Raging Nerdgasm #319 – flea market finds vol 2

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Raging Nerdgasm #318 – flea market finds vol 1

The Complicated life of Tom Khayos

The complicated life of Tom Khayos is a collection of writings I’ll be releasing in no particular order. It mainly is to explain how I became me and it will always involve toys, comics, video games and other nonsense.

 
 
The Complicated life of Tom Khayos

 

 
                                         The Ballad of Frankenstein Snake Eyes
 
To tell you the story of Frankenstein Snake Eyes, I have to give you some background on my life. My knowledge of the toy world wasn’t divine intuition, it was cultivated by some key people in my life. My mother and grandmother were very integral in my background as a toy collector and dealer. I would be brought to doll shows as a young child and roam around with them and scout out good finds and when they were set up selling dolls, I could be found under the table taking a nap in between my scouting trips. Both my mother and grandmother taught me how to identify dolls, clothing, accessories and other collectibles as well as know the difference between reproductions and originals. 


 

But there was three other people who taught me just as much as my immediate family members did, those three I considered close enough that I would call them family. One of those three is my friend Doug, a man who has been buying and selling toys longer than I’ve been alive. I met Doug formally in my late teens and he helped me refine my skills as a negotiator and helped me become more savvy when tracking down collections to buy and sell. With his help, I learned just about every trick in the book in the toy world and the convention circuit. With the knowledge I gained from him I consider myself one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the collectible toy industry.  



 

The other two on my short list of honing my skills and cultivating my knowledge of toys and collectibles was my mom’s friends Dena and Helen. Both of them collectors in their own right, I got to know them through their collectibles shop Re-Play Toys. Being young, I looked up to both of them. “This is what I want to do when I grow up!” I thought.Over the years, I grew up hanging around the store pretty much every free moment I had. After school, on the weekends and during the summer I could be found helping out, cleaning, assembling, pricing and selling toys that were brought in and bought by the store. Both ladies were very sweet and treated me very well and I still consider them family to this day and have spent lots of time with them and their families over the years. I learned a lot at the store and still look back fondly at that time in my life. While I may not be doing what I said I wanted to do all those years ago, I’m still involved in the toy world and it probably wouldn’t be that way if they hadn’t helped fuel my passion for this field.
 
And the moment this has all been leading to: The story behind Frankenstein Snake Eyes
 
Recently, Dena had passed away. It was rough on my mother and I, we hadn’t had a family member or someone we considered a family member die since my grandmother’s passing in 2003 and Helen and Dena’s father passing in 2005. Dena had a big impact on my life, she encouraged me to learn more about what was sold in the store and always rewarded my hard work both on store projects and school work. I’d sit around the store with my nose in a collectibles book or Toy Shop magazine and use my recently gained knowledge to piece together dozens of GI Joes, Star Wars figures and vehicles and boxes of loose Transformers. I feel it’s important not to mourn someone’s passing but celebrate their life the way they would have wanted to have been remembered so I dedicated a weekend worth of toy hunting at the flea market to her and went for lunch with my mom to Dena’s favorite restaurant, a little Italian restaurant known as Gino’s. The funeral and wake came and went, the family had their moment of grieving behind them and so came the task of cleaning out Dena’s house. 



 

Re-Play Toys had been closed for nearly 12 years and Dena had decided to take her business online through eBay. I had no idea how business went or even if the title of Re-Play Toys was still being used in any capacity. Dena’s sister Helen still bought and sold toys, collectibles and other nicknacks online but had branched out under her own name online and as I mentioned before I still do conventions and occasionally sell online under my own name but had kind of lost track of what Dena was doing or if she was still involved in the business. I feel kind of bad in a way, like many of you I have grown apart from some of my friends and family.

What was left at her house was distributed among family and friends that it would mean the most to. What I received was something I hadn’t seen in nearly over a decade, Frankenstein Snake Eyes. What I received brought back so many good memories, to the average person it just looks like a cobbled together figure just kind of slapped together but to me it’s a prized possession. The kind of thing I’d run into a burning building to save. I felt it needed to be shared in the only way I felt it could be described, a lengthy blog posting involving a bit of my personal history and a kind of a last tribute to a friend/ family member now gone.



 

No one knows the story behind Frankenstein Snake Eyes. I was under the impression that I had created it out of a pile of leftovers from a GI Joe collection but I found out that I was mistaken. Then I thought possibly Dena had made it during a slow day at the store out of the store’s random pieces box but no one could verify that either. For all I know, Frankie could have showed up this way in a collection but his origin remains a mystery. I had memories of Frankie hanging out at the register at Re-Play Toys and remembering Dena was quite attached to it. People offered money on numerous occasions and even I asked if my day’s work could be paid for with Frankenstein Snake Eyes, but all offers were turned down. No matter wherever it came from, it was very special to her and I felt very honored to inherit this legendary figure. 


 

 
The only thing I’d like to do with the figure is make a vehicle and do a throwback package to put it all in. Let’s face it, most of the cool GI Joe figures came as a pack in with the vehicles in the line. The feel I get from the toy is Frankenstein would command a fairly impressive vehicle that looks  like something out of Mad Max, not so much the missiles and machine guns but something with some muscle and armor. Something along the lines of a modified dump truck with a shovel or cow catcher on the front with armored or spiked hub caps. And then package it up in a classic style box, I feel it would be a fitting tribute to the toy.


And here I sit with this epic figure, still admiring it like I did all those years ago. An heirloom piece of local toy history from what I gather. I wouldn’t change anything about it’s scratched paint job, loose joints or anything else about it; it’s this way for a reason and I’d only fix it if it became broken for some reason. I happen to be significantly younger than a good portion of the local toy collectors in the Tampa area but they all remember the rag tag unofficial mascot of Re-Play Toys hanging out by the register, holding on to the business cards or hanging off of the cup full of pens. Just commenting on it to my small group of friends who are toy collectors brought up a lot of nostalgic moments with them as well. They all remembered how cool the store was and how nice Dena and her sister Helen were to anyone who came in the shop. It had traveled from their original shop at the Floriland Mall Flea Market to their shop off of Busch boulevard to Dena’s house and finally into my possession. I’ll really cherish it for the rest of my life and it will always remind me of one of the key people in my life who helped me develop the deep appreciation I have for toys and their history.


**written June 2012

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wp 5 random figs

5 random action figures- the 2nd coming

(more pictures of what’s below and more here)

Mr Bones, MMPR evil space alien

I’m not even sure why they subtitled any of these guys as “evil space alien”. Most of them were made from clay in Finster’s workshop (yeah, I just went there. Sentai nerd out) and never existed before that. I mean I guess they were from space (the Moon), they were evil and they weren’t from this Earth (I think it’s stretching the title “alien” but maybe that’s just me). Overall, I enjoyed the MMPR series and wished they had kept making a 9 inch figure out of every monster they fought. In the end, they selected a good bunch of Rita’s minions to produce but some left even the young Tom Khayos asking “why?”. I love King Sphinx and Goldar but Baboo and Finster in the 9 inch scale were let downs. Those two never fought anyone, they were better known for cowering and running for cover. They didn’t even make a Rita figure, a huge disappointment to both me and every other fan of the series.

Mr Bones was by far my favorite one Bandai made. I liked creepy looking characters and what’s creepier than a giant skeleton in a pimp hat, pimp cape and a giant sword? Not much else if you ask me, this figure was 100% awesome. So awesome in fact that my first one’s cape ripped and I asked for a replacement one for Christmas the same year. I wanted one to keep pretty and one to play with, made sense to me. Mr Bones embodies everything I enjoyed about the series, over the top bad guys that didn’t have to make sense. All they had to do was look bad ass and Mr Bones was certified bad ass.

Amanaman from Star Wars: Power of the Force 1983

Amanaman was probably one of my first real toy pursuits. I’ve always been a laid back collector but when I “discovered” the vintage Star Wars line in the early 90s, I was dead set in getting one of each figure. Most were easy to find and cheap to buy, back before the nostalgia kicked in around 1996; common ones were a buck or two a piece complete but harder to find Power of the Force figures fetched higher prices. I remember paying $15-$20 for a Death Star Gunner and $12 each for the couple of Ewoks from the final 19 figures in the complete collection. Some were worth even more than that, and being during a time before eBay you were at the mercy of the dealer.

Amanaman was one of those figures that didn’t show up often at all. I’d see them at the collectibles shows but I was always just shy of affording him. I think I paid $45 for mine in 1992, it was worth every penny to round out the collection. Granted I didn’t count Yak Face or Blue Snaggletooth because they were special figures, either only available in a catalog or overseas markets. I liked him a lot and still do. I always sort of related that he was some kind of banana peel alien from who knows where. I know he’s closer in appearance to a snake or a cobra with stubby ET legs and long orangutan like arms but I like my concept better. But, he was the first toy I felt accomplished bringing home. Also, he was the most I spent on one piece outside of a video game at that time in my life.

Major Munch from Food Fighters by Mattel

Picking a favorite Food Fighter is like saying pick you favorite child, how can you hold one higher than the others? Luckily, I’m a ruthless bastard with little regard for feelings. I like Major Munch for dozens of boring reasons. I like him because he’s tall and not squat like Mean Wennie. I also like that there is a pink frosted variant. Look at his face, LOOK AT IT. He will eat your soul! I could go on but I’ll stop short of boring you. I have soft spot for humanoid food items locked in what seems to be a never ending warfare in my fridge.

Toy Biz Onslaught

I was the right age when Toy Biz released the X-Men toys back in the 90s. I was an impressionable lad, ripe for being sucked into the general brand-whoring of the Generation X gap. I had them all, what ones I didn’t buy with my own allowance or chore money I asked to get them for birthdays and Christmas. Very few illuded me, those that did were eventually re-released or came out with an updated sculpt or paint job. All save one, Onslaught. he was certainly a bigger figure than most released around the same time. Not taller by much but certainly wider and heavier too. He bordered on being one of the largest basic figures released outside of a deluxe line-up.

I didn’t come across Onslaught until a few years ago. I was too cheap to pay eBay prices for a loose and complete figure. Even if the price was right, shipping pushed the final total way out of a reasonable range. These figures were fun and the only source for comic book related toys for a decade. They pale in comparison to what’s available today and look a little silly when stood against their better sculpted and articulated counterparts but there’s still a slight charm about them. Especially the bigger ones.

Gundam SD Devil Gundam

I’m not going to even try to lie, I love the Gundam series but I know squat about it. My wife on the other hand is like 3 series shy of having watched every saga they’ve made to date. I just like robots and the crazier the better. Something has to catch my eye, make it stand out from the group. When I say I like robots, I’m very selective. I like Gundams but I’m picky about which Transformers I buy. I love everything about Shogun Warriors but much rather buy one of the 2 foot tall robots than 10 of the smaller 3-5 inch tall ones.

One day toy hunting my wife and I came upon a box full of disassembled SD Gundams. Normally my ADD would have kicked in and I would have walked off without buying a single one but after seeing my wife enjoying piecing together a couple of them made me want to jump in. We stood there in the summer sun for 20 minutes piecing together 33 SD Gundams. Now, once again I’m picky when it comes to Gundam figures. I like the models but they either need to be never opened or put together by a professional or if I buy the figures I prefer the figurines or vinyl figures. These fit the bill of my long list of prerequisites but the Devil Gundam stood out amongst the crowd.

In comparison he’s the biggest one of all, with a segmented body and crab claws. Also the rear of the figure opens to display a launchpad  for the other SD Gundams to literally fly out of his ass.

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leprecon

Promotional Bendy Leprechaun movie promo toy

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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Rocketeer Bendy from Justoys Image

Rocketeer bendy by Justoys

 

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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