Saturday, December 29, 2012

She-Ra Saturday Surprise!

Happy She-Ra Saturday! Adora's Search for Honor Part 3 may still be a slight ways off, but Saturdays are always for She-Ra. (Well, technically every day is a She-Ra day for this dorkette.) Anyways, let's celebrate She-Ra! Or rather a cast member. Remember when I said I was working on styling a new She-Ra Barbie doll, but I was all vague and mysterious about who it would be? Well the mystery is now going to be solved as I share with you all a styled reinterpretation of Entrapta Barbie!

As you can see, this is not your mother's Entrapta. I like to think of this as Entrapta's other Horde outfit. (I also like to think of the red pieces on her chest as being parts of a Horde bat.) She is often referred to as the tricky golden beauty. I know silver is not gold at all, but Entrapta has always tried to trick folks on just about every level as her Filmation version had the appearance of a silver outfit while the toy was golden.

So styling Entrapta Barbie was not easy. The doll is new-ish. She came out in 2011 as part of a line of super long haired Barbie dolls. This doll was perfect because she had bright pink hair with some purple and was the closest I could find to Entrapta's hair. Making the ponytails was slightly difficult because the length was not as long as I would have liked. The clothing came from a vintage Astro Fashions set from the 1985 Astronaut Barbie line. Barbie is a little more curvy today than she was in the 80's, because I had a hard time fastening the skirt. I got it, but it is being held together by a hope and a prayer. Even though the hair was difficult to manage, I do feel like it contains the spirit of Entrapta and her hair that traps!
Here is the original Entrapta. I did a Toy Chest Tuesday on this toy way back when, but you can read it here if you'd like. I have always been fond of this character because she is one of the more interesting characters from the She-Ra universe. I mean she uses her hair as a weapon. Puts a whole new meaning to the phrase "hair weave killa." 

The differences between the two versions of Entrapta are noticeable side to side. I had originally wanted there to be a purple and pink skirt piece to go over the silver, but could not find one in time. The pointy shoulders on Entrapta Barbie are meant to resemble the collar around the action doll.

It is hard to tell, but there are some similarities. There is a pointy belt above the skirt on both versions and the use of metallic clothing helps it feel like this is maybe Entrapta's off duty outfit.

All in all I am pleased with this version of Entrapta Barbie. I don't think she is finished in the least, but for now I think this will do. If anything this just shows how cool actual She-Ra Barbie dolls would be. I would love for Barbie Collector to make some nice She-Ra dolls.
So that is about it for She-Ra Saturday! This will probably be the last post of 2012, but I have been working on some really cool ideas for 2013. I read some of your comments and a few emails from friendly readers, so I am really excited and will be talking about all of that soon. I hope you all will enjoy the new changes! Take care everyone, and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Top Ten Toys of 2012!

It is finally that time of year. The time that I take a look back at the toy lines and toys that rocked my world in 2012. Like last year, this year was a tough one. A ton of really great items came out in 2012 that made for a very interesting year in the collecting world. So did your favorites make this unofficial and totally meaningless list of awesomeness? Well let's get started on the Top Ten Toys of 2012 and find out!

Before we begin, I want to give an honorary mention to the ThunderCats. They nearly made the list because even though the line was revamped in 2011, there were some new releases at the start of 2012 that seemed ready to usher in the year with a slew of new ThunderCats stuff. Sadly the 'Cats went the way of the dodo bird and were canceled. This was quite unfortunate because the ThunderCats seemed poised for a comeback. There was a great new animated show. A new toy line that was all about the new and the old. I really wish it had caught on more. But, maybe next 20 years or so, right?

Top Ten Toys of 2012

10. Pop! Vinyl

POP! Vinyl toys from Funko were trying to take over 2012 much like they did in 2011. The Funko line continued to see products made of virtually any property you could think of. Did you want various movie POP! figures? Or how about the Walking Dead? Was Hello Kitty more your style? Funko went above and beyond in 2012 to release even more of these cute little things. They even added a nice new set of Disney characters too as seen by Ursula and Ariel. My only complaint with these visions of vinyl goodness are the paint applications. Sometimes you have to search for just the right one. Eyes can be painted sloppily while other painted aspects look like poor airbrushing. All in all though, this was a solid toy line to collect in 2012.
What's in Store: Plenty. 2013 already looks to be a great year for the POP! Vinyl toys. There will be Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. (That Pink Ranger is to die for.) Disney will continue to see an onslaught of vinyl goodness. But probably the best items to come out in 2013 will be the Masters of the Universe series that Funko has planned. I am living for that She-Ra vinyl toy.
9. Lego 

Lego knows their stuff. Over the past number of years Lego has gotten very creative with their products. From their movie licensed lines to the ever growing popularity of the mini figures, Lego has found a way to continue to stay relevant in the toy store. However, 2012 was the year of the mini figure for them. Lego got really creative with a number of their mini figures. There was a cool Mer-King. An Alien Queen with hot pink brains. And who didn't want the Jem knock off? Lego was just making us all grope those foil bags like we were... well... Lego Maniacs.
What's in Store: 2013 is going to be an interesting year I think for Lego. They have announced a line of building sets based off of the new Lone Ranger movie. This seems like a strange property to base a set off of, but some Lego fans have been waiting for a Western themed Lego series for awhile. The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sets are trickling in at the end of 2012, but it will be fun to see what Lego does with even more sets in the new year. Of course the Lego mini figures are poised to continue capturing our collective hearts for sure.
8. Voltron    

When Mattel announced at the 2011 SDCC that Voltron would be making a grand comeback in 2012, fans everywhere were excited to get their hands on this special toy line. Updated pilots with their Lions? Yes please! The sculpting was wonderful. It was nice to see Voltron again, especially with an all new animated television series too. It seemed like Voltron was finally ready to catch on again. (The exclusive Sven figure didn't hurt at all.) I was also hoping for a different scale of pilots. My one hope for the Voltron line had been a larger scale of the figures. I understand why Mattel made the line that they did, this Voltron was an update from the original. But I would really love a fully articulated 6 inch line of the pilots. If you are interested, fellow friend to Diary and a Clip 'n Save file person Paladin wrote some in depth articles on each Lion and pilot on NerdSociety. Click on the links to read about each one. Green and Yellow. Red and Blue. Black.
What's in Store: Sadly nothing as of right now. Voltron sales were apparently not that good and Mattel does not have any plans to further develop the Voltron line. This is unfortunate because there was still so much that could have been explored with this toy line. Updated enemy figures. My silly dream for a larger scale of pilots. Oh well, maybe next time.
7. DC 

DC products from both Mattel and DC Direct were abound in 2012. DC actually got a bit of a makeover with their "New 52" comic book launch. As a result I started reading Wonder Woman and actually love her new costume and figure from DC Direct. The DC Universe Classics line by Mattel also came out with one final line in stores that featured Dove. She is an interesting character so I was glad to finally pick up her figure. Of course fans of the Bat got a treat with some new wonderful Catwoman figures based from the movie. In two different scales, I was more than happy to have as much Catwoman that I could get my hands on. And last but not least, Mattel issued out a really nice DCUC Poison Ivy that was just the perfect Poison Ivy. For a self proclaimed Marvel girl, I did find myself in bed with DC quite a bit in 2012.
What's in Store: Well Mattel will be making their own figure for the New 52 Wonder Woman, which will be a nice treat. And of course there will be a brand new Super Man movie over the summer that will more than likely see an onslaught of merchandise. However I am not sure that there will be much I will be searching for by way of DC next year. I'm still waiting for that Wonder Woman movie. Now that is some merchandise I can really rally for.
6. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

It is more like Hasbro is Magic. 2012 was the year of the Brony and Pegasister. My Little Pony has been around in some incarnation since its inception in the '80s and I am always there for every revamp of My Little Pony. It is just one of those toy lines that is tied to my childhood. However when the 4th Generation of Ponies came out at the end of 2010, no one would have guessed what a huge cultural impact these Ponies would have. The toys are popular. The show is popular. I mean this latest version of Ponies has given way to a whole new type of fandom. Bronies and Pegasisters are a force to be reckoned with! I love it. This new My Little Pony has shades of the original but there is also a flair about it that is just a lot of fun. 2012 was also the year that Hasbro really seemed to pick up on that. Fan demanded characters finally saw their toy releases. Nightmare Moon? Check. A glow in the dark Zecora? Check. Derpy? Check for an SDCC exclusive and a Funko exclusive at Hot Topic. My Little Pony is chock full of characters, exclusives, and even the mini-figure Ponies. It was a good year for Pony fans.
What's in Store: With the third season airing, there is no telling what Hasbro will release to go along with the cartoon. There was so much released in 2012 I can only imagine that 2013 will be even bigger and better. I am hoping though that Hasbro will continue to release character specific Ponies. That would be fun. Also I want to really see more Nightmare Moon.
5. Marvel
There are many Marvel toys released throughout any given year. But there were two lines of Marvel products that just really knocked every other Marvel item out of the park. The first is the highly detailed Marvel Selects line by Diamond Select Toys. They finally came to their senses and released by far the best Storm figure that has ever been made. Storm is one of my favorite heroines and I am always patiently waiting for the next best Storm figure to hit shelves. Usually when a toy company releases a Storm item, she is wearing her garb that became famous in the early 90's, that whole black jumpsuit with thigh high boots. I love that look, but there are so many other wonderful versions of this wonderful character. So this year Marvel Select really delivered. (I'll be featuring her in something else soon, so stay tuned.)
After a glaring absence in 2011, Marvel Legends came roaring back in 2012 with a vengeance. Hasbro really listened to fans and as a result gave us a fantastic start to the new Marvel Legends. Much like a Phoenix rebirth, the 2012 Marvel Legends line blazed a trail through our hearts and could have devoured a star if the line had really wanted to. The sculpting was top notch as were the unique variant selections.  

Hasbro really picked some interesting character selections too. Hope Summers made up one of the unique selections in the first wave of figures. The details on the figures all look great and Hasbro really seems dedicated to making characters that have not really seen the royal figure treatment, like Madame Hydra, Madame Masque, and Dani Moonstar. Granted there is a great deal of parts reuse, but if it means getting to see a larger cast of female Marvel Legends characters, I am down. (And wasn't that exclusive SDCC Psylocke just lovely?) Now all that Hasbro needs to do is not take so much time between releases.

What's in Store: Hasbro has shown no signs of slowing down the Marvel Legends line (even if it takes awhile to release each new wave) but 2013 should see the line get even more releases. I believe there is a Red She-Hulk in the works. There was also images of a White Phoenix to be included later on down the line. And of course Hasbro has also hinted that they will be doing right by their failed attempt at Emma Frost from their very first ML line a few years ago. I am very curious to see what Hasbro does with an all new Emma Frost!
4. Monster High 

I remember when Monster High first came out. It was the summer of 2010 and they just seemed like a throwback to the kinds of dolls that were released yesteryear, but with a slight edge. Each doll had a personality and a pet for crying out loud! There was something very fun and splashy about the line. Much like fabled dolls of the past, I was concerned that this line wouldn't last very long. I am glad that is not the case. Monster High has done something that only a few doll lines have managed to do, it has stuck around for more than a minute. 2012 saw all kinds of various releases of creepy cool characters not to mention a growing fan base that includes the younger set as well as the folks that are grown. MH has branched out from some episodes on YouTube to a full fledged DVD release and a real movie in the works by Universal Studios. One of the things I love most about MH in 2012 was not only the new characters, but also the new leg hip system. Older dolls featured hips that were connected by an elastic band that would have no doubt dry rotted in time. Mattel has now put in place a better leg/hip system that looks to last for awhile. A sure sign that Monster High won't be going anywhere for the time being.
What's in Store: Plenty. Some new characters were just released at the tail end of 2012, Jinafire Long and Skelita Calaveras. (No relation to Skeletor, but couldn't you just die if she had been the daughter to Skeletor?) Everyone loves the classic monsters and since MH has branched out so, I am sure there are plenty of amazing dolls ready to come out in 2013. Of course, Mattel could always just go back and reissue the original dolls with the new leg/hip system for us to collect all over again.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

They're baaack! And at a time that couldn't be better. After we were all licking our wounds with the failed attempts of both ThunderCats and Voltron, I think a lot of us were hoping for some vintage line to come back and show signs of sticking around for a little while. Enter the Turtle. Playmates has never gone wrong with their sporadic reboots of the popular toy line, however the Turtles of 2012 were special. The new line was all new with a hint of vintage flavor and enough time had passed that a side line dedicated to the original Turtles made perfect sense too. There is just something fun about the Ninja Turtles that has yet to get old, which is very evident because this version of Turtle Power is selling out like hotcakes on the shelves. I think a lot of boys and girls will be getting some Turtle products for Christmas. The Turtle Classics also gives a fan like me something that I love: a larger scale for a version of toys that I loved growing up.
What's in Store: Well I don't know yet. Playmates has not really shared a great deal about the future of the Turtles. There is the partnership with Lego. And there seems to be new characters lined up and ready to be made. But my hope for the Turtles in 2013 is an expansion on the Classics. I want to see Playmates make more Turtles Classics featuring our favorites like April, Splinter, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Shredder. Come on Playmates! You know you want to!
2. Jem and the Holograms  
If you had told me in 2011 that I would be clamoring for a brand new Jem doll that cost as much as the original on eBay in 2012, I would have laughed at you. However 2012 is the year of egg on my face, because Jem came back in a big (and expensive way.) It is worth it though. Hasbro partnered with Integrity Toys (a high end doll line produced by designer Jason Wu) to create a highly detailed and collectible line for Jem fans. Fans of the truly outrageous star have been asking and rising in numbers for a proper return to one of the most popular 80's cartoons ever. And there is no doubt that she is indeed back. I have yet to get one of the new dolls. I ordered one as a Christmas present to myself, but it is still out for shipping. However I have been checking out other people's photos and reviews, and she is truly worth every penny. The amount of work and detail that went into this doll is out of control. Leather soled shoes. Dresses with the kind of attention to detail that would normally be reserved for real people. I mean it is outrageous.
What's in Store: Well there will be more Jem dolls added to the Integrity lineup in 2013 for sure. The toy company is dedicated to delivering some high quality Jem dolls. With that said, I do kinda hope that Hasbro could also produce a less expensive line for those who won't be able to afford everything that Integrity will have to offer. This can either be done as another exclusive web based doll line or it could be something done at the retail level. I don't care, I would just like to see more Jem product available in 2013. I'm finally getting the chance to make up for my past mistakes at never collecting Jem when I was younger. (For that sordid tale, click here.)
1. Masters of the Universe Classics
For the second year in a row, MOTUC comes in at number 1! This has probably been my favorite year so far for the infamous MOTUC toy line. After so many releases, MOTUC is reaching the point where we are now getting to all the good stuff. (At least in my opinion.) The Sorceress, a long demanded character, saw her release and she was stunning.

Fans also were fortunate enough to add to their Evil Warrior ranks with the fan favorites Spikor and Stinkor. I always thought these characters were cool growing up, but my 5 year old self never would have wanted either of these guys. I was terrified that Stinkor would smell like farts and what self respecting dorky girly girl would want that? And I also used to think that Spikor would actually be too dangerous to touch. Oh the things that rush through a child's mind. Spikor's spikes are hardly sharp and Stinkor smells more like a hippy than bad gas.

The hits also continued throughout 2012 with more fan favorite villains. Mosquitor has certainly made more than just a few happy, like Pixel-Dan. Of course there was also some controversy. The move to have Shadow Weaver as an exclusive for the 2012 Subscription rubbed just a few people the wrong way. This was one villain that many fans had never thought would be made. To have her included in the line and made in such nice detail by the fabulous Four Horsemen, well, I quickly got over any controversy. I was happy to sign up for her. But she wasn't the only reason that made MOTUC the top toy of 2012. No, that would go to the Star Sisters.
Ah the much maligned Star Sisters. I have never in all my years of collecting seen such a guttural reaction to action figures in all my life. Some said they were going to burn them once they arrived from their subscription. Other people prophesized that all the pink, glitter, and ugliness of these figures would spell the end of MOTUC as we know it. Some tried to joke that they looked like ugly men in drag. There was an endless supply of negativity for the Star Sisters. However gliding past the hate, I was one of the few that was oh-so-thrilled to own these beauties. During the days when the She-Ra toy line was in stores, Mattel had been working on a way to continue the line. So the Star Sisters were part of that continuation. They were prototypes that were on the verge of being released. I mean these gals were going to be the next She-Ra items in stores. However the plug was pulled on that line and they never saw the light of day. Until 2012. Not only did fans such as myself get Shadow Weaver, but we also got the Star Sisters. It was a truly great year for certain fans of MOTUC.
Of course no talk of MOTUC would be complete without Frosta. She also saw her release in 2012. Fans of the Great Rebellion had a lot to rejoice about. Granted there were some issues with Frosta, the end result was what mattered. White or gray, switched arms or not, icy hair, none if it ultimately mattered because this figure was very nice and has left many fans on the edge of their seats for the She-Ra characters that will show up next.
What's in Store: Well a big chunk of 2013 has already been announced, and it seems that the next year will continue to deliver the hits. The new year is going to start off with the captivating Netossa and the long awaited release of Ram-Man. Fans will also get their hands on a never released figure by way of Octavia. And that is just what I am excited about. There are many more releases that look cool. Of course this is all talk of figures. 2013 will also be the year that fans get their paws on a brand new Castle Grayskull for the Classics line. I'm just saying it right now, I think MOTUC might be number one next year too.
So that is about it for the Top Ten Toys of 2012! After much back and forth I finally got the list together. It was not easy though, there were a few other items that came out that could have easily been on this list. Anyways, I am looking forward to what 2013 will have in store. I have my fingers crossed that it will be an even better year than 2012. (I also have my fingers crossed that Mermista will finally see a release in 2013. Can't you just feel it?)
The year is winding down so there may be just a few more posts on Diary. I am working on a few things that I might post about and of course I am trying to figure things out to make this blog even more fun in the new year. So I hope everyone is doing well, and keep it here! You never know what I will be rambling about next. Take care! 


Friday, December 21, 2012

Farewell Nintendo Power Magazine!

Ok. So the running joke is that I keep saying I am going to post the Top Ten Toys of 2012, but other things keep popping up. Like for instance I was running errands, trying to finish the last few things of Christmas Madness and what-not. While out and about I found myself stopping by the magazine rack at a Target store. I've been doing my best at not constantly having to purchase magazines, because I am three steps away from becoming a full fledged hoarder and recycling simply means that I move my magazines into a different storage containment.

So as I was perusing the periodicals I noticed an all new Nintendo Power Magazine with free poster and a cover that reminded me of the very first NP issue from way back when. Every now and then I pick up the latest Nintendo Power because it is a quite enjoyable read and I love the articles they do on games/systems from yesteryear. After reading over the cover of the magazine I saw something I never thought I'd see, Final Issue- 25 Years of NP History. What? I couldn't believe my eyes.

I immediately purchased the magazine and marveled at the accompanying poster that had a mini image of every single cover throughout the magazine's run. So it is truly game over for NP magazine. I can't believe it.

In a way I guess I am supposed to. After all magazines have been folding left and right since everything seems to be heading towards web based content, but it just feels so weird that NP will not be available in a hard copy format. (If you hadn't noticed yet I am a huge fan of books and magazines.)
I remember getting the first issue and being unable to put it down. There were so many cool dorky things in that magazine. One of my favorite covers was of Maniac Mansion. NP was truly the source for all my Nintendo information. Had it not been for NP I never would have learned anything about Final Fantasy IV (then called II.) I got to read and see about all these great new worlds that were going to be right at my finger tips. Sometimes I enjoyed reading about a game in the magazine then I did the actual game.
Here is the poster!

First ToyFare and now this. Of course, at least Nintendo Power got a farewell issue. ToyFare just vanished. So was this a surprise for anyone else? The last issue I had purchased had been in September and there was no hint that anything was afoot.
The issue is still for sale and it is nice. I haven't read it all yet, but from what I can tell there is a great deal of content celebrating NP. There was also some information on the Wii U as well as game reviews. If you are a fan of this magazine I highly urge you to run out and pick it up. (Now if only they could create a massive archive so we could purchase/peruse older issues.) There is also a very nice Nester comic at the end that is a big tearjerker. At least for a Dorkette like me. Anyways, farewell Nintendo Power!
Top Ten Toys of 2012 will be coming up soon! I promise.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reviewing 2012

Hello dear readers! I know I have a few things that are still in the works, like the Top Ten Toys of 2012, but before the year closes I wanted to discuss all the Dorkette-goodness that occurred in 2012. I tried my best to make this a fun blog to visit in 2012. I know there have been some terrible things that have happened in the real world this year, not to mention what happened last week in Oregon and Connecticut. I am aware of those tragedies and they do play heavy on my mind. A friend asked me why I hadn't posted anything about the tragedies, but this just isn't the place to do that. I had briefly posted my thoughts to those involved with the tragedy in Aurora over the Summer, but at some point it all becomes too sad to type about. We all are aware of what is going on and I am sure have plenty on our hearts and minds. I want this blog to be a place that can just be a frivolous means of escape. (You can't get more frivolous, and corny, than a photo spread about a Santa Lego minifigure.) I'm not good at much in this life, but I hope I'm good at providing an escape.

Anyways, since the year is almost over, I have been thinking about ways to improve this blog. I tried to do that in 2012 with fun things like the 12 months of Heroic Hottie wherein I interview the studliest most heroic dudes from the toy aisle. Or the Clip 'n Save File features that show off real people and their collections. There were also some other fun topics and features that I added to Diary that I hope have been enjoyable.

Personally I loved the Dorky Snaps feature with its homage to the funny pictures from ToyFare magazine. I also am glad I was able to keep doing Toy Chest Tuesday which will be back in the new year. I also thoroughly enjoy Adora's Search for Honor, my fan fiction love letter to She-Ra and her friends. But what worked for you?

What did you like reading? Or maybe didn't like reading so much? What of the layout? I want to ask because if there is anything that you'd like to see changed or doesn't make a whole ton of sense, I want to work on those things. I want to be able to still make this a fun blog to wander through. Also let me know if there is anything that you'd like me to type about. I try to capture a ton of toy related topics from the past to the present, but I do know I might miss a thing or two in the process.

I enjoy each and every one of you. I can't tell you how nice it is to respond to your comments and get to know some truly amazing people that I would not otherwise have met. What did we do before the Internet? Don't answer that. I was busy hanging out in my room with She-Ra and a Wolverine with a loose ankle joint. Best of times.

I hope everyone is doing well. There will be some more fun stuff coming up soon! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 2012 Heroic Hottie!

Well folks, ready to get your drool on one last time for 2012? After all the posing and images of beefcake, it has all come down to this. Ya know, I get tons upon tons of emails and letters from people the world over who write in to request their hopes and fantasies for an all new Heroic Hottie. Who will he be? What will he say? Is he single? But there was one letter I got recently that really tugged at my heart strings. With permission from the writer, I am going to post the letter below,

Dear Miss M,

Hello dear. I must say, my husband and I just love your blog. You write about the most interesting things. I am writing this letter to you because I am very concerned. My husband has been very busy at work. These past few months are always the toughest on him and lately he has just been feeling worn down. He has been working long hours and the worst is yet to come. Oh Miss M, I don't know if I am over sharing, but I want my husband to feel young again. I want him to know that he still melts my butter and can frost my cookies like no one else. Would you be willing to let him be a Heroic Hottie? I know he would just be over the moon, and it would make me so happy too. You are such a sweet girl. Keep up the wonderful work. (And I just love your She-Ra story. I hope that Catra gets her comeuppance!)

Ho-Ho-Hopelessly in Love With Her Hubby

I was so touched by this letter, that I contacted Hopelessly in Love, and decided to do something to lift her spirits! Her husband was more than willing to participate, and after some various scheduling changes, I was finally able to sit down and talk with the December 2012 Heroic Hottie: Santa Claus!

DiaryofaDorkette: Well I must say, you have got to be the busiest person I know. What is it like to be responsible for so many people's happiness this time of year?
Santa Claus: I gotta tell you Miss M, sometimes I feel like I have been doing this for far too long. But once it is over and I find out how happy people are on Christmas, it feels like every year is the first. I do truly love my job, but I also love vacation.
Diary: So what does Santa do for vacation?
Santa: Good question. It depends. Some years Mrs. Claus and I like to go some place warm with a good beach. Other times we just like finding a Margaritaville. Camping is nice too.

Diary: Does it ever get difficult with all the traveling, for Christmas? It just seems like you have a lot of stops to make.
Santa: Playing the time zones can make or break you. However things get tricky when it comes to intergalactic travel.
Diary: What kinds of places do you have to travel to?
Santa: Oh the places! I've traveled to spread cheer and presents to the good people of Eternia. They love me on Eternia. I was practically given the key to Grayskull by He-Man himself.

Diary: Wow. That is quite a noble thing. Any other places on Eternia you visit?
Santa: To tell you the truth, I do manage to deliver good cheer to everyone, even the ones who are terribly loathsome. It is a difficult job, but I do want to spread cheer to all...

Diary: Maybe so, but are there ever times where you just aren't wanted?
Santa: Of course. For the longest time air space was restricted on Etheria due to the Horde Occupation, but I was able to travel there last year. I've never seen so much pink in all my life. If you ever get the chance to travel to another world, I highly recommend a trip to Etheria. You'll never want to leave.

Diary: Is it ever dangerous delivering gifts to all the girls and boys the universe over? After all, some would say you technically break into people's homes.
Santa: Ho, ho, ho! My detractors have long tried to paint me as a petty burglar. But would a burglar climb down a chimney and leave gifts behind? And if I am such a smooth criminal, than how come people leave me cookies?
Diary: Well you don't have to prove anything to me. I think what you do is crazy. I mean I certainly wouldn't fly around in an open sleigh powered by reindeer. Give me a flying unicorn any day.
Santa: I don't know that a flying unicorn would get me far. I have to carry a lot of gifts...
Diary: Oh, well Swift Wind could do it. No doubt.
Santa: Right.
Diary: Were there ever times where you were worried you wouldn't be able to do your job?
Santa: Of course! One year in the early 80's that prickly Purple Pie Man fed my reindeer some poisoned pies. I've never seen so many sick reindeer in all my life. The mess, oh it was all ratchet. I didn't know how I was going to travel across the world. For sure I thought Christmas was ruined.
Diary: My goodness! What did you do?
Santa: I called upon my dear friends from the clouds above, the Care Bears. I was driven around by Friend Bear and I delivered gifts to girls and boys in record time.

Diary: That sounds like a story. I'm glad that everything worked. Of course, thinking about things that work out, I have a personal question for you. You have been married to Mrs. Claus for what seems like an eternity. What is the secret to such a long and successful marriage?
Santa: Oh wow. That is personal, but I don't mind answering. I think the reason we have worked so well as a couple, is that we both love what we do. We share a joy in bringing joy to the world. We also share a joy in collecting. Look at us. We are surrounded by toys all year long. I would be lying if I said we didn't enjoy collecting a few things for ourselves.
Diary: So should we be expecting the Claus's to be on a future episode of Collection Intervention?
Santa: Ho, ho, ho! Heavens no!
Diary: What do you both do to keep the flame alive?
Santa: Oh my. You certainly ask the questions. Well, we do our best to make sure we keep the romance alive. I certainly have my days were I just feel too tired or I feel like I am too old to even bother. However, Mrs. Claus has actually been enjoying a series of books called 50 Shades of Gray. It is a wonderful series of books for older couples to make sure nothing gets stale or boring, and I think it has been working. There are times when I will come home down the chimney for fun, and every now and then, Mrs. Claus will just surprise me.
Diary: Ok. Well. I think that is enough for the personal questions!
Santa: Well you went there Dorkette. Remember though, if you have any geriatric readers, 50 Shades of Gray is a perfect book to help with old love.
Diary: I'm totally going to remember that.
Santa: You should. Everyone deserves love.
Diary: I've heard as much. So what do you think you will be doing after Christmas this year?
Santa: I am not sure. As I mentioned before, I know I will be ready for a much needed vacation. I've heard the Crystal Falls are wonderful this time of year.
Diary: Oh they are! I guess you just found out where you'll be going! 

Diary: Our interview is just about over. So how was this? Are you feeling pretty confident knowing that you are the Heroic Hottie for December?
Santa: I couldn't be more happier. Miss M, you have certainly given this old man some much needed confidence. People forget how stressful and hectic this time of year is, and some days I just wonder why I keep doing it at all. But being interviewed by you and having my old mug pose for some pictures... well it is just a highlight of the year!
Diary: Well I am glad!
Santa: Yes. Thank you. Now I have a question for you? What kind of cookies will I expect to see when I stop by your house?
Diary: Oh Santa, I don't know. I'm not much of a kitchen gal. About the only thing I bake these days is a frozen pizza. I do think I've got some old Girl Scout Cookies in the pantry. They might be a year old or so. Maybe more. I think.
Santa: Ho, ho, ho. You are funny. Luckily you still have some time to get it together. I prefer chocolate chip.
Diary: Great. I'll keep that in mind.
And with that, Santa was off. After a lovely interview with the December Heroic Hottie, I said good bye and watched him fly off in his sled to make his final preparations for Christmas. Afterwards, I begrudgingly walked into my kitchen and looked around to see if I'd actually have what it takes to bake some cookies. After a long pause, I could only smile to myself, "The bakery at my grocery store looks pretty good right now. He'll never know." With an all new plan set, I walked away with a smile on my face.
-Miss M
The final Heroic Hottie for 2012 has been crowned! That is about it. Twelve drool worthy specimens of manhood for each month of the year. Who knew 2012 would be so hot? I hope you have all enjoyed checking out a new Heroic Hottie every month. Stick around, because there will be more Heroic Hotties to come in 2013.

Seasons Greetings from the December 2012 Heroic Hottie
Diary of a Dorkette!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Take a Guess on Astro Fashions!

So every now and then I post things about custom projects that I dabble with. When I say custom projects, I don't mean like the heavy duty stuff with sculpting and making a whole new toy. No, no, no, when I say I like to dabble with customizing it is more like putting something together on pre-existing items. I like to call it, toy styling!

For example, I have styled dolls to look like characters from Jem and I even put things together to make a really nice custom styled Glimmer doll. Well folks, I am at it again. But before I unveil the final product, I have just a few more things to do. However, I wanted to slightly tease who might be getting toy styled!

So some of these items of clothing from this vintage Astro Fashions set will go towards a brand new doll that will share the likeness with a secret character! Can you guess? I have been wanting to make this custom styling project for some time now, and it is finally coming together!

If we turn the box over, there are actually a few other Astro Fashions that could be used for all kinds of other toy styling projects. Since Barbie and the She-Ra toy line came from Mattel, there are actually some similarities between the clothes that both Barbie, She-Ra, and She-Ra's friends were wearing during that time. I actually love to look back at a lot of the fashions from the 80's and early 90's because they really lend a hand to recreating all new POP Barbie dolls. (I guess I should say that as much as I love She-Ra in figure form, I would also love some great She-Ra dolls.)
So by now it seems like I may have given away which character I am trying to style and create in doll form. But can you guess? Any ideas? If you have absolutely no idea what the heck I am talking about, don't worry. I will show my little project soon, and hopefully it won't be the lamest thing since, like, ever.
Anyways, I am planning on posting the Top 10 Toys of 2012 soon, I just am waiting on something that will hopefully show up soon. There are some other great things too, I think you will all enjoy the Heroic Hottie for December. There are also other kinds of goodies coming up. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Toy Chest Tuesday! The Crystal Castle

If you close your eyes and concentrate just long enough, I swear you can hear She-Ra saying, "By the Power of Grayskull!" Welcome to the final Toy Chest Tuesday of 2012! And I promise, this will be the most epic Toy Chest Tuesday of the year! I seriously don't even know how I'll be able to top this in 2013. (But I'll certainly try.) So this is it, a look back at the Crystal Castle!

Ok so let's do some toy talk before we delve into the Crystal Castle. Some of you may already know this story, and if this sounds familiar, I do apologize for repeating. I was born with a genetic disease that I still have to deal with to this day. Luckily I can handle it, but back then I bounced around from hospital to hospital a great deal. It was not always easy, but I had my wits about me and I of course had She-Ra. I lived for that show because she was just everything to me. She could pick up mountains and got to fly around on a unicorn. Nothing got her down. For a kid that was sick like me, she was just a comforting presence. I felt like I could be invincible too.

So the idea of owning the Crystal Castle just seemed like a logical choice. I always kinda figured that one would appear under a Christmas tree or at a birthday party. But that never happened, which was ok. With being so sick, I usually ended up being concerned about other things. One day I had to be prepped for a bone marrow test. I was about 5 years old and it all just seemed so terrifying. My parents and the doctors did their best to explain to me what I would be going through, but all my 5 year old brain could comprehend was that a needle was going to be stuck into my hip bone "pinching" my bone. All I could think was, "How is a needle going to pinch my bone?" I didn't really know that I'd be having a sample of bone marrow removed for testing. Looking back it just seems so crazy, like some sort of sci-fi show.

Anyways, the day had arrived and I was so nervous. It was a painful process, but I was so dazed that it was like my body couldn't even feel anything. Though the pain did follow. Well after it was all over, my parents felt terrible for me. So when I should have been home resting, my dad being the protective man that he is, said, "I'll take you to the toy store and buy you whatever you want." Goodness. I guess I should say it was the 80's. I came from a family that firmly believed if you were having a really shitty day that some hugs and a toy purchase would clear that all up.

So there we were. My dad was carrying me and rushing inside of Toysrus. I'm sure the whole scene looked beyond odd; my dad who looks like an Italian mafia guy with his olive skin was carrying me, this little pale sickly thing. All I could think of was, "I'd love a Crystal Castle." It just seemed so surreal! Like play sets and such were always reserved for Christmas or Birthdays. To have the chance to just walk into Toysrus and soon own a Crystal Castle just seemed crazier than the darn bone marrow test.

My dad rushed me to the She-Ra section, but it was no dice. There was no Crystal Castle, they were sold out. So there we were, I was lost on what to do next. I had no idea what else to pick. I finally decided on a different approach. I ended up with a Snake Mountain instead. It was no Crystal Castle, but I figured that my Catra, Evil-Lyn, and Skeletor needed a home too.

That whole day was just surreal. I remember going home and thinking, "Did we just buy a Snake Mountain? Do I actually own this thing?" The rest of the day saw various family members stopping by to see how we were doing. And pretty much everyone would walk in and see me with Snake Mountain and say, "What is a sweet child like you doing with such a creepy looking toy?" And I'd reply, "It is purple. It can't be that creepy." As a fan of She-Ra and her brother, you simply don't pass up on a play set no matter what it may look like.

By now you are probably wondering, so just how did I end up with a Crystal Castle after all these years? I never gave up the hope that I would one day own the play set, but nothing ever really fell into place. The Star Sisters were just never aligned. That all changed though this past summer. My dear husband who has had to put up with a lot of my collecting dramas, has always been aware of my hope to one day own She-Ra's dream house. Well I was totally unaware, but he ended up finding a mint Crystal Castle from an older married couple that lived like 30 minutes away. He got it for a song and helped complete one of my life long dreams, to own a Crystal Castle! (Yes, I realize that it may be odd to put 'life long dream' and 'own a Crystal Castle' in the same sentence, but to that 5 year old gal that was sick and in pain, this is truly a wonderful item to own.) So since I had this mint Crystal Castle in my well-ish manicured hands, I decided to chronicle the most epic of all epic Toy Chest Tuesdays! So now let's finally check out the pictures! Enjoy.

First up- the sticker sheet. The top sticker was for the Etherian flag. Below (from left to right) was a map of Etheria, sticker for the fire place, and a sticker for She-Ra's throne. There was still some stick to the stickers, but not much. I believe the box had been stored in either an attic or garage. So even though the item was unopened, there were some minor issues with age.

A dark blue plastic was used for the chandelier, banisters, front doors, windows, and a treasure piece of gems. This play set came with a lot of pieces!

A light blue plastic was used for a vanity, fireplace, table and chair, treasure chest with lid, and a really pretty accessory rack for She-Ra's sword and shield. I love the total mash up of this play set. I mean of course the Crystal Castle would have a vanity and a rack for She-Ra's weapon.

Golden items made up the latches for the place set, flag pole, fence for the fireplace, and butterfly barrettes that could either be worn in your hair or used to pull back the canopy on the bed. There were plastic seat cushions in the pale blue. The piece with the 'S' was part of the pulley system for the action feature in the castle. Inside the bag was a fluffy purple rug, pillow, bed sheet/comforter, and the canopy curtains. A blue string was also in the bag. The string was used for the action feature. The Crystal Castle was made in the U.S. This is so very interesting, because the POP toy line was really made throughout various countries. That is a rarity these days. Usually a toy line is just made in one country. But there was an international effort to get the POP toy line together.

These three items were part of the throne/elevator piece for the castle. When placed together, She-Ra could either sit on the throne, or stand and have the the string pull the elevator up. Stopping at the second floor, or ascending to the very top, the Crystal Castle had a very nice action feature. I wanted to show the feature of the throne elevator working, but due to age, the throne does not really work well. In fact when pulled up, the throne comes apart from the base piece. If you are interested in what that looks like though, head over to this vintage toy commercial for the Crystal Castle here.

Similar to Castle Grayskull, the Crystal Castle also had two floor bases that slid into the inside to create a second floor. There was also a nice etched design for the pink floor.

Here is She-Ra's crystal sleigh bed. The bed was a nice sized bed, and can sort of fit a Masters of the Universe Classics figure, though their legs may hang over just a bit. 

Here is the bare bones front of the castle. Isn't it just stunning? The pink and gold really work well together and the white clouds and rocky mountain area really gives the illusion that this castle is high above the clouds.

The inside though it just all pink. "This place looks like it has been hosed down with Pepto Bismal!" I personally love it. The Crystal Castle is also very tall, about the same height as Grayskull.

The back piece is all mountain with a mysterious entrance/exit and window openings. I really love how the gold highlights the rocks and just really makes for a pretty image. It is a striking play set.

This side of the back piece had a vertical bar that already came attached. The throne piece wrapped around the bar so that it could slide up to the top. From a design perspective, Mattel really packed a lot into this play set. Let's check out the packaging though!

Like all the Princess of Power items, the artwork on the boxes just speak for themselves. I am in awe of the stunning art. The castle is captured quite nicely. She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Arrow, and Kowl all make an appearance. I love that Bow is on the box. I realize that there is some division among fans on who She-Ra's love interest was supposed to be. The cartoon made a strong case for the pirate Sea Hawk, but the toy line hinted at a connection between She-Ra and Bow. This box further cements the idea that Bow and She-Ra were indeed an item. (At least in my mind.) And of course if you have been following along with Adora's Search for Honor, than you know that She-Ra might get caught up between them both!

This was the only other picture I could take from the Crystal Castle box. The backside was completely ripped away and the other sides were either damaged or similar to this picture. But, let's look closer!

The images further describe all the details and features of the most powerful play set in the universe.

I love that the doorway to the back of the castle is a "secret" exit for She-Ra. Though the play set had a lot of beauty and glamor to it, there was still a focus on She-Ra maintaining her secret identity and saving the world. And look! Bow makes another visit to She-Ra!

These pictures also display what the items look like put together. I couldn't get the bed to look like the picture above, but that is because the pink panel didn't have all the holes in it to attach to the canopy part.

Here is the castle fully put together! What a magnificent play set! I love the flag. My favorite though would be the crystal doors. It is just really pretty. The thing about the Crystal Castle was that the toy was never really in the cartoon. Yes, She-Ra would go to the Crystal Castle to talk with Light Hope, but the Crystal Castle from the cartoon looked nothing like the toy. It just made the play set all the more special.

With the doors opened, a nice view of the crystal throne can be seen. This was not the original design though for the Crystal Castle. I have seen images before of the original prototype for the Crystal Castle, and what we would have gotten from the prototype would have been drastically different. The prototype featured a bird's face in the front. The prototype was more styled like a Castle Grayskull. However the final product ended up looking more "girly." I think both versions looked really neat, but I must admit, I am fond of this version of the Crystal Castle. (For more information on the Crystal Castle prototype, head over to a site full of all kinds of MOTU/POP information.)

The secret exit in the back shows off only a small peek inside. The flag though looks very cool. I know this will probably never happen, but I kinda hope that Mattel could recreate the Crystal Castle for their new Classics line. It seems like they were going to go above and beyond expectations with the new Castle Grayskull, but could you just imagine the Crystal Castle all new? I'd even be interested in the Crystal Castle getting remade in the original prototype form. Of course, I think I'm having some major wishful thinking on all that.

But wait! There's more! All put together, the inside of the castle looks stunning. I love the chandelier above the front doors.

The table and chairs fit in nicely with the play set. The map of Etheria was also such a nice touch. I am really glad that Mattel ended up doing that.

The treasure chest had a "magical" feature. You could display the gems with the lid open...

...or you could open it again to look like Catra had snuck in to steal the shiny baubles. The gems fit under the lid, and when the lid was lifted, you could hold the treasure piece under the lid for the effect of "wait, where'd it go?"

The mirror on the vanity is reflective, but more like toy reflective. Actually, the vanity looks like it came from the Crystal Falls. Maybe Mermista makes furniture by the sea shore?

The bed is not entirely the greatest. I think you have to get some cotton or other fluffy material to fill in for a mattress and the pink panel for the curtains does not really stay on that well. However, all of that can be an easy fix. I just haven't had the time to go about fixing it.

The new MOTUC figures look pretty good against this wonderful toy from the past. Even jealous beauties can't help but want to visit the majestic Crystal Castle. (Look carefully.) 

Together with the growing members of the Great Rebellion, the Crystal Castle makes for a perfect backdrop! I look forward to more of She-Ra's friends popping up because they all look so great!
So there you have it folks! The Crystal Castle! I thank you all for reading, and I also thank my husband for surprising me with this treasured item. I am beyond thrilled to finally own this play set. It is a fantastic toy and a reminder of just how wonderful the POP toy line was. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for She-Ra.
That is about it for Toy Chest Tuesday! Like last year, I will be taking a brief break from Toy Chest Tuesday. It will return in the new year. I will still be posting things on Diary of a Dorkette though, so don't go anywhere! I've got to do my annual Top Ten Toys of 2012! There is also a December Heroic Hottie that must be crowned. And I'm sure there will be some other fun things to talk about too. As always, I enjoy your comments and thoughts. I hope you are all well, take care!