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Journal Archives from December 2007
New Year Countdown - 1 day

Well, this is it, the last day of 2007. As a closing post for the year, we wanted to feature something which seems to be very small. In our eyes, though, it is important, both on its own merits as well as in the larger context of the history of the Preserve. Something that we want to focus on with greater energy here at the Preserve in the new year is featuring individual games for vintage systems, in order to stay more true to our charter. By bringing you images and text related to Magnavox Odyssey games, Vectrex carts and Sega Master System gems, hopefully some real history will be shared and, of course, Preserved! Today we feature Laser Ghost, for the Sega Master System:

Click the image for a detailed page about the game, and a short review.

As mentioned on that separate page, this game is an import title for the Master System, and was not featured as part of the US release catalog here in the States. What is more exciting and remarkable about this title is that the full-blown arcade version of this game was, at one time, a part of the Preserve arcade machine collection, and is sadly the only machine to have so far ever been sold from the collection. It was just so gigantic that space constraints won out, though steps are being taken to assure that never is a problem again. The cabinet for the game is really great, and I encourage everyone to check it out over at

I hope that one day this machine will be able to re-join the Preserve, perhaps even with the absurd plastic seats that were originally designed for each player, and which our version had long since lost. In the mean time, we can all enjoy the fond memories evoked from today's great Master System title, as we say goodbye to 2007 and welcome 2008, with all of its excitement, uncertainty, and promise ready to unfold!
Posted by charlie on December 31st 2007
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New Years 2008 Countdown - 1 Day

It's nearly New Years...2008 will bring in a wave of incredible new product for the collector, much of it from Hasbro but no doubt an amazing amount from the smaller boutique producers. As we approach the turnover of the calendar, it is time to keep in mind all of the exciting surprises that this next year will have in store, and the Preserve will strive to bring you coverage of the best and brightest along the way! Remember that, as always, we will continue to bring you the greatest in toys and video games from the last 30 years, because along with the excitement over the new must come the remembrance and respect of the old.

Being a time for nostalgia, we have dug a picture out of the Preserve archives of our table at the PhillyClassic 4 event in 2003:

This was, in my opinion, the last great PhillyClassic, making it a candle that burned twice as bright and only half as long. It grew from dozens of attendees in 2001 to the peak of awesomeness in 2003 with thousands of visitors, and after that grew too large for itself and finally evaporated entirely shortly thereafter. That year, in 2003, we set up a table with just about every major system that had been released to that point, allowing convention attendees to pull up a chair, play their games, eat some Tastykakes, and chat for a while. A great model for convention attendance which we should strive to replicate in the future. Good memories, and good thoughts for the New Year.
Posted by charlie on December 30th 2007
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Convention Page

New at the Preserve: in an effort to both keep us on track with the vast amount of cool stuff that is set to happen in 2008, and also to provide a resource to our readers, we have created what will be a constantly updated area of the site - our Convention Page!

Check it out for a short list of the conventions that the Preserve has attended in the past, as well as a list of cool conventions for the year to come! We can't guarantee that we'll make it to all of the future cons listed, but will try to catalog Preserve-worth events as they are discovered.

What is likely to be the final of the New England shopping outings has today again failed to find any items from the currently collected series here at the Preserve. Unfortunately, by some reckoning, several purchases were found and made which could easily be seen as being of the Pandora variety, introducing a fantastic piece from the current Doctor Who line, The Face of Boe, and an original series Battlestar Galactica Starbuck figure (made in 2005). Astute readers will also notice the bizzare 'Full Moon Fright Night' schlock horror film, hosted by Preserve favorite, William Shatner!

It is this sort of off-series diversification which speaks to the need for greater ability to incorporate and catalog one-off and possibly two-off items which join the Preserve, without always necessitating the development of an entire line's collection. In the mean time, enjoy the pic of Starbuck and Boe, and we'll expand out those sections shortly.
Posted by charlie on December 29th 2007
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Transformers 2007 AllSpark battle 2-packs

Another venture out into the wilds of the post-Christmas apocalypse which is shopping America has not managed to yield any of the hoped-for GI Joe two-packs at a local Toys R Us, though an unexpected find was two of the newly released AllSpark Battle Legends class 2-packs, and some Doctor Who for good measure.

While I don't dig on the Legends class too much with respect to their design, as they strike me as little more interesting or thoughtful than many McDonalds Happy Meal toys that I've seen in my time, they do at least try to bring the big name characters to the stage at a low low price point, and stay mostly faithful to the coloration and at times even the basic transformation styles of the larger and more complex figures. Of additional interest is that these figures appear to be moderately hard to find, or at least not as readily available on the secondary market, so getting them first hand at first sight and then deciding what to do later seems the right technique. I'm also not sure I'm down with the AllSpark repaints that should be coming out soon, where they basically splash some blue paint around and call it a day, but let that time come and I'll get back to you.
Posted by charlie on December 28th 2007
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Post-xmas toy haul

Today we have a toy haul from the puritanical wilds of Massachusetts. While stores overall appear to be lethargic in their restocking of products currently, which is expected to drag out for much if not all of this strange week between massive holidays, Walmart had managed to scare up two cases of later-wave 30th Anniversary Star Wars figures. This allowed for the discovery of the Han Solo McQuarrie figure (with an extra for Preserve fan The Abyss) as well as A-Wing pilot Tycho, and crappy spirit Vader. Of greater excitement, though still not as awesome as finding wave 4, was the discovery of what remained of a case of 25th Anniversary GI Joe figures. While we left some Sgt. Stalker and Lady Jaye figures behind, it was impossible to resist getting a Buzzer for The Uncle and the newly retooled Beachhead, complete with able-to-sit action.

The centerpiece there, you may notice, is a 1980s Monogram model kit for the series and character of Turbo-Teen. I think that most people have long since forgotten this show, but it was a Saturday morning special, and featured a perfectly human looking star who would grotesquely 'Transform' into a 'red sports car'. Again, breaking my YouTube rule, you have to see the opening credits. It was clearly trying to cash in on the Transformers frenzy, as well as Knight Rider, in an amusing way, and was pretty awesome for what it was. I certainly never expected to discover such a gem in a small local hobby shop, and plan to do a more in-depth review of both this item, and whatever else I may be able to find in connection which this short-lived show.
Posted by charlie on December 27th 2007
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GI Joe comic 2-packs

Early reports suggest that the GI Joe 25th Anniversary Comic 2-packs have started to appear in Toys R Us stores in the Philadelphia and DC areas, as well as the standard further south and west outlets. While they remain difficult to find locally, and may be similarly frustrating to other collectors out there, here is a bit of surprising and hopefully useful news. It seems that on the Toys R Us website, they have the first wave of the comic 2-packs up for sale! Actually, upon confirming just now, the 'Scarlett and Hawk' pack is already sold out, but the remaining two from the first wave are, as of 9pm Christmas night, available.

Remember, you'll need to also collect points from these 2-packs in order to take advantage of the 'Rescue Doc' mail away offer, so for those MOC collectors out there, this offer certainly has a double edge. On one hand, you'll have to buy doubles of some of the planned 2-packs, in order to collect enough points to rescue Doc, so that increases the monetary commitment to the line. On the other hand, at least then you'll be encouraged to open up these great figures, read the comics and enjoy their many detailed joints and accessories. It's a fine compromise, and we are all looking forward to these sets becoming more widely available!
Posted by charlie on December 26th 2007
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Merry Christmas - 2007

Merry Christmas!

From all of us here at the Preserve, we hope that you have the very merriest of Christmas holidays with your family and friends. May you have received all that your heart desired, both material and intangible, in the throes of the conclusion of a good year.

Being that we have finally reached the big day, it seems only right to bring up the most hallowed of product catalogs, the Sears Wish Book. This veritable bible of awesomeness from the Greatest Decade (and of course well before) now stands as a one stop shop to provide a cross section of products, designs and fads for each year in which it was released.

While the plan had been to provide the readers of the Preserve with detailed photographic archives of some of these amazing historical documents in time for the holidays, please make due for now with what appears to be the entire contents, every page, of the 1985 Wish Book, from A labor of love, to be sure, and I am delighted that we can spend this Christmas flipping through this 22 year old document that highlights some of the best products ever made. God bless us, every one.
Posted by charlie on December 25th 2007
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Christmas Countdown - 1 day

Well it's big-day-eve, which means that we have reached the 1-day mark. While various lingering 'blue laws' in New England may hamper the vague plans to peruse unfamiliar territory for potential GI Joe 25th Anniversary finds, I suspect that, along with other legitimate last minute shoppers, there will be a few stores open and willing to conduct business on this day.

As any student of eBay has probably noticed by now, we have an interesting effect wherein the prices have already spiked, in time of course to have the winnings shipped for the Big Day, and now we're seeing both a decline in high bids, as well as a decline in the number and diversity of products on the block. I consider it akin to the Wall Street 'Santa Claus Rally' which is the much anticipated bump in share prices on the last day of trading before the holiday. Certainly all aspects of retail experience this effect, and for many stores it is this lift that they count on to make it through the rest of the year, squeaking through in the black. Add to that the abstraction of shipping, and you have a sliding window which means Christmas always comes early to eBay.

If, however, you are managing not to be a slave to the dictates of the exact day of celebration, here is an eBay Watch for you, featuring everyone's favorite '80s cuddly creature effect, in a great Santa suit. The price is right too - I'm sure you have someone on your list who would love this!
Posted by charlie on December 24th 2007
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Christmas Countdown - 2 days

We have entered the last part of the home stretch, and there are now only two days left before the holiday strikes. I guess Monday, being Christmas Eve, is the last chance for picking up the special something for the special someone, if you're lucky enough to be able to find it in the stores. I have to stay that retailers have been having a number of promotions this season - if it is more or less than normal I'd have trouble saying, but it feels like more from an unresearched and largely uninformed standpoint.

For example, Borders has been falling all over themselves to give me coupons for the last two months, being as I am a part of their 'rewards club' or some such. Every other day I was getting something in the email for 30% off my purchase for the next 48 hours, and similar promotions. I think the sad truth is that more often than not I'd be able to find what I'm looking for online for an equivalent price, so why make the trip? Well, the same might be true of today's little Door Buster event, but they were selling all single disc CDs at $9 this morning, and while you can certainly pick up a lot of similarly priced items on the Amazon, if you are savvy and snag some rarer titles that is one promotion that seemed worth the time. This sale repeats Sunday morning from 7am-11am for the members of the Rewards Club, when you use a coupon that they sent via email, so I'd encourage Preserve readers to go score some good music, maybe even as last minute gifts!
Posted by charlie on December 23rd 2007
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Christmas Countdown: 3 days

Update: This morning at 12:01am, the very first movie to pop forth from the Cinematic Titanic riffing engine, The Oozing Skull, has become available on dvd! Go here to read all about the 'plot', and to click through to the ordering centre. Let us hope that this is the first of many!

At this late date, we might as well start a last-minute countdown to the Big Day. If you're still desperately looking for toys for that special someone this year, this is your last chance weekend, though if the local Target is any indication, things are *cleaned out* and really aren't being restocked anymore. Out of curiosity the plan is to hit up the Target at opening time Saturday morning, and see what's new, but I have dire feelings that if you haven't gotten the hoped for toys for the kids yet you may have to cut your losses and do something awesome for New Years. Well, you have 3 days so get out there and give it your best shot!

There's a great prop from Tremors II available on the ol' eBay today - the Dalek-looking detonator from the movie! It's a little too steep a starting price to really consider, this time of year especially, but it looks like it lights up and does awesome things.
Posted by charlie on December 22nd 2007
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Vectrex game lot

It has been more than 6 years since the pivotal PhillyClassic experience of 2001, as chronicled in what was one of the founding articles of the Preserve. At that beloved event, when it was still small, genuine, and enjoyable, the Preserve's Vectrex was purchased for a reasonable fee, with the original box and the now very rare multi-game cart...those were the days!

Finally, the time has come to begin expanding the Vectrex wing of the Preserve, and it begins with these five excellent, complete examples of the manageable Vectrex game library.

Soon each game will have it's own page and review, complete with the needed photos to really convey what it meant to have a game that consisted of more than a $50 burned DVD and badly printed single sided keep-case insert.

Certainly the oft fondly discussed Vectrex 3D-imager and light pen attachments will command a hefty ransom, but that's what we refer to as 'later additions'. There is so much goodness in the world to explore which is so accessible, it's never worth getting hung up on the unattainable!
Posted by charlie on December 21st 2007
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Big box Mystery

Update: Available now at the is the McQuarrie ComicCon Exclusive Yoda and Obi-Wan 2-pack, for $14.99. This is a serious discount over eBay prices, and is likely to be the last best opportunity to snag these figures. Since the Preserve is struggling to complete a McQuarrie collection from the 30th Anniversary line, this set is a must! For a fascinating and surreal original look at some of the most iconic film and toy characters of the last 30 years, this set is definitely worth while.

Today an exciting item has joined the Preserve, though the full unveiling must wait for the proper confluence of events involving The Uncle, an excellent set of DVDs and the entire set of ejection-seat packing ships.

Careful observation of what perches upon the package gives both an awesome example of both topic and scale, watch for the following article with fanatical anticipation!

Today we have an eBay Watch featuring a very nearly complete set of games for the RCA Studio II, which is one of the very earliest cartridge driven home gaming systems, hearkening way back to 1977 (a good year!). There is such a system in the Preserve archives, and it will enjoy a splashy unveiling in the digital realm soon. What is particularly interesting is that these carts are participating in the upswing of game collecting interest which is building in this country, and as you can see from the impressive winning bid, these once-forgotten artifacts are now receiving their due! It doesn't hurt that 'Biorhythm' is a very rare title, and that all of the games are claimed to be complete - definitely a great lot overall.
Posted by charlie on December 20th 2007
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Star Cases save the day

If you have not experienced the carded figure-protecting joy that is the Star Case, then you owe it to yourself and your carded collection to change that immediately! Mere days ago, the Preserve stopped messing around with the constant impending peril of shelf wear and dust incursion, and we have secured a number of these virgin plastic, no acid miracles of extruded plastic. Now the slim beginnings of the carded Go Bots, Star Wars, Transformers, and even ZybotZ collection have been protected!

These cases appear to be getting harder to find on line, and the prices certainly vary widely. The outlet which was goodly enough to supply the Preserve is, and they appear to be a well run, considerate business who should serve your case needs well.

The trick now is determining what cases will be appropriate to fit the oversized Captain Power and Computer Warrior figure cards. From the online measurements, the Captain Power figures should just fit inside the Simpsons Play Case 2 cases, but I believe that the Computer Warriors figures will need something custom - which is no less than they deserve!
Posted by charlie on December 19th 2007
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Transformers 2007 movie legends

In the last several days, Hasbro has made an exciting and impressive announcement of their 2008 plans for several of their franchises. Of particular and exciting interest to those of us here at the Preserve are the GI Joe 25th Anniversary, Transformers and Indiana Jones sections! The site has this awesome write-up, and it is well worth checking out. Thanks to them for breaking the news!

Today at the Preserve the set of 8 Transformers 2007 movie Legends figures have been posted, so be sure to check them out!

Turns out these figures were a little rarer than I had initially thought, most in particular the two color versions of Ratchet. It is likely that I've seen both on the shelves at various times, but without seeing them both together at once they are a little too close to discern independently and the darker is still missing from the Preserve.

Today also we have an Internet Aneurysm, direct from reader of the Preserve, The Abyss. While I enjoy having a back story as to where these images come from, I will put forth the guess that he was searching for photographic evidence of the Smuckers nose warmer.
Posted by charlie on December 18th 2007
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Gi Joe 25th Product Code Table

The section of the Preserve where the GI Joe 25th Anniversary line is featured has been given some further detail today, in an effort to keep things well organized before the onslaught of waves 4 and 5 is upon us. In particular, there is now a page which summarizes the product code information for the figures so far, which can only be more complete when some of the variants and exclusives are able to be added to the Preserve.

The local Target recently came through with wave 8 of the 30th Anniversary Star Wars figures for 2007.

Strangely enough we have not seen either wave 7 or wave 7.5, as it is known, so perhaps the holidays have thrown off the shipping and timing of those products. Still I maintain that the majority of the figures in this line are destined for Prserve reader The Abyss rather than becoming a permanent collection, though Jango Fett in this line is pretty tempting. The Padmé figure is also shocking mannish, dredging up memories of the 1996 Leia which seemed a terrible injustice to Carrie Fisher. Overall I will stick to my bias against the recent three movies, and as this is the 'Attack of the Clones' wave I can give it a pass. The figure from this wave that sticks is, of course, the McQuarrie concept Rebel Trooper, which brings us that much closer to the full set.
Posted by charlie on December 17th 2007
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Transformers 2007 - Rescue Ratchet Voyager

I have been extraordinarily remiss in adding some information that fan of the Preserve, DoctorKent, was goodly enough to share regarding the much loved Computer Warriors line. In particular, since the box for the main Computer Playset has yet to be rediscovered in the archives, the figure and model information for that most important piece in the line was entirely missing! Thanks to DK we now have that data, where it belongs!

Today we finish up with the last of the Transformers Movie 2007 Voyager figures, and take a critical look at the great G1 repaint that they gave to Ratchet.

As we have been seeing with these repaints, they've updated the character bio amusingly to vaguely explain the new paint job, which I think is a nice touch. Especially fitting is the very last line, "these new decorations just seem more natural somehow". Another bone for the old fans, thanks Hasbro.

An eBay Watch for today, which is sort of a cheat as it's really an 'ebay seller' and not a proper auction, is for the Japanese release only, and very rare Dinosaur Gestalt from the Rock Lords line. I admit to not including this on my normal rounds, and that it was discovered by accident during the near constant quest for the Snarlie-Narlie, but it is really a marquee piece that would be great to add some day.

As if that weren't enough, here is yet another tease, in that by the time you read this the auction may well be over. For the vintage console fans out there, here is a great Magnavox Odyssey I lot, featuing a super rare carrying case, and an instruction manual autographed by Ralph Baer - who created and designed the Odyssey in 1968 - great stuff! If you have the means and read this in time, I'd love to see a fan of the Preserve take this home for the holidays.
Posted by charlie on December 16th 2007
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Transformers 2007 - Optimus Voyager

The Voyager Class edition of Optimus Prime from the 2007 Transformers line is another faithful looking rendition of his latest incarnation, capturing the details of the character fairly well given the smaller form factor that was available to work with in this scale of figure. We may also find solace in the realization that they did not picture the awful 'Prime Lips' from the movie, but rather allow this figure to have the battle shield properly covering his lower face.

It's sort of surprising that, by the raw numbers, Optimus has a lower stat card than Megatron, being hampered by that '7' in his Speed category. Interestingly, they both score a '9' for Skill, which I find to be unexpected. Megatron's other low score is for Courage, which rings in at a '9'. Of course, a '10' in Courage for Prime is supposed to far outweigh his low Speed score, I'm sure, since Megatron must be stopped, no matter the cost.

Today we have a very interesting eBay watch, which ended on Friday night. It is a giant lot of custom, re-imagined figures from the old Bravestarr line, and they are really well done - they got a fair price for them as well. It is worth checking out the completed sales from that seller too, as it looks like they are in the business of making awesome things. For instance, here is their Ecto-1.
Posted by charlie on December 15th 2007
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Transformers 2007 - Megatron Voyager

There are several other important pieces from the Transformers 2007 movie line which have been in the Preserve collection for several months now, but which have been neglected on the pages of the Preserve archives. In particular, the remaining three Voyager Class figures which were part of the 2nd wave of releases need to now get their moment in the sun. Today we bring you Megatron, in his Voyager incarnation.

Interestingly, the word on the street is that Hasbro is going to continue their metallic repaint release theme, along the lines of the two Best Buy exclusives from this fall, and give a number of the figures a re-release. While we already have a shiny Megatron thanks to Best Buy, keep an eye out for nicely packaged, well painted re-issues of the figures that you may have missed this summer.

In other absurd news, I have been making my way through the Alf season 1 dvds, and wanted to bring you two amusing and entirely useless pieces of information:
- Alf's Birthday is October 28th, so all you fans now know when to celebrate (I'm sorry I missed it...)
- The music for the show was written by a guy who is actually credited as Alf Clausen. Looks like he was also an orchestrator for Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Beastmaster, Weird Science, The Last Starfighter and has been musically involved with at least 100 episodes of the Simpsons...astonishing but true!

Posted by charlie on December 14th 2007
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star wars mcquarrie and ugh haul

Rumor has it that Hasbro is attempting to atone for the error of their ways, at least as far as Star Wars Thirtieth Anniversary figures go, and is shipping out all of the assorted waves from 2007 in large quantities for what remains of the holiday season. It is therefore perhaps less solid of a toy haul that was discovered today, during random visits to the local KMart and WalMart, but exciting none the less to find an early wave McQuarrie figure, and UGH Ceremony Luke lying on the otherwise picked over shelves.

Both figures were not on pegs, but rather lying on the first shelf around waist height, and given the clearly post-holiday-frenzy shopping that had taken place in each toy isle, they were that much more of a delight to stumble upon. I almost wonder if they are the result of returns to each store, that had been carelessly returned to the toy isle by a tired and harried customer service clerk, but speculation will get us nowhere! At the very least, that brings the Preserve closer to a complete set of Ultimate Galactic Hunt and McQuarrie figures from the 2007 line. While the entire 60 figure line will not, on the urging of The Uncle, be added to the Preserve in an attempt to not descend down the bottomless product well that is the Star Wars universe, these sub-lines are just intriguing and slight enough that I felt it was a fair compromise.
Posted by charlie on December 13th 2007
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NightBeat 7 Real Gear

Today we finish up the most recent wave of Real Gear Robot figures with Night Beat 7. It's nice that they threw the fans yet another bone with this one, as the Nightbeat character of yore has become very popular with the fan community. Here then, is the figure, which is a nice repaint of Booster X10

Lately I have been making my way through the fantastic Voltron dvd sets that have graced the world with their tin-pressed goodness. It's been a real treat to see these episodes again, with many of them dredging up memories from 20 years ago when I first watched them in the livingroom of a friend who lived down the street. At the time we even concocted a whole plan to construct underground tunnels with high speed trams, so as to transport ourselves between houses all Voltron Force Lion Launch style.

In watching the episodes again, I also find it particularly fun to try to determine where the show was sanitized for the American market, as I believe we've discussed before on the Preserve. The original 'Go Lion' show was clearly much more gritty and realistic - the primary example being the death of Sven and his open casket funeral vs. the 'injury' of Sven in the US! Along those same lines, this quote from Keith, right before they fought a RoBeast in the middle of one of the small villages, was great:

'Ground crew - make sure that all of the villagers are evacuated from the town'
[three seconds pass]
'good, looks like they all escaped to the hillside caves'
[proceed to level town]

Posted by charlie on December 12th 2007
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Real Gear - Wire Tap V20

The third figure in this wave of Real Gear Robots is Wire Tap V20, a repaint of Speed Dial 800 from the first wave of figures.

This figure continues the amusing bio tradition of late, with the nod to 'compromising links' in your web browser history. Oh Wire Tap, you're such a kidder. I believe that I have read that Hasbro is including yet a third version of this figure in the upcoming repaint wave - I think they would have done well to explore one of the other molds in as great detail, but they seem to be particularly fond of this one.

Today's Target Watch finds that they continue to stock the shelves like mad, and holiday happy parents are fully into buying frenzy mode, as product is moving in a day more than it would in a month not that long ago. Interestingly, Target managed to scare up some GI Joe 25th Anniversary figures from some place, and they certainly sold like the wind. Even more interesting still, in Joe 25th Anniversary news, is the arrival of the wave 4 figures on the ol' eBay. This wave finds the character count jumping from 5 to 8, thereby raising the stakes for anyone who plans on staying in the Joe collecting game. The question remains, when the collector with fists full of dollars meets that bid and calls, will Hasbro be able to put their cards on the table, and deliver product on time and in sufficient quantity. Something tells me 'no', so stay on the alert for these figures in a store near you, sooner than expected.
Posted by charlie on December 11th 2007
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Real Gear - meantime

Meantime is a super cool mold from Hasbro in the third wave of the Real Gear Robot line.

The real payoff would have been if Hasbro had made this a functional watch, and it should come as little surprise that there have been fan kit-bashes that have done just that. I believe that one of the upcoming figures in the repaint wave will be a recolor of this figure, so if the grey-blue doesn't do it for you maybe you'll have better luck in a few weeks.

Clearly this figure was designed as part of the summer product release, and this ties in with my high hopes for the franchise over the next few years. I imagine that right now Hasbro is hard at work at a blast of product like we have rarely seen before, as a result of the runaway success of the movie this past summer. I think that, given that ponderous notion, a working transforming watch may end up being the *least* of the awesome things we'll see.

Of course, all older readers of the Preserve are probably at this moment remembering fondly their old Kronoform robot watches, several of which original examples do have a permanent home in the Preserve. What's old is new again, and I predict that we'll see even more fully functional Transformers gear within the year.
Posted by charlie on December 10th 2007
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High Score 100 Real Gear

The first of the wave 3 Real Gear figures we're going to check out is the High Score 100.

Actually ringing in a 10 on his Skill stat, High Score 100 has made himself a master martial artist by, I like to hypothesize, watching a whole bunch of kung-fu movies. You can draw your own conclusions.

Today we have an ebay watch for a nice set of Transformer boxes. In particular, this is a complete set of all five Predacon boxes, japanese style. Definitely cool to see them all together, and I wouldn't been too surprised if they sell for that price at this time of year. The seller is walking a very fine and sketchy line, picturing the boxes full which isn't what you get, but as usual, buyer beware!
Posted by charlie on December 9th 2007
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Real Gear wave 3 haul

Some number of weeks ago, before they were as widely available on the shelves as they are today, the toy department WalMart associate who is a frequent tip provider for the Preserve secured a case fresh lot of the latest Real Gear figures.

Now of course Hasbro has gone and repainted still more of these figures, and is on the verge of releasing yet another 4 'new' figures. In the mean time, though, we need to get up to speed with this off-shoot of the 2007 movie line and finish up the detailed specs of these figures.
Posted by charlie on December 8th 2007
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XMas Target Watch

The trend over at the old Target has been interesting to watch as the holidays rush upon us. Firstly the giant end-cap of all Target Exclusive Star Wars items showed up about a week ago, and it has been quite popular! One of the items that they are having great trouble keeping in stock at all is the Galactic Heroes multi-pack with Jabba, and the one with the X-Wing is a close second. These sets contain so many figures for your dollar that they are both a good deal, and another fantastic presentation by Hasbro.

Also enticing is the Tie Bomber Target Exclusive. This is one awesome looking ship, and if not for my desperate attempts to keep from purchasing Star Wars figures, as it is a never ending money pit, I am certain that one would already be on display in the Preserve. If you are a Star Wars collector, then head on down to your Target and look for these Exclusives. While they're doing a surprisingly good job of keeping the shelves full, it's clear that there is daily turn-over, at least in part, so nearer to the Big Day this stuff will, I'm sure, evaporate.

In Transformers news, the three new Deluxe figures - Landmine, Camshaft and Cliffjumper - have been released in the US, in particular sighted in Queens NY according to TFW2005. Interestingly, the stock of Transformers figures of all types has finally been brought up to non-embarrassing and constantly replenished levels (better late than never I guess) and parents have finally caught on, as they are flying off the shelves. Not a single Deluxe figure currently remains in the store, so that should trigger the reorder-robot and we might see the three new figures if we maintain the ol' diligence.

Lastly, following up with a previous eBay Watch, that 4-player sit down pinball machine managed to end at a reasonably decent price, despite being DOA. Nice to see that the holiday cheer raises all ships.
Posted by charlie on December 7th 2007
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NES Repair

I have repaired Nintendo Systems before. Now, these repairs aren't particularly hard core, involving reflowing any solder unions on the motherboard, or installing new power units or controller ports. The repairs that I have done involve installing a new 72-pin connector, which has in the past taken a blinking, all but dead NES and brought it back to many years of service. It is a rewarding repair to do, since in 15 minutes and with simply a screwdriver you can resurrect one of the greatest pieces of consumer electronics in the last century.

With the holidays approaching, I always experience what is known as 'the joy of giving' when I'm able to give some vintage gaming equipment. Having acquired a 'spare', so to speak, I was not overly surprised that it failed to play most of the games that came in the bundle. However, just having finished installing the new pin connector mere moments ago, I have discovered that the games are still spotty to completely inoperable. I suppose that there is either a deeper problem with the unit, though the 001 series has always been solid as a rock for me, or instead that the pin connector quality is dropping, and additional research will be needed in the future to actually assure the installation of a good part. The 'gold connector' model was even used at slightly greater expense - buyer beware!
Posted by charlie on December 6th 2007
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Cube Trilogy

Having just finished watching the final two entries in the Cube Trilogy, I may guardedly recommend it as an awesome 3-movie set to watch back to back to back. In particular, the films that you need to get are:
As is often the case with such things, the first entry in the series is the strongest and has the most striking visuals and really the strongest acting. The director commentary on Cube is really interesting, and I recommend it highly, as it gives great insight into the creation of a striking film on a super slim budget. Listening to things like that only serves as a reminder that it would be fascinating to be involved with such an enterprise, and should really be a goal to move in that direction.

Hypercube is the weakest entry in the set, as they tried to move too far a field of the things which made the first movie so great. While it was amusing in a Star Trek kind of way to try to incorporate a bunch of half-baked quantum-physics ideas into the plot, and the references to the original movie were numerous and done with the respect they merited, their aspirations just wrote checks that their budget and imagination couldn't cash. Cube Zero gets back to basics, mostly, and as such finishes strongly, and ends the series on a high note, at least in as much as a film where most everyone comes to a bad end can end on a high note. While not the greatest films by any means, you can do worse, and I think it would be a good time to watch them in a row - try it out! At the very least, it's shorter than most movie marathons I could propose.
Posted by charlie on December 5th 2007
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Gi Joe 25th - Red Ninja

Wanting to finish things up cleanly and be all ready for the exciting arrival of wave 4, hopefully sometime in December but possibly in the far away time after the Holidays, today we focus on Red Ninja.

It was the thorn in the side of the hunt, causing phonecalls and distant trips to be waged in it's name. Of course - that's what makes the hunt exciting, so now that waves 1-3 are complete there is the standard letdown, as we wait for the next adventure.

Today we have an eBay watch for a unique pinball machine which will probably have little value but has lots in the way of obscurity and awesomeness. It basically is like a cocktail arcade machine, in that you can sit around it, rest your beer, etc - but it sounds like the playfield actually rotates around to each player! I'm sure it's a nightmare to keep working, and that one is not, but what an interesting machine!
Posted by charlie on December 4th 2007
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Gi Joe 25th - Stalker

Sgt. Stalker is a long standing member of the Joe team, and has found his way into the third wave of 25th Anniversary figures.

This figure is particularly interesting due to the several variants in which it can be found, one of them being very new. The first figures to roll off the line had a yellow treatment to the camo, and are quite rare - they typically command $50 and up on eBay. The much more available version is the one we have here in the Preserve, which features green camo. Raising the stakes now is a 'corrected articulation' version, which has had much of the 'crotch plastic' cut away, allowing the legs to move much more freely, and allowing the figure to be seated without a 45-degree slouch. Over at there is an amusing and lengthy discussion (more of a flame war, as these things always go) about this characters' crotch...amazing.

In that discussion there is mention of Beachhead and Firefly also having been corrected, though not to the same extent. I still need to track down the details about those figures, and be clear about which ones are in the collection. In the mean time, I have a feeling I'll buy a corrected Stalker if the opportunity presents, and maybe he'll be the one that gets opened to hang out with the Target Exclusive Hiss Tank about which I hear such wonderful stories.
Posted by charlie on December 3rd 2007
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Toy haul 12-2-2007

The scene at the local retail outlets on this first Saturday in December certainly makes it look as though the economy is doing just fine this holiday season. While still pretty comfortably before the Big Day, there is no debating that the shopping frenzy is in full gear. As a result, I wasn't really expecting to find any items to check off of the Preserve list, but was amazingly mistaken!

I had all but given up on the local KMart, but figured it was worth a shot as I was driving right by. Low and behold they had a non-zero number of GI Joe 25th anniversary figures on the pegs, and behind the typical Storm Shadow and Shake Eyes was, astonishingly, Red Ninja! That's right, the one figure still missing from the third wave was the only figure from the 3rd wave in attendance at the Big K. Now wave 3 is all wrapped up, aside from the variants of the yellow Striker and Shipwreck with shark tattoo.

WalMart was certainly a nightmare today as well, but after a longer-than-usual walk through the very end of the parking lot to the far end of the store where they stash the toys, I was pleased and surprised to find one each of the latest and probably last wave of Robot Heroes from the 2007 movie. In spite of the Transformers section being mostly picked over, and bands of glassy-eyed parents and howling children plundering through that area of the store as if on a mission, my contact in Toys said she'd unpacked them the previous night and they'd been ignored apparently waiting for the well-timed visit.
Posted by charlie on December 2nd 2007
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Movie Night - Tammy and the TRex

Tonight the movie line-up was many and varied, and well worth sharing I believe.

The night started off with a bang, watching 1/2 of the summer Grindhouse spectacular, with Rodriguez's Planet Terror. It's packed with awesome actors, many from the Greatest Decade who don't see time on the screen much these days, so is well worth the time.

Next was a real gem of a horror movie, if it can so be called, known as The Breed. It basically involves the usual teen-douchebags (yes that is Michelle Rodriguez) going to a secluded place, and getting into deadly trouble! What makes this movie particularly awesome is that the deadly trouble is caused by mostly friendly looking dogs, who are tricked into growling now and then for the camera, with an ostensible sub-plot that they were genetically engineered super dogs designed to be deadly and brilliant. We all kept waiting for LL Cool J and the sharks to turn up.

Next was a little known movie featuring some real Preserve favorites. Slipstream evokes feelings of '80s awesomeness and of Blade Runner in particular, even including one totally obvious reference. What makes it shine though is the presence of Bill Paxton and Mark Hamill, among other greats. The android in this movie may be a little more refined, but he sure struck us as some sort of British pleasure model, and the likely fan fiction with Pris makes the head spin.

The very best way to make an intermission awesome is to make it consist entirely of one half-hour episode of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. The theme song alone is worth the price of admission, and will be stuck in my head for at least another few hours. I really have to determine the studio band that did that recording, because they certainly sound like the exact same team as the minds behind the 'Dream Warriors' song from Nightmare on Elm Street 3.

The final film for the night was, I believe, the most awesome, and was one I'd been trying to get people to watch for ages. Seen as a preview before another questionable movie, perhaps Terminal Rush with Don "the dragon" Wilson and Rowdy Roddy Piper, I had been excited to finally see Tammy and the T-Rex since I found the tape for $2 at Hollywood video some months ago.

Staring Denise Richards, there's not much of a way to describe it beyond the following:
  Her boyfriend is injured by a rival for her affection, and his body is stolen and destroyed by a mad scientist, who places his brain into a mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex which then reeks havoc, seeks revenge, and finds true love.

The last three minutes of the movie are entirely awesome, featuring surprises that have to be seen to be believed. While this isn't a 'good' movie by any means, it's squarely in the zone where the Preserve likes to be, and if you are in tune with us here, you'll probably enjoy it also. Check it out if you have the means.
Posted by charlie on December 1st 2007
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