Sunday, July 28, 2013

MonsterCon recap- autographs, toys, and more

This weekend was kind of a let down for us.  We originally planned to be in Kentucky attending Fandom Fest, but my husband's transmission had to be rebuilt and so our plans changed.    My husband was kind of moping in his wheaties.  Fandom Fest this year had an amazing line  up of  celebrity guests ( Stan Lee, William Shatner, Gene Simmons, Gillian Anderson, etc)  He had been looking forward to getting autographs from some of the main "Walking Dead" actors (Norman Reedus, John Bernthal, etc.). There were supposed to six attending this year's convention.   Earlier in the summer, we attended Fanboy Expo, where he started a "Walking Dead" autograph collection.   I personally, was looking forward to seeing the "Firefly" actors (Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin, and Alan Tudyk)  that were there this weekend also.  So, I was kind of moping too.

There was a small silver lining, which came in the form of Monster Con.   Monster Con is a new con and it was local. Frankly,  we live in a black hole for cons and even decent toy shows.  I guess people think because Atlanta is a couple hours drive, Dragon Con is enough and to hell with the rest of the year.

We  planned to take  R2-AL out for its first con since it was just completed earlier in the month.  We were joined by his buddy R2-F4.   The two units were built together.  Together the two droids spent about 30 minutes greeting attendees at the front entrance.  Then spent the rest of the afternoon rolling around the arena.   In a way, it was good that our first outing was a small con.   Navigating crowds can sometimes be a challenge.  We also learned that our controller needs a back up battery.   It did not last the whole day like we had expected.

   For a small con, they could have used more vendors.  But, there is always next year and like any first time event, there is always room for improvement. The event did manage to get some decent celebrity signer.  The one celebrity that was billed the most was Dave Prowse (the guy in the Darth Vader suit).  Yes, it is Darth Vader, but...meh.   Not to be rude, but Mr. Prowse will show up at pretty much any convention. Being a Star Wars fan and having met him before,  he isn't the most pleasant of people to meet.  My experience with him was disappointing but, hopefully those who met him this weekend had a better experience.

   Thankfully, they did have a few more celebs. several zombies from "Walking Dead" and Chris Sarandon, " Prince Humperdink and the voice of Jack Skelington"  that made the show  more appealing.    I was kind of excited about meeting Chris Sarandon.  I have always loved "Princess Bride" and "Nightmare Before Christmas".  He was very personable and talked with everyone who got autographs.  

Of course, my husband added 3 more zombies to his Walking Dead poster.   One of the zombie actors, Michael Koske, told us that he had been 42 different zombies on the show and that his arm is visible on the poster version my husband has.  He said that was his first day on the set when the pictures were taken.

We also talked to Paul Bradford, from Ghost Hunters International.   He also builds droids.  So far, he has built a mobile K 9 and is working on finishing a Dalek.  He said he had been wanting to build an R2 but starts and stops,  which we completely understood.  We shared our R2 building experience with him.  It was cool to talk with him and he has a great accent.

bybefore paint
Normally, when attending a con we tend to skip the panels.  It is rare if we attend one.  Most of the time, we are busy getting autographs or shopping.   But, there was a hands on work shop that allowed you to make your own latex "wound".  It really was a lot of fun!  We were given some liquid latex, toilet paper, and cotton to work with.   You wouldn't think that much could be done with those materials, but you would be surprised.  The whole piece was made on wax paper, so that it could be removed easily and then applied to skin.   This is the before picture of my creation.    It really just looks like a wad of wet paper.   It did dry fairly quickly, so I was able to play with painting it when i got home.

after paint

I didn't use anything fancy as far as the paint is concerned.  I used some watercolor paints.  Color wise, I used red, purple, blue, black, brown and a little green. I tried to think of what color bruises turn.  I am kind of happy with the finished looked.  I think it looks creepy as hell.  It isn't applied to my arm, it's just laying there for the picture.  I can't wait for Halloween to get here.  I am planning to get some liquid latex and play!

Last but certainly not least, the burning question, what kind of toys did I bring home?   I was really hoping to find some vintage Star Wars figures.   I have been working on collecting the last few that I need to finish my vintage collection.  Sadly, there was a lot of modern Star Wars figures and only about 8 vintage figures.  The lack of vintage toys of any kind was disturbing.    I did manage to get some pretty decent G1 Transformers. I picked up 2 Insecticons, Cosmo, Seaspray, and one of the transforming tapes. I got all 5 for $22.   My Transformer collection is growing again!  Since January, I am up to 27.

Overall, we had a great day at Monster Con.  It wasn't Fandom Fest, but there is always next year that. Certainly, Monster Con has a lot of potential to become a great event.  The organizers seem to be enthusiastic and are already working to improve the event for next year.   Plus, it is always nice to have a con local instead of all the traveling.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Does anyone else remember the "Soviet Union going out of business" promotion by Barq's Rootbeer?

While going through some boxes of junk, valued and treasured collectibles,  I came across an old cassette tape case with some items that I received from the Barq's Rootbeer "Soviet Union Going Out of Business" promotion.

Am I the only person who remembers this!?   I have asked my husband, my sister, my parents, assorted friends, and even several co-workers and NOBODY remembers it!   Way back in 1992, the Barq's rootbeer company offered Soviet souvenirs to customers who sent in a 12 pack proof of purchase and .50 postage, in return you would get a randomly selected item from the former Soviet Union.   I researched the promotion and found a lot of information about the actual promotion. The story behind the promotion is kind of a crazy one. But, it makes the items all the more interesting.

 It basically  was a last minute idea to boost the company's summer time sales.  I also searched to see if I could find pictures or Ebay auctions of other "Russian Stuff" from the promotion.  But, I only found 2 pictures.  One on flikr and one on Esty.    Did the items not survive the 90's either?

I have always been curious about the items that I received.  I have never been exactly sure what they were.   The first piece is some sort of ribbon, I am guessing.   It is a small piece of muslin or other light weight cotton fabric.  As you can see in the picture, it is printed in red with the image of a flower or thistle possibly.  Inside the flower image is some type of naval war ship or submarine.   There is also some sort of Russian wording on it, but I have no clue what it says.

The second item that I have is a Lenin Day pin.   Thanks to the above mentioned Etsy listing, I finally figured out what the pin is.   If you google search, there are literally hundreds of different lapel and hat pins for Lenin Day.

If anybody remembers this promotion or you got some Soviet stuff from it, leave me a comment!  I would love to know I am not the only one who remembers this.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Building BMO

I decided that I needed to start a new building project.  We are considering building a second R2 unit but that will be on hold for a few months.   So in the meantime, since my kids are fans of "Adventure Time"  I decided that I would build them a BMO.

Right, now it doesn't look like a lot, but I've got the box built.  I used some 1/4 thick plastic for the body.  The next step for the body is, to use bondo on the sides and then sand to create the more rounded edges.  My plan is to do all of that tomorrow so I can move on to cutting all of the holes for the buttons, the front disk slot, and then drill the speaker holes on each side.

Hopefully, by the weekend,  I will have everything prepped and ready to paint.  I will update my progress and add more pictures to this post as I get closer to finishing BMO.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Hot Wheels added to my collection

Lately, I have been picking up some of the Retro Collection Hot Wheels.   This last week, I picked up Mrs. Brady's station wagon.

I am debating on opening it.  I really love the whole look of the  packaging.  But,  I am just one of those collectors that loves to touch and feel everything.   The rest of my cars are open, so this one might eventually end up the same way.  

I am trying to figure out a better way to display my open Hot Wheels.   But, I just haven't found anything that I like.   I would appreciate it anyone out there shared their display of Hot Wheels.

The last item I am adding to my car collection is something that I have had for a while.   There recently was an auction on Ebay, that I have been obsessing over all week. I wanted to buy it, but that wont happen unless I win the lottery.    The auction was for a Dumbo car!   A Dumbo car from Disney World!   How awesome would it be to own a freakin Dumbo car?    So until I win the lottery, I have to settle for the next best thing.

I have had this little Dumbo car packed away for a while.   I purchased it sometime in the late 90's at Disney World.   I decided that it needed to be displayed with my other vehicles.    
I am still looking for the Muppet's bus and Magnum's Ferrari.   There are several cars in the 6th and 7th wave that I know I will want to pick up also.

My favorite robot, R2-AL

This week's League of Extraordinary Bloggers topic is simply: Robots!

This is probably one of the easiest topics for me to talk about.     I originally was going to create a top 10 list of favorite robots.  Among those, Transformers, Wall-E, and Marvin from "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy". 

 But, there is one little robot that I have loved forever and that is R2-D2.   I wrote a post about my R2 collection, so I am going to recycle some of it for this post.  I never realized how much R2 was beginning to take over my collection until my husband pointed it out.

This picture is just a fraction of my R2s.  Old or new, it doesn't matter to me.  I am bad about rescuing R2s.   My collection ranges in size from 1/2 inch tall to life size and fully remote controlled.  It is the life size R2 unit that I would like to share today.

Our R2-AL building project was started when our oldest daughter was just a baby, so it has been a 5 year labor of love.   It really should not have taken that long to complete, but life has a funny way of getting in the way sometimes.  I would like to myth bust a few things about building R2s.   It really is not as hard as I originally thought it would be to build.   It also, surprisingly, isn't as expensive as I once originally thought it would be.   Now granted, there are some who take R2 building to another extreme spending tens of thousands of dollars.   But you can build a remote control droid on a budget.

The Astromech Builders group is a valuable source for blueprints and other resources needed in R2 building, so that is where we started.   The building project began humbly.  You see the body is made from a sonotube,  much like the ones pictured here.  This was probably the most inexpensive part of the whole build.  It was free, and well, you can never beat free.    After a little work, the body was cut to the appropriate height for an R2 unit.   Using the  outer skin as a template, we cut holes for vents and other parts that make up the body.

This is the part of the story where our waiting game begins because it was a game of order parts, wait for parts, make this or that part while we wait for more parts, parts arrive, paint parts, install parts, and repeat.    Of course, everything is more fun when you have friends to doing the same things.  Two of our close friends decided that they wanted to get in on the fun ( blood, sweat, and tears) , so over the years we have hosted a lot droid building parties.  It really does help the process if you have someone to bounce ideas off of.

Finally, after lots of parts and paint the lowly cardboard tubes begin to look like something close to an R2 unit.  The blue and purple "bullet" is our R2-AL.

We originally were going to do the traditional R2 colors, but we had second thoughts.  It has been done, and well lets face it, there is only one R2-D2.  We felt that a custom color scheme suited us better.  So, we let our son select the paint colors.   The blue is actually an automotive "glitter" paint and the purple is an automotive color changing finish.  So depending on the lighting, you will see shifts in color.  We also decided that we wanted a "dirty" droid, so I do still have a little weathering to do to the paint job.

Once the bullet form was complete, we moved on to the legs.  Which until getting involved with this project, who knew R2 had 15 different parts on his legs alone.  So we went through a second round of making parts, ordering parts, painting parts, you get the idea.  Over the course of leg building, AL went from no legs to peg legs to completed legs.   I am trying not to bore you with every aspect of the build.

We had another child and just didn't have the time or energy to get it finished.  But our youngest is now one, so it is a little easier. The last step for us was to add the electronics and do some test drives.   R2-AL is powered  by a marine battery and driven with 2 razor scooter motors inside the feet.  The dome is driven by a power window motor.  In the dome, there is 200 LED lights and sound board and speaker to supply all of the R2 sounds.  

After years of being living room art, we were excited to finally get out and test drive it last weekend. So, I am excited to share some of our test drives with the rest of the League.  

  Please check out one of our youtube clips.   

 Now. lets take a look around the League and see what others thought about robots:

Fortune and Glory Days- gives us a top 10 list.

GoodwillHunting4Geeks- Loves robots!

Geek Show Ink talks about the Tomy Walking Rascal

Whatever I Think Of is talking about Hymie

Branded in The 80's talks about the love child of C-3PO and Maria

Cavalcade of Awesome talks about the Robonic Stooges

AEIOU talks about his favorites

PopPop It's Trash Culture talks about  Super Robot Red Baron.

Random Nerdness gives us his top 5 favorites

G.I Jigsaw talks about female robots

Miss M talks about her fear of robots

The 30ish year old talks about Star Wars robots

Erik talks about some of his favorites

Cave of Cool talks about damn robots

Pop Rewind talks about Small Wonders and Bill and Ted bots

Achievement in Gaming talks about robots in games

Monday, July 15, 2013

Some odds and ends: Cereal toys, gumball machine rings, and more

My favorite Goodwill store is going through some sort of summer time drought.   It has been close to 3 months with nothing.   You would think that with all of the yard sales that pop up during the summer, some good left overs would magically appear there.

But thanks to a good friend, I recently got an odd assortment of, well...,  I am not exactly sure what to call it.   She just handed me a little box of stuff and said, "here, I think you will appreciate some of these items".   I picked just a few items to quickly blog about.

The first item is a 1980's Kellogg's Starbot cereal toy.   I guess the cereal companies wanted to cash in on the Transformer/Go-bot market.   These Starbots must be made of sturdy stuff to have survived so long.   This just seems like something that would have been the first to meet a firecracker or been on the losing end as a chew toy for the dog.

I don't really remember these being in cereal as a kid.  Of course, my parents limited us to stuff Cheerios and Raisin Brand.  So, I don't have  memories of  those magically delicious marshmallow fueled sugar buzzes.  

The next are a couple of gumball machine rings.  Or at least that is my guess for their origin.  If anyone can help me identify them, I would appreciate it. Both of the rings are adjustable for size.

The large ring is supposed to be a Phillies World Champion ring.  In the P is 4 rhinestones and it has a date of 1980 on the side of the ring.    It is big and surprisingly heavy for a gumball ring.

The second ring is rather plain and has a rhinestone set in the middle.   It is kind of a brass or bronze color, which doesn't really show well in the picture.

The third item is this badly beaten Star Wars Burger King card.   I will admit, it took me a second to realize what this was.

The back of the card says:
  " There are 36 different trading cards in the Everybody Wins Game, so you can save them or trade them with your friends.    
 Play Everybody Wins the next time you visit BURGER KING.  Game ends July 31, 1981 or when trading card supplies run out."

I put it in a card protector so I could display it with my other vintage Star Wars items.    I have more items to share from the little box of goodies, so stay tuned for more to come.

This last item I just need some help with.  I am looking for a head for this Mr. Freeze.   So if anyone has any spare Batman  parts, I am willing to trade.    Please leave a comment or send me an email.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers- Hake's Auction Fantasy shopping spree

It has been a few weeks since I joined in with the League, but this was a post that I just couldn't pass up.   This week's challenge:

Go on a fictional shopping spree at Hake’s current auction #209 to make your collection a little more amazing.

- Hake's has given us permission to use their photographs and descriptions in our responses to this week's assignment.- 

It has taken me several days to go through the Hake's Auction.   At first, I just started looking for items that could reasonably fit into my price range.  Then, I said, "Screw It!"   It's a shopping spree and money is no object!  My wild fangirl enthusiasms can not be contained!!  Surprisingly, my selections were lite on toys.  Nevertheless, I am enjoying the fantasy of making these 5 items mine.

There were two autograph pieces that blew my mind!   I have shown the links to everybody and their momma, even my own momma.   Most just give the smile, nod, and give the " the crazy fangirl will shut up sooner or later" look.   The others have been somewhat interested, but they just don't fully understand the level of greatness.

Item # 1473- "Gone With the Wind" Cast Signed Program
  The first is the signed program from Gone With the Wind.     My aunt had this passion for old movies and she passed it on to me.  Being from the South, I kind feel like GWTW is required reading and viewing for Southern women.   I love this movie! I love it for the characters, the costumes, just the epic story that is GWTW!

 I was looking at this piece and I start shouting at my computer, "I don't know nothin bout birthin no babies, Miz Scarlet"   The cover of the program is signed by Butterfly McQueen, who portrayed "Prissy" who famously said the line.  The cover is also signed by the young actress who portrayed "Bonnie Blue Butler" .  The inside and back cover also have autographs, but those first two, had me the most excited.  My husband is looking at me like I have lost my mind.    Our conversation was " how do you not know GWTW?"  He has never seen it! To which, I was like "how did I marry you?"   Of course, my husband is a yankee, that could be the reason for it.  

The other autograph that had me shouting random obscenities at the computer screen was 
Item # 2753- "The Addams Family" Large and Impressive cast signature display.   Fellow Leaguer, Dex over at AEIOU and sometimes WHY had the same reaction I had to this piece.  

Holy Crap!  This display is beautiful!  Autographs from the whole freaking cast!!  I know exactly where I would hang this in our home.

Coming home after to school, I would watch the block of cartoons then after that was the Addams Family and The Munsters.    I just always loved the Addams family more.  I don't know why, they just always seemed cooler and had better stuff in their house.   I wrote about how I would like to have a sleepover at the Addams' Family house in another League post.

My sentimental favorite is:
Item #2594 "Star Wars-Princess Leia Organa" action figure on card.  

My husband and I met because of Star Wars and our shared interest in the movies and toys.  My husband tended toward collecting the newer items while I have always loved the vintage merchandise.    While we were dating, I had several opportunities to purchase vintage MOC figures, but I just would never let myself spend the money for them.

A few years after my husband and I got married, he got me a MOC 12 back Leia on card as an  anniversary gift.   Most women would want jewelry, not me, I am happy with a 3 inch plastic figure. Fast forward a  couple of  years, sadly, I had to sell her on Ebay because we were expecting a baby and needed the extra money.   I have regretted selling her but I did what needed to be done.    In the years since selling my Leia figure, I have picked up an MOC R2.   I would love to someday soon replace the Leia.

This is a beautiful example of a MOC 12 back figure.  I would love to add her to my collection.

My next choice was:
Item # 2400-" Batgirl"  slipper boots
 I love wearable items in collections because I always think about they child who owned them.  They help capture an aspect of childhood and adds a personal touch to a collection  We all remember having a favorite pair of pajamas or slippers.   I think these are adorable.   Considering the age of them, it is rare to find these for a girl.   I love the graphics on the side of the boot.  
 I would love to find something like these for my youngest to wear around the house.   She seems to be a budding Batman fan.  

The last item that I would love to purchase is Item #822- Esqel Pallasite Meteorite slice specimen. 
I want to own a piece of meteorite because A.) who do you know that owns a piece of meteorite?  I can't think of anyone that I know who has one.   And, B.)  it's a f***ing meteorite!  What would this say if it could talk?  This piece of rock has seen some stuff.   It might know the species of Yoda or really know what is hiding in Area 51.  The truth is out there and this has been a front row spectator to the mysteries of space.  Just think about that....

Other League members have had fun with their fantasy shopping sprees:

Random Nerdness is in the market for a Dick Tracy lunchbox.

AEIOU- has his eye on the Addams Family too.

Shezcrafti has a bunch of awesomeness.

Vikkiverka is throwing cash at vintage books.

Branded in the 80s wants a Street Hawk lunchbox.

G.I Jigsaw- wants a Mego Hulk

And don't forget to check the assignment page for additional shopping spree posts.