Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rock Lords! An Off-the-Wall Post About Some Off-the-Wall Toys

Hey there everybody! For a change, I'm going to actually talk about something I didn't buy while out thrifting, but instead something I picked up on eBay. Normally I stay away from eBay talk on here, but I just love this topic sooo much I couldn't resist. 


When I was a kid I collected a ridiculous number of toylines, from Star Wars, to Masters of the Universe, to Thundercats to Real Ghostbusters, to G.I. Joe, to TMNT. I was never huge fan of Transformers toys although I did love the cartoon. I ended up with a few GoBots in my toy box because they were the cheaper alternative and (in my memory at least) easier to figure out.

An offshoot of the GoBots were the Rock Lords, which were not transforming robots (with a couple of exceptions) but instead transforming creatures made of living rock. And yes, when they transformed, they turned into the rocks pictured above. They did indeed transform into (ridiculously unconvincing) rocks. This makes them one of the saddest punchlines of all 80's toy jokes because in all actuality, the Rock Lords were incredibly cool action figures that would have made more sense if they simply didn't transform at all... but in fact the transforming action just adds to their charm.

The factions of Rock Lords don't have fancy "Autobot and Decepticon" style names, so they're just good or bad. The leader of the "good guy" Rock Lords is Boulder. Boulder here is one of my all-time favorite toys period. He is one of those toys that I managed to hang onto through various cleaning purges, and as a result he managed to team up with everyone from all of my various other toy-lines over the years. He is also one of the few Rock Lords that actually resembles a rock when in rock form. One of the things I love about this line however weird it may seem is how the transformation mechanics really forced the designers to find a balance between the seeming natural elements of the rocky outer shells and the living elements inside, while still being a functional action figure. In some cases, like Boulder, this was a perfect, successful balance. In others however...

... like Magmar here, the conversion is less successful. Magmar is the leader of the evil faction of Rock Lords. He is supposed to be a bad-ass, but unfortunately his articulation is ridiculously limited due to his design. His arms move up and down but his pointless elbows don't really do much to enhance his arms posing, and his legs actually bend backwards, like a crane's. What I do genuinely love about Magmar's design are the color highlights and the mohawk. The yellow on his chest and shoulders here actually reads a much darker orange color in person (think my flash bleached it out a bit) and the green accents are pretty badass. I didn't own Magmar as a kid, and so my evil Rock Lords were led by Stoneheart (who I do not currently own, and who is therefore not in this blog post).

This weird looking fellow is Crack-Pot. As a kid I thought he was kind of creepy, and I think I ended up treating him as a villain. He is, in fact, actually a heroic Rock Lord. He was the only other Rock Lord from my collection to survive the great toy purges alongside Boulder.

This fantastic fellow is Brimstone. He was one of my absolute favorite villains from the line as a kid. He has the peculiar distinction of still having his eyes visible when he transforms into a rock (you can't see them in the picture at the top of the post because I have him flipped over on his face) and due to his hunched appearance and color he reminds me of a crab. This was always the "crazy guy" of the bunch, all hissing and screeching while he fights.

This rugged guy is Granite, and was given to me by Brian of Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture fame. Granite was always Boulder's second in command in my mind, and a loyal friend. Nuggit (the little gold robot I also haven't tracked down yet) always played the part of the sidekick, so I wouldn't call Granite that. He's more Boulder's Samwise than his Woozy Winks. He does however remind me these days of the Sontarans from Doctor Who.

Actually most of the Rock Lords look like a combination of Doctor Who creatures cross pollinated with Gwar band members, so that's not surprising.

This last figure I currently own is Styx 'n Stones. Following the "my army of evil henchmen must include a two-headed monster" trope, here we have the double-trouble threat of Styx n' Stones. I LOVED Styx n' Stones as a kid. Two-headed villains were freaky and fun! You can see there's some color coding going on to help you differentiate between the two. Styx, on the left has pink coloring, while stones on the right gets red. This extends from their eyes and mouths right on down to their... toenail polish.

And here they all are as a group, good vs. evil, all in a group. I remember obsessively transforming these guys back and forth between their warrior and rock modes. It's too bad the line wasn't more popular because I found these to be genuinely cool to collect and play with as a kid. In addition to the ones pictured in this post, I also owned the aforementioned Nuggit and Stoneheart, as well as Marbles, Slime-Stone, and Pulver-Eyes I will probably not bother to track down ALL of the Rock Lords, but I might try checking some or all of these guys off my list one or two at a time. For now though, I'm pretty happy with the six-pack I currently possess.

What about you? Do you remember Rock Lords? Or do you have some other weird toy line rom the misty memories of your childhood that you feel like didn't get the love it should have?

Well that's it for today kiddos! I'll be back soon with some Geeky Goodwill Goodies (or something else) soon enough, so until then, Happy Hunting!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Another Package from the Trash Man!

So my bud Brian "The Trash Man" of Pop Pop! It's Trash Culture fame actually sent  me a package awhile back, and I thought maybe I'd finally get around to blogging about it before we all died of old age. Let's dive right into its contents without further ado shall we? 

First up was this Halloween wind-up of a skeleton. LOVE this guy. I actually have a bunch of wind-ups in this same style, and he fits the gang perfectly. He is now a permanent resident of the Geek cave, on my Halloween shelf.

Brian also knows I have a geeky love for Cloak & Dagger, one of the most underrated and under-appreciated power-couples of the Marvel Universe. Included in the package was this awesome tin featuring them on the front.

Hiding inside the tin however was an awesome surprise as well! I believe this was billed as a bookmark back in the day (I actually remember having one or two of these as a kid) but either way, ANY toy that represents the great Ronald McDonald is an awesome item to add to my McDonald-land Collection!

Brian knows me well, folks. Included in the package was this CYOA book for younger readers. The Bantam-Skylark books are larger and slimmer than your average paperback CYOA books. I collect them all regardless of size or intended age group, and this one goes very well with my collection.

I remember Paul Chadwick's "Concrete" being a pretty big deal as as a compelling indie comic to follow back in the 90's. I had unfortunately never actually read any of the series. As usual however, Brian is introducing me to new and awesome titles that I've never sought out on my own.

The book that kicked off my entire Creepmas celebration originated from this package of goodies as well! "The Twelve Frights of Christmas" will probably not get read during the actual Christmas season, to be honest. More than likely I'll read it in the dead of February or something... but this is a must-read for me to be sure. Any time you mix murder, mayhem, and merriment: I'm there.

One of the most interesting items in the package was this VHS case. It does NOT include a VHS copy of Dan O'Bannon's 1985 cult classic horror film, "The Return of the Living Dead" It does, on the other hand, contain SO MUCH MORE:

Turns out this is one of the Trash Man's patented VHS surprise packs!!! If you can't see everything icluded, worry not, for we will be taking a closer look below. Just FYI, Brian likes to trade and/or sell these to interested parties. You can contact him through his blog, his Instagram, and through the PPITC Facebook page, all of which I have previously linked to in this very post!

Let's start with the collector's cards. There were some awesome loose "Fright Flicks" cards from Topps included, with scenes from "Day of the Dead," "Fright Night," and "Aliens". There were some unopened packs of "Hook" and "DC Versus Marvel" collector's cards, and a couple of Topps wax packs, featuring "Dick Tracy" and (possibly one of my favorite items from this box)  a "Supergirl" wax pack!!!

Next we have some pogs and mini-stickers. Mr. Teeny! Tiny Toons! TMNT! Gideon, enemy of X-Force and immortal mutant External (except he's dead)!

There was a strong showing of "little plastic guys" too. a Marvel Handful of Heroes Green Goblin, one of those little rubber finger-puppet monsters THAT I LOVE, An Arco Ro-Gun Robot in red, and a little plastic orange dinosaur!!! Nowadays all four of these guys reside on my color coded ROYGBIV, dedicated-to-the-toys-at-the-bottom-of-the-toy-box curio shelf.

Can you find them all?
But that's not it for mini-figure madness in that VHS case! 

I think by far these are two of my absolute favorite items in the entire package from Brian however. We have a Mez-Itz version of the Demon to pal around with my Batman Brave and the Bold Action League version of the Demon... and a Battle Beasts Pew Trid Skunk. I love that the guy wears a gas mask to protect himself from his own stank. Battle Beasts are a big favorite of mine. Big. HUGE.  

Finally, as previously mentioned, Brian knows I'm a sucker for Cloak & Dagger, so an issue of that comic book should come as no surprise. But THIS issue there's ALSO an INFERNO rossover that features the New Mutants!!! So TRIPLE whammy. And he knows that I consider the Australian Outback era of the X-Men to be MY X-Men, so this issue featuring Longshot losing his S**T while Colossus, Havok, Storm, pre-Asian Psylocke, Rogue, and Wolvie all just chalk it up to "crazy ol' Longshot!" is a real treat. I've never read this one, and I don't already have it in my collection. Comic book GOLD folks (for me at least. Your mileage may vary). 

There was also a Super Grover figure in the mix, but for some reason I Can't fathom, I either forgot to photograph him or I've deleted the photo or something. but he's here in this photo, arms raised in a 'V' (and the dead lay in pools of maroon below...) with all the other loot.

CAN NOT THANK BRIAN ENOUGH FOR THIS GREAT PACKAGE. Really very kind and generous of him as usual. He always shows a real thoughtful streak when sending stuff to folks I've noticed. He pays attention and takes note of what people really are about. Thanks again Brian!

That's it for tonight guys! I'll be back soonish or laterish with another post about Geeky Goodwill Goodies (or more stuff I got in the mail from friends, or more stuff from the new bin of AWESOME... we'll see) so until then... Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Whole New Bin of Awesome Pt. 1: Most of the Robots

I know that there are probably people out there who call bulls**t on some of the stuff they read on this blog. Like: "No one would just find a Castle Grayskull at Goodwill STUFFED FULL of action figures, for a few bucks..." But I am telling you guys, I do not fabricate any of the stuff I write on here. I don't secretly go out and buy stuff from eBay or Nerd Rage Toys or Instagram sellers and present it on here as stuff I have found in the wild. I am always 100% honest about where I find the stuff I showcase here. If I do buy something cool from eBay, I will let you know! 

I preface the following post with this statement because I realize how completely unbelievable it is going to sound. I know this, and I realize that some folks may say I have "jumped the shark" here in believability. But I need you all to know that what I am about to tell you is true. 

I swear this is NOT ME.

Last summer, I finished writing a series of 5 posts about a bin of neat toys I picked up for 40 bucks at a yard sale the previous September (That went down in 2013. The five parts can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) I had kind of slacked off writing about the bin after the second installment back in September of that year, and I didn't pick it up again until the following Summer... THIS PAST summer. July 13th is when installment number 3 went up, meaning there was about a 10 month gap between the second and third installments. 

And then on July 15th, something very awesome happened to me. 

If you have read any of the posts I linked to about my Yard Sale Bin of Awesome above, you will know I picked it up at a yard sale just down the road from my house. There is an older woman, a nice lady from Germany who has a house just three or four houses down from my own. She was the one having the yard sale but it was her son who was selling the bin full of toys. The rest, as they say, is history. 

I bought the bin, I wrote a couple of posts about it... and then I let it go for almost a year. July 13th 2014 I started wrapping that all up. And then two days after that, on July 15th 2014, I pulled into my driveway after a day at work, and was headed into my house. It was sprinkling rain very lightly, building up to a drizzle. A toy-filled truck drove past my house just as I was about to walk inside.

Not this truck. But almost as cool. 
The truck stopped. "Hey!" I turned around. "You want to buy some more toys?" 

It was the bin-selling son from last year! Two days after posting about the bin I had bought from him, the guy (Arthur, I found out) was driving past my house on his way to his mom's place, with toys in the back of his truck. Said he was on his way back from a show (toy show? I don't know.) when he saw me. Remembered I bought the He-Man stuff, etc. last year. Wanted to know if I wanted to buy another bin for 50 dollars. I saw something in the back of the truck that made me want to say yes almost immediately (I will not be revealing this item in this particular post... more on it later...) except I knew that my wife would divorce me if I bought another bin of toys... for that price. 

I told him this. He began dropping his price like an anvil in a Roadrunner cartoon. I didn't even dicker with him. He just kept going down, until he landed at 25 dollars. 

I couldn't resist. Just the stuff I could SEE was enough to convince me. The bin was also probably twice the size of the bin I got last year. (I know this all sounds like a fish story. I promise its not. I really do). I ran inside the house to get the money and pay the man. While I was gone he tossed a few more items INTO the bin. 

As I mentioned earlier, it was raining, so I grabbed the bin and brought it inside as fast as I could, to prevent stickers from dissolving right off the toys that had them... and I began to catalog the contents. Unfortunately, I didn't think to photograph the bin with the toys in it, but as I said, there was a serious water issue to deal with IMMEDIATELY. Not everything in that bin was in pristine condition, but almost all of it is a part of my collection now, with a few exceptions. For this introductory post I'm just going to show you 6 of the items from this new bin, and this first batch all share the theme of robotics.  

First up there was a pair of Robo Force figures in the mix. These guys are from around 1984 and have an interesting design, basically having a suction cup for a base and drier hoses for arms. They have a sort of Dalek-y vibe to them in my opinion. The guy above is named Vulgar the Destroyer. He used to have a drill bit where that hole in his face is now. He's really not in great shape at all to be honest. His sticker's messed up (in some part due to the rain damage mentioned earlier) and as mentioned, part of his face is gone... so he's seen better days.

Next up we have Maxx Steele from the same toyline. This was the Leader of the "good guy" robots. He's missing a chest piece and his right hand. So again, not in the greatest shape... but good enough for me to be honest. This line was not one I collected and played with as a kid, but I was vaguely aware of it. I definitely like having a couple of representatives in my collection. 

This handsome fella comes from the Captain Power line from 1987. He is the Soaron Sky Sentry. He is actually supposed to have a pair of wings clipped onto his back and a blaster rifle. We discussed the Captain Power television show back in August on the Geek Fallout podcast episode #91: "Top 5 Shows We Watched as Kids" That was a fun conversation. 

This Robeast "Scorpious" from 1984 put out as a part of the Panosh Place Voltron line is fun but also of severely questionable play-value. Since they made the decision to make this giant, Voltron-sized robot the same size as the human figures in the line, it made it hard for this Robeast to be any kind of credible threat to Voltron. He was anywhere from slightly too short to ridiculously too short depending on which version of Voltron you were playing with. But I have a soft spot in my heart for this guy mainly because of this Robot Chicken segment:

(I especially love the moment at around 1:52 when Robeast full-on twerks in Voltron's face.) 

This guy appears pretty unassuming at first, being a simple rubber robot with bendy limbs and not much else going on... but wait! That's before you get to know him! This happens to be a Mighty Bend-A-Bot, produced by Marty Toy back n 1985. This guy's name might Might MIGHT be "Umda" unless different colors of robot denoted different characters (His buddies had names like "Bongg" and "Zango") . These guys were obviously cheapy-charlie knock-off toys but have enough of a history that they can still be identified. They were packaged in two packs or single packs, and came with awesomely anachronistic knights' weapons like swords and shields.

One f my absolute favorite finds in this whole bin is this guy right here. He is a Starroid Raider from Tomland toys, produced in 1977, or possibly a Space Fighter produced in 1979. Either way, this guy's name is "Koga". These things were produced as cheap knock-offs to the Star Wars action figure line, and they were probably the bane of every child who received them, back in the day. Personally, I took one look at this guy and fell in love. He's blocky and goofy looking, has no knee or elbow articulation, and has a soft rubber head that vaguely reminds me of the soft-headed first wave of TMNT action figures that would come out a decade later. His limbs have a loose, floppy almost marionette-like quality to them that makes him a challenge to get him standing upright and I'm not sure if that came with age or if it was just how they produced them.

So here is: just the first batch of toys to come out of this second bin of awesome. I wish I'd gotten to write about this thing last year before Halloween hit, because now my first impressions and immediate passions have faded and cooled a little bit... but there was still so much neat stuff in there that I can squeeze out a bunch more posts! It'll be nice revisiting all the stuff I got on that fateful day.

That's it for tonight boys and girls! I'll be back soon with Geeky Goodwill Goodies (or more likely, goodies I got in the mail or in the bin mentioned above) very soon. Until then, Happy Hunting!

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Surprise Package From "Ryan"

So here's a post that's loooooooong overdue:

I received a package last year that was a really nice surprise. It just showed up out of the blue, with no expectations or demands attached. I'm not going to use the sender's full name here just in case, but I want to wholeheartedly thank "Ryan," who sent me this package. It has been forever since I received this stuff, and I want to make it clear that this package did not go unremarked. THANK YOU! Let's take a look at what the incredibly kind Ryan sent to me:

I owned a copy of the Black Hole novelization as a kid. For the longest time it was the only chapter book that I owned. As a kid I had a vague idea that this was some sort of horror novel, and so while I refused to give it up and get rid of it, I also refused to actually read it. I had never seen the Disney movie, and in fact still have not ever seen this Disney movie. I am aware of it's significance as some sort of Star Wars rip-off... but beyond that I have no idea. What's cool about having this book back in my possession is the childhood memories I have of holding onto this book, DARING myself to peek inside, as if some sort of horrific creature was going to pop out and snap my face off and drag it back inside. This thing makes me feel like I'm a kid again.

Anyone who has even casually browsed this blog will already know that I am a huge lover of Choose Your Own Adventure books and their many knock-off cousins. Which-Way Books are yet another of those brand-x CYOA book series that are just as fun as the originals. And when Vampires, Spies, and Alien Beings are involved... look out!

I'm not a huge fan of 101 Dalmations, to be completely honest, but I do love Happy Meal Toys, and the toy on the left side there is one of those completely bonkers vehicles where the top and bottom of the car both have a driving character that you can flip out to play with. So these are both pretty awesome. 

Also in that little package was this set of vikings from the How To Train Your Dragon bucket of Dragons set. I love that they gave these guys the little-plastic-army-men treatment! To be totally honest here too, I already own a set of these, but I genuinely love these so much that I don't mind showcasing them on the blog as much as humanly possible. The letter Ryan included with these items made it very clear that I should not feel obligated to keep anything here if I chose not to. I will definitely make sure that anything here I don't end up keeping will go on to a good home that will appreciate them the way they should be appreciated. 

I hate to play favorites... but I saved the absolute best item for last. This Kermit car is the bomb! This thing is from the Corgi line made back in 1979 and... I mean... KERMIT! This toy is just a classic! 

Here's one final look at the great little package of stuff Ryan sent me Another grand thank-you goes out to him for sending me this package.

I'll be back soon enough with some Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting!
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