Disney Pixar Buzz Lightyear Widgets

 Buzz Lightyear  Comments Off on Disney Pixar Buzz Lightyear Widgets
Feb 222014
 

Wind-up Buzz Lightyear

Wind-up Buzz Lightyear

Subheadered: The key to fun!   That’s kind of a cute pun, since this Buzz comes with a key to wind him up with.  I love Buzz Lightyear toys, and my collection is very large by now.  Often Buzz is the de facto gift when family members are choosing Christmas or Birthday gifts.  Lucky for all of us, I like duplicates, so it doesn’t have to be unique… but sometimes someone finds one that’s completely unique, and that’s even cooler.

This year, my John and Anita (my son and daughter-in-law) found something really unique.  A small (about 3 inches tall) wind-up Buzz Lightyear toy.  It’s a spin on the old wind-up toys.  They’ve been around for years, you wind them up, they wobble back and forth while moving forward.  What makes this one different is his wings.  Rather than go with ‘always open’ or ‘always closed’, the wings are spring loaded.  After taking a few steps, they pop open on their own.

Yes, I’m easily amused.  Still, that’s a neat twist.  So is the key.  The ones I’ve seen before usually have a wind-up knob on the side or back.  Buzz’s is on his left side, actually embedded into his elbow.  You can wind it by hand, but it’s easier to use the key.  He gets a reasonable amound of travel on a good winding, maybe a couple of feet.  That may reduce some after I’ve played with him a while.

The color scheme is good, though not as crisp as usual.  His arms are fixed in place.  They’re molded as part of the body, no detachment at all.  The left arm doesn’t even have a shape or outline to separate it from his body.  That’s fine with me, most small wind-up figures lack detail.  It’s probably to keep the overall weight down.  Too heavy with detailed parts and he wouldn’t be able to walk much.

The last element is his face.  Buzz Lightyear’s face feels just a little bit off in the sculpt.  Again, I can live with that.  But the eyes are disappointing.  They didn’t paint his eyes properly, they’re all black with a white reflection.  This is the only part I’m not happy with, and fortunately, a tiny dab of blue paint should fix that.  I build and paint model kits for a hobby, so touching up his eyes won’t be any problem.

In a nutshell:

  • Mechanicals: 5/5 (love the wings popping open)
  • Paint:  3/5 (the eyes are my only real complaint)
  • Sculpt: 4/5 (for a small wind-up toy, it’s typical)

You can see his movement in the video up above.  Overall, he’s a good piece to add to my display collection, but he’ll probably wear out or break easily if treated as a toy.

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Buzz is On A Mission – Toy Story Hallmark Keepsake Ornament

 Buzz Lightyear, Buzz Lightyear Ornaments, Hallmark  Comments Off on Buzz is On A Mission – Toy Story Hallmark Keepsake Ornament
Feb 092014
 


It’s been ages since I’ve written here, but I’m finally back.  This is the first of 4 Buzz Lightyears that are waiting on reviews.  The rest will follow as time permits.  For now, let’s take a look at “Buzz is on a Mission”:

It's a Buzz in a box!

It’s a Buzz in a box!

The box he comes in is typical Hallmark design, and about 5 ” tall.  Buzz himself is 3.5 ” tall, and is wrapped in lots of white tissue paper for protection.  The batteries are the kind you see in cameras, and come included in the package.  No installation instructions because, really, why would you need them?  :^)

There’s one shiny silver screw holding his jetpack in place, and what better place could you possibly find for power cells?  I grabbed a tiny phillips head screwdriver and went to town.  Two things caught my attention here.  First, the screw is finely threaded, so it takes longer than you’d expect.  Second, the fit is very tight, and it took a while before I realized it was ready to be opened.

The sculpt is exactly what you’d expect for a Disney/Toy Story product.  High quality all the way.  The detailing is great, right down to the open wrist communicator.  It even has a color decal, which is kind of overkill since the angle makes it unlikely that anyone will see it.  The paint job is sharp and the edges clean.  The colors are a bit muted.  Rather than the very bright colors most Buzz Lightyear toys have, his colors here are more pastel.  If you look under his feet, he has the trademark “Andy” signature.

BuzzMission06

No moving parts (except for the voice button).  He’s very sturdy, and has a solid heft for his size.  The wings do NOT pop open… “Not a flying toy”.  Buzz’s balance is excellent.  He stands firmly on is feet, with plenty of stability.  There’s no helmet, but that’s an acceptable design choice.  I’d have liked him either way.

The voice is awesome.  Clear, crisp, and very understandable.  I love how high-quality the sound is.  He’s even got more than one phrase.  It’s the voice that led me to make a video of him.  This was originally going to by picture-only, but with audio, he really deserves video.  Plus it provides a chance to show battery installation.

Hallmark plus Disney plus Toy Story is a winning combination.  Just remember if you’re buying for kids, this is a display figure, not an action toy.  As such, and with the built-in speech, this Buzz is a winner.

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PeachTree Playthings Buzz and Woody Poster – My 69 cent Treasure

 Buzz, Buzz Lightyear, Disney, Toy Story  Comments Off on PeachTree Playthings Buzz and Woody Poster – My 69 cent Treasure
Jun 202013
 

Buzz Lightyear and Woody PosterIt’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  Haven’t given up on Buzz, just ran out of time in the daily grind.  Keep hoping to re-prioritize, but you know how that goes.  Today was different.  My job at the paper is full time now (as with so many things, that’s good and bad, depending) and I actually get a lunch break.  So today, went home for lunch like usual.  Made one of my favorite meals, cottage cheese with grapes and bananas.

Sat down at the computer to eat and play a little.  Then Mom came home.  She’d been out.  Running errands, shopping, just going about her usual Friday stuff.  She unlocked the door, came into the living room, walked down the hall, and when she turned the corner into our room… she had this great Buzz Lightyear and Woody poster!

Gotta love her!!!  She knows how much I enjoy Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear.  This poster is maybe 18″ x 12″, and made out of a thin plastic.  The images are form-shaped, and follow the contours of the characters.  It has some aging, and a little wear, but is in perfectly useable condition.  The art is Disney-accurate.  Correct colors, proportions, facial expressions.  It was made by Peachtree Playthings.  This was probably a promo poster for a toy display somewhere.  I’m just glad it’s mine now!

She found it at the Salvation Army for .69 cents…  I told her what’s important is not how much the poster cost, it’s how much the poster is worth.  To me, it was really awesome.  My first thought was to add it to the Buzz Lightyear display cabinet out in the exercise room.  But Monique and Mom both took note that Buzz (and Woody) will fit on the wall just behind my digital piano.  So without even having to be devious about it, I get to hang my new poster on the wall right by the Marvel PVC figurine collection!

For now, it’s just … up there.  Propped on top of the piano.  Later, I may frame or matte it.  Either way, it’s a great and unique Buzz Lightyear wall display.

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Fisher-Price Imaginext Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3 Tri-County Landfill

 Buzz Lightyear, Fisher-Price, Imaginext  Comments Off on Fisher-Price Imaginext Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3 Tri-County Landfill
Feb 202013
 

Click pic to see Amazon listing

Based on possibly the scariest scene out of all three Toy Story movies… but made cute and colorful.  Now your child has the chance to rescue Buzz Lightyear for himself.  This brightly colored playset features Buzz, Lotso, three LGM’s (little green men), a small green/red bulldozer, and some assorted play pieces.  Plus, of course, the landfill.

The art has Fisher-Price’s usual Imaginext style applied.  Buzz doesn’t have his normal looks.  He’s a bit more cartoony, and bit simpler in design.  The proportions are more exaggerated, with narrow waist and wide shoulders.  The hands and feet flare out to give him a streamlined feel.  The face is recognizable as Buzz Lightyear, but again, more cartoonish.  It’s not bad, but has a very specific “Imaginext” feel to the style.

The differences from Buzz’s normal art style will only matter if you’re a purist.  If you happen to be a child looking for a great playset, it’s perfect.  All the pieces have a friendly, childish feel to them.  All in good fun.  Given the intensity of the movie scene that inspired this set, I could see this being a good way to make that scene less frightening to the very young children.  Heck, I’m over 50 and found some of the imagery disturbing.  On a par with Woody’s nightmare of being thrown away in Toy Story 2.

This set is a reversal of my typical reviews.  Mostly I view toys with an eye to whether they’d fit my own collection, and secondarily as to what kind of actual toy they are, and how playable they might be.  The Tri-County Landfill looks far more suited to be a child’s play toy rather than a collectible.  I still like it.  Fisher-Price is a quality company, and my experiences with them have always been good.  The Imaginext line brings it’s own unique sensibilities to the table.  All in all, a very cool toy set with plenty of scope for fun and playability.

Probably won’t be adding this one to the collection.  But if I was buying for a young Toy Story fan, it would be an easy choice.

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The Worlds Most Perfect (Buzz Lightyear) Valentines Day Card

 Buzz Lightyear, Hallmark  Comments Off on The Worlds Most Perfect (Buzz Lightyear) Valentines Day Card
Feb 152013
 

00BuzzValentineYou’ve got to love a wife who tolerates my crazy hobbies.  Monique doesn’t just tolerate them… she encourages them!

Case in point:  My Buzz Lightyear craze.  With a bit of luck, this blog makes enough to pay for it’s own upkeep.  Which comes to about $12 per year.  I spend an inordinate amount of time building my collection, reading and writing about Buzz and Toy Story in general.  Some spouses would feel I spend too much time playing with children’s toys.  Not Monique.  She buys me Toy Story Valentines Day cards.  And Toys.  Wait till you see the Buzz Lightyear light-up helmet she got me!!!  (Sorry, not here… it’s worth a post all by itself.  Going to do a video review soon.)

Using cool Hallmark online technology, she actually customized my card.  It’s actually got my name right on the front:  “Alan, I looked all over for the perfect valentine for you…”

And of course, the punch line inside is awesome.  “But they don’t make candy hearts that say: Our love will last to infinity and beyond!”

That’s just cooler than cool.  She actually got 3 different cards for me, but the other two have nothing to do with Toy Story.  (One’s a Superman card, and the other is more like ‘normal’ people give each other – I love all three!)  But since this is a Buzz Lightyear website, that’s the card I’m showing here.

Okay, maybe you’re thinking this is just silly.  Disney and Hallmark over-marketing at it’s finest.  Too hokey for adults.  I say, we need to be kids at heart!  Sure, I can point out bad things, get cynical and depressed.  I could be a downer to all my friends and family.  And I’m human, so sometimes that happens.  But the best things in life happen when you open yourself up a bit.  Let the inner kid out, and remember what plain old, simple FUN is.  Adults have a way of messing things up.  Learn from the children.

The coolest thing about Monique is her appreciation for my childish side.  Years ago I was playing Runescape (Thanks, Josh!!) and she walked by my computer, stopped, and said “That looks like fun.”  Now, some 8 years later, she’s a player mod, we’re both maxed combat players, and some of our most fun comes during our weekly “Penguin Hunt” date night.

Another example… A couple of years ago, she wanted to do something different and unique for an anniversary.  Something together, that we could share in.  So… my answer?  I went out and bought some plastic models.  We spend the entire day building models.  Me with a Dragon that needed a repaint.  Her with a Revell Dracula model kit.  She’s come a long way from that first kit.  I usually build super-heroes, she usually builds monsters, though that’s not set in stone.  Or resin.

How many wives would be willing to do that?  I used to work at Blockbuster, and we rented a lot of games to young men.  They thought it was awesome that my wife didn’t get jealous of my games… she joined in and excelled at them!

So is she on the same page when it comes to Buzz Lightyear?  Well… no.  But that’s okay.  She has her own collections.  You should see our computer room.  The walls are full of shelves full of her Lord of the Rings collection.  Except where our model collection is.  Or my super-hero figurines are.

Getting a Buzz Lightyear valentines day card?  That just says it all.  There are many things that make us right for each other.  But the fact that we have fun together?  Too cool.

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Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Villains Figurine Playset

 Buzz Lightyear, Disney, Fisher-Price, Imaginext, Toy Story  Comments Off on Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Villains Figurine Playset
Feb 112013
 

I wound up opening the package after all. I know, I’m a big kid! (Click for Amazon Link)

This is a pretty unusual set for me. On more than one count. First, my collection is almost exclusively good guys. Yet here’s Buzz included  in a Villain’s set of figurines. It kind of hurts my feelings to find Buzz cast as a villain. After all, he didn’t KNOW he was joining the villains. They seemed so nice at first.

Click to see at Amazon

 

I typically only collect Buzz Lightyear. But when a whole set drops into my lap, and Buzz is one of the set characters, I’m not going to turn it down. Though I really tried this time. Monique and I had an opportunity to buy several random sets of Disney and Marvel characters for our eBay business. It was fully my intention to ‘be good’, and sell these.
That intention faded away when it was time to take pictures for the listings. A bird in the hand is worth more… or maybe a Buzz Lightyear in the set is worth more than an unsold listing on eBay.

The entire set contains Buzz Lightyear, Lots-O’-Huggins Bear, Big Baby, Twitch, Chunk, Stretch, and Sparks. The packaging is nice enough to display as is. No need to remove the characters from the box.

These are not toys, strictly speaking. They’re figurines. Small PVC characters, around 3.5 inches tall. No joints, no articulation, no movement. They make great display pieces. Excellent cake toppers. Decent toys. Just understand up front, they’re strictly figurines.

Quality is good. The painting is clean and simple, the colors just right for the characters. The villains are nicely represented, though of course my emphasis is on Buzz. The painting and the sculpt do a good job capturing his character. His colors lean toward ‘pastel’. I prefer bolder colors personally, but that’s just a minor note.

If you’re like me and prefer Buzz, this set might not be to your taste. But if you want a unique collection of Toy Story characters, this hits the spot. Buzz Lightyear in a villains collection. That makes it different enough to justify keeping the whole set.

Given how nicely they’re packaged, the whole set will go well as is. I may take off the top plastic bubble. Or not. It depends on whether my goal is to see them clearly, or keep dust off them.  (Edit:  I wound up opening the package to take a clearer picture.  For dust protection, I can leave the cover back on, though.)

Either way, as PVC collectible Toy Story figures, this is a great set.

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Real Life Buzz Lightyear Space Suit- NASA Tests the Z1 Prototype

 Buzz Lightyear, Costume  Comments Off on Real Life Buzz Lightyear Space Suit- NASA Tests the Z1 Prototype
Jan 122013
 

Life imitates art.  Sometimes with a little nudge.  I only recently found out, but NASA’s new prototype space suit, the Z1, bears a striking resemblance to my favorite space ranger…
Source credit: NASAThe Z1 is the first major revamp of our space suits since 1998, the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) units. Aside from just looking cool and stylish, one of the  biggest changes  is much greater flexibility.  Plus, the suits act as their own airlock.
I can easily understand the need for flexibility, but the airlock?  That’s pretty clever.  In the current suit, the design is top/bottom, and the two halves are sealed together for air integrity.  With the Z1 prototype, there’s a big hatch in the back.  The astronauts just climb in and close the door.
Current airlock technology is reported to be slow and tiring.  (Not that I’d actually know from personal experience…)  The new systems would have the suit hung on a wall, with a hatch through the wall leading directly into the suit. My first thought was “So, they’ll be hanging the suit outside the spacecraft, like a laundry line?”  There could be all kind of risks involved!
In actuality, the suit would be stored in a small anteroom.  Once someone is wearing it, and the back hatch is closed, then they can walk outside.  Sounds a lot better than what I was thinking!
EDIT:  It turns out, the plans actually DO call for the suit to be stored outside.  The small anteroom is a simple rectangular box, sealing the outside away from the inside.  So, I guess if the suit is damaged and can’t hold pressure, the door won’t open.  Looked at from the other point of view, what if there’s a micrometeor storm, and the suit PLUS the hull are damaged?  Then you’d have no safety net.  You know in the movies, when the alarm is blaring, the ship has been holed, and everybody is rushing for their space suits?  Forget about that.  Okay, that’s movies.  In real life though, I have to wonder how vulnerable such a system is.
The suit isn’t a perfect match for Buzz Lightyear’s.  But with the green accent stripes, and the flat-pack look of the suit backpack, it does bear a striking resemblance.  Since the Z1 is a prototype space suit, there’s likely to be a Z2, Z3, and maybe more.  Whoever designed the original must have children… or a sense of whimsy.  I just hope the future versions maintain that same Buzz Lightyear feel!

Image Source: NASA

Oh… and if it ever becomes publicly available… you might see me dressed up for Halloween.  :^)
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