As if I wasn't already finding it hard to keep up with the blog, I had to go and have a baby and eat up more of my precious free time. Well, technically my wife had the baby, but either way, my free time is gone.
Look at that face though! Hard to complain about losing free time with that face smiling at you. Still, the blog must go on too! Or at least I'd very much like it to... I may have to change the way I do spotlights (like ditching my rule about having to cover more than one toy at a time). In this case I went back to a post I started a while ago and decided to finish it up.
Before I started finding the good stuff during last year's UK trip, I could only find some crap. It was cool crap, but still undeniably crap. At least it was crap that I haven't really seen anywhere else, and I love showing off crap like that. So come, let's all look at my crap!
The two pics sandwiching my boy Kai are from a line I found in a dollar store in Newry, Ireland (not sure if I have to specify Northern Ireland or not, but it was). Monsta Fizz is an odd little line that I wish I bought more of. It's one of those "magic fizz" lines where you drop a block or a ball into some water, watch it fizz, dissolve, and reveal the figure inside. The figures in this series come in pieces and can be mixed and matched with each other. The package says there are "loads" to collect, but there's no sheet that says how many figures you can get or what their names are.
One thing I like about a line of unnamed figures is making up names for the characters. I called this guy the Zombie Wizard. He's got some real creepiness to him! I think it's the way his head kind of flops to one side that gets me. It's not like his head is leaning because of his weak neck. It's his actual head that had a lean in it. That's weird!
I didn't take full package shots because they were pretty beaten up, but I had to show off the "art" on the back. This line has to be in the running for Worst Packaging Artwork Ever. It looks like the manufacturers just got their kids to do it! At first I was wondering if any of these cheesy looking characters could actually be found inside, and once I pulled this guy out of the fizz I figured it's probably a real possibility. I don't think he's represented in the "artwork", but he matches the style pretty closely. Out of the three Monsta Fizz figures I got, this is the only one that feels like a dud. He's also a dude! I haven't landed on a name yet, but it'll be something alone the lines of Swamp Dude. Hey, how about Swamp Dude? He's still lame, but at least that name is a step in the right direction.
This guy is my favorite of the three. He's easily the coolest one of them, looking like some kind of space fantasy monster. His paint's not the best, especially on the face. I don't think it's supposed to look like he has blood running down his chin, but it does. On the other hand, it totally works with the look of the character, so I'm more or less fine with it. I've named this guy Space Sphinx.
Remember when I said these guys could be mixed and matched with each other? Well buckle up, because you're in for a treat! What, you don't buckle up for treats? That's weird. Anyway, are you ready to see some sweet combos that clearly had a lot of thought put into them beforehand? Me neither!
Behold! The monster that enjoys casual strolls on the beach! Wow!
See! The man-creature who does push-ups! Wow wow!!
Observe! This thing... doing whatever the hell it's doing! Wow wow wow!!!
I don't think there's much else I can say about Monsta Fizz, but allow me to summarize: They're monstas that come from fizz. Let's continue!
This next group of figures are the only ones I had seen before (though they didn't all come together). Medieval Knights (love the original name) are actually something I would have loved playing with as a kid. These guys really have a dollar store quality feel to them, but they appeal to the imagination, and that's all I've ever needed.
First up is this knight that appears to have been "borrowed" from Chap Mei. He's pretty cool for what he is, and when you see what else this pack comes with, I'd say this guy is the hero of the set.
Every hero needs his horse, and our hero comes with a medium sized steed to ride into battle (at average speeds).
Yeah, he's not wielding anything, but I'll explain that in a bit.
I say the knight borrowed from Chap Mei is the hero because of THIS guy. I saw a pack of these knights in New Zealand, but they were pretty expensive for what they were, so I didn't grab them. He works even better in this set though, because he towers over the other knight. With his strange colors, he could be some kind of iron golem, standard giant, etc.
As soon as I saw these two very different knights in the package, I instantly knew what I would have done with them as a kid. Heroic knight vs evil giant knight. That's cool! And for such a cheap price, you can't really go wrong. Well, you can go kind of wrong...
I can't get either knight to hold any of the weapons they came with. The handles are pretty thick, and their hands are made of a hard plastic with no give, so forcing the weapons could potentially break their hands. It's too bad, because that orange axe looks like it has some tech built into it. Ah well, it's not like any of my other figures can't use it! The set also comes with a flag that plugs into nothing, which is pretty standard in dollar store sets like this.
Each knight has a shield, but this time the handles are tiny, so no holding them either.
My wife found this sword in the suitcase months after we got back from our trip. I'm assuming it's from this set. Neither of the knights can hold it, so it must be one of theirs.
Lastly, this set comes with two sides of a horse paddock and some juvenile palm trees. Half a horse paddock might seem useless, but with delicious juvenile palm trees like this for your horse to eat, I wouldn't worry about it going anywhere.
The last cheap and skeazy line to show off is the actually pretty nicely titled Journey to Creation. I'm pretty sure I found these guys in Edinburgh, Scotland. It's still very much a dollar store toyline, with sloppy paint and some fragile feeling parts, but it's also pretty cool!
As far as I can tell, this looks to be a line of armored beast warriors. There's no cardback pics that show off the rest of the line, but the two guys I found are beast men, so I'm going with that. This was the only boar I found and the paint on his tusks is especially sloppy, but he was still so cool that I didn't want to pass him up!
I don't know what the so-called "Journey to Creation" is all about, but this big pig is ready for the trip. He's one armored hog, and, at least to me, he doesn't have that "dumb pig" look that a lot of pig characters have. Maybe it's the ponytail. Just makes him look smart. Anyway, these guys don't have names either, so I've been calling him Warhog.
These figures only come with one accessory each, and Warhog has decided to bring a shield over any other weapon on his journey to creation. On top of all the armor he's wearing, he's also brought a shield. Dude doesn't want to get hit. Or maybe he just fights with his fists? Or face? I can see a warthog man fighting with his face and leaving a nasty mark. I'm cool with it. Moving on!
My other beast man journeying to creation is this minotaur here. He doesn't have a cool name like Warhog. I've just been calling him Minotaur, though now that I'm looking at him, "Bull Bandit" or something like that could work. He's not quite as cool looking as Warhog, but his paint is better and it's hard not to love that big skull he's using to cover his bull bits. It looks like you could pop it off from the back, but I'm not about to try.
He also comes with the better accessory of the two: a massive battle-axe. You'd think with the lack of armor, he'd be better suited with the shield, but I guess with an axe like this, no one's gonna be getting too close to him. Watch out for archers though! Don't want... *snicker*... don't want to get it in the bull's eye!
Turns out Journey to Creation really is more than just beast men. They've got beasts too!
Later during the trip, I came across this dragon in Worksop, England. The bad paint is still there, but otherwise this guy feels much more durable than the other two. He's made of a rubbery plastic, where the others are hard. Also, he can be pulled apart, though I'm not sure if there's a reason for it. Maybe the dragons are somewhat mix-and-match capable? And yes, there are other dragons! Unlike the other two, this dragon series shows the different versions you can get (though this was the only one I found). The package even gives him a name, or at least a title. This is the War Dragon. I don't know if the other dragons have unique names, but I hope so.
I don't really have a story for these Journey to Creation figures in my mind yet, but I'm starting to think that maybe these dragons are the creators that the others are journeying to. That's as far as I've gotten. Anyway, for all its shortcomings, Journey to Creation is a pretty fun line (from what I've seen), and I would easily buy more if I could find them.
So to wrap this up, I'll just say that there are some pretty cheap and skeezy-looking toys out there, but even they can be fun. There's nothing here that I wouldn't buy more of if I had the chance. I guess for me, fun tops skeezy and cheap.
Most of the time...