Action Figures Posts

How Many Errors Can You Find In This Article?

error toys

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We recently introduced you to Nathan Lill, the Master of Mistakes (at least when it comes to Hot Wheels). Lill has a collection of over 12,000 Hot Wheels error cars, all collected since he first spotted one on the pegs in 2000.

But what exactly constitutes an error for something like a diecast car on a blister card? Well, there are all kinds of things that can go wrong, some subtle, some hilariously obvious.  Packaging misadventures, assembly problems, or color and graphics misfires are among the most common. Most errors need to be inside a sealed package to be verifiable, but that’s not always the case. And in a lot of examples, the packaging itself is the actual source of the error.

hot wheels error custom vw beetle

A lot of Hot Wheels come with intentionally mismatched wheels. This Custom VW is not one of them.

Assembly issues such as mis-spun rivets are hard to fake, so packaging might not be as important in those cases. On the other hand, for really early Hot Wheels, there are some very subtle variations in coloring that were probably unintentional, but could also be attributable to fading or other factors, so who can tell? But for the most part, buyers need to be aware of what to look for.

Here’s a check list of common error types that make it past the QC inspectors. Aside from the issues with wheels, most of these errors can apply to other collectibles such as action figures and vinyl art toys. Some error types are common enough that we have special Subjects on hobby DB just for those!

hobbyDB hot wheels error

Misadventures in Packaging

hot wheels error

Pretty sure that’s not a ’57 Thunderbird!

  • Mismatched car and package (On hobbyDB, these should be listed as a variant of the car, not the blister card. If you get that wrong, hey, mistakes happen.)
  • Wrong Shaped Blister (with specific shapes for each car, it’s surprising this doesn’t happen more.)
  • Off-Register/Off Kilter Package Printing
  • Vehicle Facing Wrong Direction In Blister (Upside down doesn’t sometimes count, as it’s easy for some models to do a barrel roll.)

    hot wheels error

    Upside down cars may or may not be considered errors. Depends on how much wiggle room is in the blister.

  • Mis-Cut Packaging (Unpunched holes don’t really count as errors, but are usually considered more valuable on their own merit)
  • Empty Sealed Package (Check carefully in case of the Wonder Woman Invisible Jet.)

Wheel Errors

  • Missing Entire Axle and Wheels
  • Reversed Wheels
  • Unchromed/Unpainted Wheels
  • Mismatched Wheels (Hard to spot these days, as some cars intentionally look like that)
hot wheels error

With so many wheels, you’re bound to have the wrong wheels in the wrong place sometimes.

  • Wrong Size Wheels (Hard to spot sometimes without reference)
  • Wrong Wheel Type

Molding Messes

  • Incomplete Casting (Not enough material to fill the mold.)
  • Excessive Flashing (Too much material in the mold. Not from exposing oneself in the park!)

Assembly Gone Awry

  • Wrong Color Body/Interior/Chassis/Window (Disputable, could be a legit variant. A lot of Redlines came with these kinds of differences and are just about impossible to document.)
  • Mismatched Parts (Such as a Mustang body on a Camaro chassis. That is unnatural and should not be a thing. List this as the variant with which it shares the most parts)
hot wheels error

The baseplate on this K.I.T.T. is backwards. The Hoff must be fuming!

  • Backwards/Upside Down Parts (This mostly happens with the chassis)
  • Missing components (Engines, interiors, windows, etc.)
  • Unspun Rivets
  • Mis-spun Rivets

Graphic In Nature

It’s not that difficult to fake some of color and graphics errors, so most of these probably should be in sealed packages to confirm their validity. Make sure your mistakes are real miscues and not shenanigans!

hot wheels error

The Python is supposed to have a flat black roof. This one doesn’t, and it looks unmodified, but it’s not in the package. Hmmmm…

  • Completely Missing Graphics
  • Graphics Missing On One Side, Top, etc.
  • Misaligned Graphics
hot wheels error

The wheels aren’t the problem here… that’s intentional. But notice how the graphics are “falling off” the car.

  • Off-Register Graphics (One color does not line up with the others)
  • Misspelled Graphics (Technically, this isn’t an error of production, but a failure to proofread. But if it’s caught and fixed, the wrong version might be pretty valuable.)
hot wheels error

Early versions of the Baywatch Rescue Ranger misspelled “First Aid” on the side. It’s a rare “pre-production” error that was eventually fixed. Now The Hoff is really feeling hassled!

Something (But Not Everything) Else

  • Missing Accessories (Buttons, sticker sheets, extra parts, collector cards, etc.)
  • Incorrect Accessories
  • Extra parts

error johnny lightning riviera“Mistakes” That Aren’t Really Errors

alfred e neuman action figure

What me worry? Alfred E. Neuman action figures came in all kinds of messed up alignments.

  • Broken parts… Sad when it happens, but it’s not really an error to collectors.
  • Casting errors that lasted the entire production run. Hey, a Johnny Lightning White Lightning ’71 Buick Riviera with the wrong grill… That’s gotta be rare, right? Well, only as rare as any other White Lightning. JL made castings for the ’71 and ’71 Rivieras, the only difference being the detail in the grill. For the Classic Gold version, they called it a ’71, but used the ’72 casting. They never corrected it, so even though it’s a goof, it’s the only version.
  • Items designed to look incorrectly packaged (Upside down, backwards, etc). This Alfred E. Neuman figure is supposed to be upside down, which matches the spirit of the magazine. Same with the Santa version, who looks like he fell inside the blister. Oh, and Spider-Man, in the image at the top of the page? Yep, that’s on purpose as well!

Do you have any error cars (or action figures) in your collection? Add them to our database as variants of existing items! And if you can think of any other types of errors, hit us up in the comments section!

12 Superhero Toys That Are Super Hard To Explain

 

weird superhero toys

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Superheroes have long been one of the most popular subjects for toys and collectibles, and why not? With a couple of action figures and a lot of imagination, anything is possible. Unfortunately, not everything that’s possible makes sense. Here are some of our, uhhh, favorite head-scratching superhero toys. If you have logical explanations for any of them, let us know in the comments!

Deadpool Duck LegoDeadpool the Duck – Is he a duck who thinks he’s Deadpool, or a Deadpool who thinks he’s a duck? Lego made an exclusive Duckpool (Deadduck?) minifig for the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, and he has since taken on other forms such as Funko Pops figures. Duckpool. This is really confusing, actually. Just accept it and move on.

Rocket Raccoon Mega ManRocket Raccoon vs. Mega Man Figures – Are they friends? Enemies? Frenemies? And what are they doing together since they’re from completely different copyrighted worlds? Well, there’s a new Marvel vs. Capcom video game, which is an extension of the arcade game that dates back to 1996. And the logical reason for that original mashup was, geez… like we said, hard-to-explain. The ‘90s were weirder than you remember.

guardians of the galaxy doritosGuardians of the Galaxy Doritos Bag With Built-in Walkman – Speaking of Rocket and friends, here’s a strange collectible. Few movies use their soundtracks as effectively as the Guardians movies, so it makes sense to offer an old-school cassette player filled with Star-Lord’s greatest hits. It even has lo-fi looking 1980s style headphones attached! Why it comes mounted in a bag of Doritos is anyone’s guess. Still, you know you want one.

spider bugy

sider mobile comic

Everyone hates the Spider-Mobile. Fans, artists, writers, Spidey himself…

Spider-Mobile/Dead Buggy – As we all know, Spider-Man gets around town pretty easily by slinging webs and swinging from building to building. And sometimes he takes the subway if needed. So what’s with the Spider-Mobile? It’s a dune buggy, which is cool, but doesn’t make a lot of sense in a major metropolitan area with no beach. It is canonical, having made several appearances in comic books, but always as the subject of ridicule. The joke came full circle when Hot Wheels made a must-have San Diego Comic Con exclusive model of it. Then things got even more meta when it was discovered that there was a chase version… If you were lucky, you might have opened the box to discover the Dead Buggy, “vandalized” by Deadpool.

huld copterHulk Copter – Hulk smash. Hulk throw things. Hulk struggle with socially acceptable motor control. So Hulk not good candidate for piloting helicopter. Or any vehicle, for that matter. But especially a helicopter.

corgi super mobile

Supermobile – If you’re faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, you don’t need a flying rocket car. Even if it has punching fists in side-mounted cannons. Even if it did actually appear in the comic books. In the time it takes to valet park that thing in Metropolis, Superman could be on the scene of any developing situation. And if he does need a ride, Batman probably owes him a favor, so he can call him. Nonetheless, Corgi made a model of it, a few different variants in fact. And there are some other neat toys if you search for “Superman plane” on hobbyDB.

hallmark flash aquaman

Aquaman with Batmobile

Aquaman waits for a ride in the Batmobile in “Justice League.”

Aquaman and Flash Cars – Not to keep harping on vehicles that have no reason to exist, but Aquaman doesn’t drive. At least he never seems to in the comics. Like Superman, he can hitch a ride in the Batmobile as needed. In fact, it appears that he does exactly that in the “Justice League” movie. As for Flash, he’s faster than any car will ever be, so the only time he might need one is if he goes to Costco on the weekend. And if he did shop in bulk, he probably would choose something more practical than a Corvette. They are adorable, though. These are part of the Squeely series of vinyl figures from Hallmark, so you can probably expect to see them in ornament form soon.

thor scooterThor Scooter – It’s The Mighty Thor. Riding a Vespa. A pink Vespa. This is non-canonical. This should not exist. The basis for this scooter is the Skiddo Scooter from Marx Toys, featuring a really scary looking Army soldier. Seriously, the other version is really weird looking!

batman superman squirt gunsBatman and Superman Squirt Guns – These are kind of strange… why would these guys go around spitting water on people? That’s really more of an Aquaman thing. But, hey, whatever. You could design a worse toy. Much, much worse…

Batman squirt gunAnother Batman Squirt Gun – No. NO! A THOUSAND TIMES, NO! This squirt gun is just wrong on so many levels, it’s impossible to count! In case you’re wondering, this does not appear to be an officially licensed toy (Need proof? The miscapitalization of “BatMan” on the label, the fact that he’s flying like Superman on that label, the fact that there is no way someone at DC would be dumb enough to authorize this… would they?) Amazingly enough, there was a similar Popeye version as well.

Got any other oddball superhero toys that we didn’t mention? Hit us up in the comments and add them to our database!

Guide to Vintage Carded Star Wars Action Figures

A Guest Blog Post by Mark Griffiths
This article was originally written for Rareburg, who in 2016,  joined forces with hobbyDB to provide an excellent source of collectible knowhow for the community. 

As with most things in life, ‘something’ is only worth what ‘someone’ will pay for it. This is true for most things in life, whether that be a second hand car, property or collectable toys.

Luke Skywalker x-wing

This guide to vintage carded Star Wars action figures will provide you with an insight into how to begin assembling a vintage Star Wars action figure collection (on cards) from the 1977 – 1983 era as working out just where to start can be a bit of a minefield. Return of the Jedi (ROTJ), Empire Strikes Back (ESB), Power of the Force and Tri Logo are just a selection of the different branded cards which exist, produced by Kenner and Palitoy with 65 back, 79 back and ‘Last 17’ (and more!) – the barriers to entry in collecting these treasures can be huge.

Imperial Commander

Not only is gaining a full understanding of the vast range of these 3¾ inch action figure produces a challenge, this is coupled with how ‘rare’ and ‘valuable’ is defined in different countries the world over.

My 30 years experience of collecting Star Wars carded action figures began back in 1984, after the final movie from the original trilogy had been released, when the obsession with the Star Wars franchise was well and truly over with the UK public. Believe it or not, I still remember working in my parents toy store having to re-box thousands of unsold action figures and playsets before shipping them back to the UK distributer as we could just not shift the stock. Just imagine having dozens of boxes of these gems in today’s market! From the crest of a wave 18 months previous we now had to make room for the next ‘fad’ as a range of merchandise from a Saturday morning cartoon called Transformers was on its way!

Romba

Since that time I have had a vested interest in collecting these figures and monitoring their values.

The late 1980’s and early 1990’s brought modest increases to most figures, but 1999 was a game changer. Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, produced 16 years after Return of the Jedi brought a great deal of attention back to the original action figure collection, just as The Force Awakens will in December 2015.

Although there had always been ‘hard to find’ figures such as Yak Face, Boba Fett with firing cannon and the elusive Jawa with plastic cape, the focus now began to move to a much broader range and the immense number of variations of each figure.

Darth MaulBut apart from Episode 1 bringing Star Wars back to the forefront of the public’s hearts and minds, why this increase in prices for the original ’77 – ’83 merchandise? Obviously, the rareness of some of these original figures but it was more than that, it was the newly produced Power of the Force range brought out for the Phantom Menace movie. The figures were not well received by the public, confusing ‘Comm Tech’, massive quantities – hundreds upon hundreds in the range and of course Jar Jar Binks! Kenner also seemed wise to the marketing of the so called ‘rare’ figures in the range. Back in the 80’s these ‘hard to find’ figures almost came about by chance, this time it all seemed a little too well planned.

Yak Face

These figures, now 16 years old themselves struggle to break $10 each, with many exchanging hands for as little as $4 – Mint on Card (MOC). The remaining parts of the prequel trilogy, Episodes 2 and 3 did little to change the collector’s appetite for the updated range and instead, once again the focus reverted back to the vintage collection.

But which figures I hear you ask, which particular figures from the original series are still increasing in value? Well as I am sure you will agree, certain figures which were rare 10 years ago are now even more sought after with onset of time but there are still some figures which are financially accessible. The Rancor Keeper for example on a ROTJ card can be purchased quite easily on another marketplace for as little as $30. That same figure on a Tri Logo card however can be valued as high as 5 times that amount, approaching $200. Yes, thats right, $200 for one 3¾ inch action figure, and not a particularly rare one at that!

The reason for this huge range in valuation is largely down to the quality and type of card which houses the character. A ROTJ card is less rare, whereas the ESB and Star Wars increase in value dramatically. In fact figures on a Star Wars card can cost thousands of dollars, particularly key characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Rancor KeeperSo what of Tri Logo cards, where do they fit into the equation? So the story goes, these figures were run off by Palitoy at the very end of the production of Star Wars figures – a combination of overproduced characters backed on cards for the European market and new characters never released in the USA, once again limited to European stores. This is why the value of these cards holds strong in the US market.

So, where would I begin, what advice would I provide to collectors hoping to move into the vintage Star Wars carded action figure market?

Begin at the end! There are so many variations of just 1 action figure, it would be extremely (financially) challenging to collect every figure from that era as there are literally hundreds and hundreds – just one selling for $18,000 at a recent auction in the North East. Therefore, decide on your target collection, whether that be a full set of 1 character on different cards or a full set of figures on 1 card e.g. a full set of ROTJ backed figures.

BaradaDo your research! Before you begin, consider how many figures there are in a particular collection, which are more common and identify those which are rare – how much are you willing to pay and how are you going to acquire them, there are more avenues than just another marketplace…?

Understand your Cards! Which logo – ROTJ, Star Wars, Tri Logo…how many figures on the back of the card e.g. a 65 back is sometimes worth more than a 79 back, is the card ‘punched’ or ‘unpunched’ and is the card flat and free from sun damage and tears?

Life, Death, and the Price of Princess Leia Action Figures

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

There’s been a lot of chatter on Facebook from collectors who complain about sellers raising the prices of collectibles related to a famous actor or public figure when they die. Right now, of course, lots of folks are concerned about the price of Princess Leia action figures in the wake of Carrie Fisher’s sudden death.

“How dare you?” they ask. “You ghoul!” they scream (yes, I actually saw someone call a seller a ghoul a couple days ago). “How can you even think about exploiting a person’s death for profit?” they yell.

Well, they have a point. But only sort of.

luke skywalker princess leia han solo

So what do you do when this happens? Several possibilities come to mind…

Spare the outrage. So maybe the seller is taking advantage of the situation. Calling them ghouls (such an underutilized word!) won’t help. The market decides what an item is worth by how rare it is and by how many people want to get their hands on it. They have the right to ask a price, and you have the right to decide if you’re willing to pay it.

princess leia action figure

Wait a couple weeks. Part of the reason for the higher price is that a lot of non-traditional collectors are suddenly looking to buy a memorial item, which can drive up the market. So wait for that first wave to calm down, and you might be competing with fewer buyers. There’s a phenomenon that often occurs when a particular collectible sells for ridiculous bucks that goes something like this:

• The first seller gets a huge price for a rare item.
• Other collectors who have the same item to sell put theirs up for sale right after that.
• Suddenly, there are several of that supposedly “rare” collectible available.
• That first buyer, who was willing to overpay, is no longer competing with you.
• And then the price settles into its natural place.

Hold on, you don’t already own one? If you’re a serious collector, you should already have that item on your shelf, right? Well, not necessarily. Perhaps it really is a rare action figure, in which case, you should expect it to be expensive. So maybe it’s a fair price. And if the price is higher than anyone is willing to pay, the seller might lower it eventually.

Finally, why were you looking up prices in the first place? Here’s a 2001 cartoon by Rex Silo, published shortly after Dale Earnhardt, Sr. died, that explains a common process.

Food Shelter Cable Rex Silo

“Food, Shelter, Cable” by Rex Silo. (c) 2001, used with permission

So why did you look it up? Were you just curious about the value of an item? Or were you considering selling one yourself if the price is right? Admit it, we all have different reasons to collect, and cashing in on a rare item at the right time is one part of the game.

In the meantime, let’s appreciate Carrie Fisher for who she was… an actress with a beautiful voice, a ferociously funny writer, and someone whose films have left us with fantastic memories for almost four decades now.

princess leia han solo

A Look at the Scary Side of Collecting

The macabre, the horror movies, the candy, the decorations, the candy, the costumes…oh, and the candy.  Just a few of the many reasons I look forward to Halloween every year, and why it’s been my favorite holiday since I was a kid donning my Ben Cooper Boba Fett costume.  (You know, those plastic costumes you couldn’t breathe in or see out of, but were worn by children everywhere). As an adult….ok, as a “big kid”…it’s always amazed me to see the variety and cult following of horror-related collectibles and toys.  You can find action figures and statues for virtually every pop culture franchise these days, but you can still find a few classic collectibles from the horror genre.  Here are some of my favorite Halloween-friendly collectible ideas… the Scary Side of Collecting!

1979-kenner-alien

1979 Kenner Alien Large-Size Figure

Its evil brains glow in the dark! When Kenner picked up the license for the 1979 Ridley Scott movie, Alien, they were hoping to be on track with the next big thing after Star Wars.  While the movie was undoubtedly a success, the film’s R-rating and graphic violence resulted in a very quick death for the toy line. While a line of 3 3/4″ figures was planned (and later reproduced by Funko & Super7), the only item to make it to production was this behemoth 18″ figure. Given that these are often found missing the dome, one of the five back spikes, or tail, and often with a broken set of retractable teeth, finding one of these complete and in nice condition can be difficult.  Gentle Giant later reproduced these in larger scale (24″ tall).

 

maxxfx-freddy-krueger

Matchbox MaxxFX Freddy Krueger

Kenner wasn’t the only company to have a toy from the Alien franchise planned, only to later ditch the concept.  In the late 80s, Matchbox was to include the Alien Warrior from the 1986 film, Aliens, in their MaxxFX line. These 9″ action figures were similar to Mego figures in style, and allowed the owner to dress up the character as one of multiple horror characters.  Several prototypes were developed for this line, but ultimately only Freddy Krueger was released.

 

cult-classicsNECA Cult Classics

McFarlane Toys might have set the stage for horror figures coming to the mainstream with their Movie Maniacs line, but in 2005 NECA took it a step farther by introducing their Cult Classics line. Similar in style to the Movie Maniacs, these 7″ tall figures took small-scale collecting to a new level with their incredible sculpts, statuesque posing, and the diversity of the line. While the line featured many horror favorites such as Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, fans were also treated to debuts of figures such as Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, Frank the Bunny from Donnie Darko, and The Jigsaw Killer from Saw.   The line continued for a solid five years and gave us dozens of unique characters from the genre.

 

neca-nbxNECA The Nightmare Before Christmas

What Halloween would be complete without some of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas? In 2004, NECA launched a line of figures from the cult movie, and what is in my opinion one of the best action figure lines of all time (despite the occasional quality issues).  Over the course of five years, nearly every character from the movie saw release in this line, making it not only a fun set to complete, but also making for an amazing display.  (Note: the image shown is only part of the line!)  NECA even produced the Spiral Hill and the Snow Buggy Jack heisted from Christmas Land.  The only downside to this line is that it’s *sooooo* close to being complete, those of us who are completists will feel annoyed about the few missing characters.  (The band, Finklestein’s second creation, the tree with hanging skeletons, and the reaper…I believe these are the only characters not made.)

 

mcfarlane-twisted-christmasMcFarlane Toys Twisted Fantasy

NECA has had many successful 6-7″ action figure lines, but along side them has always been McFarlane Toys, the company that sparked the highly-detailed figure lines in this size.  McFarlane is known for Spawn, various sports series, and their Movie Maniacs, but some of my favorites fall in the “Twisted” categories.  McFarlane has lent their horrifying takes to The Wizard of Oz, Christmas and general Fairy Tales, creating masterpieces in action figure form and inducing nightmares everywhere.  Some of this stuff is not for the faint of heart (like Humpty Dumpty), or oversexualized (like Mrs. Claus), or both (like Red Riding Hood), but these series add an extra degree of macabre to any collection.

 

sideshow-horrorSideshow Collectibles 1:6 Scale & Statues

OK, so maybe the smaller figures aren’t really  your style.   Maybe you’re looking for something a bit larger to be the centerpiece(s) of your frightful collection.  That’s where a company like Sideshow Collectibles comes in.  Sideshow has made a name for themselves making top-notch large scale figures, having started with 1:6 scale action figures and moving into 1:4 and even larger.  Some of their early offerings included 1:6 scale versions of horror icons like Freddy, Leatherface and Jason, which then progressed into their mixed media 1:4 scale line, the Premium Format Figures.  These days, Sideshow is revisiting new versions of their classics with all new and improved sculpts and features.

 

lovecraft-sota-statuesSOTA Toys H.P. Lovecraft Statues

In my humble opinion, H.P. Lovecraft is the undisputed master of terror.  Writing well ahead of his time, Lovecraft let the imagination run wild with indescribably horrific creatures in other-worldly settings, creating horror that to this day remains some of the best of all time.  Many have tried to capture the spirit of the creatures of Lovecraftian lore, but few have been as successful in doing so as SOTA Toys.  In 2010-2011, SOTA released statues of Cthulhu, Dagon, and Nyarlathotep, each measuring over a foot tall, with insanely good detailing and paint.  While these retailed in the $200 range, they generally go for at least twice that now, when and if they become available.

 

funko-horror

Funko Pop Vinyl, Mystery Minis, & ReAction Figures

OK, maybe you love horror, but the blood and guts or a two-foot tall machete-wielding murderer isn’t the best decor for your home.  Or maybe having a large statue of the Master of R’lyeh is enough to give Grandma a heart attack when she visits.  If so, then Funko has some much more tame, adorable options for you.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last few years, you’ve no doubt seen or heard of Funko’s Pop Vinyl figures. This collection of cute, stylized 3 3/4″ tall figures includes everything from My Little Pony to A Clockwork Orange, including a wide variety of your favorite horror characters. The beautiful thing about these – they’re small, inexpensive (with a $10 price point) and won’t result in the neighbors running from your house screaming.  If the Pop Vinyl isn’t enough, Funko also makes retro style ReAction Figuresblind box mystery figures, and even various forms of plush.

No matter your taste or budget, there’s always something out there for those of us with the horror gene.  Tell us about your favorite horror collectibles in the comments!