Friday Funny Pages: Watch Your Mouth Red

“Oh . . . . shoot!”

You’re soaring through the air holding on for your life dangling from a haphazard chain of pokemon as they desperately attempt to escape the suction of a raging typhoon below.  I’m sure if any of us were in this situation we’d have the exact same response.

I am a huge Pokemon fan.  As much as I love the various games, I think the real gem of the franchise is the cartoon series, especially the original production which was brilliantly goofy and hilarious.  I always liked that, from start to finish, Ash never really had his shit together and in many respects was a horrible trainer, as Brock and Misty would often point out.

I’m not well versed in many other anime series, or manga for that matter, but because of my huge devotion to Pokemon I long ago bought the Pokemon Adventures manga collections written by Hidenori Kusaka with art by Mato.  There are some major differences between the cartoon and the comics.  Firstly there is the whole reading flow of manga which still confuses me on occasion.  Secondly the main character Red.  Despite his general appearance Red is not Ash.  Red is not simply an alias for our pal Ash, and the storyline of the manga is pretty intricate, not just a black and white take on the show.  Taking some main points from the games and the cartoon, the comics really expand upon those familiar touchstones and blow up Pokemon into an epic saga that sees rivals uniting against a common enemy, widespread conspiracies slowly unraveled, begrudging respect earned for the main character, and an alliance of unlikely heroes brought to bear on a villain who was attempting to suppress the inherent goodness and pleasant competitive spirit of the pokemon trainer lifestyle for his own personal gain.  Oh, and it’s still goofy and amusing.  Trust me it’s pretty entertaining, and a bonus: Red doesn’t arbitrarily throw his Pikachu into every fight.  You actually get to see a much wider array of pokemon taking it to the streets then you ever do in the old cartoon.

The above image comes from Pokemon Adventures Volume 3, towards the end of the entire arch when Red, Blue (Red’s rival who is still pretty much Gary, verbatim.), and Green (an original chick trainer who is not based on any other familiar characters) find themselves in the deepest of the trouble they get into.  We can see that Red is having a time of it here.  I just think it is incredibly amusing that they decided to translate this with simply “Oh . . . . shoot!” and not just a scream, or maybe a “Hang on!”

Just “Oh shoot!”

Funny.

Anyway until next time go find the old Indigo League Pokemon series and watch through it, you won’t be disappointed.

That is all!

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Friday Funny Pages: Go Smurfing Smurf Yourself In The Smurf

I originally had something else planned for today’s Friday Funny Pages, but I was flipping through my comics from Free Comic Book Day and came across an issue that contained some Smurfs pages and decided to use some of the panels found there instead.  As a kid I really enjoyed the Smurfs.  As far as old cartoons go the Smurfs was pretty adventurous, while at the same time sticking to a lot of the cartoon conventions of the day.  The Smurfs made use of several typical cartoon elements such as making use of the ever determined recurring villain who is hell-bent on ruining the day for the main characters; as well as character names that were not only short but were also descriptive, giving you all the insight you needed into the character’s back story.  These elements were found in countless cartoons of this time from the Care Bears to G.I. Joe.  The Smurfs however put their spin on this mix by including bits and pieces from folklore, fairy tales, and fantasy expanding the Smurf world well beyond the several small mushrooms of Smurf Village.  Witches, wizards, trolls, knights, and elemental beings such as Father Time and Mother Nature were regulars in the Smurf’s cartoon.  The Smurfs was a fantasy epic for children which was a solid influence for me as a kid and which I am proud to say was part of my cartoon repertoire growing up.

With that in mind, let me say that I am not looking forward to that CGI Smurf’s movie that is coming out.  At first it sounded interesting but from the previews I’ve seen it seems to be complete garbage.  The Smurf’s took place long ago, in medieval times.  The Smurf’s didn’t travel to New York City and have whirlwind adventures atop taxi cabs through the streets of the big city.  But alas, I digress.  I never really read much of the Smurfs comic strip source material by Peyo (Pierre Culliford) but from my experience with the cartoon I don’t recall the Smurfs using the word “Smurf” to replace any word in a sentence, as we see in the panels above.  From what I recall the Smurfs would generally drop the word Smurf into a sentence as an adjective, as in “Have a smurfy day!” or “Don’t you look smurfy!”  Perhaps occasionally they would use it as a verb, “Quit smurfing around!”  Also on occasion there would be familiar words that would be rebuilt around the word Smurf, for example “Smurftastic!

Regardless in any case when they spoke in the show there would usually only be one “smurf” per sentence, not every other word!  How the hell are you supposed to know what they are talking about?  And what’s worse is when you leave so many words as a mystery the natural inclination is to replace all the “smurfs” in the sentence with expletives during the translation process.  But perhaps that’s just me, it makes it more entertaining at any rate.  I mean honestly though “I’ll help you smurf another smurf that smurfs under the water” how am I supposed to restrain myself from interpreting that inappropriately?  In the second panel Papa Smurf tells that other smurf “I don’t want you smurfing the village anymore!” after he crashes through one of the village buildings.  You don’t want him fucking the village anymore, is that what you’re saying Papa?  Just come out and say it!

Anyway let’s just put it this way, I don’t remember the Smurfs cartoon being a riddle of language codes that needed to be unjumbled every week and that maybe these new comics are going a little overboard with the excessive dropping of the Smurf bomb.  Whatever the case may be have fun decoding these panels any way you wish and perhaps subtly try to work Smurf into your daily conversations and see if anyone notices.  I leave you with one final panel referring to one of my favorite Golden Age super heroes who has somehow been Smurfified.  (Not really)

They aren't really talking about a Smurf Namor, but that would be awesome . . . .

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 . . . .

Technical Difficulties

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Well unfortunately my upcoming string of posts will have to temporarily be put on hold.  Our computer will be in the shop for the better part of this week and I don’t really feel like writing my blogs from the tiny keyboard on my phone, which is how I’m currently writing this post!  So much to my chagrin the Memorial Day Star Wars post I had planned will be several days late and my Puggle Profile premier will just have to wait.  I’m just grateful that the computer issues we had weren’t all that terrible and I didn’t lose the multiple writing projects I’ve been working on recently, including future installments of this very blog.  Long story short, don’t expect any new blogs at least until later this week, hopefully before Friday, when I’ll have another great panel of Doctor Doom continuing the Doom themed Friday Funny Pages.  Let’s hope the computer guys work quickly.  Until then I leave you with this picture I took with my phone of a scene from Spongebob that made me chuckle.

That is all!

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!

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!

Terrordrome Renovation 2011: Stage 4

      Things are moving right along with this little G.I. Joe project I’ve undertaken.  This stage of the cleaning was marked by the last of the vehicles being spruced up, which leaves only the Headquarters Command Center and the Terrordrome itself still to be worked on.  This may have also been the most complicated the restoration process has been thus far.  There wasn’t anything too difficult, but up until now the main effort on my part has just been to scrub these things down and search through the loose pieces I had to see what accessories went with which vehicles.  This time however I dabbled a bit more in the actual restoration of some of these toys. 
 
     First of all I was able to completely repair the two figures I thought were completely out of commission, Xamot and the D.E.M.O.N Driver.  Just as I was about to glue the figures legs on in order to at least make use of them in vehicles or the various bases I happened to come across a small screw driver I had which was the perfect size to undo the figures tiny screws.  This was a breakthrough and meant it would give me the opportunity to perform some . . . . surgery.  Xamot suffered from the most common G.I. Joe ailment, a blown o-ring.  The small rubber band that connects his torso to his pelvis and legs snapped causing him to fall apart but leaving him otherwise in good shape.  The D.E.M.O.N. Driver actually had a broken leg hook.  The small metal piece that attached to the legs and which hooked onto the o-ring was corroded and somehow broke.  Long story short both figures were saved by cannibalizing parts from other Joes.  There were several random figure parts and broken characters floating around in the bottom of the box where these toys were stored, from those loose and busted parts I was able to find a new leg hook for the D.E.M.O.N. Driver.  The o-ring for Xamot was a little harder to find considering that rubber can degrade pretty quickly, the only o-rings I was able to find from the random parts were shriveled up and brittle.  That component had to come from a Duke repaint which was nearly identical to another I had so I took him apart and extracted his fresh rubber band, I figured it was a worthy sacrifice to make.
   
     Next I attempted to move a few decals around on the D.E.M.O.N. itself which has some very cool stickers decorating it.  One in particular is an image of Destro’s head in gold with his name printed in gold letters underneath, which is just great.  I don’t think you can see it in any of the pictures below but when I examined the D.E.M.O.N. the sticker was in a completely wrong place where it could not be fully appreciated.  After giving the zany vehicle a good cleaning I ran the sticker under some hot water and was able to pull it off with no problem.  I tried to flatten it out as best I could and applied a latex based adhesive to it that dries clear which I figured would be similar to the original type of adhesive on the decal.  Because the sticker was folded and bent from where it was originally placed it doesn’t lay perfectly flat on the front of the vehicle but it’s worth it.  I just really like the idea of villains being cocky enough to plaster their faces and names across their fleet of war machines, especially Cobra, who are not known for their stellar victories.   Anywho the real challenge with all of this is yet to come however in the form of the two bases which will require major cleaning, some complex assembly, and minor detail restorations.  The G.I. Joe Headquarters shouldn’t be too troublesome to clean since it’s completely disassembled into flat plastic walls.  The Terrordrome though, is much larger, and short of taking the Cobra base apart it will have to be cleaned either in my garage or outside and hosed off.  That however requires for some decent weather, instead of the 40 degrees and rain we’ve had for the past month!
 
Finally as a last little tid bit I’ve identified all of the characters and compiled a list of figures that I have now, both from my previous collection and those acquired from this new cache of toys, check it out.  Following that it’s the before and after shots of the last four vehicles and the rest of the random items that were in need of some cleaning.  
 
Cobra:
Headman, Voltar, Cobra Commander (several versions), Destro, Firefly, Stormshadow, Baroness, Serpentor, Major Bludd, Zartan, Dr. Mindbender, Crystal Ball, Scrap Iron, A.V.A.C., Laser Viper, Cobra Officer, Air Viper, Star Viper, Shadow Viper, Fast Blast Viper, Rock Viper, Paraviper, Xamot, and Ferret (D.E.M.O.N. Driver)
 
G.I. Joe:
Gung Ho, Torpedo, Duke, Wild Bill, Big Bear, Deep Six, Mutt, Big Ben, Shockwave, Clutch, Crankcase, Major Storm, Road Block, Mercer, Airborne, General Tomahawk, Rock n Roll, Snow Job, Snake Eyes, Path Finder, Wet Suit, Scarlett, Surefire, Zap, Doc, Low-Light, Salvo, Ambush, Sneak Peek, Crossfire     
 
 

A fully repaired Xamot!

 

The mobat tank fairly clean but not in great shape. Broken canon and missing wheels.

The mobat cleaned up with Major Storm.

 

Disassembled bridge layer. The bridge portions were pretty gross underneath, something was living in them . . . .

 

The cleaned up bridge layer in undeployed mode. Still missing are the side guns.

 

The bridge layer fully deployed with the vamp making a cameo. Clutch, Mutt, and Doc pictured.

 

 

Destro's D.E.M.O.N. missing a few parts and dusty.

 

The D.E.M.O.N. cleaned up and the missing parts found and replaced.

 

D.E.M.O.N. in its elevated position, showing off the various moving parts. Iron Grenadiers Ferret (D.E.M.O.N. Driver), Destro, and Voltar in the cockpit.

 

The Terrordromes attack ship, firbat, in need of some thorough cleaning!

 

The firebat all cleaned up and the missiles attached. Firebat pilot A.V.A.C. at the controls.

 

Wind-up motorized accessories and a random unknown gun that were among the vehicles and other toys

 
 
That is all!