Mar 22, 2017

Fundimensions Sound Gizmo Toy (1980)

With the advent of the internet, it's become ridiculously easy to revisit one's childhood. Whether you're reconnecting with friends or searching for that favorite toy, it seems everything is a mouse click away. But then there are those rare occasions when you go to Google up something and find just about nothing online and you remember that all that information out there has to be put there by someone.

In 1980 Fundimensions released a weird electronic toy called the Sound Gizmo. I don't remember exactly how I came by mine. It might have been a gift for a special occasion but I do remember not knowing anyone else that had one. This might explain why they currently go for $200-$300 on Ebay and why I can barely find any mention of it online.

Image from Neato Coolville
So what was the Sound Gizmo? Ready for this? It makes...sounds! If you were to play with one now, you'd think it was junk, barely a novelty. But to a kid barely into double digits that was obsessed with sci-fi, it was magic!

You've got a slider on the right that lets you pick from 9 different sounds, three knobs to tweak the sound, and two buttons for duration.

The manual (click for larger view) gave you suggested control settings for typical sound use. But having 9 sounds with variable pitch and speed, who wants typical? This is really where the replay value kicks in. I remember when I was outside playing (it's a thing kids used to do a long time ago) it was sort of a imagination multi-tool useful in any situation.

Need a machine gun?
Use the Train sound and crank the speed up.

Need to break out (or in) somewhere?
Use the Siren and keep adjusting the pitch and speed until you hit the right frequency and you've got a sonic lockpick! And yes, that's totally a riff on the sonic screwdriver.

Need to really annoy someone?
Set it to Tone and crank the pitch all the way up.

Here's a little demo video. I did not make this and (apologies to the creator) it's not a great showcase of what the Gizmo can do but it's the only thing I could find that isn't related to a certain Mogwai.

Here's a fun read I found at the Howard Stern show, of all places, where it was used in the days before soundboards to provide sound effects for the show. There's also a brief audio talking about the toy.

Do you have any childhood toys you don't think anybody else remembers?
Let's reminisce in the comments!

Mar 15, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Pint Sized Heroes

Somehow Funko keeps finding new ways to sell characters. We had Pop Vinyl, Mystery Minis, Dorbz, Wobblers, Rock Candy, and probably another one or two I'm forgetting. Now comes Pint Sized Heroes! This line has been out for awhile but only recently did my favorite bunch of a-holes get their own series.

Each pack retails for about $4 and comes with one figure and a mini-poster/checklist.

You'll notice the checklist shows 6 exclusives, three in red and three in blue. Reds are a GameStop/ThinkGeek store exclusives while the blue can only be found in Hot Topic. But they don't tell you that anywhere in the packaging. If you were to only buy from one place, you'd be left wondering where you can get the other exclusives!

I'm not planning on chasing a regular set of these, much less trying to get six exclusives split between two stores. Although I know I'll be getting a few more because I need some form of Rocket and Groot!

When they say Pint Sized, they ain't kidding! 
These cute little figures come in at just around the one inch mark.

Let me tell you, for only being an inch high, these things have got some crazy amount of detail on them! Not only do they replicate the graphics on Quill's t-shirt but check out all the line work that makes up his clothes and remember this figure is a whole 1" high!

I love the way they capture Gamora's multi-hued hair.

When I first saw Russell  in the new trailer I thought it was Jeff Bridges for a minute.

That's all the Guardians goodies for now but with it being a known quantity this go round, I know they're going to merchandise it like it's Spaceballs. You can bet there will be more GotG posts in the coming month and a half!

Mar 9, 2017

Star Wars Rogue One Trading Cards - UK Set

Welcome to part 2 of he Topps UK Rogue One Trading Card review!
If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

This set is a little different from the way they do US sets. In US sets, there is usually a base set of cards and then inserts which have different odds of getting one in each pack. The only "inserts" in this set are these special cards.

I don't know what the "actual" name is for them so I'll go with rainbow holo-foil. These limited editions can be found in regular packs at 1:36 odds. If you buy a starter set, you get Jyn. They used to sell a special package of 5 packs that included either Cassian or Vader. Those packs are no longer in stock online but I did manage to grab one. The Vader I pulled from a regular pack.

This is what I like to call a hype set. It's released before the movie so it typically doesn't contain a lot of spoilers. This is a 212 card set and although the cards are individually numbered, there are definitely mini sets or themes that run throughout.

Cards 1-33 consist of 11 characters, each with three images. The cards themselves are even a bit different from what you get in the US. You can sort of see it on Jyn, they have a bit of texturing on them instead of being just cardboard.

Cards 34-51 are mostly characters with a few ships. Some characters get three different cards, while poor Director Krennic only gets one. Even the Deathtroopers get three!

It was about this point shooting the cards that I decided to double up on the mini sets, otherwise this would be a really long post.

Cards 52-61 are represented by the top row. These are some of my favorite in the whole set. I think they have a bit of a stencil graffiti vibe.

62-73, bottom row, is more character art. Most of the cards in the set have no information on the backs so a lot of these feel they're almost playing cards.

74-84 on the top, is all character head shots. The art style is reminding me of...something. I can't think of what it's reminding me of at the moment though. These also have two bits of info on the back: allegiance and height.

Bottom row, 85-92, is all Vader, all the time! These are another favorite mini set, especially the style of the two on the right because they feel like a 70s throwback.

Cards 93-128 make up four 9-card puzzle posters. You can fit 9 cards per storage page. Coincidence? They're a little spaced out in the page but they still look pretty good.

129-150 are movie scene cards. Again, unlike what you'd be expecting in the US, there is no text on the back describing the scene or plot. They're not even numbered in the order the scenes happen in the movie.

151-160 look a bit different. The first time I pulled one I thought it was a little...odd. The white circle in the lower left has a faint image of a character. Why this strange design? I'll get back to them shortly, they do have a purpose!

161-192 are holo-foil cards. In a US set, these would probably be an insert that you'd expect to get in every few packs. Not here though! You get one in every 8 card pack! They also have text on the back describing the thing on the front.

I'm still trying to figure out why you would need a cargo AT-AT in a galaxy where flying/hover vehicles are as common as cars.

193-202 are plastic! It's kind of hard to tell but everywhere you see white on the top two cards, it's transparent and the background is showing through. Remember those unusual cards a couple pictures ago that looked kind of blank? Well, you pair those with the corresponding plastic card and you get what you see on the bottom. I really like this idea!

203-212 are sticker cards, which I didn't even realize until I looked at the poster that came with the starter set. They are a little bit thicker than the rest of the cards in the set. The same image is on the back of the card so if you decide to use the sticker, you still have a card with the image on it.

Overall, I really enjoy this set. I collect playing cards for the art and I think that's part of why I like this set so much, it's very art-centric. I still need just over 25% of the cards to complete it. This is where you end up paying for it because I'm more likely to find people outside the US to trade with.

The only negative things I have to say are that the cards are not as sturdy as what I'm used to and you have to be careful handling a stack of them to not ding or bend the corners.

The second thing is more at Topps Direct for their shipping. They always use a padded mailer no matter what you order. Packs of cards? Padded envelope. Individual cards to complete your collection? We'll put those in a regular envelope and put that in a padded envelope. I guess I can't complain because the shipping is so cheap but it would be nice to not have to worry about the condition of your cards.

By the way, that is one of the best things about Topps Direct is that you can purchase individual cards from them! As of this post, they still have Rogue One Starter Sets (around $5) and 8-card packs for just over $1 each! You can find them here.


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