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Journal Archives from September 2010
 
1992 - Mattel Toy Catalog: Boys Toys

Let's continue the catalog rampage with Mattel's 1992 'Boys Toys' catalog! They don't have a catchy slogan for it this year, but they do have the second season of Hook toys (Thud Butt!) and some fantastic American Gladiators figures and playsets! Be sure to also look for a number of snazzy Hot Wheels tracks, and some Bigfoot licensed products - I saw Bigfoot as a kid at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, and it was awesome.


Wikipedia additionally tells me that The Spectrum was built in 1966 at a cost of $7 million, and the name is best explained by former Spectrum president Lou Scheinfeld:

"The name 'Spectrum' was selected to evoke the broad range of events to be held there. The 'SP' for 'sports' and 'South Philadelphia,' 'E' for 'entertainment,' 'C' for 'circuses,' 'T' for 'theatricals,' 'R' for 'recreation,' and 'UM' as 'um, what a nice building!"


Posted by charlie on September 30th 2010, 06:54 PM
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Mr. T Contracts with Galoob, July 1983

My new foray into the fascinating and wildly informative world of archival trade publications from the toy industry continues to turn up shiny shiny pearls. Today I was flipping through the newly arrived issue of Playthings magazine from June 1983, and saw a simply fantastic image:


There we have Mr. T pictured with David Galoob, president of Galoob, as the contract to produce the A-Team action figures was signed! I have to imagine this is an image not many people have ever seen, since the subscribers to this publication filed their issues away either in the trash or (thank you!) in the cabinet to be sold to me 27 years later! Click the image for a larger shot of the page on which it was found.

Also, because everyone knows that I dig a cool coincidence, eBay has just shown me an ongoing listing for a complete set of the 1983 Galoob A-Team line, complete with a duplicate Murdock figure autographed by Dwight Schultz!! Buy it now for $1,199,99...!


Posted by charlie on September 29th 2010, 05:26 PM
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Batman - The Brave and the Bold: Turbo Zapper Blue Beetle

The Batman: The Brave and the Bold line continues to slowly and mysteriously eek out new figures here and there, often these days with little to no warning. Sure, maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention, though I increasingly get the feeling that out of the entire country of toy enthusiasts, I'm one of the very few people who still gives a hoot about this sporadic and increasingly confusing line. As such, today let's take a look at the Turbo Zapper Blue Beetle!


I guess I missed this guy on the carefully tabulated official list of this line...oh wait, there isn't one. That's why I'm working so hard on my checklist here at the Preserve! Click the image above for a few more shots of this (non-Batman!!) figure.
Posted by charlie on September 28th 2010, 02:00 AM
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Transformers: Titanium Series - Grimlock 3-Inch

After my hiatus from the collecting world, I came back into the fold just in time to catch the Transformers: Alternators and Titanium lines. While I didn't do so hot getting the full range of the amazing and highly prized true-to-life Alternators, I was, for whatever reason, more diligent with the Titanium line - even with the non-transforming 3-Inch scale! Perhaps something that really drew me to it was the painstaking detail that each and every figure package appeared to employ. Box art was not reused in a super lazy way, but rather each package had a number of careful touches that were specific to that character and that character alone. On this fine Monday morning, then, I'd like to submit Grimlock for your approval. Check out this well detailed mini-figure, and pay special attention to the great job that was done on the packaging - the art team for this line really deserves a raise!


Adding an extra poignant note to the proceedings is the $5.99 price tag from KB Toys (ie Kay Bee), RIP 1922-2008.
Posted by charlie on September 27th 2010, 06:13 AM
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1983 Mattel Toy Catalog - "Mattel Delivers!"

I think that everyone enjoyed seeing that 1984 (the greatest year!) Mattel Wish List that I was able to post a few days back, so I'm continuing to expand the new Catalog wing of the Preserve today with the 1983 Mattel Toy catalog! Click the image of the cover below to check out all 103 pages of the publication and see what the dealers and stores absolutely had to know to get ready for that model year.


Be aware that it's very Barbie and 'girl toy' heavy, but the Preserve is nothing if not open to the value of all collectibles, we just happen to focus on our favorites most of the time. Check the last few images (waaaay at the bottom of the page) for the Masters of the Universe figures (see who was 'new' for '83!) and the images before that for some excellent Hot Wheels sets! Don't miss the "Children's Discovery System (CDS)" or "Teach and Learn Computer (TLC)" either - two cool products that I remember having, but of course had forgotten all about until posting this catalog. Pretty awesome and advanced stuff for 1983! Also, I realize now that I probably picked this up for a reasonable price because it is missing page 83/84, right in the middle of the Hot Wheels section - what a shame! And that wreaks havoc with my archiving nerve, let me assure you.

A note on all things catalog - I know that, for as long as scanners and paper have been around, the two are classically supposed to go together. For whatever reason, and as many of you have probably gotten used to, I'm a big fan of 'context' and of items being more natural or in a more normal environment. Therefore, I've been taking pictures of the pages of these magazines, rather than scans that I personally always find sterile and uninteresting. As long as I can read every word of a page in my picture, I consider it ok. Now - that may be nonsense, and I encourage feedback if I'm wasting even more time, with worse results, than usual!
Posted by charlie on September 25th 2010, 12:05 AM
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G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra - Wave 1 Complete

A big 'thank you' is due to friend of the Preserve, Rudger, for assisting with the completion of the G.I. Joe: Pursuit of Cobra wave 1 in the Preserve archives. Of course the day the new Joes were released, I looked at Firefly and Beachhead carefully, put them back, and as I secretly suspected that was the last time I'd see them on the pegs. It is really great that they are selling so well - and I will one of these days learn to be less indecisive!


Well, thanks to Rudger and his keen eye, these final two figures have joined their comrades at last, and the first wave of figures, vehicles and mechs is finally complete! Check out the individual pages for Beachhead and Firefly to read their current bios, take a look at our newly updated checklist for the line, and click the image above for a larger look at these two great figures that go great together!
Posted by charlie on September 24th 2010, 12:13 AM
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Transformers Generations - Wave 2, the Bad Guys

As 2010 gallops towards its inevitable conclusion, and retailers are already stuffing themselves full to bursting with the inventory of holiday shopping yet to come, the sub-line of the new and ongoing Transformers MtMtE 2010 line that I'm focusing on collecting, the all-deluxe-all-the-time Generations branch, is ramping up as well. The new product push in August was great fun, and a refreshing change to the bare and drafty pegs that retailers must have been cursing for months, with only Mudflap swinging in the breeze of carts that went hurdling past.

Unfortunately, however, this massive productsplosion that took place nearly two months ago now has largely stayed put, or at least been refreshed with similar product with far too much enthusiasm. As a result, I've found it mighty tricky to track down the more recent waves of any of the sub-lines, but most in particular Generations, which the Internet reports has already appeared in wave 2 and wave 3 form around and about the country. Well, thanks to the great new Toys R Us Express that opened in my small town, and their obviously fresh inventory, I did finally manage to pick up Darkmount and Megatron, the two supreme bad guys who make up the entirety of wave 2.


I'm not as up on my comics and such as I should be, but it seemed a bold and pretty awesome move to take a wave with only two slots, and fill them with the bad and badder (you may decide who is who) of Decepticon hard cases. In fact, one of our recent Q&A questions to Hasbro touches on this very topic, so hopefully they'll have something interesting to add! Best of luck finding these figures in the wild - I imagine it is easier in a larger city, and we can all assume will be no trouble at all in a few more weeks, as is so often the case.
Posted by charlie on September 23rd 2010, 08:12 AM
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Toy Catalogs - 1984 Mattel Wish List

As the Preserve grows and matures, I've turned my gaze to lines and knowledge that extends beyond the original borders of my kingdom. For decades now I've been content simply to rediscover and understand the lines that I collected while growing up, not even fully open to the world of possibility that lay just beyond those boundaries.

While there is plenty of work left to be done even on the 'original collection' here, one of the ways I find myself gaining this greater understanding is by picking up the occasional classic toy catalog and marketing material. For those of you who aren't quite as far gone as I am with regards to this sort of thing, it may surprise you to know that single magazine issues of Playthings from as recently as the beloved '80s typically go for $50-$100 these days, if you can find them at all! Through patience, diligence, and occasional overspending-ence, I've been accumulating a (still very small) collection of these sorts of media for the past year. Well, as with anything in the Preserve, I'm much happier when it sees the digital light of day and can be shared with and experienced by a greater audience than these walls and the disinterested cats.

As such, I've established yet another wing of the Preserve, the Catalogs area which is available under the Features tab. I'm still not completely satisfied with the content layout, and with my continued insistence on handheld photos instead of scans (scans are so sterile...and readable...) of the new material, but wanted to get the scant 15 pages of the 1984 Mattel Wish List posted (the greatest year!) anyway. Click the cover below to see the insides of this short but delightful publication, and be sure to check out Snake Mountain!



Posted by charlie on September 22nd 2010, 02:42 AM
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Mezco Toyz - Living Dead Dolls Series 20 Variant
Mezco Toyz - Living Dead Dolls Series 20 Variants
Press Release: The first frost of the season appears to have snuck up on us last night, which should pretty well put the garden to rest and open the floodgates of hiding in the house updating the Preserve through the long dark months of winter - awesome!

In celebration of the death of summer, let's take a look at the new Living Dead Dolls Series 20: Day Of The Dead Crimson and Black Limited Edition Variant Set and LDD Retro Halloween Set for 2010 from our pals at Mezco Toyz. Click through to learn more about these latest additions to their smashingly popular line, and to reserve yours before they evaporate, like our first frost in the light of the struggling sun.  Read More
Posted by charlie on September 21st 2010, 01:57 AM
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Sega Master System - Gangster Town

In recent years, more 'modern' games have gotten lots of press, both good and bad, for the realistic and detailed open environments that they can offer. In particular, we're all familiar with the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto series, and how it brought the excitement of stealing cars, and using them to run over hookers, conveniently into your living room. Well, call me old fashioned, but I guess these days I prefer that my crime dramas get played out with the click-clack of a Sega Light Phaser! Click the image below to learn more about 1987's Gangster Town - good luck, you'll need it!



Posted by charlie on September 20th 2010, 06:45 AM
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Tremors-a-Thon #9 - Bloodfist-a-Thon!

Well, it's that birthday time of year again, and I decided to celebrate by throwing myself an old-fashioned Tremors-a-Thon! What better inspiration than my very favorite B-movie actor, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson and his amazing Bloodfist cycle of movies! Here, then, is the low-down and the marathon is currently underway! ...I got a bit of a late start - that lawn wasn't going to mow itself!

693 min. = 11.55 hours

Posted by charlie on September 19th 2010, 12:55 AM
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Lego Brickmaster - Set 20017, Prince of Persia: Dagger Trap

About a week ago I received a very disturbing email from Lego, informing me that the Brickmaster club would be coming to an end in 2011! It's unclear exactly what the plan is, but it sounds like the current set-up of getting a unique set every two months, along with the club newsletter, is no longer available for subscription, though those of us already in the program will get our remaining sets. I've been a big proponent of this club, and thought that it was a lot of fun for a great value. Maybe the price of 6 sets a year finally caught up to them, and they would need to charge enough more for the yearly membership that it no longer seems attractive to offer. Whatever may be the case, it was fun while it lasted, and hopefully Lego has a new program waiting in the wings to replace it.

All that said, let's take a look today at the brand new set #20017, the Prince of Persia Dagger Trap!


It feels very much like the team that worked on the fantastic Indiana Jones line was able to transfer smoothly over to the Persia expression, and they are doing a really fine job. This set, while ringing in at only 52 pieces, continues that tradition of success with this new line, so be sure to click the image above for a little more info. And no, as usual, I haven't opened it yet. One has to wonder how rare the final sets of this year will be, now that membership is cut off.
Posted by charlie on September 18th 2010, 07:08 AM
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Army Gear - Battle Bars / Missile ATV

Ok I'm running a little late today, but wanted to coast into the weekend by wrapping up the set of Army Gear Combat Medals that are in the Preserve. Today let's take a look at the Battle Bars / Missile ATV!


I definitely dig the styling of the bars in this small line, and my head spins when I think about how the full set would look hanging on the jacket of my Burt Gummer outfit...doing what I can with what I've got.
Posted by charlie on September 17th 2010, 09:42 PM
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Army Gear - Air Eagle / Night Glider

I may have skipped a day with the Army Gear sets, but you all knew I'd be back for more, right? Well, never fear because on we go with the Combat Medals set, today featuring the Air Eagle / Night Glider!


Since this piece also turns into a jet, like the Air Wings / A-10 Fighter, the text on the card indicating such is no longer a 'typo' - though I suspect it just stayed consistent for all eight medals in the set, regardless of form and function. Click the image above for a few more shots of this next entry in our rare Army Gear Combat Medals collection!
Posted by charlie on September 16th 2010, 08:15 AM
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Nintendo Entertainment System - R.C. Pro-Am

I just bet that everyone is expecting me to continue the parade of Army Gear Combat Medals, since I'm so delighted to have a handful of them in the Preserve archives. Well, instead it is time for something completely different! Today we're actually going to check out R.C. Pro-Am for the good old Nintendo Entertainment System!


This game was a proud part of my original collection, and while not as heavily played as Bubble Bobble or Contra, was a definite participant in a number of sleep-overs and other marathon gaming sessions.

Developed by Rare and hitting the NES in 1988, it embodied the still-youthful dual format of a racing + combat game, two great tastes, together at last! It was actually one of the first games to allow for racing combat, and the notion of disabling the other competitors with upgrades and add-ons to your vehicle. As the name implies, there was also a twist to this one, putting the player behind the controls of a serious R.C. car instead of personally behind the wheel. This innovative shifted perspective was very well received at the time, and still puts this game in a class beyond vanilla racing titles, surely forgotten these 22 years later. Click the image above for a bunch of product photos, then go get yourself a copy today!

Posted by charlie on September 15th 2010, 07:37 AM
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Army Gear - Combat Ribbon / M-4 Tank

Next up in our parade of little-seen Army Gear Combat Medals is the Combat Ribbon / M-4 Tank set! This plastic recreation of a mark of valor transforms into a mini tank that even holds one of the articulated Army Gear soldiers! Interestingly the card is mis-printed, and still displays the marketing copy for the Jet, saying "Wear a badge that conceals a one-man jet!". That lends creedence to the suspicion that these sets were made in limited quantities, near the end of a dying line, probably not far from the prototype stage. Click the image below for more angles of this fantastic set!



Posted by charlie on September 14th 2010, 04:24 PM
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Army Gear - Air Wings / A-10 Fighter

On the heels of the Army Gear Grenade / Bunker, and inspired by the comments of Preserve reader Ben, I dug out the set of medals that are in the archives and started snapping the ol' pictures! Here is the first of the Combat Medals / Assault Vehicles - the Air Wings / A-10 Fighter!


Interestingly, the four medals that are in the Preserve collection do not have the 'Gigi' logo on the package, which suggests that they were actually released domestically! All evidence so far has indicated that these were released only in Italy, but now the plot thickens. Click the image above for more details on this hard to find set.
Posted by charlie on September 13th 2010, 08:59 PM
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Toys R Snarf

The Toys R Us store in Auburn, Massachusetts always seems to have an excellent selection of unusual and hard to find items, and with mixed blessings today was no exception! The real wonder, though, was an excellent new in-store graphic, just in time for Halloween, that...well...I'll just let the awesomeness speak for itself.


Picture Pages Editorial is, of course, my addition, but click the image for the un-doctored version.

Posted by charlie on September 12th 2010, 08:04 PM
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Army Gear - Grenade / Bunker

Holy Toledo Preserve fans, let's go ahead and add a new toy line to the archives on this fine Friday! From 1988 comes a short line of war toys that (remember the decade) Transform! Lewis Galoob brought the Army Gear line to shelves, and like anything made after 1984 they featured 'Two Worlds of Battle Action'! We'll kick off coverage of this line with the Grenade / Bunker set, ready to blast your good times into high gear!


I think that originally I didn't have any of this series, as my Dad tended to avoid the straight up military themed toys, but I managed to pick up a box of these from eBay several years ago. And, as usual, I'm just getting around to posting them! It is turning out that this line is moderately rare, and in three years of watching for them there are several of the items in the line that I've only once seen come up boxed! Click the image above for some details of the Grenade set, and watch for some more entries to this line soon.
Posted by charlie on September 10th 2010, 02:24 AM
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G.I. Joe Modern Era - Mighty Muggs

Remember the 2008 / 2009 Hasbro toy seasons? Where they fell even more head-first into the rut of applying the same expressions across nearly all of their brands, sometimes to a fault? Where the 'urban vinyl' Mighty Muggs, which had been well received in the Star Wars universe, showed up with Transformers and G.I. Joe with mixed success? Well, sales numbers aside, I assume you do remember that, and here are Duke and Snake Eyes from the Modern Era collection, fresh from a way-late clearance case that showed up at the local TJ Maxx!


This expression saw only 6 figures, with Destro and the Baroness making up the truncated second wave. It was when I saw press shots of the Baroness that I decided I wouldn't pursue these figures, but always in a rush to prove me wrong, life has shown that to be the most collectible of them all and I've never once seen an example in person. Girl figures - always - even in this expression it seems! Well, if you happen to see a Baroness at your local TJ Maxx, you could do worse than picking it up, if only for a struggling fellow Joe collector who decided maybe it's not so bad to add these six style-footnotes to their collection!
Posted by charlie on September 9th 2010, 10:01 AM
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G.I. Joe and Transformers Q&A Due Sunday Night

Our pals at Hasbro have brought the Q&A programs for our two favorite brands into sync this time around, and the questions for the Transformers as well as the G.I. Joe brand teams are all due this coming Monday, September 13th. In order for me to get things submitted on time, let's have all suggestions in by midnight Sunday, the 12th.

What with the launch of new product lines for both of these brands, I'm sure there are some excellent questions to ask!

Hasbro


Posted by charlie on September 9th 2010, 06:06 AM
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Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen: Robot Heroes

In celebration of Daughter of Liberty, Michael Bay, not yet killing anyone on the set of the hotly anticipated train-wreck Transformers 3, I'm featuring today a pile of Robot Heroes from the recent movie toy line. Hasbro having confirmed for us that the Heroes expression doesn't match their plans with the Transformers brand going forward, I decided that collecting even the gold-toothed and smash-faced Bay-Bots, which get even more confusing at this scale, was an OK thing to do.


That big stack of them was found recently at TJ Maxx, where the remaining stock appears to have filtered. This is nice for the $4.99 price tag, as well as for those late to the 'party' like myself now that these figures have finally been shuffled out of the Targets and WalMarts of the world, by hook or crook. I figure I'll feature a really special one, so let's take a look at the aforementioned offensive minstrel bot, Skids and his hopeless battle against Megatron.


Actually, maybe he won - or maybe they didn't even fight - I really couldn't tell you and don't remember. Either way, Hasbro did their best with this character, and turned in a sculpt that is as accurate as possible to the mandate of Genius Visionary Michael Bay. I hope that the artist who drew the short straw and had to add 'gold-toothed ghetto robot' to his resume was thrown a bone and got to work on the far-more respectable Generations line which is currently hitting stores. Speaking of which - I managed to find Darkmount and Megatron at the newly opened Toys 'R Us Express, which will be posted to the Preserve shortly!
Posted by charlie on September 8th 2010, 06:16 AM
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G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra - Snake Eyes with Timber

It seems that every initial (or second) wave of G.I. Joe figures in the last several years has kicked off with the first of many versions of Snake Eyes, made distinct by the inclusion of his faithful wolf Timber. Well, the Pursuit of Cobra line is no exception! In wave one we get, right on schedule, Snake Eyes and Timber, as part of the desert battle sub-group. One imagines that poor Timber is pretty toasty under all that fur, and Snake Eyes himself seems to be letting off some steam with his movable visor which reveals...his eyes!



Now, informed by history, we are all expecting to find the light/dark Timber variants as seen in both the Rise of Cobra and 25th Anniversary lines, but so far it seems that Hasbro has broken with recent tradition here, and that's just fine with me. So enjoy this familiar set, which while somewhat repetitive, still is full of guns, swords, and an articulated wolf - what do we really have to complain about??


Posted by charlie on September 7th 2010, 10:27 AM
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Transformers Animated: Target Exclusive 2-Packs

It's hard to believe that I picked these Target Exclusive 2-packs up over a year ago, but it's true! Target came out in support of the fun Transformers: Animated line with several store exclusives, among them the Shockwave vs. Bumblebee and Sunstorm vs. Ratchet sets!


These sets pair a Voyager class figure with one of the basic Activators, which really highlights the scale and power difference between the Autobots and Decepticons that the show displayed. In a panel discussion with Hasbro reps way back at Botcon 2007, they talked about making the Decepticons a real threat again, and something that wouldn't just be an everyday occurrence for the Autobots to fight. In most all previous shows, they were fairly evenly matched and would do constant battle in every episode, but Animated gave us a world where the Autobots were simply outgunned and overpowered by their foes, making the battles more intense and more real. In these sets, you really get that feeling! Click the image above for the index view of Target's offerings.
Posted by charlie on September 5th 2010, 03:42 PM
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Preserve Favorite Joe Hill Makes Bank

I've mentioned author Joe Hill here several times, and his excellent ongoing comic series Locke & Key. The popularity of his comic has rightly grown month by month, and he himself has just announced on his Twitter feed (with a longer post here) that Locke & Key has been optioned by Fox! That's great news for Joe and artist/collaborator Gabriel Rodriguez - two excellent guys who are meeting with the success they richly deserve.


Note: I'm the one in the picture who doesn't look like a creative genius (San Diego Comic Con 2008).


Posted by charlie on September 3rd 2010, 01:44 AM
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G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra PIT Playset - $20 at TRU!

I admit it - I was a very poor supporter of the G.I. Joe movie line. Here on this site one of the things that I like to talk about above all else is how great the '80s were, in particular due to the sheer lunacy of the toys, measured primarily through the size and scale of the vehicles and playsets. Companies these days can't stop beating the drum of how items like that are just no longer feasible - they take up too much shelf space, the costs are much higher now, they think buying habits have changed and there isn't enough market support....yet Hasbro took a chance.

Hasbro took a chance and made their absurdly large PIT playset as the keystone of their Rise of Cobra line. And what did I do? I took lots of pictures of it at Toy Fair; I talked to the reps excitedly about what a great sea change it was in the modern action figure industry; I waited excitedly to see it on store shelves; then I looked with peace and satisfaction at the $100 price tag, and walked on by. I was part of the problem, not part of the solution! That's why, as happy as I am to have just scored this massive playset from toysrus.com for $20 ($30 shipped) it is a little bitter-sweet, and I had to confess my failing here on the Preserve. Sure I've just saved 80% on this massive set, but by waiting I contributed to the lower sales numbers that resulted in this clearance price, and may have tanked the chance for such sets in the future.

Phew, glad I got that all off my chest! Let's hope that the numbers were still good enough for this set that Hasbro doesn't lose all hope and interest, and that we can see at least one more large set every couple years - the Star Wars ones seem to be working out so far with that massive AT-AT hitting shelves right now, even though the Big Falcon from a few years back did see similar clearance prices so there is definitely not a perfectly linear relation. As such, go take advantage of this fantastic deal at toysrus.com today, if you've been holding off on buying this fun set, complete with mini-cardboard-ping-pong table! Thanks to Adam at 16bit.com for this killer tip!


Posted by charlie on September 2nd 2010, 06:48 AM
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Mezco Toyz - Living Dead Dolls Retro Halloween Sets
Mezco Toyz - Living Dead Dolls Retro Halloween Sets
Press Release: Halloween 2010 is almost upon us - how is that even possible?! Well, no sense bemoaning the loss of another summer, for it is time to embrace the cold, dark and scary times of winter, heralded by everyone's favorite ghoulish holiday. To celebrate, our pals from Mezco Toyz have just sent us a release about their fantastic new Living Dead Dolls Retro Set, complete not only with a doll but also with a plastic mask and matching T-shirt - classic! Click through for their full release, and to see a larger image of this limited 500-set edition, then order yours today!  Read More
Posted by charlie on September 1st 2010, 08:23 AM
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