Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Palifico and Maccus

More discount aisle fugitives from Hastings. Both were originally $14.99; Maccus was $3.75 and Palifico was $3.50.
Both were background characters in The Pirates of the Caribbean as members of Davy Jones' crew. Maccus was First Mate, I think. I don't even remember seeing Palifico specifically, and for years I've been calling this figure "Pacifico".
Maccus came with an axe and Palifico two swords; both came with barnacle-encrusted bases.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jared Grace

The family went to see The Spiderwick Chronicles recently, and their reviews were generally positive. When I went by Hastings today I saw this one figure and decided to get it (well, he has a book, doesn't he?). It cost $13.99.

The figure is of Jared Grace, the main protagonist of the film. He comes with four seeing-stones, one messenger bag, and one field guide. You can "Squeeze Jared's legs together for Seeing Stone and Field Guide action!"; in other words, his hand raises mechanically to his face.

Once unwrapped, I found that this figure embodied most of the qualities that I dislike in action figures in general. The details of the sculpt were large and clumsy. The body itself was made of a type of brittle plastic that I know from experience can chip and break easily. The mechanical action of the arms and legs is rattling and loose, and fairly pointless: ooh, book lifting action! Even the packaging seemed bulky and over-elaborate, as if they were trying to camouflage their big-priced small item.

Below is a picture of the other figures available in the line. I don't think I'll be breaking my back trying to find them. They are made by Irwin Toys, at

Monday, February 25, 2008

News and Notes

Just a few scraps of what I've been doing:

Yesterday I bought two cases with three 12"x12"x3" drawers in each. Today I've been transferring the Armory from my old toolbox into these. One drawer for swords and knives; one for axes, hammers and clubs; one for spears, staffs and pikes; one for shields and helmets; one for bows and arrows and miscellaneous weapons. The sixth is empty but I'm thinking of reserving it for special props.

Yesterday my brother John glued the hand back onto my Cave Troll. A few weeks ago my cat Shadow--I hesitate to call him my cat, he just lives with me--knocked the Troll down and busted its' spear hand. The poor old Troll is showing some fissures in the rubber skin that covers his cheeks that moves when he roars; wish there was some way of repairing that. We speculate that around the country there are skull-faced Trolls languishing in thousands of toyboxes.

Friday before last I bought a two figure set from Stargate:Atlantis that was discounted because the bubble had come detached from the card. It was down from $26.99 to $19.99. The figures were Ascended Daniel Jackson and Anubis, both dressed in hooded/robey clothes. They didn't even have a good picture on the card, so I can't show them, yet.

My friend Tom at Z's Toys and More has tracked me down a Smeagol: Stoor Fisherman and two boxed sets of characters from The Year Without a Santa Claus, and they are in the mail. This Smeagol is how he appeared before he became Gollum, and is one of the only 3 (well, 4, if you count the Fell Beast) LOTR action figures that I don't have now; the others are Hama and Peter Jackson as a Hobbit.

The picture above is from an E-bay auction. It shows a collection of boy scout gear that we kids used to have way back when. Just showing it for nostalgia.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


When I dropped by Z's Toys yesterday I found that a customer had ordered a Mugen from Samurai Champloo and they had ordered an extra one. I resisted for about one minute, then bought it. My friend at Z's said he would keep an eye open for the other two.

Mugen cost $9.99. He comes with a spare head, sword and sheath, a snack on a stick, and a base. No articulation. as such.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Turn Me On, Deadman

Got this at Z's Toys and More yesterday, for $8.99. What kind of freaked me out was years ago my brothers and I had a character called Deadman we used in our action figure playings. Deadman was a 3 & 3/4" Universal Studios Mummy, animated solely by the power of his beloved teddy bear, which he carried in his backpack at all times. Remove the bear, and he was powerless.

This Deadman is easily 8 inches tall, a skeleton in a tattered unitard with a big "D" on it. It is from DC Direct, "Direct from the pages of artist Alex Ross and writer Mark Waid's best-selling graphic novel!", Kingdom Come.

From his box: "At the dawn of the 21st Century, Earth's greatest heroes have gone into retirement. The public turns to a new breed of super hero--committed to 'cleansing' society of all its criminals with methods of terror and viloence, rather than salvation.

"When events finally bring destruction closer to home, the reclusive SUPERMAN returns from his self-imposed decades-long bring Earth's true heroes back...unknowingly setting in motion a crisis that could lead to Armageddon!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

J. R. R. Toykins

My recent influx of The Lord of the Rings action figures got me to thinking about the influence of toys on authors. I suppose everybody knows that the Winnie-the-Pooh books were based on the toys of A. A. Milne's son, Christopher. But less widely spoken of is the influence of J. R. R. Tolkien's children on his work.

The character of Tom Bombadil, for instance, was based on a Dutch doll belonging to Tolkien's son, Michael. In a fit of childhood waywardness Michael tried to flush it down the toilet, but it was rescued and went on to become the hero of several longish poems by Tolkien and eventually a character in The Lord of the Rings, right down to the feather in his hat.

Michael had had misfortunes with toys before. When he was four, he lost a little lead dog he was very attached to on a beach in Yorkshire. To console him, Tolkien wrote a story about "Roverandom", a real dog who gets turned into a lead dog, is lost by a boy at the beach, has adventures on the moon and under the sea, and eventually becomes a real dog again, reuniting with the little boy in the end. When his publishers wanted another story after The Hobbit, Tolkien offered them Roverandom, but they wanted a Hobbit sequel. The story was finally published some 70 years later.

Another posthumous publication influenced by his children's toys was Mr. Bliss. In this tale, Mr. Bliss buys a new motor car and has a series of misadventures with a mischievous family of bears. These bears are all based on actual teddy bears owned by Tolkien's daughter Priscilla, who had such a huge collection that once, when Tolkien was transporting a selection for her on a family outing, a stranger asked him if he was a travelling teddy salesman. A "family" of bears owned by his children (please note bears in Tolkien family photo above) called the Bingos supplied what was Frodo Baggins original name: Bingo Bolger-Baggins.

Perhaps in later years Tolkien now and then felt a little ashamed of the humble beginnings and influences on his mythos. But he could console himself with this thought, published in his late tale, Smith of Wootton Major. Here Smith has journeyed in the Perilous Realm of Faerie, and at last met the terrible beauty of it's Queen face to face. He remembers how his journey began, years before, when he received a magical star hidden in a cake with a small fanciful doll on top.

"Then his mind turned back retracing his life, until he came to the day of the Children's Feast, and the coming of the star, and suddenly he saw again the little dancing figure with its wand, and in shame he lowered his eyes from the Queen's beauty.

"But she laughed again as she had laughed in the Vale of Evermorn. 'Do not be grieved for me, Starbrow', she said. 'Nor too much ashamed of your own folk. Better a little doll, maybe, than no memory of Faerie at all. For some the only glimpse. For some the awaking.' "

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"...And Then We'll Get Him!"

A cartoon from the immortal Gahan Wilson. Look at the damage on those toys when you click the image, if you wonder what motive they might have.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Saber: from Fate/Stay Night. Who is she? Where is she from? I don't know, and haven't bothered to look it up. All I do know is that I like the look of her, even if she is a little--ahem--inarticulate. I've been seeing this gal for over a year at Hastings, and her price has sunk from $29.99 to $7.50. For that consideration I can't leave an old acquaintance languishing on the shelf. What can I say? I likes me a warrior-maid.

From her box: "I have a secret I haven't told you...I'm a Magi." Three years after the death of his foster-father, strange events begin happening in town, and he finds himself drawn into a battle between the Magi called "Masters."

Who is this "he"? The company that made the figure is called Craftmanship Kotobukiya, their address is given as http//

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Captain and Knight

Yesterday my brother and I went to San Antonio and I was finally able to use the Christmas gift card for Target that I got from Yen&Co (thanks, guys!). I was able to get two figures for under $15: Captain Barbossa done in that freaky animated form that's all the rage now, and Shining Knight from the Justice League Unlimited line.

The card above is from Barbossa, which shows the whole line up except for Barbossa, save in cartoon form. I cloned the barcode out; don't know why, except it makes me nervous to reproduce. The Captain comes with sword, exploding barrel, and monkey.

I love the Justice League Unlimited line: simple, iconic, and inexpensive, with a huge array of heroes and villains. The Shining Knight comes with a sword. My one question is: where is the Question? I love that character!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Some Axes

Another assortment from the Weapons Toolkit.

From the top right:

Stone axe from Native American Spawn
From Slithe of the Thundercats
From King Kull
From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Stone Axe from The Flintstones
From Jack the Ripper (Last Action Hero)
From Thor
From Tin Woodsman
From Goliath of Gargoyles
From Young Male Titan of Dungeons&Dragons
From Executioner of McFarlane's Monsters
DK for next five axes
From He-Man (original)
From Disney's Hercules
From Castle Greyskull of Masters of the Universe
Stone axe from Swamp-Thing

Most of the axes marked DK (Don't Know) are from one-offs of different series or those un-named action adventure packs you find in dollar stores and such. Not shown are any axes from The Lord of the Rings, of which Gimli came with not a few.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Another figure from Z's Toys and More, from the anime show Yu-Yu Hakusho, or Ghost Files. Kurama is the figure at the bottom.

I saw Yu-Yu Hakusho on Cartoon Network. It's the story of a troubled teen, Yusuke Yurameshi, who is killed trying to save a young boy's life. He is recruited by Botan, a sort of female "Grim Reaper", on behalf of Yema Jr., son of the Lord of Death, to return to life and become a spirit detective, tracking down ghosts and demons that are causing trouble on the spiritual plane. Kurama and Hiei are two such troublemakers that he manages to win over and who join his force.

Kurama is a combination of a human and a fox spirit, with special power over plants. His greatly extendable "rose whip" is his major form of attack.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Death...But She's Got A Hat!!!

The Sandman's sister was at Z's Toys and More yesterday: Death of the Endless. I've been trying to track one down for a while, and Tom was able to get me one that is an actual variant to the one seen above: instead of an umbrella, however, she has a black hat. The picture above was the only one on the card. Perhaps when I finally get a camera I can have a line-up of the Sandman figures I have: the Sandman, Death, and Daniel, who takes Dream's place when he is destroyed at the end of the comic. I had an opportunity to get a Death some years ago, but since I hadn't read any of the comic and didn't know her character, I passed it by. I understand these toys are very popular with Goths, which may explain some of the difficulty of finding one.

From the card: "Death. Neither malevolent or merciful, a final visitor to all yet a friend to none, Death does her job in a fashion that is both comforting and matter-of-fact. It's a job she has done since the first living thing came into existence, and only when the last living thing has died will her work be complete. Until that distant day arrives, she will be there. Waiting. Includes ankh and umbrella."

Who can identify the quotation alluded to in the title of this post?

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Sandman

I got an e-mail from my friend Tom over at Z's Toys and More saying that the Sandman he had ordered for me was in. It was a great deal at $10 (and that included shipping!); I believe that was the original price when it came out.

The Sandman is of course from the legendary comic book series written by fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman. I can't think of any other comic that references writers such as James Branch Cabell and G. K. Chesterton. The Sandman is one of seven brothers and sisters, less than gods but more than human. He is Dream, and his siblings are Destruction, Desire, Despair, Delerium (once called Delight), Destiny, and Death.

From the card: "The Sandman. He is known by many names: Dream of the Endless, Morpheus, The Sandman. At once an ephemeral figure and one of great might, he is perceived by the waking world only in fleeting glimpses. Of all the Endless, it may be he who takes his responsibilities to humanity most seriously. And in his own kingdom of the Dreaming, his power is supreme. Includes a removable cloth cloak and an attachable figure of Matthew the Raven."

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Here is Sora, the main protagonist of Kingdom Hearts. Of the figures on the left, I have Kairi and Roxas. Apparently figure No. 4, Axel, is the one that really took off from this set, and is now hard to find for anything less than exorbitant sums. I never really bothered with him because in the game I found him to be something of an axe-hole.

If Square-Enix is listening, the next series of this line should include Riku, Namine, and Diz. I would say Donald, Goofy, and Mickey, but I think they are concentrating on the more human game figures, and ones that won't involve complicated copyright deals.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"Imperious Leader"

Today would have been the 46th birthday of my older brother, our "Imperious Leader" in many of our early playing and adventures. In honor of this day I offer this poem, quoted in Joseph Pearce's Literary Converts.

"My Body Is A Broken Toy"

My body is a broken toy
Which nobody can mend
Unfit for either play or ploy
My body is a broken toy;
But all things end.
The seige of Troy
Came one day to an end.
My body is a broken toy
Which nobody can mend.

My soul is an immortal toy
Which nobody can mar,
An instrument of praise and joy;
My soul is an immortal toy;
Though rusted from the world's alloy
It glitters like a star;
My soul is an immortal toy
Which nobody can mar.

Maurice Baring, 1937

Friday, February 8, 2008

Mixed Bag

Here is a list of the miscellaneous action figures Yen sent along with the LOTR haul. Descriptions are applied where I don't know their exact names.

Captain Kirk (Original Series, Playmates)
William Ryker (Damaged, Playmates)
Geordie LaForge (Playmates)
Deanna Troi (Playmates)
Lt. Worf (Playmates)
Quark (Playmates)
Beldar Conehead
Prymatt Conehaed
John Belushi as Samurai Baker
The Flash (Justice League Unlimited)
2 Batmans
Killer Kroc
Dr. Evil
Austin Powers
Earthworm Jim
Beaked Kangaroo Alien from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Goombah from Super Mario Brothers
2 Jurassic Park Humans
Jack the Ripper from The Last Action Hero
Main Villain from The Last Action Hero
Louis Tully from Ghostbusters
Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
Tall Gargoyle from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Main Villain from Seaquest DSV
2 Ladies from The Masters of the Universe

And then there are three mystery figures, that I don't know the names of or even what series they came from. One has a yellow suit, red breastplate, and a rather lion-like head with red hair. One is a kind of goat-man with blue-gray skin and an eyepatch. And one is a small 3&3/4" figure of a bald man with pointed ears and ebony-black skin. If anybody has any ideas on who they are, I'd like to know. But they're going in the collection.

There were also four figures from the Narnia series: the White Witch, a Centaur, Peter, and a Dwarf. This reminded me of a dwarf I hadn't mentioned in my previous post on Dwarf action figures: I had a Narnian dwarf archer. This one was the Narnian dwarf halbardier from a set I hadn't been able to get, so I was very pleased with that as well.

The Coneheads he sent are the ones in the black Remulak uniforms shown above. I also have the other figures.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Let Us Gaze Into...The Future!

Taking the hint from Narniaweb, I took a look at the Entertainment Earth website ( and saw new Narnia action figures from Prince Caspian. These figures are due out next month! Included in Series 1 are Peter, Edmund, Miraz, Caspian, Reepicheep, Glenstorm, a Faun, a Bull-Headed Man, and a Werewolf. These figures are described as 3 and 3/4 inch tall.

Nosing around I saw new figures from the classic Indiana Jones. Indy, Belloq, Cairo Swordsman, Monkey Man, and others, due out in a few months. Also two new figures from Labyrinth, another Jareth and a Hoggle.

None of these are out yet, but keep your eyes open. Go over to Entertainment Earth and dream of things yet to come!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


My brother Yen in Florida has had do to a lot of refurbishing and redecorating of his house, and as part of the general neatening-up decided to send me his collection of The Lord of the Rings action figures. He did this because 1) he knows I love them and 2) he knows I'll never sell or throw them away so if he ever wants to see them again, here they are.

I knew there'd be a lot of them, but wow. Yesterday the Fed-Ex man drove up and started unloading boxes on the front porch. The first three were out and I thought, "Okay, that should be about it." Then another was hauled out. Then another. And another. In all six boxes, each 30"x13"x16", were piled up on the top step. The Fed-Ex man asked me what was in them, and I told him.

"Are you opening a store?" he asked.

I had a ready answer.

"No, we just play with them."

I spent most of the evening sorting them out, assissted by my enthusiastic niece. All together there were 193 LOTR action figures. I collect LOTR action figures, but there are at least 30 figures here that I didn't have before. A quart and a gallon Ziploc baggies hold all their accessories.

The figures break down into these categories: 55 Hobbits, 29 Orcs, 18 Aragorns, 14 Legolases, 14 other Elves, 14 Nazgul, 13 Men of Gondor, 13 Men of Rohan, 11 Gandalfs, 6 Evil Men, 5 Gimlis, 4 Gollums, 3 Dead Men, 2 Sarumans, 2 Ents, 1 Shelob, 1 War Troll, and 1 Eye of Sauron.

All of these could probably be packed into three boxes as described; after all they are all loose figures. But there was more. Lord of the Rings premiums from Burger King. Lord of the Rings miniatures from The Armies of Middle-Earth, with playsets. LOTR chess pieces. LOTR Legos. And that wasn't all.

There was the new Castle Greyskull and about 15 figures from The Masters of the Universe. There were stray Star Wars pieces that were part of a collection to be sent to my other brother and my nephew. There are 40 or 50 miscellaneous action figures of all kinds and makes, and accessories galore. Some will be distributed among nephews and neices, others will go into my collection.

So I've been very busy and happy. I swim around in my toys like a porpoise; I burrow through them like a gopher; and sometimes I toss them up and let them hit me on the head, all the while chortling with merry glee.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Captain Norrington

After work today I went by Hastings, considering taking a look at Tifa again and see if I wanted to buy her. But someone had already bought her out; I suppose it's okay because it saved me from buying something I was only mildly enthusiastic about.

They did have this figure of Captain Norrington from Series Three of Pirates of the Caribbean. It's how he appeared when he was down and out in Dead Man's Chest. He comes with tricorn hat, saber, pistol, and base. He was reduced from $14.99 to $11.24, and every little saving helps.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Streets of Cairo

I was rummaging through my papers and found this scrap of ephemera. My brothers and I got this set way back when there was only one Indiana Jones movie--and now a new one is looming on the horizon. We still have most of the parts, except, I think, for Monkey Man's cloak. Hard to keep track of all those little oranges and that teeny knife, especially when you actually play with them. On the back are instructions on how to put the table and cart together.

Proper Use

In the Moss Hart/George S. Kaufman play You Can't Take It With You, the unhappy, socialite, grimly businesslike parents of Tony Kirby come to meet the free-spirited, unpretentious family of his girlfriend Alice Sycamore. The following exchange occurs after the Kirbys have appeared unexpectedly a day early and are getting to know the Sycamores through the detritus of their interests that clutter the house. Mr. Kirby spots a Meccano set (like an Erector set) belonging to Paul, Alice's father.

Kirby: (he sees Paul's Meccano boat model.) Hello! What's this? I didn't know there were little children in the house.

Paul: Oh, no. That's mine.

Kirby: Really? Well, I suppose every man has his hobby. Or do you use this as a model of some kind?

Paul: No, I just play with it.

Amen, brother. Amen

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Some Blades

A sampling of swords, from recent acquisitions.

From the top left:
1&2) Swords of Rukia and Ichigo from Bleach
3) The 'Fabulous Sunsword' from Thundarr the Barbarian
4) The Keyblade from Kingdom Hearts
5) Sword of Prince Charming from Shrek 3
6) Peter's sword from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
7) Edmund's sword from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
8&9) Cutlasses from Pirates of the Caribbean
10) Magical sword from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I've got a whole 16"x8.7"x8.1" toolbox full of swords, axes, bows, arrows, spears, maces, knives, clubs, shields, helmets, and bits of armor.


From the Hellraiser: Series Two, a line from Reel Toys from NECA ( Our old pal Pinhead, leader of the Cenobites in the Hellraiser movies.

Quote from the card: "A fine line dissects the worls of pleasure and pain, and walking that razor's edge is the scarred and punctured visage of 'Pinhead'. 'The Lament Configuration' puzzle box is both the invitation and the key to unlock his world of dark fantasies and forbidden sins...time to play?"

I got this figure a few months ago from Blockbuster Video. You can see the crease going through the card. I left the resolution higher for this jpg; I hope the details will be more obvious. Pinhead came with one panel of the twirling block of pain: collect the other Cenobites and build your own!

Friday, February 1, 2008


The Andorian. Perhaps best known from the original series for the fake Andorian who made an attempt to disrupt the conference on Babel, in the course of which the Tellarite Ambassador was killed and Captain Kirk wounded. In the group above, he's the light blue fellow with the antennae.

This is the last figure I got in the Hastings trove, and it is a sentimental favorite. I just had to show the entire line-up from the card. Back in the day (early 70's) my brothers and I had Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scottie, Uhura, and the Klingon, and the crew of the Enterprise had many an adventure with the fellow Mego action figures from the Planet of the Apes. Their battered remains, often missing limbs, accessories, and clothes, are lovingly preserved in a special plastic container, along with what is left of our large G. I. Joes (one with kung fu grip!).

Of course we never even saw the rarer aliens like the Mugato, Romulan, Gorn, "Neptunian", or Andorian, so it is a real treat to have these detailed reproductions of original molds. Nothing like a dream come true, even after 30 years or so.

This figure came in special re-sealable packaging, the likes of which I've never seen before. A quote from the card: "From 1974-1979, the legendary MEGO Corp. produced the first licensed STAR TREK toys ever! Their designs have become timeless and their value immeasurable...but now you can own painstaking reproductions, recreated to provide this generation with the quality and playability first established by MEGO founder MARTY ABRAMS, the father of the modern action figure!"

That's quite some claim.

The Andorian is 8 inches tall (standard MEGO size), wears "retro cloth" clothes, and has no accessories. The cost was $17.99. Relevant e-mail addresses from the package are and

Yasutora 'Chad' Sado and Orihime Inoue

These figures are part of the Hastings bonanza. They are the Series Two run by Toynami from the Cartoon Network Adult Swim anime feature, Bleach. I have the Series One line, comprised of Ichigo and Rukia. Each figure cost $14.99.

From the card of Yasutora Sado: "Nicknamed 'Chad,' this classmate of Ichigo's believes his only asset is his physical strength. He likes small animals and anything cute." He comes with a stand and an Exclusive Score Trading Card.

From the card of Orihime Inoue: "Ichigo's classmate Orihime lost a brother three years ago. She and Ichigo form a bond when she's attacked by a Hollow." She comes with a base and a trading card, but also has a black cat, which I must say is the best sculpt of a cat I've ever seen with an action figure. You can't really tell from this picture, which is a scan off the card.

(By the way, and most of you probably know this: the card is the cardboard backing of the packaging of an action figure, the blister is the plastic bubble the actual figure is encased in.)

The show Bleach has a rich and fascinating mythology which I am not about to attempt to explicate here.