Category Archives: Toys

Who you gonna build?

There’s nothing that’s not awesome about these LEGO Ghostbusters. Nothing.

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I wonder if kids today know what it was like to grow up in the days before LEGO licensed all kinds of awesome properties? Can you imagine sets based on Dukes of Hazzard, Goonies and everything else we loved in the 80’s? Wow.

Legos get more formal

Max Kalehoff has a point here:

Today, mass-marketed Lego sets seem less about invention. They have become sophisticated model and hobby sets (often co-opting blockbuster entertainment franchises). Lego blocks are less raw building blocks, and more intricate puzzles with definitive outcomes.  The highly specialized pieces are perfect for planned models, though I believe their lack of interchangeability across sets discourages invention. My kids seek to stay within the lines and preserve their models indefinitely, and these delicate things, while impressive, clutter our modest home.

via Lego’s Evolution From Invention To Prefabrication | AttentionMax.

That being said, I don’t think that’s a 100% truism all the time. Lego kits in my house have been built, admired on a shelf, taken off and played with like they were more sturdy toys, taken apart and had their parts used to build custom vehicles, buildings and more. So while yes, the intent seems to be more structured – I’ve even seen recent commercials where they’re played with in action – there’s still an awful lot of potential for kids to do whatever they want with the component bricks.

In defense of the hood

JC Hutchins asked yesterday which people preferred, Cobra Commander’s silver mask or his hood. I replied that the hooded look was far superior and then he decided to drag mothers and ethnicity in to it so I’m going to get up in his grill about it.

(Note: I may be making some of that up, but am leaving it there for dramatic effect. This is what’s needed when debating a novelist.)

(2nd Note: For the purposes of this piece I’m using the Marvel Comics’ series as a reference point since it’s much more well-rounded than the cartoon and features more frequent appearances of the hood.)

(3rd Note: Psyche!!)

When Cobra Commander was portrayed with his hood on as opposed to his silver mask it meant, basically, that shit was about to get real. The silver mask indicated he was about to run into battle against the G.I. Joe team alongside Major Bludd and probably get captured again so that Zartan could once again infiltrate The Pit but somehow still not know where it is clearly enough to bring the Cobra thunder in full in order to rescue him.

But the hood being broken out meant Cobra Commander was getting serious. It was more regal, more majestic, more befitting of his world domination plans. It meant he was planning something big in his Springfield headquarters.

Let’s put it this way – wearing the mask into a meeting with potential HISS tank parts vendors is more likely to result in muffled laughter and people asking to check to see if they had anything in their teeth before Destro came in with his real decision making powers. Wear the hood and the cushions on the seats around the table will need to be changed because of the loss of bladder control.

Indeed the silver mask is actually the add-on look for Cobra Commander since before he built Cobra and was simply engaging in rally-building activities across the country and stirring up dissent against the status quo. So really the mask is an add-on that serves one purpose (battle) and even that had to be replaced in favor of the more fully-featured battle armor.

I hear where defenders of the silver mask may be coming from, especially since it’s almost uniformly used in the cartoon series and is the hallmark look of the toy line. But the fact is that the hood is much more in line with someone who’s looking to be called “Commander” and strikes a much more imposing note with allies and enemies alike.

You know, for kids

Quick game: Take a look at this leaked image of the toy version for The Fallen, the main villian in the Transformers sequel and see if you can guess which component is going to come under fire from concerned parents organizations across the country.

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Some quick thoughts about this:

  • Did anyone at any point in the toy’s development use the phrase “Big f***ing robot schwanz?”
  • What does that transform *from*.
  • Is he naturally bow-legged or is that just a side effect from his…condition?
  • Am I the only one who looks at this and thinks “He’s going to very popular” in the same voice Marty Feldman uses in Young Frankenstein?