Monopoly isn’t the only Star Wars license short changing the sister’s…


monopolyA recent rage has erupted on social media about the latest and fairly blatant omission of a Rey game token in the latest “Monopoly: Star Wars Edition” and inspired me to sit down and finally pen this rant that I’ve been holding back on for some time. As such I find there’s no time like the present to point out an even bigger absurdity in the toy aisles involving female Star Wars characters. Rey is getting stiffed but what about Sabine and Hera?

rebels group“Star Wars: Rebels” on Disney XD is a show that has grown on me tremendously over the past few months. To those not in the loop the story was intended to be the tale of young Ezra Bridger who was born on “Empire Day” (the day Palpatine proclaimed that the Clone Wars was over, the Jedi were evil and the Republic was now an Empire) living in a world where he was abandoned by his parents and is left to grow up as a scavenger with unrealized Force sensitivity. Wait a second, I think this sounds a bit familiar. Oh well, if it works it works. A couple Billion dollars later, let’s move on….

While the shows first season revolves around Ezra and his
plight, we were introduced to characters of a crew that have now taken more of the stage and spotlight and in this writer’s eye, rightfully so. Each has a fascinating back story that deserves to be told: Kanan; an abandoned Jedi padawan forced to flee and hide after Ordhera sabineer 66 mowed down his master, Zeb who is a wonderful hot head and the last of his species, Chopper the astromech droid version of Oscar the Grouch and then the two female co-stars; Hera and Sabine. And it’s those two that I want to focus on. Not to short sight former Skywalker apprentice, Ahsoka Tano but we’ll get to her later.

Hera is the captain of the Ghost and the true leader of the team. She is the tie that binds and the rock that they all not only stand on but believe in as they join the burgeoning Rebellion against the Empire. In therahe book “A New Dawn” she is the one who discovers Kanan and brings him out of the deep shadows and into the more shallow shadows of a fight for good. AND in the second season of Rebels she brought the B-Wing fighter into the fold thanks to her skill as a pilot, guts of a leader and heart of a hero. Yet she gets one 3&3/4 inch action figure? All the while Kanan has , numerous releases, one variant and in different scales?

Similar things can be said about Sabine. While she is most certasabineinly lower on the food chain in regards to her current level of command and accomplishments (so far), her demolition skills and Mandalorian heritage would make for excellent deluxe toys. Seriously, a female Boba Fett with 100 fold the dialog in one episode than he had in 4 movies combined deserves at least one variant, like a removable helmet? Maybe? Come on. Of course she does. But not in the eyes of Hasbro apparently.

But action figures and Star Wars are targeted to boyplushs who are the keepers of the flame in that realm. BOYS play with those, not girls.” Nonsense. Boys don’t traditionally play with plush toys yet in that release there’s no Hera or Sabine to be found. Plus don’t assume girls are all pink and frilly. Ever heard of Monster High? Fashionable and wonderfully dark. Girls playing with monster toys. Hmmm… that’s a switch, right?

lego 1This rant is not intended to be dismissive of the licensed product that has been more inclusive such as LEGO’s, Halloween costumes, Fast Food promotional material, and inclusion in other sets but why not allow for more inclusion, especially where it makes sense. The “Ghost” is comprised of a TEAM. The show works because of a TEAM. The adventures are based around a TEAM working together. Not rocket science here, folks. And while some will argue the economics of production costs versus actual sales volume, lets look at that for a second….

Traditionally female characters in action figure lines always get short packed. From Batgirl to the incredibly popular Harley Quinn to the ladies of Spawn back in the 90’s, the girls may have been limited in numbers but they were there. They were limited and are still highly desirable among collectors. But lets get past that market and focus on the true consumer of toys: children.

ITarget-SW-Rebel-Titan-6-Figure-Set know first hand that my 6 year old daughter would LOVE to have a 12 inch Hera and Sabine. And as such she would insist on the complete crew being together. And rightfully so. There’s Kanaan, Zeb, Ezra, Vader, a Stormtrooper, the first Inquisitor and even that mutton chop sporting butt head Agent Kaluus in the 12 inch line (and to note, Chopper got shorted in that one too) so it makes absolutely no sense to me as to why the crew of the “Ghost” shouldn’t be completely represented. If you, Hasbro can’t see the potential for cross gender play you’re as misguided as DC comics making Superman a second fiddle player to Batman.

SNSTB1lgBeing one of my longer rants I’m going to pull back and conclude with this: I read your response Hasbro,  and I’m sorry but there’s no spoiler in releasing just ONE MORE piece of Rey merchandise. That’s actually more insulting than then omission. I’m not calling for a boycott or anything asinine like that but I would most certainly encourage folks to buy other product first.

Disney, Hasbro, other licencors; don’t let this opportunity for play go away. Embrace it. Nourish it. Grow it! Star Wars is for everyone, more so now than ever before. Don’t let gender stereotyping dictate a “Monopoly” on play in a galaxy far, far away…

Now, Go Play!

Jim 01/05/16

THIS is the one that turned me into that kid from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away again.


“The Force Awakens” has most certainly scratched my Star Wars itch BUT it’s got nothing on THIS, dear reader… Join me on this journey full of Christmas magic and Brother-in-Law love…

When I was a kid in elementary school there was nothing cooler to me than pop up books. I mean nothing. Action figures? Awesome! Model kits? Fantastic! Pop Up books? Unbridled JOY!

vintage cvovertauntaunThe first pop up book I recall holding in my hands was one for “The Empire Strikes Back”. Sweet lord I loved that book. Never owned it though. The copy I saw was in the school library. So while  I could check it out, marvel at it for a little while I would begrudgingly have to return it so I wouldn’t be cursed with a late fee and an evil look from the librarian. The circle of life at Landmark Elementary, circa 1980. Now, thanks to my awesome brother in law, that last part can finally be flushed from my memory and replaced by Christmas magic.

downloadThis year as I sat down with my family, sharing in the fun and fellowship that comes from exchanging gifts with those that you love (that you hope won’t suck) I was handed one last wrapped wonder that was fixing to transport me to a time and place from long, long ago. I said “Thank you,” as Derek passed it too me. Little did I know how truly thankful I was about to be.

coverI opened the rectangular package with adult like composure but as the cover was revealed the engines of my internal time machine roared to life! My eyes locked onto the cover of this beauty: Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart. Then, I opened it and I was GONE!

ackbarPage after page, flap after flap, the most memorable moments from my childhood not only came back but surrounded me, just like the Force itself. The 7 year old me was there. Amazed! Enthralled! And I must admit, a bit rude as everyone else in the room disappeared. Sorta sorry about that, gang. Blame Derek while I continue to thank him. Now back to the book…

vaderlukelukeEach and every page is amazing in art, story and engineering. If you are a Star Wars fan and don’t have one you are totally cheating yourself out of some seriously awesome goodness. And while I truly loved and enjoyed “The Force Awakens” none of its practical or computer generated special effects can touch the ones that are popping out from these pages. A jagged and ragged looking Kylo Ren lightsaber thrashing through bulkheads and people is lackluster compare to the battery operated, LED ones wielded by Luke and Vader in the back of the book. Not even close.

leiaBelow, you can see some more of my more favorite scenes that come to life but I implore you to shop around and get one for yourself or for someone that you love. Do me a solid though and point them back here to the Toy Box. I would love to hear the stories and thoughts that you or they have after experiencing this awesome book. And again to my awesome, fantastic and beautiful brother in law, Thank You, Derek! You gave me more than a gift, you sent me on a journey through time fueled by Christmas magic and love.

Now, Go Play!

Jim 12/29/15

Utinni!
Utinni!
Wretched hive of scum, villainy and AWESOME!
Wretched hive of scum, villainy and AWESOME!
Yeah, yeah. These ARE the droids I was looking for :)
Yeah, yeah. These ARE the droids I was looking for :)
Can't love these scoundrels enough!
Can’t love these scoundrels enough!

now-go-play-large-72dpi_zpsad0f6755

Art…. Nostalgia… Time Machine… It’s what the Toy Box IS and will continue to BE.


 

For this trip I figured I should get comfortable. It's a long ride back to the past.
For this trip I figured I should get comfortable. It’s a long ride back to the past.

Greetings Dear Readers! First let me say thank you for keeping the my toy box alive for all so many years now and I hope you all have enjoyed the reviews, articles and goofy stuff that I’ve shared with you since the beginnings of the site. It’s been a lot of fun and now I’m looking forward to a whole lot of new stuff for 2016 that I think you’ll really enjoy.

For the New Year and beyond I’m opening the boMe carrying RA1x up to some new ideas that I know I for one am truly going to enjoy. While the reviews will still be a big part of the site the perspective and content is going to get freshened up by some of my friends. Be sure to stay on the look out for guest reviewers coming soon. This line of thinking also ot me listening, thinking and learning.

Bet you didn't know the Dr. could also rock it out. For this shot he borrowed Scott Ian's guitar (also from BBP btw).

A podcast is in the very early stages of pre production. Being an old radio guy I’m a slave to the concept of format and theme and as such I’m wanting to make sure that whatever we bring you will be worth your time to listen to. And in thinking about that I had to ask myself; “What IS IT about these little playthings that keeps ME entertained?” The answer came in three parts; Nostalgia is obvious, the mental time travel to childhood aspect and the deepest of them all; the art.

Only a mother or a comic book artist could love this mug. Or your old but Jimbo!
Only a mother or a comic book artist could love this mug. Or your old but Jimbo!

From the design and sculpts to paint and graphics, toys are truly my preferred form of art to stare at, contemplate and be inspired by. Even more so than the characters that may be represented, the artistic skills that go into a particular toy has always amazed and entertained me. It’s also why when something catches my eye, I prefer to have two. One packaged and one for display. Each form is a separate piece of art that deserves appreciation. It’s not about “Mint in Box or on the Card” it’s about maintaining the integrity of the piece. Which just so happens to be equally enjoyable in or out of its casing. I’ve been wanting to explain that for a long time now so thank you for humoring me.

me on floorAnd that brings up another point that I would like to make, this one pointed at the non toy collector who doesn’t “get it”. So many believe that it’s a childish hobby or a fools errand in trying to secure a financial investment. And while the later could be true, it’s not in my opinion, enough of a motivating force to maintain such a thriving market (the collectors market). Enough preaching. Plus none of us really need to justify our passion. Just do it. I say it now only after lots of introspection and planning for the future and felt the need to share. So I did.

Mini Me 1Concluding this rambling I again want to sincerely say thank you to each and every one of you. Your continued support and readership has allowed me to accomplish the two initial goals I set out for myself. The first being learning HOW to blog and the second to be a professional toy reviewer. Without you, your input and your following those couldn’t have happened. So now I want to give back by way of offering you more entertainment, information and fun in 2016. As a matter of fact I’m working on the first article as soon as I finish this paragraph. Well lookie there! I’m done.

Now, Go Play!

Jim 12/29/15

now-go-play-large-72dpi_zpsad0f6755

Culling the best of the best….


Got word of a really big end of year sale going on now at Entertainment Earth. Figured it be only right for me to help you in the search, fellow action figure lovers… check these out. SOME REALLY cheap BUYS ON GREAT FIGURES…. plus look at the whole sale. Really cool stuff. May not get it til the New Year but what a way to kick off 2016!

Now, Go Play!
Jim 12/23/15

KISS 1st Album Series 2 8-Inch Demon Action Figure KISS Spaceman Series 4 Monster Album 12-Inch Action Figure DC Comics 18-Inch Robin Removable Mask Figure - EE Exclusive Dukes of Hazzard 8-Inch Action Figure Set - EE Exclusive SMDM Dr. Rudy Wells with Tin Tote - Convention Exclusive Venture Bros. Monarch & Dr. Mrs. in Tin-Convention Exclusive Battlestar Galactica Retro Tin Tote w/Figures Con. Exclusive The Venture Bros. Dr. Girlfriend and Hank Action Figures The Venture Bros. Dr. Orpheus & Phantom Limb Action Figures

Solitaire with a Sith? Oh yeah!


Really cool dollar store find: Story of Darth Vader playing cards. This deck of 55 cards starts with Anakin and his creation, C3PO to the final “Ghost shot”. Really neat and really cheap. To note: there’s 3 Jokers, power of the Dark Side I guess and I just realized this, little whiny Anakin programmed 3PO… explains a lot when you think about it. Anyway, great distraction for $1. Now, Go Play! – Jim 12/07/15

Cool box art...
Cool box art…
It really does tell the full story of the rise and fall and redemption.
It really does tell the full story of the rise and fall and redemption.
Again, great artwork!
Again, great artwork!
 I'd take pictures of all of 'em but I really do have a life ;)
I’d take pictures of all of ’em but I really do have a life ;)
Never play poker with a Sith. The deck is stacked against you, kids!
Never play poker with a Sith. The deck is stacked against you, kids!

Okay, these are just too stinkin’ cute!


So while wandering through Walgreen’s the other day I came across this cute little fella.  Black costumed Spider-Man has always been an aesthetically pleasing figure to me.  Something about the change from the traditional blue and red was extremely exciting to me as a kid. The Secret Wars story line was great and all but it was the look of Spidey that really hooked me.

spidey1After picking this guy up for $2.99 I had to share it with you all. They had the other three in this first series but times and cash are a little tight so this little treat will serve me nicely. BUT the others would most certainly make for some great stocking stuffers for your old buddy Jimbo (hint, hint, Alicia ;) ) .

Doing a little digging around on Entertainment Earth I discovered that there actually are more coming! A second series PLUS Gentle Giant will also be doing the Super Powers figures in this scale as well. How much fun is that?!?!?!?!? A bunch!

Anyway I think they’re neat and the packaging is pretty fun too. But I must admit the small print on the back of the card is a bit tough for these 42 year old eyes to read. But that’s what the zoom feature is for.  Take a look and check ’em out when you get the chance. They really are some great stocking stuffers!
spidey2

Now, GO PLAY! – Jim 12/02/15
Marvel Secret Wars Micro Bobble Heads Series 1 SetMarvel Secret Wars Micro Bobble Heads Series 2 SetDC Super Powers Micro Action Figures Wave 1 Set

Black Friday says “Adios!”… almost.


Good morning,  dear readers! I’m sure most all of you are shopped out but I wanted to offer up one last round of cool stuff that is on the CHEAP at Entertainment Earth that you may have missed. Plus THIS shopping expereince doesn’t involve rude, smelly and extremely annoying humans. Trust me, it’s better this way. Plus you can get free shipping on all of this in stock stuff when your order is $49 or more, which is very easy to reach. Lot’s of stuff for a little dough. PLUS this is the stuff you most likely won’t or cna’t find at retail.

Now, GO PLAY! – Jim 11/29/15
Avengers: Age of Ultron Rampaging Hulk ArtFX Statue - EE Ex.
Order KISS 16 oz. Travel Mug from Entertainment Earth!Order Batman 1966 TV Series 8-Inch Action Figure Set EE Exclusive from Entertainment Earth!Order Disney Frozen Elsa Grand Jester Mini-Bust from Entertainment Earth!Order Doctor Who Cyberleader & The Master Exclusive Action Figures from Entertainment Earth!Order Battlestar Galactica Lt. Starbuck and Cdr. Adama Figures from Entertainment Earth!Order Doctor Who Leela and Sutekh Action Figures from Entertainment Earth!Order Battlestar Galactica Retro Tin Tote w/Figures Con. Exclusive from Entertainment Earth!Order Dukes of Hazzard 8-Inch Action Figure Set – EE Exclusive from Entertainment Earth!

Looking for my Christmas gift? I can help you out…


Dear Santa… Browsing through Entertainment Earth’s extremly impressive “Pre-Black Friday Sale” I felt as a good neighbor, I had to share. Plus I figure it wouldn’t hurt to score some brownie points with the big guy in red either by passing on so much fun for cheap. Yep, still a giver am I :)

These really are some incredibly great prices on Mego like figures and I would hate for any of my friends and readers to miss out on these. So as any good blogger should I put together a list to make it easier for you folks to find the deals. Below are a list of the deals that I know I myself would love to see under my Christmas tree (hint, hint) that many of you will most likely dig too. – Jim

Twilight Zone figures from Bif Bang Pow –

Wonderfully creepy figures!
The Twilight Zone Cyclops and Alicia Action FiguresThe Twilight Zone Talky Tina & Willie Figures SDCC Exclusive

Figures Toy Company and EE Exclusives

The drool really started to drip when I saw that these were on sale.
DC Retro Super Powers 8-Inch Series 1 Action Figure SetSuperman DC Retro 8-Inch Series 1 Action Figure SetBatman Classic 1966 TV Series 2 8-Inch Action Figure SetBatman 1966 TV Series 8-Inch Action Figure Set EE ExclusiveDukes of Hazzard 8-Inch Action Figure Set - EE Exclusive

And my personal, OMG can you believe these prices,

Venture Brothers figures….

Seriously these prices really blew me away. I love the show and all of these characters. Well maybe not Phantom Limb. He gets on my nerve. But for less than $20 for two figures (and even less in the case of the Dr. Mrs. the Monarch set) I can get over his lameness.
The Venture Bros. Pete White and Jefferson Twilight FiguresThe Venture Bros. Dean Venture 8-Inch Action FigureThe Venture Bros. Shore Leave and Alchemist Action FiguresThe Venture Bros. Dr. Girlfriend and Hank Action FiguresThe Venture Bros. Dr. Orpheus & Phantom Limb Action FiguresVenture Bros. Monarch & Dr. Mrs. in Tin-Convention ExclusiveThe Venture Bros. Sgt. Hatred and H.E.L.P.eR Figures SetThe Venture Bros. Molotov and Billy Quizboy Action FiguresThe Venture Bros. Brock Samson and Killinger Action Figures

And this is just a slice of all they are offering up on sale at incredibly low prices. Look around and feel free to get me anything you want. I’m not picky or Johnny Ungrateful. :)

Now, Go Play!

Jim -11/19/15

A fun place to play (and learn a little too)!

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