Thursday, February 28, 2013

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Ram Man By Mattel

This whole Ram Man thing has been very interesting to me.

Since I started collecting the Masters of the Universe classics line, I have been reading about the customers’ desire for Ram Man. How he was critical to the line and one of the most-anticipated characters and how infuriating it was that Matty hadn’t gotten to him yet.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Facebook Nerd Suggestions - Part 2

(It occurs to me I need to update that image)

I went on Facebook the other night and asked for suggestions of nerdy things to write about. I covered the first three yesterday. Today I’ll wrap things up.

Suggestion #4 comes from The Mystery Men?’s drummer. He said I should write about surf rock. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Facebook Nerd Suggestions - Part 1

(Painting by The Belligerent Monkey
I’m sitting here at work and it’s one of those rare nights where I just don’t have anything to do. Every once in a while I get lucky and end up on a shift where all of the work just happens to not be on my shift so I press, like, two buttons all night. I have a ton of action figures lined up for review. I even had the foresight to load a few pictures onto my thumb drive so I’d not only have references but be able to remember which figures needed reviewing. All organized and stuff.
But I don’t feel like reviewing figures right now. I’ve got the New 52 Batman and Batgirl in the can. I need to go ahead and get started on Ram Man, Jitsu, and Phantom Stranger so they’ll actually get posted in the same month they were released.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Toy Review – DC Unlimited Batman By Mattel

I suppose it was inevitable that I was going to buy this figure.

Well, maybe not inevitable. If it had been priced at the twenty bucks that Mattel seemed to be moving toward when the DCUC line died I would’ve passed. But I found the new Batman Unlimited and DC Unlimited waves at Target for $15.99 and that seemed just cheap enough.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Troublemaker Casting Call: Masters of the Universe

I had to take time away from my busy 31 Days of Halloween schedule to do this. Sometimes I just feel like writing about something, and when I do I have to go with it.
I haven’t done a Troublemaker Casting post in a long time and the recent news that some guy I have never heard of is rewriting the Masters of the Universe live action movie that will never happen got my brain working. I decided I wanted to sit down and do a fantasy casting session and maybe even see if I could crank out an idea or two about a story that could realistically work as a film.
Now, the casting is who I think would be the most fun as each character. I just wanted to fill as many roles as I could for fun and then work from there.
Adam/He-Man (Jai Courtney) – Adam is a dutiful son and a good kid. He is about 18 when his real story starts. This is achieved via Captain America-esque effects. He is learning from Duncan how to strategize, use resources, and lead men. Adam is an apt pupil. The first (and only) transformation into He-Man will be somewhat similar to the Cap scenario inasmuch as he already has skills and heart. The Power Sword enhances him, but permanently. I think he’ll still be called “Adam”.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Needless Things Podcast Episode 2: New York International Toy Fair 2013

I suppose every one of these podcasts is going to include a certain amount of drama and stress. If I could just record them and then shoot them out of my computer and directly into your brains I would be extremely happy.
As I stated last time, I have no schedule for these things. If there’s something I feel like I can record a show about,. I’m going to try and do it. And I definitely felt like Toy Fair was something I could record a show about. I’ve been following Toy Fair for fifteen or so years now and providing coverage of one kind or another for maybe five. Every single year me and my toy dork buddies end up discussing the reveals at length and the obvious next step was just to record one of those conversations and then upload it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Toy Review – DC Signature Collection Platinum w/ Tin By Mattel

Finally! A DC Club Infinite Earths Signature Collection action figure that feels like the sort of thing we were told we would get!

Mostly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Greatest Show On Earth

We went to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus last Friday and – as is my wont – I am going to write about it.
I’ve never been partial to the circus. I don’t know why, but it just never appealed to me that much. I didn’t dislike the concept, I just didn’t care. I have been to several different circuses at different times throughout my life. I remember going to the above circus when I was young, but I don’t remember specifics. I don’t think it made much of an impression.

Friday, February 15, 2013

New York International Toy Fair 2013: Recap

Hold on tight, Phantomaniacs – it’s time to take a look at the results of one of the biggest events of the year – the New York International Toy Fair!
Well, “take a look” isn’t necessarily the right term, as I don’t have many – if any – pictures. I am getting all of my information from other sites around the net. I wasn’t there or anything and I don’t want to steal those guys’ pictures. But I will provide links to the best galleries for each category so you can eyeball this stuff for yourself. My only job here is to provide analysis and commentary. Just click on the header of the category and most of them will link to the best available gallery for that topic.
Update: Action Figure Insider has graciously allowed other sites to use their pics as long as you give credit. I’ll use a few here and there, but please go check out their site for tons more awesome pics!
And remember – we’re recording the second episode of the Needless Things Podcast tomorrow night and it’s all about Toy Fair. I have a panel of five other dorks – Gnoll, Josh Wilson, Evil, Reverend Dan Wilson, and once again Beau Brown – and we’re going to dissect all of the big announcements and featured products. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take, but if you listened to the first episode you know I’ll hang in there until we’re done.
For now, it’s time to run down all of the stuff I care about. There were plenty of other announcements and products at Toy Fair that aren’t represented here. I just want to be sure and hit on the stuff I collect or found interesting. So if it’s not on here, you can probably find it by poking around one of the links.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valnetine's Day - The Fourteen Most Romantic Songs on My Zune

Yeah, that’s right. I rock a Zune. What of it?

The Grand Hoff thought it was pretty amusing when I gave him a ride last year. I pulled my MP3 player out of the dash and he got all incredulous and went, “Is that a Zune?” like I had pulled out a phonograph or a spider monkey or something. I had to explain my unreasonable aversion to Apple products and how I know they’re user-friendly and generally high-quality but that I just don’t like Apple and the weird, cult-like mentality of its users.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Toy Review – DC Signature Collection Lead By Mattel

At one point I was really excited about Mattel making action figures of the Metal Men. I can’t remember for sure when or why I decided I like the Metal Men. It was prior to their appearances on Batman: The Brave and the Bold and also to the backup stories that ran in DC Comics back when DC Comics were still good. Well, better. I wasn’t crazy about those for some reason. They just seemed grim or too acerbic or something.

To me the group has been one of those things that I liked a lot but never looked too far into. Can anybody recommend some good Metal Men comics?

This is definitely one of those groups that demands completion. Everybody has a very specific gimmick and you know once you’re done you’re going to have a great-looking section of the shelf. And honestly they’re pretty easy. A couple of little bits of flair, a new head, and the right color and you’re good.
First Glance: I like Lead’s size a lot. His color is a bit generic, so it’s nice to have pure mass to distinguish him. I kind of wish it wasn’t Darkseid’s mass, though.
Articulation: This figure has the articulation we’ve come to expect from Mattel’s DC figures. 

Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Elbows –pivot
Glove Tops – swivel
Abdomen - pivot
Waist - swivel
Hips – swivel/hinge
Knees – pivot
Ankles - rockers

His head has a pretty good range. Actually, for such a big guy all of his joints have a good range of motion. It seems like thicker sculpts tend to limit the elbows and knees, but Lead has deep pivot points. 

His rocker ankles actually work well, presumably because they are the already-existing Darkseid feet. 

Obviously his rubber dress restricts his movement from the abdomen down past the hips, but he can still be posed a bit.

All of the joints on my figure are tight and mobile. With guys this size it’s particularly important that the joints function well, as they’re going to fall right over if they’re too loose, likely taking a few others with them.
Sculpt: Lead’s head is fantastic. I absolutely love it and it reminds me of a young Ernest Borgnine. That smile is just awesome because the Horsemen managed to convey that this guy is totally happy but has no idea what about. And just look at those ears sticking out. His head looks like a car coming down the street with the doors open. This is one of my favorite head sculpts from the line.

I don’t like that Lead shares Darkseid’s arms and legs. I think all of the cracks look terrible and are made even worse by the fact that the rest of the Metal Men have smooth, texture-free skin (as they should). Not helping the situation is the fact that the box art depicts the big guy with smooth, unblemished skin. I know Matty has to farm parts and I know that it was this or no Lead, but that doesn’t make it okay. I’m glad we got him and better this than nothing, but this sucks.

That being said, his bulk is great and he matches up well with the rest of the Metal Men once you get past the fact that his arms and legs look like grey turds. The rivets on his boots and gloves look nice and compliment his dress, which I should probably call a tunic.
Coloring: Not much to say here. The design team found a nice, metallic representation of lead. It looks good and the black on his eyebrows and the white on his teeth are nice highlights.
Flair: Lead’s tunic is a soft plastic and is very well done. It is wide enough at the bottom that it doesn’t interfere with the leg movement as much as it might’ve. The detailing looks very good. The rivets are nice and correspond with his boots and gloves. For some reason I am really taken with the “L” on his chest. It’s very striking and stands out well.Unfortunately, the manufacturing information stamped on his ass is also very striking and stands out well.
Accessories: Lead comes with nothing, which is inexcusable. All of the other Metal Men have come with attachments to simulate the weapons they are capable of forming from their limbs.
Packaging: It’s a larger version of the DC Signature Collection window box. I dig the packaging and I love the art on the backs. It looks very classy and does work to make these bare-bones figures seem more special than they really are. The bio on the back tells you as much as you need to know:
Weird. No mention of his complete lack of ability to morph his limbs into things.
Value: Thirty bucks is definitely pushing it for this guy. I can’t tell you how disappointing the lack of accessories is. Oh, wait – yeas I can. It is terribly fucking disappointing.
Overall: Just because this is the only way we could get a Lead figure does not make the flaws okay. His awful arms and legs and lack of accessories is simply unacceptable. 

2 out of 5

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on this guy. I do love the head, the tunic, and the size. But the other stuff really does bother me. If you’re somebody that absolutely, positively had to have a figure of Lead then you probably ordered one or had a sub already. If not, I’m sure you can score on from BigBadToyStore. I wouldn’t wait, though, because I have a feeling this guy is going to go up in price.

Since I’m a few words shy, I’m going to say a little something about Matty here. They know they have us. We are dumb and they are exploiting it, no doubt. When you can put out a figure like this one for thirty dollars you have the advantage. There’s no other situation where this sculpt would be acceptable. And the fact that accessories are an established part of the rest of the team he belongs to make the lack here equally unacceptable. But Matty says it’s okay because, “Otherwise we’d have no way to release this great, fan-demanded figure!”

They’re right, but it sucks that they are.

-Phantom

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Netossa By Mattel

I never wanted Netossa. Netossa is not on my list of Princess of Power figures that needed to be made, let alone characters that would be in the first ten. As a matter of fact, Netossa is the winner of Phantom Troublemaker’s Official Dumbest Name In the Entirety of the Masters of the Universe Universe Award.

On top of all that, Matty’s own restrictions on the line prevent the Netossa figure from including a functional version (by toy standards, anyway) of her own fucking namesake. That’s like if Skeletor had a panda bear for a head.

Okay, maybe not quite like that.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Days of the Dead Atlanta 2013 Part 4 - The FINAL Chapter!

*WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED DAYS OF THE DEAD COVERAGE*
Okay, so where was I?
Ha! What a writing falsehood that was! Obviously I can just look up two lines to see. You, however, will need to go back to last Thursday to see that we were just arriving at Hsu’s Chinese restaurant.
We got the big table again and me, Monkey, and Lady Monkey ordered Forbidden Mai Tais again. That is a good damn beverage. Mrs. Troublemaker ordered a beer because she doesn’t play that fruity drink bullshit.

Friday, February 8, 2013

New York International Toy Fair 2013 Preview

*We now interrupt your regularly scheduled Days of the Dead recap for a special report on the upcoming New York International Toy Fair. I completely forgot I had this post ready to go for today. I mean, not totally ready, as I had to add some stuff; but planned I guess. Days of the Dead will resume on Monday.*

It’s time again to get all hyped up for New York International Toy Fair, which starts this Sunday.
This year, in addition to my usual pre- and post-event coverage I’ll also be recording a Needless Things podcast about it. It’ll be the second episode and should be great. I’ve got five guests tentatively lined up and they’re all great talkers with specific arenas of toy interest.
But right now I want to get to the speculation. It’s fun to sit down before Toy Fair and think about what might be coming up at the show. All of the toy makers will have shiny, new products that will tempt me into breaking my annual Resolution to spend less money on toys. Some things are no-brainers – Hasbro will show Iron Man 3 toys – and some are total surprises – last year’s announcement that Hasbro had snagged the Star Trek license.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Days of the Dead Atlanta 2013 Part 3 - The Ghost Of Wrestling PAST!

DAY 3
I was awakened at about 3 AM by my obscenely drunk wife. I’m sure you can guess why she woke me up, and if you ever run into me and want to hear the story of what ensued you have only to ask. It has been made public by her, but I’m not sure it’s Needless Things public, know what I mean? Suffice it to say that the next three hours were some of the most ridiculous I’ve ever had in my life and I now know what it must be like to have sex with a retarded person. That you want to punch.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Days of the Dead Atlanta 2013 Part 2 - The Moon Shines Red As BLOOD!

DAY 2
I wanted to be at the Sheraton by 3 PM so we could check into the hotel and pick up our passes for the con. This would give us plenty of time to run by the store, pick our son up from school, and go have lunch together before we dropped him off at his grandparents’. The Days of the Dead website stated that VIP pass holder registration began at 2 PM and the rest started at 3. I wanted to be there when it opened because I felt sure if we waited until 5 when the show actually started there would be crazy crowds. I was right about that. Unfortunately I was not able to avoid them.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Days of the Dead Atlanta 2013 - How To Make A MURDERER!

Hey, everybody and welcome to my recap of Days of the Dead 2013 in Atlanta. It was… a convention. There were a lot of things that sucked. Right now I feel like the Sheraton kind of pissed all over it, but I think I’ll determine who the responsible parties are as I write this. It was mostly the Sheraton’s fault; but maybe not all. Heck, it was partly even my fault just because of the work funk I’m in right now.

I’ll get that out of the way since you do need to understand my perspective going into this thing and understand that at least a portion of my negativity was built in.

           

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vintage Troublemaker: Top Ten Movie Monsters 2008

Since this is the day after Days of the Dead Atlanta, I thought I’d bring back an old favorite of mine. This is a post I did for my Halloween Countdown back in 2008 on my MySpace page, which I haven’t even been to in… oh, who am I kidding? I was just there a couple of weeks ago. I’m always curious to see if the whole thing might just disappear one day.
Anyway, as far as I can tell I never reposted this here, even back when I was doing regular “Vintage Troublemaker” posts. I always liked this one and since it was on MySpace I’m pretty sure nobody ever read it. Also, I was WAY short on time last week. Way too much to do. I had to finish putting my Phantom Murdermaker costume together, find a costume for Mrs. Troublemaker, buy some supplies, host a Royal Rumble party, and various other things that I knew were just going to creep up on me. For instance – I just remembered I need an oil change and also need to replace that busted headlight. And a couple of taillights. And clean the gutters. See what I mean?