Category Archives: action figures

Return of the Star Wars Figures

On a previous Saturday I admitted to the crime of using 12-inch action figures to play the Star Wars role-playing game.  The Dungeons and Dragons RPG world was horrified.  You are supposed to use scale-appropriate metal miniatures.  How can you simulate combat without small figures on a grid?  I have to confess.  It was via x’s and dots on graph paper.  But we didn’t use the action figures to represent ranges and lines of site in combat.  And one of my players was my niece, an actual girl.  So, I guess, to be honest, we were actually playing with dolls.

But it helps to have a lot of dolls.

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Emperor Palpatine, Snow Trooper, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, Quigon, Droid Soldier, and home-made Mace Windu

We started play after the first two movies in the Prequel Trilogy.

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Wicket, Imperial Walker, Astroboy (What’s he doing there?) Darth Vader, Little Anakin, and Boba Fett.

We got creative with stories.

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Jango Fett, General Grievous, and Admiral Akbar

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Anakin Skywalker

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Robot from Lost in Space, R2D2, Slave Girl Leia, and a Green Orion Slave Girl Dancer from Star Trek

So there is evidence available to my offspring to help them have me committed to an institution.  The truth is, these are not even all of my Star Wars Dolls.  So this morning’s confession session is now at an end, though all of the horrible truth is not yet revealed.

 

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Filed under action figures, autobiography, doll collecting, Dungeons and Dragons, goofiness, humor, photo paffoonies

Making Metal Miniatures

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Being a sort of amateur artist with extremely artistical tendencies, I naturally love to paint. My daughter also likes to paint.  So one way to combine our love for sloshing colors on stuff with paint brushes with our love for playing nerdy role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons is to buy and paint our own miniatures to play with in the game.  I used to do this a lot when I was a single goofer with time and money on my hands, so I have boxes and boxes of painted little people and little critters made out of lead or pewter or plastic.

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When doing these dastardly deeds of nerdling paintery to little metal people, we have to choose how we are going to go about it.  Different paints work in different ways.  I like to use brightly colored enamels like the Testors stuff I have used since the 1960’s.  The Princess prefers acrylic because it is less permanently messy.  Once you laminate your fingertips with enamel, you have to wear blue and green and brown on your hands in school for most of a week as it wears off.  Acrylic is less socially mortifying, in that it is removed more easily as a water-based paint. Even after it dries on your hands, it still comes off with a little scrubbing and you don’t have to use turpentine.

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Finding new figures to paint is not as easy as it once was.  You used to be able to locate such things easily in the nearest comic book shop or game shop.  Hobby Lobby and Michael’s used to have sections where you could find the figures as well as the paints.  Now that those things are becoming extinct and increasingly rare, you have to take advantage of serendipity.  We discovered a magically preserved and timeless game shop in a dying mall next to the movie theater where we recently went to watch Jumanji.  I bought the elves above in that shop from the young elf running the place all by himself.  An elf bard with a fiddle and bow, and another elf with a crossbow.  I also found two exquisite sculpts of children which I haven’t even removed from the card yet.  All that is left to do now is argue over who is going to paint what.  And that can be a difficult thing.  I am older and cannier than her, but she outweighs me by ten pounds.  The decision has not been made yet.

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I am finishing this essay on painting nerdling painter-deeds with a look at two finished works from my glorious nerd-painting past.  Ganser the Wizard of Gansdorf is actually painted in acrylic, while Anya the Amazon is painted in enamel.  I did them both in the 1980’s.  We shall soon see if I can still do as good as I used to do.  And if the Princess can match me or surpass me.  It is not actually a contest, but I still hope I win.

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Filed under action figures, artwork, Dungeons and Dragons, heroes, homely art, humor, old art

MessMaster 2018

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Yes, my life is more or less a big ol’ mess.  I am bankrupt.  I am ill constantly.  I am an Uber driver who made $31 in the rain today.  I am a retired middle school teacher and ESL teacher.  So my messy mental conflagrations are certainly understandable.

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I had made a vow back in November I was going to clean the house and put everything in order, especially my room which I use as a studio for writing and drawing.  I even had the dolls, er, action figures all positioned in poses that were dynamic and artsy.  Then G.I. Joe decided he had to insert his nose between firefighter Barbie’s breasts, knocking her fire hat to who-knows-where.  Nothing stays where I put it.  Pictures keep falling off the wall because it is cold enough to harden the plaster-tack that I put them up with.

20180107_081716And, of course, I have hoarding disorder so bad that I can’t resist starting new collections of dolls when toy-makers are putting out the new stuff at Christmas, even though the Princess has thoroughly outgrown dolls.  And I am not alone in having hoarding disorder.  While we were cleaning bedrooms, my daughter found a fluffy rug that would be perfect for the bathroom.  But no.  My wife is saving it.  It has to stay folded and put away where it won’t get dirty.  We have closets stuffed full of clothing and other stuff that is rarely or never used.  And I do not dare throw any of it out or move it to anyplace else.  I can move my stuff, not hers.

But I did complete a collection.  I managed to get enough of the new Justice League figures to make a pretty decent Justice League collection.  20180107_183635

Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg have joined multiple older Batmen, Supermen, and Wonder Women to round out the League.  Of course, I have at least one Green Lantern too.  Though GL wasn’t in the recent movie.

20180107_081914‘There are dolls everywhere in my room, so any attempt to clean starts with picking them up off the floor and putting them somewhere safer.  These four are now living behind the TV.   I just wish they would stay put for a while and quit leaping off shelves when they come alive after midnight every night.

I fully intend to keep on cleaning and Uber driving and writing.  And I will probably continue in my spare time to play with dolls and rearrange stuff.  You have to understand, I am old.  And more than a little goofy.

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Filed under action figures, autobiography, collecting, doll collecting, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

“Mickey, What’s Wrong With You?”

20171228_091308Yes, I am trying to answer that old question that old girlfriends used to ask me back when they were young and I was young and too stupid to answer honestly.  You know, the question always asked right before they tell you, “Why don’t we just be friends and leave it at that.”

After having spent my Christmas money from Mom on an 18-inch giant gorilla action figure of Kong on Skull Island to terrorize all the dolls on the Barbie Shelf after midnight when all the dolls secretly come to life, I feel more prepared than ever before to answer that particular question.

I am not in my second childhood.  I am still in my first one.  Yes, I reached the ripe old age of 12 and then Peter Pan Syndrome set in bigtime.  On the inside, I will always be 12 years old.  I still, at 61, play games and play with toys.  I never really grew up.

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I am not a Brony, but I am still buying My Little Pony dolls, and can name all six of the main characters.  From left to right, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle.  And yes, I have watched the cartoon show and like it, but am still not a Brony, okay?  There are a lot of things wrong with me, but I am not that bad!  My kids, however, are embarrassed to be seen with me when I am shopping for toys at Walmart, Toys-R-Us, or Goodwill.

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I still play with the HO scale model trains that I have owned and collected since the first year I was actually twelve.  I would love to get them running again.  The Snowflake Special and the Toonerville Trolley seen in the picture both still ran the last time I tested them four years ago.  I still love to paint buildings and HO scale people to live in my little train town.  I am still working on a set of townspeople that I bought back in 1994.  German villagers circa 1880.

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I have always been fascinated by imaginary places and the people who live in them.  Especially imaginary places in the fiction of the past.  Places like the castle of Minas Tirith in the realm of Gondor in Middle Earth, and like Pellucidar that David Innes and Abner Perry discovered at the Earth’s Core in their boring machine called “the Prospector”as part of the Pellucidar series created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan novels.  So, another thing wrong with me is that I live mostly in the past and entirely in the worlds of my imagination.  I have very little to do with the so-called “real world”.

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So, to sum up, the things wrong with Mickey are; A. He’s a goofy old child.  B.  He still plays with toys.  C.  He likes girly stuff.  D. He confuses fantasy with reality.   No wonder the girls used to run away screaming.  And I haven’t even added the part about Mickey thinking he is a nudist now and walking around the house naked when no one else is home and forced to see the full horror of it.

But maybe you should think on it for a moment more.  What if the things that are wrong with Mickey are actually good things?  What if he’s found the secret to long life and happiness in spite of a world full of troubles and illnesses and blechy stuff?  It could be true…

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Filed under action figures, collecting, commentary, doll collecting, goofy thoughts, humor, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Life By a Roll of the Dice

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These are Warhammer 40,000 Harlequin Warriors I painted myself.

Over the years I have played many role-playing games.  Virtually always I have done so as the game master, the dungeon master, the story-teller behind the action.  Players decide what to do about the story problems I represent to them.  They have characters that have painstakingly advanced in skills and levels of skills to use for the problem-solving the plot centers around.  But ultimately, when they take action, the outcomes are decided by a roll of the dice.

Life is like that.  You labor hard to control what happens next in your life.  But random chance intervenes.  If you are the Harlequin Space Elf known as Smiley Creaturefeature (the masked elf in the green robe on the front row, far left in the picture above) and your band of high level Harlequin War Dancers have come to Checkertown City Square hunting for your hated enemy, Bone-sucker the Space Orc, it is entirely possible when you use your scanner operator skills to find him, you could roll a “1” on the twenty-sided dice.  This would mean failure.  Not merely failure, but failure on a spectacular level.  The scanner would explode, killing your entire squad, yourself included.  And all those weeks of building the character up to level 17 in order to defeat Bone-sucker and his mutant minions, would be lost and become all-for-nothing in the disappointment department.

Of course, a benevolent game master would alter the outcome in some way to keep the story going.  Perhaps the exploding scanner, instead of killing everyone, created a mini worm hole in the fabric of space-time and transported them to a parallel dimension where Bone-sucker is actually the chaotic good hero of Checkertown, and you must now work out an alliance with him to fight his enemies, the other-dimensional versions of you that are actual Evil Smiley Creaturefeature and his band of Evil Harlequin Space Elves.  You must then defeat your evil selves carrying out the evil plot that the game master had originally designed for the villain Bone-sucker to employ before returning to your own original dimension.

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Real life does not work that way.  It works more like you see above.  The lovely, metal-bikini-clad female barbarian of swimming pool repair is faced with the attack of the giant rats of city pool inspection, necessary electrical repair, and limited finances.  You can see, if you look incredibly carefully at the purple twenty-sided dice, that her defensive attack roll is a “2” for catastrophic failure.  Her sword cuts off her own leg and causes personal bankruptcy.  The giant rats roll a lucky “13” on the black twenty-sided dice for successful tooth and claw attacks.  They then go on to eat her and force the pool to be removed from the property, using up all the money the player (who is me, by the way) has left.

No game master steps in to create a more reasonable outcome.  The worst possible outcome is what happens.  That is how real life works.  Roll the dice, and lose your swimming pool.

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Filed under action figures, angry rant, Dungeons and Dragons, feeling sorry for myself, metaphor, photo paffoonies, self pity

Toys From My Second Childhood

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Being retired for health reasons and unable to work, I would be dead already without my writing and art endeavors to fill my time and keep me sane.  I can do some work, as proven by my attempts to patch and repair the swimming pool this summer.  But my limitations drive me crazy, as proven by the fact that I did about half of the work on the pool wearing only sunscreen and a hat.  My kids are not married yet, and two of them are still in high school, but they are not much interested in toys any more.  And I don’t yet have grandkids to spoil.  So when I go the Resale Store or Goodwill to shop for old toys, I am basically buying them for myself.

The Princess of the Korean Court Barbie was lying on the bargain shelf for $3.49.  I bought the ceramic wishing well behind her for $5.00.  So the bargain-hunting gene I inherited from Scotch ancestors was duly satisfied.  But I had to do more with things like these than merely own them.  Toys are for playing. And what does a 60-year-old man do with dolls when he is playing?  Besides being a bit creepy, I mean?  Well, this photo is the answer.  I use my toys to create pictures and artwork.

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Here’s a creation using the ceramic wishing well again.  It is apparently, on closer inspection, actually a candle holder.  But it serves to make my Walmart Clearance Sale Disney toys happy.  Here you see the pony-brushing party held by Minnie Mouse with Daisy Duck and the gay snowman from Frozen.

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Here you see the metal miniatures I got in a pack from Walmart as they visit the cardboard castle.  Two of the lead figures on the ground are hand painted by me in days long ago.  The entire cardboard castle was printed and glued on cardboard, cut out and put together entirely by me.  Mickey, Minnie, Alice, Stitch, and Kermit are the metal miniatures not painted by me.

So, my days have not been overwhelmed by boredom and frustration and problems with city pool inspectors (he doesn’t even know about doing the repair work in the nude, so he can’t give me a ticket for that.)  I have been filling my time with toys and creative play.  I have been mostly a good boy… err… old man.

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Filed under action figures, Barbie and Ken, doll collecting, foolishness, goofy thoughts, making cardboard castles, Mickey, photo paffoonies, playing with toys, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Ladybugs Conquer Cartoonland

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Yes, Mickey couldn’t help it.  The toys hit the shelves in Walmart.  He discovered the silly superhero junior highschool romance thing first on Pinterest, then on YouTube.  Miraculous, the Adventures of Ladybug and Cat Noir.   The silly thing is on Netflix now too.

So, why would a goofy old man like me be interested in a thing like this… a thing aimed at an audience of pre-teen girls?  That’s disturbingly creepy, isn’t it?

Well, I never claimed to be cool.  I was an English teacher for 31 years.  Cool was never an option.

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And I collect dolls… erm… action figures… uh… well, I might as well be honest.  I have more Barbies than G.I. Joes.  I have a hoarding disorder fixated on 12-inch dolls.  And when I saw this doll for less than 15 dollars at Walmart, I had to buy it.  And it has the other super hero, Cat Noir right beside it.  Both under 20 dollars so they fit under the 20 dollar limit.  And both together only cost 30 dollars, so it fits under the 50 dollar per month limit as well.  Those collecting rules are important in saving me from my own juvenile regressive self and helps me have enough money to buy food all month long.

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The people in the store don’t look at me funny.  I am not the only old man buying toys and dolls in Walmart.  I am just the only old man there not buying for his grandkids.  I don’t have any grandkids yet, and my own kids are definitely older than the toy-wanting stage.  The people would be far more disturbed if they knew I was now struggling with the question, “Do I preserve these dolls mint-in-box?  Or do I take them out and play with them?”  And if you have read any of my lunatic “he-plays-with-dolls” posts, you probably already know how that one will turn out.

People might also be deeply disturbed to know that I have already watched two episodes of Miraculous, and (shudder) liked them in spite of the moronic romance and love-triangle bull poop.  I can’t promise that I will not watch more and turn away from this new filthy habit.  The stories are stupid villain-of-the-week stuff.  But the CGI animation is brightly colored, smooth, and highly interesting… to the point that I and any available chimpanzees or monkeys will be enthralled with it.  Oh, and pre-teen girls too.  I won’t go into the connections between those things.

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I could probably spend a lot of words telling you more about how this cartoon is set in Paris, France, and how Marinette and Adrien, the secret identities of the two superheroes above, are both in love with each other, but don’t realize it because neither one knows the secret identity of the other.  But I won’t.  This post is not a review of the cartoon show.  This post is a goofy commentary celebrating the fact that I bought myself two more dolls, and now must somehow rationalize that weird, compulsive act.

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Filed under action figures, anime, cartoon review, cartoons, collecting, doll collecting, goofy thoughts, humor, toystore quests