Toy Talk
Volume XVII

By Mark Patraw
Posted on 12/2/13

Let's get crackin' with the seventeenth installment of Toy Talk! Towering over everyone else, and doing her best Attack of the 50 Foot Woman impression, is a 2010 MGA BFC (Best Friends Club) Ink Addison doll. Moving on to the smaller characters, going left-to-right, we have a Fisher Price Little People Robert the Construction Worker, a 2010 Lanard The Corps Zack "Roadrash" Collins, a 2012 TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) Power Sound FX Raphael, and, finally, a 1990 Warner Bros./Applause Looney Tunes Daffy Duck. I purchased Addison from the local Goodwill on 9/13/13 for $2.09. Daffy and Robert were both items in a $2.44 bag of toys that I bought from the Marquette St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store on 10/25/13, while Roadrash (twenty-five cents on 11/9/13) and Raphael (fifty cents on 11/21/13) were acquired from the Ishpeming branch of the same thrift store chain. 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!

I bought this lovely 18" (45.7 cm) tall 2010 MGA BFC (Best Friends Club) Ink Addison doll back in mid September, so, I really should have done a write-up on her by now, but, I kept holding off on that because I wanted to make or buy her some clothes first. Well, as you can see, that never happened. I downloaded several patterns off the internet, and even went so far as to measure/draw one up and cut it out, but, I could never muster the enthusiasm to do the actual sewing (I know how, I'm just not terribly fond of the activity, not to mention lazy). I also rifled through the infants clothing section on a few occasions, hoping to find something I could use, but, everything there was always too big. The Ishpeming St. Vincent de Paul Society establishment that I frequent does sell doll clothes, folded up in little plastic baggies, but none of them are labeled, so it's difficult to tell what size doll they'd fit by sight alone, and I don't want to end up paying for something that I can't use (most of them are also hand-made, knitted affairs, which doubtlessly appeals to some people, but I don't like that look at all--I want "normal" clothes). My Aunt suggested I could just buy another used doll in the same scale that does have clothes and give them to Addison, but I'd still end up with one naked doll if I did that (it'd be wasteful to buy a doll for the clothes and then toss it). Longtime readers may recall that, in the first volume of Toy Talk, I said that I'd prefer that all the dolls in thrift stores were sold naked, because that'd make them easier to identify and appraise, well, I changed my mind, now I want them clothed. So, now that I'm done giving you my laundry list of excuses, I guess Addison is doomed to remain unclad for the foreseeable future. This review, and the accompanying photos, have been sitting around long enough, so I figured I should just get it published before too much time passed and I lost interest altogether.

The BFC Ink toys are one of several affordable alternatives to the more expensive 18" play doll lines, most notably the popular American Girl brand. Addison holds the honor of being the tallest figure in my entire toy collection at the moment, dwarfing everything else, even my biggest monsters. To be honest, I'm much more of a fan of the 12" (30.5 cm) scale when it comes to dolls--had someone asked me, prior to seeing her in person, if I'd be interested in owning a BFC Ink doll, I probably would have told them "no", but, like many things in life, opinions change when confronted with the actual article. Addison's got very wholesome and charming features, although, given her reddish-brown hair color, I think some freckles might have been an appropriate addition. Said locks are rather frizzy and tangled, but I like the waves, so, beyond brushing it a bit, I never put any serious effort into taming it--one of these days, I might get around to giving her tresses the old boiling water treatment to straighten everything out. Addison is mighty poseable, especially compared to many other 18" dolls (there are exceptions, but dolls in this scale typically only have five points of articulation), which was one of the primary things about her that appealed to me in the first place. She's got normal ball-joints at the neck, shoulders, mid-torso, and hips, as well as pin-and-disc ball-joints at the elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. Combined, those all provide a pretty good range of motion, but there's always room for improvement. In particular, I would have liked to have seen the addition of rotating cut-joints in the biceps/thighs and waist, and double-jointed pin elbows/knees. Due to her size/weight and the somewhat loose joints, I had to work a bit to get Addison to stand unassisted, but, once you do, she's fairly stable. While my Addison didn't come with any clothes, aside from her painted-on white panties (which I'm sure didn't look the least bit creepy or comical when I was toting her around, underneath my arm, in the store), she does still have her matching set of chromed stud earrings. There were a few very minor paint/dirt marks on her skin that I removed with acetone, and she's got some scuffs in her plastic here and there [probably souvenirs from whatever adventures she and her former owner(s) enjoyed together], but, other than those, and the previously mentioned loose joints, Addison's in pretty good shape. Brand new, the BFC Ink dolls retailed for around $20-30, while I only paid $2.09, plus sales tax, for this secondhand one, which is a mighty fine deal for a fully articulated doll of this size (I was surprised that Goodwill didn't charge more than that--I imagine her nudity was a contributing factor in that low price). I much prefer the look, and poseability, of the BFC Ink girls to other 18" dolls that I've seen. I've read that some collectors don't like that these dolls have mature bodies, because that's kind of at odds with their rather child-like faces, but it doesn't bother me. Provided the price was reasonable, and they were in decent shape, I would probably pick up some of the other BFC Ink girls if the opportunity presented itself. Where on earth I would find room to store them is another can of worms entirely . . .

Need something built or demolished? Fisher Price's Little People Robert the Construction Worker is your guy, and, best of all, because he's a toy, he'll accept Monopoly money as payment! (Time-and-a-half plus overtime? Not a problem, Rob. Got change for a $500 bill?) While the figure's features are generally simplified and cute in appearance, Robert's clothing is fairly detailed; the sculpt sports pockets, buttons, wrinkles, etc. He's got a red flag permanently molded in his left hand, and the other is open to accommodate an accessory--I like to imagine that he'd be holding a "Detour" or "Caution" sign. Robert stands 3.3" (8.3 cm) tall, but only has two points or articulation: pivoting hips (the legs move as one unit, not individually) and a cut waist joint that only turns a bit to the left and right, but not completely around. I'm disappointed by Robert's limited poseability--I think Fisher Price could have easily and unobtrusively added cut joints in the neck and shoulders. Other than making him sit and turn slightly, there's not a lot that you can do with this guy. He seems really durable to me, which is good, considering the kind of abuse most kids would probably subject Robert to on a daily basis. This toy also has quite a bit of heft, particularly in the head, for something of his size--Robert is yet another toy that I really wouldn't want somebody to peg me with. Other than a bit of paint rubbed off here and there, my sample is in good shape. While definitely designed and intended for younger children, Robert's a nice looking figure that I imagine got to experience a lot of thrilling sandbox excavations before he came to live with me--I hope he's ready to retire and take it easy though, because Rob won't be doing jack around here. You see, the local construction destruction workers' union has a strict "No Humans" policy at my house. Considering it further, I think maybe he could get away with writing "hobbit" in the race box on the job application form, but he's screwed if they demand to see his hairy toes during the job interview.

This is a 4.2" (10.6 cm) tall 2010 Lanard The Corps Zack "Roadrash" Collins figure, a member of the villainous Marauders organization. The Corps are a cheaper alternative (or, if you're feeling less charitable, knockoff) to Hasbro's popular 3.75" (9.5 cm) G.I.JOEs that have been around for a long time. These guys usually retail in several formats: single-carded figures, multi-figure card and box sets, and vehicle and figure card and box sets, so, I couldn't say for sure which particular arrangement this one originated from. While mine doesn't have any, he should come with some accessories. Looking at a mint-on-card photo of him in a two-figure pack that I found online, it appears that Roadrash is armed with a gray pistol, a black knife, and a black rifle of some sort. He's got holsters/sheaths on his right hip and left ankle to accommodate said handgun and blade. The head and hair sculpt make Zack look suspiciously like Ronald Reagan, which is kind of cool, although I wouldn't characterize Ronnie as a villain myself (if you're a Democrat, or just not fond of his politics, you might disagree). Mr. Reagan, er, Collins has eleven points of articulation: rotating cut joints at the neck, waist, and hips, pin joints in the knees, and pin-and-disc ball-joints at the shoulders and elbows. The pouches on his belt restrict the range of motion in the waist and hips a bit, but, overall, he's fairly poseable, although not quite as limber as a classic JOE. In terms of paint, it's pretty standard work, but I am annoyed that they didn't finish the job on his torso--the red on the belt and chest holster stops at the body's seam, leaving those details unpainted on the back of the figure. Normally, I'd attribute that to cost cutting measures, but the legs, arms, and head did get the full 360o treatment, so I'm not sure what to make of the unfinished work on the body, maybe it was just an oversight? In my opinion, Lanard has stepped up their game with The Corps figures in recent years, especially the sculpting. While they're unlikely to ever unseat Hasbro's popular military franchise, they're far from terrible toys.

I watched the entire first season of the show pretty religiously, but, this is only the second toy from the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) computer-animated cartoon (the other is a McDonald's vehicle) that I've acquired so far. He's a 5.8" (14.6 cm) tall Playmates 2012 Power Sound FX Raphael. The sculpt and colors are nice, matching up with his animated model pretty well (although he is missing the crack in his plastron). The torso is thicker than usual, to accommodate the internal electronics and speaker, but, considering that he's a terrapin, that actually looks appropriate. The only design aspect I don't like about the turtles on the new show is that I think that they went overboard with the number of wraps on their bodies--doing the fingers and ankles, in addition to their traditional elbow and knee pads, was overkill in my opinion. As this is a loose sample, I don't have them, but Raph should come with a pair of silver sai accessories, which are his trademark weapons. In addition to holding them in his hands, they'd also fit in the two loops on the back of the belt. Raphael's articulation is fairly limited, partly because some of it is tied to his voice feature. He has a ball-jointed neck and hips, rotating-cut-joints at the forearms and knees, and combination ball-and-spring-joint shoulders. The arms are what control his speech, moving them, even slightly (hence the springs) triggers him to gab. Raphael says four different things:

"This is war!"
"You're going down!"
"We're ninja turtles!"

Each of those four phrases are then followed by the sound of either shattering glass, the clang of metal, or the swooshes/thuds of martial arts moves (it's random). All the audio samples are clear as crystal and sound great. It's also worth noting that you can draw out each of his voice clips, indefinitely, by holding, rather than releasing, an arm. The only negatives are that there doesn't seem to be anyway to shut him off (they could have put a switch on the back of his shell or something), and that he can spout off at inopportune times with very little pressure. For example, after purchasing him, I stopped at the restroom in the mall next door, and, whilst doing my business, I tucked the bag he was in under my right arm. Well, sure enough, Raphael chose to run his mouth, nonstop, the entire time that I was emptying my bladder, which, if I hadn't been alone in the men's room, would have been mighty embarrassing! This toy retailed, brand new (and you should still be able to find it on the pegs), for around $13, so the fifty cents I paid was a steal (perhaps whomever donated it to the thrift store was driven mad by Raphael's chatter and glad to be rid of him?) His articulation could have been better (pin or ball-jointed elbows/knees would have helped a lot), but Power Sound FX Raphael looks great and the voice feature is fun, so he gets a thumbs up from me.

He's no Donald Duck, but, at least it's somewhat easier to understand what he's saying when he talks. This is an unarticulated 1990 Warner Bros./Applause Looney Tunes Daffy Duck figurine. Thanks to his raised hat, Daffy clocks in at 2.9" (7.3 cm) in height. I don't know if it's based on the events depicted in an actual cartoon or not, but the pose is a good one, obviously capturing him in the midst of some kind of stage routine. The cross-hatched texture on his straw hat is a particularly noteworthy detail that I like. The paint, on the other hand, could be better. While it's passable work, upon close inspection, there are a lot of small errors, like the whites of his eyes bleeding out onto his duckbill. Overall, this is a good piece, although I'd prefer that Daffy was depicted as he normally looks, without clothing, as that's more iconic and would have been more versatile for display purposes than this performance version. While Disney has done a good job of keeping their animated characters relevant over the years, Warner Bros. doesn't seem to do much with their Looney Tunes properties anymore, which is too bad.

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