Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas, Family, Toys, & Nostalgia

I was recently listening to a podcast called Imaginary Worlds by Eric Molinksy, and it really got me thinking. He and a guest were discussing toys and how they can be transitional objects. They described transitional objects as something that "reminds you of a moment in life when you were transitioning from one stage to another." They went on to to describe how the transitional objects often bring up "living memories" that are etched into our minds. Eric and his guest also went on to describe how the "living memories" often are "self-soothing" thoughts of moments of "pure joy." As you may have already guessed, for lots of guys in our age group the transitional objects for us are often times toys, super heroes, video games, etc. They discussed how these "living memories" instantly transport us back in time to where we can remember precisely where we were, who we were with, what toy we had, the shear joy of opening that toy, and even the smell of it.

All of this got me thinking about Christmas coming up, how things used to be versus how they are today, and the role that collecting plays in our lives today. Steve and I have been extremely fortunate to have had great upbringings by families that love/d us deeply. Looking back, those living memories that we have instantly take us back to a much simpler time. It was a stress-free time of fun, excitement, and love.

We each have those special memories of this carefree time. I can remember it like it was yesterday... going to Kay-Bee and picking out the toy I had been wanting, building playsets and models with our dads. The happiness this brought us was nothing in comparison to the joy it brought our parents to see us so happy.

Collecting and Christmas time have an extra special meaning to Steve and I. Both of our fathers have been affected by cancer. Unfortunately, Steve's father lost his battle with pancreatic cancer six years ago yesterday. I am lucky enough to still have my father here with me, but he has been fighting terminal prostate cancer for about 7 and half years now. This has been extremely difficult thing for us and our families to deal with, as any of you who have had to deal with it know. The stress of every day life is hard enough as it is, but to not have your father there any more or to watch your father go through treatment after treatment and to see the effects of it is rough.

Collecting has been a way to help deal with what has happened to our families. We honor them when we think about the great times we have had with them. The stress of dealing with a lost loved one or with watching one suffer through it can be very difficult. Luckily, collecting can be a therapeutic outlet to relieve that stress. Something as simple as customizing figures or backgrounds can remind us of the times building models with our dads and the little tips that we learned from them along the way. We take those tips and carry them on and will pass them on to others. It's the little things such as those that count.

Besides being a great stress reliever, collecting is also an extremely fun hobby. There is a certain amount of joy that comes with making a list of exactly what you want, the hunt of finding that great deal, and the joy of opening up that package you have been waiting for when it finally comes in the mail. Everyone deals with tough times in life, and everyone finds different ways to deal with it. Collecting has been a therapeutic way for Steve and I to both honor our fathers and to remember all of the amazing times we had/have with them.

Christmas is a joyous time of year for many, but can be extremely difficult for those who have lost loved ones. This Christmas honor those who we have lost too soon and those who are still fighting with everything they can. When you open your presents while sitting in front of the Christmas tree take a minute to think on those "living memories" and remember to back when you were sitting on your dad's lap, opening your favorite figure, and the shear joy it brought the two of you.

Steve and I want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. Remember the past memories, enjoy making new ones, and cherish every second of it!

Sincerely,
Jon & Steve, CobraShadowJoes

Steve w/ dad and his brand new Roboto!
Jon w/ dad.

Jon w/ siblings and dog, Mugsy in 1980-something.




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas from COBRASHADOWJOES!

COBRASHADOWJOES Christmas Giveaway!!!
NECA Elder V2, NECA NES Freddy, Data-Viper, Red Ninja, Cobrashadowjoes T-Shirt

It's Christmas time and COBRASHADOWJOES wants to spread the JOY!  We are going to be giving away a few cool items over the next month that you will not want to miss out on!  Do you like GI JOE, NECA, or how about an awesome COBRASHADOWJOES T-Shirt?  Well, stay tuned because it's going to happen and a few lucky people will be getting one of these!



To kick things off we are giving away one of our COBRASHADOWJOES T-Shirts! It comes in a nice army green color with our logo!!! We will also be giving away a NECA Elder Predator V2, NECA NES Freddy, Data-Viper, and Red Ninja!!


***Want to enter???? All you have to do is leave a comment on this thread with your name, Twitter handle or email address (if you don't have Twitter), AND a short reason on why you deserve a Xmas gift and why you love toys and collecting. If you follow us on Twitter keep an eye out for more announcements and be sure to RT our Christmas giveaways! Our first winner will be announced Christmas Night, and last through the month!

Thanks and Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays (and good luck) from COBRASHADOWJOES!


***As much as we would like to offer this to everyone, winners can only be from US and Canada. You can only qualify to win 1 item***

Friday, December 12, 2014

NECA Toys TRU Exclusive Terminator Endoskeleton 2 Pack Review

NECA Endoskeleton Assault 2 - Pack

Today I am reviewing the awesome NECA Endoskeleton Assault 2 - Pack (Toys R Us Exclusive) that my wonderful wife got me for my birthday. To be honest, these were not my most anticipated figures coming out from NECA this month. I have really been looking forward to getting my Queen Alien and Snake Plissken. With that said, when I got these I was absolutely blown away. I am not exaggerating when I say that these guys go right up with there with some of my favorites figures that NECA has made.

Packaging:

As always, NECA makes sure they get every little detail just right and the packaging and box art is awesome. They have the same SEGA-style packaging as the game that we all loved to play so much had. 





The back reads. "In the crumbling ruins of a world under siege, man-machine meets machine-man as legendary cyborgs clash to decide the fate of the earth..."



The art inside the packaging is fantastic and looks like it is straight out of the game. Personally, I really appreciate that they take the time to get these extra bonuses just right. I love to use these inserts as backgrounds for when I am posing my figures for pictures and such. It makes it look like the real environment from the game.


 Accessories:

Since, the Endoskeletons are straight up machines that never change there is no need for extra hands, heads, etc. Each figure comes with the signature pulse rifle with a paint scheme that matches each of the figures.


Figures:

The figures themselves are just amazing. They are well built and feel quite sturdy in your hands. The paint on these guys is what really makes them pop. One of them comes in a blueish/purplish scheme while the other comes in an orange/bronze color scheme. To be perfectly honest, I don't know which one I like better. Due to the contrast of the colors they compliment each other very well.

Also, you will notice the amazing details on them. When you look closely you can see the nice job they did of making them look worn and slightly battle damaged. Again, it's those little details that put these over the top.




Articulation:

On Twitter, some one was asking if they are fully articulated. Well, since these are made by NECA you already know the answer is yes. Pretty much every joint on here can be moved from the toes, ankles, knees, hips, waist, hands, arms, and head.

One of my favorite things about this figure is that when you bend the joints and pose the figure it leaves the inner mechanical parts of the figure exposed. It is a nice touch. I took a picture of the arm straightened vs bent so that you can see what I am talking about. The legs and other parts do the same.




Conclusion:

These figures have definitely exceeded my expectations. They are super fun troop builders and I will be buying more of them. Steve already has gotten the single version with the Gatling gun and I will be picking him up soon as well. 

NECA's Endoskeltons really blow the old McFarlane ones out of the water. It's not even a comparison. I strongly suggest that you stop by your local Toys R Us or go here to pick these up. I promise you won't be disappointed.



As always, if you have any particular questions about these figures (or others) or just want to chat then hit us up on Twitter: @cobrashadowjoes


Thursday, December 4, 2014

NECA Toys Viper Predator Review

NECA Viper Predator     
The Viper predator, leader of the notorious Serpent Clan! 
Today I am reviewing the evil Viper Predator that was originally to be included with the ultra-sick Predator Blade Fighter coming out later this month.  I wasn't sure how much I would like this particular Predator until I actually had him in my hands at the store.  The helmet, double blades, and colors all really gives him his own unique look and feel. There are lots of cool things to talk about so let's jump right into it!

Packaging:
The packaging is always great with every Predator figure NECA releases.  The art looks sharp and gives you a good idea of the figure you are buying with their insane background.  The figures they make are wonderful, but the packaging is always the cherry on top!





Figure:
The first thing I really noticed about this particular Predator was the ability to easily take his mask on and off.  NECA continues to improve the options of the figures and parts you can add and subtract to make him look the way you want.  The more we are able to customize, the better! He bends well, has good flexibility, and the joints seem to be tight and hold poses well.  The only thing I did notice was that when his legs are bent they will not bend straight back but off to the side.  I really didn't care that his legs did this because I, generally, don't pose them sitting or with their legs completely bent.  He comes with double wrist blades and a shoulder plasma cannon to take his enemies apart.







Weapons:
The weapons on this figure are pretty straight forward.  The double blades on each arm come out and seem to be made better than previous blades on Predators.  The mask he wears is awesome and his head and face are perfectly molded to fit and be removed easily.  It is difficult to say which look is better, but I really love having the option of either/or.  His shoulder cannon is pretty standard but a must for almost any predator.  He also comes with some extra hands which is great and provides more options when posing.







Overall:
Overall, I love this figure and the direction NECA continues to take in the world of Predator.  They continue to improve in every area and really make unique pieces for everyone to love.  Just by looking at the pictures you can truly see how unique this figure is. IMO, he is a must buy.  At this point, I think you really have to consider anything NECA is creating as a something you might to want to buy.  Bottom line: Predator rocks and NECA and is bringing it every day with no end in sight!







Give us a shout on Twitter. We are always up for a good discussion. @cobrashadowjoes

Monday, November 17, 2014

NECA Toys V2 Elder Predator Review

Finally, the NECA Elder Predator V2 has been released!  I found mine at a local TRU over the weekend and was going nuts about how cool he looked right there on the TRU floor.  The NECA section was stocked with so many great things. I also picked up the NECA Viper Predator.  So let's take a look at this bad ass toy that NECA has upgraded for all of us!

Packaging:
The packaging comes in the classic Predator 2 look just like all of the previous Predator 2 figures that have been released by NECA.  It comes with the machete, shoulder cannon, extra hand, and the gun.  The figure itself looks stunning...even just in the packaging!





Figure:
The figure feels very sturdy in your hands.  The legs are fairly tight, the paint is very sharp, and the arms move pretty well.  It also has good quality hands that allow you to securely place any weapon you want in its hand.  You can definitely tell that the quality with the figures NECA is producing is getting better and better.  What a difference there is between the V1 and V2.  I don't have any pics of my V1, but it was much plainer and didn't stand out like this version does.  The face and dreads on the Elder immediately separate him from the rest. 


Weapons/Accessories:
The main difference I see with the weapons is the Plasma Cannon has a different hinge on it that allows it to easily be taken on and off.  This was done, I believe, to prevent breaking which I see as another upgrade to the figure.  Also, he comes with the bloody classic machete and his old school gun he gives to Danny Glover at the end of Predator 2 as a reward for killing the City Hunter Predator.  I believe that scene may just be one of the craziest 10 minute segments I have ever seen in a movie!  The best part is that NECA brought us everything from that scene!!! 



Overall:
This is an amazing figure that I have been waiting for!  The colors, articulation, and weapons all make this NECA Predator figure a must have to add to your collection!  Take a look at some final pics and let us know what you think of the figure!  You can also reach us @cobrashadowjoes on Twitter!!

Also, if you don't have it already you might want to consider getting the NECA Predator Trophy Wall because it compliments this figure PERFECTLY!