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Rare Craft: Toys & Models Corp’s Legendary Vessels

Apollo 11 Replica can be purchased in "Buzz" Aldrin Signature Edition

Space, Race, Grace…
The recent passing of astronaut Neal Armstrong, the first earthling to set foot on the Moon, and the preparations for the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s final “tour” to Los Angeles’ California Science Center where it will reside in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion reminded me of these images I captured at New York Toy Fair last season. These finely crafted replicas of landmark aeronautic and nautical vessels are the handiwork of Toys And Models Corporation. Their beautiful scale renderings of vessels of exploration run the gamut from the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk to Apollo 11 and beyond.

In addition to the down to the pin-point paint work of the standard models, the company also offers the “Natural” series presented in richly stained and polished wood tones. If you have your own plane the Custom Shop will create a replica for you. They are really great statement pieces for a home library or den.

Signed Editions…
The “Signature” series adds more collectibility to the models with limited editions inscribed by astronauts and pilots of the various craft. I’ve got my eye on the Apollo 11 signed by “Buzz” Aldrin. The R.M.S. Titanic model can be purchased signed by Millvina Dean, who was only 9 months old when rescued from the sinking ship. On her passing in 2009 she was the oldest of the disaster survivors.

Where's Kate and Leo?

If you’re interested in having your own version of the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum at home, desire a special memento in your “man cave”, or want to envision yourself as “king of the world” on the Titanic’s bow with Kate Winslet (or Leo DiCaprio) there’s no better place to look than Toys and Models Corporation.

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Row Bots: Hexbug Warriors First Look, Part 1

Collectible Hexbug Warriors Packaging Variations


What the Hex…
Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows I’m a fan of Innovation First Labs Inc. and their line of robotic toys. My favorites are the arthropod inspired Hexbug Nanos. I just love to watch the meanderings of these self propelled creatures along the modular tracks you can design and expand yourself. After a while they seem to take on individual personalities. Needless to say a selection of Hexbugs, tracks, platforms and corrals (as well as the “Battle Bridge” kit) made a great gift for my Godson – and for me as well.

At Toy Fair 2012 Innovation First Labs gave a sneak-peek at their newest spin on the product. They’re called Hexbug Warriors Battling Robots. It was clear from the prototypes and their accoutrements that this was going to be a grand addition to an already fun franchise.

It’s Academic…
Taking a page from Harry Potter and X-Men, as well as real life school robotics competitions Innovation First supplies parts for, the Warriors are back-storied to be the creations of four fictional student “academies” in the year 2087. They are color coded to note each academy. Caldera Prep (Red), Viridia Prep (Green), Bionika Cyborg (Blue), Tronikon Tech (Yellow.) Each of the Warriors can be outfitted for battle with a range of armor and weapons. Saw blades, pinchers, scoop wings, borer cones, side plates and other pieces can be mixed and matched to your desired effect.

Hexbug Warrior Individual Pack


When Push Comes to Shove…
Whereas the earlier Bridge Battle kit pitted Hexbugs against each other in push and shove matches – with losers being knocked off an elevated concave arena – Warriors ups the ante with a “last man standing” motif. This is driven by sensor tech inside the robots. Each Hexbug Warrior has an LED light that signals its current health state in Green, Yellow or Red as it wages battle. Eventually the shock sensor will shut a Warrior down after its maximum number of hits. The ultimate victor is the one still running.

SkeletonPete Says…
This first installment of my review gives you a look at the packaging variations. It will be followed next week by up close images of the individual Warriors, their battle armor and weaponry. The third report will enlist some family members a real world view of game play. My previous coverage of the Hexbugs line can be read here.

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Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Diamond Select’s Madness Returns! Figures

Cheshire Cat

Go Ask Alice, When She Was Just Small…
Diamond Select releases their first series of Alice: Madness Returns! figures this week. Based on game creator American McGee’s twisted twist on the Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) penned fairy tale we get the blade wielding main character Alice Liddel, a zombified “Card Guard”, and the gruesomely grinning Cheshire Cat all in articulated 7” form. I’m hoping the old hookah smokin’ caterpillar will be in the next round of characters.

Three Faces of Alice

Weapons In Wonderland…
Alice comes replete with Vorpal knife, her pepper grinder and rocking horse, making her ready for battle with the horrible inhabitants of Wonderland. In addition to the standard characters a special edition “hysteria mode” figure is available via comic shops that pre-ordered the Previews exclusive. This blazing eyed, battle frenzied, beauty is literally covered in blood up to her elbows. Completists will definitely want to seek her out. On the horizon, but with no release date set yet, is the “Royal Suit” clad Alice also pictured here.

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Under The Bridge: New Trolls Emerge from Dark Horse

Dark Horse/Dam Things Trolls Get 21st Century Bling Jobs


Those Dam Things…
On July 25, 2012, Dark Horse Comics under license agreement with Dam Things will begin offering a new line of designer vinyl Good Luck Trolls. All collectibles fans have no doubt encountered the lovable smiles of the classic Good Luck Trolls in some shape or form over the last half century. Their original countenance was created by Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam in 1959. Dam chose to eschew the evil Troll demeanor of the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale characters for an affable grin and “hug me” pose and they quickly became a pop culture phenomenon.

Copyright legalities during the 1960’s saw the product go into the public domain in the United States with a number of companies issuing their own versions. I still have a couple of vintage Uneeda Doll Company “Wish-Niks” in my collection. Russ company outfitted them to represent different holidays and vocations, miniature bristle haired versions came out of gumball machines, they were ubiquitous. Reinstatement of the copyright came after Dam’s passing in 1989 and worldwide licensing is now administered by the Denmark based Dam Things.

Mystery Box Display with Series 1 Combinations (Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics)

Collect ’em, Trade ’em…
The first wave of 2.5” figures will feature an assortment of 15 body and hair color variations, including metallic, glitter, and flocked versions. Glow In The Dark and Black Light bodies are also in the mix. The “mystery box,” with characters both cardboard boxed and foil wrap sealed, offers a random purchase experience and an opportunity to trade with like minded collectors. There are “chase” characters with lower find probabilities and those ratios are printed on each vending display.

ComicCon Exclusive…
Lucky 2012 San Diego Comic Con attendees (July 12-15) will have a crack at purchasing a black light sensitive green Troll with white hair which is limited to 1,500 and exclusive to the Convention.

ComicCon 2012 Exclusive Black Light Troll (Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics)

Feature Film in the (Dream) Works…
With Dreamworks Animation announcing the Good Luck Trolls as their next feature subject (Chloe Moretz and Jason Schwartzman are on tap for voice work) the franchise should see a renaissance and a new fan base for the 21st Century.

Important Photo Note…
I captured these images at the February 2012 Toy Fair in NYC when this product was in pre-license approval prototype. Please check vending display boxes for actual color and surface combinations available in Series 1. Happy Collecting.

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The Dark Knight Rhizomes! Hasbro Potato Personas Abound

Batman gets the Hasbro Potato Head Treatment


Some totally tube(r)ular Mister Potato Head personas have just been released or are on their way. As you can see from these images, Hasbro Toys has plenty of new personalities to adorn your root cellar this coming season. The ability to morph the old spud into a plethora of popular characters has kept the franchise fresh – and tasty.

I Was A Pre-Teen Tator-Tot…
I’m old enough to remember when the kit came minus a potato replica and my parent’s refrigerator was regularly raided for real food to bring the gent to life. Depleting dinner menu items wasn’t really high on most Mom’s lists of great things, but the inclusion of the faux-tato in the early 60’s did limit your ability to make recombinant DNA stlye creations.

Mash-Ups…
The members of rock band KISS are available separately and in a limited edition collectors set that includes 3 parody album covers. Elvis is depicted in both white Las Vegas jumpsuit version and ’68 Comeback Special black leathers. The newly minted Three Stooges were a perfect choice for spud characterizations and come with their own weapons of mass disruption, a wrench, clobbering mallet, and ubiquitous pie. Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura join the already available Captain Kirk and are an absolute scream. Hasbro has just announced that Superman and Wonderwoman will hit the stores this August.

Battle Ready Batata…
Toy Fair 2012 also afforded a sneak peak at the Batarang wielding Dark Knight which will appear around the time of the third installment of the Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. Makes me wonder… if Batman is represented in potato form is his alter ego Bruce Wayne being played by Christian Kale?

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