Raging Nerdgasm #319 – flea market finds vol 2

Who Framed Roger Rabbit Flexies from LJN Toys

(just incase you forgot where you were)

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.

(the LJN logo; no gold at the end of that rainbow)

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.

(seriously, this is the only toy LJN did right in this whole line)
(this was made by McDonalds years after the movie and it’s better looking than most of these figures)

 

(eh, this was made by Applause and shows no one has really done Roger Rabbit justice in toy form)

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.

(this is a good bendy figure)
(these on the other hand….)

Roger Rabbit

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.

Jessica Rabbit

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!

Wiseguy Weasel

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.

Eddie Valiant

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.

Baby Herman

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.

Judge Doom

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.

via Blogger http://ragingnerdgasm.blogspot.com/2013/07/who-framed-roger-rabbit-flexies-from.html

My irrational love for the Presidential Monsters figures- another Raging Nerdgasm moment

(Just a friendly reminder of where you are)

It wasn’t too long ago when I showed off the set of Presidential Monster figures I ordered just before I broke my shoulder earlier this year. Since then, they have quickly become one of my more favorite possessions as of late. Which is saying a lot to be honest because I don’t normally dig newer toys. I think  part of the fact they stuck with me so much is because they are a specialty item only available through limited markets. With secondary market prices on the rise and a piece I read on strangekidsclub.com , the desire for a set of these figures became a dire need and superseded just about everything I was actively hunting down at that very moment. Through a course of fortunate events, mostly because eBay prices were creeping out of my price range, I met a man who led me to his website where he sold complete sets for retail prices. He also happened to be the proprietor of Heroes in Action , the main website for the Presidential Monsters line.

(man, just watching this makes my shoulder hurt again)

To be honest, there is plenty of reasons why this line really struck a cord with me. Mainly I was stuck at home for the better part of a month in a brace and unable to reach my collection and these were the only things I could see on a regular basis without bugging my wife. When I feel bad, I like to surround myself with things that make me happy as I’m sure a few readers do too. I bought them at first for the novelty and figured eventually I’d probably flip them for a decent return since the value of a complete set was constantly on the rise. But getting to sit and study them for a lengthy amount of time, I grew to really appreciate the detail behind each figure. From the patterns on the cloth used for each figure to the scales, fur and rotting skin sculpted on the faces and hands; these were something of an unsung masterpiece in the toy world. Why doesn’t anyone sing the praises of these marvelous toys?

(I guess there was no need for this photo but I like it anyways)

The first set, some still available here, was comprised of 7 Mego-style figures on colorful, character specific cards complete with original artwork. I’m a really appreciative fan when it comes to packaging featuring character specific artwork, it’s the small details that can make me love or hate a series of figures. Not because I’m an asshole (because I am, let’s not forget that fact) but I think a figure should be just as eye catching in the package as it is out of it.

Zom-Bush (George W. Bush)

Everyone’s favorite former head of state parodied for the sometimes dead look on his face during press conferences. The torn and tattered clothing along with the really awesome undead paint scheme really drive it home to be one of my favorites from the line. They were even so nice as to pack in a single sheet Zom-Bush poster which was promptly hung up in our room shortly after receiving our set. I wonder if Bush got one of these or was even aware of it? Next time I know he’s coming to my town I’ll get him to autograph mine, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

The Ronmy (Ronald Regan)

This was one that I wasn’t sold on when I was buying the set. To be honest, I was gauging whether it was worth just buying the ones I want or buying the set outright and parting out the figures I didn’t want. To get the 4 I wanted cost the same amount as it would have to bought the whole set and I’m a sucker for getting more toys for my money. All in all, Ronmy was actually a decent figure. I love the fact they used the classic Mad Monster pajama like bodysuit to pull off the mummy bandaging effect. It makes for a really nice throwback to the classic figure lines that inspired this set.

Wolf Bill (Bill Clinton)

Here’s one I was considering not buying in the first place. I’ve never been much of a Wolf man fan unless it was Lon Chaney. I’m more of a Dracula and Frankenstein fan that and I get the joke they were making but I guess I was hoping for more of a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde sex fiend. I guess I’d go more high brow or maybe I just make jokes no one gets (I’m fairly sure it’s the latter). But, so far there’s a theme with these lat 3 figures I’ve touched base on, none of them have shoes. I do like the sculpting of the fur and how they captured the mid transformation wolf and man hybrid, making him hairy enough for people to get the reference but human enough to recognize hound dog Bill Clinton.

Phantom of the White House (John F. Kennedy)

Our first figure with shoes! Here’s another one I was really sold on till I got it in hand. That’s the problem with online exclusives, I’ve not bought pieces from sets and then seriously regretted it at a toy show when I get it in hand and really get to admire it. Where this figure impresses is the outfit; cape, vest, shoes and pants are really great quality. Also, the sculpt is a dead ringer for JFK without obscuring it for the Phantom joke they were going with. They did give him a tan / peach colored (I’m bad with describing colors) demon mask. I was kind of hoping they would go for something closer to the Red Death mask from Phantom of the Opera but I’m not too disappointed.

Monster from Watergate Lagoon (Richard Nixon)

The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Gillman, Swamp Monster, Fish Man; no matter what you call him he’s probably my favorite of all the classic monsters. Richard Nixon, Dick Nix, Tricky Dicky; no matter what you call him he’s probably my 3rd favorite president. Two great tastes that taste great together ( that sounded better in my head than it does in print but I’m going to go with it). I really like the head sculpt on this, the bloated gill man head with the predominant nose sells the toy for me. The added touches of webbed hands (molded into the iconic “I am not a crook” victory signs) and feet make this figure one of my top 4 favorite figures from the line.

Baracula (Barack H. Obama)

There is no denying how cool and funny this figure is. Love the man or hate the man, they captured the current Commander and Chief’s likeness and gave you probably the best costume of the line. I’m not sure is the current president can take a joke or not but I’d love to show him this figure if I had a chance. This figure does go for more as a single figure outside of a complete set and most places won’t sell you a Baracula unless you buy the other 6 figures. Truly one of the crowning achievements of the line and I suggest if you buy one figure from this series to seek him out.

Lincolnstein (Abraham Lincoln)

In this series, Lincolnstein and Baracula are just about neck-and-neck my favorites from the line. What an awesome figure. Great costuming complete with top hat and the sculpting is by far the best of the line. Little details like stitches and neckbolts are not neglected, overall the entire run hasn’t skipped on detail and value. Yet again, this is another figure most sellers won’t let you have outside of a complete set so he is another, at least in my opinion, got to have figure.

My only gripe with the series, and I hope the powers that be at Heroes in Action are listening (well, reading), is that to enjoy the figure outside the package you have to destroy the packaging I admire so much. I love what Gentle Giant Toys did with the Jumbo Vintage Star Wars figures and I think more companies should follow suit. Make the package into a semi-clamshell that can be carefully disassembled to display the figure whenever the consumer wishes while also give the owner the ability to put it back in the package and hang it on a wall with ease. Either way I really like the line overall, more so than I ever thought I would. For anyone who thought these figures are as cool as I think they are, they are available in  limited quantities through Heroes in Action, famous online retailers and eBay. I suggest you act quickly, another round of Presidential Monster mash ups are heading to online retailers sometime this year with more amazing concepts as Van Palin: the vampire hunter, Romney the Robot, Teddy the Yeti, Martian Van Buren and Jacksferatu.

(Martian Van Buren)

 

(I really want to know what’s up with the Yeti variant)

 

(I really like this on many levels)

via Blogger http://ragingnerdgasm.blogspot.com/2013/06/my-irrational-love-for-presidential.html

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