Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tarzan (Mattel)


A big problem occurred in toy isles when Kenner found massive success with Star Wars merchandise. What happened was that every toy company out there jumped at everything movie and television based in a desperate attempt to find the kind of success that sent Kenner laughing to the bank daily. As such, the market was flooded with all sort of television and movie based toys - Most of which were huge duds.

1978 wasn't going so smoothly for Mattel. They were already taking loses on their failing "TV" based toys, and it appeared that Tarzan would quickly become another license that wasn't going to blow children's minds.

The entire line (as well as several others being churned out by Mattel during the late 70's) was done so by utilizing parts from their most successful European series of the time, Big Jim. Everything got a fresh coat of paint, a new name, and of course, new packaging. As a result, these days many collectors of Big Jim seek the toys out as a sort of sub series collection.

***FUN FACT***

Look closely at the Jungle Cat in the packaging below. Does he look familiar? If you're a He-Man fan, he should. This "figure" was reused again in the 80's when Mattel released Battle Cat and Panthor for the massively popular Masters of the Universe line. The sculpt was first used in the Big Jim series for the Big Jim on the Tiger Trail set.

Tarzan with Jungle Cat

Tarzan with Giant Ape

These days the Tarzan line is difficult to track down. Complete sets are rare, and mint in package pieces appear to be almost non-existent. Evolution wise, these items are great collection pieces if for anything to show the history/evolution from Big Jim to Tarzan to Masters of the Universe.

Join us next time when we take a look at G.I. Joe: Retaliation!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Mighty Muggs - G.I. Joe (Hasbro)

Mighty Muggs - G.I. Joe

Ah, the Mighty Mugg. It's the ship that made the Kessel run in...No, wait, that was something else.

Much like it's biggest competition, the Funko Pop, there is a special place in collector's hearts for this over exaggerated, tiny plastic caricatures of some of today's most highly recognizable pop culture characters. Several iterations of series have come and gone over the years from Star Wars to Transformers, the massive waves based on Marvel Comic characters, and others. Today, we're taking a look at the very small, but incredibly fun G.I. Joe line.

The Joe line leapt out of the starting gate with a great lineup of Muggs. We of course got the two opposing leaders, Cobra Commander and Duke, as well as the rivaling duo of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. The first wave took off among collectors who swooped them up.

Cobra Commander


Snake Eyes

Storm Shadow
Sadly, the second series of Muggs didn't strike with the same hot iron as the first series. Despite the wave offering two additional great "figures" to the line up, Destro and Baroness, it seemed as if collector's took a step back and asked, "Is that it?"



As a result of the lack of sales, Hasbro cancelled their third series of Joe based Muggs which would have included Serpentor, Cobra Trooper, Shipwreck and Zartan. The news disappointed many fans who supported the line, and were looking forward to the series blooming well beyond six "figures".

Join us next time when we take a look at Tarzan!

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series 9 and Original Comic Book Figures (Playmates Toys)

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series 9
Playmates Toys

Ninja Turtle fans rejoice! New figures have hit store shelves, and though they're a little difficult to get your hands on them during their initial release, rest assured that they'll soon be in abundance.

The basic series contains the all new Tiger Claw and Robotic Foot Soldier, while the all new sub series includes the original comic book versions of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael.

As it has become typical in this series, most of that great detail in paint on the figures and vehicles is lacking in the actual retail versions vs. the production photos provided by Playmates Toys. We know this is something that has turned a lot of people off on the series.

Tiger Claw

Robotic Foot Soldier

We've found a variant! Hooray? Variant hunters should be on the lookout for a very subtle variant in the Robotic Foot Soldier. The emblem on the red bandana on his head has been found in both shiny silver and dull light gray. It's a minor one, but probably enough to excite some variant hunters. The bigger variant is that the silver emblem figures come on cardbacks that have the words "Interchangeable hand weapons!" Printed on the bottom left of the card. The gray ones don't have the printed text, but rather a sticker that says it. The sticker is to the left of the right leg.

Fans of the original TMNT comic book series will be excited to own these all new figures based on the comic. It's been a series that we've waited thirty years For Playmates Toys to get around to doing. Hopefully they'll continue with figures like these, bringing us all sorts of original renditions of our favorite characters.
Original Comic Book  Leonardo

Original Comic Book Michelangelo

Original Comic Book Donatello

Original Comic Book Raphael
Finally the long awaited Shell Flyer is on store shelves. This one actually hit last month, and is definitely easier to find than the figures.
In addition, the all new Hot Rod with Hot Rod Mikey was released in August of this year, but is just now being more abundantly released around the USA.

Shell Flyer

Hot Rod with Hot Rod Mikey
Fans of the RC Shellraiser will be happy to see two additional vehicles released with RC features - Leonard's RC Patrol Buggy and Raphael's RC Patrol Buggy. What's odd about these vehicles is that many websites such as Toys R' Us are advertising the Raphael buggy, but not Leonardo's.

Raphael's RC Patrol Buggy

Leonardo's RC Patrol Buggy
Last up for retail releases is the all new carry case. This particular version may be disappointing to fans as it doesn't have any slots or trays for actually holding figures. It's essentially a hollow box that you would "throw" your figures into a pile in.

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Carry Case
Variant hunters should be on the look out for the new version of the series one Foot Soldier. The original version had white eyes with red speckles. The new version has black eyes with red speckles. Below is a photo comparison of the original vs. the new release variant.

The all new SDCC exclusive black and white Raphael which was released at this year's San Diego Comic Con is one amazing figure both in detail and fan appeal. It was a great teaser for the upcoming sub series of comic book Turtles, and makes an excellent addition to any fan's collection. Of course you won't find these in stores anywhere, so ebay is going to be one of your few options for nabbing this figure now.
Happy hunting Turtle fans!
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

TV's Grizzly Adams (AKA Grizzly Adams) (Mattel)

TV's Grizzly Adams

Continuing our look at Mattel's 1978 releases, we come to a somewhat continuation of our last post a la TV's Grizzly Adams. Much like the prior discussed TV's How the West Was Won line, these particular dolls were developed utilzing the same parts and pieces (pilfered from Mattel's Eurpoean Big Jim line).

From 1977 to 1978, NBC was host to the Grizzly Adams television series which continued the adventures of the character from the 1974 film The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, which in and of itself was an adaptation of the novel of the same name. Though the series only ran for two season, concluding with the two hour theatrically release film, Once Upon a Starry Night, the show had a finite ending in 1982 with the made for TV film, The Capture of Grizzly Adams.

Only two dolls were produced by Mattel; Grizzly Adams and Nakoma. A set known as Grizzly Adams and Ben is listed on the back of the packaging, but to date we have not seen any proof of the item existing. If you have a mint in package one that you could share some good photos of, we'd love to add it to our post. Please send the photos to We will credit whoever sends them in this post. Thanks!

Grizzly Adams


Join us next time when we take a look at Mighty Muggs - G.I. Joe!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

TV's How The West Was Won (AKA How The West Was Won) (Mattel)

TV's How The West Was Won

It was important for Mattel to add the disclaimer (of sorts) in the for of, "TV's" to the title How the West Was Won because they were eager to not only capitalize on the popularity of the western series, but also distinguish it from the even more so popular film of the same name which was released in the USA in 1963. Granted, the television series is loosely based on the film both in overall theme and of course, the title.

Though the series saw a fair amount of success from 1976 to 1979, the dolls produced by Mattel in 1978 weren't as popular? Why? Because children were turning their heads up to the sky thanks to a little known film entitled Star Wars. Yes, the Western was quickly becoming a thing of the past as TV airways made room for more space based series such as Star Trek, Space 1999, Logan's Run, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and maybe even Mork and Mindy.

As a result, only two dolls ever made their way to store shelves; Zeb Macahan and Lone Wolf. A set known as Zeb Macahan and His Horse Dakota is listed on the back of the packaging, but to date we have not seen any proof of the item existing. If you have a mint in package one that you could share some good photos of, we'd love to add it to our post. Please send the photos to We will credit whoever sends them in this post. Thanks!

Zeb Macahan

Lone Wolf

Sadly it seems that time and secondary markets haven't been to kind to the series either. Today you can get the "figures" for between $40 and $80, depending on how good the boxes are in. Loose, you can nab them up for aronud $20. That's a far cry from what some of the Mego's garner.

Join us next time when we take a look at TV's Grizzly Adams!

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gremlins (LJN)


"Keep him out of the light. He hates bright light, especially sunlight. It'll kill him. And, keep him away from water. Don't get him wet. But, the most important rule, the rule you can never matter how much he cries, or how much he begs...never, never feed him after midnight."

Those three...nonsensical rules. Okay, fine. Keep it out of light. That could quite possibly work if the owner lived in the dark him or herself. But those other two...Never get him wet, and don't feed him after midnight? Okay, doesn't he ever have to drink? I mean, every living creature on this Earth, to and include plant life needs water to live. Once it takes a drink at the very least it's lips are going to get wet. Does it also never need to eat? Ever since the first day this planet came to be, once it hit midnight on that day it's been after midnight ever since. So, maybe is it a time frame we shouldn't be feeding our Mogwai's? Like maybe between midnight and eight AM? But, then again, what time zone? Hmm...

Gremlins was the third film by Steven Speilberg's studio, Amblin Entertainment. It was released in 1984, and touted as a horror/comedy film. Budgeted at just eleven million dollars, the film became an instant success, bringing in over one hundred million dollars in box office ticket sales.

The film starred the unknown Zach Galligan as Billy Peltzer, and the quickly up and coming Phoebe Cates as his girlfriend, Kate Beringer. The film also starred a very young Corey Feldman as Billy's much younger friend, Pete Fountaine, and Howie Mandel who provided the voice for Gizmo.

In conjunction with the film, LJN produced a variety of toys. Much like prior LJN merchandise, there was no set scheme to the series as it incorporated various sizes, and features into each piece - A common practice for the company during the 80's. Items ranged from poseable to bendable, wind-up and more.

Poseable Gizmo (Small)

Bendable Stripe (Small)

Poseable Gizmo (Large)*Poseable Stripe (Large)

Stripe and Gizmo Storage Pods

Wind-Ups Gizmo*Wind-Ups Stripe

Collectible Figures Three Pack with Gizmo, Stripe Mogwai and Stripe Gremlin

Despite it's massive instant popularity, the film wouldn't see a sequel until 1990. Though it was highly anticipated, it was poorly recieved. The film was budgeted at fifty million dollars, and only managed to recoup forty-one million in US box office sales.

As for the toys, they remained popular during the 80's, but these days don't sell to well - Especially if they're not sealed in the package, and even that's hit or miss. The larger poseable figures have sold for upwards of $40.00. The remaining pieces in the series go for a couple bucks (typically for no more than $10.00) here and there, but usually remain unsold.

Join us next time when we take a look at TV's How The West Was Won!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Magnum, P.I. (LJN)

Magnum, P.I.

Like most kids of the 80's, we didn't watch Magnum, P.I. That was one of those shows that was reserved for dad to watch as he sat in his recliner trying to stave off yet another long day at work. We'd always know when it was on because if there was one thing we did know about that show, it was the catchy guitar riff opening. We can hear the trumpets blaring in our head as we type this as the guitar jams in unison with it.

A little fun triva about the show was that Tom Selleck actually turned down the roll of Indiana Jones to take the role of Magnum. Though the series did pay off well for him during its eight season run, it's a curious what if scenario. Would Indiana Jones have spawned such a well known franchise with Selleck in the lead roll? Would Magnum, P.I. have been as successful without him?

Because the show wasn't necessarily geared towards young kids, it was sort of odd that LJN produced a series of toys for it. Much like Kenner's Knight Rider (or Knight 2000) line, this particular series of toys didn't encompass any one particular style of toys. It started with a single carded action figure, which was then also packaged in with the one and only vehicle the figure fit inside - Making the carded version pretty obsolete.

Magnum P.I.

Car and Action Figure
The series then switched gears to the smaller Rough Riders, a popular style of cars already being produced by LJN at the time. The major selling point of the cars were their side wheelie action and real working headlights.

Ferrari*Police Car
Another style of toy cars for the Magnum P.I. series was the even smaller Stunt Riders - Another popular style of car which was already being produced by LJN. These mini cars could do multiple types of wheelies as well as spin in circles, then take off in a somewhat straight line.
The back of the packaging advertises that not only was the Stunt Rider Ferrari available, but also a police car. To date we have never seen the police car version, and cannot guarantee if it even exists. If anyone has any information on this particular item, please contact us at

One of the rarest piece to come by is the Magnum P.I. Torture Trail from the Rough Riders 4X4 series.

Join us next time when we take a look at Gremlins!

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