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REVIEW: November 2016 Loot Crate – Magical

It’s a little late, but due to the holidays, we’re just now checking out the November 2016 Loot Crate (don’t you worry, the December one is nipping at its heels) we recently received from the fine Loot Crate folks.. November’s theme was “Magical”, starting with the black box with all of the various jars and potions on it. And, as with every Loot Crate, you end up with the monthly Loot Crate magazine – featuring information about everything that you receive in the crate.

One of those items is the monthly t-shirt. For November, it’s the Exclusive Fantastic Beasts Obliviator T-Shirt from Bioworld. The black and white design on a blue t-shirt is from J.K. Rowling’s recently released film – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

There’s also an Exclusive Game of Thrones Journal from Caden Concepts. The journal features an image of Melisandre on the front and back. On the front, there’s the youthful Red Woman…the back…the old crone.

And for your reading pleasure, there’s a Loot Crate Exclusive Big Trouble In Little China/Escape From New York Comic from BOOM! Comics. Probably one of the most interesting comic book crossovers, this one sees Kurt Russell meet himself (or Snake Plissken meet Jack Burton).

A monthly pin is another mainstay in the Loot Crate. For November 2016, the Magical themed pin is the The Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition Collector’s Pin. The pin includes an upgrade code for The Elder Scrolls Online for PC/Mac.

Finally, the major toy in this month’s Loot Crate is the Exclusive Doctor Strange Q-Fig made by QMx. The maquette is a stylized version of Doctor Strange based on Benedict Cumberbatch’s portraying the character in the recently released Marvel Doctor Strange film.

Remember, you can pick up a monthly Loot Crate for $15.99 per month plus shipping and handling. You can also sign up for 3 month ($13.25/mo), 6 month ($12.95/mo), or 12 month ($11.95/mo) subscriptions. Each month's crate includes 4 to 6 licensed and exclusive items with over $45 in value.

REVIEW: Modarri – The Ultimate Toy Car

Thoughtfull Toys is looking to shake up the toy car world with their Modarri line. Coined “The Ultimate Toy Car”, Modarri cars are building toys that allow kids and adults to construct their desired car design from millions of possibilities and dozens of parts.

Each car is broken down into seven parts, each one being interchangeable. There are the wheels, front and rear suspension, chassis, seat, fender, hood, and metal frame. They also include a hex tool screwdriver that allows you to tear everything down and put everything back together. The cars use retained screws, so you can’t fully unscrew the screws. It’s a nice touch…since no one ever wants to be searching the floor for tiny missing screws.

The folks from Modarri were nice enough to send along a few different sets, which we’re taking a look at.

The Delux 3-Pack Set (it is spelled without the E) includes the S1, X1, and T1 designs. There are three car frames and chassis plus five hoods and fenders. There are also two suspensions per car and four wheels per car. All of these things can be swapped out using the three hex tools (each colored similar to a car). The set also comes with eight traffic cones to test your driving prowess. The Delux 3-Pack retails for $59.99.

The Delux X1 Dirt Car Set includes both the orange dirt car and blue/silver concept car hoods and fenders along with the dirt car frame and chassis. It also comes with a hex screwdriver tool that allows you to swap between the two designs. The set sells for $24.99.

And the Le Mans T1 Track Body Pack includes a hood, frame, and fenders in a purple, black and white theme. The parts are interchangeable with all of the other Modarri cars. They have several other body packs available, each one retailing for $9.99.

Currently, there are four different car designs available. There’s the S1 – Street Stinger, S2 – Street Muscle Car, T1 – Track Attack Car, and X1 – Off-Road Basher. In the photo above, you're looking at the S1, T1, and X1 from left to right. We didn’t get a chance to check out the S2 design in this review.

To drive a Modarri car, you place your finger (any finger) in the base of the driver’s seat. You then apply pressure from side to side to steer it. Think of them as a more advanced fingerboard. You need to use the same type of control with your finger and hand. Admittedly, you’ll be doing fewer tricks with the Modarri cars…but it’s still possible to do figure eights and sharp turns.

It's that unique driving experience plus the ability to mix and match and create your own custom car (they also have a DIY version) that's led to the Modarri line's overall grade. To stand out, and to do something unique, in a market or field that’s been around for decades is impressive. I’ve found these to be some of the most playable toys I’ve reviewed on the site. I had to take photos the first day the box rolled in; else my five and six year old boys wouldn’t have let me get any packaging shots.

And the appeal to the Modarri cars is two-fold. There are the unique driving capabilities. You steer with your finger in the seat and the suspension to your pressure. But there’s also the ability to swap parts and create a car that’s your own design – truly unique.

The Facts



Modarri
Manufacturer: Thoughtfull Toys
Material: Plastic with metal frame
Dimensions: About 4.5 inches long
Designs: S1 – Street Stinger; S2 – Street Muscle Car; T1 – Track Attack Car; X1 – Off-Road Basher
Accessories: Hex screwdriver tool
Pricing: Bundles range from $18.99 to $368.99

You can pick up a single car at the following (plenty of other sets and packs available):

Modarri.com: $18.99
Amazon.com: $18.99

REVIEW: WWE TeenyMates Collector Tin

The folks from The Party Animal Inc. have released several series of their popular TeenyMates figures. They’ve taken on licenses from the four major American sports leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. And now they’ve moved on to professional wrestling with their WWE TeenyMates line.

We received the WWE TeenyMates Collector Tin, which includes four blind bags, an exclusive glow-in-the-dark Macho Man TeenyMates figure, and a WWE Arena Display. Each blind bag includes two random figures plus two double-sided puzzle pieces. In total, you receive nine WWE TeenyMates in the Collector Tin.

While the licensed sports league figures are mainly generic characters that highlight teams rather than a specific player, the WWE TeenyMates are sculpted to look like a specific wrestler. The chosen wrestlers span the decades and include both men and women wrestlers.

Also available in singular blind bags, you could pull any of the following WWE Superstars:

Big Show; Bray Wyatt; Bret Hart; Brie Bella; Brock Lesnar; Daniel Bryan; Dean Ambrose; Dolph Ziggler; Golddust; Jey Uso; Jimmy Uso; John Cena; Kane; Kofi Kingston; Macho Man Randy Savage; Nikki Bella; Randy Orton; Roman Reigns; Seth Rollins; Shaemus; Sin Cara; Stardust; Sting; Stone Cold Steve Austin; The Rock; The Ultimate Warrior; The Undertaker; Triple H

Having watched WWE since I was a youngster, I was easily able to identify the figures I pulled. So I asked my 6-year-old son, who is an occasional wrestling viewer, and he was able to name all of the current wrestlers. My guess is that means they’ve done a pretty good job sculpting these 1-inch tall TeenyMates. And the paint application on a line of this size (they are teeny) is pretty good as well. Not much slop, nor many missed spots.

My kids always want to pick up a blind bag of NHL TeenyMates whenever we go to a Hurricanes game. So I have a bunch of them. And while I like the league-licensed figures, I think the likenesses of actual WWE wrestlers is all that more impressive. Plus, there are dozens of wrestlers they could immortalize as 1-inch tall Teenymates. And since this is labeled as Series 1, let’s hope they continue to do just that.

The Facts



WWE TeenyMates Collector Tin
Series: TeenyMates
Manufacturer: The Party Animal Inc.
Material: Plastic
Dimensions: 1-inch tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Designs: 32 current and classic WWE wrestlers
Pricing: $19.99

To pick one up, check out the following:

LilTeammatesShop.com: $19.99
Amazon.com: $14.05

REVIEW: DataPets

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Bright Star Gifts produces a line of USB storage drives that are hidden within a plush toy. They’re called DataPets. I counted over 100 different stuffed animals that are available as DataPets, spanning generic animals and licensed characters. I was given a choice as to which DataPet I’d like to check out for this review, but as soon as my kids saw a Pokemon character – the discussion ended.

So what is a DataPet? It’s essentially a manufactured stuffed animal that’s been cut open, had a USB drive inserted within its plush nether regions, had a cord run out of said nether regions, and then been stitched back up. The plush isn’t original (you can buy them from multiple outlets) and neither is the USB device. It’s basically the process and combination of pieces that creates a DataPet.

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I was able to find approximates of the items that make up this specific DataPet on Amazon. The Pikachu in a Charizard outfit plush sells anywhere between $9 and $38 (if I were comparison shopping, I’d go with the $9 one). You can pick up a 16GB flash drive for around $6, and a 6-foot USB cable (male to female) sells for about the same $6. So, on the low end, you’d be looking at a cost of about $21 to make your own. But then you’d also need to learn how to sew.

The 16GB DataPets sell for $39.95 each. So the difference ($18.95) is basically the labor costs. Because, you could do this all yourself if you wanted to. The DataPet doesn’t have an internal speaker or load any programming onto your computer. It’s a basic flash drive.

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One thing my kids didn’t like was that there was a large blue USB cable hanging out of Pikachu’s butt. They wanted to know how/if they could just rip that thing out. I suggested to the folks at Bright Star Gifts about possibly offering a retractable USB cable so you wouldn’t lose the ability for the thing to still be a stuffed animal. (It’s tough to cuddle with something that looks like it’s halfway through a colonoscopy) Also, I think the blue USB cable reminds me of those standard, old Ethernet cables. Very industrial and not very inconspicuous if you’re trying to hide this within your plush toy collection. But you should probably keep your cuddling stuffed animals separate from those you’re storing those important data files on.

You can pick one up at the following: 

Bright Star Gifts: $39.95 (16GB DataPet)

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REVIEW: NECA’s Bill and Ted – Wyld Stallyns Box Set

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The iconic film that made the phrase “Party on dudes!” a staple of American vernacular (at least during the early part of the 1990’s) turned 27 years old earlier this year. Yes, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (not to be confused with Bogus Journey) is considered a modern day cult classic, but it never really experienced the collectible figure status the movie license deserved.

So, in steps NECA with their newly released Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Wyld Stallyns Clothed Action Figure Box Set. NECA sent us the set so we could check out the figures for this review.

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As you likely known, Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan make up the Wyld Stallyns. The “band” themed set includes both figures measuring 8 inches in height and wearing fabric clothes similar to toy lines from the 1970’s. Each figure comes with his own guitar and the fingers on both Bill and Ted’s hands are sculpted to be playing a guitar chord and strumming.

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NECA went with a slightly stylized face sculpt of both Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. They’re meant to have that retro feel to them, so that sort of plays into the theme. Each figure has multiple points of articulation (neck, arms, legs, etc) so you can pose them however you feel they would rock out.

The clothing is pretty well made. It’s sort of an odd scale, so the clothing could have gone either way. For those with questions about Bill’s outfit, Bill is wearing the clothes he had on during the school presentation. Although, the purple shirt doesn't have the printed design on it.

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And the packaging looks great. There’s a definite retro feel to the window-front box. Inside, there’s a cardboard phone booth that you fold and pop together. That, plus the box backing, makes for a great background (as you see, I’ve used it in these photos).

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“I am Bill S. Preston, esq.! And I am Ted Theodore Logan! Together, we are: WYLD STALLYNS!” And luckily for fans of the Wyld Stallyns, NECA has come to the rescue with this box set. While some folks might not like the stylized sculpting work, these are the best collectibles based on the film license. Hands down.

So…”Be excellent to each other. And party on dudes”

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The Facts



Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Wyld Stallyns Set
Manufacturer: NECA
Authorized Likeness: Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston; Keanu Reeves as Ted "Theodore" Logan
Material: Plastic articulated figures with real fabric clothes
Dimensions: 8 inches tall
Points of Articulation: Multiple points
Outfit: Bill – grey cutoff shirt, purple sweatshirt around his waist, grey pants; Ted – pink jean jacket, black vest, white shirt, black and white shorts
Accessories: Two guitars; Cardboard phone booth
Pricing: $55.99

To pick up the set, check out the following:

Amazon.com: $49.95

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REVIEW: Rick and Morty Pop! Vinyl

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I have a few Rick and Morty reviews coming up over the next week or two…so I thought I might as well start binging the show (somehow, I’d never seen an episode before). It’s definitely Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim fare, as it fits in with most of that block’s random, outlandish theme. Rick is a mad scientist inventor grandfather who lives in the same house as Morty, his somewhat clueless grandson. They often go on adventures to other dimensions…etc.

Funko has chosen to produce figures for their Pop! line based on the television series. Their Pop! Animation series, to be precise. And even though I’ve been covering Funko’s Pop! line for what feels like a decade, this is actually the first time I’ve ever reviewed one of the figures on Plastic and Plush.

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Rick and Morty come packaged individually, with Rick being #112 in the Pop! Animation line and Morty being #113. Rick’s armed with his handy flask and the accompanying green drool flowing from his mouth. Morty is sporting a pouty face and a pair of mega seeds in his hands.

The lone point of articulation on these Pop! figures is at the neck. This is standard for the platform. And when I used the term platform, I don’t mean that they all come from the same mold. They each feature a similar look, with the boxy head and the large black eyes. And it’s pretty amazing how Funko makes these figures recognizable while constrained by that look.

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For fans of Rick and Morty, the pickings are slim when it comes to collectibles. And while Funko’s Pop! line is more stylistic than realistic, it might not suit everyone. Personally, I think the figures work well. And fans of the show will be delighted to finally be able to get their hands on Rick and Morty. Wubalubadubdub…right?

The Facts



Rick and Morty Pop!
Series: Pop! Animation
Manufacturer: Funko
Material: Rotocast vinyl
Dimensions: 3.75 inches tall
Points of Articulation: 1 (neck)
Pricing: $10.99 each

To purchase one for yourself, check out the following:

Amazon.com: Rick - $9.75; Morty - $8.65

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REVIEW: October 2016 Loot Crate – Horror

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We received the October 2016 Loot Crate, which – unsurprisingly – featured the theme - Horror. The box has a photo from last season’s The Walking Dead finale – with Negan holding his bat (Lucille) in front of Rick and his crew. On the back of the box, there’s a Walker mask. You can pop it out and attach the included elastic band to it.

As all Loot Crates, this one comes with a t-shirt. This month, it’s AMC’s The Walking Dead Negan Sluggers T-shirt. This Loot Crate original design would have been perfect to wear during you’re the Walking Dead season premiere viewing party.

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For those who like the softer side of horror, there’s the Exclusive Leatherface Phunny Plush by Kidrobot. There was a 50/50 chance of pulling either a happy or sad version of Leatherface. As you can see…we got the sad one.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street fans shouldn’t feel shorted. The Crate includes Exclusive Freddy Kreuger Chopsticks, made by icup (yes…that’s actually the company’s name). Nothing like eating sushi with chopsticks shaped like Freddy’s iconic glove.

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And if you prefer the Friday the 13th series, there’s the Camp Crystal Lake Pennant. This Loot Crate exclusive is made by The Coop. It will look perfect next to your high school, college, or favorite sports team pennant. And it’ll remind you of the summer you spent at that special camp.

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From the same folks who gave you The League of Regrettable Superheroes comes an exclusive version of The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains book. Made by Quirk, the book features those supervillains that were just…bad. All of those poorly thought out bad guys like Praying Mantis Man.

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And, as with every Loot Crate, you receive a Loot Pin. The October 2016 (Horror) pin is based on John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise. It’s half-jack o’ lantern and half-Michael Myers.

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REVIEW: Minecraft Hangers Series 3

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J!NX has released Series 3 of their Minecraft Hangers line of blind bag collectibles. This series consists of 10 different characters, including a Horse, Witch, Diamond Alex. Iron Golem, Villager, Rabbit, Spider, Snow Golem, Slime, and a Crafting Table. In addition to the main designs of those 10 characters, there are 3 rare chase variants (Villager, Rabbit and Spider).

Each blind bag includes one of those designs with a plastic hanger attached to its head (or top). We were sent about 6 blind bags thanks to J!NX and pulled three Witches, two Rabbits, and a Snow Golem. Let’s just say I won’t be playing the lottery anytime soon.

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Out of all of the designs, I was hoping for the Snow Golem. I have a little collection dedicated to toys with pumpkin/jack-o-lantern heads. And I attribute it to being a fan of Return To Oz as a kid...and also being a little freaked out by the film.

And speaking of kids, my 4 and 6 year olds couldn’t get enough of these. They’re already fans of Minecraft, and build some of the most insanely complicated creations I’ve ever seen. So they had to snap these Minecraft Hangers onto their book bags. (Though my older son was hoping for an Iron Golem figure - hello stocking stuffers).

And I’m guessing that’s what most kids (and collectors) are doing with them. They’re somewhat limited articulation-wise, but they’re great for decorating bags or hanging from places. And at only $5.99 for a blind bag, they’re obviously a lot more affordable than other blind bag/box lines available out there.

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The Facts



Minecraft Hangers
Series: Series 3
Manufacturer: J!nx
Material: PVC Plastic
Dimensions: Approximately 3 inches tall
Points of Articulation: Varies
Designs: Horse, Witch, Diamond Alex. Iron Golem, Villager, Rabbit, Spider, Snow Golem, Slime, Crafting Table
Pricing: $5.99 each

You can pick one up at the following:

J!NX.com: $5.99 each
Amazon.com: $5.99 each

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REVIEW: Mad Lids

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Mad Lids are a new series of collectible NFL Mini Caps from Party Animal Toys. Each blind bag features two mini NFL team caps with the NFL team, New Era and NFL logo printed on them. The hats measure about 2 inches from brim to back. The blind bag also comes with a pair of display stands, each one with a sticker that you affix to the front of it.

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Party Animal provided us with a few blind bags to take a look at. As you can see, I pulled the Giants, Dolphins, Jets, Broncos, 49ers, and Texans. The printing on each hat is nice and clear. And the displays bases can actually snap together to make a pretty nice displayable option.

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Do you remember collecting those vending machine football helmets back in the 1980’s? I still probably have a few out in my garage somewhere. Or how about those MLB batting helmets? These Mad Lids remind me a lot of those. There’s sort of a retro feel to the series. And they’re about the same scale.

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Plus, I like that they’re some of the most collector friendly items I’ve reviewed in a while. No need to find display shelves or use any type of sticky tack to get a good look…it’s all included in the blind bag.

The Facts



Mad Lids
Manufacturer: Party Animal Inc.
Authorized Likeness: NFL and New Era hats
Material: Plastic
Dimensions: 2 inches
Points of Articulation: Zero
Designs: 32 NFL Team Caps, Plus 4 Rare: Glow in the Dark; NFL Line Judge; Camouflage; Metallic Gold
Pricing: 4-pack - $15.96

You can currently pick one up at the following:

LilTeammatesShop.com: $15.96 - 4 pack
Amazon.com: $19.93 - 5 pack

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REVIEW: Aran Blocks

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Aran Blocks is a patent pending building blocks system that can create useful weight bearing structures including small furniture pieces. They like to say it’s like LEGO and Ikea fell in love and had a baby. Currently, the folks behind Aran Blocks have taken to Kickstarter to raise funds to help them mass produce the line. They’ve sent us a pre-release set to check out for this review.

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The Aran Blocks come in two unique shapes. There’s the basic building block (with all of its weird squares and cutouts on it) and the cover. The block is hollow in the center, which allows you to discreetly fish cords through them. The covers let you put a flat surface on the top of whatever you choose to design.

I was given the number of blocks that allowed me to create a laptop stand. The assembly was fairly simple. But since the sides on the blocks vary, you’ll want to line them up with the same design on the same side. Also, it seems like you’ll need to rotate the covering blocks to get a firm fit. I had a few that appeared to be loose, but turned them around and found they fit snug in that new position.

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To create the laptop stand I did, you’re looking at the 48 blocks and 40 covers. On Kickstarter, the sets range in price from $40 (50 block/50 cover Early Bird) to $330 (500 block/500 cover). I’m assuming with that many, you could probably build a decent sized table for the kids. But is it cost effective when compared to other options? I like some of the smaller options, such as a monitor stand or a desk organizer, that use less blocks and are therefore a little more cost effective.

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But to get Aran Blocks produced, you’re going to have to back them on Kickstarter. This project will only be funded if at least $18,000 is pledged by Wednesday, November 30th 2016 at 3:27 AM EDT. Remember...this is not a pre-order. There are many instances of crowd funded projects that have been funded never making good on their promised goods. So, (as I always say)back with caution.