Toy Hunting for Deals

Inspected Sticker

I am a toy hunter, not a box hunter.  I have found a few toys over the years that I had been scouring the stores for, only to find one that has been pretty badly damaged.  I know I probably only scored the figure since someone else was looking for a nice box.   Sometimes, when we go through online retailers, we don’t get a say in what we buy.  The items usually show up in good order.

Recently, as in Monday, I was looking at a Power Ranger from the Super Samurai series on Amazon. $54.99 was a bit much for me at the time, but I noticed that there were some selling for a LOT less.  Generally these are hit with pretty hefty shipping charges that end up not saving any money at all, but I thought I would give it a try.   Clicking on the link, I noticed one that was a lot less, and with free Prime Shipping.  It stated it was an Amazon Warehouse deal.   The box was in bad shape but the items inside were inspected.   A markdown from $55 to $41 just for a bad box?  That is my kind of deal.  Well, it took a couple of extra days to get here, but here is what I ended up with.

Samurai MegaZordSamurai MegaZord in all of his 5-Zord glory.  From the front you can see that the box is a bit tattered on the top left side.   It looks like it had been crushed inward from the edge.  Mind you, there is nothing up there to get damaged.

MegaZord DamageIt is rather superficial, and just what I was hoping.  I get all of the important info off of the back, but with a lower price.   Not to be one to miss a deal, I had seen a second Zord that also was a Wearhouse Deal.  This one going from $14 to $6, I was hoping for a double shot at a great deal.  And here is how it came.

BeetleZordThis one I actually had to laugh at.  There was one plastic tab that had slipped out of the tape, and a crease on the back.  I have found more damage on regular items shipped to me.

So, if you are like me and don’t care about the packaging, make sure to do a little looking around before you click on the Check Out button.  There could be some nice savings in it for you!


Star Wars Black Series: Speeder Bike with Biker Scout

I have a few of the 6in Black Series figures, but there was none that I was more excited about than this one. The Biker Scout is far and away my favorite of the Storm Trooper types, and to get a scale Speeder Bike to boot?  Too much!

The Scout looks absolutely fantastic. He has all of the slimmer armor of the Scout, with some good paint detail to show his time in the environment. No shiny white for him.

He has the great movement we have come to expect from the Black Series 6inch line.

The bike is pretty well done. Pretty much an upscaled version of the original toy, but with greater detail and accuracy. Gone are the little feet that allow the bike to stand, this time going with a stand that has balls to allow posing of the bike in flight.

The stand works pretty well.   There are three balls on the points of the stand to allow for some dynamic poses.  There is one tall leg for flight, and two shorter legs for more of a hovering look.

Let’s not forget that there is an actual figure to go along with the bike.  He looks great!  From the massive points of articulation to the paint apps, he is bound to be a fan favorite.

And of course, when all else fails, there is the tiny holdout blaster in the boot.  And boy is it tiny.  It comes banded to the leg.  Once loose, it is easily lost. Be careful.

And because I know someone will be wondering:

Two scales to show just how impressive the larger scale really is.

 


Power Rangers Dino Charge – Dino Bikes

Together, they look very similar.  They are exactly the same with the colors changed between the fronts and backs.  They can stand on their own since there are dinosaur legs hanging down by the back wheel. That is a nice touch.

The rider has a really good position on the bike.  It seems a bit big for an off-road bike as is portrayed on the back of the box.  But really, if it is in scale, who is going to complain about getting a good sized vehicle.  Better big than small.

Standing, the bike comes almost to his shoulder, and the seat is chest high.  I guess you DO have to be a Power Ranger to get on this thing.

The bike breaks apart near the middle and becomes two dinosaurs.  Neither is particularly appealing, but the front half dino looks a little better to me.  The bottom half seems to be leaning very far forward.

When we look at the Power Rangers figures vs the Zords, they are very different figures. The figures are 5 inches tall, and a Zord of the proper height would be many, many feet tall, and well outside the buying cost or storing area of a toy.

But this time we do have to look at the two since they are both part of the ZordBuilder where you can change parts to remake the Zords into something else.

This time around, taking off an arm and adding a bike. Does it work?

Well, not really. What is the point of adding an arm, that had been a T-Rex head with and a shield/sword, and changing it to a rather useless motorcycle arm is a bit weird. There is seemingly no reason for it.

And it just makes the scale totally weird too. Now we have a giant Zord that is supposed to be standing 53 meters tall, and add on a motorcycle that is what, 2 meters long? Now it is in a new scale is is somewhere over 15 meters long. Strange to be sure.

I am really liking the Power Rangers figures that have come out so far.  They are well detailed.  I have also liked MegaZord.  He is pretty cool, super heavy, and has fun transformations.

These bikes just don’t hold up as well.  They are sturdy, and they hold together really well when the two dinos are combined.  It will be really fun for kids to play with.  I do like that the Rangers included with the bikes do have some articulation.  In the past, Bandai went the REALLY cheap route and put out figures with no articulation at all, so this is a nice change.

Unless you are a Power Rangers fan and want to get all of this stuff, the bikes are a pass.  I got mine on sale at Target for $10.99, so that is a pretty good deal when the figures are running $10 for the 5in figures on their own.


Power Rangers Dino Charge – Dino Charge Megazord

A few months back, I went onto Netflix to find something to watch.  I clicked on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and I was instantly hooked on the show.  From the guys dressed in suits to the terrible lines, I couldn’t stop watching.  Come three weeks ago, the new series Power Rangers Dino Charge was set to begin.  In pre-emptive enjoyment, I grabbed a few of the figures which I reviewed here.

Since then, I have grabbed the rest of the team, and began my hunt to track down the Red Rangers released at the end of the Super Megaforce run.  That is a completely different problem I will address on a different post.  Today we are going to look at the main guy, the Megazord.

I was not sure what to expect when he first came out.  I had only ever collected a few Power Rangers, and only figures.  So, to get a Zord was a whole new ball game.  Last week he was on sale at Toys R Us, so I figured it was a perfect time to get him.  When I picked up the box, I knew I was making the right decision.  It was very heavy.

He is made up of three Zords.  The T-Rex Zord (red), the Tricera Zord (pink), and the Stego Zord (Blue).  He doesn’t have a good articulation as I was hoping for, but there are always limitations with large figures like this that have to do a lot of things.   They have to come apart to form other parts.  They need to be able to eat their Dino Charger.  And of course they have to transform into a dinosaur.

Watching him form into Megazord for the first time in yesterday’s episode (3), it is clear that his transformation is very similar onscreen as it is in toy form.  His head rotates into place and then his helmet is dropped on top just like this.

The Zords are powered by a Dino Charger.  A battery the Rangers keep in their belts and then throw into the air and powers the Zord.  Megazord came with a T-Rex Charger (#1).  It is a special version with a clear case, instead of a flat silver color that comes in the Dino Charger Power Packs.  Speaking of Power Packs, a Power Pack has two Dino Chargers and a hard rubber Zord. There is a button on the top of the charger that turns the picture inside.

I grabbed this pack to get the #5 Triceratops Charger, which is used by the Pink Ranger and powers the Tricera Zord. It also came with what is being listed as an auxiliary charger #16 Dino Stretch Charger which is supposed to stretch one’s neck to extreme lengths. We will see how this one plays out in the show.

When the Zords are apart, they become their standard dino mode.  They can fight in this mode too, as we saw when they were called at the end of episode 3.  They do not have very much articulation, with just movement in the legs.  Rexy has a little more with a his head being able to swivel, and his little front arms can move up and down.

When the Dino Chargers are inserted into the mouth of the dinosaur, their bodies change a bit.  The Tricera Zord’s tail extends and she uses a drill action to attack.  In her premiere episode (3), she blasted through two Giant Vivix, which look like Godzilla.  The Stego Zord has an extra spike that comes out in his back.   The T-Rex Zord’s feathers/spikes on top of the head spread out when the mouth is closed.   He can close his mouth over his charger.  The other two are left with wide open mouths.

Over all I am happy with this set.  I don’t know if I would have been happy at the original $34.99, but at $24.99 with an additional $5 off at Toys R Us, it made for a much better deal.  I just have to remind myself that these are not Transformers.   They serve a different purpose, and are fun in a different way.

Up next I will be looking at the Dino Cycles.  This week they are on sale at Target for $10.99, $4 off.  They come with “an exclusive Ranger.”  Check back to see what that is all about.  And how do they look when they are combined with Megazord.  You don’t want to miss that one.


Marvel Legends – Black Cat

A classic character from the Spider-Man franchise, I was hoping to find her when I first started to look for the Green Goblin BAF figures.   It was not meant to be… until a recent trip, while visiting a Wal-Mart or K-Mart or some sort of Mart I usually don’t get to go into.  There in the pegs were the Green Goblin series figures.  “Ah, well,” I thought.  More of the same for sure.   But wait, what is that?

There on the peg was none other than Black Cat, looking all kitty like, and much larger in than her Skyline Sirens counterpart, Spider-Girl.   In fact, this is not mere ‘girl.’  There is definitely a difference between these two.  No selling a redeco as a second character.  I really liked Spider-Girl when she came out, but Black Cat takes the cake.

She is stunning.  She has a beautiful face, and a body you would want your super hero woman to have.  She isn’t as skinny as we have seen with some of the other female figures as of late.   They are so hard to stand in pose.  Felicia comes with some pretty high heels, so that makes a bit of trouble for her… but boy does she look good wearing them.

Hasbro has moved the legs a little bit forward to allow a full butt.   It makes all of the difference when looking at the figure from the back.   She is a great addition to my growing Spider-Man collection.  All I hope is that we actually get to see a live action version of her finally in the next reboot of Spider-Man.


Custom Mystic Turtles – Complete

15 days and 4 turtles later, and I have a much more show-accurate set of Mystic Turtles from the episode Vision Quest.

Let’s take a look at each of the four, and I will tell you all about how I got them from their original close design up to where I feel happy with them.

Donatello was the first of the turtles to get paint applied to his body. I started with white, since that is what the turtles seemed to be wearing in the episode. It turned out to be WAY too bright, so I had to go over it with a wash to bring the color back a little. With the rest of the turtles, I went with more earthtones.

Donnie’s outfit stayed almost intact. It was a good design, and close to the show’s design. he had a star on his hood that needed to be removed, and a whitewash was applied to bring down the brightness of the purple.

Donnie’s original Axe was a good design. The only thing it was lacking was a handle that was long enough. I decided that it would be better to just go ahead and build a completely new blade and handle since the original was a bit soft anyway.

The handle is a wooden dowel rod that was colored with a marker to make it darker. The head of the axe was thick sheet styrene that was then formed into shape with a Dremel.

Michelangelo came with great detailing on his outfit. He is covered in tree bark armor. It was so well done that all I had to do was paint the different layers of bark and rope holding it on. Nothing but paint apps were applied to Mikey’s outfilt.

Mikey’s two kamas were bright orange. They were the only one of the four turtles to actually be hard plastic. But as I kept moving on the different turtle parts, it seemed the right thing to do to create new weapons for him. The handles of the Kama are wooden dowel rods with tape applied for the wraps. Thin sheet styrene was attached into grooves cut in the dowel and formed into shape.

Raph was the one I was really looking forward to working on the most. He had some great design aspects to his outfit. The more I looked at it, the more wrong it all was. He took a lot of work to get everything just right.

He came with only one Tegaki, and it was a dismal piece of rubber trash. It was bright red, floppy as a dead fish, and there was only one. A new set of two Tegaki were formed from sheet styrene and tube styrene.

His two fuel tank backpacks looked great. He needed two extra harness straps to attach the backpack to his belt in the front. Thin pieces of styrene were cut and added, along with ‘x’ stitches where the straps met his belt.  I also added a strap over the top of each fuel tank to make them look more correct.  Finally I added hoses to deliver fuel from the packs to the flame throwers mounted at his wrists.

Along with the terrible Tegaki, Rahp also came with a flame thrower (never appeared) and some weird extra neck piece that looked like a brain around his neck. Both were added to the pile of plastic extra stuff.

Leonardo needed the most work with weapons, but not as much with his outfit.

The only modification with Leo’s outfit was with the body length cape. In the episode it was torn mostly off really early on, so I wanted that look. I ended up cutting the cape on a wrinkle line in the rubber that matched the look of the hood in the rest of the episode.

He came with his two Katana blades. In the episode he mounted them to his hip. They did this for the toy, but the sheaths were GIANT!!! It was amazingly out of control. I used the really well made swords and made two smaller sheaths and mounted them to his hip using the available slot. The Katanas were painted with silver, grey, and gold to be more show accurate than just brown.

The next part that needed to be addressed was the bow and arrow. The one he came with was a single piece. Perfectly okay for a kid’s toy. No telling where a single arrow of that size would end up.
I took the dimensions of the bow and reformed it in a thick piece of styrene. I added a handle made of a piece of cut dowel and wrapped it. A piece of wire was added for the bow string.

A bow is no good without arrows, and arrows are no good without a quiver. I made a quiver using an old felt-tipped pen body. It was a thick piece of plastic, so I could use a dremel to rough it up and not have it a perfect cylinder.

The arrows were made from thin styrene rods with small cut pieces of flat styrene added for heads and fletching.

When all was said and done, only Leo kept his two Katana.  Every other weapon or accessory was either rebuilt or ditched.  This is the pile of extras that was left.

I think this project really gave me a push that I needed to try my hand at some scratch building, painting, and modifications. It was a lot of fun, and I proved to myself that I can do it, and that I should probably do it more.   These four turtles were going to be stand-out figures before, since they were so unique from the other turtles that came before.   Now they are really going to be stand-outs since they are modifies from head to toe, and everywhere inbetween.


Transformers: Generations – Combiner Wars – Optimus Prime (Ultra Prime)

Optimus looks great in the Combiner Wars design.  He is big as a Voyager Class figure.  He looks very G1 with a bit of a modern twist to him.

He has a bit of a backpack on his back.  It isn’t too bad.  We have to hide the giant Ultra Prime head somewhere.   Luckily this is the only part of Optimus that lets you know that he is a triple changer of sorts, to become the main torso of Ultra Prime.

He comes with two guns.  One is luckily very reminiscent of his G1 gun with the big stock on the back.  The other is a bit of a smaller version.  The two can combine end to end to make a long rifle.  They both also have ports on the top.  I am guessing we have a few more options for combination with other guns when he becomes Ultra Prime.

He is a really good looking truck.  His transformation is pretty fun to do.  There are some fun little flips and folds.  He has a bit of the cab over look of the original.   I guess they wanted to get away from the long nose movie and Prime versions that we have had over the past few years.  Go Generations, and go back in design.  I like it.

The two guns can attach in ports on the truck’s back end.  They sit together and look like an engine with really long exhaust coming out the back.

Ultra Prime.  It is hard to see what he will look like as a finished giant figure, but this is a start.  His arms fold up to become larger shoulders.  His legs are the upper thigh of longer legs.  and he is reversed in direction so his back opens up to reveal his giant head and the backpack stays open.

So, now I have a mere two parts to build Ultra Prime.  I am not too happy with the slow rollout, or lack of rollout of the Combiner Wars figures.  I will be really bummed if I will only ever have two of the figures to build one of these big guys.  I am holding out hope that it is just a matter of time.  I have seen them online, but as I love the hobby of toy collecting as much for the chase as for the toys, I will NOT be buying any of these guys for scalper prices.

I am really happy with the overall design of Optimus Prime, and Alpha Bravo (last post).  They both look really good in their standard versions, unlike the not so well done Power Core Combiners that had blue boxes hanging off their bodies all over the place.  I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on more of these guys.  I wanna build a big guy!


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