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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The Eternia Restoration 2016

It should be stated that I have three older siblings.  Much older siblings in fact.  When I was born my two sisters had already moved out and the next youngest, my brother, was turning 18 and was on his way to leaving the house as well.  Growing up I was essentially an only child, as such I quickly developed a love of toys.  There was something great about being able to create your own entertainment through imaginative play which really clicked with me.  Wherever I went I’d bring along a few cars or action figures for the trip in case things got boring or I found that the mood required a high speed chase or epic battle scene.

One of my earliest collections of toys were the Masters of the Universe figures and playsets.  In fact it was probably one of the earliest fandoms to which I belonged.  As a kid I loved the He-Man cartoon and would spend hours recreating the battles and adventures of that crazy post-apocalyptic fantasy world of Eternia.  In the basement of my childhood home I had a large corner that was dedicated as a play area where I kept most of my toys and playsets.  There were representatives from several classic toy lines lingering around in that basement.  Star Wars (of course), Transformers, GoBots, Voltron, and even Rainbow Brite (I’m not ashamed!) but dominating the playscape was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!

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The art of the Masters of the Universe franchise is outstanding and this poster sums up my era of collecting the figures.

From around the ages of 4 to 6 Castle Grayskull stood at the center of my toy multiverse like a dull green beacon of adventure!  I had what seemed like a legion of heroes and villains to choose from along with several of the zany and seemingly inefficiently engineered vehicles.  Swords of power and magic staves were strewn across the carpet just waiting to be taken up in combat by the most worthy of heroes or misshapen of monsters.  Skeletor, Hordak, He-Man, Buzz-Off.  These were names of legend.  The epic storylines I would construct would incorporate many of my other toys until seemingly every toy I owned had vowed their loyalty to one side or the other in the continuous struggle of good versus evil.

The laws of physics and rules of logic did not apply to my corner of the basement which made those epic struggles all the more fun.

However there was one rule to that play area, the rule of Mom!  Specifically Mom asked that I keep my toys picked up and tidy when I was done.  No doubt this was some attempt by my parents to teach me about responsibility and the importance of taking proper care of my possessions.  Having children of my own now I completely understand but at the time it was really putting a cramp in my style, more importantly it was hindering He-Man’s quests which would often span several days, picking up where they’d left off during the previous afternoon.

How was I expected to pick up my things when Skeletor had just invaded the castle and was holding Ram Man hostage?  Man-At-Arms just called in Optimus Prime for assistance and if I put it all away now I’ll never remember who had already been killed off and who was only slightly wounded?

However time and time again I was asked to keep my toys picked up and the basement tidy and time and time again I would forget, half-ass it, or outright refuse until finally my other had enough.

“Keep your toys cleaned up or I’m getting rid of your He-Man toys.”

Cue the Ennio Morricone music.  A challenge had been thrown out.  Our eyes locked in a silent but intense stare.

I feel that I must point out here that I would not describe myself as having been a defiant kid or someone who by any means challenged authority but I was, and to this day still am, extremely stubborn.  When I feel like I’m being wronged I’ll double down and hold my ground.  Unfortunately for me my mother is the same way.

Now I was young, I don’t recall the exact details of what happened next, but as you might expect I did not keep my toys picked up or at least didn’t keep them picked up to the standards of my mother.  Believing Mom to be bluffing I was utterly taken aback when like a galactic crushing cyclone my mother came swooping down into the basement and began disassembled Castle Grayskull, the Fright Zone, and Hordak’s Slime Pit.  She meticulously plucked up every multicolored weapon; melee, energy, or otherwise.  He-Man, his friends, and enemies were unceremoniously bagged up together with seemingly no appreciation for their deeply ingrained and often conflicting friendships and rivalries.

In an instant Eternia was completely wiped out, it was like millions of plastic voices had cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.  It was Alderaan all over again, if Alderaan were a series of techo-medieval kingdoms populated by barbarians and beast men.  (Who knows, maybe it was, we’ve never had a real good look at Alderaan at this point.)

I was told my He-Man toys had been thrown away and that was the end of that.

In the intervening years other toys would come and go.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would eventually rise to prominence and surpass He-Man and his friends in number and overall interest.  But there was always a soft spot in my heart for the denizens of Eternia and the few small pieces of He-Man accessories and memorabilia which managed to slip through the cracks would go on to become artifacts of great import in my future play.

Whether or not that experience has left any indelible emotional scarring, who’s to say?  I’ll ask my psychologist when I see him next week.

It wasn’t until years later, around age 9 or 10, when I was sent into our crawl spaces in search of holiday decorations, and I discovered the truth!  My Masters of the Universe toys hadn’t been tossed out like so much fantastic garbage but had simply been stashed away, hidden from me and simply awaiting to be rediscovered.  Occasionally afterwards I’d covertly work my way back through the racks of clothes and stacks of boxed junk in the crawl space in order to get back to my old friends.  I’d pick through the toys remembering how awesome they were and matching them up with their distinctive armor and weaponry.  Even at that time I didn’t dare take them out beyond the crawl space for fear that my mother might have simply forgotten they were up there and upon discovering them would finish the job once and for all!

Well now after all those years I’ve finally freed the citizens of Eternia from the bondage of those attic boxes and have decided to make use of them in a new series of blog posts I’m calling The Eternia Restoration 2016.  If you’re familiar with my Terrordrome Renovation 2011 then you’ll know what to expect!  The short answer is I’ll be going through these old toys, cleaning them up, putting them back together, and just generally restoring them to as much of their former glory as is now possible.

So let’s get right down to it!

For starters here are a few shots of the toys I’ll be cleaning up.  These Masters of the Universe figures, vehicles and playsets have seen a lot of action and are far from complete.  Overall however they were really in much better shape than I expected!

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The heroes and villains directly from their cardboard imprisonment. For the record at this time they all smelled like a lovely melange of Moss Man and Stinkor odors.

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The remaining accessories. Already we can tell there are a lot missing.

 

Next we have the vehicles and war machines of the Masters of the Universe!

 

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The majestic Dragon Walker. The zaniest design for a vehicle ever produced and the best part is that it’s motorized! Here’s hoping we can get it to work!

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Stridor. The mechanical mount of Eternia’s heroes.

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Skeletor’s Land Shark. Watch out all you celebrity billionaire business folk, this is an actual Shark Tank!

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The Wind Raider. This is the oldest of the vehicles I have. It’s missing several parts and is sadly in the worst shape.

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Attack Track. Another highly illogical mode of transportation and it too is motorized!

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Battle Bones. This has always been my favorite. Essentially the bus of Eternia but also a handy carrying case when visiting friends and family.

 

Finally here we have the big guns, the playsets.  I was lucky enough to have not only Castle Grayskull, but the Fright Zone, and Hordak’s Slime pit as well!  Still in pieces I really want to clean these suckers up before reassembling them.

 

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Castle Grayskull. Surprisingly almost all of the castles parts and decals seems to have survived the years in exile.

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The Fright Zone and Slime Pit also seem to be in good shape though I haven’t had time yet to pull them out and sort through to find out.

 

FINALLY we’ll end this with another bit of good news: I’m happy to announce the reunion of He-Man with his sister She-Ra!  Huzzah!  As fate would have it our house was already in the possession of a She-Ra collection which my wife saved from her childhood house a few years earlier!

 

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She-Ra the Princess of Power and her pals.  Although my wife Lauren kept these heroines hair on fleek she seems to have lost all of their accessories.    

 

 

The Colonel’s Pants

So before you read any further I must warn you that I am about to discuss some very obscure Star Wars material, and will be arguing a point that may very well only be important to me.  When I say obscure I don’t mean a Wedge Antilles or Bossk level obscurity, think more obscure!  I’m talking about a specific character so minor that they only appear on screen for a few seconds and have absolutely no dialogue.  On top of that I’ll be nitpicking the details of that characters costume and posit some ideas which may go against the standard conventions for said character.  So if you’re not ready for some Star Wars deep cuts then get the fuck out!

Colonel Wullf Yularen.

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That is a name which in recent years has become only slightly more recognizable with Star Wars fans.  Before that Colonel Yularen was a character with very few background details and even fewer fans who seemed to give a shit about him.

In the original Star Wars (A New Hope) from 1977 Colonel Wullf Yularen appears in a single scene (though further on I will put forth the theory that Yularen actually appears a second time in that film.)  The colonel’s only film appearance (though possibly first of two) is during the infamous Death Star Conference Room scene where Grand Moff Tarkin informs his heads of staff that the Emperor has dissolved the senate and later Darth Vader chokes a guy.  Sitting directly next to Admiral Motti (the haughty Imperial who gets Force choked by Vader) you will see Colonel Wullf Yularen in his distinctive white uniform jacket.

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From the years of 1977 to 1995 the character was left unnamed and without a title or any background information whatsoever.  However in 1995 Colonel Wullf Yularen was first named and given a brief biography within the Star Wars Customizable Card Game put out by Decipher.  At the time the names and lore text of the cards were considered canon and it was there stated that the colonel was a leader of the Imperial Security Bureau contingent aboard the first Death Star.  After that the character found his way into subsequent Star Wars encyclopedias and information tomes that would be published later but little was done to further his biography.

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The Colonel Wullf Yularen card was printed in the original release of the Star Wars CCG

It was from this glance of the character of Yularen in the CCG and his concise but interesting biography which really made me a fan.  I would often try to include the colonel in my Star Wars decks despite the fact that he was not that powerful and his abilities not all that impressive.  This guy was briefing Tarkin on stuff and apparently in such good standing with the Emperor that he’s the one Palpatine sends to ensure everyone is towing the Imperial line.

Eventually in 2006 an action figure of Colonel Wullf Yularen was created in a special boxed set of the Death Star Briefing Room.  It was a joyous day for Yularen fans in particular or Imperial officer completeists in general.  However despite my personal excitement I was confused by the look of the figure whose uniform was entirely white, which is unlike any other standard Imperial uniform seen in the movies or the books.  In the expanded universe books Grand Admirals did wear all white uniforms but were also adorned with golden epaulets and the corresponding double rowed rank insignia.

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“Oops looks like my pants got mixed up in Thrawn’s laundry again and his with mine!”

A mystery and controversy had begun.

The controversy lies with the fact that Yularen was clearly defined in the lore as being part of the ISB, the Imperial Security Bureau.  The uniform of the ISB would eventually become associated with the black cap, white coat, and black pants which is seen on various officers in various background shots of the first Death Star.

The black/white/black uniform of the ISB was always sort of a mystery because it only ever appears in the first Star Wars movie and is only ever seen on the Death Star.  Until it was established as the accepted ISB uniform those Imperials were simply known as “Death Star Officers” or “Imperial Fleet Officers.”  Now as stated before Yularen only appears in A New Hope and is only on the Death Star and is later established as a high ranking officer in the ISB.  Do you follow me so far?

So with all of that in mind shouldn’t the pants of the action figure for Wullf Yularen have been black, and not white?  To me the answer was obvious, and clearly Hasbro had made a mistake.  That being said however he is such a minor character and the pants in question are never actually visible while the character is seated at the Death Star conference table.  Oh well what can you do?

The issue of the all-white uniform became further compounded when in 2008 a younger version of Wullf Yularen was included in the prequel cartoon series The Clone Wars.  In the series Yularen is given the rank of Admiral in the Republic fleet and works closely with Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker as they battle the forces of the Separatists.

Another banner moment for Yularen fans!  Who would have thought that we’d ever get more Wullf Yularen!  But alas this inclusion in the Clone Wars brings with it further Yularen scandal.

The wonderful Dave Filoni, director of the Clone Wars and it’s followup Star Wars Rebels, has stated that they decided to include the character of Wullf Yularen as a nod to the original trilogy and gave him the rank of Admiral in order to show his rise through the ranks to the position of Grand Admiral, a rank which the show’s creators mistakenly thought the character had attained at the time of A New Hope as signified by his white uniform jacket.

Once the mistake was realized a good old fashioned retcon was deployed which stated that Yularen retired from the Navy at some point after the Clone Wars with the rank of Admiral but was later personally asked by the Emperor himself to reenlist with the ISB in a new position as colonel aboard the Death Star.

However the damage was already done.  Despite the relatively unadorned rank insignia of Wullf Yularen (three red squares and three blue squares) along with a preestablished history, the idea that Wullf Yularen was a Grand Admiral at the time of A New Hope had found a foothold within the fandom.

Until now!  It is at this time that I would like to present my evidence of precisely how Colonel Wullf Yularen should be depicted and to firmly establish his position as colonel within ISB operations.

First of all as most of us know by now the Expanded Universe was completely wiped out just prior to the release of the newest Star Wars installment, The Force Awakens.  That meant that pretty much anything was once again up for grabs in the Star Wars universe and unless something explicitly happened in the first six movies or the Clone Wars cartoon it was no longer considered Star Wars canon.

However the first expanded universe book of this new canon was titled “Tarkin” and documented the rise to power of the titular character.  In that book Wullf Yularen made a few very minor appearances and thankfully was firmly reestablished once again as a colonel in the ISB.

So that bit of business is taken care of.

Now for his uniform.  A couple of years ago I put together an ISB uniform of my own to wear to conventions, Death Star briefings, or fancy dinners.  I figured an Imperial officer costume would be a nice alternative to my much more cumbersome stormtrooper armor.  Wanting to do something a bit more unique then the typical grey fleet officer I decided to go with the Imperial Security Bureau look.  Black cap, white officer jacket, black pants.  As a fan of Yularen I gave myself the rank of colonel and adorned my costume accordingly but I wanted to examine the movie with a fine toothed comb and seek out as many of the ISB uniforms as possible in order to make sure the details of mine were precise.  Through my observations I found that there are actually two variations of the ISB uniform in A New Hope.  One with the typical imperial cropped riding pants and tall boots and one with a straight leg and dress shoes.  Not a huge difference and from all observations my costume was spot on.  Below are most of the uniforms appearances in the film.

 

Then as I was going frame by frame looking for ISB officers aboard the Death Star I came across the scene where Han and Luke, disguised as stormtroopers escorting Chewbacca, are awaiting a turbolift to the detention area.  In that scene our heroes are passed by a pair of ISB agents.  These two agents are actually the clearest examples of the uniform in the movie and as I was examining them I realized something.  The officer on the right is Wullf Yularen!

Could that be?  Is that Colonel Yularen out and about walking the Death Star corridors?  It certainly appears that way to me, despite the addition of the black cap everything is exactly the same down to the rank insignia.  Unless there were two actors with the same face and same pristinely trimmed mustache on the set of Star Wars then I had to be looking at what was essentially an unacknowledged second appearance of Wullf Yularen!

Here take a look at the side by side comparisons.

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A second appearance by the colonel is completely in keeping with the rest of the film seeing as several of the Imperials from the conference room scene appear later in the movie.  Admiral Motti and General Tagge discuss the fate of Princess Leia with Tarkin and Vader after the conference room scene.  Chief Bast is seen in several scenes before and after, most notably as the officer who warns Grand Moff Tarkin that the Rebel’s attack against the Death Star might be more dangerous than previously expected.

What this whole long drawn out rant is trying to explain is that Colonel Wullf Yularen wears black pants and it’s irrefutably proven in one quick scene.

With the discovery of that full body shot of the colonel those black pants should now be considered official canon, despite the implications of the white panted action figure.  From everything that I’ve researched no one seems to have realized that one quick corridor scene is in fact a display of Wullf Yularen’s full uniform in motion.

So in the future whenever you’re discussing Star Wars or Star Wars Costuming with your friends, family, and colleagues and find yourself in an argument over the uniform of Wullf Yularen or of the ISB in general (as I’m sure happens on at least a weekly basis) feel free to point them in the direction of Mindless Philosophy and I’ll be glad to set them straight!

 

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A piece of fan art in the Clone Wars style which incorrectly depicts Wullf Yularen wearing white pants.

 

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: Don’t F#*%K With Shockwave!


Today I have another quick one for you.  I’ve got a job interview this afternoon and I don’t really have a lot of time, so I wanted to use a panel that needs very little explanation.  This week’s image comes to us from the old Marvel days of the Transformers comic books, this is second generation stuff if I’m not mistaken, but beyond that I have no idea where this panel comes from.  (As it turns out I was indeed mistaken.  The name of the issue was Second Generation but this has nothing to do with second generation Transformers stuff. Idiot!)

I found it awhile back while poking around on the Transformers wiki doing some research for my Terrordrome Renovation Project and I thought it was perfect for FFP.  If you’ve never paid a visit to the Transformers wiki, go take a look.  That site is full of some of the funniest one liners I’ve ever read.  It’s nice to see a fandom that doesn’t take itself or its source material completely serious all the time.  Too many fan groups delve into their subject matter with a scholarly discipline that is on the verge of delusion.  At the TFWiki they certainly have all the facts about whatever Transformer toy or cartoon series that you’d ever want to know, but every entry has more than a few heavy handed goofball captions, or mocking running jokes that bounce around between pages.  I’m not a huge Transformers fan, but it’s always amusing just to search around that wiki and skim some of the articles.  (In a correction, I originally called it a wikia, but it’s not.  But I don’t know what the hell the difference is.)  <To learn what the difference is, see the comments section below!>

Anyway I’m pretty sure this single image from the 80’s Transformers Marvel comic inspired the playground scene in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  (Jokes!)  But this is terrifying, and I’m pretty sure that kid in the picture is a goner.  Them’s the breaks.

This panel has given me an idea though, I think this is going to start a new segment of Friday Funny Pages entitled:  Don’t F#*%K With _____!  Where the next few weeks will focus on characters with whom you should not fuck with.  Yes, I like that idea, that’s what I shall do.  Excellent . . . . .

That is all!

Terrordrome Renovation 2011: Stage 6 (Terrordrome Sponge Bath)

Well the day has finally arrived, my G.I. Joe cleaning and restoration project has at last reached the final stage, that’s right the Cobra Terrordrome has been completely renovated and restored to its former glory! I knew that cleaning up the Terrordrome would be a considerable undertaking, but it proved to be more difficult than I imagined. Just by looking at the thing I could see it was a filthy mess, the compartments around the base of the Cobra headquarters and the circular command center at the top seemingly served as a great nesting ground for the rodents that made their home within the large cardboard box that stored the Terrordrome and the other Joe toys. Dust, debris, and blotchy brown mouse stains covered every part of the Drome of Terror. The real problem however wasn’t with how dirty the thing was, it was how huge it is! Originally I had planned to take the whole thing outside with a bucket of soapy water and the garden hose and clean it in my backyard. I nixed that plan however when the weather refused to cooperate and after about the third week in a row of rain my impatients and curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do what I could in the basin sink in my basement. Thankfully it worked out, but I had to do some serious wrestling with several of the wide, unwieldy sections of the Terrordrome in order to get them thoroughly cleaned.

Starting out I first completely disassembled the base, removing every wall panel and accessory that was still attached. After that I just made a few twisting maneuvers and was able to separate the top of the Terrordrome from the launch silo and the base. I was hesitant to take it apart completely; worried that it would be a pain in my ass to put back together. As I said earlier my first thought was that I would be able to just haul it outside and wash it down without having to completely break it down. Thankfully the base is designed in a fairly foolproof manner that makes it more or less impossible to put together wrong. The only concern was a few accessories that could be attached in various positions depending on your aesthetic.

Once the whole thing was taken apart the cleaning began. I started with the smallest parts first, the pie shaped retracting silo covers and the wall and door sections. Then came the dark blue ramparts that attach to the top of the base emblazoned with the Cobra insignia, they are actually some of my favorite features of the base. The large main turrets were cleaned in my initial wave of cleaning when I took care of all the loose guns and parts that were floating around in the bottom of the box, but the smaller rear turrets and the outer bay doors of the Terrordrome were taken care of this round.

Then it came down to the biggest sections, the top and the base. The top wasn’t too bad, after the cobra insignia ramparts were removed it was far more streamlined and fit easier into the basin sink, it was just a matter of turning it like a wheel and flipping it around in order to get it all cleaned. I abandoned most of my brushes which had served as my cleaning implements in previous stages, and took up a sponge that would be easier to work into the nooks and crannies of the Terrordrome’s varied layers. I suppose you could say I literally gave the Terrordrome a sponge bath.

That last part of the base, was the bottom with the launch silo still attached, together it barely fit into the sink enough to clean it. I had to wedge it in at an angle turning the faucet to one side leaving just enough room to be able to turn the water on and off and reach down to a small bucket of soap and water. It took a good twenty minutes to scrub that sucker down, twisting, pulling, shifting, lifting, and reaching around it in order to make sure it was spotless when I was done with it.

After that workout I decided to just leave it all out to dry and come back to assemble it later. When it finally came time to put the Terrordrome back together I was pleasantly surprised, as I said before it was fairly foolproof to reassemble. When it came to the minor details I was fortunate to have some of the original instruction sheets as well as the packaging images to refer to in order to figure it out.

Now that it is all cleaned up and reassembled it is a glorious sight to behold. The Terrordrome is a thing of beauty! They simply don’t make toys like this anymore, or else kids just aren’t interested in these kinds of things nowadays. This Terrordrome in particular is in great condition! Considering how much evidence there was of mouse activity within the Terrordrome itself there really wasn’t that much damage from the mice, not as much as there was with some of the other stuff. There are only few incidents of them chewing on the plastic parts, one of the turret seats have been gnawed on and a wall section has a few nibbles taken from it. The only other problems with it are minor ones, a few stickers in the wrong place, and two of the gun caps are MIA. With those few exceptions the Terrordrome is in surprisingly pristine condition and in fine working order.

But enough of me going on about the thing, take a look for yourself! Below are the pictures of the last of my cleaning efforts (click on the images for a larger version), but fear not this does not mean you won’t be seeing these G.I. Joe and Cobra toys again! I have been pondering what to do with these treasures and I have a few ideas in mind for a photography project that would make use of this stuff. In fact, there might be a clue within the pictures below as to what that project might be . . . . .

The base of the Terrordrome after being diasassembled

The various doors and walls of the Terrordrome

The top of the Terrordrome with Cobra insignia ramparts still attached

The base and launch silo in the sink mid-cleaning

Terrordrome in the process of being reassembled

It is complete! A fully assembled Terrordrome!

A shot from above, a chair for every computer terminal, and a computer terminal for every chair

Finally Cobra can get back to work terrorizing the world and the forces of G.I. Joe

There are three garage bays with deployable refueling stations

There are two smaller rear turrets that can swing out to fire on enemy forces, also pictured the launch lever for the silo

A prison cell for captured G.I. Joe forces, let's see them get past that "laser" gate!

The common area/ party room/ storage. This is where they have company birthday parties.

A closeup of one of the main turrets

That is all . . . . for now . . . .

Can You Identify These Toys?

     A few blogs back I mentioned that I have a couple of toys from my childhood that I simply have no idea what they are or even where they came from, well I’ve found them.  Below are some pictures of the mysterious toys in question.  The first is a pair of small animalistic alien creatures wearing space suits.  Initially I thought they were just Battle Beast rip offs, but they appear to be pilots of some type of vehicles.  They have articulated knees so it would seem that they at least had something to sit on, that’s my guess anyway.  The other toy in question I’m sure was some kind of pilot.  It’s a tiny little figure, a human in a space suit but the intriguing thing is he has magnets inset in his boots which I assume would be used for clinging to whatever vehicle he was a part of.  There are some symbols painted on his space suit and I’ve tried to capture those in the photos.

     Take a look at the pictures below and if anyone reading this has any idea what the hell these are leave me a comment pointing me in the right direction.  I’d just like to know what exactly these things are that were loitering around my bedroom with my Ninja Turtles and Masters of the Universe crews.  I’ve got a gently used one dollar bill in my wallet for the individual who can correctly identify all three of these bad boys!  (That is as long as you live within the local area and would be willing to come and pick up your dollar, it seems like kind of a waste to spend half a dollar to mail a dollar somewhere.  Of course driving these days is just as bad what with gas prices being what they are, you’d spend at least a dollar just to drive and pick up your dollar, and that doesn’t make sense.  I suppose this is just a symptom of the deflated dollar value and our current economic situation in general huh?  Really makes you think doesn’ it?)

     You know what, forget the dollar prize for a correct answer, instead if you can correctly identify these toys you’ll receive my undying gratitude for a job well done, sound good?  

So an ant and a hammerhead shark walk into a bar . . . .

      

The backside of the Ant/Hammerhead Shark aliens. What are these?

 

The mysterious tiny space man

 

Side shot of the tiny space man, notice the markings

 

Overhead shot, more markings on his helmet.

Terrordrome Renovation 2011: Stage 5

     So here we are in the final stages of this Terrordrome Renovation project and I’m still running into a few surprises, stage 5 was wrought with ups and downs. This time around my efforts were focused on the cleaning and the reconstruction of the once elaborate G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center. After referencing a few images on YoJoe.com to get the feel of how it was assembled I realized this Joe base came loaded with a smattering of cool features. Though not the largest of the playsets this one-sided G.I. Joe equivalent of the Majeno Line came equipped with two garage bays, one with a lift to “repair” vehicles, a secure holding cell for captured Cobra operatives, artillery, gun, and lookout turrets at the front, a computer and communications console, and storage for all the random guns and equipment the Joes accumulated with each new recruit. With so many cool interactive features the Headquarters Command Center would certainly have been a busy place, despite its smaller size.

How the Headquarters Command Center appeared in the G.I. Joe cartoon.

     Unfortunately as I began examining the parts I had I quickly realized this HQCC was not all there. I suspected as much a few weeks ago when I took a few minutes to sort through the parts that went with the Headquarters and only found two rows of jail bars for the holding cell. At the time I hoped maybe there were only two walls of bars and the other two were just the prefab walls that were already there. That was not the case however. I also knew I did not have the large artillery placement that jutted out from the front of the fortress which was a shame because that is a cool and prominent feature of the set.

     Before the assembly could begin the walls and various sections of the command center needed a good washing. As I remember the parts for the HQCC laying toward the bottom of the large box of toys and as such they were, appropriately enough, the base of operations for the mice that were squatting there. As you will see in the pictures below there was no doubt this stuff needed a good scrubbing. For this task I put down the toothbrush, done now with the finer detailing of the vehicles, and picked up a larger flat scrub brush which I used to clean the grime away from these flat, wide surfaces. Several of the panels and wall sections were small enough that I could just soak them in the large bowl I’ve been using to clean these toys, but the floor, front, and vehicle bays had to be washed in the basin under the faucet.

     Sadly once the Headquarters Command Center was all clean, dried, and reassembled I realized just how incomplete it was. A shell of it’s former self this HQCC is, as I suspected, without a proper holding cell, missing a whole section of prison bars and the cool pivoting cell door. Although the console for the communications center is intact and in really good shape the twin chairs that were posted in front of it are MIA. There are also a few small dividing wall pieces missing, along with the storage bins and covers that fit in the back of the playset. As I mentioned before the heavy gun is missing from the front of the building but worse then that, there is an entire section missing that fits in behind the front barricade of the building. It wasn’t until I started putting it all together and returned to my reference photos that I realized there was a large empty space toward the front of the Headquarters. This section would have consisted of a small staircase that lead to an elevated floor that had searchlights and a gun turret overlooking the wall and would have lead to the big main gun. Next to the stairs was a housing for a generator. To make matters worse still I actually have the small gun turret, the searchlight, the generator, and the cover for it but that entire section they accessorize is gone.

     There were some good things to come from this however, all was not lost. First of all the HQCC is still pretty cool. The garage bay lift is just one of those cool toy features that are just fun. The console has some great stickers showing Scarlett and a seemingly bored Cobra Commander, and if nothing else it simply provides an appropriate place to store my Joes. Secondly while I was once again exploring YoJoe.com I unraveled the mystery of one of the vehicle accessories that had been puzzling me. There is a carriage-type trailer that looks like a big wooden crate that can attach to the hitch of other vehicles and which opens up to reveal a radar dish inside, I’ve mentioned it in past posts and was unsure exactly what it was. Well thanks to the miracle of the internet I now know that it is called the Coastal Defender and it is a deployable land air/sea defense platform and best of all it turned out that I had all the other parts that went along with it, solving several mysteries in one! Finally, as I was sorting out the HQCC components I came across the sheet of decals which I had spied when I first sorted through the old toys. The stickers were completely unused and had Cobra markings. I quickly went to the random pages of instructions that had been floating around with the toys and discovered that those stickers were for the decoration of the Firebat, the Terrordromes resident launching fighter jet. I had a bit of fun applying the stickers, and though the sheet had been pretty warped the stickers went on without a problem and so now the Terrordrome is that much closer to being 100% intact.

     So although the G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center might not be completely viable it’s still half-way decent and it was a blast to put it all together. The revelation about the Coastal Defender was great and my excitement level about the Terrordrome is now off the charts. Completely guessing, I’d say the Terrordrome is probably 97% intact. The only things that I know are missing for sure are a set up gun caps for the small lower guns, but we’ll see, that’s up next!  Take a gander at the pics below, and as always click them to see the much larger versions.

Looks like G.I. Joe could use a house keeper.

 

The main floor section of HQCC pictured with the Firebat decals.

 

A closeup shot of the communications console and it's awesome stickers.

 

The fully assembled Headquarters Command Center, at least what's left of it.

 

Ain't no party like an HQCC party, cause an HQCC party don't stop!

 

You'll notice the large bare section to the left, there's something missing . . . .

 

"This just in, someone stole our chairs!"

 

The vamp gets worked over on the lift.

 

The undeployed Coastal Defender with Wet Suit and Deep Six.

 

What?!? Who designed this thing, Optimus Prime?? (Cause it transforms . . . . )

 

That is all!