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Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

A Grander Grand Moff: Gentle Giant’s Cushing Kenner Counterpart

It’s Sci-Fi Friday !

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Peter Cushing’s Star Wars character gets a belated but super-sized facsimile.
(All images courtesy of Diamond Select Toys/Gentle Giant Ltd.)

Fun City…

Spring 1977. Manhattan Island. 
6 friends emerge from their subway trip smack dab into a purse snatching in progress. Instinctively they give chase to the thief and corner him in a dead-end out-door parking lot. Police arrive and the boys quickly head for their destination, the Loews Astor Plaza movie theater. 

Yeah, that happened. It was a memorable real life adventure to have on the way to viewing Star Wars, which turned out to be the defining fictional adventure of the 20th Century.

Detour aside, we managed to get seated in time to read the serial inspired crawl and feel the imperial cruiser roar from the back of the theater and over our heads.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth

Who to my wondering eyes did appear…
As the tale unfolded, I remember how surprised I was to see my favorite Hammer Films actor, Peter Cushing, turn up on the screen. Cushing had long ago established himself as a determined Dr. Frankenstein and agile Van Helsing in Hammer’s reinventions of monster movie classics. By 1977 he had also played Doctor Who in two films (Dr. Who and the Daleks, Dalek Invasion Earth 2150) and was an icon of the horror and science fiction genres. So, even his smattering of screen time in Stars Wars added an air of class and extra level of menace to the narrative. This was a serious bad guy, willing to obliterate the innocent “blue marble” Alderaan just for sport.

Therefore, it’s hard to believe that in the avalanche of nearly 100 Star Wars action figures released by Kenner in the ensuing decade, Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin character never got his turn as a collectible toy.

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Super Size Me…
Enter Gentle Giant Ltd. to remedy that oversight in a big way. The company, known for their high quality product sculpts for Diamond Select Toys, has its own line of Star Wars figures. They’ve previously released a The Empire Strikes Back styled DarthVader, and Cloud City based Leia Organa. Although based on the beloved 3.75 inch originals Gentle Giant’s Jumbo Kenner counterparts stand an impressive 12 inches tall.

This grander Grand Moff will be released in January 2022 but is available to pre-order as a limited edition exclusive from Entertainment Earth, or directly from Gentle Giant for members of their 2021 Premier Guild. It comes in a classic blister card display, with collector friendly resealable casing.

Other Jumbo Star Wars figure preorders include a beskar and cape clad Mandalorian, and an SDCC 2021 exclusive Return of the Jedi 4oth Anniversary Boba Fett.

Gentle Giant Jumbo Figures come in classic style, collector friendly, resealable cases.

SkeletonPete Says…
I later learned that the Hammer and genre film cast connections went even deeper than Mr. Cushing. Though voiced by James Earl Jones, it was former Frankenstein Monster David Prowse physically portraying uber villain Darth Vader, and Peter Mayhew, the automaton minotaur in Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was in the Wookie suit. Well… the only thing that could have made it better was if Michael Ripper was underneath the Greedo mask.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
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Toys & Collectibles

Diamond Select Toys: “Thor Ragnarok” Marvel Gallery Figures

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Thor is ready to “ROK” in this DST Marvel Gallery Diorama

No Sleep ’till Hell’s Kitchen…
Well I stayed up all night and binge watched The Defenders straight through. That was fun. At a brisk 8 episodes I think it tied up the plot lines of the Disney/Marvel/Netflix “street level” superhero universe quite nicely. Punisher is waiting in the wings.

Looking toward to the next big screen Marvel outing, we’re headed back into cosmic, mythical and magical territory on November 3, 2017 with Thor: Ragnarok. Trailers so far are looking good. Planet Hulk, Hela, the Fenris Wolf and the fire giant Sutr. I’m in.

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Tessa Tompson’s Valkyrie, DST Marvel Gallery Figure

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Toys & Collectibles

Got Game? Dark Horse’s New “Thrones” Collectibles

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Dark Horse Deluxe Statue portrays Daenerys and Drogon in a rare relaxed moment.

Dark Horse continues their roll out of exceptional Game of Thrones collectibles and in honor of the 5th season premiere of that mega-popular HBO epic, it seems appropriate to post a gallery of some of the series related items currently available and those just on the horizon.

Hang Time…
I thought Dark Horse’s original Daenerys bust (with baby dragon perched on her shoulder) was un-toppable but this new limited edition takes things to a whole new level. In the midst of so many amazing things displayed at New York Toy Fair 2015, the prototype of Dark Horse’s Deanerys and Drogon statue was a stop-you-in-your-tracks attention getter. Evoking a calm before the storm moment – just a girl and her pet hanging out – the massive 18” long x 14” wide showpiece comes prepainted and will be available in July 2015. Pre-orders are probably a smart move as previous Deluxe editions, like Jon Snow and Ghost, have quickly sold out.
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Steely Clan…
If July is too far away, fans of Brienne of Tarth can get her visage in statue form starting this Wednesday, April 15. The 13″ tall statue is a finely detailed Gentle Giant Studios sculpt that portrays the warrior in fierce fighting pose wielding Oathkeeper her spell-forged sword of Valyrian steel. Brienne is limited to a casting of 950.

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Brienne brandishes Oathkeeper her spell-forged sword.

In addition to these high end deluxe offerings Dark Horse has Game of Thrones collectibles in every price range, including crests, coffee cups, and moderately priced production figures.

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Toys & Collectibles

Diamond Select Busts Out Marvelous Spidey Collectibles

The Amazing Spider-Man Vigilante Bust from Diamond Select Toys

The 2012 movie blockbuster season has officially begun with last weekend’s “Hunger Games” box office rout and it will be fun to see the battle ramp-up through the summer. Based on what I got a peek at during the recent New York Toy Fair, collectors will have a dizzying array of choices as the roll-out progresses. In particular Diamond Select Toys has just announced a series of busts to salute the re-boot of Marvel Entertainment’s The Amazing Spider-Man! franchise. I suggest saving space on your display shelves because these are some mighty nice offerings. Thanks to Diamond Select Marketing Supervisor Zach Oat for the opportunity to capture these images for all of you.

The sculpts were rendered for DST by Gentle Giant Studios from the film production’s digital data. There are four busts in the series which range 9-10 inches in height. A classic web-slinger pose is joined by movie specific items. The Vigilante Spider-Man is very cool with the character dressed in a leather jacket, wool cap and shades over his classic mask. Dr. Curt Conners in the form of The Lizard has a huge arm span terminating in deadly claws the power of which is evidenced in the rips across the costume of the unmasked and “battle-scarred” bust. That bust, a striking likeness of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, includes swap-outs for the head and right hand to cloak the character’s true identity.

In addition to the busts, DST has a real gem of a statue depicting Spidey perched on the side of a glass windowed skyscraper ready to spray his webs and swing. Along with the vigilante bust that one is my favorite. Last but not least two action figures of the hero and villain will be available, and there will be a movie tie-in Mini-Mate.

All collectibles are scheduled for sale on June 26, 2012, a few days before the film’s July 3 release date.
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Toys & Collectibles

Camilla d’Errico & Dark Horse Create “No Ordinary” Collectible

Camilla d'Errico's "No Ordinary Love" Limited Edition Statuette

Delicate Doppelganger
There were lots of exciting new items at Dark Horse Comics’ Toy Fair 2012 booth. Along with their Mass Effect Reaper prototype, they also offered a first look at the upcoming Camilla d’Errico sculptural bust.

The piece is based on the painting “No Ordinary Love”, which can be found in the d’Errico art book Femina and Fauna, also produced by Dark Horse. Camilla’s work reminds me of a blend between Margaret Keene’s iconic 60’s doe-eyed waifs and 70’s TV Anime. As the book title suggests she often juxtaposes ethereal young ladies with some unexpected wildlife eliciting a placid, though equally disquieting, beauty. If I simply described this fantasy portrait you might imagine a tentacle enrobed, raven caressing, bride of Cthulu. Thankfully my photos reflect something quite the opposite and answer the question “Can you fall in love with a girly wearing a calamari as a chapeau?” with a rousing affirmative.

Dark Horse Product Development Manager Chris Gaslin told me that the sculpt was done by Gentle Giant Studios with d’Errico supervising the prototyping. They’ve created a masterful work imbued with the detail and delicacy of the original painting. The 8 inch tall, 5 inch wide, statue will be produced in a limited edition of 950 copies for worldwide distribution. Each will be hand-numbered and collector boxed, with a certificate of authenticity. Expected release date is June 2012. Dark Horse also plans Helmetgirls a second helping of Camilla’s paintings for July publication.

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