By Mark Patraw
Posted on 11/4/13
It's the "lucky" thirteenth episode of Toy Talk, let's hope nothing breaks! This time, moving left-to-right, we'll take a look at a Mattel 2008 Blooming Thumbelina Barbie (African American variant), a Disney Mickey Mouse, a Hasbro 2006 G.I.JOE Sigma 6 Kamakura, a Pokemon Emboar, and a Story Hat Productions 2006 Dragon Booster Parmon/Cyrano (McDonalds). I purchased all of these toys from the Marquette St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store. Kamakura was ninety-six cents on 10/25/13, Blooming Thumbelina was in a $2.44 bag of toys I bought on 9/13/13, and Mickey Mouse, Emboar, and Parmon/Cyrano were in a different bag of $2.44 toys I bought on 10/25/13. 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!
Here we have one of the rare instances where a toy doll is probably larger than what she would be if she were a real person. Why's that? Because we're talking about Thumbelina! This is Mattel's 2008 8.3" (21 cm) tall Blooming Thumbelina Barbie doll. To be more specific, it's the African American variant, which is just fine by me, because, given the choice, I would have picked her over the blonde Caucasian version anyway. Because she's smaller, and her body and head are so different from a typical Barbie (she looks like she stepped out of some Japanese anime to me), I never would have guessed that this Thumbelina doll belonged to the Barbie franchise. Special thanks goes out to Emily, from the Toybox Philosopher Blog, for helping me identify this toy, which had me scratching my head for quite a while. The gimmick with this particular figure was that she originally came with this huge flower base with fabric petals that opened up to reveal Thumbelina nestled inside (hence the blooming part of her title). Thumbelina herself is also supposed to have large, petal-like fairy wings, which, alas, my sample is missing (they'd slide onto that transparent rod projecting out of her back). A complete figure would also have included a hair brush and a glittery pink baby doll dress/skirt, but, because she's already got clothing painted and sculpted on her torso, she's never indecent, so, the skirt is arguably unnecessary. Her slippers aren't removable, in case you're wondering. Interestingly, my sample also came with one accessory that doesn't belong to her: the golden translucent tiara on her forehead was added by whomever owned her before me. However, I've grown so accustomed to seeing it in her hair that I just can't bring myself to remove it--she just looks "right" with it on, so, as far as I'm concerned, it's her's forever. Thumbelina has a ball-jointed neck, and rotating cut joints in her shoulders and hips. Said thighs are EXTREMELY loose though, to the point where they're practically useless--this doll is never going to stand on her own without some external support. It's not just my sample either, they're all like that. That said, man-oh-man does she have some fine legs, they're the most shapely gams I've seen on a doll in some time! Her hair, dark brunette with pink highlights, looks lovely, although it's getting a bit messy. I'm afraid to attempt to fix it though, because it's still styled the way it would have come in the box, held in place by some rubber bands and the flower, and I don't think I'd ever be able to get it back the same way again if I took it down to brush it out. Even without her wings, this is a really beautiful doll that I enjoy having on permanent display.
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! This 3" (7.7 cm) tall Disney figure doesn't have a copyright date, and there have been hundreds of different Mickey Mouse figurines produced over the years, so I'm afraid I can't tell you anything specific about this particular toy's origins. It's a solid, unarticulated piece, so, what you see is what you get. His pose isn't terribly dynamic, but the sculpture is very well done, capturing the cartoon rodent's likeness well. It's a minor quibble, but I have to say that I prefer Mickey Mouse with a tail, rather than without, simply because that's a more accurate representation of the real animal's anatomy. The paintwork is a bit sloppy here and there, but not too bad--I touched up a few spots on his nose and ears where the black paint had worn off with a Sharpie marker. I don't know what else I can really say here, other than it'd be nice to have an in-scale Minnie Mouse and Pluto to go with him, or maybe a big hulking Pete.
Another ninja has filed his enlistment papers and been welcomed into my G.I.JOE Sigma 6 unit: Snake-Eyes' apprentice, Kamakura. Although, looking at his bright yellow-and-black costume, I think that this 8.2" (20.7 cm) tall shinobi might feel more at home with the classic WWF tag team The Killer Bees. Like all Sigma 6 figures, Kamakura sports a sturdy and well-articulated body. He's got a ball-jointed neck, pin-and-disc ball-jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles, a pivoting mid-torso joint (which the sash/belt restricts to some extent), a cut waist, and a hinged panel on his forearm communicator. My sample is, as expected, missing all of his accessories, with the exception of his removable belt/sash. A complete Kamakura should also include: goggles, dog tags, a backpack launcher that fires a bola projectile, two kama (sickles), a katana (sword) with sheath, a spiked flail, a bou (staff), an expandable shuriken (throwing star), and four connector pins. Kamakura's weapon loadout is pretty neat, because you can mix-and-match various pieces to create different implements. For example, you could attach a kama to the flail to recreate the classic kusarigama (chain & sickle) ninja weapon, or the staff and katana to make a naginata (a glaive-like weapon that samurai, particularly women, employed). I'm definitely missing out when it comes to those items, but, it's a secondhand toy that only cost me about a buck, so I shouldn't complain.
The thrift store that I bought him from had two different G.I.JOE Sigma 6 Kamakura figures for sale, this one, and the Airglide Ninja version (I like to think of that one as "Flying Squirrel" Kamakura, because he's supposed to come with a backpack with pop-out wings that remind me of said mammal). I had the money, but I didn't want two of him, so I forced myself to choose. While both were in good condition, I felt that the sheer amount of yellow on Airglide Ninja Kamakura's uniform was a bit over the top, and this one had his sash/belt piece, making him more complete, so I opted for the original. That said, if Airglide Ninja Kamakura had been the only version available, I would have been fine with taking him home.
Here's a figurine representing one of the literally hundreds of mythical critters found in Nintendo's lucrative Pokemon franchise: Emboar. This critter's first appearance was in Generation V (Pokemon: Black/White). Emboar is a porcine fire/fighting type Pokemon that evolves from Pignite, which in turn, is a higher form of Tepig. The 2.8" (7.1 cm) tall toy is unarticulated, but is has a pretty dynamic pose, arms stretched to the sky as it snorts out a plume of fire. While the translucent orange flames are meant to look like they're coming out of its nostrils, the plastic inferno is actually attached to the beast's left hand. Emboar's got a bit of paint wear here-and-there, most noticeable on the yellow swirls on its chest, but, all-in-all, the monster is in pretty good shape. Having never played the particular Pokemon games that Emboar appears in, I don't really have any attachment to the species, but it's definitely a colorful and attractive figurine.
Like many, I was pretty enamored with Pokemon when it first came out, but I lost interest in it after the first generation of games. That's very atypical of me, as I usually find collecting digital monsters extremely addictive. I guess the whole thing just got too repetitive/boring. Back in the day, I acquired Pokemon Blue for the original Gameboy, Pokemon Pinball for Gameboy Color, and Pokemon Puzzle League (which is essentially Tetris Attack) for the Nintendo 64, and an assortment of Pokemon figurines, but, after that, I was all Pokemon'd out. Until I picked up Emboar here, along with some other Pokemon characters, in a big bag of toys, I hadn't purchased Pokemon anything for around a decade.
I had absolutely no idea what this item was when I pulled it out of the bag of toys I bought, and the copyright holder's name, molded on the bottom of the figure, The Story Hat Properties, LLC., was one that I had never heard of before either. Fortunately, that's what internet search engines are for, and I soon discovered that this is a 2006 Parmon (human) and Cyrano (dragon) McDonald's toy from the short-lived Dragon Booster computer-animated cartoon series. I'm not sure if my brain is just playing tricks on me or not, but I think I can vaguely recall catching an episode or two of that show when it aired on cable television. Doing a bit of quick research on Wikipedia, it seems that Parmon is a tech-savvy, by-the-books type of fellow, but also a bit of a coward, while Cyrano is a green bull-class dragon, who, as you can probably guess from his build, is strong, but not terribly bright or agile. The combination of Parmon and Cyrano makes for a relatively large fast food toy, measuring about 3.3" (8.4 cm) in height and 5.3" (13.5 cm) in length. The sculpt and paintwork are nice, rather than the typical medieval fantasy look one would expect of a dragon rider, these are more futuristic and sci-fi in appearance--it has kind of a Star Wars vibe to it (maybe I'm just thinking of a Stormtrooper on a Dewback?). Pressing the button on Cyrano's back makes his neck extend forward a short distance--it reminds me a lot of the Hungry Hungry Hippos tabletop game. Other than that action feature, the only other moving parts on the toy are three wheels, on the dragon's underside, and Parmon's neck, which rotates. It's a shame that the human rider isn't removable, as that would have added more play value (plus you could have potentially swapped dragons and riders). Of course, if Parmon was detachable, in all likelihood he'd be missing, since this is a loose, secondhand sample. I don't know that I'd buy more of these individually, as some of the dragon designs are better than others, but I wouldn't mind finding another one of these Dragon Booster pairs in a future toy bag purchase.
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