Eternia Restoration Part 2: Hand Washed Plastic Pectorals

It looks like it’s about time for the next installment of my Eternia Restoration Project and if you’ve been waiting for a close up look at the individual action figures of my Masters of the Universe collection, then this is the post for you!

Cleaning up this group of figures wasn’t as nearly as difficult as cleaning up the mouse-urine-soaked hoard of GI Joes that comprised my Terrordrome Renovation Project a few years back.  By comparison this toy restoration will seem as easy as a sparkling wave of magic issued from the elegant fingers of the mysterious Sorceress of Castle Grayskull!

To begin I separated all of the accessories and weapons, figured out exactly what I had, and (after a quick internet search) sorted them all out to the appropriate heroes and villains.  Then over the course of a few days I gathered up small batches of the figures and gave them a dunk in a bucket of soapy hot water, gently scrubbed them with a toothbrush, rinsed them off, vigorously shook out any excess water from their hollow abdomens, then toweled them off and let them dry over night.

Like I said most of these figures were in pretty good shape, all things considered.  Sadly several figures I thought to be complete were actually missing arms, accessories, or were just completely broken.  Also there were a couple of otherwise flawless figures who had fallen victim to unprovoked pet attacks and were irrevocably scarred by dog teeth.  Apparently the family dog at the time was deep in the puppy chewing stage when some of these figures entered my collection.

Battle wounds add character!

In a few of these cases I was able to take a very small pair of wire cutters and trim away some of the gnarly plastic snags and gouges.  After some delicate snips and clips it actually helped shape up some of the nastier bite marks, making the figures slightly less disfigured.

As far as cleanliness went though there really wasn’t much to contend with.  One or two of the Eternians had been tatted up with some marker at some point, a couple were just mysteriously sticky, but the only real troublesome figure was the legendary Moss Man.

Covered in a fine coat of coarse green felt, Moss Man not only had fur adhered to his stock Masters of the Universe body but said exterior moss was originally endowed with a distinct perfumed scent.  All of that situation; a brillo pad fur, adhesive undercoat, and whatever chemical magic was used to induce that smell combined with years of play meant that Moss Man had gathered a lot of gunk, identifiable and otherwise, all across his namesake moss!

Even cleaning Moss Man however was not an arduous task, he just took a little extra time as I gently brushed out the years of embedded carpet fibers and pet hair.

All in all the best way to describe this effort is to say that I spent a few hours of my free time giving sponge baths to a large group of musclebound men in my basement.

But enough about that let’s take a look at the results!

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Clearly Eternia has a shortage of shirts.  Pictured are two average varietals of He-Man on the ends, Thunder Punch He-Man on the left, and He-Man’s alter ego Prince Adam wielding his fuchsia sword middle right.  Thunder Punch He-Man is the most complete all the other He-Men pictured are missing most, if not all, of their accessories.

 

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Here we see a group of recently washed heroes of Eternia: Mekaneck, Cyclone, Wundar, and Ram Man.  Mekaneck is missing his armor, Cyclone is complete with his lenticular chest piece and shield.  Wundar is actually a mail away promotional variant of He-Man given away from Wonder Bread.  Fans and collectors gave the brown haired version the name Wundar and the name stuck!

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More heroes! Fisto (you read that right!), the aforementioned Moss Man, Man-E-Faces, and Roboto with theme song by Styx.  Moss Man is complete with his brown club.  Roboto is missing one of his interchangeable arms. Man-E-Faces and Fisto are missing their weapons.

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Childhood favorite Orco with his weird stack of coins accessory which features other characters pictures on them.  (Of course most of those are missing)  He also has a rip cord that would send him spinning.  Also pictured is a random Orco stamp that was in my collection.

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Baddest of bad asses SKELETOR seen here in his battle damage variety and undamagable original flavor!  Although battle damage Skeletor is missing his accessories I was ecstatic to find that the classic version was 100% intact!

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Four of my favorite baddies: Fakor, Trap Jaw, Stinkor (the villainous scented equivalent of Moss Man), and Tri-Clops.  These guys were the best at being the worst!  Whenever I was plotting evil deeds these would be my go to guys to make it happen.  However in the process they lost most of their accessories.  Except Stinkor, though at this point he has lost his distinctive scent.

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Skeletor’s B-Squad: Mosquitor, Whiplash, Webstor, and Spikor.  (I’m sensing a pattern here with the names.)  Whiplash was one of the figures that received the worst of the canine maulings.  Although you can’t quite see it in the picture his entire right arm is chewed all to hell.  A lot of cool action features with these four though, dripping blood, whipping tails, zip lines, and retractable arms!

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The Evil Horde!  A revitalization of the Masters of the Universe meant new and better figures!  Enter the Horde, these guys pulled double duty battling He-Man AND She-Ra.  Who has the time?  Seen here Mantenna, Hordak himself, Grizzlor, and Leech.  Leech had a great feature, he had a vacuum sealing mouth.  When you pressed a button on his back he could suction up to flat surfaces!

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Let’s not forget about King Hiss and the Snake Men!  Actually let’s go ahead and forget about them, I was never really much of a fan.  But these two were pretty cool, Rattlor and Sssqueeze.  In my story lines these guys were always on loan from King Hiss in order to repay Skeletor and/or Hordak a favor.  These were the only Snake Men to ever grace my MOTU collection

 

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Sadness.  Let us not forget our fallen heroes (and villains).  Here we have the broken toys.  Clawful, Man-at-Arms, and Trap Jaw.  Thankfully I had two Trap Jaws and the other was in fairly decent shape.  Unfortunately Clawful is missing an arm, and that crazy crab curmudgeon was one of my favorites!  Similarly Man-at-Arms has encountered an equally disarming fate.  I’ll be vigilantly on the lookout for these missing limbs as I occasionally go through old boxes at home and at my parents house!

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Once again we have my wife’s She-Ra collection, finally reuniting Prince Adam with his sister Princess Adora under the roof of Castle Grayskull!  Pictured: SweetBee, Frosta, Perfuma, She-Ra, Bow, Glimmer, Castaspella, and the jealous beauty Catra!

 

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And just for shits and giggles here is my small collection of Masters of the Universe figures from the early 2000’s as sculpted by the legendary Four Horsemen.  As a kid I wanted the original Merman and Beast Man but they always eluded me but that all changed in 2003!

Well there you have it!  Up next the VEHICLES!

 

That is all!

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Crazy F*#%king Toys

     Perhaps I was a weird kid, or maybe I just got caught up in a lot of the cartoon merchandising hype, but I remember playing with a wide array of odd toys throughout my childhood, in some cases, crap that you rarely hear about nowadays.  I of course had my main staples like the Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man, and my Star Wars stuff but there were a few toy franchises that made it into my playtime repertoire that were a bit more madcap.  It’s important to note that I had a lot of toys as a kid, hell who am I kidding, I still have a lot of toys!  I just never really grew out of the toy phase and though as time went on I gradually played with them less, I’ve always harbored an appreciation for cool and interesting toys.  That being said, my collection throughout the 80’s and 90’s gradually became an eclectic mix of freaks, weirdos, and mutants and I’d like to share just a few of those lovable misfits with you now along with my thoughts on what made these toys so cool.

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Ketchuk and Dr. Gangrene. One of the basic AOTKT toy packs.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes– Yes this was a line of toys based on the B-movie parody of the same name, well actually it was based on a cartoon which was derived from the sequel to the B-movie parody of the same name, but let’s not get technical.

What can I say about Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?  I remember the cartoon series being highly ridiculous and entertaining, I’d be really interested to watch a few episodes now to see just how it holds up.  Overall this was just a zany concept and back then, as today, I love well executed, self aware, crazy humor.  I remember renting the movie around the time when the cartoon and the toys were hitting it big, and though I might not have quite understood all the jokes (or the actual concept of the movie for that matter) it was able to spark some awkward kind of devoted fandom within me.  Maybe because it looked like a movie that I could have been able to produce as a kid.  Whatever the reason I was tomatoes obsessed for quite some time.  It didn’t help that my father is notorious for growing tomatoes which kept me supplied with a surplus of actual tomatoes to perform various mad scientific experiments on.

I remember going through a scientific phase around this same time where many of my toys and action figures were put through the rigors of various medical experiments, generally resulting in their detriment.  Now that I think about it, it’s probably good I didn’t go with a career in science, I’m sure we would have all been destroyed by cyborg-zombie toenail clippers by now.

Anyway, these Killer Tomatoes toys, brought out by Mattel, were simplistic and insane and I owned all the main tomatoes from the show.  The best part was that these toys could easily be integrated with most of my others in order to create such exhibitions as Turtles VS Tomatoes or the Tomatoes Take Tatooine!

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A sampling from the buffet of Food Fighters.

Food Fighters – Seriously though, I for one loved these things.  These guys were like playing with G.I. Joes during an LSD trip at a Denny’s.  You want to talk about ridiculous toys, look no further.  The tagline for Food Fighters was “Combat At Its Kookiest!”  Verily I say!

With names like Burgerdier General, Taco Terror, and (I’m not making this up) Mean Weiner how could you not love these crazy bastards?  These were around during my elementary school years and I only ever actually owned but one Food Fighter, Short Stack, the angry looking stack of pancakes topped with butter, syrup, and an army hat.  I did however have a couple of friends who had some as well and we’d do battle on the lunchtime playground.

There were two divisions of Food Fighters, the Kitchen Commandos and the Refrigerator Rejects.  Short Stack was a member of the Refrigerator Rejects, who apparently were the bad guys but I ask you, how can a stack of pancakes be menacing?

Whatever the story line was for these guys they had great designs, and were just all around cool and interesting toys.  One question though, why did they have human arms and legs?  We may never know.  The toy line also had a few vehicles that were amazing, one in particular was a tank made from an egg carton with a bottle of ketchup strapped to the top.  Unfortunately there was never any type of media outlet for the Food Fighters and as a result they were only around for a few years which make them all the more alluring, an unexplained flash in the pan (pun intended) which had a lasting impression on my school days.  Sadly Short Stack was stolen at some point in elementary school, and was never heard from again

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Toxie from the Toxic Crusaders line of toys, now with 95% less sodomy.

 

The Toxic Crusaders – This show was right up there with Rambo and Robocop for the worst source material to derive a cartoon from.  The original Toxic Avenger movie produced by Troma was full of gory deaths, boobs, sex, and more gore.  Troma isn’t known for their wholesome, high quality, family entertainment but somehow somebody got it into their head that these guys could be the next Ninja Turtles.  I mean a mutant’s a mutant right?  It’s all the same.

The Toxic Crusader toys were produced by Playmates, the same company that made the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures and as a result they were very compatible in scale and design to the Turtles.  Toxie and his pals fit in quite nicely.  Even as a kid I knew the Toxic Avenger movie was forbidden fare, spoken of only in hushed tones and cryptic riddles.  I recall some friends trying to rent it for a sleep over but being denied by the video store clerk when they took it to the counter.  Though it wasn’t until many years later that I actually got to see the Toxic Avenger in all its ultra low budget glory, I always felt that I was pulling one over on my parents by owning these toys, because my folks had no idea what the Toxic Crusaders were.  As far as they knew Toxie was just another one of those weird Ninja Turtles, and I felt like some kind of ten year old rebellious badass with such clandestine contraband in my possession.  Dork.

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Death to the forces of R.A.M.S.!

Barnyard Commandos– The ceaseless battle between the P.O.R.K.S. and the R.A.M.S. for control of the farmstead was given form, the result being Barnyard Commandos.  Pigs and sheep armed with military equipment, what more is there to say?  Any badass street cred I received from my Toxic Crusaders figures was completely evaporated by owning these things.

These came to my attention when one was given to my grandmother (who loves pigs) as a gag gift.  It was obviously one of the P.O.R.K.S. commandos, Sgt. Shoat N. Sweet, who came with a machine gun barricade.  What really got my attention was the small “Code Book” that was included with the figure.  Inside the code book were instructions on how to speak Pig Latin, which I quickly became fluent in, there was also some general information about the pig side of the fight, and a bit of history about why the pigs and sheep were warring.  Well I am a sucker for a good toy narrative.  Simple in design the Barnyard Commandos were soft plastic pig and sheep figures that had removable weaponry for which to do battle against the opposing faction.  Not very complex at all.

I guess what I found so great about the Barnyard Commandos was the back-story.  Unlike most toys of the time the manufacturer didn’t take sides, neither the pigs nor the sheep were portrayed as the “bad guys”, the whole thing was just portrayed as ridiculous.

Each character had a file card on the back of their packaging with a brief history and such, and the code books were just cool little pamphlets that really added something to the toys.  A friend of mine had several sheep and I had three or four of the pigs and we had some good battles with those goofy farm animals until they lost their limited appeal and then abruptly the war was over.  My pigs had a hard time readjusting to civilian life but they found cameos in some of my other toy adventures and I remember them regularly floating around my toy landscape even after the height of their coolness.

One question remains though, what was in the R.A.M.S. code book?  If you have any answers please let me know, because I don’t think I ever got to look at one!

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How many points is Bulbasaur worth?

 

Monster in My Pocket – Monsters in every sense of the word, Monster In My Pocket was a collection of small rubbery monster figures with varying point values assigned to them depending on how tough and/or epic the creature was.  Something like a run of the mill Witch was only worth 5 points, while monsters such as the Great Beast of Revelation were worth 25 points.  Apparently there were at least two board games that were compatible with Monster In My Pocket but I never got that deep into it.

These guys were another holdout from my elementary school days and at that time we would rather make up our own rules for playing with toys, instead of letting the man tell us how to do things!  We would just keep our monsters in our pockets as it were, draw one at random, compare the numbers and proceed with battling them out as deemed by our imaginations and the point values.  Ironically it was not all that different from what would eventually become Pokemon, right down to the obsessive collecting element of it all.  Funny story, these guys are the reason Pokemon is called Pokemon in the USofA and not simply Pocket Monsters as it is in Japan.

Matchbox found a real winner in Monster in My Pocket which went on for several years and involved cartoons, games, and comic books.  The monsters had partners in the earlier M.U.S.C.L.E. Men who were basically the same thing except instead of monsters they were extreme wrestlers.  To me it seemed like Monster In My Pocket was able to compile a complete list of every monster, ghoul, cryptid, and mythological creature ever known.  More importantly the figures informed me, with what I assumed to be complete accuracy, which monsters could defeat the others.

I learned a great deal about new and interesting monsters and my encyclopedia of horror was expanded exponentially.    Unfortunately I made some bad investments in the Monster In My Pocket stock exchange, and over the course of several bad trades I lost most of my monsters.  Today I am left with but a handful of low point rejects like the Phantom of the Opera and a mummy.  Oh well, I learned quite a bit from my time with those tiny pocket monsters.

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So you wear a high-tech power suit fueled by . . . . wood?

Battle Beasts -Sounds exciting doesn’t it?  To be honest I have absolutely no idea what the story was with Battle Beasts.  What I do know is that they had a crazy mix of animals from lions and apes to crows and anteaters, all dressed in high-tech futuristic suits.  Often the Battle Beasts would have hands, or entire arms replaced with some sort of blunt force weaponry like morning stars or scissoring blades like Edward Scissorhands.  Most importantly the Battle Beasts were marked with thermal activated stickers like those found on the old Transformers toys.  Once you placed a finger over their chest you would be able to discover what elemental power individual Battle Beasts possessed, water, fire, or wood.

Of course you can figure out how that works out.

Much like Monster In My Pocket and Pokemon much later my friends and I would put together teams of Battle Beasts and line them up for individual battles revealing at the last minute which elemental mark each beast bared.

I still have quite a few of my Battle Beasts; the stoic faced little creatures remain awesome to this day.  Unfortunately due to the constant rubbing of their element signs, many of my Battle Beast’s thermal stickers have fallen off (good thing that doesn’t happen with everything, am I right? Zing!), but other than that they are still in pretty good shape.

It’s been awhile since I’ve sorted through my BB horde, but I remember having some goofy ones; the frilled lizard and the three toed sloth come to mind.  Really?  A Sloth?  Though I suppose it’s no stranger than a stack of pancakes wielding a gun or a pig with a flame thrower.

Perhaps in the near future I will go over to my parent’s house and round up some of these crazy toys and see just what I have left and take inventory and some pictures of the ol’ gang to share here on the blog, until than . . . . .

That is all!