Category: Doc Thomas Probes Page 1 of 2

Doc Thomas Probes > Silent Hill Action Figures


Recently I’ve has returned to one of my favorite video game series of all time, Silent Hill. Although the first has aged graphically, it’s still an artistic masterpiece featuring some of the most amazing atmosphere and sound design of any game ever, and the level of tension it maintains is unmatched. I spent literally hours on edge making my way through that godawful hospital, and from there the nightmare doesn’t end until the game’s close.

The sequel keeps up the high level of quality with a stronger storyline and unbelievably messed up second half; there have been many times I have literally yelled “#%@* this!” at the TV (seriously – special characters and all), often when encountering a certain geometry-headed gentlemen, and at other times when the games just go out of their way to mess with you. (Those who have experienced the hotel at the end of Silent Hill 2 know EXACTLY what I mean.) I was pleasantly surprised to find both the first and second games just as excellent as the first time I played them, although the third suffers somewhat with a second playthrough, due in part to the slow and poorly-paced first half, before picking up in the second, with an absolutely triumphant close. I have to say that Silent Hill is the rare series wherein every entry has something to offer; even the most lacking Silent Hill game still has some great scenes and clever ideas, which is more that can be said of most video game franchises.

Doc Thomas Probes > Does Collecting Make Me Unhappy?

The opinions in the post below are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Poe Ghostal. Posting it on the site does not imply a tacit endorsement of said opinions, just as this notice does not imply a tacit disagreement. As always, caveat lector. –PG

It’s now been nearly three months since Rob Bricken’s original article about how collecting toys evidently makes him miserable. When I first read it I thought it’d make me more reflective and I’d have to chew over it a while, but I didn’t – I don’t really identify with most of what he talks about, although I completely understand his position and the addictive nature of the hobby.

Doc Thomas Probes > Breaking Bad and 6″ Star Wars

Two things popped up recently that made the Doc happy, toy-wise – the first, as gloriously pictured below:


If you’re not watching Breaking Bad, do yourself a favor and get ahold of the first season – I honestly believe that it is the great television series of all time, surpassing even the heights achieved by The Sopranos, Deadwood, Six Feet Under and Mad Men, and the critics agree as well. But consider yourself warned: the subject matter is often extreme and the series features some of the most unbelievable, unfathomable tension you’ll ever encounter, on television or otherwise. As the gripping plot draws to a close later this year, there is no better time for Mezco to gift us with toys – since Sideshow’s Trevor Grove teased us with his own 12″ incarnations of Walter White, Breaking Bad action figures have been a dream for many a fan, and it’s awesome to see Mezco’s product above. Hopefully we’ll see more figures before long – the possibilities are endless! Jesse!! Mike!! Better Call Saul!! And, of course, Gus, with a special “Face-Off” variant!

Doc Thomas Probes > Most Wanted, Left 4 Dead 2 Edition

Welcome to Part 2 of my detailed Left 4 Dead-themed Most Wanted article, in which I beg Valve and “some other company” to create toys based on one of my recent favourite games! If you’re wondering why I haven’t specified the company I’d like to make these toys, that’s because there’s so many great companies that it doesn’t matter who makes them as long as the toys are great. Although top contender NECA have absolutely showed their chops at making great video game figures, including the Resident Evil zombies we know and love, Mezco have also done a sensational job with their Attack of the Living Dead line, comprised entirely of army-building fully-articulated awesomely-detailed zombies, some of which already resemble L4D characters. Really, it doesn’t matter – the toys are what matters, so on with the show!

Doc Thomas Probes > Most Wanted, Left 4 Dead Edition

Since Poe so kindly allowed me to start writing articles for his site as a favor and part of my community service, the very best response I’ve had was to the Most Wanted column, where I talked about the many action figures that I so dearly desired for my collection to sate the addiction, and that’s no surprise: every passionate collector has characters and properties that they’re passionate about seeing in plastic on their shelf. That’s part of the fun of the whole hobby, why everyone gets so excited for SDCC and announcements – the pleasure of having our plastic fantasies realised. (That sounds much worse than I’d intended. My apologies.)

Doc Thomas Probes > Videogame Toys

When it comes to video game action figures, there’s one company that currently has you covered: NECA. From their amazing Big Daddies to the gorgeously detailed Gears of War figures and even oddities like Bionic Commando, they can’t be beat for sculpt, articulation, playability and fun. (Durability is another matter, cough.) But there’s plenty of other articles out there covering these goods – I want to talk about something else fun today, in a similar vein but entirely different: video game plush toys.

Yes, no longer just covering your barely legal girlfriend’s bed, or containing a hidden camera so you can watch your mate’s daughter undressing, stuffed toys are now made for REAL MEN like yourself in the forms of all your favourite video game icons and props. Let’s start with some of the best, from the makers of some of the best games ever, Valve.

Doc Thomas Probes > Winning with Bargains

For Doc Thomas, it’s all about winning. Not winning in the traditional sense, like coming first in a race or plowing through the Tour De France in a monster truck, but winning in the sense that you’re doing what you love, and freakin’ loving doing it. Toy collectors know that when you’re finally buying that most beloved, most waited for, most coveted toy, you are winning. When you’re opening that action figure up and changing accessories, posing it, switching interchangable parts, you’re absolutely winning. And when you’re putting your toys on display, or preposing them in battle, you just can’t stop winning.

Doc Thomas Probes > Most Wanted

These days, we collectors have a lot to be thankful for – the shift in quality of action figures over the past two decades has turned once-small, barely recognizable, barely moveable plastic playthings into fully articulated, awesomely detailed, instantly identifiable works of art that we’re glad to have displayed in our kitchen, to be briefly admired by last night’s mistake before we kick her out of the apartment. Yes, toys have come a long way, and with the expansion of the market has come a bigger range of great properties picked up and plasticized for our collecting pleasure.

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, you can look in front of you right now and see an amazing range of amazing toys including Bender from Futurama, the Heath Ledger Joker from The Dark Knight, several Daleks, the amazing Masterpiece Grimlock, WALL-E, at least a dozen different Skeletors, Big Daddy holding a Little Sister’s hand, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cobra Commander, an entire shelf of friggin’ Muppets, and Richard Nixon’s head. That is range, my friends. The sheer mass of different characters that have been made into great toys is amazing and wonderful – and yet, there are still plenty of favourites that are yet to be immortalised in plastic. These are


Doc Thomas Probes > Action Features (Part II)

In Part I of our feature, Doc Thomas examined “Simulated Attack” action features. And now…the exciting conclusion!

Type 2: Pure Deco

The next most prominent type of action feature is that which focuses on the look of the toy, and attempts to add more life-like or just more interesting dynamic look via an internal mechanism. A good example of this is Cortana from McFarlane “Last Hurrah” Toys’ Halo line, which in addition to being awesomely scaled to be about life size included several blue leds inside which made it light up, giving it that same luminescence that lightened our lives across the galaxy’s hardship in the excellent series of games.

A different approach to a similar end is the aforementioned Metalhead from TMNT, whose eyes glowed red when light was shined above his head to nifty effect. These kind of action features are comparable to other creative approaches to action figures to make them closer to a real life representation, like the awesome SOTA Blanka sculpted entirely in glow-in-the-dark plastic, representing Blanka in his signature electrified state, or nearly every feature in the Masterpiece Optimus Prime toy, including light-up Matrix inside his chest, and the button-operated “talking” mouth.

Doc Thomas Probes > Action Features, Part I

Last week I poured my heart and soul into a well-received little shindig on Holy Grails. (Thanks for all the excellent comments! I hope you all can one day find the Holy Grails you seek, as well as a good wife! Not like mine, of course, who’s dead!) This week I’m continuing my insane ramblings with a contentious topic I have a lot to waffle on about: action features.

My good friend, mentor and Karate Buddy has already weighed in with his thoughts on action features in an article spawned from a message board debate (the source of most of history’s finest intellectual discussions and genocidal wars) and also included a nifty little poll to the side there asking readers what most drew them to an action figure as a wee child. It’s very interesting reading, though I think Poe’s focus is slightly to the side of the real issue. I feel that, like tacos, USB gadgets, the papacy, and nearly everything else in life, action features aren’t necessarily a bad thing –they’re just done badly the majority of the time, which makes them seem worse than they actually are and gives them negative stigma and connotation of childishness.

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