Doc Thomas Probes > Holy Grails

Two things occured to me today as I answered the door in my wheelchair, only to leap up to my feet screaming “IT’S A MIRACLE!!” when it turned out to be the same two Mormons from last week who still haven’t learnt their lesson.

One, I’m not sure if my collection will ever be complete, if my need to acquire more toys will ever be sated. Fortunately, that scary thought was dulled by the horse flowing freely through my veins, and in my H-addled daze I got to thinking about Holy Grails – those items for your collection that you’ve always wanted, that you so desperately need, but are unable to acquire. That thought led to a rumination on Poe’s enticing shindig weighing in on action features, and the modest amount of comments it picked up with you young scamps arguing and waging war on one another like Shang Tsung starting a new tournament to weed out the best fighters from the movie stars, lightning gods and ridiculous robots.

This, of course, led to thinking about how I so dearly love the sound of my own voice, and would love to write my own column in which you, the reader, are forced to read every resounding idiotic thing that passes through my brain. Actually, that’s more than just “two things,” but, whatever. It’s not like you can stop reading now! (Breaking Bad is the greatest TV series ever made and you need to watch it immediately.)

Holy Grails

Every collector has them – the ones that got away, so to speak. (Not women–you’ve never touched a woman before.) Those amazing toys that appeared before your eyes for just a second, only to flit away never to be seen again, or to the deepest darkest depths of eBay. Or maybe it was a toy from your childhood, one that mom sold at your Garage Sale for 50 cents only to turn up at auction for $50,000 a decade or two later – or perhaps it was a toy that was released shortly before you began collecting and has never been available again.

Holy Grails are a double edged sword. As any collector or serial killer can tell you, part of the joy is the thrill of the chase: rushing through the doors to Toys ‘R Us, clobbering the families at the entrance and knocking over a pram to get to the action figures, shoving children out of your way as your hands wrap around the shiny new action figure that must be yours, being escorted away by the police for grevious bodily harm. As great as it is to have an awesome display of all your favourite toys that you can rejoice in as the lord, it’s also great being able to locate and acquire the objects of your desire, thrilling to finally find them for your collection. Holy Grails represent the Ultimate in terms of this thrill – the satisfaction of being able to get one of these is second only to leaping to your feet screaming “IT’S A MIRACLE!!” whilst in a wheelchair when the same two Mormons from last week come to your front door having not learnt their lesson.

“So, what’s your Holy Grail, Doc?” Why, I’m glad you asked. I actually managed to acquire the first of my two biggest Holy Grails not too long ago – feast your eyes on this:

That’s right, it’s the original Gigantic Stupid Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Megazords, the Dinozord and the Thunderzord. You kids can have your dern Voltron – for me, these were the must-own toys that I could never afford as a wee lad. Always just out of my reach, the eBay God finally blessed me last Christmas and delivered them to my arms, ready to fit together to make towering robot monsters that can crush Napoleon Dynamite and his stupid mate Pedro. But, the second Holy Grail, that eludes me to this day is… actually a set of two:

The glorious Gentlemen from the amazing, award-winning Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush have always been just out of my grasp, always a fingertip or an eBay-seller-who-wont-ship-internationally away. Articulated and complete with an awesome clocktower base with little bendy straightjacket minions and a plethora of accessories (human hearts!!!) these great toys from MAC were long gone by the time I might afford them.

Then there’s Poe’s own Holy Grail, which he revealed to me after an involuntary injection of sodium thiopental (with a touch of sulfuric acid to give it a kick): the blue Metal Man Spaceman/Space Ship set by Zylmex, which he had as a wee tyke in nursery school(!). He claims he saw one go for over $100 on eBay years ago, and now he wishes he’d had the stones to pay up.

What about you, the reader? What is or are your Holy Grail(s)?


Previously on Doc Thomas Probes, DrNightmare wrote:

Oh, Thomas, you scamp….oh sorry, I meant DR. Thomas, I know how all us fake doctors get hissy if we aren’t properly fraudulently addressed! πŸ™‚

Doc Thomas responds:

That’s ok!

(We’ll have a real 3 3/4″ breakdown soon – stay tuned!!)

Who is Doc Thomas? He is a lifelong toy collector and member of the international (i.e., non-U.S.) collector community. He enjoys making short films, non sequiturs, and dressing up in a bear suit at work.

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Comments now closed (34)

  • I feel you, man. When I was a kid I was lucky enough to have the original Megazord, but no Dragonzord or Titanus. Then two years ago I sold my collection of Megazords (around 10, including my original) in order to buy the Ultrazord trio.

  • Soul of Chogokin Big O, but only cuz I can't afford it. At least, not without sacrificing other toys for a couple of months. Hmm, maybe I COULD do that . . .

    It WAS DCUC Wave 5, but it looks like I may, MAY, acquire that in a couple of days.

  • That damn Moore Action Collectibles statue/base Poe is always showing off his figures on. I remember seeing that thing advertised in comic books in the '90s, but I never once thought about buying it. Now, with my sizable 200X/MOTUC and Spawn collections it would be a great piece to have to display them on. Unfortunately, it's like that thing never even existed. It has no known name, and is virtually impossible to search for online.

    Last year I finally reached deep and dropped a ridiculous amount of money to buy a 4H Castle Grayskull door. It's just so beautiful, and my 200X collection felt incomplete without it.

    I also ponied up way too much for a Sideshow Collectibles Emma Frost Comiquette. The sad thing is that I saw it for $100 when it was first released and just figured it would be easy and inexpensive to track down later.

    On the smaller scale, I just picked up a DC Direct Hush Harley Quinn for $35 MISB. It wasn't quite a holy grail for me, but it was a good buy of a figure I never thought I'd own.

    A funny one is DCUC Ares. It's not as though the figure was rare, but before I actually saw it in stores I would search endlessly for it, in ways I haven't done in years. I would even call up stores several times a week to see if they got a new shipment in. Waiting on that figure was ridiculously stressful for me.

  • Mine is the amazing Tiamat five-headed dragon from the D&D toyline frome the eighties… i had him for awhile and had to sell it… damn it … damn it…

  • there are so many things i wanted and never had or had and want again! the absolute holy grail of holy grails for me is the inspector gadget from the 80s! he came with a cloth coat and all these rocking parts! never got him, never knew anybody with him, have never seen him in person!

  • To be fair, almost every single "Holy Grail" I've ever wished for have actually been a toy I had as a child. In that respect, I already got my greatest Holy Grail, a popy Shogun Warriors Kargosaur from Gaiking.

    I'm not sure if I have any Holy Grails of toys that I didn't have as a kid. At this point, my only real Holy Grail (that isn't related to my childhood) is the 2004 Godzilla 50th Anniversary Memorial Box.

  • @connorsdad, My brother had that Inspector Gadget toy, and I still vividly remember when I threw it at the wall and his arm broke off πŸ™ He was in a vicious battle with my Godzilla, and I still feel bad because of it. My grail is the Ghost Rider toy seen in this pic,
    I remember getting it as a small child from a supermarket, and thus my obsession with skulls was born. I would love to be able to find it again. Till then, I am currently trying to recreate this toy using the Marvel Legends versions with out having to sacrifice the Phasing GR in my collection. So far I have obtained an extra red bike, I just need an extra blue body and the head from the original version.

  • I'm not really sure what, if any Holy Grails I have left. For the most part I was a spoiled kid, even though my mom was frugal and a lot of my toys came from a second hand toy shop. As a borderline obsessive compulsive hoarder, Mumma PrfktTear never threw away any of my old toys, so I have all my old stuff still.

    I'd say the toys that would have been Holy Grails were G1 Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Soundwave. I'd still love to have a real G1 Devastator, and not a knock-off. I have the TRU Commemorative Soundwave, so he's not 100% G1, but close enough. I'd love to get that SDCC set with the tapes though.

    As a kid I never had New Adventures Disk of Doom Skeletor or Snakeface from MOTU. I'd love both of 'em, but since the chances of them getting Classics updates are very good, I might as well wait and save my money.

    My biggest want is MP Grimlock. I'm waiting for the TRU exclusive to be released, and I think that will do. I'd also love to have the G1 Dinobots.

    There are other things on my want-list, but not Holy Grail status.

  • For me it will likely end up being Marvel Universe Galactus when it gets released at retail in the US. One, it will be huge scalper bait and two, I live in the UK and he would only make it to comic shops here and they are often no better than scalpers. le sigh

  • Like Poe, most of my main grails stem from what I actually had as a tike. That being said, I've been fortunate enough to pick most of them up fairly early in Ebay's existence, so I never had to really "break the bank". One has eluded me, however, & I don't like the prices he's going for these days… G1 Shockwave. As a kid, I wasn't all that into anything G1 after '84, but when my dad offered me Shockwave, I was blown away. With the exception of Soundwave, I think it's one of the only original Transformers that looks good in both robot & "practical" form.

    When it comes to new toys, well that's pretty simple; BAM project's Kaneda & Kaneda's bike. I swear I will one day own those bad boys.

  • I want the working Bat-signal that was released only in the UK for the 2003 Batman Line.

  • At this point, my Holy Grail is…. space! I have stuff and nowhere to put it!

    If I had to pick a few toys though, I'd say the larger Joe playsets and the room to display them of course.

  • My grail is that import Transforming 1:12 scale Escaflowne guymelef that can switch from Armor to Dragon forms. Followed up closely by the Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita super articulated figure of Gally, I believe she came as a preorder bonus for ordering the Last ORder manga set.

  • The Hive playset from Coleco's Sectaurs. I have all the figures and puppet-bug-mounts but no damn Hive!

  • It's tough coming up with a holy grail, because I think it's intended that there's only one for any one collector's collection. I've had a number of occasions where I said, "THIS is a grail." I've said that a lot with purchases in recent years (most recently, a sealed box of Mr. T cereal from 1984 that I paid $104 for on eBay).

    I try not to have grails so much as I try to have goals. A grail implies something you might come close to obtaining but never actually will, as Indiana Jones and the Monty Python troupe experienced firsthand. There are too many awesome toys from the 1980s that have eluded my grasp that I figure it's just worth being patient. If you never stop looking, you're bound to find something eventually…or maybe you'll find something even better.

  • @Ben: Well said. Is the cereal from the '80's animated series? If so, that was definitely a good looking box. Rolston, right?

  • My Holy Grails are the Alfrex Seven Samurai and Lone Wolf and Cub sets. Until I hit the lotto there's NO WAY I could justify the expense.

  • have to go w/ noisy… i want at least 200 sq ft to actually set up the dio-rooma more than any other grail toy.

  • My Holy Grail was Toy Biz Fantastic Four Classics Dragon Man. I searched High and low for years for that figure. I finally discovered Ebay, and saw the prices he was going for and gave up hope…But then I found a seller that had one for $150, almost 200 dollars cheaper than all the others i had seen, and have seen. So I bought Him. He was out of package but had his wings and tail, and i gotta say, I love him. I decided to NEVER spend so much money on one figure again, and so far I haven't…

  • Most of my Grails have been acquired in the past year, due to luck with some good deals after seeing years of very high secondary market prices. They include Marvel Legends Hulkbuster Iron Man, Stan Winston's Blood Wolves Vereticus, Marvel Select Black Cat, and especially Movie Maniacs RoboCop. One I'd still like to get is Transformers Alternators Grimlock.

    One from my childhood would be something that I wanted but never owned. A large vinyl Ultraman figure that I saw in a sci fi/horror toy catologue that randomly arrived one day. A lifelong fan of Godzilla and other giant monster entertainment, I jumped at any opportunity for Japanese kaiju toys. Mom said no to this somewhat expensive toy of course, telling me to hold onto the catalogue for a special occasion. Being a child, I eventually lost it, and thus my only link to the toy. This was long before the internet and online ordering. I doubt I'd ever be able to find it now, or if it would even be acceptable by modern toy standards, but I hope to someday find something that would fill it place.

  • @PJ: I got an Ultraman and Majamba figures for my birthday. I used to get up and watch Ultraman: Towards the Future on Saturday mornings on Fox. What really sucked was that it was on at 7:00 am!

    I remember now that I always wanted Bogun and Kilazee. Whats sad is that it says on Virtual Toy Chest that because the line didn't sell well, they were discounted to $3.99 at KB Toys!!! =( Maybe thats why I got both from my friend on my birthday! πŸ˜‰

  • Mine was, is and always will be, that giant cardboard SW Death Star playset from the Seventies that was only sold in England. So cool…

  • The funny thing is the way I manage to keep identifying all those random "had in my childhood" grails, even if I barely have any memory of the toy. For instance, while visiting a fellow toy collector recently, I discovered he had what was apparently a Tomy Tribot, which I remembered owning as a kid–not just owning, but I traded my original Godzilla vs. Tricephalon toy for it (since, at that point, I had the superior Bandai King-Goji).

    Now I'm stuck searching for that for the rest of my life, along with that nearly-impossible-to-find Zylmex saucer.

    On a happier note, I did recently score another grail on eBay, a four-pack of Macross vinyl toys that I'd gotten from HobbyWorld when I was probably four years old. It was another one of those toys that was so vague in my memory I wasn't sure it even existed, but there it was on eBay a few months ago.

    Incidentally, sometimes I'll pass on a grail. I'd been wanting the "Blinky" ghost figure from Coleco's PVC Pac-Man line, which I owned as a kid, but one went for $30 on eBay, and that's way too expensive for the relatively low level of nostalgia I have for that toy.

  • @PrfktTear:

    That Ultraman you had was pretty similar. The one I wanted was the original Ultraman, and had a tag instead of any real packaging because it was a Japanese import.

  • In addition to having an OCD mom who never threw anything away, I guess in some respects I'm fortunate in that I never traded any of my figures, not that I can remember at least. I remember my cousin wanting my TMNT Slash figure in the worst way, even so much as to have him offer me CASH for it… but I still said no!

    @PJ: That Ultraman toy was pretty cool. He is really light though, since he's hollow. The monster was great for going up against TMNT or whoever.

  • @connorsdad: That Inspector Gadget was my Holy Grail as well, up until just a few years ago when I was finally able to buy him. Excellent toy, and totally lives up to my 20+ years of anticipation.

    I still want to find the diecast transforming Gadgetmobile and MADmobile though.

  • The one toy I always wanted but could never get because i couldnt find it when i was a kid was the beast wars deluxe 2 pack of bat optimus primal vs. gator megatron. Not excatly rare,but i got it as soon as i got a job. Still love the figures.

  • @RocketPunch: If you don't mind me asking, how much were you able to snag that Inspector Gadget for? I've only known about him since I read about him on Weirdo Toys a few years back. I was a huge IG fan as a kid (but never managed to get any of the figures), but he's definitely something on my "want" list. Though, realistically he's on my "If I hit the lottery" list.

    @Doc Thomas: When MMPR first debuted on TV, I was about 12. I was starting to become "too old" to play with toys, and even though I wanted one really bad, I was too embarassed to ask for it. When I finally did, my Mumma PrfktTear said no. My friend had the Dino Zords and the Dragon Zord and I remember them being all full of awesome.

    I'm still very tempted to pick up the recent Dino Megazord release… I've seen a few reviews for it in comparison to the original, and it has its own strenghts and weaknesses. I'm not sure if I can bring myself to pick it up, if I did it would be a truly frivolous purchase.

  • Now that I think about it, I realize that I REALLY wish I knew what happened to my original TF Jetfire, and would REALLY like to have one again. It was probably my favorite toy as a little kid.

  • my friend got the original megazord at the salvation army for $3 when we were kids. we weren't super into power rangers (other than bulk and skull), but that thing fought optimus prime many times

    my holy grail right now is just sort of completing my exo squad collection (i don't need ALL the insane variants to be happy). peter tanaka, simbacca, jinx madison, neo lord, neo cat and that is basically it

  • For me there are many thinngs that come close to Grail status. Finding DCUC wave 5, completing a Cobra Terror Dome, Scoring a vintage Star Wars Imperial Shuttle. But it has and always will be the USS Flagg! You can take your megazords! πŸ˜‰ I would love to have one. And at 7 some odd feet I'd have to have the room to set it up.

    I saw one once that had been customized with LED's and it was pure awesome.

  • When I was a kid all I really wanted was a Slave 1. I never got one, and I thought its design was so cool. Now I'm an adult and I don't want the things I wanted as a child.

    Boy I wish it were so simple.

    Getting a Slave 1 would be easy, but NO, now I want crazy things. Like the Fewture Shin Getter 1. Holy cow, that's some awesome toy there, but really, $500 for a toy? I may be mental but I'm not crazy. Still, see the link below for one of the most awesome toys ever.

  • @d. verburg: I loved Exo-Squad. I always wanted the figures, but I was at that akward age where playing with toys wasn't cool anymore. I remember seeing Exo reissues or maybe knockoffs at KB Toys several years ago, but I never picked 'em up.

    @Rev. Ender: That brings back memories. I had Jet/Skyfire as a kid, I got him loose, I think from a yardsale, or The Toy Peddler, a second hand toy shop in town. He was the biggest Transformer I owned besides Powermaster Prime, and thus one of my favorites! Plus he was cool cuz he had his own episode!

    @DankOne: I don't know if you're looking to get the Flagg anytime soon, but the guy who runs a toy/comic booth at my local flea market recently aquired a large Joe collection and he said he got it. I'm not sure how much he's asking for it, but I can give you his e-mail if you'd like it.