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Topics - Brian

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421
Collector's Tips / Online Retailer Opinions and Experiences
« on: March 9, 2004, 03:12 PM »
Just thought it might be nice to have a thread dedicated to the different online retail options that are out there, so anyone who might be curious about a particular e-store can check out how their business is.  I haven't ordered from a ton a different places, but here's some of my opinions:

Kebco I did some preordering through them starting last year, around May, during a major drought in figures in my area.  I ordered some 2003 basic figures, as well as the Han/Boba/Yoda and the Chewie/Luke Unleashed waves through them.  As of today, I have received each and every item that I ordered from them...although I will say that some took quite awhile.  The Unleashed I all got reasonable quick, and well before I found them in stores...but the basic figures that I preordered in May of last year I didn't receive until November/December-ish.  I am understanding that this was a shipment from Hasbro problem, and not their own though.  Overall, I'll say that I have always gotten what I have ordered...but sometimes a little slow.

Brians ToysI haven't ordered from here in quite some time now, but I did when I first got into collecting Star Wars.  I used them to pick up a bunch of loose POTF2 figs that I missed out on, as well as some loose vintage stuff.  At the times I ordered, I always received things very quickly (within a few days usually), and for loose vintage and POTF2, I think the prices are not too bad.  However, if you want anything new, be prepared to pay a TON for it, from what I can see.  I will say, good service whenever I have dealt with them (even replaced a vintage loose figure that I didn't think was C-9), but I haven't used them in quite some time.  Wouldn't recommend for newer stuff though.

Amazon I have used Amazon from time to time, with some TRU exclusive stuff and/or when they have figs in stock.  I've always had pretty good luck with them, however I am an opener, so I'm not sure how good card condition is with them most of the time.  I haven't ordered figures for awhile now because they charge $7.99 for the newer ones (but I think eventually come down).  Overall though, I'm pretty happy with their service.

KB Toys Another one I haven't used for awhile, although I have had decent luck with them as well.  Again, being a loose collector, card condition might be a concern for others.  They do use big stickers here across the front if I remember correctly (but they come off).  They don't usually have a lot of Star Wars stuff in stock (at least recently), but I have ordered a couple of SW things, as well as some LOTR stuff there.  Delivery is quick, prices are so-so for what I have bought.

I haven't used Entertainment Earth, Newforce, Big Bad Toy Store, etc., but have heard good things about all of them from time to time.  I am sure many others can give more details experiences of them though.  Thanks for any opinions everyone!

422
Other Toy Lines / Toy Companies: Who Does the Best Job?
« on: March 9, 2004, 12:55 PM »
After reading the MOTU news this morning, it got me to thinking about Mattel and toy companies in general?  What are some of your opinions on the companies that you collect from, and the job they do?  I don't know that any company is perfect (at least from what I have read), but who is "on the right track" in your opinion?  I don't really buy from many other than Hasbro (Star Wars), but here's a few opinions to start things off:

Hasbro (Star Wars):  Although they have had their problems in the past, and still have their issues now, I think they have been much better as of late (particularly 2004).  It seems they have done a much better job of listening to collectors and fans, and really (aside from the re-releases), I don't know if there is much to complain about this year.  In 2004, they have done a lot of requested characters, much wanted resculpts, made the packaging more vintage-like for OTC (or exact for VOTC), and are making "ultimate" versions of main characters that we have wanted for years.  Like I said, not perfect, but I think they have done a very good job this year.

Toy Biz (Marvel Legends/Lord of the Rings): I am not nearly as knowledgeable on these lines as many of you, but have dabbled in both.  I'm thinking about stopping the ML for now, just because I don't have room and I'm leaning more towards Lord of the Rings if I do buy figures from another line.  It seems, especially now that they have the chase figure thing figured out a little better it sounds, that they do a pretty good job too.  I don't see quite as many complaints about not being able to find certain things...and if they do, later on they seem to be more readily available.  They keep their prices pretty low, especially with the "Trilogy" assortment of LOTR.  Marvel Legends seem to be a good value for the price as well.  And, overall, from what I have seen, they do an amazing job on both of these lines...and I don't see too many complaints about their product for the most part.

Mattel:  Wow, these guys stink it seems.  I have been interested in a few of their lines (Batman, Justice League, and MOTU)...but they seem to be driving all of them into the ground.  We all know to well the trials of the MOTU line, and even though they had tremendous figures (courtesy of the 4 Horsemen)...they found away...with endless variants and HTF secondary characters to basically kill this line.  I'd like to collect a Batman line, but it seems that they do the same type of thing to this line.  I have a Zipline Batman, and that might be all I ever have because of all of the variants (and I wonder if this line will last much longer, with another one coming in the fall).  I really enjoy the Justice League show, but the figures are almost too simplistic (for what they cost)...although they are very true to the show designs, and I guess animated figures aren't usually too articulated.  But, again, just like the Batman line...endless variants and a complete lack of villains (2 in the whole line now, 3 with the Ultra-Humanite later this year).  I really wish they could get a good Batman line off the ground (or improve Justice League for that matter).  When I was a kid, I know I always wanted bad guys for Batman (or whoever) to fight, not just endless versions of him.

Anyways, what are some of your opinions on the toy companies (these or others)?  I hear good things about Palisades Toys with their Muppet Line too, but I don't collect it so I don't know how easy it is to find things.

423
Watto's Junk Yard / Shoes, Sneaks, Kicks - What Do You Wear?
« on: March 8, 2004, 02:46 PM »
Just curious as to what types of shoes you wear, or you prefer.  To be honest, I have pretty much been brand-loyal to Nike since I was in junior high, just because they have always felt good on my feet (I have very flat feet), I've always liked them, and they were always our team shoes for athletics in high school.  For some reason, I have a lot of troubles finding shoes in stores (I wear anywhere from a 13 to a 14), and usually end up ordering them online.  My current sneaks are a pair of Jordan Trunners from a year or two ago that my wife got me as a gift.  I also got a pair of K-Swiss shoes from my in-laws for Christmas, although I haven't worn them much.  I also keep quite a few of my older shoes to wear when working outside, walking the dog, etc.  I have some Nike Metal Max shoes that I got from an Eastbay clearance catalog, along with some other Nike running shoes.  I also have some "flip flops" that get a lot of use, and some boots and loafers for dressier occasions.  I haven't ever been one to be able to spend $100-plus on shoes, and anymore I usually look for $70 or less if possible.  Anyways, what kind of shoes do you have, or would you like to have?

424
Other Toy Lines / Videos from Toy Fair
« on: March 5, 2004, 01:19 PM »
I noticed this morning that UndergroundOnline (UGO) has several videos from Toy Fair that are kind of fun to watch.  I just thought I'd post it in here if anyone was interested.  The consist of the rep(s) from each company explaining their toy line for the year.  They have Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel Legends, Justice League, The Batman, and others.  It is kind of fun to hear how they describe/talk about their respective lines.  The particular page here is Lord of the Rings, but when you click to view the video, it will bring up a viewer that lets you choose other videos as well.  Here's the linky:

UGO's Toy Fair Videos

425
The Prequel Trilogy / Originals vs. Prequels
« on: March 4, 2004, 03:14 PM »
I know there gets to be a lot of OT vs. PT debate, and this topic has been discussed before, but I was just thinking about this a little bit today.  I too am one of many of you who believe the OT is infinitely better than the PT, although I do enjoy the PT movies for the most part as well (especially looking forward to III).  I'm not a big fan of Phantom Menace, and honestly, if it wasn't Star Wars...I probably wouldn't ever watch it really (I rarely do anyways).  I enjoyed Attack of the Clones a lot when it first came out, and do think it is a good Star Wars movie...its just not quite the same for some reason.  Nostalgia might be a big part of that, but for many of us there is more.  What do you think the Original Trilogy had, that the Prequels are missing (for you personally)?

There are many things that we can point to probably, the "magic" and story being two main ones.  We'll cover a lot of them I'm sure, but I thought I'd bring up something I have been thinking about...characters.  I was thinking today how so many characters from the OT are iconic.  Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie, R2, 3PO, Vader, Yoda, Fett, Lando....these characters are all, for the most part, common knowledge in the world today.  Plus, one thing that might have helped this is that...with the exception of different clothing, they were the same character...age wise, etc.  With the prequels, we have Anakin as a boy, then ten years later (with a different actor), and now leading into Episode III (which will probably be our favorite version of Anakin from the prequels).  It seems that with many of the characters, there is too much jumping around (Maul..Jango...Dooku...Sidious).

Another thing about characters is the fact that in the prequels, many come and go.  We had Darth Maul (who many really liked), but then at the end of the movie, he's gone.  Next we have Jango, then he's gone.  Dooku appears, and by his absence in the OT...he's most likely gone as well.  We'll also have another baddie in Episode III, that I'll leave out of the discussion because of spoilers.  In the OT, you associated "evil" and "bad" with Darth Vader.  The character, the costume, the music, etc.  I think it is hard to build that association with some of the prequel villains, for the main fact that they aren't around long enough too.  Much can be said of the "good guys" too, although I do think they (and Ewan McGregor) have done a nice job with Obi-Wan Kenobi in these movies.

I guess maybe it is unfair to compare them, because in a way...they are different trilogies.  The OT seemed a little clearer-cut "good vs. evil" movie, while the PT becomes more blurred with Anakin's transition, much of the behind the scenes "secretive" stuff (Palpatine), and maybe isn't quite as cut and dry.  Although I enjoy the entire saga, and really look forward to Episode III.....something just isn't the same with these prequel trilogies.  Since I'm an NBA fan, I often use this analogy to my friends who ask me what I think of the movies:  To me it is like Michael Jordan...I was a huge Jordan fan when he was with the Bulls...he was just the greatest to ever play....then when he came back with the Wizards, I followed him again...and still liked him, he was still good (but older), but it just wasn't the same.  Sorry for my extended ramblings, one of our servers is down at work so I don't have much to do right now...and this is just something that I've been thinking about.  I'd be anxious to read any of your opinions/suggestions.

426
Other Toy Lines / 2015: What Are You Collecting?
« on: March 3, 2004, 03:13 PM »
For those who also visit GH, forgive me because there is a thread going over there on this same topic.  I think we had a thread going here about what everyone collected, but I think it is buried in Watto's somewhere...so I thought I'd start one here in the "Other Toy Lines" forum.  If I shouldn't have done that, feel free to delete :).

I was just curious, since it is a new year and there have been changes to many lines (or some disappearing), what you are collecting (or would like to collect).  Although I have been tempted by a number of lines, for the most part it all comes back to Star Wars for me.  With the focus on the OT this year, and with some great OTC and Vintage OTC stuff coming up later on...I haven't had the budget for much else (and I'm not sure if I will).  Plus, my wife isn't too keen on the idea of me collecting another line besides Star Wars.  That said....

Collecting For Sure

Star Wars 3 3/4" - Basic, Ultra, possibly ships (maybe the retooled Falcon later this year)
Star Wars Unleashed - OT characters only for now, these things take up a lot of space so I can't have so many anyways.
Star Wars Playskool - If they ever bring it back  ::)

Lines I'm Interested In, but Not Sure About Yet

I like these lines, but mainly because of budget, I'm not sure if I will be able to collect

Lord of the Rings - I have always been interested in this line, but haven't been able to collect it the way I had hoped.  I only have a couple of figures, but I would like to pick up some of the upcoming (or current) versions of some of the main characters.  It depends on a few things I guess.

Marvel Legends - I have just been collecting the X-figures...but again because of my toy budget, I may have to give them up.  I'd really like to pick up figures such as Juggernaut, Brown Wolvie, Iceman, Phoenix, Apocalypse, and Storm if I was able to though.

Batman/Justice League - I've always been a big Batman fan, and I really liked the Super Friends growing up...as well as the current Justice League show on Cartoon Network.  I'm probably a little late on the Justice League figures, because I'd only want the main, non-variant versions...and those are a little past now I think.  I picked up the 6" Mattel Zipline Batman a couple of weeks ago, and thought about getting more from this line...but Mattel isn't the best with lines (obviously), and I'm not sure where this line will be headed once the animated "The Batman" line hits.  I might take a look at that one too.

Lines That Are Gone....or Close

Simpsons - I've always liked this line, but again (broken record) just never got into it.  Now it sounds like it might be on the way out?

Masters of the Universe - The figures in this line were/are great, but the packing ratios and Mattel's practices in general look to have killed the line.  The only figure I really wanted to get was Roboto, and that wave never showed anywhere near me.

Other "Cool" Lines

I think these lines are great, but know that I either can't afford or just won't be able to collect them (too far behind in some cases):

The Muppets
Kubricks/MiniMates (these are great little toys though, wish I could afford to collect them)
DC Direct Stuff
upcoming Sesame Street
McFarlane SportsPicks (although I'd like to pick up a Kevin Garnett somewhere maybe...probably ebay I guess since it is older)

Anyways, sorry it got so long...what are your collecting plans (or hopes) for 2004?  Best of luck to all of you that you are able to collect (and find) everything you are looking for!

427
Other Toy Lines / How Much of Your Collection(s) Do You Display?
« on: March 1, 2004, 01:03 PM »
This encompasses both Star Wars and any other lines/props, etc. that anyone might collect, so I hope that this is the right place for this.  For awhile, i was finally able to have the majority of my stuff displayed (thanks to some new shelving), although my vintage Star Wars stuff is still packed away.  However, space is becoming an issue again, so I have started to look at stuff that might be able to be packed away for now.  Anyways, I was curious how much of your collection(s) you are able to display, and if you can't display it all, how you decide on what gets put away.  I guess one example of things I have been doing, if there has been a superior sculpt/figure offered in the modern lines (POTJ/Saga), I have packed away the same figure's POTF2 counterpart (mostly the buff versions).  I am also considering packing away my small (6 figure) Marvel Legends collection, as well as possibly some Episode I stuff.  I finally this weekend got around to pitching a little bit of my boxes from Star Wars stuff, and flattening out all the rest that I could, to free up some space in our storage tubs for anything I might need to pack away.  The space I have to display stuff just isn't large enough I guess.  I was just wondering what some of you do, or have done.

428
Original Trilogy Collection / Hasbro Toy Fair Questions and Answers
« on: February 27, 2004, 12:04 PM »
I posted this with a comment about the vintage figures in another thread, but thought more people might see it here.  Hasbro has posted a "Q and A" at their site, although it is somewhat brief.  You can check it out here:

Hasbro Toy Fair Q and A

429
Saga '02-'04 / 2004 Exclusives
« on: February 25, 2004, 12:38 PM »
Not sure where this should be posted, since some of this will be Saga product and some might be OTC.  Anyways, this list was just posted over at Rebelscum, and since it included the Sandcrawler, I figured I would post it here:

New Hasbro Stock List
Posted by Jeremy on February 25, 2004:

Thanks to Sprout we now have an inkling of what Hasbro will be bringing us this year. The list was good and long, and aside from the figures, multipacks and vehicles Rebelscum has already posted (see Related Stories at the bottom of this post) the following items are new and unannounced:

Basic Figures 4-pack Assortment

3-3/4" Naboo Final Conflict (June 2004)

3-3/4" Jedi Council Scene Packs

3-3/4" Jedi Council Scene I Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Adi Mundi (March 2004)
3-3/4" Jedi Council Scene II Obi Wan, Plo Kloon, Ickath (May 2004)
3-3/4" Jedi Council Scene III Shaak Ti, Chema, Sta Sta (July 2004)
3-3/4" Jedi Council Scene IV Anakin, Sae Sae, Adegalia (September 2004)
3-3/4" Convention / Toy Fair Figure (July 2004)

Classic Vehicle Assortment

3-3/4" Y Wing (August 2004)
3-3/4" Tie Fighter w/New Wings & Pilot (July 2004)
3-3/4" Sandcrawler (June 2004)
3-3/4" ESB Slave I with Boba Fett (July 2004)

So, it looks to be there will be another 4 Jedi council sets (thus allowing us to utter the immortal phrase "the circle is complete"!), a mystery promotional figure, another Y-wing (rehashed or remodelled we do not know), a TIE Fighter with NEW wings and a re-released Slave I (which has been rumoured for some months now - but will it be the SOTE/POTF2 or Saga one?). The scale of the Sandcrawler has now been answered as well, calming fears that rumoured pricepoints would not have allowed it to be 3-3/4" scale.

All of the above items are FOB, meaning that retailers must order them in bulk direct from Hong Kong so remember that release dates are when they will be available for shipping from the Far East and NOT when they will be available on shelves. You should add 4 to 8 weeks to get a better estimate when you will actually see these toys arriving.

430
Although I think most of us wish Hasbro would just release new figures, it seems like they have been having a little bit of recarding fever over there lately.  I don't really mind some figures being re-released, especially if they are on those new, spiffy, OTC cards.  That being said, I'm not sure why they even had that Hall of Fame wave, since we're getting many of those again on OTC cards.  They should have maybe started the cardbacks sooner, or held off until later.  I will say though, the repacks don't really sit around here very long either, so that is a good sign I suppose.  If the recarding is a necessary evil to us, are there any figures you wouldn't mind seeing re-released (either for you, or for others).  Maybe some figures that would hold up well, comparable to current sculpting/quality?  I don't really understand why they haven't recarded the POTJ Bespin Capture Han Solo, since they like to have a Han out at all times, and they have done the Commtech one to death now.  Also, many other POTJ and Saga figures (Sandtrooper, FX-7, Ephant Mon, Cloud City Chewie, Bespin Luke, etc.) are quite well done, and wouldn't be terrible recarded figures either.  Any suggestions you might have?

431
Power of the Force 2 / Opinions on Rebo Band and Rancor
« on: February 24, 2004, 11:28 AM »
I was curious as to what some of your opinions were on the POTF2 Rebo Band pairs, as well as the Rancor.  These are two things/characters that I have always wanted to have in my collection, and I have been considering trying to pick them up on ebay (eventually).  I kind of held out in case they were "re-done" like many other figures are these days, but I don't think that they (particularly the Rancor, due to size) will be.  Anyways, I was wondering if many of you think the sculpts, etc. hold up well compared to the current-day offerings from Hasbro.  If you can offer any of your opinions on these pieces, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

432
Although I know that sometimes "resculpt" is a dirty word to some collectors, I was curious if there were any main characters, or characters that have already been done, that you would like to see re-released.  Don't get me wrong, I'm with those of you who want all-new characters as well...but at the same time, I look at some of the figures that we have gotten or are getting this year (that have been done before in POTF2), and the difference is unbelievable.  Some examples that I think were (or look to be) done well:

Hoth Luke Skywalker
Jabba's Palace (Jedi) Luke Skywalker
Skiff Guard Lando
Bossk
Dengar
Bespin Leia
Dagobah Luke
Lobot
General Lando
Yoda
"Vintage" OTC Han Solo
...or even POTJ/earlier Saga figures such as Bespin Capture Han, Bespin Luke, Cloud City Chewie, Commtech Stormie, etc...

Even though we have seen these figures before, I don't think we have seen them done this well.  Knowing what Hasbro is capable of, are there any others that you would like to see done (or re-done, as it is)?  Keep in mind, I know many of us would like to see other characters before resculpts...but I was just curious who some of your choices might be.  Here's a few of mine:

Endor Han Solo (possibly one of the "vintage" OTC figures?)
Leia Boussh
Bib Fortuna
R5-D4
Han/Luke Stormtrooper Disguise
Luke/Leia Endor
Grand Moff Tarkin (I don't have the POTF2 one, but it looks a bit buff)
Admiral Ackbar
Ewoks (Teebo is good, but it would be nice to see the rest from the vintage line done)

There's many others I'm sure, those are just off the top of my head....I was curious to see some of your opinions.

433
I was just curious if any of you have (or are considering) preordering the "vintage" OTC figures.  Although we have only seen Obi, Han, and Luke (and Leia on the cardback) so far, I think that these look like some of the best modern figures Hasbro has ever released...and to me, are the "ultimate-ish" versions many of us have wanted.  I have been trying to stay away from ordering online for the most part (we don't use our credit card much), and with the help of some nice people here at JD (and a little luck at the stores now and then), I have been able to keep somewhat caught up on the figures this year.  However, with the rumors of these being a "one time deal" and not seeing multiple shippings of these waves, I am worried about missing out on these.  I have seen that EE has cases for preorder (of Wave I), and Kebco also has these figures up for pre-order.  I guess I am just trying to decide what to do, and I am curious what many of my fellow collectors are doing about these figures.  Anymore, I usually try to wait it out on things, because between friends on the forums and later shippings to the stores, I can usually find what I am looking for (or pick it up on ebay or something later).  However, if these are a "one time deal" I am afraid they might become quite pricey after they are released.  Anyways, what are many of you doing about these figures?

434
Apparently an upcoming "Boba Fett" novel cover has a picture of a rumored Episode III villain (General Grievous for those following the spoilers).  Who knows if this will be what he looks like in the movie, or if this is way off base...but I thought I'd post it either way.  Interesting to see if nothing else.

Possible Episode III Villain

Also, here's the quote that accompanies the book: "On his first big assignment for Jabba the Hutt, Boba must confront a new galactic villain -- a sinister force who will play a significant role in the upcoming film Star Wars: Episode III!"

435
Vintage Kenner / Memories....
« on: February 3, 2004, 12:40 PM »
I took a moment during some down time at work this morning to just browse through some pics/info over at ToysRGus of the vintage line (specifically vehicles/playsets).  Although I collect both modern and vintage (when I can), the nostalgia/magic of the vintage line is really unbeatable.  Just looking at some of these pics bring back some great memories of things I had, or things I really wanted to have.  Some of the descriptions provided even give the prices in Sears catalogs...I wish things were still priced this way.  Examples, Ewok Village - $19.99, Millennium Falcon - $24.77.  Even if most of the sculpting/articulation in the modern line could be considered superior, the vintage line still has a pretty "cool" feel.  Anyways, I guess I don't have much to add other than this link (although I'm sure all of you have been there done that)....and I was just feeling nostalgic and had to share with someone  :P.

ToysRGus Vintage Toys

Plus, just looking at this really makes me want to pursue some more vintage stuff soon :).

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