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Journal Archives from January 2011
Transformers Animated - Rodimus Minor

We all first met Hot Rod in the 1986 Transformers Animated movie, where he ranked among the huge set of new characters that were introduced to bolster the new toy lines and new direction of the line. The story, though, was a timeless one, and far transcended whatever marketing efforts were behind it, and the whole experience was a pretty formative event for all of us who were young kids and caught the film in the theater originally.

This figure of Rodimus Minor started out pretty rare, and was definitely not found in every Toys R Us in 2010 reliably. However, around Christmas it seems that the shelves were finally pretty full of this figure, so I'm glad that everyone who wanted a copy or two of the tail end from this fan-favorite line has hopefully not been denied. Click the image above to read the bio for this version of the young lad, who had potential!
Posted by charlie on January 31st 2011, 12:33 AM
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Nasta Reactors - TransEuro

Anyone who reads the Preserve with a semblance of regularity has heard me carry on about the little known Reactors line from 1989 by Nasta. Well, as you can see from the checklist I still have not completed my quest of assembling and photographing all of the American released vehicles in this set, but there has been a significant development in the Preserve Reactors collection!

Shortly before the holidays of 2010 I was tipped off to a euro-ebay auction that sported a pile of Reactors in alternate euro-packaging, the likes of which I had never even imagined! Add to that the revelation that several of the items featured were not even in the Preserve in their US released personas. When the price proved to be a bargain (though they were a bargain at twice the price!) the answer was clear - get them on the slow boat to my distant land! And a slow boat it was - just as I started to believe that it had all been a dream, a box from France has arrived. A box that appears to feature stylized line-art of french fries ("macfries"), no less, to my great amusement! I haven't had time to photograph everything properly, but I wanted to sail into the weekend with that story, and with this, a teaser picture of things to come!

Posted by charlie on January 28th 2011, 10:37 PM
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Battle Force 5 - Battle Talking Saber

While the topic is still fresh in everyone's mind, I figured that I'd continue with the Battle Force 5 vehicles and take a look at Saber - the Battle Talking version.

This Vert Wheeler fellow may not be Matt Trakker, though I guess in 2010 he may be somewhat equivalent - and I am pretty old now compared to when Trakker and his Camero/DeLorean first thrilled us all in the original M.A.S.K. line. Maybe Vert is a good updated version of a smart, charismatic team leader - though I still have a suspicion that in the '80s, we watched shows where grown men were the heroes, and there would be some youthful character that acted as a point of reference for the young viewers (see Spike). Now days, with the anime style that has informed most modern productions, when you hit 20 you're the laughable old man or the wise ancient Sensai....geez so what does that make me?!

Battle Force 5, it's storm ridin' time!

Posted by charlie on January 27th 2011, 08:09 PM
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Battle Force 5 - Battle Talking Reverb

I never quite managed to find all of the Battle Force 5 vehicles in their myriad of assorted sizes, given that I was late to the collecting party for that line. It's really just as well, since the last thing the basement needs is several more plastic bins full of well-intentioned but quickly ignored awesome toys. A number of the Mattel-made items did join the ranks of the Preserve, however, and are still slowly making their way onto the site - one such item being the Battle Talking Reverb vehicle!

It's a long and proud tradition to have a toy that broadcasts audio from the parent cartoon. While fun the first day or so, it tends to get a little old after a short while. These vehicles continue to hold my interest, though, and hopefully anyone who wanted these fun Battle Talkers was able to scare up a set of the three that were made. I found this one at KMart, on some sort of hidden clearance shelf or another. Click the image above for more shots of this here-and-gone-in-a-flash sonic vehicle! Muadib!
Posted by charlie on January 26th 2011, 09:12 PM
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Sega Master System - Double Dragon

We all know this game. We all love this game. This game is a centerpiece of many a fond arcade memory, and is even in the arcade collection of the Preserve! Today, we're taking a look at the Sega Master System version of this game - click the image for the gallery of how Sega released this title, a look inside the instructions, and even the poster that came with it.

When it comes to martial arts, you're both street lethal.

Posted by charlie on January 25th 2011, 06:23 PM
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Magnavox Odyssey 2 - Computer Golf!

While not as exciting (from an arcade gaming perspective) as was Alien Invaders - Plus! the Magnavox Odyssey 2 and it's spectacular 1978 artistic sensibilities can make anything interesting - behold Computer Golf!(!)

I really like how each and every game title is completed with an exclamation point - hey it was the late 70s...this market was just taking shape....they were the visionaries who saw how great it would be for the next 30 years! Be sure to click on the link above to learn more about the Magnavox take on what had to be one of the very first golf simulators - launched a thousand ships it seems. Just keep in mind that if you Hit into the trees and your electronic golfer will pound the ground with a club and spout some extremely colorful electronic language!
Posted by charlie on January 24th 2011, 06:34 AM
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Press Release - Mezco Toys: South Park Series 2
Mezco Toyz - South Park Series 2
Press Release: Our pals at Mezco Toyz have just let us know about their brand new series 2 of South Park figures, set to be available July 2011. This series includes AWESOM-O...I think that's all the information you need. If you're still looking for more, then click through to the full press release!  Read More
Posted by charlie on January 21st 2011, 10:22 PM
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Magnavox Odyssey 2 - Alien Invasion Plus!

I have been meaning to start the detailed coverage of the great Magnavox Odyssey 2 system for quite some time, and today is that lucky day! Released in 1978 by, surprisingly, Magnavox after years of innovation in the brand new video game industry with their original Odyssey console and the subsequent minor revisions, the Odyssey 2 was their best effort yet and a solid competitor in the space. While the notion of removable cartridges was popularized by innovative systems like the Fairchild ChannelF and the Atari 2600, the Odyssey 2 had something no one else did - a membrane keyboard! This feature allowed them to develop games aimed more towards education and even computer programming, providing a more traditional and faster interface for the material.

And don't even get me started about The Voice add on....speech fantastic is that?!

There were plenty of great things about this console, and we'll get to them in time, but let's kick things off with Alien Invaders - Plus! A complicated-up version of Space Invaders, this one was a real challenge. Click the image below for more views of the physical incarnation, and great pinball-backglass-channeling instructions!

Posted by charlie on January 20th 2011, 06:45 AM
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Lego Brickmaster - January / February 2011 Set

We knew this day was coming, but that doesn't make it any less sad. Today we got our final Brickmaster set in the mail. It figures, that the program I've gone out of my way to talk up and to advertise as often as possible is being yanked; I guess I was more right than I knew that $39 for 6 Lego sets a year was in fact a great deal - too great perhaps! Helping to soothe our pain, though, Lego sent as the last set the Slave I ship from Star Wars, for all your frozen Han transporting needs!

The letter that they included with the set, which is right below, claims that the program will be replaced by something new and exciting in 2011. Hopefully at Toy Fair I'll be able to ask a few people both about what happened to the Brickmaster club, as well as what is in store by way of a replacement effort.

At least we had a few good years of bi-monthly fun sets arriving in the mail, and Lego remains awesome in spite of it all.

Posted by charlie on January 19th 2011, 06:11 AM
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G.I. Joe - Pursuit of Cobra: Storm Shadow

I'll finish up the coverage of my incomplete set of wave 3 of the G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra line with Storm Shadow! He features a whirlwind kick feature, which is of course extremely exciting! Almost as exciting as the Tornado Kick of wave 2 Snake Eyes....or is it moreso!

I was glad that I could give Hasbro accolades for including a fun '80s rific action feature in their earlier SE effort, and am delighted to see it reused here. Be sure to pick this figure up so the two can battle it out - spin kick style!
Posted by charlie on January 18th 2011, 06:06 AM
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G.I. Joe - Pursuit of Cobra - Snake Eyes

We continue our journey through wave three of the new G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra line with the ever present Snake Eyes!

The number of accessories packed in with this figure is really reaching absurd levels, but again you really do feel like you're getting a lot for your money and your Joe arsenal grows quickly with Hasbro's generosity in that regard. We have had a Snake Eyes figure in every wave of the POC line so far, which is not unexpected and not without many many historical precedents, but also really not 100% necessary - though I know we can argue both sides of the case from dawn until dusk.

Either way, I'll admit this is a great figure with cool gear, and certainly worth picking up if you haven't gotten a Snake Eyes figure recently - and even worth a shot for the gear if you already have Snake Eyes spares coming out of your ears.
Posted by charlie on January 17th 2011, 06:14 AM
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Mezco Living Dead Dolls - Beetlejuice
Living Dead Dolls - Beetlejuice
Press Release: Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Comes to the Mezco Toyz Living Dead Doll line! Click through for more details on this re-envisioning of your favorite bio-exorcist!  Read More
Posted by charlie on January 16th 2011, 12:56 PM
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G.I. Joe - Pursuit of Cobra - Duke Wave 3

If eBay is any guide, and what a sad state of affairs we've reached for it to be the bellweather, my small town has fallen pretty far behind in terms of the latest releases in the G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra line. This line is sort of sad - though I guess that sums up a lot of Hasbro's efforts lately. I think that the figures are still really well done, and by and large the fan community still digs them, but it has gone from being sort of light weight and exclusive feeling, to peg warming just like so many other recent lines. Once rare figures like Recondo are staring out from the shelves - they ain't got time to bleed but they have time to collect dust at Target it seems.

Well, we all know that it's more the fault of the retailers, who make the final call on how much of each release they order, than the fault of Hasbro who is just shipping what they are told to ship. As a result of the clogged product, we see the classic effect of later waves being delayed, and the subsequent fear is that the still later waves will be outright canceled. eBay tells us, though, that much of the country is starting to find wave 4, so it was with some relief that Target finally scared up a few cases of wave 3 for us poor isolated souls. As such, 3 out of 4 figures from this apparently scarce wave have joined the Preserve (surprise surprise that all the Cobra Shock Trooper were already gone), so let's have a look at one of them.

Yes, it's another Duke - but I do admit that the faded blue paint wash they achieved on his armor and gear is pretty neat. They also have mercifully left behind the 'actor likeness' head from the movie, and are back to a far superior sculpt of their own. He comes loaded down with weapons and gear, making that $6.99 price tag a little more reasonable, and at least it's less than the movie line figures of 2009!

So - speaking of movie lines - Toy Fair is only a few short weeks away, which is hard to believe! I do have to wonder if it's too early for Hasbro to show off any of the upcoming movie #2 have to imagine that it's at least under development, and probably much further along than that. Well - we can all be collectively excited for the coming reveals. I am also going to be shooting video this year, so hopefully that's a fun new thing to watch for the folks at home!

Posted by charlie on January 14th 2011, 07:56 AM
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MotUC - Roboto

How far behind am I on Preserve updates? Here is Roboto, who was the Club Eternia figure for October 2010. There's something about the 'holiday season' such that every year around November 3rd I make sure to stop for a moment, and allow myself to realize that it will be January 1st before I know what hit me. Well, this year was no different, but now that we're comfortably in the new year, check out this fantastic entry in the ongoing Master Classics line by the Horsemen!

Posted by charlie on January 13th 2011, 01:23 AM
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Toys 'R' bUst

Remember how happy I was about the Toys 'R' Us Express that moved into the lousy local mall before the holiday season? Yeah, well, I suspect as was true for many of the TRU Express stores, this one was not long for this world. I had been speaking with the manager about once a week just to see how things were going and to learn more about the noble company that is the last bastion of dedicated national toy sellers around, and he pretty much assured me that sales were not hitting the levels needed to convince corporate to leave it in place. I did my part TRU Overlords! Where was the rest of my lazy town and their stingy wallets?! So, I guess there is some sort of threshold where they would decide to let it run all year, but who knows what that magic number is.

It's a pretty tough job for the employees and manager of the Express locations, because apparently they are shipped what appeared to be out dated and clearance stock, peppered with a few somewhat-current items. Seems like they are barely giving the stores a chance, and also seems like if it's for the holidays, you want to satisfy the yearly demand for the 'hot toys of the season'...not of last season.

Ah well, no sense in worrying about it - just a few thoughts...a postmortem if you will. That store did employ a handful of nice, energetic folks, and I hope they are able to find more work - though I suspect it won't be as cool as working in a toy store!
Posted by charlie on January 12th 2011, 02:44 AM
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Mezco Toyz Celebrates 13 Years of Living Dead Dolls
Living Dead Dolls Turns 13
Press Release: On what is already a wonderfully numerically interesting day (1/11/11 anyone?!) we have news from Mezco Toyz that this year is the 13th anniversary of their fantastically popular Living Dead Dolls line!

They have some surprises in store to properly commemorate what is the world's best selling and longest continuously running line of collectible, horror-themed specialty dolls. Given the great work they always turn out, you can bet that whatever they have planned is going to be well thought out and solidly executed. Click through for their full release, and then sit tight for more details, yet to be announced.  Read More
Posted by charlie on January 11th 2011, 12:01 PM
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Sega Master System - Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars

More Sega Master System goodness? Yes please!

Today let's take a look at an entry in the Alex Kidd line, in particular The Lost Stars! Just like before, you play the little Prince with big ears and unlimited courage. You have 14 rounds of adventure ahead of you in the nonsense kingdom of Aries, so get going!

Sega tried hard to come up with a recognizable mascot that could have a prayer at challenging the likes of Mario (and maybe to a lesser extent, Link) though it really didn't end up being Alex Kidd, finally taking shape in the speedy hedgehog that at least more than 20 people have heard of. In fact, I suspect most people who weren't die hard fans of this console wouldn't have the faintest idea what you were talking about. Mario, however, is still going strong, as seen in this recent huge display at Walmart of all places!

Oh, and I know that I am often heard talking about how very very fond I am of the instruction manuals in these Sega Master System games. Well, I assure you that this one has only helped to solidify, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my heart was in the right place.


Posted by charlie on January 10th 2011, 11:32 AM
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Transformers Generations - Soundwave

I figured I'd finish up the 3rd wave of Transformers Generations figures from 2010 to make the weekend a matched set - so here we have long standing fan-favorite Soundwave!

Far from the scraping yes-man of the G1 cartoon, the bio of this updated character paints a picture of a strong, more ominous villain who is a master archivist of the most damaging sorts of information imaginable. Be sure to click the image above for more details, and best of luck finding Soundwave in stores!
Posted by charlie on January 9th 2011, 09:36 PM
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Transformers Generations - Red Alert

The ongoing fan favorite Transformers Generations aka Classics 2.0 line delivered a solid wave 3 a few months ago, starring Soundwave and Red Alert! Well, today let's take a look at the Autobot security expert in his 2010 glory.

Red Alert keeps his eyes open for anything fishy, and has met with success over and over in keeping the Autobots prepared for upcoming attacks! I mean, the Decepticons don't often have the most stealthy or well thought out plans so as long as someone has half an optic open it's probably a cinch to beat them to the punch. Click the image above for more images and the bio of this diligent Autobot!
Posted by charlie on January 8th 2011, 09:43 PM
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"Oddities" Seeks Unusual Collectors And Unusual Items
Mike Drake on Oddities
Press Release: Mezco Toyz product expert and press contact extraordinaire, Mike Drake, has just sent us a cool press release about a show called 'Oddities'. Owners in the New York area of strange and fantastic artifacts are highlighted on this program, and Drake will be on an upcoming episode! Click the link to learn more, and then join me in waiting excitedly for a look inside his collection!  Read More
Posted by charlie on January 7th 2011, 10:19 AM
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Transformers Animated - Atomic Lugnut

The clearance and discount stores are playing an interesting role in the retail toy world these days. Figures that were hard to find or that were assumed to have been relegated to the status of 'unreleased' are popping up more and more frequently at stores like Ross, Marshals and TJ Maxx. Two figures that quickly come to mind, while certainly not previously unreleased but on the harder side of things in terms of availability, were Transformers Animated Voyager figures of Wreck-Gar and Atomic Lugnut.

These guys make up the 6th and final wave of Voyager figures from this line, and in keeping with my standard theory they met with spotty distribution as retailers closed their books on this effort and looked to the new hot products. Then about 4 months ago, piles of these guys started showing up at TJ Maxx and finally everyone could complete their collection, and the eBay prices took a nosedive. I've featured the chatty Junkion before, so I figured it was time to turn the spotlight on his (... fell asleep while writing post! I'll now continue....)

Yes, where were we...ok, yes his wavemate, Atomic Lugnut!

Posted by charlie on January 7th 2011, 04:33 AM
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Sega Master System - Rambo

On the docket today is another title from the Sega Master System library - Rambo! More precisely, Rambo: First Blood Part II - the title that is just long enough to lull you into a distracted state while John notches an exploding arrow in his compound bow. This game amuses me the way Kenner's Aliens action figures do, in that it really is a stretch to market it to kids. Rather, in the original form it is a stretch, but maybe if this was partnered with the fantastic and often forgotten Rambo Cartoon you have a kid friendly combo. I just think of the movie more along the lines of his sweaty dirty field surgery that he had to often undergo to stitch himself back together and keep on fighting - now there is a play feature for ya, Sega!

The back-of-box blurb is awesome as always, and I can't resist featuring a bit of it here to illustrate the not-really-for-kids nature of the marketing for this game. And remember - click the image above to read the rest!

You are Rambo, the super hero of the movies. And you come to life on your own screen...
And remember. You take no prisoners.

Posted by charlie on January 6th 2011, 12:45 AM
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Mattel Ghostbusters - Egon with PKE Meter

Ok, it's sort of a dirty trick, but I do still have a backlog of figures to feature and one of them happens to be Egon with a PKE meter and the 'symmetrical book stacking' accessory! So, we're getting some Ghostbusters goodness, though not vintage...but I'm so late in posting this September 2010 figure that it's at least 3 months old already!

It's funny to compare this new Egon version bio with that of the initial release - which launched their line. You can see where they tweaked the text here and there, and I was pleased that they made reference (indirectly) to the big twinkie!
Posted by charlie on January 5th 2011, 06:13 AM
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Sega Master System - Lord of The Sword

...But! Before we begin with the Ghostbusters coverage, let's also get in the swing of featuring some more games on the Parry Game Preserve in 2011 - how about! I pulled this classic off the shelf for a photoshoot last night, and was pleased to be reminded of this cool adventure questing title for the Sega Master System.

Hailing from 1988, and under the strange 'Tonka' banner when they thought it would be a good plan to buy the floundering Sega and have their own game company, this title is worth remembering for of you classic gaming enthusiasts out there. You are 'Landau', and in a time of turmoil you have the chance to become king by completing three quests:
  • Find the Tree of Merill.
  • Defeat the Goblin of Balala Valley.
  • Destroy the Statue of Evil.
As the game description boldly states - "It sounds easy...". Click the image above for more angles on the game and package itself, and for the full description on the back of the box. Then be sure to flip through the instruction booklet for some classic SMS monster illustrations! Book Thief! Banda Snatch!
Posted by charlie on January 4th 2011, 10:43 AM
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2011 - Ring in the Vintage

Welcome to the year 2011 Preserve readers! Somehow it actually seems a little less futuristic than the year 2010, and as such I'm glad to continue the effort at vintage coverage here at the Preserve! I know I attempted this for the past year as well, but the neat products that keep cropping up made it hard. Call it a new year's resolution of sorts, but I'll see what can be done about making more progress through the Preserve archives...

Starting now! Back on Halloween when I went to the horror-a-thon I also stopped by the House of Fun and picked up quite the starter collection of Kenner's Ghostbusters! Along with a massive set from doctorkent, the Preserve's Bustin' collection went from zero to spooky on the most appropriate holiday of the year! It seems a good start to the year to begin the coverage of this classic line at long last, so keep an eye out for that soon. For now, here's an image of the full-to-bursting Preserve archives, and the Ghostbusters collection piled on a waiting-to-be-restored 1970s pinball machine!

Posted by charlie on January 3rd 2011, 08:52 PM
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