8.26.2011

Disney Die-Cast Attractions Collection

Several years ago (around 2005), Disney made a series of toys called the Die-Cast Attractions Collection, only available at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. They were really cool die-cast metal versions of the various attraction vehicles, usually with some fun characters siting inside and enjoying the ride! Since I absolutely love the classic DIsney attractions, I started buying these as a way to commemorate my many visits to the Disney parks, but soon I become obsessed with finding the complete set, so I started hunting on eBay and other places online. Besides attraction vehicles, I soon discovered they also made parade floats (mostly cars from the old Stars and Motor Cars Parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios), and they even made a few deluxe vehicles with more detail (such as the Main Street Fire Engine and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad engine) with nice plastic display cases included. Back when I was buying these, I reached a point where I thought I had them all, and after doing a little research I think that's true (minus a few specialty items), thanks to a website I found with an overview of the whole collection (scroll about halfway down). Lately I have been taking snapshots of these with Instagram (also available in a Flickr set), and it's been so much fun to think about riding the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and of course all of the Fantasyland dark rides! These toys seem to be fairly rare now, and I've seen some being sold for ten times what I originally paid. I'm proud to have this series in my Toy Museum!

8.12.2011

Sideshow Planet of the Apes figures

After collecting all of the Medicom Planet of the Apes Ultra Detail Figures, I didn't think there were any Apes toys left for me to pursue, but recently I stumbled upon some great prices for the Sideshow 12-inch Planet of the Apes figures! I kind of have a knack for discovering toys soon after they are out of production, so I can find decent prices before the collector's market has really heated up, and this definitely seems to be the case with these figures. First I ordered a Zira figure at a price I couldn't pass up, and I was amazed at the detail of the sculpt, which not only captures the spirit of the character, but even looks like Kim Hunter in makeup! Next I found a good price for Dr. Zaius and Taylor in his ANSA astronaut uniform, and eventually found a Cornelius (which seems to be in demand) at a price I was willing to pay. All of these figures have incredible articulation, beautiful cloth costumes, tons of cool accessories (Cornelius even comes with the doll that says "Mama" from his archeological dig in the Forbidden Zone), and even wonderful stands with the movie logo! I recently snagged the Mutant Leader from Beneath the Planet of the Apes (complete with removable face so you can see his deformity), and I'm thinking about getting Brent soon. I would love to add General Ursus to my collection, but since not as many of this figure (along with a few other characters) were produced, he's pretty expensive. I'm keeping my eyes open, though! All of these tall figures look spectacular in my Toy Museum, and as always it's fun to express my fandom by collecting cool toys from one of my favorite movie series!

8.11.2011

All aboard the LEGO train

LEGO City Set #7938 Passenger TrainMy LEGO addiction is still going strong, and lately I've been obsessed with LEGO trains! I had been thinking about getting a set for quite some time, but when I saw them in action at Brick Fiesta (a local LEGO convention that was fantastic) I was hooked. By some great timing, my parents hit a slot machine jackpot and decided to share the wealth with lucky me, so it was easy to buy the semi-expensive Passenger Train set (7938). This is a wonderful starter set, since it comes with all the electronics you need to get a train moving: a motor, a battery box to power it, an IR receiver, and a remote control, which wirelessly controls the train. I really enjoyed building the engine and other cars, hooking up the track (plus the small passenger platform), and watching my new train in action! I was so excited that I made a short video of it. A few days later I was at the LEGO Store and spotted the Train Station set (7937), so I added that to my track and enjoyed watching the train go under the pedestrian walkway. Now I wanted to get more track, but I soon realized that LEGO has replaced their old curved track with "flexible track", which most enthusiasts agree is inferior to the original. So, I started hunting around on eBay for standard track and eventually ordered some (the market for LEGO train track seems huge), plus some Switching Tracks (7895) and a Level Crossing (7936)! I even bought some nice thick foam mats so I wouldn't have to build my layout directly on the carpet in my Toy Museum, and I studied a bunch of track layout designs until I found one I really liked, which happened to be the Double Loop! I can't really explain it, but it's so much fun to run my train with the remote control, making it go around the outer loop, switch into the inner loop, then reverse it back onto the outer loop again. Now I want to add a few small buildings around my track, and I really want to get a second engine so I can watch two trains running at once and try to make them exchange loops!