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Journal Archives from August 2010
Machete - Danny Trejo Interview on G4

I've enjoyed the fine work of Danny Trejo, the original Bad Hombre, for years, and it is just so awesome that this hard working, honest guy finally got his first leading role in 2010's Machete. I just noticed that G4's Kevin Pereira recently sat down with him for a quick chat and felt obliged to pass it along. It's well worth a watch, and he even discusses his upcoming video game voice work in Fallout: New Vegas! With upwards of 15 projects currently listed as 'in-production' on imdb, that sir, is a MexiCAN.

Posted by charlie on August 31st 2010, 03:01 PM
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Transformers: Generations 2010 - Drift

Yes I know he's everyplace, though not to as great an extent as the Cybertronian Optimus and Bumblebee figures from the Generations line, but after the good relationship the Preserve has had with this figure, it was high time to front-page Drift. Hailing from the brand new and currently-shipping Transformers: Generations line, which is a sub-group of Hasbro's More Than Meets the Eye 2010 initiative (as I'm calling it) - Drift has leapt from the pages of IDW Comics (All Hail Megatron series in particular) and into his very first figure!

Starting his career as the violent and notorious Decepticon Deadlock, he realized the pointlessness and waste of war and changed his ways. Now as Drift, he fights against the wrongs around him as a vital part of the Autobot team. And he has a huge and awesome sword. Click the image below for more details on this most excellent new figure!

Posted by charlie on August 31st 2010, 09:57 AM
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Star Wars - The Vintage Collection, Jedi Wave

Our pals at Hasbro have just sent out another blast of images, and this time there seems to be some excellent news coming at us in picture form. We have carded shots of the figures in the third wave of The Vintage Collection, which will focus on Return of the Jedi figures. Here's the assortment:

I'll have the excellent carded images added to the Preserve's checklist of this line shortly!

Posted by charlie on August 30th 2010, 08:19 AM
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DC Universe Classics - The Atom (WalMart Exclusive)

In November of 2008, wave 5 of the popular DC Universe Classics line was released, and was only available at WalMart. This wave was sort of notorious as being the wave that wasn't - impossible for many collectors and kids to find on shelves and with subsequent eBay prices to match. Some WalMarts simply never carried this wave - in the same way that they get few if any store exclusives. There seems to be a threshold of store size, and if your store is under that level, tough beans for you. But, what have we here? It's The Atom, from the long lost wave 5!

Long since written off from many collections as another fine example of lousy distribution practices, Mattel then stepped up to fan demands and re-released this complete set of 5 figures exclusively through their site several months ago! It didn't sell out in absurd Masters of the Universe Classics times, so was easy to get a hold of for the original retail price. What a delight to see the scalpers undercut on that glorious day, though prices are creeping back up on eBay since the reissue sets did sell out fairly quickly, and the wave is once again unavailable. Hopefully at least the large influx of new copies of these figures will help make them more available for collectors who still may have missed this second chance

Posted by charlie on August 30th 2010, 08:18 AM
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Transformers: Power Core Combiners - Searchlight with Backwind

About a week ago the good folks at Hasbro sent a box to the Preserve with some of the new Transformers: Power Core Combiners figures inside. They just must have known that I was unsure about this new format, and wanted to rope me in like a good marketer will. I opened up the Searchlight and Backwind 2-pack, and have some pics of it packaged and loose (gasp!) that you can reach by clicking the image.

Overall I admit to liking them much better having gotten the chance to open and transform a set myself. The variety of combinations that one can make (the more sets you buy...) encourages the human to interact with the figures in non-pre-ordained ways which is definitely a welcome and refreshing 'play pattern' to use the industry slang. The figures are pictured below with tasty homemade pancakes, in case you needed extra convincing that they are awesome (recipe).

Posted by charlie on August 29th 2010, 04:29 PM
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G.I. Joe - The Pursuit of Cobra: Wolf Hound with Whiteout

One of the reasons I have such a pathological inability to discard the packaging for toys, on the rare occasions when I do open them, is that historically it has been such a rich, vibrant part of the overall experience that doing so seems, to me, to detract from the object itself. One need only look at the gorgeous box art for the Air Raiders line or the first few waves of Transformers for all the examples you could want.

In recent years, though, and sadly in particular with the G.I. Joe line, things had changed a little. For a line that itself had awe-inspiring art in the '80s, there seemed to be a flaw in the marketing methodology now days in the 2000s. It may seem a small detail, but in particular in the Modern Era line, and then somewhat with the Rise of Cobra line, vehicles were almost always packaged with a clear window, the art being tucked away on the side flaps or as an accent to the window itself. We did see with Rise of Cobra a shift back to the fully painted boxes, at least for Bravo and Echo class vehicles. Back in the Modern era line, two of the Target Exclusive jets (that I have yet to post...2 years late!) also switched back to the full-art box, to some amount of fanfare from like-minded collectors.

That was all a very round about way of saying - aren't the boxes in the Pursuit of Cobra line great?! Well, I think they are, and here is the Wolf Hound for you to see today. It should be available on store shelves near you, though this line is selling well so, somewhat surprisingly, it's hard to be sure! Click the image for more angles of this still-unopened vehicle, and for the bio of Whiteout, figure #1019, cold weather specialist extraordinaire!

Posted by charlie on August 28th 2010, 05:27 PM
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Callgrim Joins the Preserve

I spend a lot of time, effort and money on the name brand, major toy producer's goods, which can be found in every corner drug store. While I will still always cherish the vintage collection of the Preserve, I feel that after several years of keeping up with the onslaught of new product, which is itself already featured far and wide across the Internet, I'm looking to the smaller producers for more thoughtful, creative, and smaller run work.

Enter Callgrim - a line using the Glyos joint system which just begs for amazing back stories and scenarios to be created around lush photo essays of their sharp, detailed figures. I've added three of their number to the archives so far, though my long time spent in service of archival cataloging has left my artistic muscle a little underdeveloped, so it will be some time until I graduate into the more creative photos that unique, attractive (and opened!) product will allow. For now, click the image below to check out the great Dominus figure!

Posted by charlie on August 27th 2010, 07:19 AM
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Toys R Us Express

The mall in my three-bit little town is something of a lackluster affair. Granted, when I got here 14 years ago the mall, and the town in general, were blissfully free of most varieties of 'big box' store which overrun just about every corner of our great nation currently, transforming all towns into sadly familiar landscapes of identical consumerism. Over time, the mall grew a bit, added things like a Best Buy and a Borders, and then the Target where I've been known to spend far too much time. I guess, overall, I've seen worse! But it's not really much to write home about.

Well, I do have to admit that a recent discovery inside of said mall has me all abuzz - it appears that this town finally ranks high enough to get a Toys R Us Express! I am just so impressed by the effort and apparent success of TRU these past several years. Sure, when you visit their stand-alone stores, they are almost uniformly under-maintained in a number of ways and understaffed with frustrated overworked employees. The amazing part is - I've notice that they often still have long lines at the checkout (see 'understaffed') and a number of cars outside in their over-sized parking lots. Given the problems the stores seem to have, it's heartening that they are still doing such brisk business. It is further heartening that the CEO decided last year to try out this holiday timed in-mall version of their store - a bold and no doubt expensive move that appears to have been a brilliant business decision! Here is an article from 2009 - can't find much coverage about it from this year.

Well, that's quite enough of my carrying on about things I don't really understand, so instead here are a few pictures, which are our stock in trade around the Preserve.
I called the main number for my mall, and a very friendly and patient woman humored my excited queries about the new TRU, claiming that she had heard an opening date of September 1st. Well, that's a nice possibility but given that the whole store appears to currently contain a card table with some job applications on it...that seems unlikely. Granted, a few overnight stints of those professional shelf-stocker people (and I guess shelf-builder people...) and anything is possible, so we will see! Either way, I'm looking forward to the possibility of picking up the TRU exclusive Spirt and Quick Kick figures from the Pursuit of Cobra line without the need to make an hour+ long pilgrimage to the nearest old school TRU...though admittedly I do enjoy such trips and am sure that, even if this store remains past the holidays, they will not be a thing of the past.

Toys R Us Express   Toys R Us Express

Posted by charlie on August 26th 2010, 08:23 AM
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G.I. Joe - The Pursuit of Cobra: Mechs

When I first saw the freshly stocked shelves of Target, right after their late summer reset when Pursuit of Cobra product was plentiful, I looked at the Mechs and knew that I liked them. They reminded me, in a very nice way, of Exo Squad, and to see them waiting patiently on the shelf was just so enticing. I waited, of course, as I do, and they promptly vanished. Thinking then that maybe they were getting popular and would be hard to track down, when several weeks later a single copy of each new suit surfaced again at the local Target, I certainly went for it.

Of additional temptation was learning that the arms are removable (as indicated in the Cobra Deviant packaging layout itself) and better still, that you can join one arm to the next, making absurdly awesome Mech creations on the battlefield! Not only does this secure the rightness of the purchase, but enters dangerous ground where multiples would only add to the cool factor. Well, I may be able to keep a lid on that, but am delighted to add these two new sets to the Preserve, and look forward to opening them (gasp!) soon!

Big thanks are due to friend of the Preserve Rudger who first schooled us about the awesomeness of the Mech arms, and who provided this picture of his Steel Marauder having utterly vanquished a Cobra Deviant, and stolen both arms!

Posted by charlie on August 25th 2010, 07:43 AM
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Model-T Autobot

Some talented artist out there has made an excellent little video of a Model-T old-timey Autobot. You simply must check it out.

You can have any color you want, as long as it's heroic.

Posted by charlie on August 24th 2010, 08:29 AM
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Air Raiders - Twin Lightning

Let's kick off the week with another entry in the small yet mighty Air Raiders collection. Today, feast your eyes on an advanced F-1 Spitfire Tactical offensive fighter plane - Twin Lightning!

Air Raiders - Twin Lightning
"Twin Lightning always strikes twice."

You just have to enjoy that quote, raising again my point about how much fun the bio cards are in this line. Doctorkent made an excellent point in the comments to a previous post, indicating that Blot and Blight are both Transformers names but also are listed as the pilots of the Wind Seeker! Gives an interesting glimpse behind the curtain at Hasbro, and it would be fascinating to learn more about the design team behind Air Raiders and how a product rises and falls all in one season. Fodder for the next Q&A, I assure you!
Posted by charlie on August 23rd 2010, 06:59 AM
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G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra - Alley-Viper

It should come as no surprise to collectors of the past several rounds of G.I. Joe figures to learn that the Alley-Viper from Pursuit of Cobra wave 1 is proving to be the figure to find so far. Of course the troop-builder collectors want as many of these figures as they can find, and with good reason! The team really did a great job on design, colors and accessories which is becoming the theme with this whole line, which I'm pleased to keep reiterating. Click the image below for the bio and more pics of this urban combat specialist.

Maybe Hasbro has taken a page out of Mattel's current playbook of artificial scarcity, and aren't overproducing this Joe line, but so far the figures aren't growing any moss on the pegs. Granted, we can all expect to see Duke and Snake Eyes as common fixtures of most toy departments soon enough, but for now excitement about this line is outpacing supply, leading to a nice and unusual turnover of everyone's favorite special operations unit of highly trained men and women.

Posted by charlie on August 22nd 2010, 12:54 PM
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G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra - H.I.S.S. Tank

You just can't go wrong with a Cobra H.I.S.S. Tank on a Saturday night. Yes we've seen a lot of incarnations of this ultimate ground assault vehicle over the years, but they've really thrown in a twist in 2010 with the elevation feature. Sure it may not look like much on the coffee table, but that doubling in height on the battle field might make the difference between evil victory and righteous defeat. And now you know!

Posted by charlie on August 21st 2010, 08:31 PM
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Masters of the Universe Classics - Whiplash

Why oh why can't the He-Man fans of the Internet just get along? There has been so much controversy over this month's figure of Whiplash...well, strike that, there has been just about the same level of complaints and flames and dissatisfaction as usual. Well, my copy of this new figure just arrived hot off the UPS truck about 1 hour ago, and I think it's great. I know he'll be plastered all over the place, and already has been from those folks that get the advance copies of such things, but I'm delighted to add this solid figure to the Preserve archives, and couldn't wait to feature him today!

Click that image to learn more about Torrant Krazut, in the unfolding and interesting story of Eternia that is being told one small piece at a time!

Posted by charlie on August 20th 2010, 05:01 PM
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Star Wars: The Vintage Collection - Boba Fett

This year, Hasbro is directly targeting the nostalgia center of the brains of long time toy collectors. Since that comprises about 90% of the space between my ears, it's sort of an unfair tactic, but for someone in the business of doing business, it's quite brilliant. The Star Wars: The Vintage Collection line kicked off only several weeks ago, and most of you doing current toy runs have probably seen the familiar-from-1981 cardbacks thinning on pegs across the aisle from the sagging excess that is the Hunt for the Decepticons line.

First seen at Toy Fair back in February, these cards are yanked directly out of the early '80s, while the figures sport the best of what materials science and barely-paid labor have been able to give us in the years since then - ie. really good looking figures. Wave 1 is almost entirely made up of characters that were offered in that packaging originally (ok, not Dack Ralter or, I believe, this Han version). But as this line continues (and who knows how long it will go) they plan to put characters from all corners of the franchise on these classic cards. Now, being the 'purist' that I am, I'm not particularly down with a 'Commander Cody' or General Grievous on such hallowed card stock for my own collection, but I will admit that it's not a bad idea.

Of additional awesomeness? There is a mail-away involved! Buy five figures, and you can send away for a missile-firing Fett. What's cool about that? This feature-Fett was an offered mail-away back when the line was originally sold, but never materialized. At the time a young boy was jilted out of his coveted toy, and apparently spent the intervening 30 years rising through the ranks of business and the of toy industry, and is now a high ranking Hasbro official. With this new power, what has he done? He's finally getting his missile-firing Fett, that's what! I'm so impressed by that singleness of purpose and fanatical devotion - good job sir! Based on that story alone, I'm required to get one of these Fett figures, so I'm in for at least 5 of the vintage line. After 5? Well, that's usually past a tipping point of some sort, so we will see!

So the first figure to join the Preserve archives? Well, sort of ironically Boba Fett is part of wave 1 along with being the mail-away (which differs by the action feature) so I snagged him first. Not too much more to say about all this, so click the image to see a few more angles of figure #VC09 from Hasbro's rewind into awesomeness.

Collector Note: eBay seems to think that the stickers on some cards, offering the mail-away, had a typo of 'Bobba Fett'. I've not seen any, but I suppose you can keep a sharp eye out if you're into that sort of thing!

Posted by charlie on August 19th 2010, 06:59 AM
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G.I. Joe - The Pursuit of Cobra: Desert Battle Storm Shadow

It seems that the proverbial flood-gates have opened at the Preserve on the now-in-stores G.I. Joe - The Pursuit of Cobra line, as I am excitedly tracking down the rest of the wave one figures and vehicles. Of course, I saw the whole set in stores already, but I apparently like to make things difficult for myself and wait until the first round has sold through - more sporting that way, what what.

We took a look at the Doom Cycle a few days ago, so let's see how the single carded figures are shaping up in this new bridge-line between movies. Here is desert battle Storm Shadow, sporting his stylishly ripped outfit and terribly awesome chain weapon. Oh, along with about 15 other accessories.

Not only has Hasbro tried to correct the price of the figures (slightly lower, but still ringing in at about $7 each) but they are really packing in the accessories, and have thankfully scrapped the 'kid-friendly' jumbo firing weapons that no one liked. I have to believe that those chunky things were not cheap to make, relatively, so it's a wise move to devote those resources elsewhere.

Also interesting to note - all items in this line thus far are numbered, and the numbering appears to cross consistently the entire span of products. Storm Shadow here is No. 1004, while the Doom Cycle (rather, Storm Rider) is No. 1016. I have to imagine that this is in response to the highly confused assortments of the Rise of Cobra line, and is also a delightful throwback to simpler times for toy lines that I know we all enjoy. Click the image above for more angles, and the familiar bio, of this highly skilled mercenary.

Posted by charlie on August 18th 2010, 06:58 AM
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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - Billy the Kid

Who is dealing with the oddity of time travel with the greatest of ease? Why, it's Herman Billy the Kid of course! Just remember: what he wins, he keeps...what you win, he keeps, and he is also the last carded figure that was needed to complete the Preserve gallery of this line!

Of course, I still need to keep an eye out for any prototypes: Napoleon, Talking Cruiser, Most Excellent Motorcycle Vehicle, Boom Truck or (gasp!) Historical Playset, but let's not all hold our collective breath. I'll settle for finding a nice example of the Snap Back Phone Booth, and I know that 2-pack is floating around the archives already, someplace. Click the image above for a few more shots, and for the bio of this most excellent historical personage!

Posted by charlie on August 17th 2010, 06:34 AM
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Sega Master System - Missile Defense 3-D

Ahh, the Cold War. A notion that I imagine sounds as foreign and 'from the past' to kids today as the Korean War did to me when I was growing up. As a kid in the '80s though, even if you were more interested in Devo and Transformers, you knew that phrase and a little bit about what it meant for you and your country. How better, then, to commemorate this great and glorious time in our nation's history than through the ultimate irony of Sega's Missile Defense 3-D!

This title will be familiar to everyone as Missile Command, but you get to wear the super styling Sega 3-D goggles, always a plus! That this game about averting nuclear holocaust came out of Japan and landed on our shores should be lost on no one, though that nation seems to be the leading proponent of the ability to forgive and forget - or perhaps time healing all wounds, or maybe just loving the 1980s culture of the U.S. so very much that they just couldn't help themselves. Whatever the case may be, click on the image above for some more images of this Sega set, and to read up on the details in the instructions!

Of particular amusement are the stages of the game as described in the instructions:
  • The Eastern Missile Base
  • Space
  • The Western Capital
  • And So On
The sub-text of that last header? "The war won't end until both sides run out of missiles." Well, that's sort of true...!

Posted by charlie on August 16th 2010, 08:19 AM
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Air Raiders - Wind Seeker

Let's add another Air Raiders Battle Dasher to the Preserve archives - the Tyrants of Wind, Wind Seeker!

Air Raiders - Wind Seeker
"Wind Seeker's always on the prowl."

Master Sergeant Blot and Private Blight are ready to cause some serious trouble for the uppity Air Raiders with their class II reconnaissance vehicle. They just need to fire up their dual, air-cannon activated, fan-engined "Galvanizers", get up to Mach 2 and start firing those air hammer cannons, and look out! Click the image above for more pics, the bio, and disassembled parts of this excellent boxed Battle Dasher from 1987.
Posted by charlie on August 15th 2010, 06:30 AM
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Jazwares A-Team: Hannibal

When I first saw the trailer for the recent A-Team movie, I was startled by how they managed to make Liam Neeson look like George Peppard. I mean, Neeson certainly doesn't look like him normally, at all, so big props went to makeup, CGI, and his force of will over his facial muscles. Well, that opinion may have changed slightly with greater exposure to the material, but it is excellent to have this uncanny likeness, or at least the notion thereof, captured in forever-plastic form by Jazwares. Here then is Col. John 'Hannibal' Smith in 3 3/4" scale from their new and short lived toy line. Click the image for a few more angles, and no bio at all thanks to the hastily thrown together packaging.

Posted by charlie on August 14th 2010, 12:46 AM
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G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra - Doom Cycle

The utter lack of any of the new G.I. Joe: Pursuit of Cobra figures to have actually joined the Preserve archives was recently brought to my attention, and I had to reply that it was because they had yet to make it to my humble backwoods of a town. Well, Target has finally corrected that and as a result I have corrected the Preserve archives!

It was one of the most visibly cool and talked about products from the Hasbro tour at Toy Fair, and now it's here in the living room - check out the Doom Cycle!

Is the world ready for a new Dreadnok? No one is really sure, but his chopper is very cool so we'll give him a chance. Storm Rider is apparently good at bar fights and kung fu, and enjoys designing and implementing wacky weapons systems. Good guy to have on the roster it seems. Click the link above for more angles and text of this, the first Pursuit of Cobra set to join the Preserve archives!
Posted by charlie on August 13th 2010, 06:50 AM
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Air Radiers - Storm Dagger

After posting Hawkwind this week, I figure we need some Air Raiders to keep those Tyrants of Wind in line. Today let's take a look at Storm Dagger - one of the 'good guy' Battle Dashers from the Air Raiders line.

Air Raiders - Storm Dagger
"Storm Dagger strikes swiftly, silently and sure."

While lacking the scale and complexity of the pricier vehicles in this small line, the Battle Dashers are still treated with a lot of care by the Hasbro crew who toiled behind the scenes. We get more solid bios, good use of the 'air' gimmick, and the fun of assembling a reasonably complex little toy!

This set also comes with the first page of the episodic novella that was spread across all of the releases in the line. I'm glad to have finally caught on to it, and now have the challenge of tracking them all down. I really hope I can find the one that came with my Man-O-War since that's unlikely to exist in many other places. Click the image above to learn more about Hook and Fitz, and their high-speed hoversail.
Posted by charlie on August 12th 2010, 07:39 AM
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New Images from Hasbro

Perhaps unleashed by my long-delayed purchase of some new G.I. Joe and Star Wars stuff last night at Target, our pals at Hasbro have just sent a pile of new product images my way. Included in the batch, of interest to the coverage here at the Preserve, are packaged shots of all announced vehicles as well as the wave 2 figures in the Pursuit of Cobra line. While we won't have the vehicle shots posted until later, and the Transformers will just have to sip an energontini and hang loose, you can at least check out carded shots of wave 2 Zartan, Dusty, Recondo, a Jungle-Viper, Snake Eyes and Destro. Enjoy, and good luck with your hunting of wave 1!

Posted by charlie on August 11th 2010, 08:47 AM
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Sega Master System - Zaxxon 3-D

The name Zaxxon will always make a little shiver of recognition run through a classic gamer. Developed and released by Sega in 1982, the giant wood-grain countenance of this early shooter has earned more than the GDP of many small nations in this world. An arcade in the 80s, and one might say a classy home arcade these days, just isn't quite complete without a Zaxxon machine anchoring the corner.

So it was in 1987 that Sega (by then, Tonka), in an effort to bolster their flagging SMS console, took this title and gave it the next logical upgrade, 3-D! "Wait, didn't James Cameron invent 3-D?" No. No he did not. Neither did Sega, but it really lends itself well to this game - sort of a match made in gaming/technology heaven. Using the add-on support card, and 3-D glasses, the home gamer could experience this classic title like never before! Just make sure you haven't eaten much before hand, and don't have illyngophobia or pogonophobia and you'll be fine.
Posted by charlie on August 11th 2010, 06:45 AM
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Air Raiders - Hawkwind

The Air Raiders line by Hasbro is one of those late-80s one-year-wonders that the Preserve really delights in. I had just about the full set growing up, most notably the stupendous Man-O-War, which I rediscovered in storage over a year ago, complete with the ultra-rare hovering ball accessory. Yes, I know it's still not fully cataloged on the Preserve, but I did notice that the one glorious picture I did snap of it has been borrowed by at least one action figure site elsewhere on line. Since the aim of the Preserve is to help people remember and delight in these great items, I hope they enjoy it! (Though maybe they should only watermark their own images.)

Today, however, I want to focus on one of the bad guys, one of the Tyrants of Wind, in particular Kronax and his Hawkwind subsonic attack jet!

Air Raiders - Hawkwind
"Hawkwind screams through the sky!"

Now, I'm no engineer (wait, I am) but I thought that when something could travel at Mach 3, it was considered supersonic? I think Kronax is selling his Hawkwind a little short! Well, no matter, I don't want to undermine my next point, which is that one of the delightful aspects of this line is the great writing effort put forth on the bio cards. A key to any action line is of course the bios, and someone at Hasbro did a great job on every vehicle, making you really care about the abilities and capacities of each one after careful perusal of the bio. Also fun are the quotes that each ship has, and that you have to assemble them in the G.I. Joe tradition! This had to be about the best $8.99 you could spend at Bradlees in 1987.

Overall, what I'm saying is that it really is a great line, and well worth remembering and checking out. From the checklist, I am reminded of the mythical Air Refinery - a classic example of a beautiful set pictured in the literature that never saw the light of Toys R Us (as far as I know). Scoring that prototype would truly be the jewel in an Air Raiders collection, and really up there in a collection overall! Click the image above for a ton of pictures, and the great bio of this super...sonic ship!
Posted by charlie on August 10th 2010, 07:40 AM
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Sega Master System - Penguin Land

The Parry Game Preserve has been a little light on 'games' recently, and for that I apologize! By way of correcting that at least a little bit, let's take a look at another small step on our road to Sega Master System library completion - Penguin Land!

Known in Japan, where everything is much cooler, as "Thump Thump Penguin Land: Outer Space Adventure", this game takes the always-popular penguin and puts them on an intergalactic space cruiser...sort of like Jason. Gameplay involves familiar platforming and puzzle elements, as you try to get your egg from point A to point B intact. Gravity is both your friend and your enemy, so be careful! This game graced our shoes in 1986, so was released under the banner of Sega and not Tonka. A very cool note about this cart is that it featured a "super advanced" battery (Zelda style) which let you design your own levels (Excitebike style) and then actually save them to play later. A great idea in theory, and hopefully it worked well in practice. 25 years later, those batteries are a little tired, but hey, they put up a good fight!

Oh, and you are a space...awesome.

Posted by charlie on August 9th 2010, 06:41 AM
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Transformers Generations 2010 Line

This listing, in the vein of many that I've posted over the recent years, might be of limited interest since the figures are on store shelves currently, but are sufficiently cool that I did add them to the Preserve collection so want to feature them! It seems that the rollout of the new Transformers line is in fact a slow process, and at least in my town Target is really dragging their feet. The strange long-endcap is set up, but has maybe 1 case of Transformers product thinly spread across it. The Star Wars section is similarly bare, with 12 pegs waiting greedily for the new vintage line, and the G.I. Joes have almost entirely vanished. One assumes all of these things will appear soon, but Hasbro has really been hurting their business with this huge gap between product releases.

Well, between Target and Toys R Us, I did manage to find the 4 figures from wave 1 of the Transformers: Generations line. Click the image below to see the round-up page of those figures, and click on Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Drift or Thrust for more info about each of these classic, familiar characters.

Also interesting to note are the 'conversion levels' of these first four figures. While in other recent Transformers lines, it seems that the transformation difficulty is determined by the price of the figure, not really by the reality of the transformation. If you had a Deluxe, it was a 3, if you had a Leader, it was a 4. Well, with this line I'm seeing a very cool difference. Not only have they moved to a 5-point difficulty scale, but within these first 4 figures we already have a 2-Easy, 3-Intermediate and 4-Advanced rating among them. It's good to see that Hasbro is adding more care to these rankings (I sure can't handle #4 and up!) and it seems that care is evident in this great new line as well.
Posted by charlie on August 8th 2010, 02:48 PM
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Transformers Animated - Wreck-Gar

In one of the most brilliant voice casting moves ever executed, Susan Blu got 'Weird Al' Yankovic to provide the voice of Wreck-Gar in two episodes of the Transformers: Animated cartoon. Why is this amazing? Well I think I have previously pointed out, but it's always worth doing so again, that in the 1986 Transformers movie, Wreck-Gar (as voiced by Eric Idle) has a most excellent action montage set to the 'Weird Al' song 'Dare to be Stupid'. Just brilliantly done on her part, and a real gift to the long time fans.

I just dug this excellent Transformers: Animated voyager figure out of a pile of 'product' here at the Preserve, and realized that he never had made it into the archives. So, here he is! Click the image for more shots and his bio.

Offer expires while you wait, operators are standing by.

Posted by charlie on August 7th 2010, 06:43 PM
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Transformers Generation 1 - Trailbreaker

It has been a while since I've read some of the Transformers bios. Honestly, it's been decades in some cases...I find that I'm very familiar with ones like Ramjet because he's been re-released recently (and because he's self-explanatory...) and they kept the text, or at least the basic personality, similar but for Bots who haven't seen a recent updated version, their stories are covered with cobwebs and dust in my alleged brain.

So is the case with Trailbreaker - I had totally forgotten about his lack of self-esteem based around his low MPG! Especially topical these days it seems - surprising that anyone was thinking about that in 1984 but I guess fuel efficiency wasn't a big focus of mine then! Click the image for more shots of the box and the Autobot Strategist himself (without accessories so far) from the initial 1984 wave.

Also - I can tell this is one of my original sets thanks to the pristine Clover pricetag. Clover was a small chain of department stores around the Philadelphia suburbs which in the 1990s transformed into Kolhs, among other things. According to wikipedia, there were 26 stores, operated by Strawbridge & Clothier, which were apparently a blatant copy of Target! Guess that's why I found the bulls eye so comfortable when I discovered them years later. The Clover store at Center Square near the Plymouth Meeting Mall in PA was the source of many of the original Star Wars and Transformers figures which make up the Preserve, and the site of many happy memories with my Dad. A little google maps work shows a current-ish top view of the mall, and reveals that, even though Clover is long gone, to this day it is called the Clover Mall Shopping Center - cool!

Ok, my trip down Philly memory lane yielded yet more interesting things, and youtube has come through (as usual) with an original Clover TV spot, featuring a smokeless ashtray (!) and a bunch of strange nail-care products. In the 'suggestions' list from that was a bit for Kiddie City, and I have to point everyone towards the part with the quite-young-looking (I guess I'm just old now) Moms waving around a beautiful boxed Omega Supreme! I totally remember that specific ad from back in the day, though it's only now with the passage of time that seeing that giant Transformer held aloft is particularly noteworthy.
Posted by charlie on August 6th 2010, 06:25 AM
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Atari 2600 Halo

Making the Internet rounds the past few days is the excellent news about a former Microsoft VP having written a version of Halo for the Atari 2600. Now, that sounds like a Halo I'd be able to actually care about! What with the impending release of the new Halo Reach, ignore all that news and check out the atariage forum post by Ed Fries himself describing the design and development of the game. Then check out the emulator to see the game itself. Be sure to read his discussion of "Magic Land" - that dude definitely was becoming one with his program. End of Line.

Posted by charlie on August 5th 2010, 09:20 AM
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A-Team by Jazwares - Colonel Lynch

The A-Team movie from earlier this year was somewhat of a flash in the pan, in spite of their 'flying the tank' awesomeness, and so accordingly the toy line by Jazwares was pretty slim and brief. Interestingly, the figures are selling for a premium on eBay and aren't all that available, even though at least my local Target was blowing them out a few weeks ago. Due to my indecision on the line, I managed to miss the 3 3/4" Faceman, but do have the rest of the line, so today let's check out Colonel Lynch.

Pretty much a no-brainer at $2.98, though the questionable 12" figures at 50% off were still a stretch...I just couldn't get past the matte colored molded clothes. Something about the technique that Hasbro has figured out to make the molded clothes on their recent 12" Joes definitely worked out better. Be sure to go watch some classic episodes for more crazy Lynch action.

Update: Oops, looks like the image was still linking to Murdock - that's fixed now. See what I mean that the sets all look pretty similar?!

Posted by charlie on August 5th 2010, 06:02 AM
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Transformers Generation 1 - Ramjet

I got a lot of toys as a kid - sort of goes without saying I guess. One clear memory I have is actually writing a letter to the Easter Bunny (yes, the Easter Bunny) for Dirge and Ramjet, because it's less fun to only get to request awesome toys from a holiday deity once a year. Sure as can be, I got those two excellent seekers along with all the festivity the egg-hiding candy-grubbing holiday has to offer. This example of Ramjet I've picked up more recently, and is still boxed and in pretty good shape. I didn't have my loose example near at hand, but we all know I like the packaging best of all! Click the image below for more angles, the bio and stats.

"If it flies, crash it!"

Posted by charlie on August 4th 2010, 06:55 AM
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Batman - The Brave and the Bold: Battle Ready Batman

Images of Mattel's booth from the San Diego Comic Con confirmed that the Batman: The Brave and the Bold line was in fact not quite done, but would carry on as Toy Guru warned us in February. How is that? Well, as a line consisting 100% of Batman repaints, each with a different weapon or 'feature', possibly being rebranded as 'Total Armor'. They did claim that it is what retailers demand, and if the 20 copies of Crusher Cuffs and Bladewhip Batman at every store I've been to lately are any indication, they were right on as always! So, unless this idea dies on the vine where it belongs, I guess we'll see even more Bats on the shelves...after they clearance or give away or throw out the ones currently clogging the pegs.

Before that happens, though, there seem to be a few slightly more obscure Batman repaints filtering through Toys R Us (which seems to have the largest ongoing retailer support of this line). The other day, I saw for the first, and so far only, time Battle Ready Batman. Yes it's just another repaint, but the stark white was somehow appealing, and it scored my hard earned bread for it's overpriced self. Click the image above for a few more shots of this entry in the long line of repaints that this line has become!

Posted by charlie on August 3rd 2010, 06:36 AM
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Flash Force 2000 - Rampager Destructo

Check out one of the three carded 'bad guys' from the 1984 (the greatest year!) Flash Force 2000 line by Matchbox. Known as 'Rampagers' - these guys squared off against the Flash Fighters for control of the....well I guess I better read the comic! Featuring more of that cap-blasting action that made this line not just a boring footnote (nay, an exciting footnote!) you can click the image below for more shots of this figure, whose name puts me in mind of a Mexican Luchador.

As mentioned before, there's not a lot of packaging variation between the six cars in this line, but at least the Rampager cards are a delightful shade of evil red. Also this card is the only accurate one for the Rampagers, as Destructo (olé!) appears to be the most photogenic and was the star of the painting.

Posted by charlie on August 2nd 2010, 12:08 PM
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SDCC 2010 Stuff For Sale at Today

Today at noon EST, is poised to relieve you of yet more of your money when they make the San Diego Comic Con exclusive figures available for a limited time frenzy. Remember that this is the non-color-change Orko, so it's not so much 'leftovers' in that case, as a totally different run of the figure, but cool none the less. Click the logo below to head over to their sale page, and best of luck. Oh, and you have 2 days left to sign up for Club Eternia so you can avoid most of this stress in 2011, for those who are sticking with the line.

Posted by charlie on August 2nd 2010, 06:37 AM
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Transformers Generation 1 - Perceptor

As an up-and-coming nerd in the mid '80s, the only thing that could make an actual working microscope cooler to me was if that microscope could transform into a robot...and back! So it was exactly with Perceptor from the second year of the Transformers Generation 1 line in 1985. Classified as the Autobot Scientist, his character was portrayed as likely getting his lunch money stolen by the other Autobots, so of course he appealed directly to fans of the line, especially ones that still dig it 25 years later. 25 years...oof, I do try not to think about that too hard! I guess I was 8 when this figure came out - good times! Click on the image below for the packaging and bio of Perceptor, and to see him almost still preserved in the original packaging.

This is actually a copy that I picked up several years ago, and is not my original. It does appear that he hasn't actually been fully removed from the packaging, so I was reluctant to do so for the photoshoot...I know mine is around here someplace! One wonders exactly how he would be so nearly opened, and what sort of distraction would make little Johnny cast aside his new Autobot pal. Well, cover your receptors Perceptor, because such speculation will get us no place!
Posted by charlie on August 1st 2010, 05:37 PM
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