Raging Nerdgasm blogs – ‘Rasslin’ figure throw down

I’ve been a pro wrestling fan for a very long time. I was always fond to the toys and played with the ones my cousin’s house when I visited. I always got stuck playing with the B and C roster guys while he got to be Hulk Hogan or Jake ‘the snake’ Roberts. It was always a sort of one side ass kicking contest when I had to be Virgil or the Berzerker or (for God’s sake) Texas Tornado. I never had any of my own till I was much older and the JAKKS toys WWF figures were the big thing. I’ve since sold off all my JAKKS figures (except for a few) and invested my money in improving my LJN, Remco and Hasbro wrestling figure collection. While I’m not a completest (well, except for the LJN figures because they display so well), I’ve only really grabbed what I’ve come across that I’ve liked. I’d like to give you the top 6 wrestling figures, in my opinion of course and in no particular order. Why top 6? I’m giving you more than 5, what do you want from me?

Vampiro Canadiense from CMLL wrestling

Oh glorious Canada! Land of snow, maple syrup, hockey, and dreadlocked goth wrestlers that know Spanish and hang out with ICP. Wait, what? This amateur pro wrestler turned amateur hockey star turned rock & roll drifter turned Mexican wrestling star turned Mexican soap opera star turned WCW wrestler turned goth rapper allegedly got his training from none other than Abdullah the Butcher, one of the most brutal pro wrestlers before “hardcore wrestling”  was even a thing (also makes some damned mediocre BBQ, look it up). Anyways, with such a unique look you’d think companies would have been chomping at the bit trying to get a figure made of the Canadian Vampire, right? Well, not exactly.

Back in the early 90s, a toymaker made CMLL (Consejo Mudial de Lucha Libre) figures of all the top stars of the time. These were nice, sturdy, hard plastic figurines just shy of the official LJN WWF figure size that came on gray cards with lots of good graphics and live pictures from the actual events. The figure assortment included international greats like El Ultimo Dragon and many others. But the stand out figure was Vampiro. He was a very sought after figure for the time he was active in WCW and even after that while he was in ICP’s wrestling association. Sadly, in 1992 I saw them at a discount store at the local mall for a little over a buck a piece and my mom gave me the choice of all 6 different CMLL figures or 3 Dick Tracy figures (they were slightly more expensive), I made a boner move and went for Dick Tracy figures.

 I was never one to pay top price for a figure I was only mildly attracted to. I had the Toy Biz WCW figures (the ones with the very cool rooted dreads) but I still kind of wanted it. I recently picked up this figure while at a friend of mine’s collectibles store in Downtown St Pete. I’ve talked about going into Planet Retro a lot but the store has some really awesome stuff that keeps you coming back over and over again. On the top of a bin full of loose LJN figures I found Vampiro in not exactly the best of condition. I got a very good deal on the figure (I bought a bunch of stuff at the same time so I’m not sure what the breakdown was and I don’t really care), went home and washed him down in warm soapy water, used acetone to remove all the stray marks and strip the paint off of his hair and upper tights and touched the whole thing up in Vallejo paints. It’s for my personal collection and if I do sell him down the road (the market has certainly cooled for demand of this figure so he’d have to die or start wrestling again for value to increase) I make no bones about letting someone know I’ve touched up the figure significantly.

Abdullah the Butcher from Remco’s AWA line

 
Outside of the really awful one released about 10 years ago, this was the only figure ever made in his likeness. The detail wasn’t the greatest but this is just about a 30 year old figure. Like I mentioned before, Abdullah the Butcher was the godfather of hardcore wrestling before it was a thing and I admire that watching some of his old matches from overseas. Also, it marked a change in Remco’s basic figure design. A new torso was created to produce wrestlers a little more accurately who weren’t as muscular as the rest. He’s a cool figure and really the best one they’ve made so far.

The Giant from Toy Biz WCW series one

I always thought this was the best figure out of the first half dozen series Toy Biz produced. They stayed in the same vein as the Hasbro figures and unfortunately that worked against the figures most of the time. Action features got squeezed into every figure and rarely did they work as intended and most of them made the figure look ridiculously misshapen. The likenesses were hit and miss but some got it close enough. The Giant mixed that almost got it likenesses with silly action feature that actually worked well enough. The choke slam feature sometimes threw the opposing figure across the ring, which was good enough for me since it was the freakin’ Giant.

The Great Khali from JAKKS WWF Ruthless Aggression line

Not a great wrestler but a great figure. Huge, imposing and a totally unique sculpt is what really attracts me. The face, captured in mid primordial scream, also is an attractive feature. Probably very much needed because with a closed mouth this guy looks like one of those Easter Island heads. While JAKKS was in business, they got as much mileage out of this sculpt because we all know toy companies try to avoid too many unique molds. The more unique bodies or accessories, the higher the price gets. Still one of my favorite releases from the JAKKS WWF line.

Doink the Clown from Hasbro’s WWF line

Take a line full of squat, burly looking men and add a clown with real rooted hair. Marketing brilliance indeed. This figure was sought after upon it’s release and didn’t cool off for several years. Now, I’ve bought numerous collections in the past and I never see this figure loose. The ones I find online loose don’t have particularly good paint jobs due to being played with rough. I don’t have many of the Hasbro WWF figures, if I had to guess it would be less than a dozen and I’ve used most for customs, but I do have a Doink in fairly good condition. I think I’d more than likely shit myself if a muscle-bound clown the likes of this came running at me. I don’t scare easy but damn if that face isn’t terrifying.

George “the Animal” Steele from JAKKS Classic Superstars

JAKKS WWF classic superstars line brought the fans an amazing amount of awesome figures over it’s 20+ series releases. Everything from nWo Hogan, Brutus Beefcake, Shockmaster and even Kona Krush (but no “Macho Man” Randy Savage, sigh!) but one of the most memorable releases was George “the Animal” Steele. He wasn’t much different than the rest of the series; great attention to detail and a really good likeness….is that HAIR? Yes, they glued “real” hair to his chest. George, outside of Prince Albert, was probably the hairiest wrestler to ever step in a ring. JAKKS gave us that extra added realism by furnishing a fuzzy figure for the fans.

Honorable mention!

Slick from LJN WWF wrestling superstars

An 8 inch rubber pimp (in)action figure. He was literally the watered down version of Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch. The removable hat was a nice touch.

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GI Joe Retaliation : Blind Master figure review

Off the bat I’m going to admit I have not seen this movie all the way through. I can’t get through it, I walked out of the movie in the theater out of boredom. Out of what I have seen in the movie that I like is the Cobra flag going up over the White House and the RZA as the Blind Master. I would have never bet on them making a figure of the Blind Master, not unless it was a convention exclusive. The figure might as well have been an exclusive because it’s not that easy to find. Apparently this figure has been out since October and I just stumbled onto it just this last week. After seeing him loose in someone’s collection made me want this figure even more, I nearly bought it off eBay just to avoid searching for it.

I lucked into the figure at Toys R Us on an impromptu trip this week out of total boredom. The likeness is fairly good for the line, looks like RZA from his role in the GI Joe movie. I’ve always been hard on Hasbro’s head sculpts on 3 3/4 inch figures but some of their figures from 30 years ago have better likenesses than the current figures on the shelf. I hate to use a number scale but this is a solid 8 out of 10 on the likeness. The figure reuses a lot of GI Joe figure pieces, which is most obvious on the Blind Master’s hip where you find a gun holster. You may think it’s a small thing but once I noticed it I couldn’t do anything but just stare at it. Glaring mistakes are hard for me to overlook sometimes, I get all hung up. The accessories are abundant; bamboo cane that splits into a sword, the nine ring sword, a flute, a mask, a hat that doubles as a shield (and has positional blades) and a ring / Frisbee that looks like something from Master of the Flying Guillotine.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the figure. I think I’m more satisfied in the novelty of it being a figure of the RZA than it being a good GI Joe figure. This line kind of suffered that, at least in my opinion. The Joe Colton figure was an awesome 3 3/4 inch Bruce Willis figure but it was a mediocre GI Joe figure. If you like the Wu Tang Clan this is a treat to pick up and add to your collection. I’ve had 3 friends come over and see this and buy one online just on impulse.

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Star Wars Figures 2012

Star Wars Podrager Pilots by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585325274/

Star Wars Podrager Pilots by Hasbro008

Star Wars The Clone Wars Battlepacks Assault on Geonosis by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585725303/

Star Wars The Clone Wars Battlepacks Assault on Geonosis by Hasbro001

Star Wars The Clone Wars Kul Teska by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585330104/

Star Wars The Clone Wars Kul Teska by Hasbro012

Star Wars Yavin Pilot Pack by Hasbro https://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157631585729751/

Star Wars Yavin Pilot Pack by Hasbro004

cloverfield

Cloverfield monster by Hasbro Direct Sales

More images on our Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157629899207392/with/7271129160/ .

Cloverfield, released back in January of 2008, was a shitty sci-fi monster movie that could have been so much better. Shot al’a Blair Witch style, a group of friends are present to witness first hand (with their handy-cam) the destruction of New York by an beast of unknown origins. Shakey cam movies belong in the trash, they are a nauseating display of what can be done when you barely have enough money to distribute the film let alone produce it. Anyways, the film follows this group of friends as their farewell party for their buddy gets rudely interrupted by a disembodied head of the Statue of Liberty. Lots of mayhem ensues, people die, billions of dollars in property damage is done and the United States government decides to nuke New York four years prior to the Avengers movie. Outside of the shakey cam I was OK with most of the movie up to the point of nuking New York, I’m fairly sure there’s rules against dropping nukes on US soil. The movie had the potential to be great with a great director, SFX company and production company on board with a heck of a monster design. Why they went in the direction they did will forever be a mystery to me.

2008 was a strange year for me personally. I abruptly ended a job that I had been working for over a decade, spent a good portion of the year unemployed, lost some friends, broke up with a long term girlfriend, made new friends and sold off a portion of my collection to get by. I know plenty of people who sell part of their collection when times are tough but when I look at having to part with things I like, I look at it as maybe a good time to simplify my life and just sell off everything outside of a few key pieces. That summer I blew through about half of my collection by setting up at shows. I made good money and paid bills that would have gone unpaid but the feeling of being responsible didn’t help the fact that I lost some cool things in the process. Things can be replaced and this is how that story goes.

(more pictures of this and more toys on our Flickr account)

I had earlier in 2008 ordered the Cloverfield monster from Hasbro’s online shop. This was rare for me because #1) it was expensive #2) I didn’t even like the movie that much #3) it was a pre-order. I rare;y if never do a pre-order for more than $30, there’s something about someone having control of over $100 of my money without any warning whatsoever. Anyways, in between all my personal tragedies, this behemoth shows up at my front door and suddenly my bank account is damn near empty. I had totally forgotten about the $150 pre-order and I spent a good eight hours just furious with myself and wondering how I could quickly put the money back in my account. Luckily, I guess they just barely produced enough to cover pre-orders and demand was high enough I cleared a decent profit a month later. I felt bad letting go of it, especially seeing other people review the toy online but you can’t pay your rent or electric with a toy.

Several years later I got the chance to replace my dearly departed Cloverfield monster. Not only did I get to replace my Cloverfield but I got it at a cheaper price than I had paid three years earlier. This is one strange monster, I mean for a movie I can’t stand it’s a beautiful piece for anyone who enjoys giant city-stomping monster movies. It’s seriously massive, near 15 inches tall and very wide with a huge arm span. It’s very unique in design, while writing this I tried to look for artist renderings of the creature to see what source material they used since the movie is very vague as to the dimensions. The sculpt is very dynamic and they thought enough ahead of time to include an exchangeable head; one calm and another one enraged and caught in the middle of a roar. The articulation is plentiful but it’s the first generation of ratcheting joints so there is sometimes a little bit of slippage after you get the desired pose.

There’s only really two downsides to the figure. One is the decapitated head of the Statue of Liberty. I know it’s more than likely a cost cutting measure but it’s so small that it really throws the scale of the figure way off, and obscures it even more from the movie. The head of the statue in relation to the hand of the monster literally makes this monster big enough to have swallowed 30 of them with room to spare. The other thing is the nondescript lice that comes with the calm head. It was an interesting trick giving the head a trap door to put the few lice they give you in there but it lacks a way to deploy them without decapitating the monster. I know it’s not a kid’s toy but I’m playing with it and I find this to be a serious flaw and I don’t like it. All in all, it’s a great display piece that hasn’t lost any value since I bought it. It’s still a highly desirable piece that doesn’t show up that often in auctions.

       

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5 random action figures

Due to excessive boredom and lack of many other motivation, I decided to try writing about random action figures located in my Flickr account. Our Raging Nerdgasm Flickr account is a growing archive of my personal collection. Having only just scraped the surface of my collection as well as the amount of things I buy on a weekly basis, it’s taken a life of its own. Lots of the figures have good memories behind them and looking through them excites me as much as it must excite the thousands of people that dig through the archive daily. Before I get carried away being a wordy nerd, let’s dive into five random action figures. All as random as they can be.

Playmates Star Trek Harry Mudd

(more of our TOS Playmates figures here )

Harry Mudd was probably one of my more favorite reoccuring Star Trek OTS characters. He had a certain sly guy suaveness I could identify with. Smart and scheming but not evil, just trying to make a not-so honest buck in a galaxy patrolled by a bunch of galactic boyscouts on a ship in the shape of a pizza cutter. Playmates made real fan wait a near eternity for this figure. by the time Harry Mudd made it to store shelves you could tell much of the wind was fading from Playmates sails. More than a dozen of each of TNG crew was made before we got a Keeper or even a Borg Queen. How many dress uniform Datas do I need?

At least the figure didn’t disappoint. They got the likeness nearly spot on, I’m saying at least 7/10 if I had to give it a rating and I hate using numbers/stars/grades to describe a figure’s attributes. Best part about the figure is they nailed the comb over hairstyle. A small detail like that can make or break a figure for me, I’ve got strange attention to detail issues. Harry does come with the usual assortment of boring accessories cast in the same color. A goblet, a communicator (I don’t remember him having one but I won’t dispute it too hard), the Venus drug and lithium crystals. Granted he comes with more accessories than most toys today but I’d gladly take less if they’d been painted at least. I take my Harry Mudd figure with me to collectibles shows, either him or Quark come along to preside over the dealings of the day.

Kenner Police Academy Snack Attack House

(more Police Academy figures here )

I like the Snack Attack House figure, it’s a big blue plastic rock of awesomeness. Pretty rare by himself but near impossible to find with his weapons or even on the card. I liked the Police Academy series for many reasons, one of them was the diversity in the main characters especially having 2 African American main characters. House would have made it 3 but he never really saw a mass release. Racial diversity in a toy line is still something that’s hard to do right. GI Joe and He-Man does it right but very few other lines accomplish what they have.

If I had the weapon, it would be a gun shaped like a big sandwich with a string of sausages/salami being fed through it like belt-fed ammo. I’m not sure of the physical workings of a weapon of that magnitude but I’m sure its awesome. They didn’t skimp on the details and for a play toy of the early 90s, he offers a lot visually. And I like the color blue, and he represents an overweight cop mixed with Fat Albert and that’s OK in my book.

Fisher Price Deep Sea Diver (Jacques Cousteau)

(more of his sexy face here )

Whether he is or is not supposed to be  Jacques Cousteau doesn’t matter to me, when you take off his helmet and see that iconic red stocking cap you know who it is. I’ve had this toy as long as I can remember and I know it was given to me by my grandparents. He went anywhere there was water. Bath tub, shower, beach, pool and now he resides at the bottom of my fish tank. Proves that toys back then were built to last. I take him out every 6 months or so and clean him up but he goes right back in the tank afterwards. Some may think this shows I don’t care about it but I feel it is a great honor to be on display in a very predominant place in my house.

Hasbro Skeleton Warriors Aracula

( more Skeleton Warriors here )

Skeleton Warriors was a great line, not the humans but the skeletons themselves. The shame was the series didn’t make it past series 2. In the end we had 4 humans (one partially skeletonized) and 4 skeleton warriors, a hover motorcycle and a skeleton war horse. Anyways, long story short, Aracula was the best damn figure from the line. Being a creepy little kid I liked skeletons a lot so I was drawn to this line. I never even bought a human figure till the reappeared at KB Toys during my employment there. Out of all the skeleton warriors, Aracula was my favorite. So much so that I’ll buy him over and over again if he’s cheap enough in my huntings. I probably have 3 or 4 of him loose and one carded.

I know a great deal of budgeting goes into tooling a sculpt and I feel Aracula is where this line spent about 3/4th of it’s budget. Aracula himself looked almost too good to be part of line. He had a mysterious look like something out of Edgar Rice Borough’s Tarzan novels or maybe even the Goonies. The only bad thing I can say about the toy is the gold armor always falls off his forearms. It’s put on with the equivalent of white glue so it is inevitable that it will come right off. The few I have loose have been stripped and had the armor glued with a stronger epoxy.

Marusan Matango

(more fungus among us here )

Being the kid that would stay inside on weekends and watch cartoons and monster movies over playing with the neighborhood kids, I was well aware of the 1963 tokusatsu classic Matango. I never knew they made rad figures for it but not growing up in Japan will do that to a lad. The movie is great being pretty much right in the middle of the greatest time for Japanese costumed monsters in movies. It’s a required movie to watch from here on out and I hope to do a review on it shortly/eventually. The products for the movie ranged from keychain sized action figures to models and different sized sofubi (vinyl figures).

Anyways, being the kind of laid back guy who doesn’t really hunt down a toy I just waited for one to come by at the right price and right time. That time came when I saw it in a local collectibles shop and my wife was super nice enough to buy it for me, knowing how I feel about the movie. He’s one of the more innocent looking versions of the Matango but I like him just as well as the bigger and more menacing ones. The fact that he’s a psychedelic rainbow color lends itself to numerous illicit drug jokes and just how silly he looks makes those jokes stick. Also he has a glow in the dark mushroom accessory and I’ve expressed my undying love for that gimmick.

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Happy Birthday Tom Khayo

Tom Khayos enjoying his new Metroplex his wife gave him for his Birthday.
Tom Khayos Birthday Gift