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A blog showcasing photos and basic information on various strange monster toys, with a focus on mini figures (or little rubber guys) Such as MUSCLE men and Monster in My Pocket

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    Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

    The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    1. Necsouth from Neclos Fortress
    2. Allosaurus from Scholler Dinosaurs
    3. Ferocious Frankie from SLUG Zombies
    4. Gulp from Mini Boglins
    5. Kraken from Monster in My Pocket
    6. M5 Bravo from Greasebat & Friends Gummi Playset
    7. Graffiti Petey from Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys
    8. Skeleton warrior from fantasy playset
    9. Robin Mask from MUSCLE
    10. Creature from alien-robot suction figure set
    11. Cryborg from OMFG
    12. Gator Jones from SLUG Zombies
    13. Chief Glonk from Mini Boglins
    14. Larry the Lemur from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sidekicks
    15. Goody Goody from Freakies
    16. Unknown kaiju keshi

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    Vending machine header card
    Last week I completed one of my collection goals. I finished my set of 12 Masters of the Universe knockoff vending mini figures in transparent colors! Check out the whole crew above.

    I first became aware of these many years ago when I got a green Ram-Man (who was sadly missing his axe) in a lot of random minis off eBay. He was the only one I had up until last year, when I set out to track down more of them. Fast forward to earlier this month, and Man-E-Faces and the He-Man holding an axe were the final two I needed. Thanks to the kindness of another collector and luck on eBay, I got them both within the same week!

    According to what I have been able to find out online, these guys were sold in the mid-late 1980s in toy vending machines under the name "Warriors of the Universe." It must have taken someone hours to come up with that name in order to not use Masters of the Universe, huh? I actually don't remember seeing these out in the wild as a kid. I'm sure if I did, I would have gone nuts trying to amass as many quarters as possible.

    Here's a list of the MOTU characters included in the set, from left to right, top to bottom in the above photo:

    Ram-Man & Zodac close-up
    He-Man with axe
    Stratos
    Skeletor
    Teela
    Ram-Man
    Beast Man
    Man-E-Faces
    Mer-Man
    Man-at-Arms
    Evil-Lyn
    Zodac
    He-Man with sword (possibly Faker)

    These figures are made of a firm-yet-flexible plastic, maybe a bit softer than a MUSCLE figure, but not rubbery like a Monster in My Pocket figure. They're about 1.5" tall. They were also released in a variety of solid, non-clear colors, but I wanted to put together a set of the transparent versions because I think they look cooler. You can argue that the details don't show up as well on clear figures--and you'd probably be right--but man, nobody will ever be able to convince me that a mini figure doesn't get an extra jolt of awesome when it looks like a Jolly Rancher. The clear colors include orange, red, green and blue (if there are others, I haven't seen them).

    Comparison with MUSCLE & Monster in My Pocket figures

    Here's a shot of Mer-Man and Man-at-Arms minis in solid color versions. Interestingly enough, Mer-Man is made out of hard plastic while Man-at-Arms is made out of soft, rubbery plastic. Now that I've finished my clear set, I'll probably try to fill out a set in solid colors.


    What about you? What do you think of these guys? Do you own any or remember seeing them in vending machines?

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    WHAT: Here's a great toy line from a few years back that I wasn't familiar with until very recently when TwoHeadedBoy was kind enough to send me some. I loved them as soon as I saw them. I'm not sure whether or not they were available in the U.S., but I don't recall ever seeing them in stores here.

    What line produced the bizarro creatures you see above? Alien Magic!

    Alien Magic toys were released by Moose as one of their "Fizz and Find" properties, which included eggs you'd dissolve in water to reveal little plastic toy parts you could then put together to form mini figures. Other Fizz and Find lines included Dino Magic and Dragon Magic.

    The concept sort of reminds me of Galoob's old Trash Bag Bunch line of the early 1990s, in that you'd have to drop an outer container in water and watch it fade away in order to find out which figure you got. You always wound up getting a lot of doubles, but at least it was a bit more exciting than just opening up a typical package.

    I had seen people talk about Dino Magic figures online, but the line never really appealed to me enough to get me to investigate further. Alien Magic is a different story, though. I love how crazy-looking these things are! They are truly imaginative sculpts. And I like how they don't look goofy or cutesy, like so many monster and alien-themed toys these days do. They look creepy and psychotic, which is usually how I like 'em.

    These guys are made of hard plastic and have painted details. Each figure comes in a couple different pieces that snap together, which allows for mixing and matching of different pieces on different characters. According to the packaging example pictured above, there were 18 different Alien Magic sculpts available, with three of them being "ultra rare" glow-in-the-dark aliens. Here's a closer look at the sculpts I have:


    This photo is by TwoHeadedBoy & shows a couple additional aliens
    I think my favorites are the reddish-brown guy with the huge fangs and mouths on his arms, and the three-legged egg-like thing (seriously creepy).

    A big thanks to TwoHeadedBoy for introducing me to these and hooking me up with some!

    For more on Alien Magic, check out this thread on them at LittleRubberGuys.com.

    What do you think of Alien Magic? Do you have any or remember seeing them in stores? Does anyone have photos to share of additional sculpts not seen here?


    WHEN: According to information here, Alien Magic toys were originally available around 2007, and were still being sold at discount shops as late as 2011.


    WHERE: U.K. (and possibly other countries...does anyone know for sure?)


    WHO: Released by Moose Toys

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    Dollar Tree stores can occasionally be a source for some Little Weirdos-approved cheap toys (see here and here), but really great stuff doesn't surface there all that often. Well, if you're a mini figure collector, now is one of those times they actually have something worth picking up.

    A week or two ago I saw people posting about "Top Toupie" figures on Facebook, and the photos being shared caught my attention. Basically, these things are tiny figures (about half an inch tall) that come with spinning tops. The figures have little holes underneath that allow them to be plugged into bases on the tops, and then you can pull a cord through the side of the tops to make them spin. The idea is that you're supposed to pit two of the little dudes on their spinning tops against one another. Although, I don't really know how the outcome of a spinning top battle is judged. Whichever top stops spinning first loses?...damn it, I'm over-thinking cheapo dollar store toys.

    My six Top Toupie figures plugged into their tops
    Anyway, all this talk about Top Toupie drove me to check out my nearest Dollar Tree this past weekend, and I picked up six different ones, which you see in this post. A few observations:

    In action!
    • I'm not even sure if "Top Toupie" is an actual name for these. I Googled "Toupie" and apparently it means spinning top in French, so maybe the package just lists what the toys are in two languages. Also, "Toupie" makes me think of "toupée," which I believe is the first time a toy ever made me think of toupées.
    • The spinning tops are cool enough, but if you're reading this, the main attraction here is no doubt going to be the mini figures. They're pretty detailed and nicely sculpted for being so tiny. Plus, they're monochromatic (always a plus in my book), and they're made out of a hard plastic, so those who aren't a fan of Trash Pack-like squishiness should have no problem with this material.
    • The mini figures come in three different colors: orange, blue and green. At my Dollar Tree they only had orange and green ones for some reason (hence the lack of blue in this post).
    • There are at least 18 different figures, with one figure and one top (plus two different neon-colored attachable platforms that connect to the tops) in each package for $1. Each figure seems to only come in one of the three colors. Characters include a mix of monsters, hero types, sports guys and more. The six I picked up are a mummy, a werewolf, a lion-man, a minotaur, a pirate, and a knight. Others available include a ninja, a punk rocker, a boxing kangaroo, a luchador, and a sumo wrestler (click here for a photo showing the 18 different sculpts that have been identified).
    • The tops actually work pretty well. They didn't fall apart while I was testing them out, and that's half the battle right there when it comes to dollar store toys.
    • The packages also include translucent neon plastic "pods," I guess meant for storage of the figures when they're not taking part in spin battles.
    The figures with their pods
    So yeah, overall I dig these. I can think of much worse ways to spend a buck. Next time I'm at Dollar Tree I'm sure I won't be able to resist the temptation to pick up a couple more. I'd like to get my hands on that boxing kangaroo.

    What about you? Have you seen these? Did you buy any, or are you planning to on your next trip to Dollar Tree?

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    Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

    The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    1. Wrestler from Weird Ball Wrestlers
    2. Lava Man from DFC Fantasy playset 
    3. Crawdad Kid from OMFG 
    4. Cap'n Scurvy Jack from SLUG Zombies
    5. Kali from Monster in My Pocket
    6. Skeleton horse from fantasy playset
    7. Metal-Doll from Neclos Fortress
    8. Chomper Ghost from The Real Ghostbusters
    9. TV Stevie from Garbage Pail Kids MiniKins 
    10. Bam Bam Ji from Kinnikuman vending bootlegs
    11. Windigo from Monster in My Pocket
    12. Brocotal from October Toys Mini Figure Guys
    13. Mouse Man from Lucky Yuckies
    14. Ninja from Cosmix
    15. Monster from Cromy Club Monster in My Pocket
    16.Atlas from Horrors N Heroes

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again: 1980s fantasy-themed toys are awesome. And thankfully, there was no shortage of them produced. I'm forever grateful for the popularity of things like Masters of the Universe and the Conan the Barbarian movie, because they led to the creation of some amazing (and sometimes amazingly bad) cheap toys.

    One such creation was a series of mythical beasts by the Imperial toy company in the early '80s. I know some of them were released under the name "Dragons and Daggers" (which you can see an example of at ToyArchive.com) Others might have been nameless. They consisted of creatures such as a winged horse, a unicorn and a two-headed dragon. Back in the day I imagine there were plenty of little kids to were a bit let down on Christmas and birthdays, expecting official Masters of the Universe merchandise, but getting Imperial figures and other knockoffs instead. Today, I'd personally love to unwrap a present and see these obscure weirdos staring up at me!

    size comparison shot
    I recently came across the set of six rubber beasts pictured in this post, and immediately noticed that the winged horse is pretty much an exact replica of Imperial's figure from its Dragons and Daggers line, except this figure is much smaller (just under 3" tall, while the Imperial beast is around 9" tall). So, I can only assume that these dudes are knockoffs of knockoffs.

    I'm not sure where or when exactly these monsters originated as I got the set of six off eBay. My guess is that they could be found during the early-mid 1980s being sold at places like pharmacies and dime stores, and maybe even as carnival/arcade prizes. All they are marked with is "Hong Kong." They are made of soft rubber, and while my full set is green with white paint accents, I also saw them available in other colors such as yellow, black and red-orange.

    Let's take a look at each of the six beasts:


    Here we have a two-headed dragon. For being a cheap toy, the sculpt actually has some nice detail to it, from the scales to the little teeth in both mouths.


    This winged horse guy is the one that is most obviously copied from an Imperial figure (unless it was the other way around, which I doubt). I like how it puts a bit of an evil spin on a pegasus.


    Here's a dino-like winged dragon. The wings are a bit wonky on mine (probably from years in storage), but I enjoy his tiny T-Rex arms.


    This winged lion is probably my favorite from the set. He's just badass!


    Here's another dragon, although this one has one head instead of two. I'm not sure what kid would have picked the one-headed dragon out of the box over the two-headed dragon, but whatever. This guy's still pretty cool.


    And finally we have, uh...a pterodactyl? I'm not sure what this is doing in a set of fantasy monsters. Maybe it was re-purposed from a previous set of dinosaurs or something?


    Also worth mentioning: I've got the two other figures pictured above, which seem to be based on these Imperial knockoffs, but are slightly different sculpts. They're made out of a firmer soft plastic and are somewhat cheaper-looking. Knockoffs of knockoffs of knockoffs, I guess?

    What about you? Do you have any additional info about any of these figures, remember seeing them anywhere, or own any yourself? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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    Series One checklist
    Whenever a new toy line comes out that reminds me even a little bit of the ones I collected when I was a kid (and still collect), I can't resist picking up at least a few. My most recent toy discovery of this kind is Crashlings, a new series by Wicked Cool Toys that I first became aware of when it was shown at Toy Fair 2014 earlier this year.

    Crashlings are billed as "Meteor Mutants From Outer Space!", and are probably most similar to another current mini figure line, The Trash Pack. In fact, I'm sure their existence owes more than a little to that line's popularity. As with the The Trash Pack, Crashlings features "fun," somewhat "cute" designs and sculpts of creepy and strange characters.

    Another way Crashlings are similar to The Trash Pack is the fact that the figures are broken out into separate groups. The five Crashlings groups include Dinos, Insects, Aliens, Monsters, and Sea Life. However, unlike The Trash Pack, figures from each Crashlings group are packaged separately, so you know what you're getting (although there's still an element of surprise, since some of the sculpts are hidden in the packages).

    Meteor pods
    One of the line's main selling points to kids is that each Crashling comes with a "meteor" pod they can be stored in, some of which have one soft rubber half that can be used to pop them up to four feet into the air. The meteors vary in color depending on which Crashlings group they go with. The colors include black (Monsters), green (Aliens), gray (Dinos), red (Insects) and blue (Sea Life).

    Each figure is one inch or under, and while you might expect them to be squishy like Trash Pack toys, they're actually made out of hard plastic. The basic figures have multi-color painted details, but the line also offers chase and variant figures in solid, monochromatic colors such as gold, silver, metallic red and metallic green.

    Crashlings single-pack store display
    As with The Trash Pack, Crashlings figures are separated into various levels of rarity. This includes "common,""rare,""ultra rare," and "special edition." There is over 150 different figures to collect, but this includes color variations of some of the same sculpts.

    Catapult City playset
    Crashlings are sold a few different ways: single-packs, including one meteor with one hidden figure, 4-packs, with two Crashlings visible and two hidden in packages, and 10-packs, with five visible and five hidden. Certain figures are exclusive to the various types of packs. So far, I've only seen them available at Toys 'R' Us, stores, but I'd imagine they'll be sold at other stores in the future. From what I can remember, Toys 'R' Us has them priced at $2.99 per single pack, $5.99 per 4-pack and $9.99 per 10-pack.

    In addition to the figure packs, a "Catapult City" playset has been released. The set includes a catapult, slide and zipline for the Crashlings, as well as three figures.

    Overall, Crashlings is a pretty fun and well thought-out line. I kind of wish they avoided taking the "cutesy" route with the character designs, but for what it sets out to be, the line is quite successful. I like the fact that it is broken out into different character groups and allows you buy them individually, so if you decide you just want to collect the Monsters and Aliens, for example, you could do so. I also like that monochromatic variants are available.

    Here's a closer look at a few of the figures from four out of the five character groups (I don't yet own any figures from the Insects group):

    Monsters: Moon Howler, Meteor Monster, Zombie Zoomer, Dracu Launch
    Aliens: Vomiting Visitor, Crash Triod, Angry Alien, Solar Scum
    Dinos: Rocket Raptor, Steo Starus, Brachio Starus, Orbit Vore
    Sea Life: Satelite Scubafish, Crab Stronaut, Gravity Guppy, Space Shark

    What do you think of Crashlings? Have you picked any up yet, or do you plan to?

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    Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

    The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    1. Parthenon from MUSCLE
    2. Rockly from Neclos Fortress 
    3. Patty Putty from Garbage Pail Kids MiniKins
    4. Kaiju from Canfull of Monsters 
    5. Tat from Mini Boglins
    6. Alien-robot eraser from Geddes School Supplies
    7. Zombie Zoomer from Crashlings
    8. Zombie from Monster in My Pocket
    9. Hulk from Handful of Heroes
    10. Robot from Ro-Gun Robots
    11. Demon from DFC Fantasy playset 
    12. School Girl from ZOMBIE
    13. Wrestler from Musclemania
    14. Critter mini figure by Zectron
    15. Creature from set of mutant-monster party favors
    16. Brainy Janie from Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys

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    Until now it had been a while since we'd seen anything new from the excellent indie mini figure line Universe of Violence, but at long last UoV has made its triumphant return with a new spin and two fantastic new figures, Satyrant and Venus Maneater!

    Both figures are the work of Justin "Metal Monkey" Gadze, who is keeping UoV going as "Universe of Violence II: Chaos Dimension" with the blessings of UoV originators Jimmy Rommel and Eric Nilla. As soon as I found out Justin was working on these figures, I couldn't wait to see them. Knowing he does great work and that we share some favorite toy lines like Monster in My Pocket and Neclos Fortress, I was sure his UoVII creations would be something special.

    And they most definitely are. Justin really went all out to introduce this new phase of UoV. I love these figures!

    Neclos Fortress-style UoVII mini cards
    The two new characters are Satyrant, who looks like a cross between a satyr and a demon, and Venus Maneater, a killer plant monster. The pair first became available a couple weeks ago, and while Justin did the design and sculpting, Eric Nilla handled the casting of this initial batch in rubber. Justin sold both figures in many different random colors (including thermal color change and glow varieties) through his online store. Both figures are already sold out, but there are plans for additional releases of them in the future (details TBA--keep an eye on Justin's blog).

    Aside from the figures themselves, I really like the fact that the release includes Neclos Fortress-inspired mini character cards with great artwork by Justin. It's a cool homage to one of the best keshi lines ever, and brings a really fun '80s fantasy/RPG element into UoV.

    But the main attraction, of course, is the figures. So let's take a closer look at them both.

    VENUS MANEATER


    I've always thought plant monsters were awesome (I think I wore out a VHS of "Little Shop of Horrors" by watching it pretty much daily when I was a kid), so it's no surprise that the Venus Maneater is my favorite. This sculpt is so fierce! I love how vicious it looks, from the many long, sharp teeth and huge, curling tongue of its main head to its multiple other mini heads that look like they could do some serious damage in their own right. It's like a Piranha Plant on a mega dose of steroids. The figure has some bulk and heft to it, which makes it look extra formidable alongside most other monster minis.

    My particular figure was cast in a blue-green rubber that looks very similar to a color that was a staple in the Neclos Fortress line, which I'm happy about. In fact, it fits in really well with all the different Neclos plant monsters (see for yourself below). It looks like it could be the "mean green mother" of them all.


    SATYRANT

      
    Satyrant is another suberb sculpt. The various details and textures on this guy are really impressive, from the fur on his legs to the chain the wraps around his body to his screw-like horns. Also, I just love the weirdo demon-satyr combination in general. Like the Venus Maneater, he's got quite a big presence when put next to most other mini figures--if he were a villain in a video game, he'd definitely be a boss!

    My figure comes in an orangey-red that I think really suits the character well. Plus, I realized when I was holding it for a bit that it's one of the thermal color change versions--he turns yellow when he gets warm! How cool is that?

    This figure also looks great with Neclos figures. He made me think of the many demon characters in the Neclos line, so I got a shot of him with some of those figures (below). He looks like he could be their leader, just like Venus Maneater could be the leader of the plant monsters.


    And there you have it. UoVII has started off with a bang, don't you think? I'm definitely impressed, and looking forward to seeing what's next. 

    What's your take on these guys? Were you able to get some of your own from the initial release? If not, do you plan to pick any up in a future release?

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    Figure group shot on the new MWOTR playmat

    A couple weeks ago I attended Chicago's C2E2, and there was one booth I knew I had to visit first while at the con: the Nerd City booth, where the latest offerings were on display and for sale from one of my favorite indie toy lines, Mystical Warriors of the Ring!

    Last year's C2E2 was my first introduction to MWOTR, when I picked up the line's debut set at the show. Considering how much Fantastic Plastic Toys has accomplished with MWOTR since then, it's hard to believe only one year has passed. The rest of 2013 through early 2014 saw multiple limited edition resin figure releases that quickly sold out, in addition to a successful set of three figures produced in PVC, already released in a range of cool colors. Based on what was shown at C2E2, the line is keeping up the momentum and will be just as exciting for the rest of the year and beyond.

    I am glad I got a chance to meet MWOTR's creator, Mark Vasquez, in person at the con. Mark is the nicest guy, and I'm really happy this line has been so successful for him and everyone involved. I also came home with an amazing haul of new MWOTR goodies. Let's take a look at these latest additions:


    PLAYMAT


    First up is the MWOTR playmat, which now gives fans of the line an awesome setting for the mini figures. The mat features full color artwork depicting a wrestling arena for the Arcane Wrestling Federation (AWF) that MWOTR's storylines are built around, including a wrestling ring, wooden boarded floor and even four corners filled with cheering anthropomorphic AWF fans. The design includes a ring in the middle, but what makes it even cooler is you can place one of the 3D MWOTR wrestling rings sold separately over it, as well. The art on the mat is very colorful and vibrant, adding even more to the fun, fantastic storyline behind the toys.

    The mat is made of a rubber bottom and a cloth-like upper-layer, very similar to the feel of a mouse pad. This makes for a very sturdy piece, since you can roll it up and fold it every which way, and it will keep laying flat when you set it down. The rubber material also works nicely to keep it from sliding on surfaces.

    Another great feature of the playmat is its size. At 10" x 15", it provides a spacious environment for setting up MWOTR matches. Here's a shot of some figures laying flat on the mat, to give you an idea of the size:


    The playmat can currently be ordered for $10 from the True Cast Studio store.


    TEMBO JIWE

    Another new MWOTR item available at C2E2 was urethane prototypes of a new figure, the elephant wrestler Tembo Jiwe. Only a few of these figures were available at the show, and I was lucky enough to make it to the booth just in time and scoop up the last one (though according to the MWOTR site, there will be another run of this figure coming up). Here's Tembo in all his glory:


    Tembo is 2.5" tall, molded in multiple parts, and a really hefty figure—along the lines of previous MWOTR heavyweights Goliath (crocodile) and Kayin Kungaa (gorilla). I got a silver version, which I think suits the character really well.

    I love this figure's dynamic sculpt, from his punching pose to the way his trunk is sticking straight out. Excellent stuff! Here he is in a battle of the behemoths with Goliath:



    GENERATIONS 5" LION

    Finally, check out this stunner—a 5" MWOTR "Generations" lion figure that was also available at the con!


    This "Generations" figure is based on the previously-released MWOTR mini figure of the lion wrestler Leo Corazon, and uses that sculpt by Simon Grell blown up to a significantly larger size.

    There are six different versions of this Generations figure, each with a different color scheme to represent a different lion in Leo Corazon's family line of wrestlers (for example, the figure shown here in the green and yellow suit is Alberto Corazon, Leo's grandfather). In addition, single-color versions in purple and orange have been made available. Check out all the different Generations versions here.

    Generations Alberto Corazon shown with the Leo Corazon mini figure

    One of the things that makes the Generations figures so incredible is the way they were put together. The Leo Corazon mini figure sculpt was blown up and polished and prototyped into its new state by TheGodBeast, Marty Hansen. Then, Josh Edwards of True Cast Studio casted the figures in urethane using many pieces put together—there's no painted parts; each color is a different piece! This gives the figure a really unique, special look. It's really a work of art, and a very cool complement to the mini figure line.


    It looks like there are still a few Generations figures from the con now for sale in the True Cast Studio store, with Fantastic Plastic Toys mentioning plans to possibly offer made-to-order figures in the future.

    In addition to the items above, a pearlescent green PVC figure set was available at the the show, which I previously wrote about. These are now available in the True Cast store as well.

    With excellent additions like the playmat and the Generations figures, Mystical Warriors of the Ring continues to impress, and as always, I'll look forward to seeing what's next. For now, I'll wrap up this post with a shot of a new MWOTR Ulric Wolfrom sculpt that was on display at C2E2. A previous Ulric sculpt was released in the first ever MWOTR set, but now he's been made even cooler and will be available in the next PVC set coming later this year! Be sure to keep an eye on mystwarriors.com for future updates on that and all other news about the line.


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    Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

    The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    1. Fruit Punch from OMFG 
    2. Wrestler from Cosmix
    3. Splurge from Mini Boglins
    4. Hobgoblin from Monster in My Pocket 
    5. Lord of the Forest from Gormiti Micros
    6. Kaiju from Canfull of Monsters
    7. Mummy from MPC Monsters
    8. Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe vending bootlegs
    9. Springman from MUSCLE
    10. Venus Maneater from Universe of Violence II
    11. Cyclops from Horrors N Heroes
    12. Nat Nerd from Garbage Pail Kids MiniKins
    13. Samurai Yelp from Mini Boglins
    14. Water Turtle from Lucky Yuckies
    15. Werewolf from Monster in My Pocket
    16. Gangrene Gene from SLUG Zombies

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  • 05/24/14--20:29: Mini Boglins (revisited)

  • I've been meaning to do another post on Mini Boglins for a while. It's one of the biggest lines of "little rubber guys" ever released, but it doesn't seem to get nearly as much attention as the likes of Monster in My Pocket and MUSCLE (possibly because they were only released in a few countries). These dudes are pretty collectible, though, with a wide range of sculpts and colors to track down.

    Since my original, very brief posts (here and here) on Mini Boglins back in 2012, I've added quite a few more to my collection and finally got around to taking some photos of them. I'm not going after a full set, but I do like these figures a lot and think they look especially awesome when you put a bunch of them together into a brightly-colored horde o' Boglins!

    Here's some key facts about the series:
    • Mini Boglins were released from 1991-1994 by a company called Ideal. The Boglins characters already existed prior to their release, as Mattel introduced the larger, more well-known Boglins hand puppets in the late-1980s.
    • They were only released in a few locations, including the U.K., Italy, and possibly Canada and/or France. Good thing I didn't know about these as a kid when they came out--it would have driven me nuts not being able to get them here in the U.S.!
    • The figures are made of soft plastic with a rubbery feel kind of like Monster in My Pocket.
    • They were released in many different colors, all monochromatic except for some "Scout" figures that are glow-in-the-dark with green or purple paint washes.
    • They were sold in multiple ways, including single-packs, three-packs, five-packs and 20-packs.
    • The figures were separated into tribes, with each tribe featuring characters designed around a specific theme. The original tribes from 1991 included The Clumsies, The Freaks, The Greedies, The Jokers, The Rude Dudes, and The Tough Guys. In 1992, The Army Guys and The Disgustings were added. Finally, 1994 saw the addition of The Medievals, The Samurai, and The Prehistorics. Also in 1994, a tribe of 8 slightly smaller Mini Boglins called The Cool Dudes was released as a set of premiums in Kellogg's Frosties cereal, in addition to four new "Slime" Mini Boglins that came packaged in slime-filled toilets. Check out scans above of a mini pamphlet showing details of some of the tribes.
    Now, let's take a look at a selection of figures from some of the Mini Boglins tribes:

    Freaks: Chief Bug, Boik, Blarf, Blurp
    Greedies: Grol, Chief Glonk, Glob, Gulp
    Medievals: Messenger Murg, Mace, Chief Mogg
    Jokers: Purg, Prang, Poig
    Tough Guys: Killa, Chief Karf
    Clumsies: Trung, Scout Trek, Tat, Trub, Trap
    Army Guys: Flarp, Flerk, Scout Flouk
    Prehistorics: Spy Dork, Chief Dred
    Rude Dudes: Stroll, Stog, Chief Smog, Spew
    Samurai: Yen, Scout Yell
    Slime Boglins: Splash, Splurge
    The Cool Dudes: Kellogg's Frosties premiums set of 8 sculpts
    Some of The Cool Dudes premiums were based on previous standard-release Mini Boglins

    For even more details on Mini Boglins, check out The Mini Boglins Collectors Archive and the Mini Boglins post at MinifiguresXD.

    What do you think of Mini Boglins? Do you have any in your collection?

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    This is a special Mono Mini of the Day post, because this batch of mono minis marks a full year that I've been posting these! That's a lot of mono minis. But there are still so many others to go through, so I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

    In honor of the one year anniversary (okay, actually just because I've been extra busy over the past month), this post combines two of the usual batches of Mono Minis of the Day into one. Here they are, as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

    The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    1. Mini kaiju vending machine bootleg
    2. Monster from Terrible Monster
    3. Kinnikuman from MUSCLE
    4. 3DRetro Robot from October Toys Mini Figure Guys
    5. Dr. Killemoff from Toxic Crusaders mini figures
    6. Splash from Mini Boglins
    7. Drude from Monster in My Pocket 
    8. Deviled Egg from Bad Eggz Bunch
    9. Moaiman from Kinnikuman keshi
    10. Dragon from How to Train Your Dragon mini figures
    11. Ghoul from Neclos Fortress
    12. Satan Prince from MUSCLE
    13. Satyrant from Universe of Violence II
    14. Distorted Dot from Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys (reproduction)
    15. Monster from Cromy Club Monster in My Pocket 
    16. Silent Hawk from Gormiti Micros
    17. Snorkledorf from Freakies
    18. Lion warrior from Top Toupie Pull Spin Battle
    19. Tembo Jiwe from Mystical Warriors of the Ring
    20. War-Fly from Neclos Fortress
    21. Behemoth from Monster in My Pocket 
    22. Scout Yell from Mini Boglins
    23. Kington from MUSCLE
    24. Cleopatra Commin'Atcha from SLUG Zombies
    25. Zomboroid from Neclos Fortress
    26. Kamen Rider SD mini figure
    27. Amphisbaena from Monster in My Pocket 
    28. Deep Down Fear from Gormiti Micros
    29. Clot from Kellogg Frosties Mini Boglins
    30. Buckskin Bill from SLUG Zombies
    31. Cronos from Horrors N Heroes
    32. Eerie Eric from Garbage Pail Kids MiniKins

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    The second series of Topps' Garbage Pail Kids MiniKins mini figures is finally out!

    This new set was initially supposed to be released in March as the follow up to last Fall's first series, but got delayed until June. I was beginning to get a little worried as June neared and there was still no official announcement from Topps about the line, but thankfully they finally began to trickle out in stores.

    As with Series 1, the new set consists of 26 different sculpts that are made of a bouncy rubber and are available in both "base" painted versions and monochromatic, unpainted versions. The Series 1 monochromatic colors--red, blue, green, yellow, and super rare black--are back for Series 2, in addition to a new sixth color, "classic peach." Here's a shot of all 26 painted base figures as well as a set in mixed mono colors:


    The peach color, which is no doubt a nod to the similar color used in classic '80s mini figure lines like MUSCLE and Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys, is only available in "hobby" boxes of MiniKins. That means that you can only get it in packs sold at comic shops, card shops, and places like that. It takes the place of the yellow-colored figures, which are only available in retail packs (for example, ones bought at Target). I think it looks great!

    Peach & black figures
    So far I've been lucky enough to score not only a few peaches, but also a few super rare blacks!

    Also following suit with Series 1 is the way the figures are packaged. Once again, they are available in blind-bagged two-packs (each including one painted and one mono figure) as well as "jumbo" four-packs (containing one visible painted figure, one hidden painted figure, and two hidden mono figures). I can't help thinking these toys would attract more attention from kids and adult collectors alike if they were packaged more like Trash Pack multi-pack figures--where there are 5-to-12 figures per package, with a few being visible--but we may never know.

    The new packs also still include little character stickers that correspond to each of the figures and include funny character bios on the backs.

    Outer Space Chase, Weird Wendy & Many Lenny MiniKins with their character stickers

    Sculpt and character selection-wise, I'd say Series 2 is an even more interesting group than Series 1, and I might even prefer it.

    Graffiti Petey & Double Heather, as both Cheap Toys & MiniKins
    Once again, there are a few characters who were also released as GPK Cheap Toys back in the day, including Double Heather, Graffiti Petey and Fishy Phyllis. I'm a fan of the Cheap Toys, but I personally think these characters look even better in their MiniKin sculpts (especially Petey and Heather).

    We've also been treated to a bunch of other iconic GPK characters that hadn't yet officially been released in mini figure form, including Weird Wendy, Slobby Robby, Outer Space Chase, Karate Kyle, Grim Jim, Mad Mike, Oozy Suzy, and Michael Mutant.

    Then, there's some more oddball/unexpected characters like Clark Shark, Yeti Eddie, Mushy Marsha and Pete Seat.

    As with Series 1, the sculpts take some liberties with the characters as compared to their card artwork. For example, Mushy Marsha is upright in her ice cream cone instead of sideways and splattered. I think that's to be expected when dealing with figures that are just around one inch tall, though, and it doesn't really bother me.

    Here's the back of a package showing all the character names:


    Overall, I'm very pleased with the second series of MiniKins and wish the line would carry on to a Series 3 and beyond. These things are really fun and give me almost the same feeling I used to get opening up packs of Monster in My Pocket, MUSCLE and other lines as a kid. Unfortunately, from what I've read, the prospect of more figures beyond Series 2 doesn't look great. I'll keep holding out hope, though!

    What about you? What do you think of the new batch of MiniKins?

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    Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

    The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    1. TenCan from OMFG
    2. Darth Vader-esque guy from Galaxy Laser Team 
    3. Ghost from Halloween monster keshi set 
    4. Robot from Ro-Gun Robots
    5. Daiyaman Kinnikuman vending bootleg
    6. Giant from DFC Fantasy playset  
    7. Spinge from Funny Fringes  
    8. Witch from Monster in My Pocket  (Mexican Sonrics version)
    9. Popeye Diener eraser  
    10. Gundam vending/party favor bootleg
    11. Warrior from True Legends Mythical Warriors playset   
    12. CETI-3 space ship from Diener Space Raiders   
    13. Gorgon from Neclos Fortress
    14. Swamp Beast from Monster in My Pocket  
    15. Double Heather from Garbage Pail Kids MiniKins 
    16. Black Kungfu Kinnikuman vending bootleg   

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    The first two Infestors, Venturo and Kraagh
    Following up on their Mutants series first released last year, Imperfecz and Ironhaus Pro have once again joined forces to unleash more little rubber weirdos into the world. This time it's the Infestors, a set of roach-humanoid warriors.

    Infestors back shot
    There's a whole storyline behind the Infestors, which expands on the story of the Mutants. You can read up on it over at the Imperfecz blog. In short, the Infestors are a sub-group of the Mutants, created using various species of roaches based on their survival ability.

    Luke Harris (Imperfecz) and Jimmy Rommel (Ironhaus) plan to release six different Infestors, beginning with the set of two shown here (following a previous brief run of "Grunts" roach characters). This initial set consists of Luke's "Kraagh" and Jimmy's "Venturo." They come packaged carded in a blister that can be removed and replaced without damaging it. The back of the packaging includes a brief summary of the Infestors story and bios for both characters, which is definitely a nice touch.

    "Build A Figure" part
    In addition to the two roach characters, each package comes with a "build a figure" part in a one-off, random color, which you can join together with other pieces collected to create a separate figure.

    Once again, it's clear that there was a lot of work and thought put behind this release to make it extra special.

    As for the roaches, they're very detailed and pretty creepy-looking, like any good roach warriors should be! Both Kraagh and Venturo are cast in a brown/yellow-ish rubber with a dark brown rub, which really accentuates all the lines and crevices of the sculpts. I can't remember seeing this effect used on many indie mini figures, and while I typically prefer my minis completely monochromatic, I have to say the rub really enhances these guys and I'm glad it was used.

    Size comparison with MIMP and Kinnikuman figures

    The figures are around 2 inches tall, with Kraagh being the taller sculpt. I like how although they're both roach-based characters, the two sculpts have a unique look. Venturo has a bulky, stocky look. Kraagh also looks plenty brutish, but the sculpt is a bit leaner and more dynamically-posed, waving his "Atlas Mandible" sword above his head. Both are very well-done, and great choices for introducing the series.

    If you'd like to pick up a set of Infestors for yourself, you can do so for $30 through the Imperfecz store. Be sure to keep an eye on the Imperfecz blog for news about upcoming figures in the series.

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    There's a few different kinds of Monster in My Pocket collectors: One type collects only Series 1 monsters, another goes after every single toy that was ever made using the Monster in My Pocket name, and then there are some in-between, who collect a few different series. Personally, I consider Series 1-3 to be the "true" Monster in My Pocket series, and though I own some MIMP toys that came later on, I don't actively collect them.

    Above is a shot of what I consider to be full set of the main Matchbox MIMP figures, Series 1 through 3, monsters #1 (Great Beast) through #81 (Blemmyea). I'd be wanting to get a photo of all these monsters together for a while, simply 'cause I'm a geek like that. I finally got a chance, and man, all these weirdos together is a beautiful sight. I wanted to include a variety of regular, neon and premium colors to show just how much variety this toy line offered (especially for Series 1).

    Looking at them all together, I don't think you can beat Series 1 in terms of sculpting, color variety, and the selection of monsters offered, but I love Series 2 and 3 as well. I only wish the full Series 3 had been released, not just the 9 that ultimately made it out as premiums.

    Series 4 continued with the mythological monsters theme, but because of their larger size and painted details, I just never thought they fit in. I still own a set, but I really wish they had continued on in the same size scale and with no paint (some were available unpainted, but not nearly enough to make up an entire set). After that, the line continued with characters like wrestles, dinosaurs, aliens and monster bugs. I consider these to be more of their own toy lines than genuine MIMPs.

    What about you? Which series of MIMP do you collect, and which are your favorite? Do you consider later releases to be true MIMP?


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    Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.

    The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    1. Lord of the Air from Gormiti Micros
    2. Flarp from Mini Boglins 
    3. Skeleton warrior from pirates vs. skeletons playset
    4. ET from Mexican ET bootleg mini figure set
    5. Oil Man from MUSCLE
    6. Hydra from Monster in My Pocket
    7. Stone Monster from Lucky Yuckies (GeGeGe No Kitaro bootleg)
    8. Space Sheriff Gavan mini figure bootleg
    9. Teela from Masters of the Universe vending bootlegs
    10. Stormfly from How to Train Your Dragon mini figure set
    11. Ultraman SD keshi
    12. Kinnikuman vending bootleg
    13. Unidentified Ultraman keshi 
    14. Conk from Mini Boglins
    15. Snail from Neclos Fortress
    16. Oozy Suzy from Garbage Pail Kids MiniKins

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    This is a follow-up post to a previous Little Weirdos post on the Suckers toy line.


    One of the reasons I love toys from the 1980s so much is the fact that during that decade there were a lot of smaller companies and obscure releases that got retail shelf space, and these were often some of the coolest and weirdest toys. One such company was LJN, which you might know as the ones behind such questionable NES video game "classics" as "Friday the 13th" and "Jaws," as well as figure lines like E.T., Gremlins, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and Wrestling Superstars. One of the best LJN releases, though, also happens to be one of the most obscure. I'm talking about the Suckers! line from 1987.

    Suckers! was based on a simple concept that's been done many times in the toy world: a blow gun that kids could shoot suction cup darts from. What made it different, though, is that the darts in the line weren't just any old boring darts--they were in the form of mini figures depicting monsters and other bizarro characters. The soft plastic darts were so cool and well-sculpted that they were worth collecting even if you didn't have the Suckers! blow gun to use them with. They were a perfect addition to the golden era of weirdo toys like Madballs and Garbage Pail Kids.


    To date, I have seen a total of 16 different Suckers! figures. Two of them came exclusively with the "Sucker Shooter" blow gun, while the rest were sold separately, with two characters per package.

    The back of the Suckers! packaging shows 10 different figures. Strangely, two of the characters shown (Sid D. Squid and Dr. I.M. Looney) I've never actually owned or seen available online. Recently, some people have opened full cases of old store stock and those figures weren't in the boxes, which leads me to believe they were never released. Instead, the boxes contained two additional characters not shown on the packaging--a crazy-looking guy in yellow coming out of a toilet bowl and a turquoise alligator wearing shoes.

    Adding to the mystery is the fact that ever since I was a kid I've owned even more characters not shown on the package. This includes the last six figures of the bottom row in the top photo above (a bandit, a Cousin Itt-like character, a mummy, a giant nose creature, a snake, and a dog). I've never seen these six figures anywhere else, and I can't remember if the packaging was any different for these sculpts when I got them from Toys R Us back in the late '80s. They weren't included in the cases of old store stock recently found, either, so perhaps they were from a later-released Series 2. I'd like to know if there are any more sculpts out there.

    Below are a couple shots of Suckers! packaging, front and back. I love the artwork and the words on the back ("Are you ready for Suckers?", "Stick 'em on Dad's car!"). I think crazy, wonderfully garish toy packaging like this is definitely a lost art.



    The toys were packaged as follows:

    • Sucker Shooter blow gun with Screwie Louie and Birdy Billy
    • Freaky Franky and Sharkbait Sam
    • Chester Chicken Leg and Hatchet Harry
    • Twist-Ted and Chompin' Charlie
    • Unnamed figure (guy coming out of toilet) and unnamed figure (alligator wearing shoes)
    • More info needed: Sid D. Squid and Dr. I.M. Looney (possibly unreleased)
    • More info needed: Series 2 (?) figures (mummy, dog, snake, etc.)

    I've always been partial to Chester Chicken Leg (I mean, he's a chicken leg monster, for cryin' out loud!), but I really like them all. There was a lot of creativity that went into the designs, and the wide range of textures and bright colors is just so appealing.

    What about you? Did/do you have any Suckers!, or remember seeing them in stores? What do you think of them? Have you seen any other characters in addition to the ones pictured here? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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  • 07/29/14--19:03: Gormiti Micros

  • Until recently I never paid much attention to Gormiti, a toy and cartoon series that originated in Italy and revolves around a variety of fierce-looking, nature-based characters (for example, battling creatures of the forest, air, sea, etc.). That's probably because I never realized the figures came in mini monochromatic versions different than the slightly larger, painted ones I had seen in photos. If you read this site regularly, you know I'm all about the mono minis and can sometimes glance over painted figures.

    Not too long ago I won a whole bunch of these smaller "Gormiti Micros" as a prize in a contest over at LittleRubberGuys.com, and I'm so glad I did. It turns out they're much more interesting figures than I had ever noticed.

    The Gormiti Micros were released around 2010 from Italian company Giochi Preziosi and marketed in the U.K. by Corinthian. I'm pretty sure they were never available outside of Europe (but someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

    The set consists of 15 different sculpts that each come in painted, monochromatic gold, and mono chromatic silver versions. Two figures came packaged in a single box with jelly beans. The box actually refers to the silver and gold figures "really cool." I agree!

    To the right you can see all 15 sculpts in painted and mono form, and below are scans of a Gormiti Micros box as well as a pamphlet that came inside showing all of the characters to collect.


    The figures are around 1" tall and made of a firm, but not brittle, plastic. It's impressive how much detail the creators of these toys got into the figures, considering they're so small. All of the figures are feature a lot of fantastic texture, from the feathers in the wings of the Solitary Eagle to the crevices and bumps on the Lord of the Forest's wooden limbs and tendrils. The details pop especially well on the silver and gold mono versions, where you can see all the miniscule elements most clearly.

    To give you a better idea of the size, here's a comparison shot of some Gormiti Micros alongside MUSCLE, Monster in My Pocket and Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys figures.


    I was definitely glad to add these guys to my collection.

    What about you? What do you think of them? Do you have any Gormiti in your collection?

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