Blue SWAT figure by Bandai 1994

I have recently gotten into a kick of buying older Japanese toys. Lots of vinyl and diecast toys, stuff from the late 70s to fairly current releases. It came when I had a certain desire to branch out into something different than what everyone else is talking about and reviewing. It also comes from a lack of being wowed by most modern release toys. Most of the best stuff hitting shelves right now is coming from companies like Marvel Select, Mezco, NECA, DC Direct, and other “specialty retailer” companies who are putting forth a lot more effort in their releases than Hasbro, Mattel, and Playmates. I’ve come across some really awesome pieces over the last 6 months, and some of them I found at the flea market.

I found this still boxed Blue SWAT figure on E row at the Oldsmar flea market only a month ago. You never know what you’ll find stashed in old flea market booths and this particular booth was full of all kinds of treasures, shame most of them I owned already. Tucked behind Marvel Famous Covers figures on a rear shelf was this boxed figure. Originally it had an outrageous price tag of near $60 on it, after talking with the owner and seeing that the figure was missing a gun and shoulder pad he dropped the price significantly. I’m not usually much for an incomplete figure that I may never find the pieces for but at the final price he was willing to give me the figure for, I’ll deal with it.

The premise of the show is a Space Mafia invades Earth while the human race is busy tearing itself apart with war and crime (some elements of pollution too because it’s the 90s!). The Japanese government establishes the Blue SWAT, a military-like world police to combat the evil Space Mafia. Things go awry when an alien infects the chief of Blue SWAT, causing him to blow up headquarters and all but three Blue SWAT members perish in the explosion . Members Show, Sig, and Sara are left alone to defend Earth from the Space Mafia with their assortment of equipment and weapons.

 
 
 

Blue Swat was the 13th installment of the Metal Hero Series from Japan. Those not familiar with it, some of the Henshin Hero footage from the Space Sheriff series was used to make VR Troopers and Juukuo B-Fighter was used to make Beetleborgs. Watching these series in their original entirety is nothing short of amazing and sure makes what we grew up with seem very juvenile. In Japan, Blue SWAT was not well recieved by their children’s demographic due to it’s very sinister undertones but the adults loved it. Airing for 51 episodes and a full length movie, Blue SWAT still remains one of my favorite hidden gems of the Henshin genre.

The Blue SWAT figure I got at the market was Show. He comes packaged wearing a blue lame’ sleeveless jump suit and snap on armor pieces. I wasn’t really too impressed until I noticed the chestplate was heavy die-cast metal and hinged instead of being made into two pieces that snap together. He doesn’t look like much in the package but fully suited up he’s got a great Daft Punk look to him. All of the larger weapons have firing mechanisms and great details like flip down shoulder rests, red “laser” lights or sights. Every crate opens up to store equipment and the smaller cases have alcoves to fit the specific weapons inside. Unfortunately, one of the cases is missing a pistol but it doesn’t really take away from the overall displaying of the figure. One of the best things about the figure nearly being complete is the instructions were tucked away inside. A great bonus for a 20 year old toy from the other side of the world.

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Video

Raging Nerdgasm # 295 – Hasbro vinyl Transformers and Avengers toys

Transformers American Sifubi figures Megatron Bumblebee Optimus Prime - beast hunters

Marvel American Sifubi figures Iron Man;

Image

Unknown Japanese model kit. Help identify.

Unknown Japanese model kit

Unknown Japanese model kit. Help identify. Check out our flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157630904938396/

Raging Nerdgasm: My soft spot for glow in the dark toys

 

I collect a lot of toys. That should be appearant when fans watch my videos, read my blogs or visit my website. Most of the time I have a list of requirements a toy has to meet before I buy it. Monsters, robots, Japanese/Import toys, DC comics, Batman’s rogues gallery, Batman the animated series, bootleg, knock off, obscure, unique looking, vintage (older than 25 years), Mego, sci-fi movie, horror movie, ETC. That’s just a small example of these requirements, it goes on and on and it’s reflected in the diversity of my collection. Mr. Freeze standing next to Blanka from Street Fighter 2, Batman pulling the arm off of a Resident Evil zombie and Godzilla fighting Schwarzenegger from Commando is just a portion of the madness you might witness on my shelves. But there is one stipulation alone that beats all, the elusive glow-in-the-dark feature.

Check out some of our Glow in the Dark Toys on our FLickr at http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=79198561@N04&q=glow%20in%20the%20dark

 

 

 

 

I can’t explain it, I really like toys that glow in the dark. Whether it’s the full figure or just a part of it (hands, face, eyes, weapons), I’m strangely drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I’ve bought toys I normally would pass up and kept toys I’d normally sell or trade just because it glows. I recently picked up a Bison from the Street Fighter movie figures that I would have probably sold or traded but when I noticed his hands glowed in the dark, he found himself sitting on top of my dresser. I’ve bought and kept kids meal toys, blind boxed vinyl, GI Joes and other lines I’d normally pass over just because it said glow-in-the-dark on the box. I’ve even bought silly repaints/repackaged figures because it glowed (i.e- “Radioactive” Cornholio from the Beavis and Butthead figure series).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe it’s slight insanity, possibly it’s the pleasant green color that radiates out from the toy or it could just be a mental defect in me caused by the lead in the plastic but I enjoy my glow-in-the-dark toys. I know everyone has their toy quirks, not that I feel bad about mine. Some people like mini figure toys, some collect exclusively 1/6th scale figures; while I don’t restrict myself to one genre I do enjoy hunting down GITD figures. There aren’t many of them out there, so it makes it a fun challenge and I can’t say I’m obsessed because I have passed up toys that glowed that I thought were less than interesting in my time. What’s your toy collecting quirk? I want to know, I know every collector has one and now I’m curious what my fellow readers like.

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The Dark Knight Joker by Square Enix PlayArts Kai

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New release, care of our friends at Heroes’ Haven Comics, is the brand new import PlayArts Kai Joker based of Heath Ledger’s performance in the Dark Knight. Ledger’s performance evokes a lot of cheers and jeers from fans. Some think he re-imagined the Joker too far past being recognized from his comic book appearances and some think his take on the Joker is where it was destined to evolve. I feel like my opinion falls somewhere in between; it’s a groundbreaking performance and a great villain but it’s not the Joker to me. Anyways, since his untimely death just before the movie was released, I feel like the character had never really gotten the justice it deserved in action figure form. DC Direct produced a horrible 1/6th scale figure with cloth outfit that bared little resemblance in accurately capturing the face, Mattel released a handful of renditions that while beautifully sculpted fell short in the paint application department and Hot Toys released two 1/6th scale figures that were incredibly produced with loads of attention to detail but out of the price range of most collectors. It seemed like most of us were just going to have to make due with the Mattel figures until Square Enix announced the Dark Knight Trilogy was one of the DC licenses they had acquired for their flagship PlayArts Kai line.

 

 PlayArts Kai is an ongoing series of import figures, roughly 6 to 9 inches, loaded with detail and articulation. The line started with covering mostly video game and anime brands; Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Halo, Hitman and other popular series. When they started making figures based off of the widely popular Arkham Asylum video game, DC comics fans really took notice. The first edition Batman sold out within weeks of it’s initial Previews magazine solicitation and then the Joker followed suit. Harley didn’t sell too well but that’s the concern with most female figures, and it’s just the truth sorry guys. It also didn’t help that Harley didn’t seem to live up to the high expectations already left by the Batman and Joker figures. When Square Enix announced acquisition of the Dark Knight movie license and showed off flat gray prototypes at NYCC, fans made plans to save their pennies for Bane and Joker. While Bane was slightly over stylized, Joker and Catwoman did a great job capturing the realism Christopher Nolan pumped into the last trilogy.
 
The Joker stands just over 7 inches tall which places him just slightly out of scale to place him with my Arkham City Batman and Catwoman figures. He does fit in scale with the Dark Knight Rises Batman released with Bane a month ago. The articulation on the figure is staggering, just while writing this I discovered the tails on his overcoat have an articulation hinge. Most of the time I am not too thrilled with an abundance of articulation but the PlayArts Kai figures are equipped with joints that ratchet and lock into position and the Joker comes with the newly designed Square Enix translucent base which makes locking your figures into epic battle poses a real ease.  The paint job on the figure does a good job of recreating the Joker’s shabby appearance. The face paint is smeared and uneven, the clothes have a great deal of shading to give the appearance of being layered. The only fail in the paint scheme is the eyes, they are way too dark and could stand to be whiter so the stand out from the black around them. The sculpt is impressive; every strand of hair, every wrinkle in the face is matched as close as possible for a figure this scale. They even went so far as to reproduce the creases in the pants, buttons, hemming and stitching all over the figure. The accessories are simple; 2 Joker cards (both different and fully detailed), an alternate head with slightly more worn face paint, an alternate bank robbery head (sadly it’s not a mask that fits over one of the two heads but I’ll live), his trusty knife and an assortment of hands to hold the cards, knife or to throw a closed fist punch.
 

The figure is by far worth the SRP of $64.99, you get a great piece of art that you can play with. The box doubles as a great showcase to keep the figure when he’s not on full display. I’m a sucker for front flap window boxes. The figure, in my opinion, brings the pleasure and satisfaction of a Hot Toys figure without the hefty price tag. The figure is in comic and toy shops now that get supplied by Previews magazine so if you like what you see don’t wait too long because this figure won’t last.

1978 Bendy Godzilla from GLJ

If I was asked which character in history has had the most impact on my life, I would have to say Godzilla would more than likely outrank Benjamin Franklin but would be just about equal with Nikola Tesla. Godzilla has been a very big part of my life, it was the first monster movie I was introduced to as a child. Throughout my earlier childhood and up to her death, my grandmother bought me Godzilla toys for my birthday on a yearly basis. Several Imperial brand Godzillas, the Shogun Warriors one from Mattel, numerous model kits and even a couple of Horizons large vinyl figures. She had a connection with someone in her doll club who’s daughter was a professional wrestler in Japan and every so often I got 3-6 inch Bandai vinyls too. This, of course, led me to buying Godzilla and other Kaiju toys into my adult life. But there has been one particular Godzilla I’ve wanted for a very long time.

(I just like this photo.)
(carded photo care of www.plaidstallions.com)

Well, there’s several I want to add to my collection but one in particular that’s been slightly out of my price range and pretty much unbeknownst to me until recently. Back in the mid-late 70s, AHI made many monster related toys. Granted, for an officially licensed product of Universal Studios and by today’s standards the designs are comical and childish looking but they hold a particularly fond place in my heart. I mentioned in an earlier blog I had acquired an AHI Dracula and I consider him a prized possession, but it fueled the fire to acquire more of the collection. These are a pricey venture, even loose and beat up AHI bendies fetch $30+ and I just can’t consciously spend that much on something I know I’ll find in a 4/$1 bin at a flea market. I’m good at biding my time till a deal comes my way. Even Creature from the Black Lagoon and King Kong got in on the AHI bendy action but, sadly, no Godzilla. He wasn’t part of the Universal Monsters, Godzilla belongs to Toho and Toho rarely ever licenses their brands outside Japan. But one day while searching Plaid Stallions website I found the perfect Godzilla to compliment the AHI collection I was amassing.

(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)
(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)

A company I’m still researching about released a licensed Godzilla bendy very much in the same vein as the AHI monsters. In 1978, GLJ released a bendy Godzilla on a very goofy looking card depicting the figure itself engaged in battle within what looks like a model train table. Honestly, the creativity makes me want a carded example even harder now. During one of my recent trips to Planet Retro in downtown St Pete I saw a loose bendy Godzilla nestled between different sofubi in a glass cabinet. I was already there on another mission to buy something for my wife so I had to take a gamble and leave it behind till my next payday. The owner of the shop and I are cool and he would have held it for me, I just have a strange thing about being one of “those guys” who gets into a habit of having friends hold things for me till I got the money to buy it. I’m very particular how I handle business, I pay people what they want and if I can’t afford it then let someone else buy it. It’s a strange thing to some people but being a vendor at times myself, I’ve gotten to be a very “money talks” kind of guy. To make an already long story short, I came back and bought it.

(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)
(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)

Finally getting the GLJ Godzilla in hand makes me happy I didn’t get him when I was a kid. I was never rough with my toys but he has a feel about him like he wouldn’t survive long in the pocket of an rambunctious 7 year old. He’s the right color green to be complimentary to the memory of the Godzilla he represents and the spines that run down his back and tail are painted white at the tips so the stand out against the green. The whole body is given a black paint wash to make what I assume is their idea of sculpted scales to pop out. The scales in question make Godzilla look more like your fingers after a long swim, all pruned and wrinkled. The look on Godzilla’s face is somewhere on the scale of “I want to give you a hug” and “I want to give you a hug and poke you a little with my penis….and maybe eat your face”. The big goofy grin is infectious though, I could just sit and stare at this toy and still get the same kind of joy out of it in a year from now that I’m getting at this moment. It is a bendy and while all of the wires in mine are intact, the thickness of Godzilla’s body prohibits much of the movement. The tail bends freely but only looks good in it’s original prone position. I still consider the toy a win for myself and my collection, I wouldn’t have bought it if I hadn’t felt differently. There’s a lot of crappy Godzilla merchandise but this is far from it.

(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)
(www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm)

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