Monthly Archives: November 2017

2017 Ranger Rescue 5-Pack (Matchbox)

This 5-Pack called Ranger Rescue is a new set for Matchbox. This is a team sent in on rescue missions on behalf of the National Parks services.

The first model is the 4 Wheeler. This is only the 7th time it has been released since it’s introduction in 1999. The first 5 version all had a rider. The rider was removed for the 2013 version and has remained off. This is a solid casting with a metal body and plastic top. Much like the 1:1 version would be.

Next up is the Water Hauler. This one has also seen limited release, but it is a much newer casting, coming out for the first time in 2012.

The 4×4 Chevy Blazer has been a fan favorite since the initial release back in 1984. The mold still holds up so well. The lines are so nice and crisp. You can’t beat the big wheels tucked under this guy. This is the non-aerial antenna version. I do love the giant antenna that we have seen in many versions of this truck.

When the time comes for a water rescue, call on the Rapids Rescue. This is only the fourth time we have seen this truck in it’s short few years of existence. I don’t know why they decided to go with a different color on this truck. It does not fit in with the rest of the team, though it does have all of the correct markings.

The Pony Trailer is an updated version of the original that saw life back in 1968. It only showed up a few times over the years. Matchbox has had a long history of great trailers, but we don’t get to see them all that often. This new version does not have an opening back, but the details are fantastic.

The big excitement for this wave is getting a trailer for the Blazer. Well, as you can see, the Blazer’s trailer hitch sits WAY too high for the trailer. So some modifications have to be made for this all to work together.

I decided I wanted to make a trailer hitch that would be able to be added to the model without having to make it a permanent part of the truck. I want to be able to move the hitch to another Blazer if need be. I used about 20 different pieces of styrene plastic cut to shape and glued.

I test fit the pieces many times as I worked through the process. I needed the hitch to sit straight, look fairly realistic, and be able to actually work, as in allow the trailer to be towed by the truck when driving it around.

When all of the work was done, I painted the hitch a matte black and added some trailer chains. Now the Rangers are ready to grab the horses and head out on their mission.

This was a fun build to do. It only took a few hours, but really upped the function of both vehicles. Now this set really makes me happy.


First Order Stormtrooper Executioner – Star Wars The Black Series (The Last Jedi) – Target Exclusive

The Executioner Stormtrooper sounds like he is going to be a bad dude. From the description on the back of the packaging, it sounds like this is the Internal Affairs division of the Stormtroopers, but with this guy being the judge, jury, and executioner. This does not bode well for the Stormtroopers that cannot stay in line.

 

This Target Exclusive figure is a repaint of a standard First Order Stormtrooper. There is a matte black stripe on the helmet, and black shoulder pads. From there, he is given a special axe with which to dispense justice for the First Order.

The standard Stormtrooper came with two guns. This guy has the leg port of the smaller blaster, but was not included. That is too bad. I would think he would carry one even though he has a special weapon as well.

The black color added here and there gives quite a different look to the trooper.

Side by side, it is clear that these two are one in the same. They may be different branches of the same military, but it would be expected that an Executioner would run around in nearly the same armor as the standard infantry.

Other than the few paint apps, there are no differences between the two sets of armor.

One interesting note is the one black sole and one white sole on the boots. That is a funny thing to include, but the black sole is on the same side of the body as the black marking on the helmet.

Together to take back the galaxy. That is a lot of white and black going on here. The other four better worry, because while they are looking at the enemy, the Executioner is looking at them.


Deadpool – Back in Black – Marvel Legends GameStop Exclusive

In late 2016 and early 2017, Marvel had the brainchild to take us back to the 80s. We join Peter Parker as he finally gets rid of the alien symbiote that will one day become Venom. But before that happens, the symbiote goes on an adventure with none other than Deadpool. You know nobody would be able to hang with that crazy dude for long. Well, five issues in this mini-series is all the future Venom could take. Back in Black is of course a reference to AC/DC’s album by the same name, released in 1980. The issue doesn’t scream over the top 80s references like I thought it would, but with the non-stop action over 5 issues, there isn’t really time to stop and take in the nostalgia.

Flash forward to the end of 2017, and we have a figure in hand of that very same Deadpool. He comes with a good number of accessories. None of them are new, but they are still cool none-the-less. He comes equipped with a grasping hand and a web-slinging hand. I was surprised that he really took on the persona of Spider-Man a lot in the book, and actually flew around with webs. He also comes with Toxin’s clawed hands, as well as one more grasping hand. He comes with the back arms that came with Space Venom, since he needs them for a classic scene from the book. In the book he gets a little crazy and fangs show up. We get that in a repaint of Superior Venom’s head. And then we get some weapons too. Deadpool’s own katana swords in a transparent pink to represent the swords he stole off an alien. He didn’t use them for long, but that was a fun scene.

Teamed up with his modern self, the Deadpool of ole didn’t wear all of the gear he does now. It was a simpler time, so his Black Suit is less detailed with guns and pouches and the rest. Pretty much as it was in the comic.

Throw on the backpack for some straight-out-of-the-comics fun with swords. Unfortunately the symbiote arms were made for Space Venom and holding hand guns. The swords are not held in place very strong. One side can hold a blade pretty well, but the other side is just placed there.

When the going get’s tough, Deadpool gets crazy. He showed some of the future Venom look with sharp fangs and claws. He grew in size too, but you cannot represent that in a single toy. I have one problem with the right hand on mine. It is extremely loose. When I put the hand in, it tends to flop around. The grasping hand even falls out when just standing there. I am going to have to work on getting that a bit tighter. Anyone have a good way of going about that, I am all ears.

By the time Deadpool was done, he realized that the symbiote was trying to take over his mind. Not happy about that, he was able to get rid of the alien. But then it wanted to hook up with Peter again. Deadpool said, “If you want him, you have to go through me.” Not happy about having to deal with Deadpool and his crazy mind again, it decided to go hunting for a new host. And the rest of the story is history…

This is a fine figure. Only two problems, holding the swords with the extra appendages, and a loose hand socket. The paint is pretty solid. I have heard of some problems with paint on the figures people have found in the store. Since I got mine online, I never got a choice. Thankfully mine came in good shape. This is a fun figure to go along with a richer history being filled in for Venom, Spider-Man, and of course, Deadpool. If you happen by a GameStop and are a fan of Marvel Legends, Deadpool, or Spider-Man, this is a figure to get.


Disney Pixar Toybox – Woody and Jessie

In an effort to always take more of our money, Disney went about and found a new toy line to create. Based around the Infinity game that has been canceled, Disney make action figures based on the cartoon style of the statues. I am not much of a statue collector, but I have always admired the design work of the statues. So, for Disney to come out with new figures based on those designs is pretty cool.

I happened down to my local Disney Store this morning looking for something else, but Jessie and Woody caught my eye. On the box they are #2 and #3. That could only mean one thing… #1 was Buzz Lightyear. A quick check of the back confirmed that for me. Unfortunately there was no Buzz in the store.

I didn’t know anything else about them, other than this says “Pixar Series.” That meant there was a good chance that there would be other figures from other series. None were in the store, but I would find about about that later.

So, finally I got home and busted these two out. They are fantastic. Lots of good articulation, all the way down to double joints in the wrists and ankles. They both have removable hats, and one extra accessory. Woody has a snake in the boot. Push the button and the snake shakes around. Jessie has a lasso.

The details in the outfits are fantastic. Big oversized stitching as well as big buttons. They have flattened legs, like they do in the movies, and drawstring loops on their backs. Just fantastic.

At the bottom of the packaging, there is a Toybox pamphlet. It shows all of the figures out so far. Along with the 3 Pixar figures out, it looks like they are planning for 4 more, 3 men and a woman. There are also Star Wars Toybox figures. Kylo Ren, Rey, and a First Order Stormtrooper. They also have 3 more in the pipeline, 2 men and a woman. And finally, there is the Marvel Toybox. The first 4 figures are Thor, Hulk, Spider-Man and Iron Man. They are planning on 2 more women and a man in a future wave.

I consider this one of the joys of the Disney takeover of the world. We start to get some interesting figures like this, and they can be mixed and matched between lines. These figures are only available at the Disney Store, so get in there, or get them online. You will not be disappointed.


Transformers: Robots in Disguise (Mini-Con Weaponizers) – Strongarm and Sideswipe

We are going back in the vault for this set. Today we are looking at the Mini-Con Weaponizers 2-packs of Strongarm and Sawtooth, and Sideswipe and Windstrike.

The idea of the Mini-Cons morphed into their moving beyond the ball and torpedo shapes and becoming weapons. I have collected many of the Mini-Cons, but they became much more fun when they became weapons. One of the problems with the initial line was for them to be viable as toys, they needed to be a certain size. And unfortunately that was bigger than what would fit in with the Warrior Class, were we saw most of the figures. Once we went Weaponizers, the Warrior Class figures could wield the weapons. Well, in comes the 2-packs. The first two waves of the series was a versus wave. The smaller scale figure would battle a Mini-Con from the other side. This time around, they are a team.

Strongarm and Sawtooth:

This is the first Strongarm we have seen in this inbetween size. It is similar in scale to the Legion Class we see in the Generations line. Strongarm is teamed up with Sawtooth, a pretty nasty looking Mini-Con.

Sawtooth becomes a long-handled bladed weapon of some sort. Kind of an axe.

There is the pile of clear plastic parts that can be put on Strongarm to create battle armor. It is much more fitting this time around, since the two figures are teamed up. In the versus line, it is a bit odd that the Transformer can wear the armor of their enemy.

Strongarm can of course transform into her truck mode. This is a more simplistic mode from her Warrior Class, which is pretty simplistic from the Generations line. Nothing to call home about.

Sawtooth can of course wear the armor as well. It looks pretty cool on Sawtooth. It has the feel of an energy field around him.

And Sawtooth is able to transform while wearing the armor to make a very formidable weapon for Strongarm to wield. It is taller than she is.

 

Sideswipe and Windstrike:

This time around, Sideswipe is in his Alpine Strike color scheme. Funny that they would not have listed that on the box. Seemed like a good selling point to me. But I am not in charge, so I will just report what I see. It is just a new paint scheme on the figure we got back when he was versus Anvil.

He comes with Windstrike, who becomes a sword. And a long sword he is.

Sideswipe can use the armor, and it looks really good. He looks like he has wings. With the white and orange, it looks like he is on fire.

Windstrike can use the armor as well. It looks like it is way more tailored to Sideswipe, and doesn’t really work all that well with Windstrike.

And of course we get a big weapon. Another weapon as tall as the user. That is a pretty nasty looking sword.

This is an okay wave of figures. Overall, I think the Robots in Disguise line uses too many gimmicks to try and sell the toys. They have made much cheaper versions of toys they are not selling for all that much less than the higher quality Generations line. They come up with armor that does not always fit well. Kids will be losing the pieces all over the place, since they do not stay in place well. Hopefully with a new TV show coming, there will be a revamp of the toy line, and we will see some better quality coming out of Hasbro.


Matchbox – Ford F-100 Panel Delivery (1955)

This 1955 Ford F-100 Panel Delivery by Matchbox is a car well loved at my wife’s library. After storytime on Fridays, the kids get to bring out the toys. Diecast cars are always a favorite, and she says the more unique cars get the most love.

This truck showed up a few years back, went into the lost and found for a time, and then went into the box with the rest of the diecast for the kids to play with.

Yesterday a kid brought it up with the back axle split in two. My wife said, “I think my husband can fix that.” I have become known as Uncle Toy Doctor after fixing my nephew’s powered toy truck.

I have played around with diecast in the past, and I have a list of projects I want to do. Most of what I have done did not require work on the chassis. Well, this one was going to require something special.

Not only had the axle broken in half, but the wheels were fused to the axle, so if I glued them in place, the wheels would not spin, and that is a no-go when this is meant to be played with.

I had bought some brass tube to allow for new axles, but had not tried it yet. I had only read about it. Well, this was the perfect opportunity. I cut out the other axle, and drilled out the hole for the axle to accept the bigger size brass tube. I glued it into place, cut it to size, and I was half way home.

I thought it would be fun to use a pair of wheels off of a Brush Fire Truck. Unfortunately, with about a millimeter of size difference, that was all that the wheel needed to not be able to fit. Boo! Okay, on to plan 2. Find any set of wheels that fits. All of the donor cars I had laying around, I have plans for and need the wheels in tact, or they were just too big. Then I found wheels to the Hot Wheels Back Slider. This thing has a big set of dual back wheels that were smaller than usual. And that smaller size was perfect to fit in the wheel wells of this truck. And being red, it made this truck look more like a sleeper anyway. It must be a hot rod under the patina.

All glued into place, and ready to go back into service. I would love to have added it to my collection, with the perfect patina to the paint, but it is important for the kids to have the wide variety of cars to play with. Really, this project wet my appetite to really get going on one of my own projects and see what I can come up with soon.


Elite Praetorian Guard (with Heavy Blade) (Amazon Exc) and Elite Praetorian Guard Comparison

Since Amazon was ready ahead of time, the exclusive Elite Praetorian Guard (with Heavy Blade) was sent out early. So, now that I have it in hand, I wanted to compare it to the standard Elite Praetorian Guard #50.

First off, the helmets. I was expecting the figures to be the same except for the weapons. I am happy to see that there is a different helmet for each of the types of guards. The Heavy Blade guard is in the left, with the upswept mask, while the standard figure on the right has the longer mask.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the figure too. First up is the standard guard. He is VERY red. The only spot of color are the black pants hidden under the skirt.

Now that is a lot of red, but the figure has a lot of texture going for it that allows for some variation. There is a leather texture on the skirt as well as the around the neck. The arms have layered armor that allows for color variation in the highlights and shadows. And the mask itself is shiny.

The details included are really well done. From the leather material to the fine lines of the body armor. They even have cool double jointed knees with the big knee pads as the main part that separates the two parts of the leg.  he guard comes with a pretty nasty looking bladed weapon. It is interesting that these guards have bladed weapons as opposed to the long range blasters that the majority of the characters use. It will be interesting to see how these weapons hold up against weapons like the lightsaber.

Heavy Blade guard has the heavy blade that has a pole as tall as the guard and then there is a massive blade on top of that. It is a formidable close-combat weapon. He also comes with a spear or pike of some sort. The SHFiguarts Heavy Blade Guard shows that this weapon separates to become a whip. Seeing him in hand really gets me excited to see these guys in action. Unlike the Emperor’s Royal Guard, we should see these guys in action.

The only real problem with these guys are the elbow joints. The joints are lost behind the layers of armor, so they cannot bend their arms very well. I have seen some fixes that I may try.

The director of The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson said that he wanted these guards to look more like samurai than the Emperor’s guards. He wanted them to look like they could fight if they needed to. I think they succeeded in the desired effect. I really like that there are different helmets and weapons available. There is one more guard out there. The “fingernail” guard with a wide brim on his helmet that looks like a big fingernail. It is part of the Gamestop Exclusive 4 pack that comes with 3 other guards going back to the Republic days. It is way too expensive for what it is, so I am going to hold out hope that Hasbro will put out a single pack with the 3rd Elite Guard. I am also interested to see what the numbers of each type of guard are for the movie. There are supposedly 8 of them.


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