After last Figure Friday’s action figure explosion, I managed to (mostly) keep it in my pants and NOT purchase anything new for “review purposes.” Also, I’m totally not trying to fill an unfillable hole in my soul by the near-constant purchasing of plastic trinkets that will ultimately end up in a storage bin.
For this FF outing we’re going to be taking a look at some BIG TOYS.
As a child, the axiom of “bigger is better” always held true. The swing set in my yard was twice the height of your standard regulation playground set. If you jumped at the right time you could get some serious distance flying across the yard, all the while praying that you wouldn’t break your ankles.
One Christmas the only thing I had decided that would validate my existence was the purchase of a Transformers Fortress Maximus that was, up to that point, the LARGEST TRANSFORMER EVER. It was also over $100 which in 1987 money was a definitive “no” from the parents, aunts, uncles, cool neighbours, AND Santa Claus himself. I got a Metroplex and it was fine, just fine.
As cliche as this sounds, there was a kid on the other side of the neighborhood who wasn’t quite a friend, but his parents were friends with my parents’ neighbors…look, the relationship was tenuous at best. Also, he lived six streets away which to a grade school age kid may as well have required a passport for travel. This fine young man had been born with a chronic illness which none of us quite understood as kids but what we DID understand was he got not just lots of toys but ALL the toys.
I write, of course, of the USS Flagg.
The haze of memory tends to amplify certain things so I had to double check the Wikipedia entry for this one. Measuring in at an astounding 7 feet and 6 inches, which even by today’s standards is astonishing. When hanging out with this kid, I never even touched the plastic aircraft carrier, rather I gazed at it like a work of art. The thing took up the entirety of his living room. It was probably the closest I will ever come to greatness in my life. For the record, I once met original Chewbacca (R.I.P.) as aside from being a lovely man, he only stood 7 feet, 2 inches.
With the release of Transformers: The Movie in 1986 school yard rumors persisted that a friend’s friend’s cousin’s dad totally worked for Hasbro and that they were going to produce a scaled version of Unicron, the Transformer who changed into a planet that ate other planets. Details were sketchy but the figure was to be taller than any of us were at the time. The same rumor played out a few years prior only swapping out “Unicron” for “The Death Star.”
So what happens a few decades on when an entire generation of toy collectors has grown up, started making money of their own, and some of whom have even gone into the toy biz? Not “Toy Biz” the company, but the business of making toys.
You get something like HasLab.
A crowdfunding platform that started with a 3.75-inch scale Jabba’s Sail Barge that measured 49.35 inches and costing only $499.99. It asked the questions, “This will never work, will it?” “Where can I pledge?” and “Is it okay if my rent is late this month?” The project met its goal of 5,000 backers and proved to toy manufacturers that, yes indeed there are toy collections that are crazy enough to back something like this.
Remember Unicron from a couple paragraphs ago? HasLab struck again with what is now officially the largest Transformer EVER at over 27-inches in height (that’s a toddler) and 30-inches in diameter when transformed into a planet. This project netted over ten thousand backers (at $574.99 a pop) and it very nearly got me to back it. My primary focus now is being able to buy a house where I could conceivably give Unicron his own room so I had to pass.
That brings us to the most recent HasLab project which will be wrapping up in just a few short days, an X-Men Legends Marvel’s Sentinel. The project has more than doubled it’s goal of 6,000 backers (15,128 as I type this) to produce a scaled version of Marvel’s mutant-hunting robots for the low, low price of $349.99. I was a little critical of this one since I was previously the owner of the Marvel Legends Sentinel Build-A-Figure that was produced around 15 years ago. Each Marvel Legends figure from that year’s line came with a part that could be used to build a Sentinel that was somewhere over a foot tall. The sculpt, paint, and articulation on that figure were all superb and I kind of feel that the HasLab version is missing some of those elements.
Unfortunately, my basement flooded a number of years ago and my Sentinel was lost in the smelly depths of the poo-water that also claimed about 30 years worth of comic books. That sentinel has been pretty highly sought after on the secondary market with individual pieces being prohibitively expensive. I’m currently 2/6 of the way to rebuilding the one I lost and I’m hoping against hope that the HasLab version causes the bottom to fall out of the secondary market for the older version.
So, what’s YOUR take on these giant titans of toys? Could you every see yourself forgoing food and/or shelter to scratch that toy itch you’ve been harboring since grade school?