Toy Chest Theater: Hellboy at Home

By Rob Siebert
Knows that’s a LOT of cats.

For obvious reasons, lately we’re seeing a decent amount of “life in quarantine” shots from toy photographers lately. I put a couple TMNT ones in a recent post.

But here we have another one by John_Conner42 on Instagram. It’s obviously not mine to title. But if it was, I’d call it “Hellboy at Home.” In a lot of ways, this is the perfect portrait of American life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quite often, there’s that one detail in an image that puts it over the top. In this one, it’s the milk pouring into the bowl. How he pulled that off I have no idea…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

TMNT: The Movie at 30: Toy Chest Theater

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yeah, I’m a little late on this one. Sue me.

These Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures from NECA have practically become a staple of the toy photography community. And for good reason. They’re absolutely amazing.

I’ve featured them here a few times before. But in honor of the 30th anniversary of the movie, I’ve opted to spotlight some of my favorites that haven’t been on the site yet.

Let’s start with one that’s if nothing else, timely…

This shot from Yunus Unen serves to remind us that even our mutant friends must protect themselves from the dreaded Coronavirus. Apparently a tiger at the Bronx Zoo was just found to have it. That’s bad news for Tiger Claw

Another quarantine-inspired shot, this time from French photographer Joe Hume. According to the Instagram post where this shot originated, it was inspired by #coronamaison, a hashtag that means “corona house” in French. It challenges artists and illustrators to create a quarantine scene using a house with a staircase on the left side of the frame. Other than that, they’re free to do as they will.

I’d say this shot fits the TMNT pretty well. Imagine these guys being under quarantine. They already can’t leave the lair during the day! Now they’re stuck together 24/7!

In the caption for the #coronamaison photo above, Hume mentioned closer shots are more his element. Looking at this shot of Shredder, I can’t dispute that. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be the scene in the movie where he’s talking to all the Foot recruits, or if its another setting entirely. The shot seems to suggest it’s snowing. Which is an interesting idea.

In any event, the shot plays to the strengths of the figure/character design, as well as the character itself. The armor and the mask are easy to see and well defined. But the man behind them is shrouded in mystery…

I like this shot by Duane Perera not just because it goes all in on the nostalgia element, but because of the way the Turtles are posed. It’s very believable that they’re all crammed into some ’90s kid’s little room, playing with all his stuff.

Bonus points for the Donnie and the Dunkaroos. I’m always amazed at how toy photographers are able to miniaturize that kind of stuff. Whether it’s an actual prop or a trick of the computer, it almost always looks so real.

We’ll close it out with something downright spooky looking. You can be a little more moody and menacing with Raph, as it fits his personality. Mike of @fullblowntoys definitely nails it hear with the dim lighting and the green steam effect. Not only does it fit the character, but it fits the look of the film. This could have taken place in the sewers, or just the wrong part of town…

For more NECA TMNT goodness, check out That Damn Swimming Level…”, “Leo in the Sun”,  and Bird Box Starring TMNT”.

Email Rob at at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: That Damn Swimming Level…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It might be hard to believe, but the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game turns 30 this month. As if we ’80s kids weren’t already feeling old…

The game is famously infuriating for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the swimming level. As the boys in green are working to diffuse bombs underwater (as you do), they have to avoid seaweed and electric shocks. In terms of old school video game levels that could induce the fiery hot rage of a thousand suns, this just might be the apex.

But at the very least, we can say it’s a memorable piece of our childhood. That’s why this new image from Simon Hill is so damn fun.

If you’re a regular around here, you know I’m in love with these NECA figures based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. Clearly I’m not the only one, as you see them in a lot in toy photography. But this scene, this image, is not only so well executed, but seemingly so random. Out of everything one could possibly recreate from TMNT lore, this is just about the last thing you’d expect to see.

And that’s part of what makes it so great. Kudos for creating such an awesome image, Mr. Hill.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

Toy Chest Theater: Leo in the Sun

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The right lighting really does make all the difference.

Of course, this pic from SGT Bananas Toy Photography calls back to a scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. It’s the scene where Leonardo hears Splinter calling to him from the astral plane.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a corresponding screenshot from the movie…

I don’t see the image as a recreation of this moment, but rather the creation of a similar scene set in the early morning. There’s something surreal, and somehow beautiful about this absurd fantasy creature bathed in the natural sunlight.

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Toy Chest Theater: Link and the Eyes

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

When I first saw this image a couple of months ago, I didn’t get it.

Obviously, it’s an amazing pic from Samia, a.k.a. @everydaylink. The placement of Link, the creepy and foreboding eyes, the murky green setting. It’s fantastic.

I’ve only played on Zelda game, A Link to the Past. But it had been so long, I didn’t understand the significance of the eyes. I naturally assumed it was a level in one of the games. But I wasn’t sure…

Then, Mrs. Primary Ignition got me a Super Nintendo Classic Edition for Christmas. One of the games on it is A Link to the Past. Wouldn’t you know it, eventually I would up eyeing down those same…er….eyes. Actually fighting the eye monster directed me toward an easy-to-miss, but still awesome detail in the image: The ground. When you give it an initial scan, it’s easy to dismiss it as dirt or something. But if you look under Link’s feet, it’s actually flooring. That attention to detail is one of the things that separates this image from the pack.

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Toy Chest Theater: Deadpool vs. Wolverine

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m not sure you can pack more action movie style fun into an image than Doctor Van Nostrand did here.

Firstly, you’ve got the simple fact that it’s Deadpool vs. Wolverine. They’re two of the most popular anti-heroes in all of comics, and both of them essentially have “I don’t die” super powers. They could literally fight forever. All the Hugh Jackman jokes in the Deadpool movies don’t hurt either.

Then there’s the pose. A perfectly serviceable kick to the face, supplemented by the scrunched up angry face this Wolverine figure has. From a distance, it creates a great illusion of impact. This is a gorgeous setting too. The kicked-up dust gives subtle impression that they’ve been scuffling for at least a few minutes. We’ve past the initial explosion of the fight.

But what seals the deal for yours truly is a detail you might miss if you’re simply scanning the image quickly. (Or maybe I’m just ADD like that.) Deadpool’s face is turned toward the camera, and he’s giving the audience a thumbs-up with his left hand. Thus, this image not only created a dynamic action pose, but a scene that’s perfectly suited to Deadpool.

Frankly, just looking at it makes me hungry for a chimichanga.

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Toy Chest Theater: Thanos and…Pooh?

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

What the hell is this?

I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. I’m spotlighting this image, after all. But what the hell is this?

The really funny thing about this image by Hyaruron is that because both the Marvel and Winnie the Pooh brands are owned by Disney, this is one of those scenes that could conceivably happen someday. Like in a Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or Ralph Breaks the Internet type movie.

God only knows what these two would say to each other in a scene like this. But there are two elements that really made this image stick in my mind. The first is the out of focus log (or is it a branch?) in the foreground. It gives the image a certain voyeuristic feel. Like the photographer is sneaking up on them. The second is the placement of Pooh’s arm. It’s like he’s comforting Thanos. Possibly because he knows he’s going to lose in the next movie…

Incidentally, can someone tell me why Pooh is wearing that outfit? I’ve poked around looking for that figure, and can’t find it. There’s nothing wrong with it, of course. It’s just that, like this image itself, it’s really random.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

Toy Chest Theater: Spider-Man Fails?

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This image makes me think of the art we saw in the aftermath of 9/11. Images of the superheroes we love, placed next to the very real heroes who rushed in to save lives and provide aid when the terrorist attacks occurred. John Romita Jr’s work in The Amazing Spider-Man #36 comes to mind, for obvious reasons.

The caption on photographer Joe Hume’s Instagram page reads “Sometimes we fail.” That’s interesting, as that’s not how I read this image. Mourning? Yes. Failure? No. But that seems to be the story Hume had in mind. Fair enough, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a powerful image. The iconography of the Spider-Man suit and the fireman’s hat. The orange blaze in the background. But the lighting from below is what clinches it. I don’t know that it’s supposed to be from the fire. A street light, perhaps. Or a light on one of the buildings. But it works very well.

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Toy Chest Theater: Bird Box Starring TMNT

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve got a soft spot for Bird Box, for obvious reasons. Mrs. Primary Ignition and I finally got to watch it the other night, and really enjoyed it.

So naturally, I love this image from Eric, a.k.a. @heatfour on Instagram.

In Bird Box, Sandra Bullock’s character has to guide to children through the wilderness as a ghostly monster pursues them. To further complicate matters, all three have to be blindfolded. It’s a very TMNT-ish look, so this shot is a natural play-off of the movie. Plus, using the figures based on the 1990 film always gets you extra points with me.

Intended or not, this image also has a certain intrigue to it in terms of the kids. How the heck did we get young mutant turtles? Are they supposed to be Raph’s kids? If so, how did that process work?

This image needs a backstory. Just sayin’.

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Toy Chest Theater: Kermit the…Hulk?

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Everybody dreams of being something bigger. Even little green frogs.

That’s what I love about this image from Indonesian toy photographer Kadir Alaydrus. On the surface, it seems like a silly image of the Hulk with a Muppet head. But it speaks to something universal. The caption reads, “Dream Big Little Guy.”

Then, barely a day after posting the above photo, Kadir was at it again. The caption for the image below reads, “Kermithropus Erectus: The evolution of Kermit the Frog.”

Technically, I think the figure on the right is Robin, Kermit’s nephew. But you get the idea.

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