Toy Talk
Volume X

By Mark Patraw
Posted on 10/14/13

Round ten of Toy Talk finds us with an interesting assortment of items: From left-to-right, we have a 2008 Wal-Mart "Ruin 1" Egyptian sculpture, a 2010 Hasbro My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Twilight Sparkle, a Tara Toy Corporation Wooly Willy, a 2004 Polly Pocket Lila (McDonald's), and a 2006 Marvel Comics Spider-man 3 Sandman (Burger King). Sandman (twenty-five cents on 9/14/13), Twilight Sparkle (twenty-five cents on 10/3/13), Ruin 1 (fifty cents on 10/3/13), and Wooly Willy (one of the items in a twenty-five cent mystery grab bag of "boys" toys on 10/12/13) all came from the Ishpeming St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store, while Lila was in a $2.44 bag of "girls" toys I bought from the Marquette branch of the same thrift store chain on 9/13/13. If anyone reading this knows more information about any of these items, that I haven't already discussed below, and would like to share, or just chat about toys, feel free to e-mail me and let me know!

This is a hollow plastic 5-3/4" (14.6 cm) tall Egyptian pharaoh statue produced in 2008 for Wal-Mart. The sticker on the bottom labels it "Ruin 1", which would seem to imply that there are other similar pieces available (perhaps from different world cultures, like the Greeks/Romans or Incas/Aztecs/Mayans?) For the most part, the sculpt and paint are very nice. I like the detail, and "damage", on the face and headdress, but I'm not too crazy about the disproportionately small hands (it's possible that's an accurate reflection of real world examples--I'm not an expert on Egyptian artwork--but it looks wrong to me) and the silver symbols of office he's holding clash with the otherwise subdued color scheme. There's a worn, pitted texture all over the piece that I like, indicative of age and exposure to the elements. The blueish-gray rocks surrounding the pharaoh suggest that the rest of this ancient artifact's body has been buried by rubble...or perhaps it's just been unearthed by archaeologists? The store I bought this from had two identical copies of this item for sale, but, in this particular case, owning both didn't appeal to me, so I just picked the one that I felt had the best paintwork. The one I didn't buy still had Wal-Mart's price tag on the bottom, which was about seven dollars. That's not too excessive for a detailed piece of this size, but I'm certainly happier to have paid fifty cents instead of retail! Because there was a matching pair on the shelf, my first impression upon seeing them was that they were bookends, but, because they don't have flat backs, they're hollow, and not particularly heavy, I don't think that's the case. I suspect it's either an aquarium decoration (I imagine some goldfish or guppies swimming around this thing would look pretty cool) or just a curiosity for your shelf. Aside from just liking it, I figured I might get some future use out of Mr. Pharaoh as a diorama component in an Egyptian-themed photo shoot with mummy figures or something.

Does Lucky the Leprechaun get his purple horseshoe marshmallows from violet unicorns? I don't know, and Hasbro's 3-1/8" (7.9 cm) tall 2010 My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Twilight Sparkle isn't telling. I'm not sure if you can buy this toy individually or not, but I know that this particular Twilight Sparkle was available in the Friendship is Magic Gift Set that also included Pinkie-Pie, Spike, Applejack, and Princess Celestia. The biggest difference between this figure and most MLP toys is that her mane and tail are solid plastic, rather than rooted synthetic hair (see comparison photo below). For some MLP fans, I imagine that's a turnoff, but I like how it looks. I don't know that I'd want all MLP toys to have molded hair like this, but it's nice to see something different. Alas, Twilight Sparkle has no articulation whatsoever, so there isn't a whole lot that you can do with her, play-wise. From that standpoint, I can see how the loss of the real hair is problematic--with a normal MLP, you can at least style and comb their locks, but that's obviously not an option here. However, if that is a concern for you, there are MLP Twilight Sparkle toys out there with rooted hair. Compared to the cartoon, this toy's colors aren't quite right. Her skin and mane/tail should both be darker purple. The pink highlights in her hair are also a bit on the sloppy side, but her eyes and cutie-mark are perfect. I should also note that, unlike many MLP toys, this one is completely solid, rather that hollow vinyl, so it has more heft then you might expect. I think this is a great looking toy, but, depending on how you feel about sculpted hair on your Ponies, it might not be for everyone.

2006 Generation 3 (G3) Thistle Whistle with G4 Twilight Sparkle.

At some point in our lives, we've all probably wished that we could tame or change our hair with the wave of a magic wand. Well, you can do just that with this classic 3.9" (9.8 cm) tall Tara Toy Corporation Wooly Willy! The premise is simple: using the included magnetic wand, you move, and drop, the metal filings inside the plastic enclosure containing Willy's jovial mug to create whatever hairstyle you want. Beard, mustache, bushy eyebrows, mohawk--it's all up to you. I like that this toy is small (it'd fit in your pocket) and entirely self-contained, including a "holster" for the wand. I think it would have been neat if there was some way to swap out different faces (maybe cards you could insert in a slot?), but, what you see is what you get. While it's not likely to unseat the king of creative magnetic toys, the Etch-A-Sketch, Wooly Willy is a simple and fun diversion. I purchased this item blind (he was one of the items inside a mystery grab bag of "boys" toys), but, even so, Wooly Willy is a breath of fresh air in my toy collection. I just wish that it was this easy to remove my beard and mustache when I shave...

It's my impression that Polly Pocket's main claim to fame has always been about being tiny (hence the Pocket moniker), so, at 3-3/4" (9.5 cm) these 2004 McDonalds toys don't really play into that. Yes, Lila is still small enough to fit in your pocket, but she's gargantuan compared to other Polly Pocket toys I've seen--I suppose the choking hazard small figures present probably had something to do with the scale choice. Brand new, this figure came with a pink and purple sailboard (those surf board things with a sail attached to them) and some stickers. I suppose it'd be relatively easy for me to make her a replacement, but, because fast food toys are VERY common at thrift stores, my prospects of finding her one someday are pretty good. Lila's sculpt and paint are okay, but very generic--at least she's properly attired for sailboarding in a (non-removable) life vest and spandex swim shorts. Lila only has two points of articulation: pin-jointed shoulders and hips (the limbs move as one unit, not individually). Her arms look a bit awkward, due to the way they're pre-posed at the elbows (which was likely done for the purpose of interacting with her accessory), but, if you raise them up, they don't look too bad. Lila can stand on her own, but you have to tilt her upper body forward a bit to get the balance right. She isn't a terrible toy, but, without her sailboard, nothing about Lila really stands out either.

I've seen parts of Marvel Comics' Spider-man 3 film, but I've never found it interesting enough to watch the whole thing. Sandman, portrayed by Thomas Haden Church, was the primary super villain of said movie, and this is Burger King's 2006 rendition of the character. The super-deformed proportions (squat body and huge head) of this 3.6" (9.2 cm) tall toy have a Japanese RPG vibe that I dig. The sandy, pitted texture on his arms is a nice touch, and I think that the head sculpt does a pretty good job of capturing Mr. Church's likeness. The stripes on his shirt are painted, but, unfortunately, his shoes and belt didn't get similar attention, leaving them the same tan as his pants. My Sandman's got some scuffs here and there, most noticeably on his nose and the left side of his face, and the paintwork is sloppy in spots, but he's in fairly good shape. Repeatedly pushing the tab on Sandman's back makes both of his arms swing up-and-down. This feature works well, and it reminds me a lot of the original LJN ThunderCats toys with their similar "Battle-matic" action. I passed on buying Sandman many times, but, after several weeks of leaving him behind in the small toys bin at the thrift store, I finally decided to bring him home with me, and I'm glad that I did (you'd think I'd learn by now, because nine-times-out-of-ten, when I hesitate to purchase a toy, somebody else usually buys it by the time I've changed my mind).

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