Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#0006: Smug Snoopy

It won’t take a genius to deduce that some reviews are better than others, because, in all fairness, some toys are better than others. It’s true for all things in life, after all. For every Ninja Turtle, there’s an Ugly Laser Man. For every Meryl Streep, there’s a Jon Heder.

So today I look at a toy that provided no childhood glee. Instead, it seems as though its sole purpose is to bemuse me now. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the smug Snoopy.

Yup, there he is. In all his glory. Whatever glory he holds, anyway. I don’t know where he’s from, what his deal is, where his ambitions lie, or indeed, even exactly what he’s supposed to be dressed up as.

Upon first retrieving him, I had picked him for a magician, about to perform some sort of trick. He’s got the pose, he’s got the big bowtie, it all added up. But then, I pondered more on his cummerbund, and general lack of magical paraphernalia.

Really, if they’re going to make magician Snoopy, he’d at least have a magician’s hat, or a bouquet of flowers in-hand. After all, what’s a magician without the magic? An illusionist? Ha! We don’t need no Criss Angel Snoopy, thank you very much.

So then, I was convinced that this was in fact conductor Snoopy. Why, he’s the front man for the best orchestra you’ve ever seen. He’s got Schroeder on piano, he’s got Peppermint Patty on the triangle, he’s got Ringo on the drums, he’s got it all!

He looks like a crowd pleaser… and as illustrated by the picture above, his very demeanour practically demands celebration from less smug counterparts.


He’s still missing that something. He has no conductor’s baton… and no crazy, frizzled, Beethoven-like doo. Whether or not the manufacturers would have been wise enough to have included the hair I’m not sure, but it’s enough of an oversight for me to strip Snoopy of his conducting title.

And really, it’s this lack of equipment that proves most damning to Snoopy’s ambiguous career options in this toy. Searching for ‘Snoopy tuxedo toy’ yields several entries for a vastly superior toy with a top hat and a stand, who would bow down when you pushed… something. I’m not sure what you had to push. His resolve, maybe.

Curiously, that toy showed the exact same copyright year as this one; 1966. But who knows, perhaps all Snoopy toys had that copyright. ’66 could be a lucky year for Snoop dog. But anyhow, it answers not the question, what exactly is this Snoopy supposed to be?

Judging by his lack of equipment, which belies his snappy dress style, I have come to the bold conclusion that this Snoopy, is in fact…

A valet.

How the mighty have fallen. Subordinate to a Fraggle!

I’m sorry about this review. There’s only so much that can be done with a pointless toy as this. If it’s any consolation, this review becomes infinitely more readable if you take it in while listening to Patti LaBelle’s Stir It Up. Go on, give it a try.

Monday, January 24, 2011

#0005: Turtlecycle

Somehow, as I cast these toys off into the great unknown, I feel as though I’m saving them, in a way. From an eternity of mediocrity and uselessness, to a future more fruitful. Perhaps they’ll become a child’s cherished plaything? Or maybe they’ll find themselves in the possession of an avid collector, to be proudly displayed upon the mantle? Perchance they’ll even be put to work in the salt mines, earning a hard life’s keep?

It’s hard, nigh impossible for me to say. But today… today stands out as even more of a rescue. This toy wasn’t scooped from the comfortable retirement of an air-tight plastic container in the laundry room like its reviewed brethren. Instead, it caught my eye while I was searching for a lost Vancouver Grizzlies basketball in the garage.

In case you’re wondering, the garage is essentially where my old possessions go to die. Everything is deteriorating out there, and each visit is more and more depressing. There’s my ancient stuffed Garfield, burrowed into by vermin. And there; there’s good old Elmo, caked under a layer of dust. And it’s hard to tell, but I’m fairly sure that sun-bleached tragedy was once Bucky O’Hare.

You could think of me as a saviour, plucking the forsaken from the rubble like the hand of God, or Moe Szyslak in that episode where Homer became a boxer. Like I said, I cannot say with any certainty where these toys will end up, but surely, it cannot be as bleak as the existence out here in the garage?

The victims are many, but I only had time for one.

So it was just like that, that I dusted off and gave a wash to the remains of the Turtlecycle.

You might think it’s disrespectful to the cherished Ninja Turtles franchise for me to make this tattered abomination the inaugural Turtles item. It’s dated, broken and incomplete. But dammitall, it was on its last legs, it was practically begging for redemption. Wolfman Leo and caveman Michaelangelo can wait. The time for the broken Turtlecycle is NOW.

Fantastic. Though my Turtlecycle no longer resembles the imagery on its packaging, the very promise that it once had makes me pity it more still.

Where to start? The marvelous slime-shooting slingshot? The inclusion of the National Turtle Quiz Jokebook? The insane Leonardo shouting ‘Turtles rule’ while wielding a trashcan lid, like the member of a cult? Perhaps I need not say anything at all. These things speak for themselves, really. If we’ve gained nothing else from this review, perhaps we should be happy to know that Leo is apparently batshit crazy. Like Westboro Baptist Church-type kookoo.

Also, don’t think that I didn’t notice that the figures in the inset are actually Raphael and Donatello, offering a whole slew of other questions. Wasn’t there a Leonardo available at the time? Is Raph slutting his ride out to all takers? DID HE DIED?!

…The latter was supposedly a meme. I just wanna be like the cool kids.

The reverse is perhaps even more enticing; if the wacky illustration didn’t hook you in, then this surely did: a bevy of Turtlecycle features. From ‘sewer saddlebags’ to ‘foot-ripping Hub Cap’, it’s all there and it’s all glorious.

The fact that you could also point the trashcan sidecar in either direction was apparently nothing to be sneezed at, garnering not one but two individual examples. Frankly, I didn’t think it was either that hard to understand or that incredibly exciting to make such emphasis necessary, but I’m not a child in the year of 1989 right now. For all I know, maybe that was the only thing worth talking about back then.

Take note that you save two pizza points for purchasing this product. Me, I never used any of those damned pizza points, but I reckon I would have accumulated enough to have been awarded something mighty special. It’s a shame, I don’t think I kept any of them, throwing them out with the rest of the packaging to be recycled. Some bastard at a recycling plant probably got rich off all of my pizza points.

And my favourite bit: the box tells us to collect all the Ninja Turtles merchandise ‘…or else!’

Talk about your pressure advertising!! It’s not like this was Goosebumps or Spawn, this was friendly, safe Ninja Turtles. Why threaten us like that?!
Between you and me, I never did collect all the accessories. I haven’t felt the ramifications yet, but I will have a little bit of trouble getting to sleep tonight.

Other than the unopened boxes of yesteryear, it’s hard to find this toy available in its entirety. Most of them are either missing the sidecar, the handlebars, or in my case, all the above. Plus, it’s a smidgen obscure for being one of the earlier ‘playsets’. Everyone wanted the much more prominent Turtle Party Wagon, or the iconic Technodrome. Ain’t nobody wanted a slimy motorbike.

As such, a Google search will net you less results about the enigmatic Turtlecycle than pages about a turtle’s life cycle. But maybe you’re into that.

Anyway, my Turtlecycle is in such a state of disrepair that there really isn’t much worth mentioning about it, so instead here are four turtley revelations I had while doing all my research on this toy.

1. What is the point in having a license plate on the Turtlecycle? It feels redundant; It’s not like it’ll be hard to identify the Turtlecycle if you got hit by it. It’s the GREEN MOTORCYCLE SHOOTING OOZE OPERATED BY GIGANTIC TURTLES. Even if there’s more than one of those in New York, there’s bound to be only nine, tops. It won’t take long to find.

2. Why is the Turtlecycle adorned with turtle shell gear? Did our beloved boys kill some hapless wannabe TMNT’s and fashion a bike out of it? I only shudder to think.

3. Not only is our sidecar missing, but judging by the two-decade-old sticky tape on the bottom, we must have snapped it off clean. Perhaps in the process of attempting their precious reversibility function? Blatant false advertising! They promised me reversibility and I got none. I want my pizza points back.

4. Did you ever wonder why humans always got scared shitless when they saw the Turtles in public, even though they’re so cute and cuddly? I’m inclined to think that it’s because they actually look like this costume.

Fuck, I’m running already.

Finally, if you’re wondering why I had a picture of Davy Crockett Raphael draped over the Turtlecycle, looking less like he wants to ride it; more like he’s challenging someone to an arm wrestling match, the answer is simple. Without the sidecar, this thing can’t balance for shit.

For your amusement, here is a brief video of me attempting to get him to ride. He’s either drunk, or safety conscious about his lack of a helmet. You decide!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

#0004: Lowly Worm

Today’s featured fail is of a different standard of pity. Why, he’s a toy so tragic, even his name is a pox upon his very existence. In the so-called ‘busy’ world of Richard Scarry, he seemed to some as an ambassador to all things good. He was upbeat, pensive, wise and amiable. He was the kind of guy to whom you’d say, ‘well shit, I’m in trouble. Bananas Gorilla just burgled my store and raped my daughter. I NEED YOUR HELP.’

He was a worm of the people and a worm of many talents, but unfortunately, a worm who owned the unfortunate title of lowly. I’m speaking, of course, about Lowly Worm.

When I think of lowly, it’s usually in reference to floundering sports teams; the lowly Carolina Panthers, for example. And what sort of comparison is that to bestow upon your offspring through name? The Panthers went 2-14 this season! Their coach got the boot, their QBs wallowed in pathetic misery, and their running game was absolutely abysmal.

To name your own (and perhaps only?) son after such a term is not only cruel, it’s downright malicious. I guess that’s why he’s always hanging out with Huckle Cat instead of his own family; the dude hates those pricks.

Me personally, I always thought of Lowly as being kind of like the positive handicap stereotype. He gets around with only one leg just fine, and is able to play soccer, drive around and fly a helicopter. When I was a kid, I also found the surname ‘Scarry’ quite funny. Admit it, you did, too.

So the Lowly Worm toy. It’s a pretty unspectacular little toy, portraying Lowly driving in his trademark apple-car. The little stem on the top can point in any direction you choose it to, and Lowly looks so enthusiastic at the driver’s seat, he’s almost downright frantic. He’s also too solidly attached to the framework of the apple itself, making him look less like a worm, more like some sort of bizarre Muppet.

It’s a fun little fact about this particular toy, is that he had a damning way of sticking around during all of my little toy races. Like most children with no friends or hobbies, I would sometimes organise tournaments for my little toys, rigged carefully so that my favourite toy would always win. One of those was a series of races. No, I didn’t actually race them around, it was more like a distance thing, or endurance test; ie. Which toy rolled the farthest on this surface, or which toy didn’t fall into the pit of unspeakable horror (the toilet).

In Lowly Worm’s case, he’s so light with wheels so well made, he always seemed to roll further than everyone else, and even had a sixth sense about stopping on command. Dammit, he wanted to win, but I sure as hell couldn’t handle that. You look at the names on that list… Sonic the Hedgehog… Streex from Street Sharks… badass racing champions… then… Lowly fucking Worm?

He’s not supposed to be winning races, dammit! He’d be more inclined to stop inches away from an opponent before declaring that they should ‘play it safe’. The only time Lowly ever got up to any mischief was when he was hangin’ with that bad cat Huckle, and even then, it was more of a character inconsistency than anything else; Lowly only didn’t know better when it was imperative to the plot.

Whoa, am I actually analysing character development in The Busy World of Richard Scarry? A Sunday well spent.

For the more exploratory among you, one side of Lowly features open holes with screws assembling his apple-mobile, allowing you, if you so chose, to literally rip his car in two. I don’t know why you would want to do this, but I note with some amusement/alarm that this divide also cuts Lowly Worm in half. If you really, really hated you some Lowly, you could mess him up something shocking.

This deadly side to Lowly is also the business side, declaring the toy to be from the year 1994 (or as I call it, Donkey Kong Country year). Copyright of ‘Scarry II’.

Research doesn’t explain if the author of the busy world is indeed the second Richard Scarry, but it does reveal that he fought in the army during World War II. That’s awesome. Imagine Nazis being killed by a children’s author. Imagine Nazis being killed by Lowly Worm. Imagine Nazis being killed by Mr. Frumble.

…Too far? I thought so, too. declares this toy to be 2½ inches and made of plastic, but its origin is sketchy. One seller says McDonald’s, but offers no definitive proof. If I cared more, I would do some in-depth sleuthing, but I’ve wasted enough time on this stupid thing as it is. For those who are wondering the kind of mega bucks I’m missing out on by giving my Lowly Worm away, one eBay user is asking for $21, or to ‘make him an offer’. I ‘offer’ him this advice:

Nobody is paying $21 for Lowly Worm, yo.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#0003: Wildwing

Unless your parents were fanatical hockey fans that bullied you into liking a particular team, odds are that when you were a kid, you were a Mighty Ducks fan. Not because of Paul Kariya or Teemu Selanne of course, but because of Emilio Estevez and Lester Averman.

Yes, kids of the 90s were force-fed the Mighty Ducks, and though we didn’t really understand it at the time, it was a brilliantly-planned Disney ploy to create a generation of fans across the nation for their fledgling franchise.

These days, there hasn’t been a movie for over a decade, the actual hockey team is now simply known as the Anaheim Ducks, and anyone who bothered to stick with hockey realised that there are better franchises out there to follow. Ones with more intimidating mascots than a ducky.

One of the more obscure pieces of the marketing machine was a short-lived cartoon series, featuring of course, anthropoid ducks on the icy planet of Puckland. They use hockey as a means of entertainment, a lifestyle, and probably as a way of solving any problem that came their way.

Their mighty leader was (apparently) the heroic Wildwing.

I’d never watched the cartoon. Even back in ’96 I realised that a show about hockey-playing ducks was lame. And reading the synopsis now makes me cringe. Though admittedly, there are some pretty solid names in the voice acting front, including Tony Jay, Charles Adler and my man Rob Paulsen.

So what do I know of Wildwing Flashblade? He’s the leader of the Ducks, and he’s also their goalie. Personally, I cry foul (or fowl?) at this. Why is the main character the goalie? We’re not supposed to pay attention to the goalie; we’re supposed to just assume he’ll do his job efficiently, and hate him when he doesn’t. If I had to assemble a team of hockey players to do battle against cyborgs and evil aliens voiced by Tim Curry, I would not give Roberto Luongo leadership duties.

But maybe that’s just me. Maybe I have reason to hate goalies of any kind. Maybe I’m just bitter that Luongo freezes up in shootouts. Maybe I’m still scathing that Mark Schwarzer allowed four goals in Australia’s 2010 World Cup match against Germany, effectively dooming them from the start. Maybe I feel like Grin appears to be twice the size of Wildwing, and thus would be a much better goalie.

But I digress (heavily). After snatching Wildwing from a tub of unloved toys for this review, a quick Google search revealed that he was another acquisition from McDonald’s, again from the key year of 1996. I suppose this proves two things; I’ve got to be more creative with the toys I select, and HOLY SHIT I ATE A LOT OF McDONALD’S IN 1996.

Frankly, Wildwing doesn’t do much, which is appropriate for a goalie, I suppose. He sits gloriously upon a throne of puck, from which he looks down on the world below. He appears to be behind the wheel, and whoever made this horrid thing also saw fit to provide Wildwing with a splendid black lump. I’m guessing this is either a windshield or a bumper, or perhaps all pucks in Puckland have this lump. After all, the concept of gigantic ducks playing hockey is stranger than an unusual puck growth.

It seems as though I’m always whinging about paint jobs, but you might agree that this one is a little bit lacking. It’s nice that he’s got his little ducky logo on his chest, and his trademark ‘00’ sits proudly upon the back of his jersey, but that’s about as good as you’ll get in the details department. His gloves are one monochrome colour, his jersey is completely devoid of colour, and his mask is simply white. You could forgive the omission of his usual gold mask for the more traditional white goalie mask, but there’s no holes or anything. In actuality, it looks as though his face has been melted off. That’s just unducky for him.

And I haven’t even gotten to his wheels yet. I know you’ve been scanning through this entry frantically, trying to get to the good stuff. You’re all, ‘Tell me ‘bout the wheels, man! THE WHEELS!’

And here’s the juicy part: He ain’t got no wheels. He’s got futuristic silver orbs upon which he glides gracefully in any direction he chooses. I, Robot taught us that silver orbs are the way of the future for transport, and I could only feel lucky and privileged to know that this rare prototype was in my possession.

So with that, let’s guess how far he rolls! Is it:
A) Really far.
B) Really, really far.
C) Far enough to make Canard Thunderbeak proud.

Let’s find out!!

Yup. That’s it. I’m barely sure he even rolled at all. It looks more as though I startled him from behind, and that was a frightened flinch.

Knowing that my hands were not mighty enough to send the greatest goalie in Puckland on his way, I figured it was worth a shot to kick him around, consequences be damned.

That one was admittedly a bit better, but he’s looking less like a smooth rolling pimp, more like a wounded animal trying to make a break for the door.

Hahaha he cheated that time! Did you notice? Instant replay shows that he wasn’t using his orbs that time at all. That’ll be five minutes in the penalty box for you, Wildwing.

There we go. It wasn’t exactly how God intended, but Wildwing certainly got some awesome distance there. In retrospect though, goalies are supposed to be immovable objects, so I guess my little experiment was doomed to fail from the beginning?

There’s really not much more to be said about McDonald’s Wildwing toy. There’s a reason that nobody knows who he is, and the cartoon only lasted one season. Besides, Disney had better hockey-playing ducks in their day anyway…

That’s right. Screw Wildwing’s body armour, puck launcher and mask of the legendary Drake DuCaine, Donald Duck moves the puck around by yelling at it. Hellz yeah. I never saw Wildwing do that, or his brother Nosedive, either.

And while we’re at it, what kind of horrible parents were the Flashblades, anyway? What makes you look at your son and decide he should be named Nosedive? Did he tragically fall from the womb? Or was his older brother Wildwing copping so many beatings for his name, that in pity they decided to make their next child’s fate even worse?

In any event, Wildwing may be the first toy I’ll be sad to part with. I love reminders of my lost 90’s childhood, and no doubt wherever he ends up, it’ll be in a place where people know nothing of who he is, what his dreams are, or why the fuck he doesn’t roll properly.

But maybe, just maybe… He’ll go onto a better place? Maybe he’ll even find his lost hero Canard? I don’t know.

…Do you?

#0002: Robin Hood

It’s clear that, if a Disney movie is going to be a classic, it’s gotta be a musical. Where would Aladdin be without ‘A Whole New World’? Could Simba possibly be king without singing about how he ‘Just Can’t Wait’ to do so? And dammitall, Pocahontas was forgettable as shit, but David Ogden Stiers singing ‘Mine, Mine, Mine’ is an iPod favourite.

Then, there were the Disney movies that forgot this formula. The sad, bastardised Disney movies that garner less familiarity, more awkward cocked eyebrows.

I’m looking at you, Black Cauldron.

I’m looking at you, The Rescuers.

And I’m looking squarely at you, Robin Hood.

Alright, in fairness, there are smatterings of songs here and there, but they’re not the kind of ‘every character breaks out in song’ sort of shtick. In Robin Hood’s case, the singing is done primarily by Alan-a-Dale, voiced by Roger Miller. He also sang ‘Dang Me’, which was much better than anything contained in Robin Hood.

And if anyone dares to point out that there were songs in The Rescuers, I waggle a defiant finger your way while pointing out that these were not musical numbers, but in fact montages, as none of the characters themselves were singing the songs. If I paid for Eva Gabor as a classy mouse, then I paid for Eva Gabor to sing as a classy mouse, dammit.

And furthermore, if anyone else dares to point out that upon its initial release, Robin Hood garnered $9.5 million, the biggest box office total of all Disney films to that point, then I say… well, shit. You’ve got me there. But I shall press on, regardless.

So what of the Robin Hood toy? For one thing, I have to say that I quite like the Disney Robin Hood character, primarily because he reminds me of Fox McCloud, and a bit of Link, too. Their bastard child has always remained a likable character for me, though because I never really watched the movie a great deal, I never had any particular inkling to play with the toy much.

He’s a smidgen adjustable, as his arms and head can be moved to your delight, plus his hips can swivel around a tad, just in case your version of Robin Hood needs to be just that little bit more sassy.

One of his hands is in the shape of an accusatory pointing gesture, while in his other hand he brandishes a bulging sack of money. We can tell it’s money because it has a dollar sign on it. As far as I recall, Nottingham didn’t exactly deal in dollar figures, but we’ll let that slide, as it’s more of a way for dumb kids to know that it’s a money sack as opposed to a bomb satchel or his lunch.

It begs the question, though, where he got this sack from? I don’t recall the plot of the movie particularly, did he do all his robbing from neat little sacks? Or did he have it filled up with coins somewhere? If the latter is the case, then how come nobody grew suspicious when they saw him carrying a bag with a dollar sign on it?

The figure features horrible posture; Robin Hood’s upper body leans forward as though he’s about to pounce, but his legs are arced so far back you’d swear that he was sitting on an invisible chair. This makes him difficult to stand up, accentuated by his large, bushy tail, curiously the only fuzzy thing on him.

And in the razzle-dazzle world of toys, being hard to stand is a serious no-no. There’s little more frustrating to a child trying to set up his vision than one of his figures constantly toppling over. Every time you reset them, it’s with an infuriating adjustment of various limbs to try and decipher exactly what imbalance is causing this tumble, and, even worse, you risk knocking over the other toys, too!

If this blog ends up on Something Awful, it’ll be for shit like that last sentence there. The above picture illustrates Robin Hood fucking up my interpretation of Hamlet, by the way.
Point is, toys that stand about as well as a drunken lout are not popular playthings.

For the anal retentive (me), you’ll (I’ll) note with annoyance that the feather on his hat is left completely unpainted. It’s supposed to be red, dammit. I don’t know what yellow bird he killed for this feather, but it’s surely a crime.

I did a brief scan of the Interwebs, and it informed me that this toy was from a McDonald’s happy meal back in 1996. I had thought so, and upon confirmation, the first thought that crossed my mind was ‘how much is he worth now?’

On the rare occasion where someone has been trying to pawn him off, he has garnered 0 bids in two years, with an asking price of $1.29. Another website lists him as ‘HTF’, which I have assumed to mean ‘hard to find’, and again, no takers.

I told you, Robin. If you had just busted out a tuneski while you were laying the smackdown on Sir Hiss, you would have totally been a Disney golden child. But I suppose he’s suffered enough. There’s little more embarrassing than appearing in an animated Disney film, only to be forgotten by all but the most avid furries all these years later.

Personally, I don’t remember getting any particular amusement from the toy, other than one time where I got his tail wet. I don’t know why it was funny at the time, but if I recall later, I’ll edit it into this blog.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#0001: Ugly Laser Man

Welcome to the weird and wacky world of Tony’s toys. Each toy reviewed in this blog is fated to end up donated to charity, so you could see this as a eulogy of sorts, or as my own, queer, teary-eyed goodbye to my beloved pieces of plastic.

Why exactly am I doing this? I’m not really sure. The reason falls somewhere between wanting to make a tribute to the nostalgic ranting of X-Entertainment, and my recent viewing of Toy Story 3 convincing me that my Charles Barkley action figure has better things to do than sit around in a drawer for the rest of his days.

You might note, with some amusement, that I’ve labeled this with enough room for four figures worth of toys to be reviewed and scrapped, though honestly I think I’ll hit about thirteen before I regret this decision and frantically gather all of my toys together in a gesture of unending affection. I’m sad like that.

Enough of that, let’s look ahead towards the future. And where better to look into the future, than with the lucky first contender for review, Ugly Laser Man.

Not a bad segway, but in actuality I wanted to premiere with the aforementioned Charles Barkley toy. He isn’t where I remember leaving him (though in honesty, the location of my Charles Barkley toy isn’t frequently crossing my mind), leaving me to believe that, true to the events of Toy Story, he’s gone off on his own adventure, full of mystery and basketball. Bless his heart.

So who exactly is Ugly Laser Man, or ULM, as he shall be known henceforth? I’m really not sure. Logic dictates he’s just a nameless piece of unlicensed crap that was mass-produced for vending machines or something of that nature, and the fact that I have no idea of when and where I acquired him from would seem to support this assumption.

But perhaps he’s much more famous? He could be from some cartoon series from long ago that I’d forgotten existed. After all, it’s not like I was watching every single cartoon in 1991. That kind of attention was devoted solely to the Ninja Turtles.

I prefer the latter assumption; that he was once the king of the ring, and a series of unexplained scandals led to the lowly anonymity of today. He’s like Grizabella the Glamour Cat, or David Faustino.

At first glance, he appears not to be a bad bit of kit. He’s got some nice little touches here and there, little bells and whistles that contribute to his aura, and wonderful shiny sleeves that he has colour-coordinated with his laser gun.

He never got much use, as evidenced by the minimal damage to his paint job. There’s slight chipping in the corners, an inevitable fate in the world of ACTION, but since most of it is in his arms, you can assume that his revealed skin-coloured undercoat is actually just battle damage tearing his clothes away heroically. Or erotically. Depends on how you play with your ULM.

The most prominent example of this undercoat is on his gun, which shows unfortunate flesh tones right on the barrel. As a kid, I was always confused and disappointed by how the colour would chip away to be skin-coloured, but in retrospect, what a hideously petty thing to be disappointed by. There are starving children with no ULM at all; I really shouldn’t have been sweating the small stuff.

Besides, you can make up a cool story if you like, like the reason that there’s skin around the barrel of the gun is because he used the gun to tear through the flesh of his enemies. Oh hell yeah, that’s how badass this guy is; he doesn’t even use his laser gun for lasering, he chooses to bludgeon bad guys with the barrel.

Perhaps the biggest flaw with ULM would be the initial paint job itself, which is strong overall for a silly nobody like him, but shows severe laziness around the focal point of action; his gun. Check this out, but be warned: THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

Oh how dreadful. There appears to be significant orange spillage around his wrist and gun, most noticeably on his left hand side. I understand that the extra room had to be filled in with something, but really, they should have just gone with blue, and made us assume that it was just some mysterious extension on his gun.

Instead, it’s hard to believe in his visage at all. It’s ripped me right out of my imagination world, and back into a world of bitter, skin-coloured disappointment. The only explanation that I can make is that his laser gun is so hot and radioactive, it has in fact melted his body into it, but that’s just silly. That would mean he could only point his gun in one direction, and that direction appears to be mostly towards the floor. I don’t want ULM to shoot floorboards and pygmies. It’s just not canon.

But I guess I’m splitting hairs here. We all know the fate of single bits of plastic with no posability, no accessories and no backstory. They’re doomed to be foot soldiers at best, to be kicked aside by your more popular toys and then left for dead throughout the rest of playtime’s duration. They’re like the extras of the toy world, and that’s all they can ever aspire to be. Particularly in ULM’s case, with his useless downward-oriented laser. It’s his own fault, really.

But still, we salute you, ULM, for your courageous efforts and your grizzled appearance. You’re a pioneer in this blog, in the same way that you were unable to be a pioneer in playtime. Perhaps for old time’s sake, I’ll give you one more boot in the face from Raphael or Krillin before I jettison you for good.

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