Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hey, Mr. Postman: Blue Beetle Fast Food Premium

It was this Brave & The Bold Blue Beetle I was really looking for on eBay when I found the Plastic Man I reviewed in my last post, a Happy Meal toy that would be hard to beat and may very well be perfect. That said, I've been on a Jaimie Reyes kick lately, and this little action figure amused me greatly. I got mine mailed to my door for five dollars, more than the cost of the Happy Meal with which he was included, but I saw him selling for as much as ten bucks. 

I've said before that the Happy Meal toys have surprised me with their relatively good quality, this one even cradled in a tray like regular action figures are, his wings bagged separately. Yes, he's simple, but no Cracker Jack top. Check out my video:

Blue Beetle's wings snapped right on and I was up and flying! By pumping his left leg inward, the wings are engaged through an internal lever. He won't blow your hair back with awesome wind power, but the mechanism works well enough, and is an appropriate, fun action feature. For whatever reason, his right leg has a swivel joint at mid-thigh, which doesn't offer any real, additional posing options. It's nice, but I'd have preferred a neck swivel. He does have shoulder articulation however, which is more than we could ask for and adds a lot to this fun toy. He also looks great, with a relatively complex deco for a Happy Meal toy-  even has the trademark yellow highlights in his buggy, red eyes!  His shiny, dark body contrasts nicely against his translucent, light blue wings. His vivid coloring and chunky styling made him great fun to photograph!

 Happy Blue Beetle in my Brave & The Bold Cosmic Crawler, a new favorite toy of mine...   :)

Happy Meal Blue Beetle with the 5" B&TB Blue Beetle that came with the Cosmic Crawler- they look very much alike, styled after Jaimie's character in the animated TV show:

And finally, Happy Meal Blue Beetle with Happy Meal Plastic Man- two amazing fast food premiums that impressed me with their play-ability and action features:

More Later- Make It FUN!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hey, Mr. Postman: Plastic Man Fast Food Premium

I don't eat a lot of fast food nowadays, and the number of times I eat at McDonald's a year can be counted with the fingers of just one hand, but I'm crazy about the Happy Meal toys we've seen in the last couple years. I have all the Green Lantern toys from last year, thanks to a connection my loving Mum has at our hometown McDonald's, and a pal who stops at a local McDonald's for coffee weekdays. In 2010-2011, the popular fast food chain included a series of Batman: the Brave & The Bold toys with their Happy Meals, which I somehow missed out on- a surprising thing considering my enthusiasm for the animated TV show and subsequent line of Mattel toys, of which I possess a lion's share.

McDonald's released a later version of Plastic Man as a car, but this bendy toy is the one to have! I believe he's the only bendy toy in the whole bunch, but who better to present in this form- shouldn't all Plastic Man action figures be bendy toys?   :)  

I'm often amazed at the quality of  fast food premiums McDonald's includes with their Happy Meals, and Plas here is no exception. Not only does he have bendable appendages, but his neck and shoulders are  articulated! The head, torso, mallet, and fist are made of a hard plastic that's hollow, fastened by tiny, recessed screws- mildy unattractive, but hey, it's a fast food premium. There's a little paint slop around the glasses, but the rest is expertly done. The sculpting on the head and belt is excellent. 

Because of his articulation, Plas can hold a variety of poses, making him a really fun toy that's surprisingly functional! I never read that much about Plastic Man in my youth, but have read some Green Lantern and JLA issues recently featuring the wisecracking, reluctant hero, and have come to appreciate him much more. His comic relief brings a lot to the table, seated among DC's pantheon of more serious heroes.

I found Plas on eBay for two bucks, and knew he'd make some great photographs, of which I took nearly a hundred! That should tell you something about the success of this simple toy's design. I emailed McDonald's awhile back, and they were unable to give me an answer on who designed or manufactured their Happy Meal toys, but to whomever is responsible for this Plastic Man figure, I tip my hat!

McDonald's Happy Meal Plastic Man with my Action League hand glider Plas and 5" Brave & The Bold Plastic Man...

More Later- Make It FUN!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Batman: Brave & The Bold Cyber-Tank

Perhaps even harder to find than the Cosmic Crawler in my last post, was this used Brave & The Bold Cyber-Tank- in fact my only option was the same eBay seller! Sure, I could have paid sixty dollars for a new one in the box which came with two figures, but a third of that price was more my speed. The original package included a Blue Beetle figure and a black & red Batman variant which I wouldn't have minded having, but it was this vehicle that I really wanted.

I was more interested in his Bat-Bot mode as you can see, and for obvious reasons. The arms and legs attach to the chassis via the same type of accessory hex-slots see on all the B&TB action figures, and can ratchet into basic, limited positioning to aim and pose. While his knees are articulated between the two tank treads, he likes standing firmly on both fit, titled back slightly if in the firing position.

The Gatling gun fires it's six missiles by twisting the knob at the shoulder with an ample, but safe projection- the same as my larger B&TB Proto Bat-Bot. the other arm wields a claw engaged by manually pinching the spring loaded ears from behind. It's not as impressive at the projectile accessory, and has a weak grip, but adds variety to the figure.

I love the scowling eyes on this little guy, and his red highlights- with just the right shapes and lines in his design, Mattel made him look adorably menacing  :D   In the TV show, Proto Bat-Bot has to help stop Batman's own Bat-Bot army from destroying Gotham when their circuits go awry.

The hood/head pops open to reveal a cockpit to place your Caped Crusader! I put my B&TB Stealth Blast Rocket Batman inside to take place of the other black & red Batman that originally came with this set...

And yes, there's the tank mode as well. There are small wheels underneath the tracks that roll well enough on smooth services. It's not an all-terrain vehicle or anything but it rolls. This assembly seems secondary to me with the ability to display a robot, but it's fun. I love the Gatling gun on this toy- it works great!

You can also turn turn this thing into a walking claw of sorts for chasing down Batman's enemies, like the Stealth Strike Riddler...!  I was pleased the walker would hold a figure up without tipping. I wish the claw had a swivel joint to hold the figure in an upright position like this while in bot mode, but that's a small gripe. 

While this Cyber-Tank bot cannot compare with what may be favorite toy ever, the B&TB Proto Bat-Bot, he makes a nice companion piece that I knew would provide a fun photo session! Here are a few I took while playing with my Bat-Bots...   :D

*See my video of the Proto Bat-Bot in action! As I've said more than twice, he may be my favorite toy of all time. As you might imagine, I have many a favorite toy, but the Proto Bat-Bot trumps all others. I actually hugged him with joy after getting familiar with all his functions- in essence, I loved him as a child would. He's not just a toy, he's like my sidekick... like the Guardian of the Super-DuperToyBox!  Getting him out to photograph with his new companion was EXTRA fun   :D

More Later- Make It Fun!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blue Beetle Cosmic Crawler

Excited about the Batman Brave & The Bold line all over again ever since Mattel's recent release of the similarly styled 5" Justice League figures, I found myself hunting down yet more figures and vehicles, including this Blue Beetle Cosmic Crawler! I was commenting on a fellow blogger's post recently about how this may be my favorite toy line of all time, and while they may be considered "kiddie toys" by some collectors, for myself they typify all that's fun about toys with their bright colors, chunky styling, and snap-on accessory feature. This is what a fun toy looks like, People...

The Cosmic Crawler is a simple toy, but has all it needs, including a projectile, engaged by pressing a small button on the bug's nose. It's pincers are made of a softer rubber, and are actually hinged & poseable. The canopy and legs are also made of a somewhat more flexible plastic than the chassis, for durability. The previous owner obviously took pretty good care of this, and the only part that might be susceptible to breakage might be the canopy- otherwise it looks moderately durable...  and cuter than a bug's ear   :D

I love all the incised lines sculpted across the chassis, and mechanized-looking legs on this cute, little Crawler! The bug eyes and Blue Beetle insignia are simple like the rest of the details on this toy, but it's highly  stylized sculpt has a nice unity to it all- it's perfect! I was also delighted to find three small wheels on the belly, which role smoothly across my drawing table, adding to the fun factor of this wonderful toy.

The Blue Beetle figure included with the Cosmic Crawler is pretty basic, but has a fun sculpt resembling the TV show character. As I said in my last post, I like Ted Kord as Blue Beetle, but I LOVE the Jaimie Reyes Blue Beetle! Part of the appeal of the Batman: The Brave & The Bold show was the supporting cast, Jaimie being one of my favorites. While he didn't come with any real accessories, Jaimie has the same hexagonal accessory slots, which can accommodate accessories included with other figures across the line, as well as the removable legs of his Cosmic Crawler. These slots really turn some folks off, and while they initially made me scratch my head, I quickly overlooked them. These are made for play, and the snap on accessorizing is a great design.

I have a killer Deluxe Twin Turbo Blue Beetle from the Brave & The Bold line I probably got two years ago, but never opened, who comes with some great "snap & attack" accessories- the mold looks to be the same, with some extra paint apps. He's a beauty!

I actually own four Jaimie Reyes Blue Beetles- two B&TB Beetles, a Mattel DCUC, and the DC Direct First Appearance Blue Beetle. There's a blue translucent variant of the latter that looks pretty cool, by the way, as well as two other variants in the B&TB line.

Now if you are turned off by the hex-slots in the B&TB Blue Beetle, perhaps the Mattel DC Universe Classics Blue Beetle is for you, an incredibly articulated and beautiful action figure. I enjoy both of these figures for what they are- a five-year-old may pull the arms off the DCUC however, and the B&TB Blue Beetle with his Cosmic Crawler might be more activity-based, as well as durable.

This is the most fun toy I've found in awhile  :)   I'm not sure exactly what these went for when released in retail three or four years ago, but I've not seen them for less than forty bucks, new in package recently. I gladly paid about twenty-four bucks for him, shipping included- while that seems a little high, I can live with it considering how great a toy this is.

More Later- Make It FUN!