Tag Archives: Toys

My Transformations Bring All the Bots to the Yard – Transformers – the Coolest Fucking Toys on the Planet

Optimus Prime by markerguru.jpg

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how cool and amazing Transformers toys are.

The idea of the very first Transformer toys were realistic diecast toy cars – that also happened to turn into simplistic robots.

It’s easy to miss those old school toys were not robots that turned into vehicles, (or real world objects such as Soundwave and Megatron) they were vehicles with a bonus mode that resembled a very basic robot. You had to use your imagination. It was the branding and cartoon that made us think of them primarily as robots.

Over the years Transformers evolved from simple chunky bots into fully articulated action figures. They did not start off as action figures, but as toys that had a bonus feature – the transformation gimmick. You paid for one toy, but you basically got two toys for your money – making for increased play value.

sunstreaker diaclone mp

 

Looking back from 2017 to the vintage Transformers, Diaclone and Micro-Change toys, it’s easy to miss the aim of the toy line was not poseability or articulation – it was all about play value and various gimmicks. Most kids don’t give a crap what poses a figure  can pull off, it’s gotta be an engaging character, something they recognise, or full of bright cheerful colors or have some cool play gimmick to keep a kids attention. If a toy  has all of those things that makes it even more desirable.

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ALL ACTION, ALL THE TIME

The general idea of licensed action figures such as the Kenner Super Powers or MEGO’s was character accuracy, bright colors and toy gimmicks that made the toy appealing to kids. The term Action Figure often implied some type of action gimmick, or being tied to an action oriented licensed character – rather than just articulation.

Take a look at vintage G. I. Joe and Action Man, and you’ll see amazing articulation that was not used used in many other toys for decades as its was just too cost prohibitive. The large scale Joes used the same basic idea as girls dolls – large toys that you can buy many outfits for thus increasing it’s potential play value. Their poseability and accessories set the action figure standard, but the large size (costs, mass market vs say hot toys etc) was mostly non transferable to other toy lines. As costs went up, and more and more licensed merchandise arrived in the form of action figures – over the years the toys got smaller.

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When G.I. Joe eventually was relaunched he didn’t come back in his large scale cloth clothing form, he was shrunk down the same size as the new tiny Star Wars figures. Meaning they were cheaper toys to make, but they also were far more articulated than the Star Wars figures. And like the Star Wars toy line – the new smaller scale toys had legendary vehicles and accessories to play with.

kids in scale uss flagg
Bootleg 80’s Kids in 1:1 Scale

 

FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY – THE ARTICULATED MAN

Even the basic idea of articulation existed much earlier than the action figure craze of the 1960’s. For example Ideal Toy Company produced a wooden articulated Superman toy back in 1939. And various dolls for girls over the decades had limited articulation, soft hair, eyes that moved etc. Going back even further we have wooden marionettes – puppets more than toys – but the idea of articulation based on a mammalian skeletal structure and movement patterns is there.

Superman 1939 articulated figure
CONSTIPATED SUPERMAN DIED FOR YOUR SINS

The action figure is basically a hybrid of features from other toys – mainly from girls dolls, with play gimmicks added from toys typically made for boys. The modern action figure still exists as a toy on chainstore shelves for kids but also exists as an adult collectible aiming at screen, comic or video game artistic accuracy over any play features or poseability, while mainline chain-stores boys toys are still heavily oriented around various gimmicks, accessories and ties ins such as vehicles.

For example my Grossery Gang Garbage Truck has a Garbage Catapult, the front dumpster lifts up on the arm forks, both the side doors open with peg holes for figures, there’s a gun turret and seat on one side and the wheels roll quite smoothly. Oh and the front canopy opens so you can put a figure in there.

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The play pattern and emphasis is on ACTION. And those fold out doors mean you can store Transforming burgers or whatever other Junkfood Formers you got lying around in there.

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From these different influences then – statues, marionettes, dolls and other odd toys and gimmicks we arrive at the hybrid toy – the action figure. Poseable, articulated, stylish, cool, full of attitude and toughness and can-do.

The modern action figure is like a marionette without strings that can hold its own poses on one end of the scale – or like a statue with limited articulation on the other hand – made to look stunning on display.

Those old Brickformers of my youth could not pull of an action pose to save their life. Fast forward to more modern toys like Combiner Wars Motormaster or Classics / Henkei Optimus Prime and we now have a toy robot that transforms into a cool vehicle AND is a competent action figure.

motormaster vs optimus prime 2
What amazing thighs you have Optimus Prime
motormaster vs optimus prime
NO MERCY, NO PROBLEM

THESE ARE NOT THE BOTS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR

The toy line that made action figures truly viable in the mainstream after vintage Joe died off was of course the Star Wars figures and vehicles from Kenner. The articulation was pretty limited, but the details were nice. The card backs were rather attractive and most important – they had a MASSIVE demand in stores and a CHEAP price point for toys that mostly resembled their source material.

Star Wars figures were toys kids could buy with pocket money, or parents might buy on a day out at the shops without breaking the bank. To my eyes they are small, ugly and stupid. Yeah I’m not a fan of those figures at all. But I respect the place they have in toy and action figure history, and I did enjoy seeing some of my mates collection when I was younger (I never owned any myself, and if I did I would likely burn them).

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The Star Wars movies eventually being released on home VHS meant an extended life for Star Wars products and figures, along with their vehicles. The smaller scale Star Wars figures were such a hit, that when the G.I. Joe brand was relaunched by Hasbro – they went with the new cheaper downscaled 3 3/4 scale figures – mimicking the Star Wars figures, while adding in much needed articulation. This scale of action figure also had the benefit of fitting in the many large vehicles that populate the Star Wars and G.I. Joe lines without looking ridiculous as most toy lines typically do due to scale issues.

Star Wars and licensed superhero figures pushed the niche of the Action Figure to mass mainstream audiences through the seventies and eighties. Eventually, technology moved along to provide more accurate sculpting of facial features. This side technology of facial scanning grew out of the movie and video game worlds, and became a standard adopted, used and rapidly progressed in its accuracy for several years and used in many licensed products for actor likenesses, wrestlers, etc.

Meaning more accuracy and less reliance on sculpts from scratch. Previous portrait technologies involved the use of a camera, or the use of a person sitting really still for many hours while being painted. So facial scanning for licensed products is still pretty new in the history of humanity. Our cave man ancestors made do with sticks and stone toys presumably, and lots more imagination. They never imagined a future of three dimensional scanning creepily bringing dead actors back to life in movies, or giving us the highest possible raised position of an eyebrow on a sweaty muscle man.

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Our modern toys still have to be physically designed, prototyped, and manufactured of course. But this fancy pants computer technology bullshit contributes and fast tracks the amazing movie accurate toys we see today in toy lines from Hot Toys, NECA etc, along with the more traditional artists sculpts and statues. Not to gloss over all the traditional design and pre-production work from artists in traditional and digital media that precedes the production of any high end toy or movie licensed product. Full credit to those hard working artists man!

THE BEASTS OF BURDEN

Eventually Transformers started adopting more of the standardized features of the action figure type of toys, and less of the features typical of diecast vehicles (well…Alternators…*cough*). While various features like light piping, ball joints and more appeared in selected G1 and G2 toys, it was the Beast Wars tie in toy line that made Transformers into fully articulated standarized action figures – rather than diecast vehicles that also turned into boxy robots.

The organic alt modes of Beast Wars allowed more freedom to run wild with new designs not limited by past Transformers designs, or styles of transformation. They were more Western action figure that happens to turn into a thing, rather than Japanese super robot…that turns into a thing.

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For the first time subsidiary Kenner – famous for making Star Wars, Super Powers and Batman action figure lines was asked to make the new Beast Wars figures. Having failed to make any real impact with the Generation Two branding (and cancelled TV show) Hasbro was willing to take a chance with something radically different to anything that had come before in Transformers history.

Beast Wars remains a divisive line/brand with many fans loving it or outright hating it. But nobody (except lunatics) denies the impact it had on the evolution of Transformers toys – and that it basically saved the Transformers media brand and toys from probable extinction. I still can’t stand about 90% of anything Beast Wars related. But like Star Wars, Beast Wars has its significant place in Transformers toy history and Lore.

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Darth Bubble, Bat Bubble and Beast Bubble

 

AND I’LL FORM… THE HEAD

So, with all that articulation and fancy bells and whistles making these modern Transformer toys so special, what else do they need? A cool look is important, but more than that you need personality and character.

Do kids want Bumblebee every year because he’s frigging yellow and named after a Bee? No they want him because of his winning personality and on screen shenanigans. Because he’s a recognizable iconic character like Mickey Mouse, Scooby Doo or Spongebob. Its a challenge for any Writer/Creator/Imagineer of Transformers fiction to balance the robot modes with the alt modes. Stories set on Earth or Cybertron tend to have roads or an atmosphere conducive to flying.  Roads justify vehicle alt modes, while worlds without roads make more sense to have Beast of flying forms for mobility.

Too much alt mode and we lose the character or get bored. It just becomes a piloted mech or fancy ATV. Too much humanoid sentient alien robot, and we lose what makes Transformers unique from mecha and super robot shows.

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We like our robots of all flavors to have personalities. The most enduring characters are well defined in their personalities and values, but with room to do new things in stories, or the for audience to project something of themselves onto that character. The original Transformers toys came alive in kids imaginations, partly due to the old box bios – and partly due to the tie in cartoon and comics, the rest was imagination for them Brickformers. The toys themselves were rather beautiful, but limited in what they could do. The stories and characters were mainly influenced by american superhero fiction, thus making Transformers uniquely american, despite the toys being a totally different toyline rebranded and imported from Japan.

Astro boy, Optimus Prime and the Iron Giant are sentient robots full of personality and humanity, and while Gundam mecha are big robot suits piloted by humans – even these mecha has a personality and style to them that makes them far more than just “vehicles” even if they are ultimately the worlds fanciest all terrain (or no terrain) vehicles.

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Transformers sit comfortably as a mix of toy, action figure, cool robot, and cool character/personality. Take Jetfire above – he’s a warrior/scientist, looks great as a robot and turns into a gigantic kick ass flying vehicle. Any one of these elements alone can be enough to sell a toy, or promote a tie in with licensed media. Add them all together and you have a recipe for keeping kids young and old entertained and coming back for more for decades.

In this image below from left to right: Transformers Animated Black Arachnia, TF Animated Bulkhead, Generation Two Sideswipe and TMNT Classics Mikey. The turtle toy can pull off just about any pose you can dream of, while in contrast G2 Sideswipe (a redeco of the G1 toy) can move his arms up and down a little and his wheels rolls smoothly in vehicle mode. Bulkhead has a fair amount of articulation, but his poses are limited by his size and weight – no kung-fu kicks for this Deskbot – unless you have the patience for it.g2 sideswipe classic mikey animated bulkhead transformers action figures.JPG

You can see how the Sideswipe toys looks cool, but not much personality to him other than his sweet color scheme. Without a box bio or comic or cartoon – we don’t know much about Sideswipe. In contrast Mikey and Bulkhead are just full of personality and quite expressive. Even without looking at any tie in media, we get an idea of their character just from looking at them.

Bulkhead has cool gimmicks such as his jaw moves when he talks, and the voice clips are straight from the show audio – no second hand “toy only” off key voice actor shenanigans here. His arm buzzsaw spins, while his other arm has a claw grabbing action. Mikey has Nunchucks with fake chains so they hang and can be posed in any number of ways, while his base and foot pegs means he can ninja-kick with the best of em and not topple over.

WE MUST BRING BALANCE TO THE TRANSFORMATION

Stories like IDW comics Stormbringer bring us less “robots in disguise” and more robots in big action scenes, gung-ho dialogue with loads of characters and not much alt modes to be seen because it’s what fans –  manchildren – want. But a good Transformers story in any media needs a balance of bot and alt mode to make it genuine, and not just a generic Robot story. Personally just give me a shit ton of fights and explosions and I’ll be happy.

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Likewise, a good modern Transformers toy needs to be a balance of vehicle, cool robot and action figure and winning personality (or face ripping sadist executioner).  It’s a balance that is not always quite right. Often one mode suffers for the sake or another. Most notorious are triple changers – at best two out of three modes look decent, with the third mode often suffering to accommodate the other two.

When a Bot transformation scheme, play factor and overall cool aesthetics comes together, it’s just magic. The infamous MP-10 Optimus Prime and his variants have a beautiful truck mode and a  stunning robot mode that looks great many years after its creation. It’s also a highly articulated action figure, satisfying the third criteria of successful modern Transformers toy designs. It’s also a kick-ass representation of an iconic character, so it’s win/win/win and gets Bluebot Bears Big Stamp of Awesome.

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Most modern action figures usually emulate the human musculoskeletal system (or an animal’ skeleton), and it’s implied ranges of normal movement.

In the below image is a Kenner Batman figure that can pull off a variety of action poses, next to him is RID Thunderhoof, who can do most if not all of the same poses Batman can do. He’s the modern Transformer robot, vehicle and action figure hybrid. The brickbots of my childhood (that I still love) generally can’t pull of these sorts of poses, and they were never intended to. To me it’s silly to complain any toy does’t have a feature it was never designed to have. Makes as much sense to me as complaining that pigs don’t have wings and can’t fart gold bricks.

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The BVS movie Batman (in silver) next to The Rock also has articulation, but its rather limited and he can pull of almost zero action poses other than kneeling while falling over or raising and bending his arms in a straight linear line while dropping his poorly gripped weapon. Samurai Leo is even worse, he looks great but his articulation means his feet can’t go far and his arms are not flexible enough to pull off any realistic sword poses or combat stances.

Thunderhoof meanwhile can pull of some great poses, has a really cool transformation scheme, looks great in his tractor alt mode and (mostly) resembles  his on screen persona. While there are better TF toys, Thunderhoof is a fine example of a modern Transformers toy done right and the evolution of the Vehicle / Robot / Action figure triangle, and a good place to end this post.

thunderhoof tractor mode rev up and farm out
THE FARMSTA’ LIFE

 

IMAGE CREDITS

Optimus Prime art by Alex Milne / Marker Guru https://markerguru.deviantart.com/gallery/6117864/commissions

Superman toy image https://www.cgccomics.com/boards/topic/252921-rare-1939-40-13quot-superman-action-figure-1st-licensed-supes-merchandise/

Sunstreaker vintage toy image http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Sunstreaker_(G1)/toys

Sunstreaker fan art based on box art https://zobovor.deviantart.com/art/Transformers-Sunstreaker-Diaclone-Box-Art-620651065

Masterpiece Sunstreaker image from official Takara stock photos

Jerfire fan art by Thuddleston https://thuddleston.deviantart.com/

Vintage G.I. Joe image from https://geektyrant.com/news/2010/12/21/week-of-coolest-toys-ever-original-1964-gi-joe-action-figure.html

KENNER Super Power Batman toy image http://mentalfloss.com/article/92022/breaking-mold-kenners-super-powers-collection

Beast Wars image from TFSource.com

Astro Boy image https://www.cnet.com/news/astro-boy-returns-as-your-new-buildable-robot-buddy/

Gundam image http://gundam.wikia.com/wiki/RX-78-2_Gundam

Iron Giant image https://mondotees.com/products/the-iron-giant-soundtrack-2xlp-version-a

G. I. Joe toy commerical image courtesy of Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycedRcHbd6w&ab_channel=SheenaWick

Star Wars / Batman images copyright KENNER

Beast Wars card back image  http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Beast_Wars:_Transformers_(toyline)

Carl Weathers thumbs up image http://mymountainiswaiting.com/pct-fitness-prep-carl-weathers-style/

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To Play is Human – But you Gotta Fight For It

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There is an ugly side to human culture that says once we reach a certain age, or level of maturity that we must throw away the things we enjoyed as children.  This to me it is an unhealthy attitude. We may leave behind certain things as we reach maturity, but more often we bastardize our childhood by refusing to integrate who we were yesterday with who we are today.  Rather than grow up, instead we violently reject the child we once were. We move sideways and plateau, rather than forwards and evolve.

Our childhood is part of our personal history, our personal story, and part of who we are today.  To ignore or turn our back on what we enjoyed as children, teenagers or young adults is disrespectful to the person we were yesterday. It is a kind of ugly self-loathing and judgement on that person that says “what you enjoyed was worthless and meaningless, and has no relevance to the me I am today”.

Often people when reaching adulthood will throw things away that they love or stop indulging their passions and hobbies to conform to imagined social norms, or because they don’t expect to be taken seriously as adults if they still have any of their possessions from when they were a child.

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NERDBOT 2.0

I think of people who got rid of their old video games or action figures or comics because it was not considered “adult” to have such things, or their new girlfriend didn’t like “that stuff” so they got rid of it. Often regretting what they did and re-acquiring in their twenties what they gave away in their teens year so they could “grow up”. It’s fine to do that, some folks lose interest in those things and it’s perfectly normal to move on to other interests and hobbies.

This sort of behavior can also be however an attempt to conform to social norms, a violent rejection of the child within us.  Another possibility is that of the adult who lives in a state of arrested development, who refuses to actually grow up and be responsible for themselves, and refuses to actually ever leave childhood, bouncing around from one co-dependent relationship to another and expecting other people to satisfy their needs, with no real effort of their own to mature. Some things are best left behind in childhood, while other things are good to carry with us, our passion and creativity are never something to leave behind.

Both models are extremes, we need to Grow Up, but growing up means growing and expanding, not withdrawing and contracting or rejecting any part of our selves.

On another level, throwing out yesterdays culture and fun is to say that cool characters, works of fiction and toys have no place in the life of an adult, and have no further refined meanings or deeper resonance in life than the gross meaning of a plastic toy that is “fun” or a comic book or kids movie that is “entertaining”.  To be fair the majority of entertainment is vapid, shallow and pointless.  But the world we live in today is far more intelligent at all levels (TV, Film, Literature, Video Games) than say the world of the 1940s

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One of my favourite things in life, an object to be specific is a toy.  It feels silly to even say so, but it is true.

The object is a Transformer toy that my deceased Grandfather Jack Willetts gave to me when I was a kid.  It is my all time favourite toy, it transforms from a two headed dragon into a robot and it looks equally good in both robot and dragon mode.  Most transformers only look good as either the vehicle or as the robot, few look good in both modes.

This aesthetic appeal was something that appealed to me when I was a kid and even now as an adult.  A good design is a good design.  Another thing I like about this toy is it was in one of the first post Generation-1 wave of Transformers toys that were not based on the cartoon characters.  It meant the character was entirely new, and the personality of the character was not fleshed out, which means to a kid you can imagine any personality you like for the character.

On one level,  I know the toy is just a cheap piece of plastic based around a cartoon that was basically made to sell toys to kids for the purpose of corporate profit.

But on another level that cheap piece of plastic is a direct link to my deceased Grandfather.  I can’t look at it, or play with it without thinking of him, and remember the good times we shared, and how he encouraged me as a kid to read comics by buying me my first Ninja Turtle and Alf comics.  Nobody else in my life ever bought me comics when I was a kid, and I will always be grateful, because without those first comics my passion for superheroes would have never developed, and this blog would not exist.

When I was a kid, my grandfather was one of the coolest guys in the world, he didn’t talk down to me, he bought me the comics of my choice and I always enjoyed just hanging out with him no matter what he was doing.  He loved to bet on horse races, he loved Rugby and Cricket and gardening.  His garden won several local competitions, you have never seen a lawn as neat as my Grandfathers lawn, it was immaculate, that lawn got more care and attention than a Kardashian’s wobbly ass on a magazine cover.

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In ancient times, wisdom would be passed down from generation to generation (well I hope wisdom was passed on, I guess some bullshit got passed on along with the good stuff).  Elders were loved, respected and revered as those who were wiser than us.  Sacred objects had meaning, in that they may be passed to descendants, and something of the spirit of the person embodies that object. Whether you take that meaning as literal or metaphoric really doesn’t matter.  The emotional experience is basically the same either way. Reality is always different for everyone, and we like to Romanticise all aspects of culture.

Cold hard dead objects made of matter, composed of atoms have emotional significance to us when passed on from a loved one.  The watch that was sent back from someone’s father or husband from the front line, a rifle or hunting knife passed from father to son, son to grandson, an antique wedding ring passed from mother to daughter, a photo of relatives no longer with us, or a cheap plastic toy loaded with memories.

There are no sacred objects, and yet any object is sacred if it has deep personal meaning to us.  All objects are made of matter, or atoms, and any significance or power we imbue them with exists only in our minds, not in the object itself.

We can enjoy our sacred objects and need not make them into Idols

When we throw culture and tradition out the window, and cease to respect our elders, we lose a little something.  It is indefinable.  Call it unique story, call it wisdom tradition, call it passing down basic information critical to survive in the world or call it feeling a deep inner sense of satisfaction at knowing your place in the world and grand scheme of things.  Call it knowing that you and Life are one and the same, that you are in alignment with unseen forces, that you matter, that you have purpose and infinite dimensions to who and what you are.  Call it intuition or gut feeling or whatever you like.  But we lost part of ourselves and our communal nature when we try to go it alone in life, and reject everything that has come before our time.

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Is it wise to simply throw all that away?  Is it wise to explain away our emotional and intellectual satisfaction in life as basically meaningless? Is it wise to say we know it all and don’t need to learn anything new, because we have evolved, or because we are a “civilized” modern society?  If we are really so smart and wise, why do so many of us starve to death on a daily basis?  Why do we keep murdering each other for resources and land? Why do so many of us feel ashamed just to be alive?  Why do so many of us have this emptiness inside us that we cannot seem to fill, no matter what we do?  A genuine need that goes unaddressed, and unfulfilled as our collective intelligence has consistently failed to even identify what it is that actually satisfies our heart of hearts.

I don’t have the solution to any of those things, and forgive this digression from talking about “stuff”. I’m stepping down from my Invisible Pantomime Highhorse. What I’m saying from my heart to yours is that we need personal connection, with others and with ourselves and with our own personal history. It’s not selfish to be who you are, and enjoy what you enjoy without trying to make some soft of “excuse” for it.

We can enjoy the younger self that we were, while also continuing to grow and evolve as responsible individuals. What I’m saying is, don’t ever feel embarrassed to like what you like. I remember being teased in high school for reading “comic books”, but I never stopped reading them, despite how painful it was being teased. Now look at today, people flock to the box office to see Superhero films, likely some of the same people who teased me for being into Superheroes. Well the Hats on the other Foot now childhood jerks!

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For most people, what we like doesn’t really change a whole lot in our lifetimes. I liked Batman, Ninja Turtles and Transformers when I was a kid – and it’s still what I enjoy today. If anything, I enjoy those characters their fiction and lore even MORE than when I was a kid.

I still have the basic joy of a 8-10 year old boy who loves action movies and superhero cartoons and comics, but combined with a larger mature perspective where I can appreciate the people who CREATED those worlds, who Imagineered them into existence. The people who animated the shows, drew the comics, designed the toys, voiced the characters. The values that went into those characters that influenced me for the better, and the inspiration today I draw from those characters and all the hard work that went into making them so special I enjoy and appreciate at a much deeper level.

Meanwhile, despite being able to string a sentence or two together – I am the most overly-enthusiastic MAN-CHILD you could ever meet. I’m painfully aware of it. I really have no choice but to embrace it. I still also develop other characteristics, skills and abilities as an “adult” EXP +1200, INT +2 MIGHT +5, LUCK +1 – and most folks would say I am a pretty responsible person.

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But at a basic level if you show me a Robot Dinosaur that shoots frikkin Neon Laser Beams  from its eyes – well then I am eight years old again instantly. I don’t have any choice in the matter.

I love Dinosaurs and Robots and sci-fi pew pew Lazer Beams and I’m foaming at the mouth even thinking of such things. That is not going to change.

At age 37 – I am still a shy introvert who is somewhat socially retarded.  I’ve learnt to embrace the best parts of myself, and not deny any of my various flaws or short comings as a human being which include: Hulk like rage, Anxiety, sometimes mild Depression, a Need to always keep Talking and have the last word instead of Shutting Up.

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All of that is part of Who I Am, it’s not going away. I don’t need to be “Fixed”. I’m not broken and I legitimately love the person I am today, and the things that I enjoy, my passions are a part of me, my heritage and inspire me daily. It wasn’t always like that, self-loathing was my companion for about half of my life so far. At some point, I stopped listening to any of that nonsensical bullshit people try to put you down with, I silenced that Inner Critic permanently, choke slammed that mother fucker right through the wrestling ring floor and sent them straight to hell.

My OCD “never shuts the fuck up” borderline MANIA for all things fantasy, sci-fi, superheroes etc I turn into blogs and articles. Instead of boring people to death in real life, I can bore them to death in the digital domain. And if anyone doesn’t like it, well they can stop reading and walk away at any time- makes no difference to me.

This is the part where the article ends and I have nothing more to say. No summary or Zen-like wisdom. Wax the car maybe?

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I graduated from the Miyagi school of Kung-Foolery. All I learnt there was to enjoy what you enjoy, be who you are and don’t ever apologize to anyone, or try to change yourself to suit them. Or ever shut the fuck up when you’ve got something worthwhile to say about what you stand for in life, the people you love and are responsible for. Whatever your passions and hobbies are enjoy them, let them inspire you – but don’t let them hold you back either from doing whatever truly matters to you.

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Can You Ever Have too Many toys? The Most Pointless of Questions is Asked

If there such a thing as having “too many toys”?

For some the answer is yes.

While for others the answer is no.

The question becomes too many FOR WHOM?

I don’t like to put artificial borders on my thinking not in any level of life, or activity.

There are enough real world unavoidable obstacles and barriers in daily life, that I don’t have to go inventing new ones.

So, my simple answer is no.

You can never have too many toys. However, the toys you have now, can take up too much physical space.

So let’s reframe the idea…

Say you had infinite space, and infinite money, could you have “too many toys” then?

To me the answer is no – what are toys but art solidified – but ideas expressed.

You might as well ask “Can you every have too many ideas?” No, never.

Now, if you have finite resources, such as limited money and limited physical space, can you have too many toys then? YES, for sure.

I like to think that if I was super wealthy, I would not turn into a pack rat hoarder with a house full of toys (no offense to pack rats intended, I’ve been there before, and I don’t like it).

What I would do with infinite money, toys, materials etc – is invest in some sort of toy museum, where people could come along and enjoy a gigantic collection of amazing toys. Yes, that sounds like fun to me.

Perhaps a gold coin donation to enter, to help with upkeep of the place, then stay as long as you like, fuck about with some toys, and have a good time maybe chat to folks who enjoy similar things to you. Sounds good to me. Yes.

If it grew big enough, maybe it could attract people from far and wide, maybe add in guest speakers or something to make it a bit more interesting.

“But the toys would break if people keep playing with them, especially the vintage stuff?” some might say.

DON’T CARE.

NOT INTERESTED.

Break them.

Joy.

Whatever – they are toys, that is half the fun. I use the word museum loosely, let someone else be all about preservation, I’m more interested in fun and destruction, that in hermetically sealing away toys as cultural artifacts.

Also it is  fun to break things. Part of the experience of being a kid and having toys is learning you CAN break them, and not just by accident. We learn the physical world and the application of force has consequences.

Better to break toys than people.

One of my fondest shared memories with one of my oldest mates is when we were really bored one day at his place (this is back when we were about 13 or so) we got his toy Battlecat –

…and set fire to the tooth,

just for a lark.

Turns out plastic is *very flammable* (who knew?)  – and pretty quickly the whole head was on fire and the garage was full of toxic black plastic fumes. Not joking, we could have potentially set the garage / house on fire really.

battlecat
Not Flame Proof, but probably a Flamer

We decided to move the Battlecat into the backyard, it was on a big piece of old wooden board so we picked it up and moved it, rather hastily.

Well quickly, but in a lazy bored way really.

Within another sixty seconds, the whole thing was a miniature inferno of flames and smoke.

Then another minute or two later, it was just a puddle of melted green stinky fumey plastic.

Bye-bye Battlecat.

Now the collector in me today says “why the fuck would you do that?”

The kid in me says “BECAUSE”.

We were bored, and it was fun.

And fuck Battlecat. He was kinda dumb and boring and stuff.

What kid hasn’t melted plastic army men or cut off their heads or arms?

This just happened to be a nice toy that we really didn’t give a fuck about it, it may as well have been a plastic shopping bag, that was how we felt about it at the time.

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So, too many toys?

Is it a thing? It can be.

But I think it comes down to priorities.

I see folks online all the time with amazing *gigantic* collections.

And even if I had the money and space they do, I don’t want that.

I limit my toy habits to just what I can keep in one room, and a couple storage tubs in the garage.

I don’t EVER want a garage full of toys, like the way it used to be full of DVD movies before I purged them during another move.

I hate clutter, yet I am forever buying crap I don’t need and cluttering up my living spaces. It never ends.

Every year I get rid of loads of stuff, and seem to always acquire more than I have gotten rid of.

Too many toys? Yes/No/Maybe.

Also, fuck that Battlecat. I really can’t stand that character. Think I’m extra surly this month.

“What! Why did Battlecat have to get double fucked?”

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