Friday, August 31, 2012

Mini Spies

I stopped by another used/collectible toy store on the way home today, a place called Ka-Pow on Belmont. Beyond thrift stores, few storefronts in the country specialize in just selling vintage (USED!) action figures. So there's TWO in my biking range, hooray hooray for me.

It's a small store, and thus every inch is covered. Things are "neater" in that everything seems orderly because they are all crammed together, and thus to make crammed-together look presentable, everything must face forward and seem  orderly in perfect and parallel lines. Price wise, some things were more expensive than what I'd be used to, and some toys cheaper. I think it would even out compared to Quake or online, the difference would seem negligible if you add in driving down, parking, shipping, whatever.

They had a pretty good G1 collection. Many figures looked a little worn. If he had anything special beyond G2, I wouldn't be able to tell. The line gets a little weird for me when it gets to Beast Wars & Beast Machines, and if you start talking about how this batch of figures were part of the line that didn't make it to the US, I'll take your word for it. He claimed to have Diaclone figures come and go. If that's the case, I'd love to see that, and hopefully I can take pictures when they do.

The item that caught my attention was the Soundwave cassette player. This was an actual regular sized cassette player (G1 Soundwave and reissues are can hold minicassettes, the kind used for answering machines) that actually played the cassettes. Yeeeeup. It didn't transform and probably took a ton of batteries. The owner claimed it still worked. I would have gotten it if not for the Music Label Soundwave, the Classics-Deluxe-sized figure that plays MP3s. (Getting it to do so is quite the hassle, perhaps to be discussed another time.) So the novelty of having it play a format none of us purchase music for anymore would wear off immediately, since I was giddy when I got the Music Label Soundwave to work the first time. At last! A Soundwave that plays music! Life: Complete!

I did purchase one of Mini Spies. In 1985, Hasbro released Minivehicles, labelled differently from the Minicars of 1984 because these included a tank, a plane, a hydrofoil, and a UFO. And a dune buggy. The Minicars were also re-released, but now with the Mini Spies, which featured the rub sign. So, rather than disappear from the shelves completely, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper & pals were repackaged with the Mini Spies. In case you missed out, here they were again, added incentive being this smaller car with the pullback motor.

(Note that the drawing and animation is better than most episodes of the original cartoon.)

They were crappy and broke easily and somehow they were STILL cooler than the Jumpstarters. There were four models (Jeep, Porsche, Mazda, and of course a dune buggy**), and three colors (yellow, white, blue) per model. And they'd be either Decepticon or Autobot (as the commercial implies, these were the first Decepticon automobiles, prior to the Stunticons). So, you'd have to have 24 to have the full set of Mini Spies. Three colors of each car, and then of each faction. There's only 6 initial Minicars, so you'd have to buy them six times over if that were your approach to get all 24. (and that's if you lucked out getting a different model and different color of model and different faction each time. I'll let you work out the odds.) Of course, you probably didn't KNOW there were that many colors or models. I'm not sure of the ratio of color/model/faction, so I don't know which was the rarest. They're generally all pretty hard to come by in working shape, and look as cheap as they are built.

I got a blue Autobot Porsche. I had two, maybe three, as a kid, one of which survived. Never had the Porsche. Don't think I got an Autobot before.

What should I name it?

Until next time...

** Dune buggies. Why was this mode of transportation so popular with kids in the 80's? WAS this popular with kids in the 80's? I don't tan and I don't enjoy perpetually hot climate or mounds of sand nowhere near bodies of water, so driving over sand dunes never appealed to me. I didn't think of it back then, but now I wonder why this car was so prolific as a vehicle option for toys. "Let's drive around in a dune buggy!" says the Hanna Barbera teens who also look like the same group of kids who solved crimes with a shark. A waste of gas in the hot desert. That's what I feel like doing. I'm such a city kid...

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