Monthly Archives: December 2016

TOP OF THE POPS 2016

Yesterday I posted my annual “best action figures of the year” list. In past years I’ve included Funko POPs on that list. This year I left them off because I simply got too many cool POPS in 2016 that they could have potentially taken over the entire list and lets’s face it, they’re not really action figures. Therefore I’ve decided to post a separate list naming the TOP 16 POPS of 2016.  Since there were hundreds of these things released this year I cheated a bit and lumped a few of them together.

2016-pop-elvira16. ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK-I’ve always had a thing for Elvira. The whole macabre mistress thing just has an appeal I can’t explain. My buddy Miguel got me her autograph in Vegas a few years back and I later met her myself when she came to Halifax for a speaking engagement. She was very sweet and she still looked great. I’ve never owned any Elvira merchandise before other than some of her horrible movies so I was stoked to get this figure. Unfortunately the hair isn’t big enough and she doesn’t stand on her own very well. The standing would have been forgivable had Funko included a stand but they did not.2016-pop-firestorm

15. FIRESTORM-I know next to nothing about this DC character. I think he’s two guys living in the same body or something. I don’t really care but this figure was too cute to pass up.  His translucent fire hair is pretty awesome.2016-pop-gerard

14. GERARD WAY- This is the lead singer of My Chemical Romance as he looked during their Black Parade phase. They were one of my favorite bands and that was a great album. The gothic look of the Black Parade makes for a great looking figure. Funko also produced a “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” era Way which I passed on but I’m hoping for a Killjoys version in the future.2016-pop-cammy

13. CAMMY-I was more of a Virtua Fighter guy but who doesn’t love Street Fighter? Cammy was one of my go-to characters whenever I played.  Her military-thong was definitely a unique look that appealed to me for some reason. The blue eyes on this figure really make it stand out from the pack and I dig the braids.2016-pop-scarlet-spider

12. SCARLET SPIDER-The clone of Spider-Man. This guy is a controversial character who has just returned to Spidey comics after his supposed death 20 years ago. I’m happy to have him back because I was always a fan even though the comics were a bit of a mess at the time he was introduced. The costume, a full body red unitard with a sleeveless blue hoodie overtop, is horrible even by super hero standards and yet I can’t help but love it. This POP was a Walgreens exclusive that I found while vacationing in Chicago a couple weeks ago. I normally don’t buy Marvel POPs because I don’t like their bobble heads but I couldn’t pass this guy up. Hopefully this doesn’t open the floodgates…2016-pop-alex

11. ALEX DELARGE-This character from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was a must have for me. Alex is an iconic film character with an interesting look and, most importantly, he is played by Malcolm McDowell. I’ve been a Malcolm fan ever since Tank Girl in ’95  (Why isn’t there a Tank Girl POP?!) This is a decent figure but the walking stick is a little long which makes him a little topsy turvy.

10. CONAN & RED SONJA-I’m not a die-hard Conan fan but I saw the Schwarzenegger movies when I was a kid and I owned one black and white Conan comic book magazine.  Even though my exposure to the character was minimal I thought he was the epitome of being a bad ass.  I also enjoyed the spin-off Red Sonja movie as a kid, partly because I thought Brigitte Nielson was hot back then.2016-pop-conan-and-sonja

I always wanted to dive deeper into their comic books but there are so damn many of them that it’s hard to know where to start. Multiple versions of these guys were released as POPs this year. I went with War Paint Conan because I thought it made him stand out of the shelf better. With Sonja my choices were bloody or not bloody. I went with the first one I found (not bloody) because I was really excited to finally add these characters to my collection for the first time. They look great.

2016-pop-batman

9. BATMAN-One of the very first POPs I got was a Batman.  I thought it was so cute that it convinced me to buy a few more POPs and now look at me. I’ve started a collection within a collection when it comes to Batman because I’ve been collecting all the interesting variations of him. This year I got Dark Knight armour, BvS trench coat, Rainbow, and 3 villain imposter versions (Penguin, Riddler, and Harley Quinn). Why so many? I don’t know. I have a problem. Each of these Batmen are lovable in their own way, even the trench cost version from that awful awful movie.

2016-pop-ufc8. CONOR MCGREGOR & ANDERSON SILVA-You might assume I’m not a sports guy because I have a blog about action figures. You’d be mostly right but I do love UFC. I’ve been watching for many years and these two are a couple of my favourite fighters. Silva is a soft spoken and noble warrior while McGregor is a cocky trash talking prick but they’re both a lot of fun to watch. I love how McGregor’s tattoos look on this little body.

7. STAR TREK CREW– After seeing Star Trek Beyond I developed a bit of a crush on the new alien character named Jaylah so I bought her POP figure. Then I though I should buy Chekov to display with her as a sort of tribute to Anton Yelchin (R.I.P.). The next thing I knew I had bought the whole damn crew. They look great together and even though they don’t have any facial features I can see the individual actors in each of them. For example, I can’t look at the Kirk and see William Shatner, just Chris Pine, even though a Shanter Kirk POP would be practically the exact same. Weird.2016-pop-star-trek

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6. NEGAN-This is another POP that doesn’t stand up on his own very well which is annoying because it’s such a great figure otherwise. The fact that this figure has a moustache and goatee gives him more of a complete face than most POPs have and allow the sculptors to more realistically capture the actor’s likeness. It really looks like Jeffrey Dean Morgan who plays Negan on the Walking Dead.  I love all the little details in this figure, especially the barb wire baseball bat and the 5 o’clock shadow. Never has such a disturbing character been so adorable.2016-pop-bill-and-ted

 

 

 

5. BILL & TED– I watched the shit out of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure when I was a kid. Seriously, I watched it so many times. My brother and I could quote the whole thing and we often still do.  It’s so awesome to finally have figures of these guys in my collection. I don’t think I ever would’ve bough lifelike action figures of these guys but there’s something about the POP format that makes everybody fun to own.

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4. VOLTRON– This is probably the most detailed POP in my collection. I didn’t expect it to look this good when I heard it was coming out but it looks fantastic. It would be easy to forget that this even is a POP figure and not a standard action figure because it looks so good.All the bright colours and elaborate detailing really makes this figure stand out on the shelf.

2016-pop-mr-t3. B.A. BARACUS-I grew up watching the A-Team and B.A. as played by Mr. T was my favourite character. You may have noticed that I have a picture of my vintage B.A. action figure on the banner of this very blog. I missed out on the Clubber Lang from Rocky Mr. T so I’m stoked that I got this one.  This look is far more iconic as this crazy getup is what Mr. T seemed to wear even when he wasn’t playing B.A.

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2. WILLY WONKA-Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a fantastic movie and I loved it when I was a kid. Gene Wilder was magical as Willy Wonka but I didn’t realize just how special he was until I saw Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the character many years later. yeesh. Losing Gene this year made tracking this figure down that much more important to me. From the hat and the curls to the cane and the vest this figure is fantastic.2016-pop-bowie

1. JARETH THE GOBLIN KING-This is another bitter sweet action figure. I loved Labyrinth as a kid. I saw it multiple times and replayed it over and over again via reusable stickers and background that came in Shreddies boxes back in the day. The film introduced me to David Bowie and he was captivating as Jareth. I’d always wanted an action figure of him so this was a must-buy even before Bowie’s death earlier this year.

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TOP 16 ACTION FIGURES OF 2016

It’s time once again for my annual “best of” list; a tradition I began in 2012. I posted fewer toy reviews this year than I ever have before but that does not mean I purchased fewer action figures. My collection continued to grow by leaps and bounds in 2016 and as always it was very difficult for me to pick my favourites but pick them I did. The only criteria I had for toys to be named on this list was that they must have been released in 2016 and I must have acquired them personally. So without further ado let’s get started…

2016-sneak-peek16. TIGER FORCE SNEAK PEEK-I only have two G.I. Joe figures on my list this year so Sneak Peek may seem like an odd choice in the eyes of many Joe fans. We got a lot of excellent G.I. Joes this year between the 50th anniversary series, the Figure Subscription Service, and the Collector’s Club box set and I’d bet that most people would place Sneak Peek near the bottom of their “best of” lists. Not only is he completely made up of rehashed pieces, including one of the most over used heads in the biz, but this figure doesn’t even recreate the classic 1987 Sneak Peek we all owned as kids.  Instead the Club gave us an updated version of the lesser known European exclusive Tiger Force repaint. So why is this figure on my list?  Well, I simply love Sneak Peek.  The character was a favourite from my youth and one I’ve been clamouring to see updated since the beginning of the modern era 9 years ago. The reused parts work well together in my opinion and I quite like the face regardless of its familiarity. If the Collector’s Club had sculpted a new head for this figure I probably wouldn’t like it as much because they’d likely make it pudgy and round to match the vintage figure. I didn’t expect to like this Tiger Force paint job as much as I do but I think it’s a great mix of colours so I find myself really enjoying this more obscure deco.

2016-vultak15. VULTAK-The Masters of the Universe Classics line has been killing it since 2008 providing fans with awesome new versions of the property’s numerous iconic characters. But after so many years it was inevitable that the line would lose steam and fizzle out. In past years I bought Mattel’s latest MOTU offering on the 15th of every month as soon as it went up for sale exclusively on their website. I couldn’t afford to wait because new toys sold out almost immediately. Nowadays toys of obscure characters remain on sale for months so there’s no sense of urgency.  I didn’t purchase a single MOTU figure this year until they were discounted during Mattel’s Black Friday sale. Even though my excitement for the toyline has waned a bit there’s nothing more exciting than opening up a new box of He-Man figures from Mattel. My Black Friday shipment contained 6 figures (none of them well known characters) and they were all awesome.  Vultak is like a slap in the face reminding me why I loved MOTU in the first place. He’s like a mix of Marvel’s Vulture, Thundercats’ Panthro, and MOTU’s Hordak.  He’s bright, he’s big, he’s fun, and he’s awesome.

2016-rod-drill14. ROD DRILL-Hasbro’s Transformers were my jam growing up but I also enjoyed Tonka’s line of transforming robots called Go-Bots. I had a handful of the toys and while they weren’t as complex as Transformers their simplicity and their silly names made them charming. The line has been officially dead since 1987 but in the past couple of years some third-party companies have produced unofficial homages of Go-Bot characters. You may recall that DX9’s remake of Cy-Kill (named Salmoore) nabbed the number two slot of my best of 2014 list. I love seeing old Go-Bots characters revived after so many years. My fingers are crossed for new versions of my childhood favourites Cop-tur, Loco, and Water Walk. If those characters are ever to be reproduced it will likely be by way of a company called Action Toys. They’ve been doing a great job of  releasing spiffy new updates of classic Go-Bots. Vanessa got me Rod Drill for Christmas. He’s Action Toy’s version of Screwhead who transforms into a drill tank. This figure is immediately recognizable as Screwhead as they share of the same physical characteristics but Rod Drill is a far superior figure. He’s a bit larger and far more posable. He’s not as nice as update as Salmoore was but Rod Drill’s price point is a little easier to swallow.

2016-snowtrooper13. SNOWTROOPER-Everybody loves the generic Stormtroopers from Star Wars but as a kid I held the Snowtroopers from the Empire Strikes Back in much higher regard. My brother Doug and I both owned a Stromtrooper but he also owned the AT-AT Driver and the Biker Scout. I suppose that’s why the Snowtrooper was the only Stormtrooper variation that felt like mine because it was the only one he didn’t have. My original 1980s Snowtrooper was one of three vintage Star Wars figures I held onto when I got rid of my collection in my teens. There’s something about that long featureless mask that always appealed to me; I thought it looked more like a ghost than a soldier. I already have a very cool 12″ version of the Snowtrooper plus multiple 3 3/4″ figures but it was still at the top of my want list when I started collecting the 6″ Black Series figures. I just got this figure a week ago and he did not disappoint.  It’s not exactly what I was expecting because it’s far more “dirty” than previous versions.  The base uniform is more beige than white and his boots and skirt are speckled with grime. It looks really cool though so I don’t have any complaints.

2016-valkyries

 

12. MARAUDER VALKYRIESLast year I named the Marauder Task Force in my number six spot. I didn’t name a specific figure as I used the slot as more of a catch all for the whole wave of interchangable soldier figures produced by Marauder Gun Runners via a Kickstarter campaign. MGR put out variations of those same figures with new parts added this year so they could have easily made my list again. I’m a big fan of the yellow “Shock-Ops” and orange “Hazard Ops” they released this year. However they overshadowed those releases with the launch of their all-female Valkyries line this year via another Kickstarter. Thus far I have four complete figures in hand with another shipment on the way. These figures look excellent. MTF has given us a multitude of hair styles and colours, gear, and accessories so you can make unlimited figure variations. I wish Hasbro put this much care into their G.I. Joes. Hasbro has given us some pretty fugly ladies over the years but MTF has given us a squad of attractive ladies with realistic proportions. I can’t recommend these figures enough.  The only reason they’re not higher is that their tiny accessories don’t stay in place unless glued which is a pain in the ass and I have no childhood connection or elaborate backstory to latch onto.

2016-namor11. NAMOR-What a year for Marvel Legends. Hasbro pumped out 7 waves of figures this year. It was just a couple of years ago that I was writing on this blog that I had no interest in collecting 6″ Legends because I was committed to collecting the 3 3/4″ Marvel Universe figures. I found Legends to be gangly and awkward looking.  Well Hasbro has upped their game big time and now I’m buying Legends figures every other week. I bought over 50 Marvel Legends figures this year and I’m continually impressed. I could have made a top 16 list of Marvel Legends figures alone and I still would have had to exclude a bunch of stellar toys. To pick only a choice few for this multi-line list truly was difficult. After a great deal of thought the first Legend I’ve chosen to spotlight is Marvel’s King of Atlantis, Namor the Sub-Mariner.  When I first started collecting comics as a kid I didn’t like Namor. He struck me as an arrogant Mr. Spock flying around in his underwear. I’m not sure when that changed but somewhere along the way I really fell in love with Namor. His arrogance actually makes him a lot of fun to read.  The fact that he started wearing pants probably helped too. Truthfully, I don’t even mind the green speedo in the comics but it just doesn’t make for a very interesting action figure.  My 3 3/4″ Namor is a testament to how boring that design can be.  This Walgreens exclusive Namor is sporting a much cooler black and blue costume with a nice metallic sheen.  The elbows are a little weird and the trident looks dumb but those issues are out weighed by the phenomenal head sculpt. Depending on the angle you look at him he can appear regal, smarmy, pissed, or playful. This is the finest Namor ever produced.2016-k-2so

 

10. K-2SO– When I reviewed this figure a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t yet seen Star Wars Rogue One. Now that I have I like this figure even more. K-2S0 was a real scene stealer in the movie.  He was tough, sarcastic and funny and i was really bummed when things weren’t going his way.  I’m glad I picked this figure up when I did as I imagine it will be in high demand now that everyone has seen the movie. This figure just looks and feels cool.  As soon as I opened him up I wanted to pose him and fiddle around with him. He’s built nice and sturdy for such a lean figure. This sculpt, paint apps, and articulation are all great. No complaints.2016-batman

 

 

9. BATMAN-Putting Batman on a “best of” list seems like such a no-brainer that it’s almost a waste of a slot. He has such a cool and iconic design that you’d think it would be a snap to design an amazing Batman figure, right? So why are there so many terrible Batman figures? Have you walked down the action figure aisle lately? It’s full of Batmen and most of them look like crap. I feel bad for kids that think those are the only Batman figures available. If only they’d venture into a comic book shop like Strange Adventures they’d discover a whole new world of awesome action figures geared towards adult collectors. For example, DC Collectibles line of designer action figures based on the artwork of Darwyn Cooke. I bought the Supergirl, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn from this line and any one of them could be on this list but I think Batman edges the others out. This figure depicts Darwyn’s contemporary version of the dark knight as seen in stories like EGO. I think this figure is a wonderful tribute to a brilliant artist who we sadly lost this year. It makes me emotional every time I look at it.

2016-pythona8. PYTHONA- I wanted a Pythona figure SO BAD in 1987. She was one of the new characters introduced, and heavily featured, in the animated G.I. Joe movie released that year yet she got completely snubbed by Hasbro. Her absence from the ’87 line-up seemed like a huge oversight to me. Big Lob was similarly snubbed but I didn’t like him as much. He’s finally getting a figure courtesy of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club in 2017 but 2016 was Pythona’s year…finally. She was the free membership figure you got this year when you signed up as a member of the Club. It’s been a 30 year wait so thankfully the Club delivered a stellar figure to make the wait all seem worth it. Pythona’s got a very nice newly sculpted head with a removable ponytail which allows her to  don the hood of her cloak. The intricate facial paint is well done too.  The Club has been doing a great job making figures of characters long desired by fans, like Dr. Venom and Billy, but Pythona is the one I’ve wanted the most so I’m very glad the Club didn’t cut any corners. Awesome figure.

2016-gorgon7. RINGNECK GORGON-I backed a Kickstarter campaign by Boss Fight Studios back in 2014 to help them launch their own line of figures called Vitruvian HACKS. Those figures finally arrived in 2016.  I received over 30 figures and honestly I could have put each and every one of them on this list. BFS has constructed some of the nicest action figures I’ve ever seen in their Mythology themed HACKS line. Series one primarily consists of ancient warriors and gorgons. The construction of the gorgons alone is a thing of beauty to say nothing of the sculpting, painting, and accessories. The way their multi-jointed tails allow for them to be posed  in an upright position without the aid of a display base is amazing. I have seven gorgons including Medusa.  She seemed like the obvious choice for this list if I were to showcase just one gorgon but I just so happen to prefer the purple and orange colour scheme of the ringneck. I also prefer her closed mouth. This figure is perfect and I can’t wait to see what BFS does next.

2016-cap-britain6. CAPTAIN BRITAIN-Picking Marvel Legends for this list was really tough. I thought that Nico would make my list for sure. Silk, Black Panther, and Deadpool all seemed like shoe-ins as well. I wasn’t even sure I would buy this Captain Britain and I certainly didn’t expect I’d like him more than those other figures but here he is. CB was included in the most recent Captain America wave. The only figure I planned to buy from the wave was Eel. I really like Captain Britain as a character but this figure doesn’t feature my preferred costume so I planned to skip it. While in Chicago the other week I found the Cap wave in a comic shop (I haven’t found them here at home yet) and there was Eel. I picked him up and looked over his scrawny physique. Then I saw Captain Britain out of the corner of my eye practically bulging out of his packaging. I picked him up and was immediately won over.  See ya later, Eel. This Cap looks tough as nails. The standard “bulky” body is perfectly sized for him and the unique Captain Britain parts really look great.  The buckled boots, the wrapped forearms, the sunken eyes in the helmet, I love it all. Throw in an excellent and eye-grabbing paint job and you have yourself a winning action figure.

2016-venom5. VENOM– Next up is another Marvel Legends figure, Venom. I’m not even a big Venom fan yet this is the second time he’s made my “best of” list in just three years. 2014 saw the release of an awesome Agent Venom. This year we got two other versions of the character.  There was the large build-a-figure Space Knight Venom which looks neat but whom I have no affinity for because I didn’t read any of the short-lived Space Knight comics. The second 2016 release was this classic Venom. This toy looks like it leapt from the page of the character’s first appearance as drawn by Todd McFarlane.  It makes me very nostalgic for that late 80s era of Spider-Man. The body is the exact same one that was used for Captain Britain and it works wonderfully for Venom too. He has standard “sock” feet and open clawed hands. I’m not sure if those parts are reused or not.  The one piece that is definitely unique is the head and thats the piece that really elevates this figure.  The head sculpt looks so good that I can’t imagine anyone ever making a better Venom figure than this.

2016-talos4. TALOS-This is another figure from Boss Fight Studio’s Vitruvian HACKS line. It was exclusive to Kickstarter supporters so I don’t think you’ll ever be able to buy it from their online store. That’s a real shame because this is one of the nicer looking figures from the assortment. Most of the warrior figures share the same parts, they’re just painted differently. I don’t think there are any parts on this figure that can’t be found elsewhere. For example, Talos has the same bearded head as Leonidas and the same armor as the Myrmidon Warrior but what makes them unique to Talos is the bronze paint job. The figure is painted entirely in bronze with a green patina to add realism. It looks amazing; like a little metal statue. Whether you want to display this guy as a statue or some sort of living bronze warrior he really should be a part of your collection.

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3. MALLEUS 2016 saw the release of the Four Horsemen’s newest toy line called Mythic Legions.  It’s a fantasy-based line full or Orcs, Trolls, and Knights. I couldn’t afford to go all-in on their 2015 kickstarter but I did pitch in by pre-ordering 4 of the 34 available figures. My quartet arrived in June 2016 and all of them are awesome but Malleus is my favourite. This figure is amazing in every category. The sculpting, the painting, and the accessories are all incredible (the dual axes are sick!). He’s very well articulated right down to a movable jaw. The 6″ scale really allows the Horsemen to show off.  Originally I thought I might display Malleus as a minion of Skeletor but the level of detail on the Legions figures far surpasses that of MOTU figures so there isn’t much consistency there. If I had the space and the money I’d love to own all the Mythic Legions figures but if my collection never grows beyond the four I have  I’m confident that I have the best one right here. 

2016-tailgate2. TAILGATE/REAREND-Many times on this blog I’ve told you how great James Roberts’ “Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye” comics are. I think its the best comic on the stands. He has a way of making you fall in love with characters you never thought you’d care about. One of the stars of the book is a little Transformer named Tailgate. I never owned the Tailgate toy as a kid because he was just a crappy repaint of Wheelcharger, a Transformer who I really liked. Well Roberts has made Tailgate a far more interesting character than Wheelcharger ever was and so I desperately wanted an action figure that reflected his comic book appearance. Hasbro obliged me with this turd in 2014. Thankfully, a third party company called Make Toys answered my prayers this year. Because this is an unofficial release they can’t call him Tailgate so Make Toys has dubbed him Rearend. It’s a silly name but who cares, everyone knows this is Tailgate. This figure is quite small so it may be hard to justify the large price tag but thankfully Vanessa got him for me for X-mas so I didn’t have to. I’m actually glad he’s the size that he is because its true to the character. The likeness to the comic book art is perhaps the best I’ve seen yet.  This toy truly look like an Alex Milne drawing some to life. I love it.2016-underworld

 

1. UNDERWORLD WARRIOR-You shouldn’t be surprised that one of Boss Fight Studio’s Vitruvian HACKS figures tops my list. Almost every figure in this line is a showstopper. The paint work, sculpting, accessories, articulation, and customization possibilities launched HACKS straight to the top of the heap of quality action figure lines. Every toyline should strive to be this good.  As soon as my box of HACKS arrived it was almost a certainty that one of them would top my list this year. The trouble was in deciding which one.  I thought it would be harder to choose but I actually arrived at my answer quite easily. The Underworld Warrior was the figure that appealed to me the most when the concept art was first revealed at the launch of the kickstarter and once I had the figure in my hands I felt it lived up to and surpassed my expectations. It’s not the most detailed or innovative figure of the bunch but it sure does look damn cool.2016-group

 

 

 

RHINO CALF

rhino-baby-fullPAPO

2016 is drawing to a close so that means I’m preparing for my annual “best of” list. It’s my favourite post to write each year. Thus far I’ve narrowed it down to 31 action figures but I still need to whittle it down to my top 16 of 2016 by year’s end.  I had planned to write full reviews of every figure on my list so that I’d be able to link to a detailed analysis of each one but regrettably there are many toys on my prospective list that I haven’t gotten around to yet. So, after my month long blog hiatus, you’d think I’d be in a mad rush this week to get those top contenders reviewed but instead I’ve chosen to write about this little plastic rhinoceros, which I assure you will not be on my year-end list.rhino-baby-chicago

The reason I’ve selected this Rhinoceros calf to review today is less about sharing my thoughts on the actual toy but rather the vacation on which I acquired it. Last week I went to Chicago to visit my little brother, Brian.  Last time I mentioned him I may have said he was living in NYC but he moves around a lot and he now resides in Chicago. It was Brian and his twin sister Katie’s birthday last week so he flew her down there so they could celebrate together. I tagged along because I wanted to see Jerry Seinfeld perform at the theatre down the street from Brian’s apartment (and to spend quality time with my siblings of course).rhino-baby-back

 

I live in Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada and this was my first trip to the United States. It’s okay if you don’t know where Nova Scotia is; nobody in Chicago did either. Chi-town was a much bigger city than I’m used to but I navigated my way around all right. At times my brother was working and my sister was preoccupied with department stores and boutiques so I was forced to venture off alone to find the things I was after. Flying solo I saw Seinfeld which was amazing, I went to the Double Door nightclub to see local punk band the Lawrence Arms, I found an indie record store, and I found a comic shop. Graham Crackers Comics was a decent shop but it didn’t really have anything that I couldn’t buy back home.  I picked up a Captain Britain Marvel Legend and some Funko POPS to be supportive.  With my siblings I took a bus tour of the city, saw the bean, ate at a bunch of restarants and visited the world’s largest indoor aquarium. On Sunday we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo which is open year round and it’s free. We had a great time there and it proved to be the trip highlight for all of us.  There were hardly any people there, a light snow was falling, and the animals were all very active. We saw Lions, Tigers, Gorillas, Giraffes, Crocodiles, Polar Bears, etc. The last pavilion we visited was the one I was most excited about because it had the Rhinos.

Hippos are pretty cool too

Hippos are pretty cool too

As a child I always named Rhinos as my favourite animal and I’m still fascinated by them today. Unfortunately, I learned that the rhinos are the only animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo that don’t go outside in the winter and cannot be viewed from indoors. Apparently the zoo houses three rhinos but they are not for public viewing in the winter. Huge bummer.

As a pitiful consolation prize I bought myself this rhinoceros figure at the gift shop on the way out. It’s made by the fine folks at Papo who always do a stellar job on their animal figurines. This rhino calf a single hunk of plastic so there’s no articulation but the sculpt is nice, the multi-coloured paint job is subtle and believable, and he’s frig’n adorable. This toy is to scale with 3 3/4″ action figures so perhaps I’ll display him with my G.I. Joes.  He could be the adopted pet of the team’s jungle trooper, Recondo. It would’ve been nice if he was to scale with the adult Rhino toy I purchased on a trip to the Metro Toronto Zoo 30 years ago but what can ya do?

All in all, I had a great trip and this is a fun (but overpriced) souvenir.  7 out of 10.rhino-baby-mother