Friday, October 1, 2010

Special Edition Elite 1966 TV Series Batmobile

I received this model as a gift and it took my breath away. I’ll give away my age and admit that I watched the original 1966 Batman series as a kid but that does not make me an expert. I focused this review on comparing this model’s exterior for accuracy rather than looking for every minute difference between it and the TV show car.

The car’s exterior is as good a match to the original as I’ve ever seen. It’s an impressive size measuring in at just under one foot or 30 centimeters long. The gloss black paint has been applied flawlessly showing no blemishes of any kind. The red pin-striping shows beautifully against the black.

Both doors, hood and trunk open fully and glide easily, though it is slightly difficult to get your finger under the hood to lift it. Even though the interior is all moulded plastic, which one would have to look at closely to discover, it looks excellent. It houses some awesome details like a dashboard compass, the Batphone and a fire extinguisher. My personal favourite is the definitive bubble windshields front and back. Mattel did an amazing job of getting those right. They show clear and the grey trim has been applied nicely so as to not take away from the design. The spinning antenna positioned just outside of the windshield is a wonderful touch, though it is extremely fragile and if not careful, it could easily break.

Considering the price of this model (I’m sure you could find one for under $100 USD) the level of engine detail is good; it definitely has visual impact when you lift the hood. However, the silver engine’s highly-polished, shiny finish, brings out the look of the plastic detracting from the quality.

The decaling and detailing on this model are excellent with a great looking steering wheel, dash and labelling of important devices like Bat Turn and Bat Chutes. The all-important and familiar Batman logo is perfect in colour, size and position. Though the sticker that is the Bat Computer in the trunk of the car is slightly off. The car has a nice open (see-through) grill and rear engine nozzle.

For me there are very few negatives to speak of about this midlevel model. The all plastic base does knock it down in quality from the far more expensive Super Elite version. The tires are made from a harder rubber that make them look and feel plastic. As mentioned earlier, the small, brass antenna is fragile and must be handled with care. I’d like to have seen headlights on this car instead of the painted-over grill patterns and small plastic buttons they used. Also, the engine and Bat Computer really are the low points of this model.

Hardcore fans of the original ’66 Batman television series will take issues with the differences between this model and the show’s car. By that comparison it is not 100% accurate. This diecast was modeled after George Barris’ current Batmobile. It was always Mr. Barris’ car and after the series ended the car was returned to him. Since then he has made several changes, not the least of which was updating the stereo system which doesn’t match the original. There are other differences such as seats and seatbelts, the size of the phone and extinguisher and I’m sure many others. As I mentioned, I’m not hardcore enough to recognize the difference.

If you want an accurate representation down to the finest of details then you’ll have to spend three times what this version costs. This is the perfect version for those of us who don’t need the minutia to be perfect, but want to have the absolute best looking and affordable Batmobile available.

The verdict: Go out and buy this model right now (and remember to keep the bonnet and boot closed).

Fan Expo President Offers Apology

The organizers of Fan Expo Canada took a beating for the mismanagement of the event and have issued an apology.


By: FanExpo Admin (admin)

August 31, 2010

Dear Fans,

On behalf of the staff of Fan Expo Canada™ I would like to apologize for the lengthy delays and inconvenience experienced by many at Fan Expo Canada™ this past weekend. We were, quite simply, inadequately prepared for the increased crowds in a venue that was neither familiar to us nor not capable of meeting our collective demands. We recognize and have heard from many of you that this was unacceptable and unfair to our loyal fans.

The staff at Fan Expo have been and will continue to read and act upon the concerns communicated by our fans about Fan Expo 2010. In preparation for Fan Expo Canada™ 2011, we have already confirmed a booking of the entire South Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This will be the largest area ever used for our show and its layout is far better suited to the size and nature of our event. We are also committed to the communication of key practices for ticket purchases, show access and other related logistics effectively and well in advance of the 2011 show. In addition, we intend to engage all of the event stakeholders as we work through the planning process including: staff, fans, venue, security, Fire & Emergency Services, Tourism Toronto and the City of Toronto in this process.

We appreciate the continued support of each fan, and are grateful to have fans who are willing to take the time and effort to help improve the "Fan Expo Experience". Again we sincerely apologize to the fans that were unable to enjoy the full experience of Fan Expo 2010. Please know that we welcome your feedback and suggestions for how we can improve the fan experience. Please forward your comments to us at

Sincerely yours,

Aman Gupta and the Fan Expo Canada Team
President and CEO
Hobby Star Marketing, Inc.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Toy Collector Feature Blog

My report for Toy Collector at Fan Expo 2010 is the feature blog this week. I hope you check it out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Hunt

Written By Danielle La Paglia
Photo by Ian O'Neill

He steps carefully afraid to slip, his boots squishing into the moist earth. Easing forward he slowly pulls his rear foot from the mud suctioning it to the jungle floor. Humidity presses in on him, filling his lungs with more moisture than air. His fatigues stick to his skin, soaked through at his belt and the strap of his rifle. Shifting thick leaves aside with the tip of his weapon, he searches for the enemy. His progress is slow, but steady. He pushes on knowing they are close by. He can feel their presence, taste victory on his tongue.

Then he hears it, a twig snaps to his left. Muscles tense, he shifts only his eyes at first, then twists at the waist. One step closer and he catches a glimpse of them through the trees. His pulse races, he holds his breath, and inches forward. Blinking sweat from his eyes, he leans into the scope and takes aim. Finger ready, he steadies his arm, releases his breath, and pulls the trigger. He shifts to the second man before the first has fallen and hears the unmistakable sound of a pistol cock behind him.

A small jerk and he crumples to the jungle floor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Spider-man Collection

He's still my hero!

I’ve come across a few fanatical collectors of Spider-man memorabilia and I’ll confess that I’m nowhere on their radar, hell, not even in the same hemisphere. Yet, I still feel like a crazed collector even though I’ve spent maybe a few hundred dollars on my collection, where others have spent tens of thousands. That sounds more like a small gathering of items rather than a collection, but I disagree. I would wager that my little group of Spidey collectibles has the same effect on me as another person’s large collection would have on them; it makes me happy, is a very pleasing thing to look at and it has meaning to me.

Why Spider-man?

Aside from the obvious reason that the fictional superhero is just badass, there is the notion that many readers of Spider-man connected with Peter Parker, the guy under the mask. Here was a kid that had all the same problems we had; acne, couldn’t connect with girls very well, a loner, B.O., awkward…all the stuff that adolescent males deal with was right there on the page. While I’m quite certain this was likely one of the reasons that I connected with Spidey, it wasn’t the main reason.

When I was a kid I had a minor reading disability. Well, now I think it was a minor problem, but then it was a whole other story. I couldn’t read more than one or two words at a time. So, where some kids were scanning whole paragraphs and flying through their reading assignments, I was jerkily crawling along. I dreaded oral reading, when each kid the class would read a sentence or paragraph out loud. I was terrible at it unless I figured out which sentence or paragraph I was meant to read, then I’d go over it as many times as I could and sound so smooth and polished when my turn came. Reading was awful, it was a chore; I hated reading.

My parents were pretty smart and felt that reading anything was better than nothing so, they supplied me with comic books. My favourite being, you guessed it, Spider-man. If not for Stan Lee I never would have understood reading for enjoyment or possibly reading at all. I recently wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Lee for his part in my reading happiness. Not that it’ll mean much to him, probably receives thousands of letters a week. Still, it made me feel good.

So many moons later and I still get a thrill when I pick up a new piece to the collection. For those interested in starting their own collection of Spidey goodies, point yourself to the nearest dollar store. You’ll be amazed at what you can pick up for a buck or two. Items that I’ve purchased, often for one dollar, go for much more online. I’m not suggesting that you go to the dollar stores and pick up items that you can sell for more on Ebay. Far from that. I’m telling you to keep those items, open them up and display them. Hell, you want to keep them packaged to leave them to the kids, go ahead. But, keep them. Enjoy them.

Dollar stores aren’t the only place to hunt down treasures. I visited a local Party Packagers store and picked up a Spider-man Marvel Legends (Sentinel Series) for $8.50. I found an Ebay listing for the exact same figure, mint in box, for US $50.

I love my collectibles and don’t see myself ever selling them, though I have given stuff away. You can blame my mom for that; she really was right when she said it was far better to give then receive. I enjoy the feeling of random acts of kindness (RAOK). That’s just part of the experience of collecting Spider-man memorabilia or any kind of collectible for that matter. I encourage you to join in the fun by visiting Spider-man sites, toy sites and other collecting sites. Heck, get out to a toy show, you’ll love it! You meet some very interesting folks with similar interests – face to face, too!

What’s So Cool?

I’m often asked what my favourite piece is from my collection. That is so difficult to answer since I love them all, but when pushed I come up with these three items:

A wrestling mask my wife brought back for me from Mexico.

A crocheted blanket in the shape of a spider web that a good friend made for me.

A plastic head used at retail stores to hold bubblegum that my mom got for me from a local variety store.

There are countless items to collect in the world of Spider-man and countless more in so many other areas. Get out there, enjoy yourself and do a little collectible hunting face to face – you’ll be glad you did.

Here's a few more photos of items I've collected over the years.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What is Creativity?

I met Mike from the Institute of Awesome over some questions about a video camera I bought. He asked me a few questions, too, only they were about creativity and the writing process. You'll find the interview here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Craigslist Entry: Slightly Used Talk Show Set...

Conan's ad on Craiglist was an excellent bit and I never got a chance to offer him anything for it. It seems, however, that NBC won the bidding by offering this:

An old, big-chinned, whiney, greedy guy with worse ratings and no backbone!

The worst part about this entire debacle is that The Tonight Show will carry this permanent scar. Jay Leno had nothing to do with choosing Conan, he had nothing to do with firing him, he had even less to do with getting himself reinstated. But, he had everything to do with every part of this by not speaking out against it. That's why Jay is all chin and no backbone.

Conan and his staff will be well paid for NBC's idiocy. And, Conan will land on his feet somewhere. I can't wait to see Jay land on his face (chin fist of course).