Saturday, 22 December 2007

Christmas retail slowdown???

Or just buying the wrong stuff.

All I've heard this last week on the news is how shop owners in the UK are having another bad Christmas as no one is buying anything.

Well, from a toy buyers point of view I would have to say that it's not that we are not wanting to buy goods, but that there is nothing to buy. I'm more than happy to go to the shops with a big load of cash to spend. But when I get there what do I see:

Woolworths - as always they have bought hundreds of toys, but they are all the same one. They Have lots of Movie Transformers, but they are all the same figure. I counted 20 of Recon Barricade. So there is no point in my buying this as I know it will be reduced a few days after Christmas.

Forbidden Planet - Now I always expect to be disappointed here as they are always way over priced. And they didn't let me down this time. They had the new line of Star wars 30th Anniversary Figures there. I'll pick one as their prices always vary from figure to figure, R2-B1 £9.99. That's £4 more than you can buy it for from play.com. That's pretty much the cost of another figure.

The Entertainer - This is probably the best place to go really. As the prices are normally pretty good. But this time they just had nothing to offer unless you like Dr.Who. Everything else had been sitting in the shop for most of the year. The only thing I did get was a Saga Clone Commander Cody for £5. And that wasn't a bad price.

So if this is the state of shopping it doesn't surprise me that people aren't spending any money. Generally there is nothing to buy, and it's just cheaper, easier, and there is a better selection on line.

Bah Humbug!!!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Ebay lucky find of the week!

I've just had one of those lucky little finds this week. I bought a job lot of 1970's dolls off ebay, mainly because I wanted the two Space 1999 figures and Kirk from Star trek, but also because you never know what you are going to get. I got this nice little lot for £11.51, a bargain. The guy selling had not really put much effort into his listing as it didn't even say Mego, Space 199, or Star Trek, so most people wouldn't have bother looking at it.



I was more than pleased when the package turned up as they tow 1999 figures were in really good condition, so a nice addition to my collection. And the kirk was also pretty nice, he even came with his belt and communicator.

As for the rest, i have to say I didn't know much about them. Batman was another mego doll, then there were two Lionrock figures which I new nothing about. The larger figure turned out to be from The Lone ranger. Without good old google I would never have been able to work that loot out.

And finally there was a pile of bits and bods, mainly boots but also some guns. In amongst this lot was an Action Man dog tag.



And this was my Lucky find! A quick look on ebay and I found that this little Gem is quite rare. So I put this straight on ebay and a week later it sold for a grand total of £27. That's not a bad profit really.

I'm not sure what the guy I bought the original lot off would think, but I guess he really should have done a bit more research before selling his old toys.

Let that be a lesson to you all ; )

Monday, 3 December 2007

Deal or No Deal







This is a link to the latest game I have worked on. I was hired to create a CGi version of Noel Edmonds to host the game. It was a pretty fun job to do really. And the end model looks really good. It had to go through all sort of different people, with the final say so going to Noel himself. So I guess he must have liked it.

It's a fairly straight forward model, nothing too fancy as it doesn't do that much. Just talks to you and moves his arms a bit. It would have almost been easier just to film him against a green screen. But for Noel, I'm guessing time is money.

R2 Test video

I just though I would share a little test animation that I created. I built a rather high detail R2-D2 model a while back and thought I had best do something with it. So here is my little test render, enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

May the farce be with you


I just picked up this annual from WHSmiths. It was a bargain at £3.49 and seems pretty good.
They had an offer on to get it half price, so it might be worth grabbing it while you can as the normal price is £6.99 which is a bit to much in my mind.

The annual is pretty cool with pages covering most of the main characters from all six films with lots of little tit bits about each. It has and interesting time line showing when everything is supposed to have happened.

But having read through most of this, I wouldn't take it as gospel. On count Dooku's page it states he was Born in -78, and died in -19, which to me makes him 59 years old. But according to another panel on his page he died when he was 80!

Overall though, I do like it. It's nice to have a book with lots of cool images in and a load of stupid little facts.

Here is a link to Amazon where you can get it. Looks like they have it cheap as well.



Thursday, 25 October 2007

Zeroids Ahoy!

After waiting ages due to the postal strike I now have both my Terrahawks Zeroids. They look really cool together. Neither were in perfect condition, but a bit of a clean seemed to take most of the dirt off. And having a look at the date on the bottom, they are 24 years old so I would expect them to be a bit warn.

There are supposed to have a clockwork feature that you use the stand to windup. The pressing a button on the back of the stand causes them to roll around the floor using and offset weight. This was broken on both of them so I decided to have a look inside and see if it could be fixed.

The annoying thing was they have a sticker around the middle of the ball that covers the join. So I had to cut this with a scalpel to get them open.


On the first one I took apart, all it needed was a little jiggle about and everything just clicked back into place. After that it all worked fine. The second one though appears to have piece missing were the ball attaches to the base. Without this it just won't wind up.

To me these look so Gerry Anderson in design, and that's a good thing. I love the simplicity of them. Looks like I will have to try and get some other Terrahawks toys now : )


Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Toy Yoda

Someone needs to get a sense of humor! Thanks to Kim & Duncan for emailing me this little gem.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Force is strong in this one

My Dad has just started going through all the old family photos and scanning them in. It's quite weird to look back at all these things and people that you can't really remember. And some of the fashions from the 70's and 80's are really quite shocking.

As a kid I was obviously quite into my kids Tv as seem to only be wearing Tv and film related clothing. It's good to know I have always been a bit on the nerdy side.

Check out these two images.


These photos were taken in 1978 when I was four, and already you can see I was into Star Wars.
I really love the Darth Vader T-shirt and Badge. If only I still had them, not that they would fit me anymore. The badge appears to say 'Darth Vader Lives'. Nice.

Let's just not mention the hair cut.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Forbidden planet - beaten on high prices!!!

I didn't ever think I would find a shop that sold toys for more money than good old forbidden planet, but I have.

We had a trip to London over the weekend and I decided to have a look in Hamleys. F**k me!

Lets use a single figure as a guide to prices.

Transformers leader class figure:

Woolworths - £34.99
Forbidden Planet - £39.99
Hamleys - £59.99

Enough said!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Terra-hooked

After are little trip to the Montacute toy museum a few weeks back I have got a bit hooked on the Terrahawks toys. I never had any of these as a child, but did watch the show. I would have loved to have had a Zeroid, but it was never to be.

So, the fool that I am, I have just started to buy a few bits. I picked these three up on ebay over the last week. I don't actually have any of them yet due to the stupid postal strike so these are the image from ebay.



I have two Zeroids, and a boxed Terrahawk. The designs of them are really great, and very Gerry Anderson which is not a bad thing. I can't wait for these beauties to term up.

And the good thing about this line of collecting, is I know there are only a few bits to get, so it won't be as endless as collecting Star wars or Transformers.

Next on my list is the Hawkwing.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Ministry 'Not in charge of Gundam!'

This just caught my eye.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7029685.stm

I love the quote from Japans
ministry official Tsutomu Shimomura -
"The Agriculture Ministry is not in charge of Gundam".

I always thought they were! :)

Friday, 5 October 2007

When Accessories go bad

When I was kid growing up, you would get your latest star wars figure, and it would come with one gun. If you were into AD&D (the figures by LJN) you may have got a sword, shield and cape.

Now when you buy a figure you get a gun, and spare gun, extra hands, a different head, a stand, a tool box, antenna, etc, etc, etc. It's gone accessory crazy.

I'm sure this is great for all the people who like building dioramas, but for the normal collector you just end up with loads of little bits to store, or misplace. I have boxes full of little bags containing spare bits for pretty much every figure I have.

I recently got the Revoltech Optimus prime figure. It's a really great toy, but comes with 3 extra hands. What am I supposed to do with them?

Having said that, the Transformers Movie figures, only come with what they need, which is often nothing.

Thank god for all the websites that list what weapon goes with what figure as it gets hard to remember.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Star Wars toys stolen in raid

It tells you something about the world when thieves start going after your toy collection!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/7024796.stm

Poor guy, I hope he had them insured.

Keep an eye out for them on Ebay!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Has Ebay killed toy trading?

When I first got heavily into to trading you could find plenty of fellow toy collectors and traders on the web, with lists of what they have to offer and what they are looking for. Now, you're lucky if you can find any. There used to be a group of about 20 UK based Transformers traders that all had sites linked together, with mailing lists and regular updates of stock. And now there are 3 or 4.

Is this the fault of ebay?

I tend to think it is. Ebay just makes it quicker to get some cash, and profit. But for me it has taken a bit of the fun out of collecting. It's nice to have a look through someones trade list, find something you want, and then sort out a fair swap.

Sure you can find pretty much anything on ebay, but it's not often a bargain. And you don't get to build up a collection of fellow traders who keep an I out for bits in your trade list. It has all become a little bit faceless, and that is a shame.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Lunch without cheese!

I'm not sure if this is just something that happens in our household, but we seem to eat cheese almost everyday. It gets to lunch and we will have some cheese based meal, cheese on toast, cheese and something sandwich, tomato, basil and mozzarella bagel, crumpets with cheese, cheese and biscuits, jacket potato with cottage cheese, etc. It goes on.

It actually becomes quite hard to think of something to eat for lunch that doesn't contain or involve cheese. Sure you can have beans on toast, but it tastes better with a bit of cheese on it. Crumpets are good with peanut butter, but much better with cheese.

If we suddenly found that cheese was going to be in short supply I really don't know what I would do for my lunch.

What does everyone else do?

Saturday, 15 September 2007

A local Museum for local people

Quite near to where we live, in Montacute there is a Toy and Radio Museum so we thought we would go and have a visit being somewhat of a toy fan.


From the outside it didn't look like much, but sometimes you just can't tell. We went inside and as well as a toy museum it had a cafe, so we started by getting ourselves a nice bit of lunch. A good old Ploughmans for me, and Quiche for Leila. Nice.

Then it was on into the Museum, and this is were it gets good. It was £4.75 each to get, not a bad price I guess. You make your way through the cafe and into some sheds around the back. It all smells a bit musty and damp, which if you have ever been to a toy fair, is a normal smell for toys.

The sheds are rammed with bits of everything, annuals, toys, old radios, TV's, you name it, it's there.


It really is just a huge pile of stuff behind very make-shift looking display windows. The walls are covered with comics and annuals from every kind of TV show. Obviously I was drawn to the more Sci-fi stuff. The image above shows the Star trek-ish window.

There was also a lot of A-team, Simpsons, Coronation Street, Buck Rogers, Terrahawks, etc. You get the idea. But there was no information at all on any of it. You just had to look and see what you could see poking out from behind of some other item.

If it was up to me, I would have at least tidied the place up and added some helpful info.


This was the only Diorama, rubbish, but funny.


As you can see, some of the displays were a little on the sorry side, it looked like the pilot of this viper had had enough and jumped out.

But even after all that I have said, we really enjoyed it. It's by no means great, but there is a lot of toys to look at. And the cafe did serve some nice food.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Forbidden Planet - Forbidden Prices

I'm sure it's not just me, but how to Forbidden Planet get away with charging so much for there stock? I popped into the Bristol branch last week looking to pick up some new figures, but couldn't believe how much they are charing for things. New Star wars figures for £9.99 that you can pick up most other places for £5.99 or less. Transformers Movie Deluxe figures for £12.99, normally £9.99 everywhere else.

So who actually pays these prices? Even buying them off internet sites the added postage would still work out cheaper than there in store prices.

I have a nice little local store here called Krackers and they have a really good selection of figures all at good prices. Or there is always good old Woolworths, who don't always get everything, but at least what they do get is cheap.

I do like having a look around Forbidden Planet, but I can't remember the last time I actually got my wallet out in there.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

How Mint can Mint be?

A friend of mine is on a hunt for a perfect He-man figure and this got me wondering, is there such a thing. I know you can buy any figure Mint on card, and the figure within the bubble will be mint, and have never been touched by human hands. But the very nature of toys is that they are cheaply made and mass produced and most figures have some kind of factory error on them. Be it bad molding, or a paint smudge. I don't think I have ever opened a figure and thought, Wow! that's perfect.

Of recent figures I have bought there has always been a flaw. I bought the TF movie Blackout figure, and this already had stress marks on some of the clips. And it cost £20!. Another figure, straight off the card was an R2 Naboo escape. This had a scratch on the paint.

So is there every really a mint figure? I very much doubt it!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Is there an R2 in the house?

Just thought I would post an image of my Astromech collection. As you can see I have quite a few of the little droids. And this is not a complete collection. There are still quite a few I am after.


When I started collecting astromechs, I didn't think there were that many. But pesky old Hasbro keep making more of them. And now I have started, I just can't stop. Damn them!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Ebay Nutters

I'm sure it's not just me, but every time I go on ebay I see people paying over the odds for items that are really easy to get. Last week, someone bought a Transformers Movie Barricade figure for £24.99, when you can pick them up most places for £9.99. Or even cheaper if you bother to look.

Obviously if you are a seller, then that's great news. I have had it happen to myself a few times now. But what I don't understand is why people do it. Do they just get caught up in the heat of the moment and can't help themselves and keep clicking the 'Buy it' button. Or are they just so desperate to get that they can't wait until it pops up cheaper.

When it comes to ebay, I'm as tight as they come as I always believe I will be able to find it cheaper if I wait. And so far I have mostly got the things I am after at a good price.

Patience is a virtue! But not for most buyers on ebay.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Bounty Hunter

I've had a great few days worth of toy finds. It seems you can go for months and not find anything good, then you will just have a run of top finds. Having popped to Asda in Taunton to get a bit of Chinese I like to have a quick rummage around there toys shelves as they quite often have some real bargains. And this time was know different. Seems like they have been clearing out the old toy stock room and had come across some EP1 figures. I picked up a few I need, all on really nice mint cards for the bargain price of £1 each!

And then the next day, on to the Entertainer, one of few dedicated toy shops around. Another shop I like as they have same ordering policy as Woolworths. Buy loads of the same thing, and then wonder why it doesn't sell. This can sometimes be great for collectors as after a few months they reduce the prices on the stuff they can't shift. Today I picked up the 500th Star Wars figure, Vader in his chair for £3, not bad. And The Demise of Grievous, which they had been trying to sell for £12, reduced to £4 which is not bad.

This is the sort of collecting I like.

Monday, 13 August 2007

The first transport is away!

How cool is this! It even has a great number plate. What you can see in my photos is that it was being driven by Greedo with Admiral Akbar in the passenger seat.



These images were also taken at the Clarkes Village Movie event. I have more to come and will add them shortly.

Star Wars comes to Somerset part 2

Earlier in the week saw the appearance of Kenny Baker. I have to say he was looking very old, and not particularly well, but it was great to see him doing the rounds. He signed my R2-D2 and I got my photo taken with him.


This day also saw more guys running around in various outfits. My favorite being the Tusken Raider. Not a bad costume, but the guy inside was way to short.


Now here is the must have shot for any star wars nerd like me. Being accosted by a Stormtrooper (again a little on the short side, so good job I'm kneeling). And maybe I shouldn't have been so happy, but hey, what can you do.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Star Wars Comes to Somerset

What a great week for Somerset, Clarks village in Street to be more precise. Each day has seen a different star signing autographs, and various people in costumes walking around. Today it was the turn of Darth Vader himself, Dave Prowse. And what a nice man he is.


I got him to sign one of my Darth Vader figures, and had a good chat with him. He's and ex somerset chap, so it was nice to see him back on his home ground. There was another guy doing the rounds dressed up as Vader as well as a couple of Stormtroopers. More posts on those shortly.