Monday, October 16, 2017

Animax (Schaper)



Animax
Schaper
1986

We can't take credit for the majority of this post. That credit belongs to Mel Brinkrant who we have talked about in the past. We've borrowed the photos from Mr. Brinkrant's site, and cleaned them up for presentation here. Truth be told, he tells a much better story on the line than we probably can, and his site deserves a visit for that. In the interim, we'll give it a go here.

The line featured two sides - The RoadTrainers (good guys), and the Motor Mutants (bad guys). The premise behind each of the RoadTrainers figures was that they each had an animal mask that when worn would telepathically link them to their animal / vehicle - Yes, half car, half animal. Or, as the back of the package puts it;

"Part living animal / part vehicle created by mankind. They are the sole surviving animal species."

Hmm...That's actually quite sick and twisted now that we type it out. Anyway...

Unlike the RoadTrainers who love their animals, the Motor Mutants control their beasts through brute force.

Each of the six figures were carded individually, and featured very bland paint colors, and overall a very "cheap" sculpt. No details or paint applications were present in the faces of the RoadTrainers - Which all look the same, save for a different color hair.


Back of Carded Figure

For the very few people who were interested in the series, the animal / figure two pack seemed the more viable option. Not only did it contain the same figures as noted above on the cards, but also their respective vehicles. Kind of a no brainer to go this route instead, huh?

Much like the carded figures, there were six individual packages available. However, with that said, there were initially eight combo packs planned. When the series limped onto toy shelves, X-Tinctor / Obliterator and Max Action / Jungle Max were cancelled.




For the fans of the series, Marvel / Star Comics also produced a very short lived comic book series. These books, when found, typically are in dime or quarter boxes - So they're relatively easy to come by. They're also far more common than the actual toys.

As for the toys, as noted above, they're rather scarce on secondary markets. Additionally, they're priced way too high with each carded figure listed at $100.00+, and the vehicle / figure combos priced even higher. As a result, this line is often times passed on by most collectors.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Red Faction: Armageddon (Gamestars Collectibles)



Red Faction Armageddon
Gamestars Collectibles
2012

We haven't covered many Gamestars Collectibles (GC) toys around here at The Toy Box. However, in our defense, there aren't many of them. The company seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye in 2012, and has only produced three lines of figures based on the video games; Crysis 2, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, and the one we're about to go into here - Red Faction Armageddon. Since then, nothing has been heard of from GC, nor can much information be found on the internet.

Red Faction began as a video game series in 2001 with the title of the same name. It was followed up in 2002 with the lackluster Red Faction II, and the series reinvigorating title, Red Faction: Guerrilla in 2009. With such high anticipation, it was disappointing to see Red Faction: Armageddon (2011) fall into the same criticism of RFII. Critics claimed the game was behind the times in graphics, and failed to offer a cohesive story that drew gamers in. Granted, the game did offer a large geographic location to explore (and destroy), all while challenging players with increasingly difficult enemies. Sadly, it wasn't enough though.

Fast forward to 2012.

In an attempt to enter the market of action figures, Gamestars Collecitbles releases six figures based on the game. Each one is highly detailed in sculpt, articulation and paint. However, much like the game itself, this wasn't enough to draw collectors in. Coupled with the figures being limited in availability - Typically only at local game stores (if they bothered to order any), and a very niche audience concept, you can see the vast uphill climb that GC created for themselves.


 Winters

Out of the six figures, the Ravager and Creeper ones seem to be the more sought after. Secondary markets see the pair selling for around $25.00 (for a set of them), and mind you that's in loose condition. The remaining figures don't fair so well, and often times remain unsold.

 Ravager

 Creeper

Despite limited lines of figures, Gamestars Collectibles was always on par with their packaging. With artwork straight from the developers of the game, it was easy to denote (for fans of the series) that these were Red Faction figures just from the top banner.

 Darius Mason

 Hale

Marauder's Officer

As noted above, the majority of the figures don't fare well on secondary markets. Average sales are around $7.50, mint on card, sometimes reaching $10.00, but not often. Even with prices this low, most of the times the figures go unsold.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Boy George (LJN)



Boy George
LJN
1984

Culture Club blasted onto the synth pop scene in 1982 with their debut album Kissing to Be Clever. The record (or cassette) featured two notable hits; Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, and I'll Tumble 4 Ya which put the band on track for success and fame. Later pressings of the album would also include a third hit, Time (Clock of the Heart).

What came next was a rocket straight into the stratosphere for the band - 1983's Colour By Numbers. It's leading track, Karma Chameleon became the band's most popular song, and made Boy George a household name among teens across the globe. Other tracks followed Karma straight up the charts; It's A Miracle, Church of the Poison Mind and Miss Me Blind. Since its release, the album has sold sixteen million copies.

Unfortunately lightning typically doesn't strike twice, and the highly anticipated third album from the band, Waking Up with the House on Fire (1984) didn't reach the level of success expected. It's real only hit was The War Song. That's not to say it was a bad album. It just didn't seem to have many more radio worthy tracks to help push it up the charts.

Things only got worse from there. George became increasingly dependent on drugs, with heroin being one of his most often abused / used. This lead to delayed recordings of the band's fourth album, From Luxury to Heartache in 1986. Though it too had a couple hits, the album did the worst out of all the band's releases to this point.

The band broke up shortly afterwards, and George proceeded with a solo career which found him mild success as compared to his early days of Culture Club. The band would later reunite for the 1999 album Don't Mind If I Do, but the record was unfortunately a commercial failure.

Let's rewind a bit here back to 1984. Despite the lackluster reception of their third album, Boy George was still a hot commodity in the world of 80's pop. As such, LJN jumped at the opportunity to produce a doll based on him.

Colour By Numbers was hot, hot, hot, and so was the iconic outfit that the singer wore to promote the album. This is what LJN based the look of the doll on. If you think you've seen the microphone accessory from the doll before, you probably have. It's the same (though painted a different color) use in the LJN Michael Jackson line produced and released that same year.

Much like the Jackson doll, the George doll is fairly spot on in terms of likeness. Especially considering that this comes from the 80's where exact likeness sculpting wasn't necessarily a common practice.

LJN followed up the twelve inch doll with a more cuddly, and may we also say, frightening version of Boy George. Just saying - We would not cuddle with this thing.

Boy George; The Huggable Cute Cuddly Doll! (Brown Hair Version)

This particular version was released with both brown and red hair - The latter being the more rarer of the two these days.

Both boxes were decked out in yellow, and showcased a nice close up photo of Boy George on the back, as well as four smaller ones somewhat in each of the corners of the larger one. The front of the box isn't shy of photos either, but they are the same ones as displayed on the back.

The use of bright neon borders screams 80's club scene, and only helps to scream out to you from toy shelves in conjunction with the massive amounts of yellow that make up the majority of the package. This is definitely a toy of the 80's.

Though we're honestly not big fans of the "cuddly" Boy George dolls, the twelve inch version definitely belongs in the collection of any 80's music fan. With how great LJN's line of music related dolls were, we would have loved to have seen tons more from the era. Just think of how awesome it would have been to have a lineup of other dolls like; Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran - Heck, even Weird Al!

To get the twelve inch Boy George these days you're going to spend anywhere from $50.00 to $100.00 for it - Depending on condition (with the box). The cuddly George will set you back even more - About $120.00 for the brown hair version, and $150.00 for the red hair one.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Monster Mez-Itz (Mezco)



Monster Mez-Itz
Mezco
2002

Mezco has produced a whole bunch of Mez-Itz in their time. While the concept of the line hasn't necessarily blasted off into orbit such as Funko's Pop line did, it certainly has its niche following of collectors. Of course with that said, much like Funko's Pop line, Mez-Itz aren't something you need to collect every single one of. Rather, you can focus on the ones that appeal to you. Mezco has produced the likes of DC Universe characters, movie characters, and in some cases even vehicles.

Today we're taking a look at Monster Mez-Itz, which was a small series released in 2002. No, these aren't based on the Universal Monster designs. Instead, they appear to be Mezco's own iterations on the characters.

(Photo shows series one)

There were two standard packs released in the first wave, and a second wave released shortly after. In total, there were eight characters produced; Vampire, Mummy, Frankenstein and Werewolf (for the first series), and Boris Creepola, Claude Clearwater, Dr. Mezitstein and Grim Grimly (the second series).

Truth be told, they're not the best we've seen in terms of monster character toys, but for what it's worth, they get the job done - Especially if you appreciate the Mez-Itz style.


The above photo is the repainted versions which were released as Chiller Theatre exclusives. For some, these actually stands out as the better iterations due to the use of more color. Unfortunately because they are exclusive, they are also a lot more difficult to track down.

Series two (below photo) brought with it Mezco's own characters (as noted in the names above). It also marked the last of the figures to be released in the "line".


In general the series failed to capture much of an audience, which is why it was only around for one year. Today the figures are slightly difficult to find, but this seems to be more so attributed to the fact that nobody really owns them to sell them. When found, prices typically hover around $15.00 for one pack of series one or two. As for the exclusive ones, we've yet to find them on secondary markets, so a price cannot be determined at this time (by us).

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Marsupilami (Jus Toys)



Marsupilami
Jus Toys
1992

Though we're sure there are a few of them out there, Marsupilami is officially the only character we know that has its own asteroid named after it - Asteroid 98494 to be exact.

Last week we looked at Imperial's Classic Movie Monster line. Today we're going to be taking a look at another company that knows how to do bendable toys right - JusToys. While you won't hear much from the company these days, JusToys was a major contributor to the bendable toys market from 1990 to 1995. They produced some really great lines such as; Mickey's Stuff for Kids (as in Mickey Mouse), Marvel Superheroes, Star Wars, Battletoads, and more. They're definitely a company worth checking out if you're in to bendable figures.

Many of you probably have never heard of Marsupilami, but that's okay. Being a Belgian comic / cartoon character, he's not that well known in most parts of the world. The character did have a brief stint as a Disney character in 1993 in an animated series which ran for thirteen episodes. This factor contributes to why the character was chosen as a Bend Ems line by JusToys (the company produced several Disney property bendable figures during its five year stint).

You can find the figure here and there for around eight to ten dollars, but it's not really in abundance. If you're in to unique characters, and bendable toys, this would certainly be a great one to consider adding to your collection.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Classic Movie Monster (Imperial)



Classic Movie Monster
Imperial
1986

Since their inception, Universal has willingly been the gigolo for their trademarked monsters. These classic characters have been on everything from posters to coloring books to toy to <insert genre of collectible here, and keep going>. Rest assured, if you're a fan, there's something out there for you to collect.

While Imperial's venture into the realm of Classic Movie Monsters isn't the best iteration of toys to be found, they are certainly some of the more budget friendly ones to this day. Unlike the Remco line which will set you back not only a ton of money, but a lot of time and patience to obtain, Imperial's are relatively in abundance, and sell for as little as $10.00 a piece. Granted that's more than double of their original price of $3.99, but fairly on par with the cost of figures these days.

Imperial produced only four characters; Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and Wolfman. The first thing you might notice with these is their unnaturally large hands. Yikes! Is that where the majority of the plastic went into these products? HUGE!


Still, there's something about these that we really love; The cardbacks work so well with the figures inside to give them a real appeal to the eye. They pop, if you know what we mean. It would be difficult to walk past these hanging on a store peg, and at least not glance at them. Their vibrant colors draw you in for at good look (at the very least).

The downer to these is that the back of the cards don't share in the amazing design of the fronts. Rather than make the backs leap out at you like the fronts, Imperial went with a bland black and white "drawn" look. They get points for the classic Meco type artwork for the available figures in the line, but at the end of the day it's rather bland, and leaves you wanting to quickly flip it back over to the figure side.

Beyond that there's not much more to say about this line. It has its appeal for being a Universal Monsters property, and of course you can't go wrong with a a well put together bendable figure - Which Imperial certainly does. This certainly wasn't their first outing in the realm of bendable toys, and it shows that they know what they're doing when it comes to producing a line of toys. In other words, there's quality (and care) there.


This is not one of the more well known toy lines to be produced based on Universal's monsters. This factor may contribute to its (relatively speaking) low prices on secondary markets. They're certainly a conversation piece, and fans of these iconic characters should definitely consider adding them to their collection.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Alf (Coleco)



Alf
Coleco
1986 - 1987

Freakin' sweet! It's Alf!

Fans of the fury Melmacian know the character has been around for quite some time now. He began on television screens in the self titles show which ran from 1986 to 1990, while also appearing in a Marvel Comics series (50 issues), and an animated series which ran for two seasons. Let's not forget the 2004  Alf''s Hit Talk Show which sadly only aired for seven episodes.

Fans of the alien were in luck in the late 80's. Not only was the show a hit among viewers, but merchandise was everywhere. Shirts, school supplies, stickers, and of course toys (and more) could be found pretty much everywhere.

Today we're having a look at the Coleco stuffed toys that were prevalent during the hay days of Melmac's infamous alien. Four different versions of the character could be found, each with its own specific feature / function.

For the Alf purist, there's the ever trusty plush version. It came in a saucer style cardboard box that featured very little artwork, or color for that mater. However, out of all the toys, it's definitely one of the better versions released. Especially if you just want an Alf to snuggle with while you watch your cartoons, and eat cereal.

 Alf - Alien Life Form

For those who wanted a little more bang for their buck, there were also two "talking" versions.

The first was developed in the style of Teddy Ruxpin. I.E. it had a tape deck on the back of the "doll" which you could insert cassettes into. Each cassette featured a story on each side.

 Talking Alf - The Storytelling Alien

Talking Alf - The Storytelling Alien (as it was known as) came packed with one cassette, and offered three additional cassettes - Each sold separately.

 Talking Alf - The Storytelling Alien Cassettes

Then there was Wisecracking Alf which would speak one of his favorite expressions when you pressed his stomach. Of course, much like any talking doll of the era, it's prone to get squeaky over time - Not to mention that ever infamous tinny sound.

 Wisecracking Alf - The Outspoken Talking Alien

For the Alf fan on the go, Stick Around Alf was a no brainer for your car window. He didn't do much beyond that, but you could always depend on him to hang around (ba-dum tshh).

Stick Around Alf

Though Alf has been dormant for some time, it is possible that the character will one day return. A feature film has been proposed and in the works since 2012 which would involve a CGI Alf alongside human characters ala Smurfs style. Movie posters exist for the film, and have for some time. You can find them "HERE".

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