company that brought the world Thundercats, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Voltron, Tigersharks and the ever iconic WWF Superstars but let’s face it LJN had more failures than successes. Don’t even get me started on their video game productions, I don’t want to get into a Angry Video Game Nerd-esque rant here. LJN produced two lines of equally crappy figures and I’ll be honest, I like them. I’m a complex guy, I’ll talk trash about something for years but hold onto it because I like it. If there were better toys available, I’d buy them and throw these up on my BluJay store. Till then I’ll talk about these.
There was two lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit toys from LJN as I stated earlier. One was a series of 3 inch articulated figures; Judge Doom, Eddie Valiant, Roger Rabbit and Wiseguy Weasel. These were fairly bad, even for being released in 1988. They were painfully stiff looking figures that made happy meal toys look more desirable. Not only were the figures cursed with bad articulation and horrible likenesses but they were strangely flat, as in the figures had little to no girth at all. Anyways, I own Eddie and Roger only because they came in a collection of Super Powers figures I bought nearly a decade ago off eBay. More recently I got the Benny the Cab while on vacation in Orlando at a flea market. I barely even relate Benny to this line because 1) he saw limited release in America and was on clearance when he showed up overseas 2) he’s far nicer than anything made by LJN between 1988 and their death in 1995.
LJN made a series of bendy figures based off the movie and called them Flexies. I have a strange love/hate relationship when it comes to bendy toys. Some of them are really interesting like some of the old Advanced Dungeons and Dragons figures or some of the old AHI monsters but most of them look like old and chewed on Gumby figures. The Flexies in comparison to the basic action figures were giants, nearly 3 times the size. They suffered from the same strange “squished flat” disorder that the action figures did but this time they made 6 different characters for kids to spend their hard earned chore money on. I have a vague memory of seeing these at my local toy stores when I was a kid and I remember them bearing large red clearance stickers almost immediately. Competition was tough during the year of 1988, He-Man was still a contender, GI Joe was prevailing, COPS was just about the best value for your money, TMNT was starting their inaugural year and it did look like anything could stop Transformers. I know I just keep bashing LJN but if any other company had the rights to the toys we (or maybe just me, I could be alone in my assumption that this series sucked) could have had some bad ass toys.
He kind of looks like someone dropped a ton of bricks on him. They did get the color pallet right though. The ears a bendable along with the torso, arms and stubby legs. Congratulations if you car get them to hold a pose though, the rubber is just slightly too thick to allow the inner wire to retain a shape. Don’t get me wrong though, in hand the make you reminisce about your days playing with LJN WWF wrestlers. I like the idea of big sturdy toys that you can bludgeon a sibling with, it brings a certain amount of joy to my dark heart. Roger also comes with a set of handcuffs to recreate those memorable scenes from the movie. They are nothing really special but they do the job. Side note, LJN made a giant Roger Flexies that I somehow really want to own for stupid reasons. I guess it’s because I already own this unholy hexad of figures, might as well purchase their overlord.
I have a strange obsession with Jessica Rabbit. When I was a young lad I had what could be described as a “thing” for Jessica Rabbit and Betty Boop. Being 1988 and being a boy of six years of age, I was fairly impressionable. Sadly, they never made what I considered an acceptable figure or doll of Jessica Rabbit. The only positive thing I can remark about this Flexies figure is one of two characters from the line that retain poses. The cloth accent to complete the illusion of a full skirt is more annoying than appealing. Under the skirt (yes I looked) reveals the top part of the dress becomes just a one-piece swimsuit and the skirt is made out of a cheap and sand paper coarse fabric. But it does pose and retain those poses, there’s something to be said about that. Meh!
I loved the design and concept of the weasels in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. They were the perfect archetype for a villain’s henchmen / minions. Loyal, lethal and dumb as a box of LJN video games. Wiseguy suffered the squished flat syndrome his action counterpart did, which is a shame because I think he was about the most screen accurate figure from the line. He includes a yellow plastic linked chain that wraps around his waist. He also has a gun molded into his hand which makes him the second best figure in the line, at least in my honest opinion. I miss cartoon violence.
I’m just going to get this out of the way, I like Bob Hoskins a lot as an actor. Any man that plays Smee in two totally different productions of a Peter Pan movie has my vote for being one of the most underrated actors of all time. He was also Mario Mario and that holds a special place in my no shame guilty movie pleasures. He also drank heavily to get through that movie and I find that kind of cool. This Flexies and the action figure both suck, there isn’t any other way to put it. No redeeming qualities at all. The color of the suit is also this horrible fecal brown, the kind of suit you’d commonly see in a thrift store. The kind that was used for a funeral but stripped off the corpse just before they cremate it. My mind goes to strange places, sorry but it’s the best visual I can paint. Eddie also comes with the same handcuffs as Roger which makes this figure even more boring, if that was possible.
This is my favorite figure from the line. If it wasn’t for what amounts to possibly mild ADHD I’d sell the set and keep this figure. It’s the only time I’m aware of they made a Baby Herman in “adult” form. I wish he had a cigar accessory or came with his baby stroller instead of the highchair. The highchair accessory is kind of lost on the figure, he doesn’t really “flex”. I do like the fistful of cash Herman is gripping onto, which reminds me I also liked Wiseguy Weasel solely on the fact he has the gun molded into his hand. I guess that makes two figures I’d keep if I could convince myself to sell these.
Here is where I was hoping for the figures to wow me, they didn’t. The action figure Judge Doom was a let down, for an intimidating movie antagonist his action figure and Flexies toy gives the impression of an angry old man wanting you to get the fuck off his lawn. Both toys also came with a vulture which was never in the movie in the first place. Would have made for an awesome pet / companion in the film but to package it with the toy is confusing. I mean it’s really conflicting, I would have loved to have seen that vulture added to the movie. Fucking LJN. He also comes with a cane but it’s little more than a black plastic stick.
In the end, I guess I’m fairly happy I have these in my collection. I like them but only on the surface, they look great on my wall of carded figures and they are good to use as an example of what a bad bendy figure looks like. Past that, they remind me what a poor company does with a great license. For a modern example look at anything made by Jazwares. And the level of fail in these figures doesn’t taint my memories of the movie, I was a grown man before I owned any of the LJN Roger Rabbit toys. That’s the strange appeal of vintage toys, they are nostalgic but they may not be the best representation of the characters you love.
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