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September 18, 2009

Catalogue shopping

Filed under: 13 movie, collecting, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 2:07 am

This is the story of why I still sometimes find the love for eBay.

One of the collections I hoard and covet are company toy catalogues that are released by companies like Mattel, Hasbro and ToyBiz, to entice merchants to buy their stuff to stock their shelves. The pictures are usually phenomenal and you get a real sense of the marketing push behind each and every product line. Even better, you get to see a lot of prototypes and unreleased toys that just didn’t make it out to the shelves for one reason or another. Along with Star Wars Droids and the unreleased Super Powers Darkseid Tower of Darkness, there have been a number of Transformers that fall into this category, including the original planned releases of what became Scorponok and Polar Claw from the Beast Wars years and a number of Generation 2 planned repaints like Soundwave, Jazz, Sergeant Hound and General Optimus (which frankly could have worked if Hound had been the dozer and in the greens reserved for Prime), and Megatron ATB. Another is the aborted Wonder Woman and the Star Riders which Mattel pitched in 1992.

Anyway, I’ve been picking up catalogs for decades now, starting when I worked as a box boy at the local variety store back home, and rescued the toy catalogs each spring. Ten years ago this summer, I found a great collection of mid-1990s Hasbro catalogs through eBay, which started me down this particular hoarding path anew. And in the years since, I’ve picked them up here and there when the shipping and the pricing is good. So while I haven’t gone overboard and bought some of the truly expensive and rarer ones (1970s Megos and Star Wars-era Kenner), I have a really solid collection.

In fact, right now, Perulator is holding an order for seven Mattel catalogs from 1990 to 1996, a few of which I have but the offer of which I could not pass up because of the  bulk saving on postage and overall price.

If eBay is good for one thing, it is letting you know when items meeting a basic description come up for sale. But I have my reminders sent to my hotmail account and I don’t check it frequently, so I frequently find neat offers after the fact. So you can imagine my surprise very early Wednesday morning when I learned that someone had offers for Hasbro catalogs from 1996 to 2001 starting at a penny a piece. Wow! A lot of times you get exorbitant starting bids or “buy it now” on eBay and catalogs are no exception. But sometimes you get lucky and this was lucky. So I clicked the links and raced over.

Only to find the auctions closed. As Max Short might say, “I missed it by this much”. 30 minutes in my case.

For me, the biggest hassle with eBay is shipping. A lot of people can’t be bothered to ship to Canada. Others try and use shipping and handling practices to cover the expense of PayPal and eBay. So the five dollar 1996 Mattel catalog I bought as a one-off ends up costing $20 after the shipping. So finding almost a dozen catalogs, a number of which I need (because I am not above buying doubles to fill out the collection and use in future trades) in one spot is an amazing thing. And missing the chance to bid is very disappointing. But it gets worse because, among the half dozen catalogs that I need from this collection, are a number of pre-toyfair catalogues, slimmer volumes that are released in advance of the annual toy show in New York. Pre-toyfair catalogues are harder to find. While they frequently pitch a smaller assortment of the upcoming years toys, they are also a way of testing the waters to see if there is interest from merchants in a particular product line. If there is insufficient pick-up, the line will die a quick death before the main offering is underway at Toyfair. Jem, Battle Beasts, and Air Raiders have all had offerings made in the pre-Toyfair catalogue that were dropped as a result of this situation. So pretty cool stuff.

What to do, what to do.

Taking matters into my own hands, I email the seller and offer him $10 per catalogue (total $110). Yes, I might be able to get them for less individually but it will take time and any savings will be negated by shipping costs. And I’d totally pay $10 at a toy show for similar items, so why not try my luck at swaying him with a big price tag at the front end. It worked. The seller was disappointed by the inaction on the catalogues and pulled the auction, but agreed to put up a special “buy-it-now” for me to take advantage of the collection. Fearful of eBay’s wrath and/or to protect himself through eBay’s policies, he wanted to do it officially through the website as oppose to informally. So after much nervousness that some delay at my end would allow another collector to swoop in and take the collection for themselves, I was able to find the auction this morning and seal the deal. The result? I have an uninterrupted Hasbro collection that spans from 1987 to 2001, including eight pre-Toyfair catalogues. Add to my run on Mattel catalogs from 1988 to 1996, and Kenner run from 1986 to 1992 (minus 1988), the collection is pretty impressive.

And I have plans. Terrible, terrible plans. :)

Now to round out some of those other titles. ToyBiz? LJN? I’m looking at you.

August 24, 2009

Scowl (08-24-09)

Filed under: 01 generation one, TF365, nostalgia — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:24 am

Transformer of the Day for August 24, 2009

SCOWL

-Faction: Decepticon (Monster Pretender)
-Era: Generation One (1984-1992)
-Function: Sonic Saboteur
-Motto: 
Control Sound, and the Faintest Whisper can be the Fiercest Weapon
-Notable Toy: Basic (Hasbro, 1990)

Notes: Scowl is the Soundwave to Icepick’s Megatron. And yet I’ll always remember him from the Transformer sale at the Stedman’s in Weymouth that was a sign of its implosion in the face of the retail blitzkreig undertaken by the Weymouth Variety Store. It might not be Wal-Mart versus K-Mart or Target, but in a wee Atlantic Canadian town, it was just as epic. And blue monsters are cool!

August 18, 2009

Destro and the Baroness Practicing the Clarinet

Filed under: nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 6:53 pm

Is it a leering Henry Rollins as Duke? Julianna Moore as Scarlett? Or Zartan wonder who is the real me? I don’t know. But the Ballad of G.I.Joe? I love this short.

No, Duke, don’t go!

August 6, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Filed under: Uncategorized, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:36 am

Tamantha. May 5, 1996 - August 5, 2009. You were my Tuna, my real Tuna. We miss you so much.

Tamantha. May 5, 1996 - August 5, 2009. You were my Tuna, my real Tuna. We miss you so much.

July 11, 2009

The 800 pound (comic book) gorilla in the room

Filed under: collecting, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:09 pm

I hate chaos. Disorganization actually makes me depressed, while a clean environment actually makes me feel like I can better function in the world.

Unfortunately, I am not just a collector, but also a pack rat and a hoarder.

What does this mean? It means I save everything. No kidding. Among the oddities in the basement are all the pickling jars and ice cream containers one can imagine. I have three boxes in the basement of Transformers printed material alone - no doubt useful for archives whenever I get around to actually making an archive. And I save the plastic shells of toys until the day they can be recycled (fortunately Loblaws is now taking the plastic bag returns so I can save them AND dump them, so here’s hoping the City of Ottawa does the same on hard plastic soon!) And my workshop is a collection of all kinds of parts and bits that I am just sure will be useful one day.

Now this doesn’t actually bother me. I frequently find uses for things years after I acquire them and am immensely pleased with the prospect of not wasting so much. It’s no coincidence that our garbage output is fairly minimal, due to a combination of holding back and recycling anything that moves.

And I have literally boxes of toys that have been acquired from this yard sale or that value village trek. The trouble is that it inevitably leads to disorganization because I can’t find a spot for something or things overtake a nice clean part of the house and need to be dealt with.

The ensuing chaos drives me crazy. Which brings me to comics.

Because of the toy obsession in the last few years, I’ve not really done everything I can with my continually-growing comic collection. And I’ve also failed to par it back. It means there are literally boxes of unread comics, either picked up at full price or from stores at discount. This is besides the three and a half full legal size filing cabinets that is suppose to represent the organized collection. They are competing for space with the toys and it is suffocating. So this weekend, I’ve tried to begin to thin the collection.

Now I’ve done this before, but it was mostly a Marvel purge. This is a DC purge, and for a DC boy, that’s a hard thing.

Given the difficulties I have actually getting rid of stuff (particularly when I don’t believe - like I do with 80% of my comics - that no one will love them), I’m making it easy for me. If I have to give the particular issue a second thought, it stays. No questions asked. So the full runs of Firestorm and Dr. Fate stay, as do the runs of early 1990s Batman and Detective Comics that I acquired every month from the Weymouth Drug Store and which made up the bulk of my early collection.  But filler issues, issues that I’ve picked up because I wanted to catch them all as oppose to trying to get a particular storyline? Gone.  Goodbye Justice League Quarterly, au revour to the mistake that was No Man’s Land (really now, how odious is it to take a massive seven series crossover, and then set up mini-series within the series that cross over all the other books, making it impossible to read?)

Having only done a surface purge - basically I went into the half size filing cabinet where I kept the recently purchased, but vintage comics that I would “get around to reading someday” five to ten years ago and pulled out handfuls - I’m now hitting the filing cabinets themselves and thinning. And yes, I’m still hanging onto more than I should (particularly given the fact that trades are so much more handy to hold onto). But progress is being made and a two foot pile of comics is already waiting to be surrendered.

This brings me to three unique challenges.

First, there is the matter of greater organization that needs to take place. The comics are literally everywhere. I’ve already decided to integrate all those loose, rainy day reading issues into the main collection to cut down on loose comic boxes. But there are more problems than that. It’s been a decade since I actually wrote down what I have. The last time I did a full-on collection review, I had one filing cabinet of comics. So the list is old, and going through each drawer and each comic lets me update a list of sorts. Good for insurance and for finding out where I actually have holes too but it takes time, precious time.

Second, a lot of the comics are in bags from the early nineties and the plastic bags are breaking down. It’s probably already too late for me to be replacing the plastic bags, but I figure if the issues are worth holding onto, they are worth the effort of re-bagging. So I am re-bagging the worst offenders and keeping track of where I need to go back later. Because I only have 400 bags available to me without returning to the store. (Like I said as well, I’m glad Loblaws is taking back plastic bags these days for recycling…)

Third, and this is a biggie, I am looking to reintegrate the collection. When I set up my very first spreadsheet list of comics in the late 1990s, I went overboard on detail - issue, sub-plot title, “condition”, price, value, etc.) The software couldn’t handle the amount of information, so, to get around this, I split the collection into DC and everything else. I did this for the software and in the collection itself and the divide has remained permanent. But it is a divide that doesn’t make sense so I’m going to try reintegrating everything.

So basically I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Hurray!

Last thought. What do I do with the purged comics? They have no real value - the comics in questions are mostly twenty-five cent fillers that you find at any convention. But I don’t want to hang on to them to sell. I want them gone and out of my head. I’d like some coin for them but I’d be happy if someone would take them for charity. I may break down and give them to the Book Market, an Ottawa store that sells used books, where comics go to die (because they are never in bags) and where you at least get a shiny nickle per book. That will hurt but it would be something. But I wonder if the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario would be interested in them…

I can’t wait to this with the toys later in the year. Sigh.

July 4, 2009

Times Past: The Captain’s Back!

Filed under: nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 6:14 pm

Membership has its privileges

Membership has its privileges

Though you’d be hard pressed to realize it, given my penchance for Transformer rants and after 185 Transformers of the Day (and counting), I actually have other interests that enter my geek-filled brain. Like super heroes and comic books. For the longest time, I’ve been a huge fan of patriotic heroes, those supers who literally wear their flags on their chest.

Of course, one of my favourite is Captain Canuck.

Before Transformers, comic book stores, collectibles, cartoons-as-toy-advertising and mass marketing, back when I was a wee lad happy to have a few bits of Micronauts with which to play and a couple of comics in my collection. Though I have thousands of the suckers now, lying dormant in filing cabinets testing the fortitude of the floor, I probably had about a dozen comics in my entire collection during the time.

Rotten potatoes and steak and fish...

One of the main reasons for this was not, in fact, my quarter allowance that required saving to get the latest 35 cent piece of paper joy. In fact, the problem was the limited distribution of comic books in Guysborough, Nova Scotia, a small town two hours north of Halifax. The one corner store was the only place that carried comic books and it only had four or five at a time. And, being a kid, I only got to the store every so often, usually when we were visiting the Macdonalds up the street.

(Now about fifteen clicks down the road there was a store that had a WHOLE RACK of comics that made my little heart flutter, to say nothing of mighty Truro, but those trips were even less frequent still.)

Clockwise from top right: elbow through explosion, a finished mystery, an unsolved crime and fool's gold

Maybe it’s because life is relatively repetitive or that kids are like sponges, or simply that there were so few toys and comics in my possession that each one was treated like the rarest and most special gem, but it is quite surprising the amount of detail my little six year old mind retained. So I can tell you for a fact that the first comic I destroyed was Micronaut #5 and that the damage was done from resting my elbow square on the cover when I fell asleep one Saturday afternoon. That the first time I ever managed to get a comic story spread across TWO ISSUES (those were the days) was the annual Justice League / Justice Society team-up in the Justice League of America #171-#172 (notable as well for the appearance of a certain Terry Sloan, whose heroics have some hand in this site). Of the frustration that came from never realizing the conclusion to the Fantastic Four / Dr. Doom fight begun in Fantastic Four #199. And that camping was made better with Hulk #241 and the discovery of a gold city that, if revealed, would have brought the gold market to ruin.

But I also remember Captain Canuck #4.

A princess, a catman and cylons too

A princess, a catman and cylon raiders too!

One day after work, my dad came home with a copy of this comic book that was neither DC nor Marvel and vividly coloured. I didn’t realize at the time that it was a Canadian publication or that it would last just fourteen issues and a special. I was just happy to have another comic book in my collection and excited by this particular one, with its hues of red and white.

I won’t lie. I didn’t get the patriotism of the gesture at the time. I didn’t even understand the story all that much. But I do remember a hero without his mask, charging into battle with no shield and a head wound. And that was enough for me.

Thirty plus years later, IDW has provided a wonderful reprinting of issues #4 through #10, in hard cover no less! And though I don’t understand the rationale of starting a collection at issue #4 when the first three issues are important to the ongoing story, and wonder if the exclusion of the Catman backstory might be influenced by fears of another big name publisher, it’s still a beautiful book to add to the shelf. One that stands out in fact because of the care taken in recolouring the art and assembling the interior. Reading the forward alone, about how creator Richard

Reborn!

Reborn!

Comely painstaking scanned the original art from the Library and Archives Canada building just over the waterway in Gatineau, Quebec… I mean who knew the country cared so much about the comic book to feel justified in holding onto such a treasure…

Anyway, for the sake of national pride, we’ll overlook for now the fact that it took a U.S. publisher to bring us a Canadian superhero on pages printed in Korea. No irony there I’m sure. Check out the cover gallery here, and last year’s Canada Day munny here.

June 12, 2009

Prime Target (or How I Came to Fear “Revenge of the Fallen”)

Filed under: Toys, Transformers, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:11 pm

ROTF Megatron Versus ROTF Optimus: Only Transformers could make me want to buy a Slurpee from 7-11.

ROTF Megatron Versus ROTF Optimus: Only Transformers could make me want to buy a Slurpee from 7-11.

I remain terrified about the upcoming theatrical release for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Not because I’m a purist who can’t get behind a different interpretation but because of what I fear passes for humour these days.

The first movie can be broken down into a three act play. The first act - an invasion of very scary robots - I can, and did, get behind. Very scary robots equals very freakin’ cool. The third act - good versus evil with big giant robots that smash building and ping humans - is more than satisfying. Even the goofy lines I can overlook for effects and the dialogue that works.

It’s the second act I continue to have issues with. A series of “humourous” set-ups and lines involving urinating (sorry - “lubricating”), masturbation and “my bad!” (the worst line in the world in my view!) - well, in the words of Bill Shatner and Henry Rollins, I can’t get behind that!

PVC Optimus and ROTF Prime: Prime is clearly calling Wheeljack for a special stand for his descendent.

PVC Optimus and ROTF Prime: Prime is clearly calling Wheeljack for a special stand for his descendant.

As plasticcrack.com illustrated earlier today, with a preview of a sequence featuring ROTF Wheelie, there are parts of the sequel that are aiming for the same vein. My worst fear is that they will overwhelm anything remotely satisfying about the film. And while I may be tired of hearing, in response to any expressed interest in Transformers, “so you must be excited about the new movie” (mainly because I cannot parse the sentiment expressed here into the 15 second response they are expecting), I am excited about the movie. Or I should say I WANT to be excited for this film. I want it to be great! or at least watchable. I want to WANT to see it a second time, and a fifth for good measure. I don’t want “so you must be excited about the new movie” to be replaced with “man, that movie sucked!” followed by pointed laughter. (This concern by the way ultimately makes me really happy right now that I am not a G.I.Joe fanatic given recent rumours there.)

ROTF Megatron versus G1 Megatron: Autobot Leaders have the Matrix; Decepticon Leaders get the Laserbeak.

ROTF Megatron versus PVC Megatron: Autobot Leaders have the Matrix; Decepticon Leaders get the Laserbeak.

It’s not that I want or need the acceptance of others on this. Or that I even want or need Transformers to be Citizen Kane. I just want to enjoy a movie about transforming robots that will not make me feel like an idiot for continuing to invest time and energy into this hobby.

And, being a mark for the marketers, I also don’t want to have to turn down cool marketing (dammit!) because I know I’ll regret having multiple copies of the inevitable DVD release on my shelf. (Disclaimer: I have five copies of the first movie in my collection: the FutureShop Autobot Steelbook, the two-pack edition from the evil store featuring the animated prequel with Peter Cullen (thanks Shannon!), the transforming Optimus Prime edition (copies of which were shared with other robot fans), the more recently released transforming Megatron edition, and the long-sought after, eBay-acquired U.S. Best Buy Robot Heroes edition with Optimus and Cliffjumper movie heroes, so I know my natural susceptibility to corporate manipulation).

ROTF The Fallen versus PVC Overlord: No more bright colours for you.

ROTF The Fallen versus PVC Overlord: No more bright colours for you.

Fundamentally, I like tie-ins, and, while they overwhelm my home, I like the excitement of bring home new plastic (even if the off-gassing is surely going to kill me…) Which brings me, in a round-about way, to what was suppose to be the topic of this post. On the way home from work tonight, I stopped in at the 7-11 to discover their latest promotional tie-in to “Revenge of the Fallen.” In this case, it is the availability of small 3″ plastic renditions of Optimus Prime, Megatron, the Fallen and Bumblebee that are attached to plastic Slurpee straws and can be purchased for CDN$1.99 each, as well as reusable Transformers cups of Optimus, Megatron, Ravage and Bumblebee that, with Slurpee beverage, can be brought home for $2.29.

Sharing a drink with my new Botcon friend: Dignity? What dignity?

Sharing a drink with my new Botcon friend: Dignity? What dignity?

I gotta say that I’m quite impressed with the figures. Although they lack the limited articulation and posture of the more expensive Transformers SCF / Heroes of Cybertron that were available in the early part of the decade, they look like they should be a natural extension of the line. And I was especially pleased to pick up Optimus, Megatron and the Fallen without the purchase of separate Slurpees. The only character they didn’t have - Bumblebee - will clearly require a stop at another 7-11 later tonight.

Anyway, suffice to say that I’m already being drawn in by promotions for the movie in some cases. I just hope that Revenge of the Fallen, just two short weeks away, lets me maintain my dignity. Or at least what passes for dignity in my house these days.

April 21, 2009

Pictures from the Ottawa Spring Garage Sale

Filed under: Toys, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 12:39 am

So I have a successful sale at Saturday evenings Ottawa Munny show and I quickly turn around and put some of the proceeds back into collectibles and supplies at the Ottawa Spring Garage Sale (which I had neglected to remember starting on Saturday and which, despite being basically a junk sale, can be a great place to find parts, some comics, records, and the occasional surprise.) Here is a summary of events.

Let’s Get to the Good Stuff!

Four Cobras and A Joe for 15 bucks

Four Cobras and A Joe for 15 bucks

Walking in the door to the event, I always follow the same pattern. Turn hard right and quickly browse until I find a colourful table. In my experience, if I am going to find some interesting toys, it’s around this first bend and today was no disappointment.

Pretty much the first table included old toys. But it was also one of the reasons I hate this kind of sale. Thanks to eBay, everyone thinks their kinds stuff is gold, and seem surprised when you don’t agree. So while I love checking out nostalgia from my childhood like reasonably well-loved and dusty 30 year old Fisher Price accessories, I really don’t care to be told that the jet I was putting back because $10 was too much on yet another unnecessary modification whim (Cobra raptor in my head) was well worth the price because it was an original.

Lady, I can not only read but find the manufacturers date. I know the age of this item probably better than you. And I still don’t want it.

The Three Types of Yard Sale Dealers

A $2.50 bag of grey lego. And a certain kitty for a work colleague.

A $2.50 bag of grey lego. And a certain kitty for a work colleague.

Actually, in my experience at these kinds of events there are exactly three types of people. The first type are the closers. They are the ones who are cleaning out an attic or a basement and just want to be rid of the stuff. They may or may not have prices on things, but are eager to get rid of whatever might hold your interest for half a minute, and so will meet your gaze with a mark-down. The promptness of the markdown increases as the event wears on and s/he is faced with the prospect of returning the items to whence they came. They can be somewhat insistent and may chase after you if you don’t pull away fast enough, but if they have good stuff, you can get it for a song.

The second type are the chuckles. They are often somewhere between type one and type three, and are more likely to be seen at a free event or a yard sale. They’re the type that, seeing a community event or receiving an invitation from a friend, went through the basement to find a few (or many) things for sale. They really don’t care either way. If they sell the item at the price they want, they’re happy. And though they might make you a deal, they’re just as likely to turn around and figure it’s worth at least that much in their own basement gathering dust. I like the chuckles. They are usually quite reasonable people and usually good for a story about how they came to have a particular item. Frequently come with homemade cookies and kids selling their toys.

Galidor and Disney McDonald's toys for 50 cents each. They'll soon be part of the munny.

Galidor and Disney McDonald

The last group is the eBay pirates. Thanks to the power of the internet, they believe every piece of crap in their garage is unique, no matter the age, wear or condition, and they want top dollar as a result. They are more than willing to hold onto these pieces, but not before berating you, the customer, for not knowing what a grand deal you are passing up. I’ve been in situations where I’m literally beat over the head by the pirate over an item that I’ve clearly taken a pass on for whatever reason, because clearly I don’t get the value, only to walk across the street and get the same item from a chuckle with a shrug and a smile. The trouble of course is that most of the time they don’t know themselves, which causes no end of trouble when the pirate actually HAS something of interest. Nothing worse than the pirate with an interesting but worthless piece of nostalgia but who is convinced it is worth a fortune. Frequently selling badly worn common back issue comics books for $2 each.

Clearly I was in pirate bay.

A horse for the body banks, a Spittor and Tasha Yar for the sales site, a fisher-price camera for the Chloe bear, and a Policeman Pete for me!

A horse for the body banks, a Spittor and Tasha Yar for the sales site, a fisher-price camera for the Chloe bear, and a Policeman Pete for me!

If the woman in question had been reasonable in her tone, I might have considered bartering. I can be a sucker for nostalgia when I find the right things, and I really liked the jet which was in impeccable loose condition and perfect for the GIJoe shelf. They had other items too, notably an old bulldozer with real treads that I once had and used, when the plow broke, as the first Cobra tank in the days before the H.I.S.S. (and frankly should have picked up in hindsight at $5 for the rubber treads for possible frankenFormers.) But that attitude drives me crazy.

Anyway, she did have some GIJoes, many of whom were again in surprising good condition, including a H.I.S.S. driver that is in perfect condition for modification (i.e., not-so-worn-as-to-be-broken-but-worn-enough-that-guilt-does-not-set-in) for a H.I.S.S. that I hope to finally get to working on. But like a pirate, she didn’t know what she had. Looking at an original Grunt backpack, a Dial-Tone rifle, and what could either be Stalker’s rifle or the equivalent that came with the Tactical Battle Platform (Joe fans can tell by the shade of grey… seriously…), lying loose in the shoe box, I simply did what any self-respecting toy person would.

A pony for customing and the bitty bits that inevitably come from mixed bags.

A pony for customing and the bitty bits that inevitably come from mixed bags.

I put the accessories on the figures I wanted, got my price quote, paid politely and tucked everything away.

It was in the tucking though that things almost got interesting. You see, I have an original Star Wars Dewback. Loose, no saddle, decent shape and one of the few original toys of which I am interested (Stormtrooper Carrier, Death Star, At-At and Snowspeeder being the others). It would be cool to have a Stormtrooper but $3 cool, not $5 cool, particularly from a pirate. Her reaction can be expected: “well, Stormtroopers are so hard to find.”

So is three bucks lady. Mine is walking away.

Transaction for Joes complete, she deals out the money among her mom and dad for whom she is pirating, and doesn’t see me put the Stormtrooper back where I found it. Leaving, she stopped me on the way out of the area. “Did you,” she said uncertain as to what to say next and what my reaction might be, “did you… um… accidently put the Stormtrooper… in with the other figures in your bag.”

The Terriphant. Or something suitably Micro-bashed. When I find time.

The Terriphant. Or something suitably Micro-bashed. When I find time.

First badgered and now practically accused of shoplifting a thirty year old fair condition Stormtrooper. Oh, the humanity. If I had any dignity I might be offended. But I am a thirty something adult male in a Transformers jacket leaving with 25 year old GIJoe figures. Really, her discomfort and uncertainty makes her feel worse than I.

I simply and politely point to the Star Wars figure tray, indicate it was returned to its original spot, and casually go along my way. The good corner is coming.

The Good Corner

The Good Corner ™ is simply the end of the second row, which, because of my pattern, I deliberately hit quickly. Two women, one of whom is taken by Kinder eggs surprises, have a table there for each event. More closers than chuckles, they seem to have picked up a bunch of stuff somehow and are happy for a sale. And midway through day two, you can get a deal if they have something.

Can't have too many Guardians!

Can't have too many Guardians!

I have a soft spot for the Kinder lady, since the first time I stopped at her table and, upon finding a box of assorted Beast Wars bits, sold me the entire contents for $7. She was nice about it, I was happy for it (occasionally using them for parts and trades) and it was a good find (pat. pend.) As such I always feel bad leaving empty handed. It was here that Hello Kitty, Calidor and the Disney former (whom I contemplated getting as recently as the day before at $2 at ValueVillage for use as a Silverbolt munny) were had for fifty cents each. The lego and a few other little things came from here too.

And the Rest

The Ottawa Spring Garage Sale should not be confused with the Columbus, Ohio, Toy Show. That event has lots of newish toys, relatively clean

One of these days I'll open one with the actual ball inside...

One of these days I actually open one of these and find the ball they are suppose to fire...

surroundings and would seriously hurt my wallet. This is really a glorified flea market that always makes me feel dusty and question my dedication to toys and parts that I can get more readily online. But I like flea markets, in spite of myself, and a sale I can bicycle to is a winner.

At this point though, having hit the best bets for finds though, the rest of the place is hit and miss. There are usually some toy areas along the last row, and sometimes a fellow who sells all the comics he reads for a buck a pop (recent comics and willing to make a deal). But he wasn’t here, although the rest of the selection wasn’t bad. Among the overpriced and badly worn Transformers and piles of Turtles, there were horses for modifying, a Policeman Pete for my Junior Gobots collection, a classic fisher-price camera for my niece (worth it for the expression on her parents’ faces alone!). There were the things I think I can sell (Galoob Tasha Yar, a Skeletor minion) and stuff to mod (a MegaBlock magnetic elephant that reminds me of Baron Karza, and a couple Sigma Sixes). And even drill bits (18 for $5), which though I don’t need, came with super big bits that I don’t have and which can use to make bigger, more perfect holes in my upcoming projects.

Look at THAT bitty bit!

Look at THAT bitty bit!

And a belt for $5 and Kirilaw socks for $3 for a pair.

I figure I spent about $45 in total, which isn’t terrible consider the Joes were a third of the cost. My backpack is full and I’ve seen the outdoors. I have stories to tell and crap for projects that will take me into 2187.

Really, what more could I ask for out of a hour of my Sunday?

March 4, 2009

Kid Terrific

Filed under: Toys, custom, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:47 am

Wanted to introduce a project I’ve been working on for some time, Kid Terrific!

A little back story. Being into cutesy toys, I have a fondness for the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and Superfriends line of toys. Being a big fan of Mr. Terrific, I thought it would be really cool to make a kiddie version using the Friends line.

Originally, I envisioned him cut from the base Captain America figure that came with the 2002 Rescue Motorcycle, because that Cap had a cool motorcycle jacket that seemed particularly moulded for Terry Sloan. And unlike the standard version, Cop Cap didn’t have big gloves to worry about. He seemed so right that I bought the set on closeout at Winners around 2005 and have kept it mint in package on my work table ever since.

Being a fan of flag-bearing heroes, I had the original version of Cap too, buried in a box and similiarly MOC. But last fall I stumbled upon a loose one at Value Village and realized how good he was. The boots! The cowl! With minor alterations like a collar and filling in the stars and stripes (and ditching the wings of course!) he could work well.

Honestly, the gloves drove me nuts for awhile because they were just too big to cut back. Too late I saw a pic of Terry from Sensational Comics #1 with gloves, albeit yellow. In hindsight I’m glad I didn’t go with yellow, but if I’d seen the picture before I painted the gloves red, I totally would have followed that interpretation. And because the gloves are painted (and not flesh tone) I can leave the original skin pigment under the cowl untouched.

In any case, the gloves have grown on me. And yes, the logo is etched into his chest. Once again, one more unofficial Mr. Terrific to fill the void left by DC. Terry forsaken.

(And don’t think I’m not thinking about getting Michael in on the action… Just looking for the right figure…)

February 25, 2009

Hey! Isn’t he dead?

Filed under: Transformers, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:33 am

Just a little random weirdness. From Carnage in C-Minor (from Transformers, Series 3), I present a reanimated Huffer and Brawn, fighting alongside the Constructicons.

I can’t make this stuff up.

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