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A Little Help From My Preds: DST’s Horribly Handy Collectibles

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Diamond Select Toys Unmasked Predator Vinyl Bust Bank

Buddy Can You Spare A Dime…
The Unmasked Predator Vinyl Bust Bank, shown here from its debut at New York Toy Fair 2015, was one of my favorite Diamond Select Toys reveals back in February. It’s the most detailed of bust banks so far, trumping even the cranial convolutions of DST’s Metaluna Mutant.
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Eli Livingston also sculpted these DST Alien Egg with Facehugger and Cthulu Bust Banks.

Giger Encounter…
As you can see, the predator sculpt by Eli Livingston is amazingly accurate (note shoulder blaster) and beautifully scary. Livingston has modeled several of the earlier bust bank series, including The Wolfman. Most recently he’s designed the Alien egg with face hugger and Lovecraft Cthulu banks recently released by Diamond Select. It’ll probably be no surprise to learn that the sculptor also worked with original Alien xenomorph creator the late H. R. Giger on several jewelry pieces based around Giger’s art. The Bomben Skull Ring is one of my faves which began as the volume and tone knobs for Ibanez Guitars’ H. R. Giger signature model.

At 8” high and under $23 the Predator Bust Bank is both shelf and wallet friendly. If you like big ugly things (aside from your bowling buddies) hanging around the “man-cave” and eating your spare change, this one’s for you.
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A Little Left of Lidsville…
Now that summer is here, tracking prey can be exhausting and sweaty work. Whether you’re Count Zaroff playing a most dangerous game in fog hollow or a yautja hunter chasing Betty and Veronica around Riverdale, you could most likely use a cool brew. Unfortunately twist-offs aren’t de rigueur in all parts of the universe. No need to worry. The just released Unmasked Predator Bottle Opener is an impressive bit of kit from Diamond Select Toys will ensure you have the right weapon to get a quaff quickly.

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Diamond Select Toy’s Unmasked Predator Bottle Opener (Photo Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys)

Pop Your Pop’s Top…
Though hitting the shelves this week, a wee bit late for Father’s Day, it would make a great conversation piece for collector dads at family picnics. Those who do not imbibe, or prefer cans and corks, can still enjoy its value as a beyond – the – ordinary refrigerator magnet, and a nice companion piece to DST’s Alien Xenomorph “church key” styled bottle opener.

SkeletonPete Says…
If utility is the order of the day for your continued collecting, then DST’s growing list of themed banks, pizza cutters, bottle openers, ice trays (and check out that Alien xenomorph Cookie Jar!) may be all you need to convince your spouse why this next purchase is must have for your household.

It’s All About the Bats, No Trouble: DST’s TV Batgirl

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Sculptor Clayburn Moore captures Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl for Diamond Select Toys’ new statue.


On a Bat Binge…
As with most “can’t haves” in life, the protracted nature of bringing ABC’s 1960’s Batman television series to the home video market produced a “must own” reaction in collector’s circles. Warner Brothers’ massive 120 episode Batman Box Set, released in November 2014, satiated some of that desire, but the high crave factor for bat-a-phenalia has spread well beyond the DVD’s to toys and collectibles. Each new product reveal becomes an event of its own and I think none have been more anticipated by “boomers” than Batgirl merchandise.

Of course TV Bat-fans know that Season 3 cast actress Yvonne Craig into the fray as Batgirl, making the dynamic duo a triumphant trio. Though not the only DC comics Batgirl, Craig is certainly associated with the best known incarnation. In fact the character was created at the behest of the TV program’s producers who desired to expand the appeal of their boy-centric show to an untapped audience of young ladies.

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DC Comics’ Detective #359 re-introduced Batgirl to TV Batman fans.


The “new” Batgirl appeared in Detective Comics # 359 in January of 1967, less than a year before her television debut. The cover is splashed with the kind of hyperbole that you could imagine spoken by the TV show’s producer/narrator William Dozier. “Is she heroine or villainess?,” “What is her startling secret identity?” Artist Carmine Infantino and writer Gardner Fox spun up the tale of Barbara Gordon, daughter of the stalwart Gotham City Police Commissioner. That’s the same James Gordon whose backstory is the focus of Fox’s current TV series Gotham. Barbara thwarts an attempt to kidnap millionaire Bruce Wayne and finds her calling in crime fighting.
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Diamond Select Toys’ Classic 1966 Batgirl Premiere Collection Statue.


BATuesque…
This summer Diamond Select Toys will bring you back to those Silver Age comic days with their Premiere Collection Classic TV Batgirl Statue. Having recently seen the prototype in person at the New York Toy Fair I can happily report that it wonderfully captures the karate kicking crusader seen on the screen. In the hands of master sculptor Clayburn Moore we get a spectacular representation of Craig in her role, fully approved by the lady herself. Moore’s choice to fan out the cape adds a kinetic element to the classic pose known from publicity photos of the time. His work on the facial features is delicate, instantly recognizable as Ms. Craig, and conveys the self assured nature of the character.

Measuring approximately 12 inches tall, the statue emulates the psychedelic and op-art design of the show. The eye-popping purple sparkle of the costume is perfectly emulated and offset against the yellow accent of the cape. The base’s green swirl is capped by the TV logo. It is going to be a standout on any fan’s display shelf.

Craig On Craig…
In addition to playing Batgirl, Yvonne Craig’s career features a unique selection of memorable roles that include being a “Kissin’ Cousin” to Elvis, “Ski Party”-ing with Frankie Avalon, and as the slinky green siren Marta in the original Star Trek episode “Whom God’s Destroy.” Her autobiography can be purchased at her official website, and she has noted a limited return to the fan convention circuit this year based on the wealth of 1966 Batman licensed products.

Clay On Clay…
Clayburn Moore’s “Sculpting with Clay” blog, though not recently updated, is a excellent repository of information and images for those interested in the process of creating these collectibles. He takes you from wire frame to finished product views on many projects. His studio home site, will give you a full view of his creations, including a range of DC Entertainment pieces.

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Diamond Select Toys expands Batman The Animated Series Bust Bank selection.


To the Bat Bank…
Hmm, maybe the Bat-Credit Card will be necessary as DST continues to fill out it’s selection of busts, banks and Femme Fatale statues with depictions of Batman, The Animated Series characters. They’re all really sharp renderings of the 2D cartoon personas. The Harvey “Two-Face” Dent bust is my favorite but you’ll have Batman in Classic and Dark Knight flavors, Catwoman, Batgirl, Phantasm, Harley Quinn, The Joker and Poison Ivy to choose from as well. Check the photo gallery below for a close-up look at those.

SkeletonPete Says…
As much as I love DST’s 3/4 busts, I believe the company was very smart to commission a full length Premiere Batgirl statue as well. As the first piece of licensed Batgirl merchandise I’ve seen it sets the bar very high for those who follow. Diamond Select’s upcoming product sheet reveals a Julie Newmar as Catwoman, also sculpted by Moore, will join the Premiere Statue Collection in Fall 2015.

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Rocket in Your Pocket: Monogram’s Cool Key Rings

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Just a few of Monogram’s Marvel Collectible Keyrings

Monogram International Inc. is noted for their years of creating unique licensed collectibles and novelties, and I’ve been tracking their creations over many Toy Fairs. Their bust banks are particular favorites of mine, and they have created many ComicCon exclusives in this range. Antman and Loki are stand out additions to the line this year.

Key Characters…
Photographing the varied items at their 2015 New York International Toy Fair booth, I quickly became enamored with Monogram’s soon to be released series of 3D Foam Figural Key Rings. Licensing spans the Marvel, Disney, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and DC universes. The 2” characters have a nice chunky feel, soft but not “squishy.” Their super cute wide-eyed designs are fun and inventive and should make them popular with both youngsters and collectors of stylized characters.

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3D Figural Foam Keyring Foil Packs and Display Box.

Chase Scene…
Each keyring series includes 9 standard characters and 2 exclusive figures. Marvel Series 1 includes, Spider-Man, Hulk, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Star-Lord. The two “chase” characters illustrated on the bag in silhouette appear to be variants of Iron Man and Rocket. They will be sold as foil pack “blind bags.” Inside each package the characters are wrapped in cardboard to discourage the “touchy feely” collectors from trying to divine their purchase in advance. It keeps things honest and trading brisk.

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My Monogram Rocket Raccoon 3D Keyring just hanging out.

The Monogram folks were so kind as to offer Ken Pierce (PiercingMetal.Com) and I a mystery bag each, and of course we opened them immediately. I was happy to find Galaxy Guardian Rocket Raccoon in mine, especially since he was not included in the Monogram display.

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Monogram’s Avengers Paperweight as a work in progress..

Weight of the Universe…
Monogram also unveiled a very early look at their Marvel Avengers paperweight. Shown in unpainted prototype it’s an out of the ordinary collector’s piece, nice for the desk of that comic obsessed executive you know. Standing atop the Avengers logo, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Ultron and the Hulk are all nicely sculpted ranging at what seemed to be 4-5 inches tall. Although not shown at Toy Fair, likely still in the sculpt stage, the company’s product art illustrates The Abomination and Loki as part of the set as well.

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Loki ponders what universe he’s in, as Superman looks on.

SkeletonPete Says…
Though not originally a fan of the mystery box or blind bag collectible model, I’ve come to understand its strengths. Commercially the “thrill of the chase” for your favorite characters certainly drives sales but psychologically adds a layer of fun via anticipation and surprise. That’s not such a bad thing for kids to experience in a world of mostly instant gratification. A personal analogy is how much I enjoyed chasing after 45 RPM’s with Non-LP B-Sides by my favorite musical artists. Now those “bonus” tracks are a click away for download and not truly special at all.

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DST’s Best Bust Yet: Going “Meta-loony” for the Mutant

DST's Metaluna Mutant Bust Bank is due Halloween 2014

DST’s Metaluna Mutant Bust Bank is due Halloween 2014

I love Diamond Select Toys‘ range of Bust Banks and back in February at the New York Toy Fair I got a sneak peek at the prototype for this one but could not reveal the details. It’s my favorite so far, for its great sculpt and killer color palette. So I’m thrilled to share DST’s notice for what I think is the best bust bank yet, the quirkiest of Universal Monsters from This Island Earth, the Metaluna Mutant.

Brain Change….
DST’s official communique says “The Universal Monsters are not dead yet! This year, Halloween will bring one more vinyl bust bank to join the monstrous line-up, the Metaluna Mutant! Whether you love him from This Island Earth or the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 takedown, he’ll make a big impression on your shelf, with high-quality sculpting and paint details. Plus, his brain alone will hold several dollars in change, thanks to the coin slot on his back! Packaged in a clear polybag. (Item #JUL142037, SRP: $22.99)”

Holy Simoleons: Diamond Select Banks on Batman ’66 and Classic Godzilla Busts

Diamond Select Toys' Godzilla Display @ NY Toy Fair 2014

Diamond Select Toys’ Godzilla Display @ NY Toy Fair 2014

I love Diamond Select Toys’ line of Busts and Bust Banks for their great sculpts, just right size and reasonable pricing for collecting and gifting. Previously focused on the Universal Monsters and Star Wars franchises, 2014 will see DST branch out with the addition of character likenesses from the beloved 1966 Batman television series, as well as the undisputed King of the Kaiju, Godzilla.

Mean Green Saving Machines…
Seen at the recent American International Toy Fair, there are several flavors of the Godzilla to choose from. Beginning the roll-out of TOHO titans in May 2014 is the bust bank version of Classic Godzilla 1989. Like others in the series, the sculpt by Gentle Giant Studios is cut off just below the torso and measures approximately 10” inches tall. A coin slot in the back and access door on the bottom make it useful as well as decorative. A nifty way to save for, what else, more bust banks.

If you prefer your Gojiras full sized, DST has got you covered with two choices in vinyl. Measuring an impressive 18” from snout to tail and 12” tall these beauties also serve as banks. The full length Classic Godzilla is again the Biolante battling 1989 version. There is also the ferocious Burning Godzilla as he appeared in Godzilla Vs. Destroyah, nearing a meltdown of his alien infused nuclear heart.

Spectacular King Ghidorah Bust Bank from DST

Spectacular King Ghidorah Bust Bank from DST

High on the awesome scale is the Diamond Select Ghidrah Bust Bank. IMHO it is the most spectacular of the bust banks to date. The space dragon, also known as Monster X and King Ghidorah, has a regal gold finish and massive wingspan surrounding its three snarling heads. Release date is Winter 2014.

Biggie Smallz…
Not a “bank job” but most exciting for me was the reveal of Godzilla related Mini Mates. Series 1 includes Godzilla himself, Mothra in flight, the hook clawed Gigan, and long necked Titanosaurus. They’re all nicely detailed and articulated representations that I can’t wait to get a macro lens pointed at. They will be sold in a 4 pack and are also scheduled to hit shelves in Winter 2014.


Best of the West…
The Classic 1966 TV Batman is well represented with a full line of resin busts as well as vinyl bust banks in the works. Though The Riddler resin was too early in the design process to photograph, I was permitted to get some shots of the Adam West Batman, Burt Ward Robin and still up for approval Cesar Romero Joker. All are by sculpter Jean St. Jean and scheduled for release in 2014. There’s also a mighty cool exclusive bust of the caped crusader doing the Batusi.

"Batusi" Exclusive Batman 1966 Resin Bust.

“Batusi” Exclusive Batman 1966 Resin Bust.

But Wait There’s More…
In this 30th anniversary year of Ghost Busters collector’s get their choice of massive 24 inch Stay Puft in good and evil modes to guard their change. There’s a smaller, nicely singed, version, that’ll have you hankering for s’mores and a Ghost Buster Mini Mates box set.

"Ghost Busters" 24 inch Stay Puft has Evil on his Mind

“Ghost Busters” 24 inch Stay Puft has Evil on his Mind


SkeletonPete Says…
Off limits to photos at Toy Fair, but quite drool worthy even in prototype, was the This Island Earth Metaluna Mutant bust bank. Its exposed brain, bug eyes and crab-like claws make it the quintessential 1950’s sci-fi monster. I predict it will be the must own of the series.

Diamond Select also prevued loads of figures and Mini Mates for Marvel superheroes Captain America and Spiderman, Kill Bill, Sin City, Pulp Fiction, Plants Vs. Zombies and Jay and Silent Bob characters which I’ll be posting photos of in the coming weeks.