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Toys and real-life guns

black and silver semi automatic pistol on brown wooden table
Photo by Derwin Edwards on Pexels.com

Toy companies seem to be shying away from real-life guns.

Diamond Select’s Rocketeer andWestworld figures either didn’t have guns or they were glued into their holsters (despite coming with hands with trigger fingers) and their John Wick figure has one dinky pistol (though the “Casual” version does have a shotgun).

The G.I. Joe public relations team refers to guns as “blasters” and the new Classified figures have sci-fi-style guns. Apparently the new movie Marvel Legends Deadpool comes with two removable sci-fi guns and has two real-life Desert Eagles glued into his holsters (which can be easily removed with some heat).

The only Hasbro figures that have had real-life guns recently have been online exclusives. (I’m really curious to see how the Punisher w/ motorcycle gets distributed – wouldn’t be at all surprised if he were a fan channel exclusive.)

(Hell, I even noticed the Youtube stars my kid watches, Lankybox, always refer to guns as blasters when they play Roblox.)

I assume this is a post-Parkland phenomenon; that particular mass shooting seemed to change the conversation around guns, moreso than other recent tragedies. It doesn’t appear to be a policy Hasbro or Diamond want to make a big deal out of, as they’re likely hoping to avoid a PR debacle on either side of the debate.

UPDATE: In assuming this was a Parkland-related issue, I thought the reason that exclusives could have real-life guns was because their online availability meant they were solely directed toward the adult market. However, after a user on our Facebook page pointed out that the Target exclusive Black Widow figure has fairly realistic guns, another possibility occurred to me: the international market. Gun culture overseas is not what it is in America, and I can imagine there being some complicated customs laws around representations of firearms in some countries. Why bother with it when you can just use your own patented NERF designs?

When is a gun not a gun? It reminds me a bit of the famous X-Men “nonhuman creatures” legal case.

Aside from mass shooting-related sensitivity and international customs compliance, I can think of at least two other explanations. It’s possible using real-life weapon designs require some sort of licensing from the manufacturers, which makes using original creations such as NERF designs cheaper. It’s also possible Hasbro has plans for some corporate synergy by repackaging their full-size NERF weapons under the G.I. Joe brand.

I would be very interested to hear from any industry types as to what’s going on here – feel free to email me at poe@poeghostal.com if you have any insight to offer.

Pic of the Day > Diamond Select Universal Monsters – Metaluna Mutant [This Island Earth] by Ed Speir IV

Diamond Select Universal Monsters - Metaluna Mutant [This Island Earth]

Diamond Select Universal Monsters – Metaluna Mutant [This Island Earth] by Ed Speir IV

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Review > Metaluna Mutant (Universal Monsters, Diamond Select) w/ Sculptor’s Commentary

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, Universal Studios built their reputation on horror films. The “canonical” Universal Monsters are Dracula, Frankenstein(‘s Monster), the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Gillman from Creature from the Black Lagoon. However, there are other Universal Monsters who aren’t quite as well known; Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame; the Invisible Man; and the subject of today’s review, the Metaluna Mutant from the 1955 science fiction extravaganza This Island Earth.

I have watched This Island Earth many times – far more times than any other Universal Monsters movie, even Creature. However, I’ve never seen the “official” film – the version I’ve watched is the one found in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Partly due to the film’s mocking at the hands of the MST3K crew, I have a hard time thinking about it as a good movie, but it’s a fun, colorful film featuring a monster straight out of the pulp comic covers of the era. [Fun fact: the Outer Space Man figure Orbitron was based on the Metaluna Mutant.]

There have been a few Metaluna Mutant toys and model kits over the years – in the Universal Monsters TMNT line, there was even a “Mutant Raphael” figure. But for some time now, the gold standard for the under-12″ scale has been Sideshow Toys’ 8″ figure. Now that Diamond Select Toys (DST) has taken over the Universal Monsters license, there’s a new contender in town.

You can get your Metaluna Mutant in two flavors. There’s the specialty store version (the subject of this review), which includes the “Interocitor” device from the film. It will run you about $19-$20. Then there’s a basic version with no Interocitor that’s available as a Toys R Us exclusive for $16 and comes with a small display stand. Given the meager price difference and the fact that the TRU version doesn’t appear to differ in any other way other than lacking the accessory, you’re certainly better off with the specialty store version.

I’d like to thank sculptor Jean St. Jean for sending along this figure to me, and for agreeing to add his “sculptor’s commentary” to the proceedings. His comments can be found in the blockquotes.

Pic of the Day > Hulk (Diamond Select Toys) by Jova Cheung

Hulk (Diamond Select Toys)

Interview > Diamond Select’s Zach Oat on Battle Beasts

One of the most talked-about toy lines of this year is Diamond Select’s Battle Beasts. There’s been a lot of speculation about this line, how it came to be and where it’s going, but the buzz is growing: a new comic book from IDW based on the property is already in stores.

I got in touch with Zach Oat, Marketing Supervisor at Diamond Select Toys, to find out more about what the future holds for Battle Beasts.

1.) Let’s start with the obvious: what led Diamond Select to pick up the Battle Beasts trademark, and were you concerned about the fact that you would not have the rights to the original toy designs?

We were brainstorming new concepts for toy lines, and we started thinking about similar toy lines that had experienced success in the past. Battle Beasts came up, so we did a little research and saw that the trademark was actually available. It’s such a great name, and it went well with our Minimates mini-figures, so we acquired it. The name was what we thought had the most value; we already had a lot of ideas for what we could do with the fighting animals concept, and the original toy line was known more for its gimmicks than for its characters and storylines, so we weren’t too worried about not having the rights to them.

More SDCC Highlights

As we wait for the Mattycollector panel to start, I thought I’d post a few more thoughts on the various SDCC reveals.

Pic courtesy Pixel-Dan.com

Keldor looks much better with the twin swords. I never realized how integral they are to his character design – they’re what make him distinct from just being “Skeletor with a face.”

Spider-Man/Lizard Contest > & the Winner is…

The winner of the contest for the Spider-Man/Lizard figures has been chosen by sponsor FigureOfTheDay!

Enter for a Chance to Win Diamond Select’s Spider-Man & Lizard, Courtesy of FigureoftheDay.com!

In honor of the imminent release of Marvel’s new Amazing Spider-Man film, PGPoA and FigureoftheDay.com are offering a set of both Spider-Man and his latest cinematic nemesis, the Lizard. These fully-articulated figures were designed and produced by Diamond Select Toys!

Avengers: Hulk vs. Hulk

So, like most of you I saw The Avengers this weekend. It was a very entertaining film, and a lesson for Michael Bay on how to make a blockbuster movie that’s fun and not a three-hour cinematic waterboarding.

Anyway, I came away loving the film’s take on the Hulk, which made me wonder which action figure to get. Since I don’t collect the 3.75″  or 12″ scales, I have two options: the Marvel Select Hulk, and the upcoming Walmart-exclusive 6″ Hasbro Hulk.

Marvel Select HulkHasbro Hulk

They both have their merits. The Marvel Select figure is larger, has more detail, and will doubtless be easier to obtain. On the other hand, the Hasbro Hulk (which is in 6″ scale, so I believe it stands around 7″-8″) is more articulated and cheaper – if I can find it.

How popular is the Marvel Select stuff among you Marvel collectors? Articulation-wise they’ve been moving closer and closer to Hasbro, but they still put greater emphasis on the sculpting.

Which Hulk will you get?

Battle Beasts Cont’d – Takara Beast Fight Revealed [UPDATE: Preorder at BBS]

While Diamond Select moves forward with their new take on Battle Beasts, TakaraTomy is indeed bringing back the original Beastformers as, at least according to one site, “Takara Beast Fight.” Go here to see the pics of the various figures.

It appears to have some sort of dice game element, which makes a lot of sense. So – are you in for Takara Beast Fight, DST’s Battle Beasts, or both?

Thanks to Pixel Dan for the tip!

UPDATE: These are now available for preorder at BBTS.

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