Toy Chest Theater: Power Rangers Edition, Vol. 1

By Rob Siebert
Out-of-the-Closet PR Fan

Power Rangers and toys. For the longest time, I hid my love of both. And yet as an adult I’ve learned to celebrate both. For my money that’s a beautiful thing.

Most of the figures you’ll see here are from Hasbro’s “Lightning Collection” line. Whether you’re talking about classic characters from the ’90s or the ones from the current Beast Morphers series, they’re the best PR figures ever produced.

See, these Hasbro people? They ain’t no dummies.

They know Tommy, the original Green Ranger, is going to be their big seller. Or at least in the very top tier. So they don’t necessarily want to give it to us right away. But of course, they like money. So what do they do? They split the difference with “Fighting Spirit” Green Ranger, i.e. a Green Ranger with that weird gold gimmick on his helmet. Because we know that’s not the true Green Ranger. And of course, they know we know.

Semantics aside, this is a great shot from Brazilian photographer Andre Gurian. It’s very reminiscent of something you’d see in promotion of Power Rangers Legacy Wars. Only here we have a setting with a much better texture to it, and lighting that’s a  little more moody. It’s got the more mature feel that adult fans think they want Power Rangers to have. But of course, will never get.

This, on the other hand, is much more in tune with what Mighty Morphin Power Rangers looked like. Gary Foster puts our two heroines front and center, bright colors in all their glory and surrounded by the vaguely undead looking Putties.

The poses are what make it, though. The Yellow Ranger’s in particular. It’s very ninja-esque. It feels like we’ve captured the moment right before that initial explosion of the fight.

Basketball photos are one of Noserein‘s trademarks. Go to his page and you’ll see basketball court shots of Golum, Baby Groot, Lord Voldemort, not to mention Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Here of course, we have the Power Rangers and the Putties. It’s just now registering with me that the Putties are actually the stars of this one. The Rangers are all background players, and the two Putties are clearly in the foreground. And don’t tell me this could never have happened on the show. Frankly, I’m surprised it never did. The Rangers and the Putties in a game of three-on-three to decide the fate of the world.

Hey, I’d watch.

Of these images, this is the only one that doesn’t feature figures from Hasbro’s Lightning Collection. If I’m not mistaken, these guys are all from Figuarts.

Power Rangers Ninja Storm doesn’t get a lot of love these days. But I really love this shot from our old friend satoshi_k. Once again we’re playing with foreground and background, as our Red Ranger is being pursued by the Thunder Rangers. And yet he’s prepping for a fight, as evidenced by his hand being on his weapon.

Here we have Devon, our current Red Ranger, hitting a high octane kick to…to…what the heck are these things? They aren’t the foot soldiers from Beast Morphers. Originally I thought they were Skrulls. But apparently not.

Either way, I love the implied motion in the way both our primary figures are posed by ZurEnArrh1906. It’s very easy for your mind to fill in the gaps, see the green guy go flying, and even hear Devon’s boot make contact with his torso.

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

Toy Chest Theater: Ghostbusters and the Punisher…the Ghost-Punishers?

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

“Busy night, Frank? Ever think about leaving a few breathing?”

That’s the caption that Scott Bline put on this image of the Punisher and the Ghostbusters. The picture stands on its own just fine. It’s got great lighting, and reminds me of the cutscene in Ghostbusters: The Video game where the boys see Stay Puft again. But this is the rare instance where a caption is the one detail that puts an image over the top. It’s been stuck in my head for weeks.

It’s funny, I can actually visualize a story where Frank Castle and the boys in gray team up. You talk about wiping somebody off the Earth completely. Kill ’em, then capture their ghost. Gone without a trace.

Your move Marvel. You too, IDW Publishing.

For more from Scott Bline, check out his web site.

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

Toy Chest Theater: Frankenstein in Living Color

By Rob Siebert
Also Enjoys Soup

Until a few years ago, I’d never seen the Universal monster movies. Any of them. At all.

I’ll wait ’til you’re done yelling.

I’ve successfully caught up, however. Though its not my favorite, I certainly enjoyed the Boris Karloff Frankenstein. Specifically Karloff’s performance as the monster. So when I spotted this shot from Underground Toy Photography, I jumped at it.

This image has a lot going for it, especially the lighting. Plus, as you can see, the image looks just as good in black and white.

But what stuck out to me was the “implied motion” of the monster figure (which I think is from Mezco Toyz). If you’ve seen the way Karloff walks in the movie, then look at this image, it’s very easy for your mind to transfer that walk on to this figure. So it looks like an actual shot from the movie, albeit in color.

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

Toy Chest Theater: Ant-Man and Coronavirus

By Rob Siebert
Regular-Sized-Man

This shot from Mashkatul Anuar Ariffin, a.k.a. @mashkatoy, is obviously pretty poignant right about now. There’s a group of people out there right now that would gladly do the exact same thing given the opportunity. Even if it meant contracting the illness.

Is that really what Coronavirus looks like up close? Yeesh. No wonder it infected so many of us. It took the form of one of the sugary cereals we love so much. It looks like like Lucky Charms banged Fruit Loops…

Arriffin can also be found on Facebook.

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

 

Toy Chest Theater: X-Men X-Plosion

By Rob Siebert
Full-Sized. Not Plastic.

We don’t see the X-Men as often as we should here at PI. So lately I’ve been looking for ways to spotlight them. Low and behold, here they are in “Toy Chest Theater.” And oh yes, we’ve got a packed production today.

In combing through the toy photography community, I’ve seen a lot of Wolverine. Cyclops too, but a lot of Wolverine. So naturally, most of what you’ll see today will include him. But I’ve also worked hard to move beyond Wolvie. (Lord knows he’s hurting for publicity.) Case in point…

I haven’t spotlighted a lot of (if any) photos with captions. But in this image from @satoshi_k, the caption is what ties it all together. We’ve got Cable walking with a purpose, locked, loaded, and ready to go. We’ve got snow, which might suggest a nuclear winter. Or on the other hand, simply winter. Those heavy doors leave it a little ambiguous as to when this takes place.

Yes, the caption is “Change the future.” But is he departing from the future to the past, or is he already in the past?

Either way, this shot wasn’t cheap. The figure, made by Mezco Toyz costs $100. Some of us suffer for our art. Sometimes our wallets suffer as well.

But hold on, we’re not done with @satoshi_k yet…

Sweet fancy Moses! Once again, these figures from MAFEX cost almost $100 each. But @satoshi_k damn sure got his money’s worth on this one.

I love the shots that make you ask, “How the hell did they do that?” My intellectual brain tells me, “Of course that’s probably not real fire.” But the image looks so damn convincing that it plants that seed of doubt.

That one element that puts it over the top? The Wolverine pose. The illusion of momentum is absolutely tremendous.

Cyclops is such a rich, complex, and often bad-ass character. So much more than a lot of casual fans give him credit for. @Tyo nugroho0 illustrates that beautifully here. What’s interesting here is that the image isn’t necessarily about the figure itself. It’s about the setting it’s placed in.

Plus, the jacket. The SH Figuarts Cyclops figure comes with a “removable leather-like jacket.” We’re just going to pretend that says “removable leather jacket.” Leather-like makes him sound like a wuss.

Here we have Magneto doing the thing people always expect Magneto to do. Not just to Wolverine, but Iron Man. That’s not quite how it works. But it’s happening in this scene from @creaptic using Marvel Legends figures. And to his credit, he makes it look good.

A future edition of Toy Chest Theater is going to focus on…well, focus. I have a lot of respect for photographers who create a scene with layers. Not only that, but they know which layer is the most important. We know what Magneto looks like. What’s important is what he’s doing. What’s important is that Wolverine is in agony. That’s what we need to see.

Jeremy, a.k.a. @figurephotoworks, brings us this next shot that I really love.

Along the same lines as what Tyo nugroh0 gave us, here we have Wolverine and Colossus among the wreckage of what I assume was a fight with Sentinels. But to give it that special look and feel, Jeremy (a.k.a. @figurephotoworks) used “sand, a drain blaster, and a smoke machine.” The result is absolutely gorgeous.

I also love that he chose these particular Marvel Legends figures. Colossus’ normally glimmering skin covered in sand gives us a sense of just how dense that cloud behind them is. Wolverine’s brown and yellow suit is not only a great fit for the image, but a personal favorite of mine.

For some reason, the toy photography community seems to love pitting Wolverine against Omega Red…

This first one from Stephen (@mandalorianrunt) not only has one of those great X-Men/comic book-ish environments, but it’s got that awesome yellowish green lighting in the background.

If I’m not mistaken, based on some behind-the-scenes photos Stephen put up with this, that smoke behind Wolvie is actually cotton. You’d never know it, though. You really never even consider the smoke. That’s one of the ways you know you’ve got a great image. Everything at least appears to blend together seamlessly.

CWolverine vs. Sabretooth. One of the big rivalries in all of comics. It terms of sheer disdain for the other person, it’s probably up there with Superman vs. Lex Luthor or Batman vs. the Joker. Here we have a really nice shot of Logan pinning Creed down in a wooded setting. And here we have something else that’s fairly rare in toy photography, at least as far as I’m concerned: Blood.

@BrinquedosNaReal could easily have used ketchup, food coloring, or something like that. But he went the plastic route. I’m sure that wasn’t originally intended to be blood. But it works as blood, as it makes the image appear like it was taken with a high-speed camera. Like some poor photographer just happened to be standing there as these two rabid animals are slicing each other’s guts out.

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

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: 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.

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

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.

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