By Mark Patraw
Posted on 10/21/13
The eleventh installment of Toy Talk begins now, with yet another small collection of secondhand toy purchases. In the front row, from left-to-right, we have an Irish Setter vinyl figurine of unknown origin, a 2011 Spin Master Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge Bolcanon (red variant) from McDonald's, and a 2010 DC Super Heroes Fisher Price Little People Wheelies Batman vehicle. Moving to the back row, again left-to-right, there's a 2012 DC Green Lantern: The Animated Series Spinning Construct Hal Jordan, and two 2005 Hasbro G3 My Little Ponies, Sparkleworks and Minty (both from the same McDonald's wave). I purchased the Irish Setter from the Marquette St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store on 9/13/13 (one of the many items that was in a big $2.44 bag of "girls" toys). Everything else came from the Ishpeming branch of the same thrift store chain on 10/12/13. Hal Jordan, Bolcanon, and Batman were all in a twenty-five cents mystery grab bag of "boys" toys, and, likewise, Sparkleworks and Minty were in a similar "girls" pony-themed grab bag that also cost a quarter. If you're looking to get a bunch of toys on the cheap, those mystery grab bags are by far the best way to do it that I've seen yet, short of getting the figures for free, and you also get the excitement of not knowing what you bought until you tear the bag open (it's like a little Christmas every time). Initially, I was reluctant to buy toys blind (I'm not a gambler), but, I'm glad that I took the chance. Sure, you get some junk you don't want, but, there's bound to be at least one item you like or find interesting, and, if not, you're only out a quarter. If anyone reading this knows more information about any of these figures (particularly that Irish Setter), 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!
In brightest day, in blackest night, beware fast food toys, they really bite! Well, some of them do, others are okay, this one is kind of in the middle. What we have here is a "Spinning Construct" Hal Jordan from DC's 2012 Green Lantern: The Animated Series line of McDonald's Happy Meal toys (the Kilowog figure I looked at in Toy Talk Vol. IX is from the same series). As far as Earth's Green Lanterns go, I'm not too big a fan of old Hal; I prefer John Stewart or Guy Gardner. GL stands 6.4" (16.2 cm) high thanks to his pose, thrusting his power ring at the sky, which is pretty heroic and dynamic. There isn't a lot of detail in the sculpt, but, given that it's a toy line based on a cartoon, that's to be expected. Other than his action feature, Hal only has one point of articulation: his left shoulder has a rotating cut joint. Repeatedly pushing the button on Hal's back makes the swirly ring projection spin around-and-around. It works fine, but it's not terribly exciting--Kilowog's grabbing hand is more fun. Speaking of which, the store I bought Hal from also had Kilowog, and for less than half of what I paid for mine several weeks earlier...that makes me feel like a Poozer :(
Hal is sadly mistaken if he thinks Kilowog has forgiven and forgotten that whole Parallax thing...head-crushing time!
I'm no expert on dog breeds, but I believe that this figure is supposed to represent an Irish Setter. I couldn't find a single manufacturer's mark anywhere on this canine's body, not even "Made in China", so, I know nothing about its origins. What strikes me most about this toy is the bizarre yellow and red coloration of its head--I've never seen a real dog with that kind of hue pattern. At first, I assumed that whomever had owned this previously had decided to be artistic, but, upon closer inspection, it looks like the original factory paintwork to me. At 5.3" (13.5 cm) long and 4" (10.2 cm) tall, it's also fairly large for a vinyl dog figurine (out of all the dog toys I own, only my Harry Potter Cerberus is bigger). The sculpt is pretty impressive; the anatomy is good and the artist who made this spent a lot of time doing the line work for all that hair. While it's not terribly noticeable, the back right leg doesn't quite touch the ground when the figure is standing--perhaps it got warped a bit coming out of the mold. With a new, and more accurate, paintjob, I think that this Irish Setter toy would better resemble the real animal, but, that said, I'd be reluctant to do so, because the zany bright yellow and orange-red is what makes this piece so visually interesting.
This is Bolcanon, from Spin Master's 2011 Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge line of McDonald's Happy Meal toys. Note that there are two variants of this figure, the red one I have, and a green version (which also has a different symbol on its wing). Looking at photos online, I prefer the ruby version I got (red contrasts better with gray), but the emerald one isn't bad either. I know very little about the Bakugan franchise, but I'm guessing that Bolcanon is supposed to be either a dragon or a bird, and, from its coloration and the flame-like symbol on its left wing, aligned with the element of fire. The ball form has a diameter of about 1.7" (4.2 cm), which I believe is larger than "real" Bakugan toys. Pushing the gray button on the bottom of said sphere causes Bolcanon to automatically change shape, via the power of springs, into creature mode. I don't know what it means, but "950G" is sculpted, in raised relief, on the left side of Bolcanon's body, which is revealed when the figure changes---I'm assuming that has something to do with the battle game aspect of Bakugan toys (it's probably Bolcanon's attack power or something). In monstrous shape, Bolcanon has a wingspan of about 3.2" (8.2 cm) and stands 2" (5.2 cm) tall. On my sample, the left wing droops a little bit. At first, I just assumed that the spring wasn't as tight as the other wing, but, upon closer inspection, I discovered that there was some red plastic flash inside the mechanism. After getting some tools and fishing the majority of that material out of there, the wing works better now--it's still not quite as good as the right wing, but it's an improvement. Bolcanon also has a loose piece of something rattling around inside its body, but, as the figure's transformation action works fine, I doubt it's anything important. While they're not as complex, or versatile, as Hasbro's Transformers, Spin Master's Bakugan are still neat, and I wouldn't mind picking a few more of these up.
Well, well, another pair of vibrantly-hued ponies have wandered into my stables. Both of these 3" (7.6 cm) tall horses are from Hasbro's Generation 3 (G3) 2005 My Little Pony wave of McDonald's Happy Meal figures. The orange one with dark pink hair is Sparkleworks (#8) and the light green horse with light pink hair is Minty (#3). In addition to these two, you could also get Star Swirl (#1), Serendipity (#2), Butterscotch (#4), Daisy Jo (#5), Pinkie Pie (#6), and Wysteria (#7). In the last installment of Toy Talk, I wrote about how Twilight Sparkle had a sculpted mane and tail instead of rooted hair, well, these two MLP figures sit right between those two extremes with a rooted mane and a sculpted tail. While I don't dislike that arrangement, I think I'd have preferred that they went completely one way or the other, instead of doing half-and-half, just because it'd give the toys a more consistent overall look (as these are cheap fast food ponies, I suspect that it was a cost-saving measure to only do the manes with real tresses). The hair quality is so-so. It tangles and gets frizzy pretty easily, but I didn't have too much trouble brushing it out with the help of a little water. Sparkleworks and Minty are both molded from pearlescent plastic, which gives them a sparkly sheen that looks attractive. On the downside, I had a devil of a time making out the copyright information molded on their bellies (which I needed to know for identification purposes) because of that finish. It's not too noticeable, but Minty's extremities (mouth, ears, hooves) have a bit of a yellow discoloration to them--I'm not sure if that's just aging plastic or a result of whatever her former owner(s) did to her. Neither pony has any articulation, but that's generally the norm for MLP figures. Sparkleworks' cutie mark consists of blue fireworks exploding and Minty's is a trio of pink and blue mints (they look more like pinwheels to me). Both ponies also have a small heart on their right front hooves. Brand new, each of these McDonald's figurines would have come with a styling accessory, which my loose samples obviously lack. Sparkleworks came with an orange hairpick and Minty included a dark pink brush. Out of the pair, I prefer Sparkleworks, due to her coloring (Minty is too pastel for my tastes) and her turned head, which I feel gives her more personality. That's a little bit odd, because I don't like fireworks, but I do enjoy mint-flavored food (especially cookies and candy).
Do ponies chew on mints while they watch firework displays?
This is a Mattel 2010 DC Super Friends Fisher Price Little People Wheelies Batman vehicle--that's one long title! While the blue-and-black color scheme are appropriate for the character, and they remembered to slap a Bat Symbol on the hood, Fisher Price's choice of transportation for him, a truck, is bizarre. Bruce should be in the Batmobile, or, at the very least, a generic car of some sort instead. The details on both truck and superhero are simplistic and smooth and have that adorable "kiddy toy" vibe. This item measures 2.8" (7.2 cm) long and 2.2" (5.7 cm) tall. All four wheels spin independently and the vehicle rolls well across any flat surface with a push. It'd be cool if the chubby little Batman driver was removable, but he's permanently fixed in place. I like DC's Dark Knight, and this toy is cute, but, given the choice, it's not the type of thing that I'd normally purchase. That said, because it is so different from the things I usually collect, it does provide a nice contrast with my more realistic Batman figures--all I need now is the Wheelies Joker for him to play chicken with.
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