Saturday, October 24, 2020

#0110: Blaster T-1000

Not too long ago, I showed off a pair of Terminator toys that were made to tie-in with the genre-defining summer blockbuster of the same name. Among other things, I claimed that they were among the only figures I owned from that particular line, alongside John Connor and his nifty motorbike.

I have since learnt the error of my ways, as I'm also in possession of what the Internet tells me is the Blaster T-1000. To be frank, I'm not sure how much I believe, as this garish customer looks nothing like my bishi Robert Patrick, and the web is littered with similarly audacious lies about a flat Earth or the benefits of voting republican.

Still, I'll press on unimpeded, as it's the most logical explanation I have for this chonky policeman, short of him being a prototype for Victor Willis of the Village People.

In the above mentioned Terminator entry, I opined that neither figure was quite faithful to the source material (I swear I'll stop referencing it at some point, mostly because I want you to click the damned link so I can get some sweet ad revenue boost my view counter). Be that as it may, they're leaps and bounds further on the authenticity chart than the Blaster T-1000.

When I think of this metamorphosing villain, my mind instantly defaults to svelte efficiency. Part of the reason the T-1000 made for such a compelling antagonist was how he looked and felt different from what we were used to, moving swiftly and methodically. Meanwhile, the Blaster edition scarcely moves at all, as his legs are completely unarticulated.

Just let that sink in for a moment. You're about to portray a gripping scene where the T-1000 is approaching his prey, ready to make the lethal blow that dooms mankind forever, but all he does is waddle along as if he's got his pants around his ankles.

It's not intimidating in the slightest, unless you also consider Al Gore to be a potential threat to humanity.

The reason for this baffling design choice, is that the Blaster T-1000 has got a weaponised booty. You've heard of junk in the trunk? Well this junk is more crunk than you thunk, punk.

Pushing down on the T-1000's head will push his spine forward in an agonising fashion, eventually unleashing a rocket launcher from (his) behind. As I'm too lazy to make accompanying videos nowadays, I'll defer to this handy demonstration, as long as you promise to please return once you're done.

Yep, they decided that of all the things the T-1000 should be capable of, literally being a rocket launcher should be chief among them.

I'm pretty sure there was an exchange of dialogue in Judgment Day where John Connor's concerns that his foe would transform into a bomb were dissuaded due to the fact that "the T-1000 can't form complex machines" due to guns and explosives having chemicals and moving parts in them.

A fucking rocket launcher in your asshole though? Yeah, that shit totally checks out.

As you may have noted from my photo above, it really looks more like someone's just dropped a coconut from above and he's shielding his head from more blows, and as my rockets were decommissioned decades ago, he's out of ammunition anyway.

So alas, there will be no fabulous pants weapon for you, Blaster T-1000. At the very least it does vaguely resemble a denim jetpack, so that's a plus.

Overall, I'd have to say that this is probably my least favourite of all the Terminator toys, doubly so considering I forgot I owned it in the first place. Even with the shoehorned mechanics of its contemporaries, it still manages to stick out like a sore thumb, and it's yet another reminder of how far we've come in the years since.

In lieu of it serving any kind of purpose as a Terminator-adjacent toy, I might just repurpose it as a generic police officer who goes about enforcing the law against any criminal who he can somehow catch up to without the aid of weapons and/or moveable joints.

"I'm not a crook!"

Monday, June 8, 2020

#0109: Metalhead

If you enjoy this post, make sure to check out my recent list of awesome content from Black creators!

Ninja Turtles lore can be a little bit complex at times.

Usually, you're pretty safe to assume who's good and who's bad on the sole basis of whether or not they are pretty. Monty Moose? Obvious good guy, what an outstanding Canadian citizen! Antrax? That scowling face, those terrible mandibles, he's clearly wicked! Ray Fillet? Look at the kindness in his eyes, he just reeks of valour! Pizzaface? He's pretty fucking hot, I guess he's okay.

Then you have others like Metalhead, who could teeter somewhere between the two based on aesthetics alone, and wouldn't you know it, has indeed worked on both sides of the coin. You robotic Judas!

For an impressionable youth like myself, Metalhead acted as the quintessential soldier of antagonism. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that if there was some kind of clone fashioned after the main character, they were bound to be evil. Plus there was the handy clue when he called me a green slimball before opening fire.

...That's right. Slimball. There was a fucking spelling mistake in Turtles in Time and I only found out today. Needless to say, I'm not taking it well.

Originally devised by the Foot Clan as a means of infiltrating and destroying the green guys, Metalhead was reprogrammed by Donatello to serve in various fashions, depending on the iteration. Despite the fact that this cyborg was constructed with the sole mission of death and destruction, in the 80s cartoon, he's reduced to a role as the Turtles maid.

Seems like a waste of perfectly good killing machine, but I guess that made him the original Roomba.

My figure is in pretty fantastic condition. He's missing the accessories on his backpack, but the fact that he even has the backpack itself is something of a Christmas miracle. His chassis is super shiny and pretty (probably not the right context for the word chassis, but I so rarely get to use it), and he's sans battle damage.

The latter suggests that I never really played with my Metalhead, and the way he glares at me so menacingly backs up that notion. Do robots have feelings? Do computers wear tennis shoes?

Above all else, I really can't get over all of the little details littering his body. I've spoken a little bit about how fantastically intricate Turtles figures were, but it bears repeating again and again: no expense was spared in designing all that minutiae, and we never even noticed it as we flung them about the house with reckless abandon.

Ultimately, of the Turtles action figures I've sent onto greener pastures, this is probably the one I'll miss the most. He's just neat, and part of me thinks that he would serve as a perfectly suitable desk mascot.

However, toys are meant to be played with. This was the lesson taught to me by Toy Story 2 (in addition to 'never trust Kelsey Grammer'), so I can only pray earnestly that Metalhead will become the piece de resistance for some plucky child out there in... I dunno, Amsterdam.

He may just need a little bit of a recharge first. Battery leakage is no laughing matter, after all.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

In support of Black creators

I was going to make a toy-related post today for the first time in months.

I have a few days off, and I'm pretty ahead of schedule on my freelance gigs. I relished in the luxury of free time, and wanted to do some writing that was just for me, devoid of deadlines and quality standards.

But as I typed it, something about it felt tone deaf, as it was operating in its own little alternate reality: the safe space of toys. Because this blog is such a non-entity on the greater internet landscape, I rarely use it as a place to express my opinion on real-world events. It feels too much like shouting into the void, and I'd rather channel such energy into platforms where it'll be heard.

Short of last year's Not My Ariel debacle, I can't really think of a single instance where I've tried to get political here.

I am not the right person to weigh in on what's going on right now — or more broadly, what's been going on for centuries — but I am doing my best to educate myself, to spread helpful information in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and to contribute where I can. I have found the information available on the BLM Carrd so incredibly useful, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

Instead of expressing my thoughts, I've been deferring to others whose voices matter. No need to spread my well-intentioned ignorance as someone on the outside looking in, when there are so many better opinions that we should be listening to.

Today, I wanted to promote Black creators, and try to find content that was on-brand for Toy Eulogy. I know, it's a little silly for a blog with a non-existent reach to attempt such networking, but you know what? If nothing else, I spent the day learning, and that's not a bad way to enjoy a weekend.

Note that not all of these pieces deal with Black issues, but they are all from Black creators. If anyone actually reads this blog, feel free to leave a comment so I can add your work to this list!!

Black Action Figure by ThaMENACING1
Black Doll Collecting by Debbie Behan Garrett
Bevy & Dave by Tiffney Laing
Shindana Toys: Dolls That Made a Difference by Yolanda Hester on PBS SoCal
We Need More Black Protagonists in Gaming by Christopher "buymymixtape123" on GameSkinny
The state of Blackness in gaming by Malindy Hetfeld on Eurogamer
Black Skin is Still a Radical Concept in Video Games by Yussef Cole and Tanya DePass on VICE
5 Black Characters in Gaming that Transcended Stereotypes by Jada Griffin on FANDOM
The 10 Best Black Characters in Video Games by Larry Hester on Complex
Gaming Looks Good by Shareef Jackson on YouTube
Fire Emblem: Three Houses lords by Saskia Gutekunst on ArtStation
Sun and Moon by Kiana Mai on DeviantArt
7 Black Characters in Anime That Everyone Should Know by Theo J Ellis on Black Girl Nerds
Why RPG Fans Should be Very Excited About a Kingdoms of Amalur Remaster by Ethan Anderson on Twinfinite
Pokemon/Avatar art by OhKayArt on Twitter

One thing I did want to emphasise before I click publish, is that as good as it is to speak up now, I implore that people continue to be involved and invested afterwards.

Don't just participate when it's trendy. Keep your ears open, keep looking for answers. I have long found Jalen Rose to be my most trusted voice of reason on world issues. The dude just gets it, and I'm so proud to say he's a Raptors alumni.

In closing, never forget — #BlackLivesMatter.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

All my money are belong to Nintendo

In case you were curious how my amiibo collection is going some five years later, let's just say that my overzealous spending habits...

have not become any more measured in 2020.

Also pictured: Goosebumps. Mah fravrit berks.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

#0108: Happy Meal Plush Toys

You didn't think I would miss out on Toy Eulogy's ninth birthday, did you?

If you did, I certainly wouldn't blame you, because if my research holds up, I have actually only remembered to address this blog's anniversary once. And that was in 2012, when I had only been blogging for one year.

Every subsequent January 11th came and went without any recognition whatsoever, but this year is different. And to be transparent with you, it's also completely coincidental, because I just happened to have some stuff to unload today.

Hence, today's gift to my humble little blog is less than thrilling. It's simply an assortment of Happy Meal Plush Toys. If this were any actual gift for an actual birthday, it would be on par with Homer's bowling ball.

Dated reference. Cool story.

As you would have gathered from the header image, I've dipped into two separate lines of plushes both in the interest of boosting intrigue and as a concession that I couldn't possibly squeeze enough discourse from anything here worth two articles. Or one, to be honest, but you'll learn that in short order.

The first pair should be instantly recognisable; Animal and Rowlf of Muppets fame. Evidentiarily (which should totally be a real word, don't crush my dreams) they dropped in 2003 in celebration of the Muppets' 25th anniversary. Australia received the biggest collection with ten characters, but the ones from the UK were larger and of better quality.

Which seems about right, considering my Animal is missing a fucking eyebrow.

Yeah Rowlf, you bite that shoddily made asshole! How dare he have disproportionate facial features, the dastard.

There's not much more to write about them, to be honest. Animal's arms are poseable, if you're so inclined. Autocorrect really wanted me to say that his arms are possible, and now I'm imagining some kind of existential alternate reality where his arms are in fact impossible.

Hence why I lumped them together with the rest of the (DK?) crew, promotional toys for the mediocre Lion King sequel, Simba's Pride. Having watched that movie, I don't think Simba's really got much to be proud of.

If you're looking for relevance, you could point to the fact that these licenses are all owned by Disney, but that's not really saying much nowadays, considering just about everything is owned by Disney. I vaguely suspect that I'm owned by Disney too, but so far they've done nothing with me worth noting.

They're not complex plushes by any means, though I feel that Pumbaa is absolutely spot on. He's adorable, pudgy, and filled with mirth, just like the real thing (or Kevin James). Zazu is a little less impressive, and completely out of scale, standing at the same height as a warthog. Perhaps it's a Dynamaxed Zazu?

As for — frantically checks Wikipedia — Zira, the movie's villain, she has nowhere near the charm of her on-screen parallel, but in fairness, that kind of scrawny, desperate aesthetic would be hard to nail.

What she does have, however, are a hypnotic pair of eyes that make me feel equal parts uneasy and aroused.

Don't kink shame me, dude.

Saturday, January 4, 2020


Brand loyalty is quite the fascinating science unto itself. Elusive, spectacular and hard to quantify, once a brand has properly hooked its claws into a demographic, purchase becomes a practical certainty. The concept has shifted from ‘this is something I want’ to ‘this is something I need’.

Take it from me, as a brand loyalist since before I could even spell the words.

My particular allegiance lies with Playmates Toys, or more specifically, their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line of products.

In case you were wondering, yes, I am a thirty-year old man(child), and as such, the timing of Turtles hysteria lined up perfectly with my childhood, a time where money was no object and funds were limitless, strictly because I wasn’t the one paying for anything.

But it’s not as cut and dry as getting caught up in one of the biggest fad of the early 90s. Had that been the case, my obsession would have died down with the turning of the years, in much the same way that it had for countless other products.

To this day, I still shell out my hard-earned dollars — if you’ll pardon the pun — on at least the newest iteration of Raphael, my go-to Turtle of choice. His look has changed a fair bit over the years, but he’s still the same old, surly reptile he ever was.

A lot of the foundation for Playmates’ continued success was laid down in those early days, as each new product would lean into the quirky brand and fully embrace the weird. It’s part of the reason why Turtles toys from yesteryear still attract attention from fans and non-fans alike.

If you have a Turtles figure around, literally any, grab a hold of it and take a look at it. The quality of the moulds is obscenely detailed. It’ll likely be riddled with little veins, or scars, or warts of some kind. It may have some description of little anomaly as part of the design, like a creature surreptitiously clinging on or a nondescript ‘tear’ in their costume.

Moreover, let’s observe that prior notion again, embracing the weird. Unless this particular figure happens to be one of the mainline series (in which case, why did you open it, you fiend?), it is probably doing something, or at least representing something, rather bizarre.

Is it Mike the Sewer Surfer? Or Private Porknose Bebop? Maybe it’s Wolfman Leo, or Road Ready Donatello, whose feature is that he transforms into a literal car?

Though the lunacy could easily be equated to a cash grab, it was a perfect blend of irreverence and style that suited the franchise to a T. By its nature, the Turtles brand is grandiose and bombastic; so it’s only appropriate that its merchandise have those same qualities.

With the series now in its fourth iteration of animated programming, the action figures keep chugging right along. Now they’re riding garish motorbikes and doing ‘ninja backflips’ while shouting catchphrases. Sure, it’s not quite as obtuse as “sumo Turtles”, “Turtles at a birthday party” or “Turtles as Peter Venkman” — and yes, all of these are real things — but give it a few more months, and those boys in green will be back to their wacky antics once more.

And I’ll be there every step of the way.

Monday, December 2, 2019

#0107: Sky Escape Joker

It's that time again! Thanks to the efforts of Joaquin Phoenix and that guy from the Hangover (Mr. Chow), the whole world is abuzz over that loveable old psychopath, the Joker.

The response has been divisive due to the thematic content and questions of morality, but frankly, you can colour me unsurprised, as nearly every DC movie nowadays fails to grab universal acclaim. Honestly, it's like my career; tragically disappointing and only made more tolerable when accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol.

In the end, it's bound to be thrown onto the pile with the rest of the also-rans, leaving the world pining for a definitively solid film featuring the clown prince of crime. Among his grinning contemporaries is Jack Nicholson, who garnered generally positive responses for his appearance in the 1989 Tim Burton Batman flick, impeccably cast as a particularly charismatic version of himself Jack Napier.

And you know what that means, right? Toys.

Many toys! Toys for girls, toys for boys, toys, toys, let's make some noise!

Now that I've sufficiently boosted my SEO, let's take a look at this stupid Sky Escape Joker.

At first glance, it appears much like any other Joker action figure. It does vaguely resemble Jack Nicholson if you look at it the right way, but that could probably be said of anything or anyone if you have enough conviction.

So what does a Sky Escape Joker do? Does it sky escape, and... joke? The latter is somewhat debatable, but it most certainly can sky escape when provoked. It came — note the past tense — with a 'whirling copter pack' that he could use 'to escape from trouble', whether that was a brush-in with the law or an awkward social situation.

It's definitely an appropriate Joker ploy, however it's a real stretch for a movie tie-in. At no point did the Joker suddenly sprout a helicopter from his back and take off into the night, cackling with glee. Yes, he did attempt an ill-fated evacuation via helicopter at the movie's climax, but that's really grasping at straws.

The more logical explanation is that this copter is how Jack Nicholson got around between scenes. It seems like something he'd do, I reckon.

Fortunately, it has a completely arbitrary secondary feature that is more in line with the source material. Dip the Joker's head in cold water, and his face will turn bright orange, vaguely resembling the scene where the Joker paints his face in skin tones as a method of better blending in with the people.

He then bolsters this plan by blasting out Prince and throwing money at the crowd, and alas, this toy does neither, unless I'm just using it wrong.

So let's see it in action, shall we? Bring this Oompa Loompa motherfucker out for real.

...Well shit, that was awkward. I think I just waterboarded the dude. Judging by that smile, he didn't seem to mind.

Funnily enough, this is potentially the only Batman action figure I ever owned. As you're well aware, the Turtles were my only comic book love, and aside from the early 90s Archies issues, I never even read the damn things.

Considering the Sky Escape Joker came out in 1990, my parents either hedged their bets that a one-year-old Anthony would become a big fan of Batman or pale homicidal maniacs, found this fella languishing in a bargain bin, or just straight up stole it from a small child with poor grip strength. I like to think it's that last one.

That's about all she wrote for the Sky Escape Joker, really (I guess I'm the she in this scenario). He also comes packaged with a pistol with a comically long barrel, the same he used to fell the Bat...plane, or whatever it was called.

No, I don't have any of these accessories. I probably threw them out immediately to protest my distaste for guns and aeronautical devices. Fortunately, I didn't lose the colour changing face, because misplacing a figure's head would have been a new low for me.

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