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REVIEW: Witcher 3 – Geralt of Rivia Vinyl

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a role-playing video game that was released in May of 2015. The player (in third person view) plays as Geralt of Rivia – a monster hunter (or witcher). The game ended up being extremely popular, selling over 6 million copies in six weeks, and won several Game of the Year awards for 2015.

With all of that said…I’ve never played The Witcher 3. Or either of the first two Witcher games. It’s not that I don’t “get” role-playing games…it’s just that I lack the attention span. Heck…I can barely focus on Pokemon Go. But the cover artwork of Witcher 3 has always intrigued me.

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J!NX asked if I wanted to check out their new Geralt of Rivia vinyl figure, based on a stylized version of the main character from Witcher 3. And since the character is what I always thought was interesting – “hey, look, a scary bearded dude with some swords!” – I said sure.

The 6-inch tall rotocast vinyl Geralt toy features six points of articulation (one at the neck, one at his rockin’ ponytail, and two on each arm). It includes a pair of swords, with each one able to fit in Geralt’s right hand. Attached to the figure’s back are a pair of scabbards and a crossbow. The crossbow is not removable.

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The figure’s portrait is a stylized version of the Geralt of Rivia character you’ll see in the Witcher 3 videogame. He has prominent grey eyebrows, with a scar running down one side of his face. There’s that stylin’ blond ponytail. And there’s some solid paintwork on his yellow, cat-like eyes.

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Overall, if you’re a gamer and a fan of the Witcher videogame series, you’ll likely want to pick up the Geralt vinyl figure. It might not feature the ultra-realistic look of a 1/6th scale collectible, but stylized versions of our favorite characters always have a place in our collections as well.


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The Facts



Witcher 3 - Geralt of Rivia Vinyl
Manufacturer: J!NX
Material: Rotocast Vinyl
Dimensions: 6 inches tall
Points of Articulation: 6 (neck, ponytail, shoulders, elbows)
Accessories: Silver Sword and Metal Sword
Pricing: $29.99

You can pick one up at the following:

Jinx.com: $29.99

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REVIEW: Capture the Flag Redux

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Capture the flag. The game brings back childhood memories of humid summer nights playing with the other neighborhood kids who didn’t have a care in the world. The game would always consist of two teams and some items – the flags – that the teams had to retrieve and return to their home base. There was also freezing and unfreezing of opposing players…and probably some other rules that I no longer remember.

After raising enough funds via Kickstarter, creator Judd King released Capture the Flag Redux. The game is a good example of one of those successful Kickstarter projects that’s now widely available online and at retail.

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The Capture the Flag Redux kit runs about $60 and includes everything you need to play the game…except for friends. You’ll need to provide your own friends. There are two teams (green and blue) and items correspond to the team colors. The kit includes a pair of battery-operated orbs (those are what you capture), 16 LED lit bracelets (8 of each color), 8 jail markers (4 of each color to designate a jail area), and 7 territory lights (so you don’t accidently run onto that grumpy old neighbor’s front lawn). The kit also includes instructions as well as a deck of 12 game variation cards that give the traditional capture the flag game a twist.

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My first thought, when opening up the Capture the Flag Redux box, was there must be $60 worth of batteries in here. Everything has batteries in it. All of the markers, the bracelets and the orbs are all battery powered. It’s also high quality…especially for a game you’re going to throw out in your uncut backyard next to the lawn darts.

Now, I haven’t actually played the game with a group of people. I watched this video of kids playing the game…so I’m pretty sure I have a feel for how it would look. I have a 4 and a 6 year old and they’ve not completely grasped that games have rules that need to be followed. Plus, the light-up bracelets are made of hard plastic and are a little too big for my kids’ wrists. I’m sure that we could jerry-rig something, since the bracelets are really to show who’s on what team and probably keep folks visible.

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Since the game is made to be played with larger groups of people, I can see this being popular with big families or neighborhood get-togethers. Scouting troops and the like would probably get a lot of use out of the game. Basically, anywhere that there's a large number of people who want to have fun.

It’s too often that you see things rebranded or rebooted that folks have no use for, no interest in, or still liked the original anyway. I don’t think that’s the case with Capture the Flag Redux. I think they’ve made a classic game better…and that’s difficult to accomplish.

You can pick one up at the following:

Capturetheflagredux.com: $60.00
Amazon.com: $63.90

REVIEW: Kawaii Cubes – DC Comics

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I’ll try to set the scene for you. I had taken off a week from work to hang out (care for) with my two sons (6 and 4 years old) during summer vacation. A FedEx box shows up on our doorstep. My kids’ first inclination is to ask if these are toys. In this case, they are. I open up the box and their eyes nearly pop out of their collective heads.

To say that the Wish Factory Kawaii Cubes were a hit with my little ones might be an understatement. They had begun divvying up the characters before the little plush squares had the chance to breath. And with licenses such as DC Comics and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there are plenty of well-known characters to choose from.

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For purposes of this review, I received Kawaii Cubes from the above-mentioned pair of licenses. But they have plenty of other licenses, including Star Trek and a number of classic Warner Bros. characters (Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Wizard of Oz).

So, if you were perplexed by the name of the plush line, Kawaii is Japanese for cute. Basically, they’re cute, little plush cubes. Just like the name says. Each character fits into the same platform.

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The bottoms are weighted with pellets to give each plush a little extra substance. This allows you to stack them (as you can see in the first photo) or peg your brother with them (which I quickly found out is possible).

Each character is done in a minimalistic Japanese anime style (smile, eyes, nose, rosy cheeks). I feel it works on a plush toy of this scale. You want something that’s small, recognizable, and fun…and I feel Wish Factory checked all three of those boxes.

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And with the tagline “Collect and Stack!”, it’s nice to see that the company is addressing the obsessive collectors and displayers out there. Although, if you have kids…your neatly stacked Kawaii Cube pyramid will likely end up crashing down.

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The Facts



Kawaii Cubes
Series: DC Comics and Superman vs. Batman
Manufacturer: Wish Factory
Material: Plush
Dimensions: 3 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall
Pricing: $4.99 each

You can pick one up at the following:

Amazon.com: Prices vary
Toysrus.com: $4.99 each

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REVIEW: June 2016 Loot Crate – Dystopian

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I might be a little behind in my June 2016 Loot Crate review, but it’s likely due to the fact that last month’s theme was all things Dystopian. It was chocked full of pop culture goodness from a number of cult classic films some might describe as dystopian. RoboCop, The Matrix, and Terminator 2 represented the film side, while Bioshock and Fallout showed up for video games.

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As with every Loot Crate, you get a t-shirt. This time around, the shirt was my favorite item. It’s likely due to Loot Crate going with a RoboCop themed tee (from Grey Matter Art). I’m talking original, Peter Weller RoboCop too. None of this remake stuff.

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As for The Matrix, the included item is a 300-piece exclusive puzzle that measures 11 inches by 14 inches (from Cardinal Games). I haven’t put the thing together yet. But, looking at the image of the puzzle on the box, I’m guessing it’s going to be fairly difficult. Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus are all small and everything in the puzzle seems to be a shade of black or white.

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The Terminator 2 piece is an exclusive Terminator 2 Metal Print from Loot Crate Lab. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the film, the sturdy metal print features the face of the T-800 (with red eyes) alongside the T2 logo. Much better than a poster print.

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The toy included in the June Loot Crate is a Fallout 4 Power Armor Dorbz vinyl figure, produced by Funko. While I’ve reported on this line extensively, this is actually the first time I’ve gotten my hands on one. It might have made a bigger impression if I actually played Fallout (sorry), but it reminded me of a number of other vinyl lines out there. Funko did do some killer sculpting work on the head of the figure, which is specific to this character.

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There’s a blank key from the 2013 video game Bioshock Infinite (an exclusive from A Crowded Coop). I think you could bring this to a key copying place and get your house key cutd onto this. There would be no doubt as to which key opens the front door in that case.

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As with all Loot Crates, there’s a mini magazine that tells you all about the stuff in this month’s crate. Plus, there’s your monthly Loot Pin. This month’s pin is a giant bomb – inspired by Fallout 4 – apparently symbolizing the end of humanity and the beginning of some dystopian future.

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You can pick up a monthly Loot Crate for $13.95 plus shipping and handling. It includes 4 to 6 themed pop culture related exclusive items (worth $50+) in every crate. Order one here.

REVIEW: DC Comics XXRay

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The XXRay line of PVC figures from Mighty Jaxx features artist Jason Freeny’s cross-sectional human anatomy (dissection) style with some of DC Comics biggest superheroes. Their initial trio of figures are the stars of Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeBatman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

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Each XXRay figure is literally split down the middle, with one side the superhero and the other side – the insides of said superhero. There is the skeletal system and guts and a lung (but no eyeball). The sculpting work lines up pretty well, with things like the teeth lining up with the mouth, for instance.

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While there are no “bad guys” among the three figures reviewed here, Mighty Jaxx does have several of them available. One thing I noticed is that the insides of the bad guys are visible on their right side, while the good guys are on their left. I'm sure this was done consciously, but it's likely something you'd miss if not poring over dozens of pictures of little plastic toys.

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I think it’s a fun concept, and appreciate Mighty Jaxx bringing Jason Freeny’s work to a fairly significant license such as DC Comics. What would have made the series even better was if that layer that appears to be cut away was included with the figure. That way, you could gross people out by removing it.

Of course, that would likely raise costs. And at just under $20.00, these figures are priced perfectly. You’re not getting accessories or any articulation, so twenty bucks for what equates to a PVC staute is reasonable.

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There’s also the fact that I’ve been covering Jason Freeny’s dissections on this site for around seven years. It’s the style and technique he’s become known for. Taking other, often mass-produced, toys and dissecting them. On their website, Mighty Jaxx recognizes Freeny (Dissection), Ben Qwek (Illustration), and Adam Tan (Sculpt) as having a hand in producing these figures. So it’s possible that Freeny is only responsible for that single aspect of the figure…while Qwek or Tan did the DC character. Either way, I get a Touma feel from the undirected portion of the superhero.

 

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I feel the line falls into a niche category for superhero toy collectors, similar to Marvel’s Zombies toys. Your run of the mill Batman fan likely isn’t going to want to see how The Caped Crusader looks sliced and diced. But fans of Freeny’s stylings will likely bite. And pricing it less than $20 places in that impulse buy land where folks might pick one or two XXRay figures up just because they’re so weird and unique.

The Facts



DC Comics XXRay
Series: XXRay
Manufacturer: Mighty Jaxx
Artists: Jason Freeny (Dissection), Ben Qwek (Illustration)
Sculpted by: Adam Tan
Material: PVC
Dimensions: 4 inches tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Designs: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman
Pricing: $19.90 each

You can pick one up at the following:

XXray.com: $19.90 each
Amazon.com:
$34.99 each

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SDCC16: Groot 4-Inch Wooden Push Puppet

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Bif Bang Pow! has announced another 2016 San Diego Comic Com release - the Groot 4-Inch Wooden Push Puppet. Measuring a little more than 4-inches tall, this potted Groot wooden push puppet features hand-painting along with some decal elements. Designed similarly to vintage-styled push puppets, you can move the push puppet in various directions depending on how you push the hidden button on the bottom of the pot - providing hours of wobbly fun. And well, because it's only right… this charming collectible celebrating the extraterrestrial, sentient tree-like creature is crafted out of solid wood, of course!

 

The limited edition piece (2,400 pieces) will first be sold during San Diego Comic Con 2016 at the Entertainment Earth Booth #2343. If supplies remain after the show, pre-orders (which you can currently place at Entertainment Earth for $8.99) will be filled and shipped in August 2016. 

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REVIEW: Kosrobot – Orange

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The Russia-based artist Kosrobot released his third original character – his namesake Kosrobot. Why wait this long to release your namesake? Well, I liken it to when a band waits to release their self-titled album several into their discography. There’s not real explanation necessary.

Kosrobot travels between different worlds and dimensions in search for a place he could call home.” The character, which has a pair of antennae sticking up out of his head, is a robot dressed up in pants, sneakers, and a hoodie.

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The resin figure stands in at 3 inches in height. It features five points of articulation. Those points are made possible via magnets embedded in the resin. The magnets connect to allow for some decent poses and are strong enough so the little Kosrobot doesn’t fall apart. The figure does not include any accessories.

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The Kosrobot is hand-sculpted with a pair of hands that allow it to hold LEGO accessories. While I don’t have any photos of it doing so, I can assure you I’ve tested it out and it works as Kosrobot claims. The only drawback is that LEGO accessories aren’t always as cool as LEGO minifigures.

There are currently several versions of the character available to purchase. Unfortunately, the Orange version featured in this review appears to be sold out. However, there are other unpainted and painted figures available. The unpainted figures run $24.00, while the painted variants go for $34.00. Looking at the photos of them, I’d probably pony up the additional ten bucks to get the figure painted.

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The Facts



Kosrobot - Orange
Artist: Kosrobot
Material: Resin with magnets at joints
Dimensions: 3 inches tall
Points of Articulation: 5 (hips, shoulders, neck)
Pricing: $24.00

You can pick one up at the following:

Kosrobot.com: $24.00

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REVIEW: May 2016 Loot Crate – Power

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The May 2016 Loot Crate theme was Power. Miriam-Webster defines power as the ability or right to control people or things. This month’s Crate features all sorts of collectibles that revolve around that basic theme. There’s a special May 2016 – Power Loot Pin as well as a special book detailing the month’s loot.

Like with all Loot Crates, this one included a t-shirt. The chosen grey short sleeve t-shirt is from the upcoming World of Warcraft film – Warcraft. It features silhouettes of the main characters, with the orc in a cranberry color.

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There’s also the Thanos oven mitt – officially named the Infinity Gauntlet Oven Mitt. The bright yellow glove features six Infinity Stones. However, those Infinity Stones might not be that powerful because I just received a voluntary recall email stating that it might not withstand high oven temperatures. Truthfully, I wasn’t ever going to use this as an oven mitt anyway.

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Then there’s what’s apparently a Dragonball Z plush ball. This was clearly the most popular item in the Loot Crate with my kids. Oh, they wanted to steal it before I was able to take photos. I mean…it’s a dragon wrapped around a ball with a hangtag. What’s cooler than that? Pop it on your book bag and you’re the talk of kindergarten.

Finally, the big collectible for toy fans, and what’s likely the most expensive piece in the May 2016 Loot Crate, is The Hulk Q-Fig statuette from Quantum Mechanix. The 3-inch tall maquette shows off Hulk with a stylized look. The figure reminds me of the now defunct Disney Infinity video game collectible line. Unfortunately, this Hulk doesn’t unlock a digital version of himself in Contra or anything.

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REVIEW: Threezero’s 1/6th scale Chappie

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Chappie is a 2015 science fiction film and the third film from director Neill Bloomkamp (following District 9 and Elysium). Unfortunately for Bloomkamp, Chappie didn’t garner the same critical success as his previous offerings. Currently, the film is sporting a 32% fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

The film takes place in a dystopian, futuristic South Africa, where a robotic AI police force assists in pursuing the bad guys. It stars the likes of Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, and Sigourney Weaver as engineers and CEO (respectively) of the weapons manufacturer Tetravaal. Chappie is a sentient robot that’s been reprogrammed to help a group of gangsters led by Ninja and Yolandi (both of the actual South African rap group Die Antwoord).

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Personally, I liked the film. I can’t really articulate why. There weren’t many likeable characters. And, after a while, Chappie’s naivety sort of grates on your soul. But the story raises some pretty interesting existential questions. And I thought the ending was pretty imaginative. Although, the end plot features an almost literal deus ex machina.

On to the collectible…

Produced by Threezero, the 1/6th scale Chappie figure is a heavily articulated piece that features some LED light-up functions. You pop in a couple of small, button cell batteries (not included) into Chappie’s head and his eyes and mouth light up. The figure includes a pair of interchangeable plates for the eyes. One plate allows light through the entire rectangle, while the other allows light through a pair of square-looking eyes.

The other accessories include a trio of faux gold chains and an AKS-74M assault rifle. The most noticeable chain features a large dollar sign on it. It looks a little bit like Chappie is trying his best to channel 1980’s Mr. T. The assault rifle looks fairly generic. It features a folding stock, which is probably the preferred display position. Though, thinking back on the film, I don’t really remember Chappie wielding a weapon that looked like this one.

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The actual Chappie figure features a lot of pieces. Threezero, both through their own and the Ashley Wood collaborative ThreeA labels, are known for producing some of the most intricate robotic collectible figures out there. In addition to the LED light up function, Chappie has articulated fingers, a number of non-functioning wires, and some impressive use of paint and decals.

The figure features a number of decals. For example, look for the South African flags, the number 22 (Chappie was Scout 22), and the Reject sticker. There’s also a whole lot of weathering and damage that’s been applied to the figure as well as some white graffiti. Check out the back of Chappie for a good example of that graffiti.

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The pricing - $234.99 – feels about right for a figure of this size and quality. This is the area that regular licensed 1/6th scale figures are creeping into. Chappie, however, features a whole lot more articulation than you’ll find on your average 1/6th scale body. Plus, it has the LED light up face function. So it definitely compensates in the quality department for what it might lack in the way of accessories.

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The Facts



Chappie
Manufacturer: Threezero
Material: Plastic articulated figure
Dimensions: 1/6th scale
Points of Articulation: A lot
Accessories: AKS-74M assault rifle weapon; Two interchangeable facial expressions; Three (faux) gold chains
Pricing: $234.99

You can pick one up at the following:

Sideshow Collectibles: $234.99 (Wait List)

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RETRO REVIEW: StarCom

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StarCom was one of the lesser-known toy lines from the 1980’s. Heck, the internet can’t even agree as to whether it’s spelled StarCom or Starcom. The toy line featured a total of 23 figures, a number of playests, and 13 vehicles. Those figures bucked the trend and measured only 2 inches in height. Also, they featured tiny magnets in the feet (known as Magna Lock technology), allowing you – or them - to transcend gravity.

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Every StarCom (I’m going with that spelling) figure included a weapon, a backpack, and an identification card (you could cut it out from the back figure card). The figure I was able to snag off of eBay was Sgt. Von Rodd. Clearly, whoever was in charge of naming characters for the StarCom line at Coleco back in 1987 thought they could slip in what I’m going to assume is an adult film actor’s name.

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Von Rodd included a V-6 WIP PISTOL and HYERVOLT POWER PACK. In other words, he came with a little gun and a backpack that plugged into the hole on his back. I was surprised that the plastic hose that connects from the gun to the pack hadn’t started to disintegrate after 30 years of likely sitting around in someone’s garage. I mean, look at the card. It looks like some kid spilled his juice box all over this thing.

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The figure’s clear shield flips up from his helmet to reveal a face without any eyes. What was it about the 1980’s that toy companies just wouldn’t even attempt painting eyes? I’m also thinking about you Kenner and your M.A.S.K. toy line. Even ugly paint splotches and globs are better than the eerie no-eye look.

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Like most toy lines from the 80’s, StarCom spawned a television series – StarCom: The US Space Force. It was developed in conjunction with the Young Astronaut Council (established by the Reagan White House) and tried to gain young viewers interest in NASA and the space program.

The show ran from September through December of 1987. The space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred January 28th 1986. At that point in time, NASA was trying anything to gain positive interest in the space shuttle program. I was only a kid at the time, but the actual events of the Challenger explosion are ingrained in my mind. StarCom, both the toy line and the television series, must have been pushed back to the deep, dark recesses of my brain.

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I actually first ran across the line while looking at an old Sears Christmas Wish Book. It’s surprising how the line has held up – both physically and trend-wise. Of course, Coleco, which was bought out by Hasbro, went kaput. And, apparently, Hasbro (or any other toy company) hasn’t decided to revive the line. It makes sense. The first toy or television show StarCom search hit is four pages deep on Google. But a toy line this cool (and I do actually like the figure, a lot) shouldn't be some forgotten-about relic of the 1980's. Right?