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REVIEW: Special FX Master


Cellphones have pretty much replaced cameras and video cameras. You can still pick up a point and shoot or a video camera (maybe from Crazy Eddie?), but with the advances in technology, smartphones have essentially become picture and video editing studios.

Special FX Master is attempting to take that one step further. They’ve created a Kickstarter project to attain funding to produce what would basically allow you to record smartphone videos with special effects. This prop-based special effects kit features a standalone app that lets you choose from which prop you’re using (there are five of them, which we’ll go over). Then, it allows you to pick what special effect you want that prop to be replaced by.

For instance, you can wear the headband prop. That prop features a plastic piece with what appears to be a code on it, so the app knows what it’s looking at. You then select what special effect you want (each prop currently has 10 special effects). I chose a vomiting alien head, which freaked my kids out. They, then, refused to do any more videos, which is why the videos shown here are from Special FX Master. I must say, they are representative of what I shot using my cellphone.

So the five props you would receive are the Action Poster, Action Wrist Prop, Head Gear Prop, Action Blaster Prop, and the Action Case Prop. Currently, the Kickstarter project has a $25.00 Early Bird funding level that would get you the entire kit. Once those 400 spots are filled, the Special FX Master Kit will be available at the $40.00 funding level.

I’ve spent well over $25.00 on DLC for several smartphone app based videogames (that I no longer play). I’m looking at my children and you, Pokemon Go. I thought $40.00 was a pretty good price for the SFX Master kit, but $25.00 is a no-brainer in my opinion.

Since we do live in this new world of posting photos and videos to Facebook and other social media platforms, I see this as a way of stepping up your game. You think your kid riding a bike is so great? Mine just blew a hole in the wall with his wrist mounted laser gun.

Special FX Master did provide me with a pre-production prop kit and access to a test version of their app to test out for this review. The Kickstarter funding for this project ends on Saturday, November 5th 2016 at 12:12PM EDT. And as with all Kickstarter projects, I like to warn that you should read Kickstarter’s terms – backers are pledging money to creators to bring their project to life.

REVIEW: August 2016 Loot Crate – Anti-Hero


The August 2016 Loot Crate took on an interesting theme – the Anti-Hero. No. Not the Ant Hero – the Antihero. The antihero is a protagonist who often lacks the morals of your everyday heroic character. They’re usually dark, sometimes dishonest, but often have some sort of redeeming quality (oftentimes not apparent until the end of the film/novel/etc).


This month’s Loot Crate assembles a group of items based on characters that most likely would be classified as an antihero. First, there’s the box that everything comes shipped in. It can be re-assembled into Harley Quinn’s (the Suicide Squad version) mallet.


As with every Loot Crate, there’s a t-shirt included. This month, you received the Sterling Archer Dangerzone President 2016 grey tee. Archer fans should rejoice. And he’s likely a viable write-in candidate for those of you who are still undecided.


The second apparel item is a bright pair of yellow socks. Based on The Bride’s outfir from Kill Bill Vol. 1, these socks are spattered with blood. Try explaining to your kids why you’re wearing fake blood spattered socks. It’s fun.


Of course, there’s a Loot Pin. The August 2016 Loot Pin is from World of Warcraft. Oh yeah, and there’s some World of Warcraft DLC included with the Crate.

If you were looking for a piggy bank replacement, one of the major items in the Crate is a Hellboy Right Hand of Doom Ceramic Bank from Zak! It’s funny. I looked at the Zak! website and they seem to specialize in trendy dinnerware…with some licensed cups, plates, etc. from mostly kids licenses. But how could one complain about a Hellboy bank?


Finally, the major item from the Anti-Hero Loot Crate is the Harley Quinn Q Fig statue from Quantum Mechanix. This is the more traditional version of Harley Quinn (maybe more villain than antihero). She’s in her black and red jester outfit. But the rear of the box advertises a Suicide Squad version of the character. The statue also features hyena (Bud or Lou?) dressed in a jester hat and a speech bubble. You can remove the clear “Hi Puddin! Miss Me?” vinyl sticker and write on the bubble with a dry erase marker.

REVIEW: NFL TeenyMates Set – Quarterback Collection


If you go to professional sporting events, it’s quite possible that you’ve come across the TeenyMates blind bag series. It seems like whenever I go to a hockey game, my kids will beg me to pick one up. From Party Animal, the TeenyMates are 1-inch tall plastic figures that are available in all of the four major US sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL) While not player-specific, they do have figures that represent all of the teams.


One of Party Animal’s newest releases is the NFL TeenyMates Gift Set - Quarterback Collection (which they have provided us for this review). The set features all 32 NFL TeenyMates Quarterback figures as well as a 35-piece Football Field Puzzle (5-inch x 7-inch). Each figure has a team specific helmet with a jersey of that team’s color. The helmet doesn’t feature a facemask, so you can see each figure’s face (which is eerily the same).


The 32 QBs come packaged in a window-front box that is perfect if you don’t want to find room on a shelf for 32 1-inch tall figures. There’s also that 35-piece puzzle. It’s a TeenyMates football field, showing off illustrated versions of all of those quarterbacks. My kids decided to make use of it as an actual football field and ran out a couple of teams worth of QBs.


The TeenyMates figures have a retro look to them. If you remember those vintage sports bobbleheads, they definitely have a similar look and feel (minus the whole bobbling head thing). Plus, they’re made of plastic and are small even to fit half a dozen easily into your pocket.

Price-wise, the Quarterback Collection Gift Set has an MSRP of $49.99. I’ve found them as low as $39.55 on Amazon, however, that price always fluctuates. That’s anywhere between $1.23 and $1.56 a figure. It’s tough to beat that price…even if these guys only measure 1-inch in height (I guess I could have said they’re teeny).


The Facts

NFL TeenyMates Quarterback Set
Series: TeenyMates
Manufacturer: Party Animal
Material: Plastic
Dimensions: 1-inch tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Accessories: 35-Piece Football Field Puzzle
Pricing: $49.99

You can pick one up at the following:

LilTeammatesShop: $49.99 $39.55


REVIEW: Witcher 3 – Geralt of Rivia Vinyl


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: $29.99


REVIEW: Capture the Flag Redux


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.


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.


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.


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: $60.00 $63.90

REVIEW: Kawaii Cubes – DC Comics


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: Prices vary $4.99 each


REVIEW: June 2016 Loot Crate – Dystopian


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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: $19.90 each
$34.99 each


SDCC16: Groot 4-Inch Wooden Push Puppet


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. 


REVIEW: Kosrobot – Orange


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.


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.


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.


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: $24.00