Transformable Kanji Are More Than Meets the Eye

Posted by Tim Sheehy on May 19, 2010 in Hobbies and Collections

Mojibakeru kanji transformers

Get a load of these upcoming Mojibakeru kanji transformers from Bandai. Each one’s an animal such as a tiger, dragon or dog, that’s capable of transforming into its kanji, the Chinese and Japanese character for which it belongs. I’m not sure why I’ve always loved transformable toys so much, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy them all. I should probably note that these are just trading figures, so they’re not made of fancy PVC or anything and they’re certainly not an Autobot or anything, but for $1 how can you go wrong? I haven’t been able to locate a vendor for pre-orders, but you’ll probably be able to pick them up from AmiAmi. Read more…

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Christmas Toys of 1953

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 22, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

This is the Gary Moore television show from 1953: Here he’s doing an amazing segment which features the hot toys of that era. Moore had an amazing career — he started out working in radio in 1937, went on to television ten years later in 1947 and kept going until 1976. Found via Ira Gallen of



A Do-It-Yourself Iron Pastry Chef Kit

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 14, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Cream Filled Pastry Kit

Sadly this product could never be released in the United States due to fears of lawsuits — however that said the Cream Filled Pastry Kit is one of the coolest looking foodie focused toys I’ve seen in a long time! In theory here are what your results are suppose to look like: Read more…

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Kawaii Llama Mania Grips Japan

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 2, 2009 in Japanese TV

I just came across this strange collection of low budget but very cute adverts for aru Paca Friends and Skip Bunny from Sunward Co. Ltd. and Media Factory in Japan. Read more…

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Where the Wild Toys Are…

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 18, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Where the Wild Things Are Max 400 Percent Kubrick Figure

What better way to celebrate a hipster film version of Where the Wild Things Are than with a cool Kubrick figure? This Where the Wild Things Are Max 400 Percent Kubrick Figure won’t be available until December but it looks worth the wait. This figurine is somewhat unusual in that it’s 8 inches tall which is about four times the size of the usual Kubrick creations. Of course being a collectable Max is priced at about $150, but if you’re on a budget for Christmas (or want to start shopping sooner you can get the Where The Wild Things Are Kubricks Figures 6-Pack which should be coming out this month: Read more…

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Plush Sushi with a Hint of Moe

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 16, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Plush Sushi

Most of us grew up being told “don’t play with your food!” But the genius of Plush Sushi is that it was designed to be played with, although ThinkGeek notes that this toy is for grownups and not kids. Normally as a vegetarian I avoid salmon roe, tuna and shrimp but I think I might make an except for these cute creations: Read more…

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Barbie vs. GI Joe: Why Don’t Boys Play with Dolls?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 14, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

This is a short clip from a longer video by Dr. Lise Eliot which talks about the different toy interests in boys and girls. Her observation is that at age one boys and girls will play with the same toys, but by age three that all changes. We’re slowly making progress as girls now feel it’s alright to play with toys that were aimed at boys in the past like construction sets — but not the other way around. Read more…



The 49th All Japan Model Hobby Show

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 11, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

The Tamiya 1/10 Scale Radio Controlled Car featuring Hatsune Miku, the car is a BMW Z4

The 49th All Japan Model Hobby Show will be finishing up this Sunday in Japan, the first two days of the event are for the trade but over the weekend the show opens up their doors to the public. One of the things I’ve always loved about Japanese toys and hobby kits is the wonderful level of detail and craftsmanship. There’s a wide range of old toys (i.e. trains, planes and automobiles) but every so often you’ll notice an anime themed knickknack. For example shown above is Hatsune Miku themed radio controlled BMW car, and below is a set of trucks which feature anime characters on the side (which was part of a larger set that included a train set): Read more…

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Nerfuls: It’s Like a Nerf, but Kitbashed with Muppet Babies

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 24, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Marketed by Parker Brothers in 1970 the original Nerf was designed to be the first “indoor safe” ball, and years later millions of them are still be sold much to the delight of children and board office dwellers. But in the 80s they couldn’t leave well enough alone: In 1984 the animated series Muppet Babies took the world by storms, and suddenly everything needed to be cute. And thus in the 80s Parker Brothers introduced Nerfuls — which have since become a cult collectors item. Read more…

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Pound Purries: Kid of Like Pound Puppies, But for Cat People!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 22, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Nothing could be more cute than a well deserving Pound Puppy toy in the 80s looking a caring child to be an owner: But what if your child is a cat person? Well that’s where the spin off Pound Purries came in (as shown in this advert from 1986). While not as a popular as their dog friends from the other side of the pound these little wonders featured and for just $3.50 more you could get a name tag, stickers and an owners certificate! Read more…

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Snout Spout: The Silliest Masters of the Universe Toy, Ever!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 20, 2009 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

Snout Spout

Snout Spout

Snout Spout: His knock out nose knocks evil out! You can tell the design department of Mattel was bored to death of Masters of the Universe by 1986 when this commercial came out. I can just see some poor child at Christmas yelping “Mommy why did you get me an elephant? I wanted He-Man!” Don’t get me wrong as a toy it looks very clever but our pachyderm friend seems somewhat out of place with the other members of the Masters of the Universe. In fact the character wasn’t even shown in the series until after the toy came out (you can tell that merchandising was more important than story telling). Read more…

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Toy Store Commercials of the 80s

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 17, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Television

Both of these spots are from 1986 and solve the unique challenge that while toy ads sell to kids, toy store ads must sell to adults. The Toys R Us ad does a nice job of this as it’s appealing to the kid inside all of us, I especially the oversized robot which comes in about 5 seconds into the spot. The Lionel Playworld spot takes more of a Footlose approach to the problem, but for all the shoulder pads and singing you don’t get the feeling that they’re really having a good time of it: Read more…

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Sweet Secrets: Transformers for Fashionable Girls

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 15, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Introduced in 1984 by Galoob Sweet Secrets were purse shape toys which would transform into dolls — this 1986 spot shows them turning into a puppy, teddy bear and a girl with long blond hair. There was also a related line of jewelry that would transform into a panda, a koala and a “pretty friend”: Read more…

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Galactica Goes Moe

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 10, 2009 in Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica Little Frakkin Colonials Starbuck

My one main objection to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series was that it always seemed to take itself a bit too seriously: Well these two ever so cute Galactica figures solve that little problem. Shown above is Little Frakkin Colonials Starbuck and what I love about her cartoony design is that she looks like she might be at home in an anime series! Shown below is Little Frakkin Toasters Cylon Centurion which looks almost like a designer urban toy: Read more…



Dagobah Sure is Strange Place…

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 4, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Star Wars

From 1981 (well this commercial aired in 1982, but you know what I mean) comes this spot for the Kenner’s Yoda and R2-D2 sensor-scope action figures from the Empire Strikes Back collection. As why poor Luke Skywalker and poor old Obi-Wan Kenobi don’t get a mention at the end of the advert I don’t have a clue. Although with some research I did discover that some lucky kids from this era could actually get a Dagobah action playset if they didn’t want to get dirty in the backyard: Read more…

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The Alien Action Figure in Action

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 10, 2009 in Cinema, Hobbies and Collections

I won’t give away my age but at the time I couldn’t see Alien because i was an R rated movie and i was too young — so what funny about this commercial was that they had a toy for the film which was clearly aimed a kids. It should be noted that a bit after the film came out that it was very popular in the early days of cable television, along with other R rated science fiction films I discovered from that era like Mad Max and the Warriors. Read more…

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Star Trek XI: Have It Your Way

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 4, 2009 in Star Wars

I’m a vegetarian, but this exclusive preview of the Star Trek XI toys make me want to visit Burger King to get my hands on these totally rad trinkets. In a sad way they sort of remind me of the Muppet Babies which was my first reaction to seeing trailers of the show — but with any luck there will be spaceships and enough things blowing up to make up for that…

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Found on Ebay: A Collection of Freaks, Celebrities and Conceptual Art

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 13, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Found on Ebay — a collection by olga-saglo: freaks, celebrities, conceptual art, and high concept sellers. plus stuff I was too cheap to buy!

Found on Ebay is a delicious collection of “freaks, celebrities, conceptual art, and high concept sellers. plus stuff I was too cheap to buy!” curated by digital archivist olga-saglo. This kitsch themed virtual museum has informal focus on femme icons from the 60s and 70s and what’s interesting is that through dolls you can see how the idea of role model changed in just two decades: Read more…

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Star Trek XI New Toys: Design Critique

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 4, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Star Trek

Star Trek Movie Enterprise Vehicle

The new Star Trek film will be hitting theaters in May, but early signs of merchandising are already appearing. Playmates has just introduced a line of toys which will be hitting the streets this month. So far we’ve only seen a trailer for this film, but these toys give us a first real glimpse into the look-and-feel of the film. It’s important to remember that the original Star Trek series was a real breakthrough in terms of production art — a spacecraft no longer had to look like a rocket or a flying saucer, so there’s a real tradition that’s at stake here. That and frankly if Paramount wants to reinvent the franchise they’ll have to top the amazing work Lucas has been doing these past couple of years with Star Wars. Read more…

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The Original Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 4, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

This is a commercial for Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head from the early 60s or late 50s, you’ll notice that unlike later editions that the original toy kit assumed that you’d be playing with an actual live potato. The toy was invented in 1949 by George Lerner and early versions of the toy were controversial as people viewed it as wasting food (this was just after World War II when food rationing was common). The toy began life as a premium in breakfast cereal boxes, but in 1951 for a mere $5,000 Lerner sold the idea to the company that would later become Hasbro. By 1952 over a million kits were sold, in 1953 Mrs. Potato head was added who was later also joined by Brother Spud and Sister Yam. And alas sadly in 1964 the kit switched to plastic potatoes…

Found via

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Relakkuma Embraces Solar Power

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 3, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Relakkuma Onsen Solar Mascot

At the recent Toy Fair in New York I was almost depressed at the sheer number of green themed toys that seemed to be destined for landfills. The trouble with most of these toys is that they were plain old plush dolls with some connection to an endangered animal — which on the surface isn’t bad but doesn’t really engage your imagination on any level. That’s why I’m drawn to this Japanese toy which is based on the popular bear mascot Relakkuma: This novelty item features Relakkuma (also known as Relaxuma) and his honey-colored friend Korilakkuma are enjoying the soothing effects of a faux hot tub. When you place the toy in sunlight their wobble as if they’re relaxing in the faux water. You can pre-order the Relakkuma Onsen Solar Mascot from National Console Support.

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Will You Take Me to the Mickey Mouse Magic Kingdom?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 7, 2008 in Hobbies and Collections

From 1977 this is a commercial for the Mickey Mouse Magic Kingdom which featured a set of modified Weebles made to look like popular Disney characters. Looking at this ad the monorail looks quite cool, although as I child I detested the egg shaped toys a great deal. In fact the advertising taunt of “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” so irritated me as a child that I had to know the answer as to what kept the damn things from falling over.

So after much experimentation my ultimate solution was to put one in a vice grip — and thus in the process almost destroying the vice grip. But after a long struggle I got to see the inner workings of the Weebles which were remarkable simple (there was a lead ball at the bottom of the inside of the sturdy plastic shell). Although looking back at it I had no idea that this Hasbro toy (which was rolled out in 1971) would be going strong decades later despite my scientific research on how to destroy the buggers.

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Secret Smuggling Compartments Included! But Snooping Stormtroopers Sold Separately…

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 3, 2008 in Star Wars

Star Wars Millennium Falcon Toy

As a child recall a cheaply made Millennium Falcon toy that was cute, but I would have traded that clunker for this ship in a second. Now granted you’ll blow about $230, but this Millennium Falcon includes everything from secret smuggling compartments to an illuminated dejarik table with holo monsters:

The Most Awesomest Falcon Ever

“Really, this toy has it all. Loads of movie accurate sounds and lights (the engine start up will even randomly “fail” just like the real ship!), multiple firing projectiles, removable panels for in-ship play, a never-before-made/seen dockable mini-fighter, and bantha-buttloads more. You can recreate virtually every movie scene inside it too, as it’s so roomy. So, gather up your Star Wars figures and clear off your bed – it’s time to play with the big toys! May the force be with you.”

Read more…

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