Feb 27, 2017

Reddit Star Wars Gift Exchange

Every once in awhile i get emails from Reddit Gifts inviting me to sign up for a gift exchange. They have them quite frequently and for all sorts of themes from holidays to umbrellas!

I finally decided to jump in and check one out. Given my last experience with getting a box of Star Wars stuff in the mail, I thought it would be a good remedy.

The way they work is that you sign up and then get paired with a "Santa", the person that will send you a gift. Everyone is sending to a different person. For example: Person A sent something to me, I sent something to Person B, and Person B sent to Person C, and so on. There's a suggested $20 limit on the gifts and you fill out a little survey when you sign up so you can tell your Santa what you like.

My giftee likes the original movies and leans more toward the Dark Side. Being a Star Wars collector myself, I know how hard it can be when someone is trying to shop for you because they have no idea what you might or might not have already. I decided to have some fun with the gift. I managed to find: Darth Vader socks, Han in Carbonite ice cube tray, some playing cards, a Kylo Ren shaped mint container, and a Vader/Yoda Pez set.

Part of the exchange process is that after you get the gift, you share it with everyone.
You can see their post, with pics, here.

I got my box Friday. Or I should say I got my boxes! I was surprised to find two boxes waiting on my doorstep. I opened the first one...

In my Santa survey, I of course listed Fett as a favorite character. While I already have him from the Smuggler's Bounty he was exclusive to, it's nice to have one I can put out on display. General Grievous is a Walgreens exclusive that I hadn't seen in person yet. He looks awesome! I hope they do a four-arm version.

Given there was a $20-ish limit, I would have been totally happy getting this in my exchange, so what was in the other box?

I opened it and was like a kid on Christmas morning when I saw the packing box inside telling me it was The Bounty Hunter Code!

Exterior slipcase
This is the third in a series of "Vault Edition" books. But it's not just a book. These things are an experience! They are designed to be as in-universe as possible, like something you'd find in Star Wars. There are Jedi and Sith versions which come inside of a holocron. I never picked this one up for some reason and was beyond thrilled to be opening it.

Once you get past the slipcase and take it out of the box, this is what you have: a hard plastic case with the Mandolorian mythosaur skull. To open it, you have to push buttons on either side, which causes the center grill to slide down and activates some lights and sound. Then you insert the included "data card" to unlock it and the lid opens itself!

Check out the above video starting around 1:10 to see it in action.

Inside the lid is an Alliance report documenting how this case was found on Fett's ship over Tatooine. In addition to the main book, there is another below it written by Bossk's father and a Kamino saber dart like the ones used by Jango in Attack of the Clones. Both books have notes scribbled in the margins from various Star Wars personalities.

It also includes some fun Imperial document inserts!
The Wanted poster is printed in English on the flip side.

To say I'm happy with my Santa would be an understatement! I wouldn't expect to get so much awesome if I did another exchange but now that I've got one under my belt, I'll probably dive in to the next one that sounds interesting. The do hold these for holidays so I know I'm definitely getting in on the Halloween one this year!

If you want to check it out, head over to RedditGifts.
It's a separate account from Reddit, but it wouldn't hurt to be a member there too.

Feb 17, 2017

Holy Easter Eggs, Batman!

We went to see the LEGO Batman Movie this weekend and in keeping with spirit of its predecessor, everything was awesome! I'm not going to go too much into it but there are spoilers ahead.


The movie is incredibly packed with references to Bat-history. Now, I don't consider myself a hardcore fan by any stretch but I think I did pretty good at catching a lot of them. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there if you want a full run down but I wanted to mention a couple of things that stood out to me.

We get to see pretty much every Batsuit you could imagine, but what's this?

That's not a Santa Batsuit, it's a KRAMPUS Bat! It looks more Santa than Krampus but given Batman's rep, I guess it makes more sense to be something to be feared. I'm just happy to see Krampus getting more mainstream.

One of the most fun things is that this Batman has experienced everything you've ever seen Batman in: comics, cartoons, movies, TV, all of it. While Batman '66 may not have had villains on par with what we're used to today, I enjoyed seeing cameos by the likes of King Tut, who got his own minifig.

But there was one cameo in particular that made this grown man squee with delight...

Egghead, who was portrayed by none other than Vincent Price!

He didn't have any lines, which is probably for the best. So now, I 'm totally justified in demanding an Egghead minifig, right? Oh, and while you're at it, LEGO, Gentleman Ghost please!

Nothing from Bat-history is too obscure.
Even the Wonder Twins and Gleek show up at a Justice League party!

At first, I thought that was Krypto dropping the beats but why does he have a green cape? I forget which character but someone calls out that it's Wonder Dog. Yet I didn't see Marvin and Wendy anywhere. What up with that?

I guess that's one mystery they wont' solve.

You might be carrying around another Bat Easter Egg! In the movie, the Batcomputer is played by Siri and he addresses her by saying "Hey, 'puter." So if you have an iDevice, you might want to give that a try.

Feb 9, 2017

How I Nearly Got Cyber Swindled

A few weeks ago, an ad came up on my Facebook feed for "The Hunt For The Force Mystery Box" from Sports Collectors Warehouse (hereafter SCW).

What Star Wars fan wouldn't at least follow the link to see what it was all about? With the success of Loot Crate and other blind subscription boxes, online retailers have been selling blind boxes of collectibles so I presumed this was another one of those.

Here is basically what I found. I kind of Frankenstien'd a couple of screen grabs from the page but I have not changed anything. If you want to view the actual page, click here.

Maybe some "if it sounds too good to be true" alarms should have been going off but, again, I've been seeing legit sites sell mystery boxes. While I wasn't expecting to be a lucky person getting anything vintage or especially rare, I thought I would at least get a box of assorted Star Wars goodies that was equal in value to the cost.

After about a week, I get a shipping notice and being very eager to get my mystery goodies, sign up to get tracking updates every step of the way.  I actually do this pretty frequently when getting things delivered. I like the anticipation of seeing where the package is. 

Fast forward to the day it gets delivered. I get the tracking update while I'm at work and oh boy, I can't wait to get home!

I opened the box and pulled out a black ziploc bag. What could it be?

"Are you f'n kidding me?" (almost my exact words)
Two items with a current retail value of under $10?!?
One of which wasn't even in a sealed package!


After calming down a bit, I went to the interwebs and googled the company name. Imagine my surprise when I found a Facebook group called Sport Collectors Warehouse Scam Victims. Looking through the posts, I saw several others posting photos of their lackluster box contents.

Some had toys similar to what I got. Some got a single comic book, and not even a Star Wars one,  I'm talking Daredevil and Alpha Flight! Others got loose figures that were in plastic bags with another store's card attached to them! Nothing I saw, outside of the comics, was older than 1999. Several of the group members had already tried to contact the store by email and phone. Many had already called their credit card companies to report fraud and/or request a new credit card.

Someone joined the group to show off a 1978 original, boxed 12" Vader figure he supposedly received. Some of the group members checked his FB profile and found he might be somehow related to the store that sold the boxes. He got booted.

Within another 24 hours, a message was posted on the SCW website.

 I shot off an email quicker than Han in a quick draw contest, as did everyone else in the group. Inside of a few hours, we got email refund notifications. Over the weekend, people started seeing the funds go back into their accounts (including shipping!) and they told us to keep the junk they sent us.

While nicely worded, their final message certainly feels like so much smoke and mirrors damage control to appease the collectors and fans they mistakenly angered. The creator of the FB group changed the name to SCW Unhappy Collectors. Now we have a small Star Wars collector group that shared this nasty experience. We've been sharing photos of our collections and doing things that geeks do, so I guess something good came from all this.

Feb 6, 2017

Glorp Valentines

Brad McGinty is at it again with some ghoulishly good Valentine cards!

You can get a pack of all 4 for just $5! Or if you happen to have more than four special people in your life, you can get 3 for $11, 6 for $20, or even 12 packs (48 cards) for $36.

Looking for a spooky way to tell somebody you wanna "do" em? Well, look no further! These 4 morbidly monstrous GLORP valentines have been specially hand crafted by the GLORP gum crew to terrify and tantalize!

Each pack contains all 4 GLORP valentines and 1 lil' red envelope!

McGinty's art has that perfect blend of wild and crazy with a dash of retro. Even the backs of the cards are pretty cool.

Act now if you want to get them in time for the big day!

You can get them from the Glorp site, which also got a recent makeover. There's plenty of other weird stuff to check out, so what are you waiting for?

Feb 3, 2017

Funko Smuggler's Bounty - Empire

Before we blast off to check out this box I want to give a shout out to Funko. They recently gifted those who subscribe to their boxes a 100% free box! People got a box from a property they weren't subscribed to and I got a Spider-Man box which has some great stuff in it. 

With that out of the way, let's check out the Empire box!

The info card in the box says they put Dagobah Luke on the box because Empire is where he really develops on the road to Jedi-dom.

Somehow I finished the entire post and realized I left out the pin and patch! They covered all the major locations in the movie by including these characters in the box. But how do you do an Empire box and leave out Boba Fett? I guess I can let it slide because they did a bounty hunter box and also had a Fett Pop in the Jabba's Palace box.

Continuing the tradition of debuting new Funko items, we get a pair of Pop socks. If I worked somewhere that I had to wear dress socks, I would certainly wear these! I'll probably break them out at the next "dressy" event I have to go to.

Every box, I keep saying I'm going to cancel my sub but karabast it, if there's one subject that would keep me on for another, it's the Rebels animated series. They've already shown off the exclusive Pop for the box but I won't spoil it here. It's not a character I'm really interested in but it looks very cool.

How adorable is this plush Wampa?? He's as soft as he is cute. Almost makes you forget that he's more likely to string up up in a cave for dinner than give you a hug.

Even though they spoiled this well in advance of the box shipping, it's still a great piece! They said normally they send sketches to Lucasfilm for approval but with this one, they hand sculpted and painted a prototype to surprise them. It was approved right out of the gate!

Fun fact: The Christmas after Empire came out, I put Taunton on my Christmas list. While you might think it's a misspelling, it's actually the name of the city I grew up in! My mom got a good laugh out of my putting the whole town on my list to Santa.

They even put a little badge on Han's coat and gave him the wrist comm that he uses. Great details! It would have been fun if they made the Smuggler's Bounty exclusive version of this with Han in a blue coat. 

If you don't know, the 1980 action figure had a blue coat, so everyone assumed that's the color it was. Turns out, because the Hoth scenes are colored blue, it made his brown coat appear blue. Here's a shot of the actual coat from Star Wars Celebration 4.

Because this Pop is so big, that's all for this box. Not that I'm complaining at all, the Pop is totally worth the price of admission. If you have a sub to any of the Funko boxes, they let you order past boxes. So if you missed out on this one, you might be able to get it by subscribing.

Head over to the Smuggler's Bounty site if you want to sign up.

Feb 1, 2017

Monthly Movie Recap - January 2017

Happy New Year, welcome to the Apocalypse!

I usually rack up more movies in January but we've been lucky so far with the weather so I haven't been as house bound as normal for this time of year. That and I've been watching the second season of Voltron and Crazyhead on Netflix. Both highly recommended!

This is what happens when you can't decide on something to watch and after 20 minutes of browsing you pick something so you stop browsing. I swear Kevin Smith sat down with Charles Band, smoked a lot of weed, and came up with this version of Clerks for tweens. I honestly don't know if the girls aren't great actors or if they're perfectly playing their roles.

Cool: The Internet-style character intros. Some fun cameos. The yoga teacher Yogi Bayer (get it?)
Lame: Who would think you'd ever say Johnny Depp was the least interesting part of a movie?

Rating: 5/10

Not realizing this was the middle of a trilogy, I of course had to see the first movie...

Tusk (2014, Amazon)
I'd actually meant to see this earlier but never got around to it. I didn't read about the origin of this one until after seeing it so it was definitely an odd watch because I didn't know if I was supposed to be laughing or not. Up to the point where the dark humor comes in, it's a pretty decent horror movie with good performances. Then it takes a turn and...well, you need to see for yourself.

Cool: The makeup effects are good, even when they're weird.
Lame: There wasn't anything I didn't like about it but the ridiculousness makes it hard to figure out how much I liked it.

Rating: 6/10

*Death Race 2000 (1975)
I wanted to revisit this one with the "sequel" coming out. A lot of the charm of this one for me is the fact that it is over 40 years old but it still holds up. If anything, it's more relevant today than when it was made with the "reality TV" culture we have. This is one of my favorite Corman films and I love it!

Rating: 7/10

Death Race 2050 (2017, Netflix)
I was thrilled to see the first trailer for this because it looked like they were trying to carry on with the 70s vibe of the original. Unfortunately, it felt more like Wacky Races than Death Race. Every time they show the cars in action, I kept thinking of Banana Splits because the film would be sped up to make it seem like things were moving faster. There are some fun bits to it but it feels like it really wants to be the original.

Cool: I got a good chuckle out of the new geographic regions. Great soundtrack.
Lame: They make it sound like a sequel but they re-do quite a few things from the original so it's pretty much a remake. The SyFy channel level of effects.

Rating: 5/10, I'm really torn on this one because I want to love it. Maybe in a few years it will hit cult status.

Take Jurassic Park, replace the dinos with zombies and dumb it down a few notches and you get The Rezort. I thought the description and the title sounded like it might be so bad it's good. I mean they used a "Z" instead of an "S", right? It's actually a little better then I was expecting! It doesn't do a lot of the zombie tropes you'd expect, whether that's good or bad, you have to decide.

Cool: Zombies, I guess?
Lame: Didn't really like any of the characters so who cares if they make it?

Rating: 5/10

iBoy (2017, Netflix)
Terrible name, pretty decent movie. To be honest, the only reason I checked this out is because Maisie Williams (#TeamArya) is in it. I liked it enough that I'm interested in reading the book it's based on to get into the characters a bit more.

Cool: Cyber superpowers! They sort of call out the less than stellar title in the movie.
Lame: No major complaints.

Rating: 6/10
Month Total
 New: 5  Rewatch: 1

Year Total
 New: 5  Rewatch: 1