Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 9/7/16 to 9/22/16

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. Popy mini Kinnikuman keshi
2. Troll from Oritet cave trolls set
3. Mer-Man from Panrico Masters of the Universe premiums
4. Astronaut from Galaxy Laser Team
5. Mummy from Big Bucket of Monsters
6. Gladiator from Tehnolog Gladiators set
7. Monster from Halloween Coffin Surprise (aka Cromy Club MIMP)
8. Ecto-Plazm Ghost from The Real Ghostbusters
9. '80s guitar girl from CUTIE
10. Dinosaur from Dino Brites
11. Wildkin from World of Warcraft board game
12. Diener dinosaur eraser
13. #112 from MUSCLE
14. Monster from Matutano Monstruos
15. Bog from Mini Boglins
16. Kaiju from Canfull of Monsters

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 8/22/16 to 9/6/16

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. Yet Eddie from Garbage Pail Kids Minikins
2. Tehnolog skeleton soldier
3. Lightning Ghost from The Real Ghostbusters
4. Minotaur from Top Toupie Pull Spin Battle
5. He-Man from Masters of the Universe MUSCLE
6. Brachiosaurus from Jurassic Park candy/toy eggs
7. Alien from Space War figure set
8. Panzer World Galient bootleg stamper
9. Toysmith Super Hero figure
10. Dismembered Dennis from SLUG Zombies
11. Bronto from Dinosaucers
12. Herne the Hunter from Monster in My Pocket
13. Knight from HG Toys Sword & Sorcery playset
14. Dreama from Neclos Fortress
15. Kung Fu Man capsule machine figure
16. Messenger Stick from Mini Boglins

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Masters of the Universe MUSCLE: Series 2

About a year after debuting the first series of Masters of the Universe MUSCLE ("MOTUSCLE") figures, Super7 unleashed Series 2 earlier this summer at San Diego Comic Con. The second set consists of 12 new sculpts, joining the 12 from Series 1 for a total of 24 different figures so far. The new batch includes some essential characters that were absent from the first series as well as a couple surprises. The lineup is:

- Stratos                            - Fisto
- Evil-Lyn                           - Battle Cat
- Orko                               - Stinkor
- Sorceress                       - Spikor
- Kobra Khan                     - Castle Grayskull
- He-Man (new sculpt)        - Skeletor (new sculpt)

At the time of writing this, Series 2 has been released only in exclusive colors, including yellow and green from SDCC and lavender from Nerd Block (Series 1 has also been released in all 3 of these colors). A non-exclusive release in the standard MUSCLE flesh/pink color is expected as well, but so far no release date has been given. 

The yellow and green SDCC sets came in long, flat boxes along with the 12 figures from Series 1, as a nod to the classic Kinnikuman MUSCLE 28-packs from the '80s. A very cool and nostalgic presentation!

Sculpt-wise, it's obvious the Series 2 figures were designed by a different person than whoever sculpted Series 1. Overall, the style of the designs is much more cartoonish than Series 1, with larger heads, hands, etc. This is especially noticeable when you compare Series 2 He-Man and Skeletor with Series 1 He-Man and Skeletor, which have much more realistic detail. It results in a bit of an inconsistent feel when you look at the two series side-by-side, but overall it's not that big of a deal with the majority of the sculpts. Both series are very well done, even if stylistically different. You've got to love a Grayskull mini, and the fact that He-Man 2 was sculpted to be able to ride Battle Cat!

A mix of Series 1 & Series 2 MOTUSCLE
I'm really happy with the characters chosen for Series 2. We got some major characters that were missing from the first series, like Stratos and Evil-Lyn, and other significant yet more unique-looking figures like Orko, Battle Cat and Castle Grayskull. I was pleasantly surprised to also see some characters I didn't think would make it until later series (assuming there will be), like Sorceress and Kobra Khan. Some might be disappointed to see alternate versions of He-Man and Skeletor already, but I can understand why it's important to keep including the main good guy and main bad guy in different sets -- plus, Kinnikuman-based MUSCLEs did feature multiple versions of Kinnikuman and his nemesis Buffaloman.

Series 2 debuted at the same time Super7 re-released Series 1 in multi-color 12-pack cans, which contain figures in blue, magenta, neon green, neon orange, and glow-in-the-dark white. Like the 24-pack boxes, the cans are also based on the old MUSCLE 10-pack cans for the '80s, and are awesome. I'm not sure whether the Series 2 figures will also be released this way.

I can't think of much that could be cooler than MOTU-themed MUSCLE figures, and I really hope Super7 milks this line for all it's worth and releases many more series. There are certainly enough characters in the MOTU universe to sustain MOTUSCLE for quite a while.

What about you? Have you picked up any of these new MUSCLE toys? What other denizens of Eternia would you like to see show up in future series?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dino Toys with Candy Eggs (Topps, 1988)

In the late 1980s, Topps released monochromatic mini figures in blind bags with along with packs of cheap, chalky candy. Nope, I'm not talking about Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys. I'm talking about the very obscure and seldom discussed Dino Toys with Candy Eggs!

Each pack came with a figure, checklist & candy eggs
These prehistoric plastic goodies came out in 1988, to be exact -- the same year Topps released the classic Dinosaurs Attack! trading card set. I guess they were on a dino kick that year.

Even though the Dino Toys are not nearly as popular as Topps' GPK toys that used the same "blind bag with candy" concept, they are really awesome in that old school, cheap toy sort of way. In fact, they're some of my favorite dinosaur mono minis.

Packs were sold individually and came 24 to a box, which you'd most likely find on the counter in candy, toy and hobby shops. The box features colorful artwork of a T-Rex chompin' on some candy eggs while a pterosaur tries to get in on the action. Each individual pack inside had the same artwork as the box and contained one random dino figure, a checklist showing all of the different dinosaurs available, and a pack of the eggs. From the looks of the candy, I'd imagine it tastes something like how Topps' Garbage Can-dy did, but I must admit I'm not brave enough to sample gobs of colored sugar that are coming up on 30 years old.

Now for the most important part -- the toys! There are 12 different dinosaur sculpts that could be collected. The figures range from about 1 to 2 inches tall and are made of a hard plastic reminiscent of retro plastic dinosaurs from the 1960s.

Each dinosaur came in three different colors: brown, gray and mint green. The green is by far my favorite, and the brown looks good too -- it's a nice chocolate brown that makes the details pop. The gray is a bit dull, but it does look nice when put together with the other two colors.

Here's a photo of the entire set with the checklist:

And here are some closer individual shots:

Brontosaurus, Anklyosaurus, Dimetrodon
Tyrannosaurus, Trachodon, Pterandodon
Plesiosaurus, Iguanodon, Stegosaurus
Allosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Triceratops

It's hard to pick favorites, but the Plesiosaurus is probably my top choice. I also love the sculpts that have a lot of really cool bumpy texture like the Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Anklyosaurus, and Dimetrodon. Topps did a great job of capturing the fun vibe of retro dinosaur toys from the likes of Marx, Tim Mee and MPC while adding a bit more fierceness to the sculpts.

I don't think these Topps Dinos have ever got their due among mini figure and dinosaur collectors (possibly because most don't know about them). I got only one of them when I was a kid (the green Trachodon) and don't even remember getting it, but looking at them brings such a feeling of nostalgia for the days when this kind of thing was common and could be had for under a buck.

What about you? Do you remember Topps Dino Toys with Candy Eggs from back in the day? What do you think of them?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 8/6/16 to 8/21/16

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. Bigfoot from Monster in My Pocket ('Juguete Halloween' Peru version)
2. Ruff the Ref from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
3. Oni-On kaiju Ultraman capsule bootleg
4. Dino from Matutano Dinosaurs
5. Popy mini Kinnikuman keshi
6. Fossil Freak from OMFG
7. Koschei the Deathless from Oritet Russian fairy tale creatures set
8. Skeleton pirate from Pirates playset
9. Spy Prod from Mini Boglins
10. Monstrus from Cosmix
11. ET bootleg figure
12. Madballs knockoff pencil topper 
13. Gundam bootleg pencil topper
14. Maharaja from Neclos Fortress
15. Stegosaurus from Lakeshore dinosaur counters set
16. #88 from MUSCLE

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It came from the arcade: Zoids bootleg keshi

If you grew up in the '90s and spent any time in your local arcade, you might remember these. They're tiny bootlegs of Japanese Zoids keshi that you could commonly find available behind prize counters in exchange for a few game tickets back in the day.

For anyone not up on their Zoids history, it's a franchise that began in the early 1980s featuring giant robots with various animal and dinosaur designs. Over the years it has spawned anime series, manga, video games and toys.

I remember trading a classmate something for a little green sabertooth Zoid on the playground in grade school and thinking it was totally awesome, despite the fact that it was missing a leg and that I had no idea what Zoids were, or that this little rubbery thing was supposed to be one. I also remember getting a couple more of these bootlegs back then, either at the arcade or from capsule machines (they might have been sold that way too). It would take a couple decades for me to finally find out the origins of these rubbery robo-animals and add a bunch more to my collection.

From a technical standpoint, these are not great toys. They are really cheaply-made, with lots of flashing and molding imperfections. But I'll be damned if they're not charming and lots of fun. I mean, look at that little gorilla Zoid. And that snail. And those dino-bots. So cool. Plus, if you're like me you get instant feelings of nostalgia just looking at them.

I'm guessing these bootlegs came in 12 sculpts, as shown above, although the original Japanese keshi probably had more. I'm not positive about either, though. Has anyone come across any others?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The bone brigade: plastic skeleton warriors galore

In the past I've posted about the excellent Polotoy skeleton warrior fantasy figures, but there's so many other toy solider-style skeletons out there that I figured it was time for another entry featuring some additional sets.

Why have there been so many different varieties of these bony baddies produced? Who knows, but I'm not complaining! A little little plastic reanimated skeleton holding a sword, shield, or axe never gets old.

The three sets featured below are all relatively recent releases.

Oriental Trading Co. Skeleton Warriors

First up we've got a set that has been sold (and at the time of writing this, is still being sold), in big bags by Oriental Trading Co. I love the sculpts on these guys, including how random a couple are -- like the one with wings and the one with what I think is a shell horn.

As shown on the Fantasy Toy Soldiers blog, these same sculpts were previously sold in different colors in different packaging as Skeleton Soldiers and Skull Knights.

These Oriental Trading versions are made of a pretty pliable plastic that feels nice but unfortunately leads to many of the figures getting bent while pressed together in their packaging. This can be fixed by putting them in boiling water for a few seconds immediately followed by a bath in ice cold water.

Pirates Playset red skeletons

I got these blood red beauties in a trade with Mason of the DI Treasures blog a while back, who found them at Family Dollar as part of a pirate playset tub (you can see his post on them here). Thanks again to Fantasy Toy Soliders, I learned that they seem to be bootlegs of earlier "Tomb Warrior" figures by Toy Major.

These are made of light, hard plastic. There's some fun sculpts here, including a skeleton with a hook hand and another with its mouth agape that looks to be either really happy or really angry.

Amscan Skeleton Warriors

Finally, here are some skeletons that I believe were just released for the first time last year (I could be wrong, but I had never seen them before that). I found them at Party City, where they were available around Halloween as party favors. They came in a bag of 16 with a header card that said "Skeleton Figurines" and included Amscan as the company name.

There's only four different sculpts, but they make up for it in nice detail and overall coolness. I especially like the skeleton that's holding a cleaver in one hand and another skeleton's head in the other!


And there we have it -- just a few more of the skeleton warrior sets floating around out there in the world of weird and obscure toys. Which ones are your favorites? Have you seen any other cool skeleton warrior sets to report?