Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 11/11/16 to 11/26/16


Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

1. WilyKat from Thundercats Panrico premiums 
2. E.T. from E.T. bootleg set
3. Orko from Masters of the Universe MUSCLE  
4. Snatcher Ghost from The Real Ghostbusters 
5. Diener robot eraser
6. Woody the Wrecker from SLUG Zombies
7. Dino from Matutano dinosaurs set
8. Cyclops from Monster in My Pocket (Peru Juguete Halloween version)
9. Yeti from Neclos Fortress
10. Squirtle from Pokemon eraser set
11. Drak from Mini Boglins
12. Gundam party favor bootleg
13. Hero from ToySmith Super Hero set
14. #76 from MUSCLE
15. Triceratops eraser
16. Demon from DFC fantasy figures

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Confectionary Creeps: weirdo candy containers & wrappers


Remember when candy often came in all sorts of fun novelty containers and wrappers? The kind that you'd be more likely to buy to get the toy container than you would to eat the candy? I don't know about you, but I miss those days.

In the '80s and '90s, Topps and Fleer probably released the most candies this way, but many other companies did too. A trip down the candy aisle sometimes also felt like a trip down the toy aisle.

I saved a bunch of candy containers and wrappers from those days, which are featured below. For this post, I'm just including examples with a weirdo or monster theme.


LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS CANDY (TOPPS, 1986)


To coincide with the 1986 movie version of Little Shop of Horrors, Topps released a trading card/sticker set as well as these little buggers, which are filled with candy pellets. As a kid I was obsessed with this movie and always wanted an Audrey II toy, but was a bit too young to have seen these in the store when they came out. The design isn't too detailed, but these are still really cool, and I just love the fact that Audrey II candy containers exist.


MR. BONES COFFINS (FLEER, 1970s-1990s)


These fun little Mr. Bones candy-filled coffins were produced by Fleer for many years, starting in the late 1970s all the way up until the 1990s. The sweet tart-like candy that came inside were different bone-shaped pieces you could use to build a skeleton. I had a little rubber skeleton I used to store in my coffins once I finished the candy. These things should still be sold today!


MADBALLS-LIKE CANDY CONTAINER (UKNOWN, LATE 1980s)


I haven't been able to get an exact ID for this one, but I remember getting it at a candy store in the late '80s. The head popped into a clear body that was filled with tiny multicolor candy balls. It looks to at least be inspired by Madballs, if not an official Madballs item. My guess would be a knockoff to capitalize on Madballs' popularity at the time. There were likely other designs available. I have also seen photos of other similar clear figure containers with removable heads based on different themes, like Halloween characters and aliens.


MONSTER CHEWS (CONFEX, LATE 1980s-EARLY 1990s)


Not many people seem to remember these. They were Laffy Taffy-like fruit chews, nothing too special flavor-wise. What made them great were their wrappers, which featured different bizarro monsters. I remember going to a local pharmacy and buying these all the time for a penny each, trying to collect as many different monsters as I could. There were two different designs and sets of monsters, the first of which came out in the late '80s, and then a second batch from the early '90s. These designs shown here are from the later batch.


CRAZY SPRAY CANS (FLEER, LATE 1980s)


These were bubble gum containers featuring funny, irreverent artwork for made-up products. Sort of like Wacky Packages. There were 20 different designs.


CHUPA CHUPS POP LOCKIT (1990s)


Monster heads like this one were released as toy accessories to Chupa Chups suckers, sometime in the mid-late 1990s. The idea is that you'd store your partially eaten sucker inside of it to finish later. The concept was kind of gross if you ask me, but at least the little monster heads were cool.


THE AMAZING SHRINKING HEAD MUTANT POPS (AU'SOME CANDIES, 1998)



These probably take the cake for the creepiest candy-related toys ever. The release included six different plastic, freakish mutant-monsters that served as sticks to a candy sucker. The hard candy ball was around the creature's head, which I guess looked larger through the candy than it actually was. I got these when they came out in the late-'90s and saved one one in the package, but the candy started melting into a pile of goo so I recently set the figure free to join the other two opened upon buying them (of course, not before taking a photo of the packaged example). I think the figures came in silver in addition to the gold and bronze shown here. These are actually really awesome, and I'd definitely like to get a hold of the other three sculpts I don't have.


And there you go--just a small sampling of some weirdo candy-related toys and wrappers from years gone by. Are there any other good examples you can think of?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 10/25/16 to 11/10/16


Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

1. Parasaurolophus from Topps Dino Toys
2. Badan from Ultraman keshi  
3. #105 from MUSCLE
4. Bullseye from OMFG
5. Ghost from Pelikan ghosts set from Germany
6. Skull from Halloween pencil topper eraser set
7. Zombie from HeroQuest
8. Puffinge from Funny Fringes
9. Rollerman from Popy mini Kinnikuman keshi
10. Headbanger from Ghost & Monster (Toxic Crusaders knockoffs)
11. Manticore from Monster in My Pocket
12. Army guy from Invincible Army Men
13. Gomora from Ultraman "Great Monster the 30" set 
14. Naga from World of Warcraft board game
15. Alien from Target Halloween pencil topper set
16. Durd from Mini Boglins

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Musclemania: pre-MUSCLE weirdo wrestler minis (revisited)


When most collectors think of weird little wrestling mini figures from the '80s, they think of MUSCLE. But there's actually a similarly-themed toy line with a copyright year that predates the release of MUSCLE in the U.S. This set is called Musclemania, a rather obscure release that first came out in 1984 from a company called Select Merchandise, Inc.

I've briefly posted about Musclemania in the past, but I've since completed my set, so figured it was time for a more detailed post.


This is a really interesting line for many reasons:
  • MATERIAL:  The figures were released in multiple kinds of plastic/rubber. What I believe are the initial 12 sculpts (pictured at the top of this post), are most commonly found in a firm-yet-flexible soft plastic. I believe all or at least some of these sculpts, in addition to 12 other sculpts (pictured lower in this post), were also released in a super soft, stretchy rubber. To make things even more complicated, I have also seen figures in a harder plastic.
  • TIMELINE:  The timeline around when these different kinds of figures released is muddy. I believe that the initial 12 soft plastic figures came out in 1984, and that the stretchy versions--including the 12 new sculpts--were released around 1986.
  • PACKAGING:  Musclemania figures seem to have been sold in both 12-packs and 4-packs. Based on what I've seen online over the years, I believe 4-packs and 12-packs were released in 1986 and contained the 12 "new" sculpts plus the previous 12 sculpts in stretchy rubber. I remember getting some of the 4-packs as a kid at Toys R Us in the late '80s. In my research, I still have not found out how the earlier, 1984 soft plastic figures were released. To my knowledge there hasn't been a packaging photo for the earlier figures found online. 
  • SCULPTS:  Some of the figures look like they were sculpted to originally hold weapons, suggesting the theme might not have originally been wrestlers. Perhaps they were meant to be fantasy/space-themed toys, and then Select changed course to make them wrestlers to get in on a growing interest in wrestling among kids?
  • COLORS:  The firmer figures seem to have been released in red, light blue, yellow, green, and translucent green. I'm not sure exactly how the trans green factored into assortments, but figures in that color seem to be more uncommon than the others. The stretchy figures came in light flesh, green, blue, and red. 
So all these years later there are still many unanswered questions with Musclemania. It's a bit of a mystery, which probably adds to its appeal.

Here's a closer look at what I consider to be the 12 initial sculpts. My favorites are the stranger, more monstrous guys, like the fish dude and gator/lizard-like dude. Note that two of the green figures are standard green and one is the translucent green.


And shown below are four of the 12 additional sculpts, in the stretchy rubber. These later sculpts have a distinct difference in design from the first 12. They were clearly designed to be more normal-looking wrestlers, eliminating the monster/space-like attributes that some of the first 12 figures have. This further supports the theory that the 12 first figures were originally planned to have a different theme, and that the 12 additional sculpts came later, after the wrestling theme had already been established and sold via the initial figures.


A curiosity that popped up recently is a set of Korean Musclemania figures in bright, transparent colors. These are assumed to be bootlegs, but I don't think much is known about them aside from the fact that the seller who discovered them bought them in large bunches in a plain plastic bags. The clear colors are yellow, pink, purple, and blue, and green (green is not pictured here). Only the 12 later sculpts are included, but the material is very close to that of the 1984 figures--soft plastic, not squishy rubber. I am glad to have these 12 sculpts in this firmer material, because the official, stretchy versions can melt/degrade with time.


And there we have it. There's quite a bit to talk about with Musclemania, considering its such an obscure line. For more coverage and photos, be sure to check out the great articles on University of MUSCLE and MinifiguresXD.

What do you think of these guys? Do you remember seeing them back in the day, or do you collect them now? Do you know anything more about them than what I covered here?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 10/9/16 to 10/24/16


Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

1. Leo the Lifeless from SLUG Zombies
2. #158 from MUSCLE
3. Brontosaurus from Hardees Dinosaur in My Pocket premiums 
4. Pustulus from Cosmix
5. Kaiju from Canfull of Monsters  
6. Wrestler from Musclemania
7. Demon from Big Bucket of Monsters
8. Altair 2 ship from Diener Space Raiders
9. Zoids bootleg figure
10. Earl from Neclos Fortress
11. D Jay from Garbage Pail Kids Minikins
12. Spitball Louie from Weird Ball Collectums
13. Yen from Mini Boglins
14. Maggotgagger from Gorelords
15. Gak creature from Gak Vac
16. Bat monster from Halloween Coffin Surprise

Friday, October 14, 2016

Monster in My Pocket: Series 4 (Super Scary)


Super Scary pamphlet showing all 24 monsters
In 1992, Matchbox released the 4th series of Monster in My Pocket, the "Super Scary" set. To most kids who collected MIMP back in the day, it would have seemed like the third series, since the actual Series 3 just had a partial, limited, low-key release in the U.S. as Big Boy kids meal premiums and in Canada as cereal premiums.

The Super Scaries seemed to come out of nowhere. Unlike Series 2, which I had known about as a kid but never actually was able to find in my area, the first time I became aware of Series 4 is when I saw it in Toys R Us. Being such a huge MIMP fan I had to have them, but I immediately noticed they looked different from previous series.

These monsters were a bit larger, had painted details and some of them glowed in the dark. Obviously Matchbox were trying new tricks in an attempt to keep MIMP marketable and make the line more exciting to kids. Unfortunately it didn't seem to work and the franchise sort of fizzled out after this, at least in the U.S. (in the U.K, where MIMP was always more popular, it continued for a few more offshoot series like Wrestlers, Aliens and Super Creepies).


Series 4 is made up of 24 monsters, numbers 97 through 120 of the line. They range from 50 to 100 points. The series was sold in 6-packs (where only a couple monsters were visible) and 12-packs (where all the monsters were visible). Each pack contained a pamphlet providing details on each monster, as with Series 1 and 2. The pamphlet starts off with the text:

Here they are - the wildest, scariest, most outrageous collection of real monsters ever assembled! And every single one of them is worth at least 50 points, with 6 rare glow-in-the-dark 100 pt. value monsters included, more than even the highest value monsters in either series 1 or 2. You know why? Because every one of these monsters is a big, bad, super scary dude. Put these guys in your pocket - and scare the pants off your friends!

For its general release, most of the monsters came in 2 different color schemes, with the base rubber colors being neon green, neon yellow, neon red and neon purple, plus glow yellow and glow green for the 100-point monsters. Each figure had different colored painted details depending on its base rubber color.

I always thought the Super Scary set contained some really cool sculpts, like the 100-pointers, Jenny Greenteeth and Creature From the Closet, to name a few, but I've found the random painted details to look kind of odd--even as a kid. Matchbox was trying to make them look cooler, but to me it sort of had the opposite effect.

It wasn't until much later, as an adult, that I discovered some Super Scaries were actually made in unpainted versions. Ten of them, to be exact: Thunderdell, Yama, Astaroth, Lamia, Creature From the Closet, Jenny Greenteeth, Drude, Alu, Fachen, and Wurdulac. As far as I know, these versions were only available as premiums in the U.K. Here's the whole mono gang:


And here's a comparison shot of some of the basic painted versions with their mono counterparts. Which ones do you prefer?


Overall, Series 4 was a fun addition to the MIMP line, but to me it doesn't match the greatness of Series 1-3. It's too bad all 24 figures weren't made in monochromatic colors, and in a size that matched the first few series. If that had been the case, I think they'd be considered much more essential among MIMP collectors.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the Super Scaries?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 9/23/16 to 10/8/16


Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

1. Tarantula from Neclos Fortress
2. Evil-Lyn from Masters of the Universe MUSCLE
3. Musclemania bootleg figure
4. Magical King Granzort capsule machine bootleg
5. Ghoul from Monster in My Pocket
6. King Joe from Ultraman 'Great Monster the 30' set
7. Space Warrior from Warriors of the Galaxy playset
8. Gigantor from Cosmix (Kinnikuman/MUSCLE bootleg)
9. Overlord from Blackstar mini figures
10. Dinosaur from dinosaur counters set
11. Zombie dog from Big Bucket of Zombies
12. Spy Goggles mutant from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
13. Caveman from Tim Mee Cavemen set
14. Monster from Holy War Bakuryu keshi
15. Boxer from Top Toupie Pull Spin Battle
16. Mord from Mini Boglins