Monthly Archives: August 2015
I used to be a big fan of the Ren & Stimpy show. Up here in Canada it aired on Much Music (our version of MTV) and I believe it debuted when I was in junior high. I think it aired a year or two earlier in the States even though the creator, John Kricfalusi, is Canadian. I remember it was considered a racy show at the time, as was the Simpsons which debuted a year or two earlier, which seems pretty silly nowadays.
I thought both Ren and Stimpy were pretty funny but they were actually some of my least favourite characters on the show. I preferred the offbeat side characters like Mr. Horse, Muddy Mudskipper, and Powdered Toast Man. As evidence of just how much I liked the C-list supporting cast check out one of my earliest toy reviews: the Shaven Yak.
Even though he only showed up a handful of times I absolutely loved Powdered Toast Man.
He was a completely ridiculous yet awesome character. As a fan of super heroes in general it can be fun to see them skewered in such a manner. PTM’s secret identity was Pastor Toastman, a youth deacon. He would shed his collar and leap into action wearing only his speedo whenever the world was in danger or when a child was in need of a balanced breakfast.
Powdered Toast Man was the spokesperson for the cereal Powdered Toast and he could make the stuff by scraping his toasty body with a butter knife or winking. Once everyone’s bowls were brimming with freshly made cereal he would launch himself out the window either by ejecting his double-breaded head from a toaster or just by ripping a huge fart.
His catchphrase was “Leave everything to me!” but the quote I most remember is “Are you clinging tenaciously to my buttocks?”
This little figurine is about 2.5 inches tall. It doesn’t move at all and it is permanently attached to its display base. I bought it at the first Blockbuster Video I worked at in my hometown of Lower Sackville. I can’t recall what other figures were available, possibly just Ren & Stimpy, because this is the only one I got and that was many years ago. The bottom of the base tells me this was made by Dakin (never heard of ’em) in 1994.
This is a great little figure and I’ve had on it on display somewhere in my home ever since I first got it. At present he’s hiding out amongst the DC heroes on my Super Powers shelf. The sculpt is spot on, the pose is very heroic, and the expression on his face is perfect. 8 out of 10.
My Joe Con “Tiger Force vs Iron Grenadiers” box set finally arrived in the mail the other day which was pretty exciting. I pre-ordered that thing about 5 months ago so I’m eager to review the 15 figures within. However, I just finished a run of G.I. Joe reviews because I’ve spent the past week examining all the figures and vehicles from this summer’s San Diego Comic Con box set. So rather than jump right into another batch of Convention exclusive G.I. Joe reviews I’ve decided to break things up with a couple of random toys first. In keeping with the Tiger Force theme I’ve selected the Battle Beast, Ferocious Tiger, for today’s review.
Ferocious Tiger, or Battle Tiger as I called him before I realized he had a real name, was included in the first wave of Battle Beasts figures released by Hasbro in 1987. However he was not one of my first Battle Beast figures. There were a handful of figures from each wave that eluded for some time and Ferocious Tiger was one that took me a while to track down. I can’t recall when or where I finally got him but it was sometime after the toy line had ended. I don’t have any clear recollections of playing with him as a child so he may have been one of the few I bought as an adult.
It’s a shame that I got him so late because he never had a chance to develop a unique personality in my Battle Beast universe. Since there was no cartoon or mainstream comic to provide back stories for these characters all Battle Beasts were a blank canvas when you got them. But to me, certain beasts like Rocky Rhino and Sly Fox are as iconic as Optimus Prime and He-Man because their personalities were so well developed over the many years I played with them. So while Ferocious Tiger is a cool looking figure he doesn’t stir up any specific nostalgic memories the way those others do.
If I had gotten Ferocious Tiger back in ’87 I imagine he would have been an integral member of Rocky Rhino’s good guy team. Since there was no established continuity to work from I could’ve made him a bad guy just as easily but there’s something about this toy that seems heroic to me so making him a good guy seems obvious.
The sculpt on the figure is pretty darn good for such a small toy. Battle Beasts never fail to impress me in that department. I especially like his shoulder mounted cannon or lights or whatever it is because it gives him a unique asymmetrical silhouette. It reminds me of War Machine’s shoulder mounted gatling gun which I’ve always loved. Tiger’s only articulation points are at his shoulders. His arms are able to swing backwards and forwards. It’s the same articulation found on all BB figures and while it allows for minimal movement it’s all I ever needed to have a blast with these toys. Takara could have easily made them completely static like MUSCLES to save on costs but thankfully they didn’t because the moving arms went a long way to increase the playability.
For a weapon Ferocious Tiger carries a rather boring spiked club. It looks to me like one of those baseball bats with nails hammered into it. Except this club is double-headed so I imagine he could spin it around like a bow staff and do some real damage. While it’s less interesting to look at than many other beasts’ weapons I like it for it’s sheer blunt brutality.
The area where this figure is really lacking is in the paint apps. None of the Battle Beasts had a ton of paint applications which is fine in most cases but I think Takara/Hasbro should have splurged for a few more apps on figures like Ferocious Tiger, Zealot Zebra, and Jaded Jaguar.
The prints on their fur is what best defines those animals so to omit a tiger’s stripes or a jaguar’s spots is almost unforgivable. To be fair, the tiger stripes are sculpted onto this figures so they can seen if you look closely but a little bit of black paint would have elevated this figure significantly. Also odd is the fact that Ferocious Tiger is yellow instead of orange. Other beasts are oddly colored (like the blue horse and purple elephant) so it’s less of an offense but yellow is so close to orange they probably should’ve just made him orange. The brown is a good color for the armour and I like the pink highlights but a few additional paint apps could have spruced that up too.
This is a very cool figure but in a line full of cool figures he ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack for me. 7 out of 10.
Alley Viper is the 6th and final component for me to review from this year’s San Diego Comic Con exclusive G.I. Joe box set, “Crimson Strike”. I’ve previously reviewed the two vehicles, the Chimera and the Scythe, and the other three figures, Steeler, Grunt, and AVAC. Thus far the Joe figures and vehicle have proven to be my favourites. So does Alley Viper swing the odds in Cobra’s favour? Have I saved the best for last?
No on both accounts. I’m not saying this is a bad figure, in fact it’s a very cool figure, but much like the Crimson Scythe it fails to wow me.
The original 1989 Alley Viper was one of my favourite Cobra troopers. Like Ice Viper and Heat Viper I viewed my Alley Viper as an individual character rather than just a nameless trooper. Ice Viper was a psychopath and Heat Viper was a slacker but Alley Viper was a bad-to-the-bone, take-no-prisoners soldier. who knew how to follow orders. He was kind of a loner because unlike those other two he didn’t have a best buddy to pal around with. I always played G.I. Joe with my brother Doug and almost every one of my figures buddy’ed up with one of Doug’s figures. It usually worked out to be whatever toys we got at the same time. For example, he got his Night Viper when I got my Heat Viper so the two of them were inseparable. The same was true of Ice Viper and Worms, Shockwave and Charbroil, and some more obvious pairs like Flint and Lady Jaye and Tomax and Xamot. Doug must’ve either gotten a good guy when I got Alley Viper or maybe a bad guy that he didn’t really care for. Whatever the reason, my Alley Viper was a lone wolf.
Multiple variations of Alley Viper were released in the 90s but I had quit collecting by then and never acquired any of them. I did get some updated Alley Vipers during the new-sculpt years in the early 2000s but the less said about them the better.
When Hasbro launched the 25th anniversary line of modern-era figures in 2007 Alley Viper was high on my want list. They finally got around to releasing him in 2009 as part of the “Defense of Cobra Island” 7-pack. I loved the ‘09 Alley Viper (version 11). It had all the iconic characteristics of the original 1989 figure: the crazy orange and blue camo, the bizarre riot shield, the vision-obstructing face plate, and they all looked great on the modern style of figure. I would have been content if Hasbro never released another Alley Viper after that.
But they did release another; there were three variations of the Alley Viper released in 2010 (one of them being the first Alley Viper Officer) and then another in 2013. I’m not necessarily complaining about the multiple releases because they all look cool and I’m a sucker for a good repaint, but the figure does feel a little watered down at this point.
At the very least Hasbro could have taken this opportunity to release an Alley Viper with one of the well-known 90s paint jobs. The black and yellow one from 1993 that my little brother Brian owned would have been kinda cool. Instead we get an Alley Viper in a yet another new paint scheme. The paint deco on this guy is alright but somewhat underwhelming. It’s primarily black with a few random splashes of reddish orange. I’m not sure why Hasbro was so sparse with the camo pattern this time around but the end result reminds me of a salamander.
For accessories Alley Viper Officer version 2 has a display base, a helmet with face plate, a riot shield and a baton which can be stored on the back, two machine guns, and two knives which can be sheathed on his belt and forearm. It’s a decent assortment of weapons but it all seems pretty standard at this point.
This is a fine figure which I would whole-heartedly recommend if he were available at Toys R Us for ten or twelve bucks but if you were planning on buying the SDCC set just for this guy I’d tell you to save your money. He doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The red version from two years ago looks nicer and is much easier to track down. 7 out of 10.