Toy Talk
Volume IV

By Mark Patraw
Posted on 9/3/13

For round four of Toy Talk, we'll be taking a look at (from left-to-right) a Matchbox Big Boots Police Officer, a 2012 Mattel WWE Power Slammers Brodus Clay, a 1994 Bandai Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Stag Beetle, a 1994 Playmates Skeleton Warriors Dagger, and a Lion King Pumbaa. Brodus Clay, the Police Officer, and Pumbaa finish off the bag of stuff I bought from Goodwill on 8/16/13, or, more accurately, all the things that I'm going to review from it (there was also a brown totem pole, probably from a Cowboys & Indians set, a knockoff Yellow Power Ranger wannabe, and a plush Peter Pan baseball in said bag, but, I gave the ball to the dog, and the other two items aren't really worth talking about). I bought Stag Beetle and Dagger from the Marquette St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, for fifty-nine cents each, plus sales tax, on 8/23/13 (their prices are higher than the Ishpeming branch). If anyone reading this knows more information about any of these figures, that I haven't already discussed below, and would like to share, feel free to e-mail me and let me know!

Bacon for everybody! Here's a Pumbaa figurine from Disney's Lion King franchise. I haven't watched the film in years, but the sculpt and paintwork look spot-on to me. I like that the surface of his skin has a very subtle texture to it, which feels much nicer and realistic than a smooth finish. The figure is unarticulated, but the limbs, tail, ears, and tusks can flex a bit. The body, on the other hand, is very rigid and has some serious heft to it. This zany warthog's paint is wearing out in a few spots, most noticeably at the end of his tusks, but he's in good shape otherwise. While he's bigger, Pumbaa reminds me a lot of the warthog "pet" that came with the G.I.JOE Dreadnok character Gnawgahyde. Now, I just need to find a figure of Pumbaa's meerkat buddy, Timon, that's in scale, to go with him...

It's the Funkasaurus, Brodus Clay! This particular figure is part of Mattel's 2012 WWE Power Slammers line of wrestlers (I'm always a little amazed when I see a "new" toy in a thrift store, that you can still easily find on the shelves of a regular store, as older, discontinued figures are the norm). The deal with the Power Slammers is that they have a lever in their backs (see photos) that you unfold and twist around to charge up their action feature (not unlike winding a clock), which is then activated by pressing the wrestler's head down and forward. In Brodus' case, he does a spinning cyclone kick (just like Ken/Ryu of Street Fighter fame), or, alternatively, if you hold his legs, rather than his upper body, a spinning clothesline. You're supposed to have him attached to one of the other Power Slammers figures when he does his thing (he's got peg holes in his fists and slots in his raised boot to facilitate this), but I think the action feature works okay as-is too. Depending on where you shop, brand new, this guy retails for about $13-15, which is fairly steep, although not inconsistent with what other action figures are going for these days [naturally, I got mine for a steal, as he was in a bag, with a bunch of other toys, for $2.49, which, if you divide that amount by how many toys were in said bag (fourteen), I only paid eighteen cents for him, that's one crazy discount, eh?] His sculpt is pretty simplistic and cartoony, but I instantly recognized who he was, due to his husky physique, tattoos, and mohawk. Brodus' left hip and shoulders are elastic-strung ball-joints, and his right knee and waist have rotating cut joints, which is pretty limited articulation for a wrestler (the lever and neck also move, but as both of those are tied directly to powering, and activating, his action feature, I'm not counting them). You can get him to stand unassisted, on one foot, with some futzing, but, because he can't lower his right leg from its upraised position, Brodus is very unstable. I'm rather fond of the Funkasaurus and his Funkadactyls (he's one of the more likable and entertaining wrestlers that the WWE has added to their stables in recent years in my opinion), so, he was a welcome addition to my collection, although I'd rather have a "normal" figure of him, instead of this gimmicky one.

Have you ever found yourself wishing that some crazy doctor would saw off your boring, normal feet and replace them with two giant Weebles? Well, in a nutshell, that's essentially the idea behind Matchbox's Big Boots toy line. "Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down!" and neither does this copper! Just like the proverbial cat, no matter how you toss him, our boy in blue always manages to land on his gigantic feet. I first saw the Big Boots figures and vehicles advertised during a Saturday morning cartoon (yes, I still watch those), and found them intriguing, so, I was happy to finally get my hands on one. His upper body is molded from a soft, flexible plastic, and his rubbery hands are shaped to hold accessories, but the weighted lower legs are much heavier and harder (if somebody threw one of these at you, I bet it'd sting!) The sculpt is pretty exaggerated and cartoony, but it looks good, and the gold paint apps contrast nicely with his predominately blue color scheme. Without any articulation, the play value is relatively limited, once the entertainment of the Weeble gimmick wears thin, but, keeping that in mind, he's a fun little guy to mess around with.

This bony chap is Dagger, from Playmates' short-lived line of Skeleton Warriors toys. While I never owned any of the figures until now, I can remember watching the cartoon, and I still have my copy of the Sega Saturn Skeleton Warriors video game--if I'm remembering right, I believe Dagger was the first boss you fought. By the way, said game is worth getting just for the music alone (you can listen to the tunes off the disc in a CD player ever if you don't own a Saturn), Tommy Tallarico did an amazing job composing it--very Conan the Barbarian-esque. Getting back to the toy, Dagger's sculpt is phenomenal. All the bones are well-defined, and, thanks to the application of a brown paint wash that accentuates the detail, delightfully gruesome. His squat nature is more simian than human in nature, which is cool, and it was wise for Playmates to make his bones thick and chunky, as spindly skeleton toys can be prone to wilting or breakage, while Dagger feels very robust and solid. Unfortunately, his articulation is pretty lackluster, although par for the course when it comes to Playmates' wares during that time period. Dagger only moves at the shoulders, neck, and hips (all cut joints). He's missing his cape and weapons, but the Skeleton Warriors villains look so cool that it hardly seems to matter. When the cashier was ringing up Dagger, she remarked that she would have been absolutely terrified of him when she was a child, and even went so far as to show Dagger off to one of her coworkers--I only mention this because it's unusual for a store employee to take that much interest in a secondhand toy that I'm buying, proof positive that, almost two decades after their release, Skeleton Warriors still stand out and demand your attention.

Stag Beetle is a chitinous monster figure from Bandai's 1994 Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers toy line. Insect creatures are always cool, and Staggy can stand with the best of them. His sculpt is fairly simple and smooth--with the exception of the striated red areas and the brown spike projecting out from his arms and legs--but I think Bandai's artists did a really nice job on it. Pressing down on, and then releasing, the level on his back makes his pincer jaws open and close and his eyes rotate, which is a simple, but fun, feature. His articulation isn't terribly impressive (ball-joint hips and rotating cut shoulders, wrists, and ankles). Some knee and elbow joints would have helped a lot, and, given the physiology of his exoskeleton, it would have been fairly easy for Bandai to incorporate some additional cut joints in an unobtrusive manner. Stag Beetle was kind of a lucky find in my opinion, because, nine times out of ten, when you see Power Rangers toys, they're either the Rangers themselves or their Zords; the villains are more difficult to come by. In addition to making the Power Rangers lives miserable, I think Stag Beetle has a lot of crossover appeal with other toy lines in the same scale, particularly Masters of The Universe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sectaurs would seem to be the most obvious choice, but, then you'd have to come up with an explanation for why he's so short (and don't think that General Spidrax isn't going to bring it up).

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