As I write this it’s Black Friday Eve, or American Thanksgiving, a day reserved for quiet reflection as shoppers gear up to kill or be killed for this season’s hottest toys. You’re not a true American until you’ve trampled one of your fellow countrymen and tasted their blood all in the name of getting the best deal on a toy your kid doesn’t want and/or doesn’t need.
Ages ago, in time immemorial, I worked several retail jobs while going to college. Mercifully, I had managed to avoid working for stores that had ULTRA DOORBUSTER BLACK FRIDAY DEALZ but I still had to deal with the crowds and the traffic, and the parking during the holiday season. The last Black Friday I worked retail, I had to arrive at work by 5:30 to open my shop by 6…and then I proceeded to sit around until 11 AM when my first customer walked into the store, asked if we had any sales going on, and promptly left when I advised there were none.
To all the retail workers out there…respect. Now…on to the toys!
SH Figuarts – Avengers: Endgame
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for me in terms of toy shopping. Preorders for what I’m presuming to be the final wave of Avengers: Endgame SH Figuarts figures dropped a couple of days ago and I was lucky enough to snag both the Iron Man and Captain America “Final Battle” figures which are slated to ship around May of next year.
The previous versions of these figures sold out quickly and lacked a lot of the accessories that are included in these versions. For Iron Man you get an alternate Tony Stark head (which may be a first for the Figuarts figures, Tony had his OWN separate figure previously) and a myriad of interchangeable hands and weapons. Captain America is, in my opinion, the real star of the show due to the addition of a regular AND a shattered shield, AND Mjolnir complete with attachable lighting effects!
Also included in this wave were an armoured Spider-Man and Endgame Captain Marvel (both of which I passed on because I’m not made of money). Unfortunately, if you weren’t able to get in on the preorder you may be S.O.L. since these disappeared pretty quickly.
Last week, I took a much needed day off. I read comics, got in some video game time, all the fun stuff. I don’t do well with being idle so I left to go hunting for toys under the flimsy pretext of needing something to write about for this week’s column. In my travels, I visited one of the two remaining K-Mart’s in the metro Detroit area, both of which are slated to close soon.
On my way to K-Mart, I stopped at a Walgreens pharmacy because (for some reason) they have started to get exclusive action figures and my target for this trip was the Transformers Siege Ratchet figure. The figure is a repaint of the Ironhide figure that was released some months ago and it’s a nice callback to the original 1984 versions of these figures which were also repainted of each other.
In the THIRTY-FIVE years I’ve been collecting Transformers figures, I somehow never managed to have Ratchet as part of my collection and I was able to rectify that during this expedition…and it was on sale!
Next up, I stopped at a local supermarket under the guise of, you know, doing some actual grocery shopping. Of course, my fist stop was the toy department. As I perused the back corner where all the new Star Wars mercy was stocked I had decided that I flat out needed a Mandalorian figure for my shelf. In the few weeks since The Mandalorian had premiered the figure had become a highly sought after quantity due to the awesome nature of the show.
As a looked at the figures on the pegs, there was a decided lack of Mandalorian merchandise which wasn’t surprising. But then I looked up, way up, to the top stock only to see…a Jyn Erso from Rogue One. But BEHIND THAT was a Mandalorian that some sneaky soul had stashed for later retrieval. Invoking the rule of “you snooze, you lose” I proceeded to the checkout. It’s all part of the game, I myself have snost and lost on several occasions so I’ve learned not to hesitate when it comes to finding rare figures in the wild.
Generally, I don’t collect the Star Wars Black Series figures but I was willing to make an exception for this specific figure. I’m willing to overlook some of the perceived flaws in the figure due to it being a display piece for me. The figure’s cape is molded plastic and looks weird unless the figure is holding a very specific pose (like, say, just chilling in its box) and the blaster rifle looks like it should slot into an empty space on the figure’s back but the plastic tab on mine doesn’t remotely fit into the space provided. I’m glad that I hadn’t decided that I needed one of the ultra rare “carbonized” editions of this figure or I would have lost my goddamn mind trying to obtain it.
Finally, my Mandalorian merchandise hunt wouldn’t be complete with out the Hot Wheels Starships Razor Crest die-cast ship. It’s a tiny reproduction of The Mandalorian’s bad ass ship and I decided it would look really, really cool on my desk. I will say that I went to more Walmarts then I’m comfortable with admitting in print to secure this ship.
So there you have it! I drove all over southeast Michigan for three toys! I’m fully aware of how ridiculous this may seem to a non-collector and I’m perfectly okay with it. Everyone needs a hobby, right?