08th Nov2012

Thrift Justice: Zord Ratchetness

by Will

I’m pretty sure that @Classickmateria is the only one who’s gonna get that title. Anyway, as we’ve covered in the past, a lot of my personal thrifting quests involve tracking down Power Rangers toys that I missed out on. More specifically, I’m looking for deluxe zords (Ranger vehicles, for those not “in the know”) and morphers. Well, I’ve had a bit of luck recently, so I thought I’d share those with you. Let’s go in order from worst to best, shall we?

First off, I give you the WORST Carrierzord in Power Rangers history. Again, for people not into PR, all you need to know about a Carrierzord is in the name: it’s a zord that carries other zords into battle. In some cases, it can help them form an Ultrazord, but mainly it CARRIES.

This is the Deluxe Zenith Carrierzord from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. Transformers toy fans are familiar with scale concepts, as they have Scout, Deluxe, Voyager, and Leader Classes. Power Rangers is nowhere near that complicated, as all you need to know is Deluxe; Deluxe zords are the ones that are combined to make different combinations, like Megazords, Ultrazords, etc. Or as a kid would put it, “They’re the ones that go together and break apart.” Everything called “Deluxe” is supposed to be compatible within the same line. So, in theory, the Deluxe Galaxy Megazord should be in scale with the Deluxe Zenith Carrierzord. Not so, my friends. You see, near the end of the series, the Rangers acquired the Stratoforce and Centaurus Megazords (gotta keep those parents emptying their wallets!). Based on an ancient shark, the Zenith carried the composite zords of the Stratoforce and Centaurus Megazords (you’ll remember pieces of the former from here) into battle. Yes, Bandai America created deluxe versions of both Megazords, but can their composite pieces fit into the deluxe carrierzord? NO! Instead, the Zenith comes with miniature plastic versions of the zords that cannot combine, and were easily lost. Sure, it had to hold 10 separate zords, but that’s a concept where you either go big or go home. If they couldn’t keep in line with the Deluxe scale, they either shouldn’t have made this toy at all, or they shouldn’t have put it in the Deluxe class. Sure, in scale it would’ve been huge, but as you’ll see later, it could’ve been done.

These next 3 shouldn’t really be considered “thrifty” purchases. After my last TJ zord installment, you may remember that I was missing a few pieces. Well, as luck would have it, I was perusing Craigslist and found a guy who had EXACTLY what I was looking for. So, while I paid a bit more than I would’ve liked (I mean, I’m used to getting full Megazords for $5), these were needed pieces for my collection.

This is the Condor (corrected by @exveebrawn) Zord from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, so now my Galaxy Megazord is complete.

This is the shuttle/head for the Astro Megaship along with the sword, all from Power Rangers In Space. So, now my Astro Megazord is complete!

Here’s the Deluxe Alligator Zord, which was piloted by the douchiest Ranger of all time. No, seriously, he had a soul patch. Anyway, Merrick from Power Rangers Wild Force had this guy, and I can now form a few different alternative Megazords with it.

Now, back to REAL thrifting. The following were just random, cheap pickups from the local thrift stores.

Here are the Red and Pink zords from Power Rangers SPD‘s Deluxe Megazord. I managed to get this in a couple of grab bags for about $2, so I guess that’s my next Deluxe Zord project.

Another random mixed lot, this is the Red zord from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, and the Blue Rescuezord from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. I actually have the latter zord, but this one is in better shape than mine, and I just can’t leave an orphaned zord behind!

So, you ready for my best find? I’ve wanted this one for the past 10 years or so. This came out when I had gone off to college, and couldn’t really justify spending $60 0n a zord. Still, it’s probably one of the best designed zords from the American seasons, and I’m glad I can finally add it to my collection. From Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, I give you the Deluxe Supertrain Megazord.

The Supertrain Megazord is an interesting character, as it’s essentially a carrierzord that becomes a Megazord. While previous carrierzord tended to have robot/warrior modes, they were never given the designation of “Megazord”, as they weren’t piloted by the entire team. These zords debuted as the “Rail Rescues”, which carry the Lightspeed Rescuezords into the city. According to Deluxe zord standard, each train car here actually opens up to hold a deluxe zord from the Lightspeed Megazord. Later on, when the Rangers needed more firepower, the Rail Rescues, themselves, combined to form the Supertrain Megazord.

This, by far, is one of my favorite zords. You may not be able to tell in the pic, but it’s at least 2 feet tall when formed. It’s funny how I came across it: I had already made several passes through the toy aisle of the local thrift store, and there was NOTHING. I was about to give up, when I noticed one of the Rail Rescues underneath a shelf. I looked closer, and saw that there were actually two. Now, it’s rare that people give away TWO zords, so I felt there was a good chance that the others might be there. I paced up and down the aisle, and saw nothing. I was prepared to just leave with the 2 (can’t leave an orphaned zord behind, remember?), when I noticed something at the end of the doll aisle. There, on the bottom shelf, in a pile, were the other 3 zords. I snatched them up and rushed to the register. They had been priced separately, with each car going for $1.91. So, I ended up with the completed Deluxe zord for a little less than $10. When I got home, I noticed that I was missing the very front of the Blue car, so I can’t hook Rails #1 & 2 in train mode, but that’s not a huge deal to me. Everything else was great, and I’m almost done tracking down all of the Lightspeed Rescuezords (still need yellow and green), so I’ll be able to house them inside when that’s done. In all, it was a pretty great acquisition, and one of the jewels of my Power Rangers collection.

Finally, I leave you with this. While not exactly a morpher, this is a roleplay toy that still fits in with the theme. This is the Time Force Badge from Power Rangers Time Force. Basically, you push the button on the side and you get light and sound. I’ve always loved Time Force, and the badge is almost as important as the morpher (even though it doesn’t have Judgement Mode of the SPD Morpher, from the other cop-themed season of Power Rangers). I like that they didn’t really try to Americanize it. Back in the Mighty Morphin days, anything that was originally a Japanese character was changed to a lightning bolt on our toys. This thing would look horrible like that, so I’m glad they didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken.

OK, that’s enough Ranger talk from me. Tune in tomorrow, when we’ll talk about…um…just tune in tomorrow!

07th Nov2012

Thrift Justice: The Case of the Ghetto Sludge

by Will

One of my favorite thrifting tactics is to go into…”unsavory” areas. This isn’t very smart, as I stick out like a sore thumb, in my argyle sweater and Dockers. I’m not even sure why I do it, as it rarely yields anything great. I don’t know if this is because someone else had that idea and beat me to it, or if the good stuff just never hits these stores. Anyway, I’m most definitely going to end up like George Jefferson when he was stabbed by that girl gang  (kids, ask your parents about that one) one of these days, but I like to learn things the hard way. On one particular trip, I found a horrific situation. You see, my thrift stores tend to have grab bags of smaller toys, like action figures and fast food premiums. On this day, however, most of the items in the bags had been covered in some kind of sludge. Now, I know that the folks can’t clean EVERY item that comes through, but come the eff on! When you see these pics, you’ll know that there’s no way they didn’t see this before bagging this stuff up. I need to clear some pics out of my Dropbox, so please enjoy this filler edition of Thrift Justice!

When the Rangers were told they’d be getting Dino Thunder powers, I’m sure Dr. Oliver never told them they’d have to cover their helmets with Raptor shit.

And to think Sandman thought Spider-Man 3 was a toxic mess!

Teen Titans Robin in his Red-X garb looks just as dead as Jason Todd here.

This is a member of The Corps. Ya know, “G.I. Joe for Poor Kids”. Just a lesson that if you’re born in shit, you’ll probably die in shit.

Ben 10 is NOT amused.

Another member of The Corps. You’ll never find Sgt Slaughter in this situation. He’ll put you in a ditty bag!

No sludge, but it always saddens me to see Bandai plastic that has yellowed. This used to be the White Blaster Beetleborg. What would his fellow Klansmen say now that he’s not as pure as he used to be?!

I seriously don’t know what was going on with that batch. In some cases, it was like the TGRI container had shattered, but in others it looked like a post-Chipotle explosion. The sad part is that these look like the current trend in custom figures, where it seems “customizers” are just rubbing fecal matter on figures to make them look “gritty”. Anyway, I’ve been back to the store since, and most of the bags were gone. Read that again: MOST OF THE BAGS WERE GONE. So, either management got involved and removed them, OR (and this is the horrible alternative) some parent bought them for their child, and these are currently in that kid’s mouth. All hail the Super Flu!

06th Nov2012

The Podcast Post

by Will

So, I’m not just the zany guy with the blog – I like to TALK, too. A LOT. Thankfully, a few sites have allowed me to indulge in that hobby by inviting me on their podcasts. I think the last time I even mentioned being on a podcast on here was back when @marcuskdowling was writing about pop music and hadn’t had his nervous breakdown yet. More recently, I’ve been allowed to discuss my geekier pursuits on pods like the General Geekery Podcast, Superhero Time, Dave & Devall’s Toys & Collectibles, Nerd Lunch, Powetcast and the Cold Slither Podcast. Not only should you check them out (especially MY episodes), but you can now find handy dandy links to them in my new sidebar widget. Look out, world! I’m comin’ into your ear! Here are two shows I was on last week:

I had a great time with Dave and, my brother from another colored mother, Devall! We discussed vintage toys, antique mall price gouging, and the future of the toy industry!

 

They FINALLY let me on! After sponsoring Slither Madness earlier this year, I got to sit down with Classick, Tim, and Eclectik #appreciation. We talked about the new Spider-Man, Halloween memories, and Classick and I developed a reality show.

An odd thing I realized while doing this post is that I happened to be on Episode 44 of two different podcasts recorded during the same week. If there were a Pick 2 lottery, I’d certainly be playing that number.

So, check out the sidebar, listen to the shows, and tell me what you think. Also, if you’ve got a podcast, I’d love to chat with you. But you have to ask me. I’m old fashioned like that.

P.S. It would behoove you to listen, as I just might mention you. Yeah, @OAFE – that was directed right at you 😉

19th Oct2012

Thrift Justice Road Trip – Williamsburg, VA

by Will

Yup, I love spinoffs, so let’s give Thrift Justice Road Trip a shot. There probably won’t be many, but I felt like this deserved its own umbrella. Anyway, on the way home from our honeymoon, Lindsay and I stopped at the Williamsburg Antique Market. Don’t let the exterior fool you. It may look small, but this thing is like a TARDIS with infinite space inside! I didn’t really buy much, but I saw enough conversation pieces that I thought I’d share ’em with ya. This is primarily a picture post, but there are a LOT, so get comfortable!

I only recently started paying attention to Johnny Lightning, but this is hardly an “antique”. That said, it’s pretty cool they had the V.I.P. license. Man, I miss that show…

I can practically see this on Mr Roper.

Y’all, my penis is SO confused right now…

This was interesting. It’s the same shape as the 3M bookshelf games, but was made by Hasbro, licensed by NBC.

In the final season, Ken is replaced by G.I. Joe

I don’t care what this box says. That’s a Phyllis Diller doll!

Strawberry Shortcake. In box!

I was tempted. This was $30. Remember that for later…

This dude will dance ANYWHERE

According to this box, “Anything” either means “Be a doctor” OR “Be a dumb bitch with cute clothes”

Somewhere in America’s heartland, the American Pickers just got boners.

The accursed replacement Dukes. Surely, this must be cheaper than the Bo & Luke lunchbox we saw above. WRONG! $80!!! How are the hated replacements MORE than the beloved?!

I’ve only seen this show once, but I swear this was the least attractive cast in television history. Epstein looks like he shat himself, while Mr Kotter looks like every pedophile in every afterschool special EVER.

“Dear Santa, I want that game with the creepy mean old man who got shot.”

Another of my Pop Culture Blindspots. I know he was an alien, but did they have sex? If so, did she get cervical cancer or anything?

This thing had a lot of rust which kinda made it more distinguished. Ya know how toy customizers like to “grime up” figures and pretend they made them better? Well, this is like that, but it works.

In 80 years, the Ken doll will be wearing Barbie’s uniform, and no one will bat an eye.

According to this lunchbox, this show is about a telepath who commands 4 tiny men with his powers. I love how the invention of Photoshop has made everyone a graphic design asshole, including people who know nothing, like myself!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this version of Thrift Justice from the road. I typically show you what I bought, but it really wasn’t anything exciting. Trust me!

18th Oct2012

Thrift Justice – UnM.A.S.K.ing

by Will

So, a few days before the wedding, I went thrifitng with my sister-in-law’s boyfriend, Sam. He loves thrifitng out in Denver, but tends to focus more on clothing. Anyway, I wore him out as I took him to 4 of my favorite shops. I guess the stars aligned, as I found some pretty cool stuff. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

@Shezcrafti – you ever seen one of these?

This is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles BATSU from NECA. Yeah, I had to research that. Lindsay and I have been collecting Marvel Mighty Muggs for a few years, and when I saw Raph here, it reminded me of that style. I’d never seen anything like it before, so I had to snatch it up.

Next up, we’ve got Sgt. Slaughter’s Triple T. I never had this vehicle, and I almost bought it at a flea market a few months ago for $15. I’m glad I passed, as this cost me 10% of that. I’m actually done collecting vintage G.I. Joe, as most of my focus now is on the anniversary style figures. Still, every now and then you find a piece that you simply can’t pass up. Sure, it’s missing some panels behind the cockpi but it’s in good shape, even with the slight discoloration of the white parts.

“Well, of course she’s guilty, your honor. She’s a dame!”

Apparently, after leaving Quinn Mallory and Rembrandt, Professor Arturo went on to form the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I acquired two more 3M Bookshelf games for my collection. I’ve also realized there are imposters afoot! You see, eventually 3M handed the bookshelf games over to a Baltimore company called Avalon Games. Avalon went on to reproduce the 3M titles, but in a cheaper, less “booky” way. They’re the same size, and still fit on a bookcase, but they just have a flat black edge instead of the faux book binding of the originals. I’ve found a few titles that I don’t own, but I’ve thrown them back because they were the cheaper Avalon editions.

OK, are you ready for the BIG find of the day? Even I couldn’t believe I’d found it. When children of the 80s fondly look back on the “good ol’ days”, they tend to remember certain cartoons. Yup, there’s G.I. Joe, Thundercats, He-Man…and M.A.S.K. Intact M.A.S.K. toys rarely show up on the thrift scene. When I find them, they’re always broken or missing their labels. While this find isn’t complete, it’s the best specimen I’ve found to date. I give you the Rhino.

As you can see, it’s missing its missing its left door, but the ejection seat feature still works. Also, the battering ram grille still works. The attack module is still attached behind the cab (I actually can’t figure out how to disconnect it). In all, this is a pretty good piece. Just like last time with the M.U.S.C.L.E. guys, this piece doesn’t hold as much sentimental value for me as it might for you. I was a M.A.S.K. fan, but never owned this, so it’s not part of Operation: Childhood Buyback. With that said, if you have a Rhino-sized hole in your heart, make me an offer. It’ll save me from having to list it on Will’s World of Wonder.

Until next time, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the SARS. What? I had to modify it. Casey Kasem is all lawyered up, and nobody talks about SARS anymore…

15th Oct2012

Thrift Justice – Thrifting For Two

by Will

So, I got married last week.* I’ve got a post coming about that, but the main change is that this has affected my thrifting. You see, I used to sneak off to thrift stores, while the wife watched football or Chopped. Recently, however, she has been bitten by the crafting bug, so she wants to find all kinds of old stuff to upcycle and use for projects. This means that she now has a reason to frequent my stores. I have successfully infected her (and it doesn’t require penicillin)! With this in mind, we set out on Saturday and hit 3 of my usual spots. I’ve been having quite the streak of luck over the past week, and you’ll love what you see at the end of this post!

Let’s work backwards here. At the last stop, I found a grab bag filled with 3.75 figures. I only saw 25th anniversary G.I. Joe Mutt and I was sold. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how great of a find this was. I ended up with Mutt, Junkyard, 2 Crimson Guardsmen, 3 movie Vipers, an exclusive Duke, and a TRU exclusive Dialtone (Agent Helix repaint). The bag also contained a few of the G.I. Joe vs Cobra figures, as well as members of The Corps, but I already chucked those. I know I’m selling Mutt & Junkyard (already have ’em), so holla if interested.

Now, for a little life lesson. You see, folks, it’s not all fun & games in the world of thrifting. While your success ratio can be high, every now and then you’re gonna get burned. I saw this DVD set as I was standing in line at the register. The price tag said $2.90, so I jumped at it. I’m not really sure why, though. I think I was overcome by the fact that I know folks are nostalgiac for old Nick, even though this didn’t apply to me. You see, I didn’t have cable growing up, so I only knew of the shows from when we were in motels or I was at a friend’s house. Plus, I have a few friends who grew up with Melissa Joan Hart, and they all say she was a raging bitch. All that aside, I’ll buy the first season of ANYTHING if the price is right, and this price was Bob Barker right. So, imagine my surprise when I got home to find this:

THERE AIN’T NO DISCS IN THERE! This isn’t totally uncommon, but usually happens with CDs. It never fails: whenever I find a CD at a thrift store that I want, I open the case to find that the disc has already been “liberated”. I didn’t expect this, however, from a DVD box set. I guess I’m getting sloppy, as I picked up a Heathcliff set last week, and the first thing I did was check the discs in store. The thought never occurred to me here, however. Luckily, Lindsay checked the receipt and noticed it had been charged as a book, so I only lost $0.90 on the matter.

Now, I’m not sure how you’re going to feel about this: I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen the original Star Wars Trilogy. Before you throw stones, I’d like to point out my good pal over at Cool and Collected hadn’t seen any Star Trek until recently. It happens! I know I’ve seen drips and drabs, but none of the complete movies in the last 20 years. Face it: pop culture is constantly shoving Star Wars down your throat with jokes about The Force, Volkswagon commercials, and Family Guy parodies that I felt I’d gotten all I needed to know from that. Still, this set was $9, and I didn’t think I’d find a price better than that. No, it’s not the fancy schmancy Blu Ray, but it’s widescreen, so that should calm down some of the nerds. Anyone who knows me knows that it takes me forever to actually watch the DVDs I own, so I hope to get to this before retirement.

I tend not to talk a lot about my mom on here because most of you wouldn’t understand. I had an interesting upbringing, but it was a good one. I wasn’t allowed to have a lot of stuff that other kids had, like toy guns, but I got along fine without them. Sometimes I snuck stuff by her. For example, I was a huge Garbage Pail Kids fan when I was 4, and I used to stick them on the refrigerator. My mom initially thought they were Cabbage Patch Kids until she took a closer look. Let’s just say they don’t make stickers like they used to. Try as she might, she could not get those things off. So, she resorted to just covering them up with graded homework and calendars from the local real estate agent.

Another thing my mom didn’t like were M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. I’m not sure if it was because they were pink, but I also managed to get one that was particularly grotesque. Now, I tend to have the memory of an elephant, but there’s one occasion that slipped by me. You see, I happened to get a M.U.S.C.L.E. from a grocery store vending machine (which, upon looking back, means it was probably a knock off), and I was so proud because I didn’t have any of those toys. Well, one night, something compelled my mom to come into my room. She saw the toy on my dresser, and decided that it wouldn’t be spending another night at Casa West. As she tells it, she opened the front door, and threw it as far as she could. We had this bro named “Roland” who mowed the lawn, and she made sure not to tell me until after his next visit. The funny this is that I never really noticed it was gone. I always classified vending machine toys under the banner of “toys for poor kids” – like kids meal toys, they are a fleeting joy. They aren’t the kind of things you’ll have lifelong memories about. She eventually told me the story, and I couldn’t believe it. All these years later, I still can’t believe it, but it’s kinda funny to me. So, when I found these at the thrift store on Saturday, my first thought was “I can’t wait to show these to her.” All she could do was laugh. So, that was my long winded way of telling you that I acquired 75 Series 1 “flesh” M.U.S.C.L.E. figures for an AMAZING price. At the end of the day, this line meant nothing to me outside of a funny story, so make me a good offer and they’re yours!

Oh, and how did the wife fare? Well, she’s a pretty voracious reader, but slacked off during wedding prep. That all changed when we found a thrift store selling hardcover books for $0.90. So, she came home with a stack large enough to choke a crocodile! Because crocs..eat..books…just go with it, OK? Anyway, that’s it for this installment. Next time, I’ll tell you about my buddy Joe, who happens to wear a M.A.S.K.

*My photos suck because my former staging area is now the home of our brand new wine fridge.

12th Oct2012

LoEB Presents The State of the Site Address

by Will

It’s funny that this week’s topic for The League is a “state of the site” address. You see, about a month ago, I posted a total emo rant over on Tumblr during a bout where I wasn’t feeling so great. If you’re interested, it’s here, but it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. I think my problem is that I’m constantly trying to figure out that one thing that’ll put me over the top. I’m a funny dude, I’ve got a cool name, and I like the same stuff that you do. So, why do I not have disciples?! My blogging role models wouldn’t surprise you: X-Entertainment/Dinosaur Dracula was my first geek blog reader experience, and I admire the empire that Rob Bricken has built over at Topless Robot. At the end of the day, I want what they have. I want to be the defining opinion on nerd culture. I want to be a frequent guest on podcasts. I want to be able to throw up a Kickstarter and meet my goal in a matter of hours. I WANT POWER!!!! I’ve been striving to find my niche, like the period of time I decided I wanted to be America’s Top Blerd. Then, I stumbled upon Black Nerd hanging out with actual nerd-lebrities, and realized he’d already claimed the title.

Honestly, I think it’s a bit different than that. I mean, power sounds fun and all, but one thing that people don’t realize is that I live on the internet. Recently, I’ve come to realize that I have Aspie tendencies, and I don’t like reality too much. My IRL friends call me and I avoid the phone, for reasons I can’t really explain. Over the past couple of years, some of my most meaningful friendships have been online. For some, Twitter and Instagram and the like are just pastimes, but I honestly consider you people friends. When you disappear for a period of time, I worry. When you get married or have a kid, I celebrate. Sure, I’ve never met any of you, but that doesn’t matter. So, the blog is a bit of an extension of that. I’m sharing myself with you, so I like to know that it’s at least being accepted. Comments, retweets, blogroll addition – all of these make my day. Sure, that sounds sad to some, but that’s really where I’ve found myself lately. There’s always the whole “we can agree to disagree” thing, but if you reject my site, you’re rejecting me. I put more of myself into it than expressing myself in everyday life.

There’s a guy on Twitter. Most of you know him. Hell, he’s probably the coolest guy to you. He likes to tweet his thoughts, which range from “random” to running commentary. Recently, he thought it was deplorable that people would no longer care about your opinion if you unfollowed them. This hit close to home to me because he had unfollowed me, and his opinion had pretty much faltered in my eyes. Sure, Twitter doesn’t have to work both ways, but it should. Every now and then, you might accidentally follow the wrong person, and then have to come up with a digital equivalent of “it’s not you, it’s me” to get out of it, but I can see that line of reasoning. If my words no longer matter to you/annoy you, then why should I put up with your words? We’re no longer having an exchange, so what’s the point?

All of this probably sounds like rambling, but this is what I think about when I think of the site: What is my reach? Have I done anything that has gained traction? Does this feel like it did when I started back in 2003? What do I get out of this process? Over the past year, a few things have stood out to me. I think I’ve settled into 4 basic themes/features that seem to work:

Thrift Justice/Thrift Justice:YSE – The place where I showcase things I find at thrift stores and yard sales. This has been more successful than I could’ve imagined. I’m far from the only one doing this stuff (Flea Market Finds over at Toy World Order, Goodwill Hunting for Geeks), but I certainly struck at the right time. With shows like Collection Intervention and Toy Hunter, it’s a good time to be in the “buried treasure” game. I could honestly write these forever, based solely on the amount of stuff I’ve already found. I could never set foot in another thrift store, and still keep that feature going for another 2 years.

Comical Thoughts – I’m hesitant to make this a “feature”, per se, but it serves as a nice umbrella under which to discuss comics. I’m not as comic-focused as in the past, as the thrift stuff has taken over my life. Still, I’ve been able to have some good, focused discussions on events in the comic industry.

Adventures West Coast – This one is harder to do than it seems. Ya see, I got laid off a couple of years ago and found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a lot of unread graphic novels on my shelves. So, AWC was where I’d review all the graphic novels I read during that stint of “funemployment”. The problem is that I was reading more than I was writing. Once I started working again, if I read a graphic novel, I just folded it into the stack read during the unemployment. THEN, I got laid off again. Rinse and repeat. Long story short, I now have an IKEA Billy bookcase filled with books I’ve read but haven’t reviewed. Many of those books were terrible, while others weren’t memorable. I have a Gotham villain-like tic, where I swore that I HAD to review it if I read it, even when there wasn’t much to say about certain books. I’m currently trying to figure out where to take that concept.

Best of the West – I’m a collector. This comes as no surprise. This segment is where I showcase the absolute BEST of my collection. The holy grails, the white whales, the black Republicans – ya know, rare stuff. So, these shouldn’t be too frequent, but shouldn’t disappear altogether. I’m trying to figure out a logical schedule for those.

Upcoming Ideas

Track Star – I’ve really lost my grasp on bubblegum pop. Music has always been important to me, but it hasn’t been a big focus of the blog in recent years. The problem is that it’s hard to find people who actually want to read about “bad” music. Everyone wants to be ahead of the curve, blogging about The Next Big Thing, but I actually like to focus on gems that fell through the cracks. I dwell in the world of “guilty pleasure” music, like boybands, UK pop groups, and the like. My last attempt was Westlife Wednesday over on Tumblr, but I’d be lying if I said I’d ever figured out how to get Tumblr to work for me. I think I’ve come up with a great angle for this, but I’m waiting on the graphics department before I unveil it.

Book Retort – Contrary to popular belief, I do read “real” books. I don’t, however have an outlet to discuss those. Since I get my fiction from comics, I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction and biographies. Lately, I’ve been on an “autobiographies by comedians” kick, so a lot of Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, and Chelsea Handler. I need to find a way to sneak this into the rotation somewhere.

Real Life – yeah, this isn’t really a “feature”, but I don’t talk about my life much anymore. Despite the narcissistic nature of using all my name for all my screennames, I’m still a somewhat private person. Still, this flies in the face of the former nature of this site, as I jokingly say that it used  to read like a Livejournal. Then, I revamped the site, deleted about 100 posts to retcon certain people/events, and then threw myself into geekdom. I know that my wife (wow, that’s the first time I’ve typed that), Lindsay, would like to be mentioned more so I need to find a happy medium of “how much do you need/want to know about me outside of geek stuffs?” I think this will happen organically, but it’s still on my mind.

Visuals – I wish I knew graphic design, or at least had a designer in my pocket. I need a header, I need logos, and few people are willing to work for free. I really need to figure out what to do there. I’ve got ideas, but no way to bring them to fruition. I am, however, happy with the general layout of the site for the first time. I’d like to take that to another level.

Don’t let the introspection fool you, though – It’s been a good year online.

-Guested on the General Geekery, Nerd Lunch, Super Hero Time, and PowetCast podcasts.

-Launched my e-store, Will’s World of Wonder

-Finally compiled my Black History Month calendar

-Made lots of new friends

So, thanks for reading, and here’s to another year of this mess. 2013 marks my 10th year of blogging, so it should be pretty exciting. Until next time, check out these other great blogs to see what they’ve been up to recently:

http://shezcrafti.com/shezcrafti-then-now-the-state-of-the-site/

http://goodwillhunting4geeks.blogspot.com/2012/10/day-24-state-of-site.html

http://that-figures.blogspot.com/2012/10/feature-loeb-state-of-site.html

28th Sep2012

Thrift Justice – Zords & Zorcery

by Will

Unless this is your first time at this site, you already know of my love for Power Rangers. Hell, even if this is your first time, you probably ended up here because of one of the Power Rangers images I “borrowed” from some other blog. Whatever the case, I’ve had a mad-on for Zord-commanding heroes ever since the first airing of “Day of the Dumpster” in 1993. Yes, I’m that old and still following this stuff. Anyway, ever since the thrifting shifted into high gear a few years back, I’ve been taking in “orphaned” zords. For those not “in the know”, Power Rangers control robots called “zords”, which can combine to form Mega and even Ultrazords. In toy form, most zords are sold as complete Megazords that break down into their composite parts. When purchased new, they cost anywhere from $30-60. When the show first hit, I made a point to get all the standard Megazords. 15 years ago, the amount of Megazord combinations per season would max out around 3. Then, Saban/Disney completely lost their shit. I swear Power Rangers Wild Force had about 87 zords. They were even introducing new zords in the series finale! Needless to say, I kinda gave up collecting around that time. They were introducing new toys that would only be seen onscreen ONCE. The last “new” Megazord I purchased at retail was the Turbo Megazord back in 1997. So, I’ve had quite a bit of catching up to do. Little did I know that I would take care of a big chunk of that gap in one week.

Everything you see here was acquired within the last seven days. Yeah, I don’t understand it, either. I just struck at the right time, I guess.

First up, we’ve got the Galactabeats from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. I’m not sure if they’ve done it since, but that was the first season they weren’t actually called “zords”. The premise was that they were sentient beings that could assume a mech form to allow them to combine. If you spend a lot of time thinking about it, it’ll weird you out. I mean, the Rangers were piloting living, breathing things that turned into robots. Anyway, I was at one of my usual thrift haunts, and noticed the Red Lion in a grab bag. Whenever this happens, my Spidey Sense goes off, as I know that people don’t tend to just donate ONE zord. So, there’s usually a good chance that there are more! I found the Blue Gorilla on the shelf, and eventually found the yellow and pink galactibeasts in other grab bags. I tore the place up looking for the green one, but to no avail. Regardless, I got 4/5 of a Megazord for $7. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found green sometime soon. Why? Read on.


While searching for the Green LG Galactibeast, I noticed another grab bag with a tiny ambulance in it. As I looked closely, I realized that it was the Pink zord from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. After searching a bit more, I found the blue zord from that same season. I already had red from an earlier trip, so now I have 3/5 of that Megazord combination.


A couple days after that last hunt, I found myself in another thrift store where I lucked out again. It was clear they’d just dumped a bunch of Rangers stock on the shelves, and I immediately found the black, and white Wild Force zords in a grab bag. As I moved down the aisle, I found the red and blue zords in another bag.

A COMPLETE Megazord for less than $5! The funny thing about this was that I was really only just looking for yellow. You see, I bought a huge box of zords/transformers at a thrift store about 6 months ago, which included every core WF zord except yellow, which forms the head.

Randomly, I also found the Black Bear zord from the series, which is an alternative arm.

When I first found the grab bags, I didn’t notice yellow in the pack, so I continued searching, and stumbled upon the Jungle Fury Jungle Master Megazord (which is comprised of the Gorilla, Antelope and Penguin Spirit Zords) . It’s missing a piece of the penguin zord on the foot, but the electronics still work and it was only $2. It was at this point that I reinspected the grab bag and noticed yellow had been inside the whole time! So, now I have almost 2 complete WF Megazords.


Friday, while searching yet another thrift store (yes, I have a problem), I came across part of the Super Samurai Clawzord.

Saturday, however, was when I made my favorite discovery. At, yes, a different thrift store, I was making a final pass down the toy aisle when I saw the Power Rangers in Space Astro Megaship. I already have a smaller, playset version, but I never had the deluxe version of the toy. It was odd that I didn’t buy this when it first came out, as I was still pretty into Power Rangers at the time. In any case, this zord was in GREAT condition, except it’s missing the NASADA shuttle that forms the head. So, it can’t form the Astro Megazord at this time, but I’m confident I’ll find the shuttle one day. Plus, it’s a lot better than the $40 the used toy store is charging for it in the exact same condition. Oh, and did I mention I only paid $2 for it? Here’s where fate comes into play: remember the Ranger lot that I bought during the Time Dig? If you remember, that lot included the Astro Megaship shield. Well, the Time Dig actually took place a few hours before I found this Megaship, yet both trips complemented each other, as I’m that much closer to a complete Astro Megazord. This just reaffirmed my commitment to “rescuing” zords, as you never know if the rest of the set is around the corner in some thrift store!

21st Sep2012

Thrift Justice – Operation: Time Dig Part 2

by Will

So, has everyone changed their underwear? Are you sure you’re ready to proceed? OK, so we left off with me posting some of the pics from the website promoting the sale. Now let’s get to my experience digging through TIME!

The sale was to start at 10:30, and I planned to be there as the doors opened, but familial issues prevented that. In any case, I broke the landspeed record to Ellicott City, and got there about 15 minutes after everything started. The booth is located on the 3rd floor of Taylor’s Antique Mall, yet I could hear the sound of shuffling plastic as I walked through the door. I couldn’t tell how many people were there, but I knew I’d have competition. I bounded the stairs to find about 10 people already fast at work in the giant tubs filled with everything. From the pics, I had an idea of the items I’d be looking for, but this was clearly no time for a plan. I jumped right in and started digging in a tub that wasn’t being fanboy molested at the time.

Let’s just say that the “parts sale” description was more than accurate. While you could find some figures here and there, this was Heaven for anyone looking to replace lost figure accessories or restore old Joe vehicles. Two tubs were just G.I. Joe vehicle husks, while one tub was vintage Joe figures and weapons. Everything else was a mix of MOTU parts, Marvel Legends stands, orphaned zords, and anything else you can think of. I came prepared with my own plastic bag, as I really wasn’t sure how things were being priced. The ad mentioned that everything would be “priced to sell/no eBay pricing”, so that was certainly promising. Once I saw other folks with bags, I whipped mine out and started filling it. Since I didn’t really know what the pricing would be, I got greedy. I snatched up anything that seemed semi complete, semi collectible, and, most importantly, wasn’t already claimed by someone else.

Now, here’s the part that I’m ashamed to tell you. Ya see, the original title for this saga was “How I Almost Got Super AIDS”. I guess I was so high on the discovery at hand that I lost a bit of self awareness. As I was digging through a particular tub, I noticed that my hand was wet, but I just kept digging. At one point, I pulled my hand out and noticed my finger was covered in blood. It was my blood. Honestly, I was bleeding pretty badly. At some point, while digging through 30 years of detritus, I managed to cut my finger above the cuticle, and it did not want to stop bleeding. Beside the point that I probably just contaminated the batch, I was also losing out on valuable digging time! I didn’t have a tissue or anything, and while I tried the elementary school first aid of “suck it til it stops”, I just ended up with a mouthful of blood. At that point, I remembered an old receipt that I had in my wallet. I wrapped it around the finger, and kept it moving.

The white stuff is where the receipt fused to the nail. Fun!

I struck up conversations with a few fellow diggers, A) to find out how they’d heard about the sale and B) to somewhat distract them. Yeah, I’m a stinker like that. Once I found out we were looking for different things, I actually helped them out when I ran across something on their list. One guy was looking for vintage Joes, while another had seen some Voltron in the pics and had dragged his little boy down to help him look.

I made sure to hit each tub at least twice, simply because my OCD wouldn’t allow me to leave until I was sure I hadn’t missed anything. Over the course of this time, I struck up a conversation with the booth owner, Todd. It turns out  he’d acquired all of this stuff over the years via various yard sales and whatnot. Instead of throwing away incomplete pieces, he’d just throw them in a tub. Eventually, he had several tubs and his wife wanted him to clear the space before he brought in more. He’s a really cool guy. We discussed Toy Hunter/Collection Intervention (turns out he’d seen neither), I told him about ecrater (he’s tired of eBay being a buyer’s market now), and we discussed the current offerings from LEGO. He also revealed some bad news to me: it turns out, while he was unloading the day before, a guy came up to him and bought 4 of the totes before they even made it inside. Remember all the Transformers stuff you saw in the pics from the last post? Yup, that guy bought basically all of the Transformers stuff, and who knows whatever else was in those totes. Even without the Transformers, I still found some cool stuff, that can be broken down into about six categories:

1) Power Rangers Zord Parts

I actually have a post lined up next week that goes into a bit more detail about why I got this stuff, but the long and short of it is that I tend to buy “orphaned” zords. It’s a pet project of mine to reassemble Megazords by acquiring pieces at a time, on the cheap. When it comes to earlier zords, it doesn’t get much more obscure than this. What you’re looking at it is:

-Thunder Power Turbo Transporter (Ninja Storm): It’s basically just a launching semi.
-Most of the Deluxe Centaurus Megazord (Lost Galaxy): this is one of the zords released when they started not even caring to identify the separate component zords. It debuted near the rushed end of Lost Galaxy and existed merely to be blowed up.

-fist from unknown zord

-Yellow Galactabeast (Lost Galaxy)

-Time Force Megazord micro playset (Time Force): I actually hate micro playsets, and I just grabbed this out of greed

-Senturian Synergizer (Turbo): this was the role play weapon for Ranger ally, The Blue Senturian. Yes, it was spelled that way. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he’s dead now.

-Head of the Red Dragon Thunderzord (MMPR season 2): this is one of those parts that was easily lost. You laugh at me now, but watch…

-Astro Megazord Shield (In Space): this is definitely going to come into play in an upcoming post!

-Galaxy Megazord Sword (Lost Galaxy): again, future post

-Firebird Thunderzord leg stand (MMPR season 20: like the Red Dragon head, it’s another easily lost part – especially since it’s removed to form the Thunder Megazord

2) Hasbro

Yeah, I know some of you are disappointed, but this is pretty much all that was left intact! If you were into restorations and picking up accessories, you’d have had a field day. I, on the other hand, just sold off all the G.I. Joe and Transformers stuff that was in my e-store, and I’m in no hurry to start any restorations at the moment. Plus, as far as my own collection, I’m over vintage and focusing mainly on the anniversary stuff. So, here’s what we have:

-OK, I kinda lied about the “not doing restoration” thing. I actually have a box of TF parts, and I recognized this gun when I grabbed it, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who it’s for. Have I ever told you that transformers are not my strong point? The research is the reason it takes me forever to list them on my site. Help me out, Bot fans!

-It looks like a Dollar General Duke, but I’m not convinced that’s what it is. I know it’s the newer body style that I collect, but since I’ve yet to actually see a DG Joe, I’m reserving judgment. What say you, internet?

-Of course you recognize vintage Deep Six! I never had him, but always wanted his immobile ass, so I fixed that. Dreams do come true!

-I honestly don’t care enough about those Transformers to insult you with incorrect info. They’re incomplete anyway. To the parts box!

3) Marvel Bases & Accessories

This pic points out something I’ve always found interesting about thrifting: one day’s finds may not actually “pay off” until down the road. I picked up a 10″ Toy Biz Silver Surfer about 2 months ago, and he’s just been sitting on my site. Besides the fact that the articulation sucks, I feel like he has sat there because I didn’t have his board. I mean, who wants Silver Surfer without his surfboard?! Well, lo and behold, while digging through this completely unrelated tub, I found the board! Not quite sure what I’m going to do with those figure bases yet…

Don’t worry – like we tell today’s youth, it gets better!

4) Playmobil

You can’t tell from the pic, but there’s a veritable shitload of Playmobil here. I have to admit that this stuff I got mainly for my site. When I see Playmobil, I hear cash registers and see dollar signs. Why is that? Well, it’s probably because Playmobil is the official toy of white upper middle-class parents who don’t want their children playing with licensed toys. “No, put down that Spider-Man and play with this shaggy-haired airport worker!” If it didn’t bring back warm memories of Kindergarten, I’d despite Playmobil much like I do anything by Melissa & Doug. Anyways, this stuff don’t come cheap, and these happened to be vintage pieces. One day, I might take better pics of the stuff, but the copyright date on most of the accessories is 1978. Also, I had no clue that Mattel was once the licensed reseller of Playmobil.

The best part of this acquisition, however, is that it allows me to show you the most racist, yet most hilarious Playmobil set I’ve ever seen:

This guy learned the hard way that you do NOT insult the loincloth of the king’s prized monkey!

5) Minicomics & Manuals

I’m a BIG fan of pack-in premiums from old toylines. I’m still collecting Kenner Action Toy Guides, so this stuff was right up my alley. Todd seemed to think these were the best items I’d found, so let’s see if you agree with him.

Yup, vintage Masters of the Universe minicomics. And yes, there are doubles, so I await your tribute.

Precursors to the Action Toy Guides, these are all Star Wars, all the time! Some of them were even woven together instead of stapled. I’m not sure if that’s how they came back then, or if they had been restored. Again, lots of duplicates.

And I couldn’t forget Hasbro, baby! In fact, I even scored a few vintage G.I. Joe blueprints amongst others below!

6) Pop Culturesplosion!

If you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should; williambrucewest), you’ve already seen a version of this picture. I needed a caption for it, so I said something like “My childhood, kicking you in the face!” Of course, the nerd police jumped on me because I have a 200x He-Man and a Sailor Moon in the pic. Haven’t you ever heard of “creative license”?! Anyway, it was really just an excuse to take a pic of everything that was left, yet didn’t really fit into one of the other categories. Yes, you see:

-Rock Lord

-James Bond Jr (who we all knew was one of Bond’s bastard children, even though they claimed he was a “nephew”)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Krang’s walker

M.A.S.K. Raven (that should get me some Underscoopfire traffic!)

-Mego Pocket Heroes Spider-Man (it’s funny to me that most figures in this line look like they’re masturbating. You can tell me it’s unintentional, but this was a company with a hot tub in the center of its headquarters. From the stories, Mego was like something out of Caligula!)

-Sailor Moon

-200x He-Man and Battle Cat

Knight Rider Key Car (put key into spring loaded hole and launch K.I.T.T.)

Justice League lenticular S-shield (I LOVE holograms and lenticular stuff!)

Stompers-esque truck with A-Team logo

A-Team Face figure

Bravestarr Laser-Fire Backpack

-Mr T trading card

Lazer Tag sensor (sadly, seeing this in the pic on the site was the sole reason I decided to check out the sale. Post to come on all that…)

Rambo bazooka and tripod

-General Lee friction car

So, that pretty much wraps it up. I brought home a lot of crap, but I use “crap” endearingly. I was pleased as punch with what I got, as it certainly beat the junk I probably would’ve found at a yard sale. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning, and it’s not every day that you get a chance to go back in time and put your hands on stuff that you’ve either only seen online OR you remember your mom throwing away. Sure, I’ll be out in the streets at yard sales this weekend, but I’m sure I’ll just find the usual Rescue Heroes and broken JAKKS WWE figures. This will probably make me depressed, and make me realize I’m wasting a lot of gas. At those moments, though, I’ll think back to the time dig. There’s more stuff out there, just like this, and it’s waiting to be found. It’s not always on the surface, and sometimes you have to dig for it. I’ll be there, and next time, I’ll wear gloves!

18th Sep2012

Thrift Justice – Operation: Time Dig Part 1

by Will

It was a typical Friday night, as I was combing Craigslist to plan out my yard sale route for the next morning. That’s when I found an ad about a “Toy Parts Sale” at an antique mall that I’ve visited in the past. If you’re in the Maryland area, you should visit Taylor’s Antique Mall in Ellicott City, especially this particular booth called Classic Plastic Toy Store. Anyway, the ad mentioned that there would be parts for a plethora of toylines, but that’s what was confusing: were they talking about weapons, accessories or limbs? Luckily, there was a link that led me to a website with more information. Apparently, the guy had a trailer filled with stuff! On that site, it didn’t emphasize the parts aspect, and focused on the lines that would be represented. Here’s what it said:

6″ by 12′ trailer full of:

He-Man, Gi Joe, Battle Beasts, Transformers, Power Rangers, Legos, Playmobil, Thundercats, MASK, Star Wars, Mad Balls, MUSCLE Men Hot Wheels, Mego, slot cars, Voltron, Marx, Buddy L, Slot Cars , Friction Toys ,Wind Up Toys , My little Pony, Smurfs, Micronauts, Battlestar Galactica, weebles , Fisher Price little people , playschool, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , Superheroes , Star Trek  DUNGEONS & DRAGONS , SUPER POWERS, Silverhawks , ZOIDS: ,INDIANA JONES, GHOSTBUSTERS , STOMPER’s , A-Team , Barbie Dolls, Battle Beasts, Beetlejuice Toys , California Raisins , Colecovision , Atari , Dukes of Hazard , Dune , Garbage Pail Kids, Intelevision, Lunch Boxes, Mr. T Action Figures, Sectaurs, Sega Genesis, Shogun Warriors, Silver Hawks, Starcom, stretch armstrong, WWF Wrestlers, 

AND MORE!!!

Get me a towel, boys, ’cause I’m done. Everything you could ever want is listed in that word cloud. Let me tell ya, as nice as that read, it got better. THERE WERE PICTURES!!!! I didn’t have the patience to take pics when I got there, so these are all from the site, enticing me to make the journey. In case you couldn’t tell, this post is gonna be a 2-parter! (all pictures courtesy of classicplastictoystore.com)

This is how everything looked before the carnage

If you couldn’t tell by the pics, this wasn’t a sale for rookies. You’re not just gonna pick something off a folding table and ask “how much?” No, you were going to have to DIG. Not everyone gets down like that. Outside of myself, @PuppetDevall and his wife are the only ones I know of who enjoy a good treasure dig. This one’s for you, Devalls! This was no ordinary dig. No, this was a dig through time. A TIME DIG! So, how did I fare? Check back Thursday for all the dirty details.

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