Rom: Spaceknight was an improbable comics success: Based on a toy series that consisted of one figure (Rom), the comics series debuted in 1979 and lasted an unlikely 75 issues, featuring art from such luminaries as P. Craig Russell and Steve Ditko (previously, previously and previously). The series was written by Marvel Comics mainstay Bill Mantlo, who retired from comics and became a public defender (the legal kind), only to suffer a tragic accident in the mid-1990s that left him in need of constant medical attention. A 2007 benefit for the writer -- Spacenight: A Tribute to Bill Mantlo -- will be followed by Spacenight 2, an auction of original Rom-related artwork that can be viewed here.
You Are Not Going to be Famous. On Metatourism. How NOT to Raise a Chimp in Your Home: the Legacy of W. N. Kellogg. [more inside]
Stalin's Secret Weapon - a Russian hobbyist's terminator-esque diorama painstakingly constructed from military action figures. (Via buzz
Toy Stories: Dan Meth explores some up and coming movies inspired by your childhood toy chest.
If you’ve got extra kitchenware about is never used to cook or contains food anymore, here are some (low calorie!) ways to use it again. If you’ve kicked your caffeine habit, your metal coffeepots can become lamps, or your teapot can morph into a camel. Other items of kitchenware can become recycled toys. [more inside]
Old Play-doh ads! Chop that mop. Excellent! What has been done cannot be undone. Arbeit Macht Frei! Oooooh...pretty sparkles.... Tasty! Bart Smit? Basa?
UnNerfed - the Nerf dart blaster overclocked to 500 rounds per minute.
Just over sixty years ago the Reverend W. V. Awdry told his sick son a series of stories based on real life incidents with trains, which he later wrote up as the Railway Series. Now Thomas the Tank Engine and the other engines of the Isle of Sodor (somewhere between Barrow-in-Furness and the Isle of Man) are a global phenomena, with toys, books and of course the TV series - filmed using model trains on more than 70 1:32 scale 16-by-20-foot sets, and voiced by the likes of Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin. 2008 has been a rough year for Thomas: George Carlin, who voiced the series in the US up until 1998, passed away (previously), as did David Mitton, who had written and directed over 180 episodes (and who has previously worked on the special effects for Thunderbirds). There's changes ahead for Thomas as well - this year saw the faces of the engines, which had previously been cast in silicone and attached with double sided tape, replaced by CGI faces, and from 2009 onwards Nitrogen studios in Canada will be taking over production with an entirely CGI Thomas. Meanwhile a group of British students continues the tradition of model engine-based storytelling with their YouTube based British Railway Series.
So, for about two years now, Will Chapman of BrickArms has been creating a wide variety of custom Lego minifigures, ranging from World War II soldiers (both Axis and Allies) to a certain copyrighted British Secret Service agent. One of Chapman's more popular creations is "Mr. White," a "bandit" brimming with weapons (including an AK-47 and RPG) and grenades. This week, the Sun ran a story. Then Fox News ran another. [more inside]
Gizmine - "the world's largest Japanese gadgets and lifestyle design shop." Viewable by color, theme, price, popularity, or brand.
"This toy is so fantastic that it's not just for humans anymore. You can find otters, chimps and dogs -- especially dogs -- playing with it." The National Toy Hall of Fame has inducted the stick.
The Mattel toy company insists that their Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo dolls do not utter the phrase "Islam is the light." You be the judge.
A Deadly Skirmish at Greenbrier, Maryland. A little-known engagement of the American Civil War. This bucolic crossroads was visited by the hard hand of war. The Confederate Artillerymen await, then unleash leaden death on the Hoosier troops. Carnage ensues in the gathering gloom. The Butcher's Bill.
If you like those giant plush microbes but maybe they're a little too life-sciencey for ya, perhaps you would like The Particle Zoo instead.
Playmobil Online Archiv - Playmobils archive of every toy they've ever produced, from it's start in 1974 onwards. It's only available in German, but even non-German speakers can appreciate gems like this awesome tiger tamer or these Mexican bandits, odd anachronisms like the chimney sweep or the figures for recreating the American civil war. [more inside]
Kindertrauma is about the movies, books, and toys that scared you when you were a kid. It’s also about kids in scary movies, both as heroes and villains. And everything else that’s traumatic to a tyke! [more inside]
Barbie vs Bratz: Mattel sues MGA, claiming the Bratz designs were created by a Mattel employee and smuggled to its rival.
Superstar Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison is about to tear the DC Universe apart again with Final Crisis, the latest in a series of apocalypses and world ending events he's inflicted on various comics worlds over the years. But there was a time before fame when he wrote the tie-in comic for ZOIDS, the robot dinosaur children's toy. So what did he do? Ushered in the apocalypse, in the form of THE BLACK ZOID.
Cool. Cooler. Awesome! Using Lego bricks as a medium to design chess sets seems absolutely logical to anybody that grew up playing with them. Fans have gone low-tech, the inevitable Star Wars, and a few more. Lego offers a virtual cowboys-and-indians version as well. [more inside]
New Security Blanket, Stat! What do you do if you're a parent and your darling child's favorite toy has been worn down to nothing? Or perhaps you're thinking ahead and want a "backup binky?" You start a "Lost Lovies" thread, of course. Think of it as a hive mind for real desperate housewives looking for something better than a creative explanation as to why Sprinkles the Cow is suddenly MIA.
Toys - 59,237 of them. This group is about collecting photographic evidence that toys get up to things when people are not around. Well, not just that - It is also simply a space to collect good images of toys for everyone to enjoy. (via dorian) [more inside]
Bantha slippers. Han Solo in Carbonite Mini-Fridge. And the Death Star Grill. ("Use the awesome power of the galaxy's most fearsome battlestation to send burning fear into rebel scum burgers and franks!") Just a few rejected designs for Star Wars merchandise. [Via].
Ready, kids! Unsatisfied with your kids slow adoption of very important homeland security adjustments? Buy them the Playmobil Security Check Point! How does this stack up against increased TSA checks of toys?
Floor Games. H.G. Wells and miniature gaming.
I come to praise Wham-O, not bury it. Despite the recent death of Wham-O cofounder Richard Knerr, coming a half-decade after the death of hos partner Arthur "Spud" Melin, let us not mourn. Instead, let us remember what Wham-O gave the world. [more inside]
You probably thought all those wooden toys and Nutcrackers from your local version of the KrisKindlMarkt were made in Bavaria. But wooden toys from Germany were an economic engine that supported a large percentage of the population of the Deutsche Democratische Repulic. In fact, people in the DDR were not allowed to own these toys, they were all made for export to the west. You can still find "Unter dem Tisch" (secret, illegal) collections in towns like Dippoldiswalde in the Erzgebirge mountains on the Czech border.
DDR-Modell Autos.info meticulously catalogs radio controlled and flywheel powered cars made by East German (DDR) toy makers such as Presu, Elmes, MSW, Anker, Piko, Gevo, Plasticart and Sommermeyer.
Presstube.com has lots of curious and attractive projects, but none as mind-bendingly awesome (and crotchful) as CROTCHY. (NSFW? NSF Anyone?) Previously.
Straight from China, new for this Christmas shopping season! Tire of hearing noisy children? Wish there was a way to quite them down, but chloroforming isn't your style? Buy them AQUA DOTS! (Bindeez Beans if Australian) The only (hopefully) play toy that comes covered in GHB. Another fine product from Outsourcing! [more inside]
We'll Fight for Freedom, Wherever there's Trouble... CNN pundit Glenn Beck (as well as Canada's National Post] criticizes G.I. Joe, or more appropriately, the in-production live-action movie [IMDB] of the same name, and the manufacturer of the multi-generational toy-line, Hasbro. Beck cited the IMDB page, which stated that GIJOE was a "European-based military unit known as Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity (G.I.J.O.E.), a hi-tech, international force of special operatives, takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer." He further added that the change amounted to JOE being ineffectual pansies, like the UN, and that "[He believes] some are trying to indoctrinate our kids into hating their own country, turning us into some one-world-government nightmare; hating America, turning it into a dirty word." [more inside]
Junior General is intended to promote the use of historical simulations as a tool for teaching history by providing free resources that anyone can use. To go with their teaching scenarios they make available thousands of paper solders for download and printing. Everything from stone age primatives thru Myceneans, Confederate gunboats to US Iraq infantry and futuristic Cyber Assault Droids. Also available are accessories like castles, houses, trenches, battering rams and hangers.
Before there were videogames, growing up in England in the late 1960s though the 70's we had Action Transfers. The Letraset company branched off its division of hand set rub-on transfer fonts into full blown action scenes, with Cowboys & Indians, famous historical battles, Vikings, natural disasters & more. This collector has dozens of sets, scanned in high resolution & never used.
If you're itching to spend your hard-earned money on a Little Mermaid lollipop (or paddle ball), a Gene Simmons Plasma Light, an Emo Girls doll, a Caddy Shack gopher, Barbie's pooping dog, South Park's Mr. Hankey, an Insultinator, or other strange and silly products, check out Mike Mozart's collection of fun reviews first. [YouTube videos, approx. 2 to 3 mins. each]
Toy art: tribal scooters, spider car, little animal robots out of broken electrical parts, a color changing house designed by a 14 year old boy, of wood, wind-up, MunkyKing, Ugly Dolls, out of beer cans, with balloons, Cute Things, artoyz, toys from trash, tiny knitted dolls clothes and accessories, vintage and retro at Tick Tock Toys.
Many Mefi members have wondered about how they should get from their private island to friends' private islands. Finally, SeaFalcon provides an answer. They have a built a wonderful vehicle that exploits ground effects to provide a rapid, efficient way to island hop. via
It's perhaps in the nature of humanity — or at the very least, modern-day culture — to marvel at, and share news about, our more hateful aspects. It's nice to know that there are moments out there that you can accidentally stumble across that prove to you that mankind has perhaps some innate goodness in it, as well. (Sorry for the unicorn fluffiness; we now return you to your regularly scheduled Metafilter programming, already in progress.)
An Open Letter to Devs: "Minigame compilations. How many of these games can we possibly be expected to buy? On my Wii alone, I've already gone through Rayman Raving Rabbids, Super Monkey Ball, Warioware and Sonic, with Mario Party and who knows what else on the horizon. As for the DS, just about every other game I own has some kind of mini-game compilation."
What was in YOUR childhood toybox? Mr. Potato Head? Colorforms? Viewmaster? Magic 8 Ball? Weebles? G.I. Joe? Betsy Wetsy? Polly Pocket? No matter what generation you're from, The Vintage Toy Encyclopedia and The Big Red Toybox have facts and history on (almost) all of your playthings.