Monthly Archives: February 2012

It took a little bit but thanks to super sleuth Zach S., we have solved our first Toy Sleuth mystery! He gave us a hot tip that our mystery figure was likely one of the Military Muscle Men. After some Google reconnaissance (don’t Google Military Muscle Men around children!) we were able to find out that these were officially called Mini Military Muscle Men.

They were made by The Original San Francisco Toy Makers best known for their dreadful WCW wrestling toys. The line only lasted a short time, but saw quite a few releases. These figures are a bit harder to track down these days at around $20-$30 for one of the multipacks.

Each set also came with a crappy medal. I completely forgot about that part. They were sold in either three or six packs. You could even get a couple of vehicle/playsets for the Mighty Heroes and the Mighty Enemies!

Finally, every character did get his own name! Our mystery man was a part of the Night Raid II team and was named “Warrior”. Not exactly the most original name on the planet, but some folks might like it enough to legally change their name to it.

These came out around 1993 and the line was actually pretty expansive all things considered. Apparently it’s not very fondly remembered (hence why it took so long for someone to identify it) but I always liked the little guys. I recall having the team in all white and they were some of my favorites.

Remember if you have a mystery figure that you’d like to put the Toy Sleuth team on, send us an email with a photo and description of the toy! We’ll do our best to figure it out!

Real Steel
4-inch scale
By: Jakks Pacific
$7.99+ Retail

What the heck? Wave two of Real Steel figures? When did that happen?

Oh well, let’s take a look at one of my favorite bots from the flick, the almighty Metro!
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Every Friday we’re going to hop into our toy time machine and take a look back at a classic older toy. We already review a lot of older toys on the site, but starting today, Friday will be the home of one guaranteed classic each week. This week, we’re hopping back to 1983 with the title character of his own comic and toy line… Crystar!

This is not a complete Crystar, but those are nigh on impossible to get these days without sacrificing your first born. Crystar was a little line by Remco that only lasted for a brief time. All of the figures can typically still be found, but for whatever reason, Crystar himself is harder to come by. A complete Crystar would come with a blue translucent sword, a translucent blue shield and a blue prism crystal. He also had a helmet that was red and you guessed it, translucent blue.

He’s seen here with wizard Ogeode’s axe/staff. It’s the only other weapon I have that’s blue and translucent. A lot of the weapons were interchangable in this manner because they were made of the same materials.

I absolutely loved this line. I’m a sucker for translucent figures and this one really takes the cake. There wasn’t anything else like this out in 1983 and in fact, there haven’t been many toys like this since! It seems unlikely that Crystar will ever make a proper return to the toy aisle, but the Working Class Villains crew are putting together their own fantasy line inspiried by Crystar. I can’t wait until that project is active.

As a kid, my Crystar broke pretty early on. A fall from high altitudes caused his hollow chest to burst into a million pieces. It was like he was made of glass! I also think it didn’t help that my brother and I used to put him into the freezer and make him cold. I’m not sure what that was about.

However he was one of the few characters we managed to “save”. With a hefty amount of Scotch tape and using part of his prism crystal, we rebuilt his chest and Crystar lived on to battle Moltar! Of course he had to be pretty gingerly played with in battle… But it was worth it. I don’t recall the battle that finally saw his death, but I’m certain it was epic.

Crystar remains one of my favorite figures (and toy lines) of those crazy days gone by. I think we must have lost his helmet right out of the package as I never recall him wearing it much. So aside from lacking his sword, this guy feels mostly “complete” to me. Crystar didn’t need any fancy gimmicks to get by, he just looked so cool… Plus he had articulated knees! That made him more articulated than about 75% of the figures in the early 80s!

Although the line was being clearanced out by 1984, you could still find the remains of Cyrstar figures for quite some time at K-Mart locations. Much like the heyday of K-Mart and Remco itself, Crystar is a distant memory for many. That’s why he makes a perfect first entry into Flashback Friday!

Welcome to a new column here at Infinite Hollywood, where we all get to put on our best detective hats and figure out details about a mystery toy line. If you have a toy that you’d like to see identified or to learn more details about it, send a photo (or photos) along to NewtonGimmick AT and we’ll add it to the case files.

Submitted for your approval, our first mystery. This toy line was popular in the mid-to-late 1990s and featured dozens of characters. It was sold in packs of three, and featured weapons. I can’t recall specifically where I bought any of these, but I’m thinking in places like K-Mart and the Dollar Store.

Please ignore the mysterious white substance on his chest, that’s for a whole different branch of investigation. I remember collecting these guys for a year or so and trading them with friends. They were like M.U.S.C.L.E. or Monster in My Pocket, except they featured articulation.

The entire collection of figures were pocket sized. Most of the figures were in this dark black and purple color scheme, but I believe there may have been army men and such as well. I can find no markings stamped on the toy, other than CHINA, oddly spelled backwards and the number 5.

I had a dozen or so of these figures, but I do not recall what the name of the toy line was… Nor do I recall who made them. I believe the individual characters may have even had unique names! I can only find this one at present time, so any clues you may have to what this toy line was, will be greatly appreciated. Respond below or email me. Can you help me solve the mystery?! Let’s get to sleuthing!

World War Robot Portable
Armstrong 0G – Shadow Guard
6 Inch Scale
By: ThreeA Toys
$40 (price varies on secondary market)

There are a lot of toy companies out there and a lot of product being made for both the retail and collector’s markets. Sometimes there is a crossover and often, such as the case with today’s review, the difference between the two couldn’t be more widely divergent.

ThreeA Toys is the brainchild of Ashley Wood and it’s the home for his multitude of concepts in vinyl form. Unlike most vinyl collectibles out there, Wood’s creations focus more on articulation and playability, than just looks. Not that these toys don’t look incredible, because they do. Wood’s style is impeccable, with tons of washes, details and effects that transform pieces of vinyl into works of art.

The Armstrong is a new type of robot, which has appeared in a few forms. As is usual with these types of releases, there are tons of different versions, called colorways, that offer up various “clans” of sorts for the robots. Sometimes these figures are exclusive to ThreeA’s Bambaland store and sometimes they are released to retailers. The Shadow Guard was an exclusive to the 3A website.

I bought this guy secondhand, so you get spared my thoughts on the package this time around!

The last time I reviewed a 3A toy, someone commented that they could make the same toy for much less out of old plumbing parts. I’ve yet to see anyone do that, although our buddy Rupert Valero has come pretty close. The moral of this story is that the sculpts on these robots are somewhat simplistic, but there is definitely more than meets the eye in their actual design. The same could be said for the paint jobs, which certainly look rough on the surface, but are actually a combination of intricate washes and tampos.

Armstrong is the type of robot. There were actually two types of Armstrongs released, 0G and 1G. The differences were minor, but they did have a few design quirks all their own. This series of Armstrongs all had different designs and the Shadow Guard, has a gold/bronze/copper look to it. Each of these characters were given names, something sort of different for the series. This guy is named Harrison, presumably after my favorite Beatle.

There are some nice little designs on one side, with the SG logo, for Shadow Guard. The body has neat little nods to various parts of the mythos throughout the figure. There is a story with the World War Robot stuff, but I’ll confess to being a bit foggy on it all. In a nutshell, robots, people, zombies are all fighting it out. I think Ashley Wood is sort of making it up as he goes along, so you don’t really have to be too familiar with it to love the robot’s design.

The paint washes are different for each side, with one hand being completely gold and the other being more of a dirty brown. It really gives this guy a weathered look. One of the reasons I picked him up was to do a custom paint job on him, but I haven’t attempted it yet.

The details are really good and while it looks like perhaps this is just “sloppy”, it in fact is all very meticulously planned out. The other nice element is how the articulation and design of the toy itself, blend into the design of the robot.

The scale is pretty good in the sense that this guy has some size to him. Since he’s a robot, he can basically fit in with any line. Make him a giant to GI Joes or have him do battle with MOTUC. The biggest compliment I can give the paint job is that these toys always look metal and you think they’re going to be heavy, but they are in fact, super lightweight.

The articulation is fantastic. ThreeA has more or less set the standard for articulation these days. They blow everyone else in the designer vinyl market away and they offer up tons of unique articulation that even the major toy companies should be envious of.

The arms have ball joints at the shoulders (true ball joints that is) and there are tons of cuts, swivels, hinges and the like in the arm itself giving you a plethora of movement. You can really get a bajillion poses out of these guys.

You can literally move every little bit of the hands. Allowing you to do any sort of pose you can imagine. The hands are truly a work of art. Hinge after hinge make them just as poseable (actually moreso) than a real human hand!

The legs have ball joints, hinges and swivels as well. Heck even the “eye” at the top of the head has the ability to rotate around. Toss in a couple of body swivels and you have one wicked little poseable toy.

He comes with a gun and a backpack. The actual gun that comes with this version is a rocket launcher type deal. Since I got this through a trade, mine has a machine gun type deal instead. Neither accessory is going to sell you on the figure anyway, so make of that what you will. They’re nice accessories, but they aren’t the stars of the show.

Ready for flight!

The backpack is actually more of a rocket pack. It has three rocket boosters and they are all articulated via balljoints.

The backpack can be removed, although it does leave a hole in the back of the frame of the bot if you do that.

Give this guy a big honking gun and he’s ready to unleash hell.

This is not a cheap toy in the $40-$50 range, but it’s got a ton of character and it’s super articulated. The one drawback to these figures is that they tend to be released in bulk, one design with lots of different paint jobs. The paint jobs are all so unique that it doesn’t feel like a bunch of repaints. It’s really pretty brilliant.

However, these guys tend to be short lived. They get one run and they are often only up for sale on the Bambaland website for a day or so. Sometimes only a few hours. Then they hit the secondary markets for 2-3X the price they originally retailed for. It’s best to shop early!

Score Recap:
Packaging – N/A
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 9
Articulation – 10
Accessories – Gun, Backpack
Value – 9
Overall – 9.5 out of 10

Super poseable. Durable. Highly detailed. Fun. Able to flip you off. What more could you ask for out of a toy?

The price isn’t cheap, but when you put this next to something like a MOTUC or a Ghostbuster, that you paid $20-$30 for, the value becomes more clear. These are really nice high end toys, for a more affordable price. They’re not for everyone, but if you even slightly think they might be for you… Chances are they will be.