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Member Since 05 Dec 2014
Offline Last Active Feb 10 2019 09:50 AM

Topics I've Started

Media Articles

08 July 2018 - 05:36 PM

"Toy Scalpers Buy Scarce Items, Then Resell Them at a Profit"

Here's a classic and very nostalgic article from 1996 from The Wall Street Journal of all places, about a scalper from the 1990s & his adventures with Trek figures, including Tapestry Picard.


I remember when this article first ran & I was pretty amazed by the scope of just one person's work and the amount of cash that it generated. (Also, it tended to explain why I was not seeing The Good Stuff on shelves). 


Also, this is a pretty cool window into the action figure craze of the late 1990s, one that was somewhat moderated by eBay starting in the early 2000s. On one hand scalpers received a worldwide selling platform, but on the other hand action figure bubble deflated quite a bit.




Mortal Engines

03 July 2018 - 08:30 PM

Based on four novels by Philip Reeve, the screen adaptation is directed by Peter "Lotr" Jackson and stars Hugo Weaving and Hera Hilmar.


Cliffs Notes version of concept: post-apocalyptic steampunk future, cities have turned into giant roving machines including the city of London, that prey on each other for resources. So a Borg cube on wheels, basically, or a larger version of Jawas' sandcrawler. (Even the wikipedia entry for this book is a trip).


The trailer, I should note, gives away a pretty absurd chunk of the plot. Hugo Weaving'ss character Thaddeus Valentine already looks a lot like Kenneth Branagh as Dr. Arliss Loveless in "Wild Wild West," as if the film already did not look like an upgraded version of "Wild Wild West."





Your Top 10 favorite figures

13 May 2018 - 01:15 PM

Most of mine are from the early days of the license, aka The Good Days, rather than from the disjointed 1996 and later era when the line lost focus. In no particular order, here are mine:


1. Esoqq -- a mysterious figure and a mysterious alien, one that was underproduced due to low expected sales. Yes, weird aliens got shorter production runs, and Esoqq is about as weird as they get. These could be $80 back in the day.


2. Red Data -- a legend back in the day. The first true chase figure, and made doubly so by the whole Redemption error. I saved up $300 to buy mine in 1997 via mail from a shop that advertised in Tomart or Lee's. That was a BFD, as our former vice president would say. Hashtag priorities!


3. Thomas Riker, TNG -- one of the first true chase figures that was hoarded by scalpers bigtime. I still love buying these, esp in Canadian packaging. I remember these advertised for as much as $280.


4. Odo from Necessary Evil -- Odo was an early fave of mine, and this figure is still very nostalgic. I remember there was big anticipation for this wave of figures: Dax from Blood Oath, Sisko from Crossover, etc.


5. Nausicaan -- just a well-done, big alien figure that offers fun packaging variations. Like Esoqq, this was an slightly underproduced "bad guy."


6. Chekov Generations -- the classic characters + spacediving Kirk I never even saw in stores, that's how fast collectors & scalpers whooshed them off shelves. I didn't get the first classic Generations figure till 1997 or something, and paid dearly.


7. Ambassador Spock -- this was kind of an uncommon figure back in the day, and the first one I bought was numbered #000141. People forget that the 2nd release had a total of 3 classic characters -- this was Playmates trying to attract collectors.


8. Tasha Yar -- It was nice that the manufacturer went back and did this figure, and the fact that it was offered on 7th season card in Canada is pretty wild.


9. Ferengi -- an early favorite, and probably the wildest of the first release. I think I paid like $20 for my first one, which had no black highlights on boots.


10. Metallized Locutus -- Locutus is already a cool figure, but this rerelease was a nice and eye-catching update. Together with the backer card, this is one of the sharpest-looking figures in my book. Also, he may have been produced in smaller numbers that some of the others in that wave. It certainly seemed like that back in the day and it seems like that now.



09 April 2018 - 06:20 PM



Phaser Rifle (1994)


The history of the Trek product line has had its share of missed opportunities and blunders, but one early Playmates item that sticks out is the Phaser Rifle, shown in 1994, around the time that the TNG 7th season figures and the "Generations" line were coming out.


The most interesting aspect of this prototype is that it's not lamely scaled-down to a quarter of the original, but is actually pretty big and relatively well proportioned. The rifle would have included a pivoting "sight" screen, which popped up from the back half of the rifle just like on the actual prop, as well as light and sound effects. The biggest departure from the original was perhaps the slightly bulbous head, but that's about it. The toy would have had a clear midsection and tip that would have lit up when the trigger was pressed.


This seems like an obvious item that could have really helped the line, but after its appearance in 1994 alongside the palm phaser and the walkie-talkie communicators (ugh), the phaser rifle was never seen again.


Were commercial or retailer considerations to blame for its shelving?


The two phasers and the tricorder did pretty well at retail; unlike the ships and playsets there were seldom any items that hung around for a year and a half and got shelf-worn into oblivion. The big phaser, as you recall, was particularly sought after even though it was produced in big numbers, and the tricorder was cleared out pretty fast as well. The subsequent medical tricorder was produced in smaller numbers but also did well at retail. Based on this background it seems like the phaser rifle coming out in 1995 would have done well at retail -- it could have been packaged in a half-open box that would allow buyers to hold it and press all the buttons before buying it -- just like the various Kenner Star Wars blasters that also found buyers fast.


The manufacturer's decision, I suspect, may have had something to do with "large items" like the Transporter, which was not selling well at all, but which took up a lot of space.


The small phasers and tricorders were an easier sell to stores since their boxes were small, but the phaser rifle would have required at least two feet of shelf space, in essence becoming a victim of its own realism. The big ships also did not do well at retail, at least the ones that were produced in any quantity. The phaser rifle would have been longer than the boxes of the Enterprise-D and things like that, and it would have been priced (I would think) around $30.00 or more. Would that have been the deal-killer right there? Playmates had acknowledged at that time that something like 70% of their Trek items are bought by adult collectors anyway, who presumably don't have to beg their parents for $30.00, but I can see how retailers would not have wanted a large item with a high-ish pricetag on shelves.


Still, more than 20 years later it seems this was a very obvious crowd-pleaser that the line passed up to its detriment.


Dan Curry is auctioning collection of props, sketches

07 April 2018 - 12:55 PM



Dan Curry is auctioning off some items from his personal collection including models, creature props, and sketches this month. Notable items include a Galaxy-class prop saucer, "Conspiracy" aliens, and a study model of the Borg Unicomplex.


Curry's items: https://entertainmen...8259 4294967090


Brief article: https://trekmovie.co...up-for-auction/