Thursday, July 11, 2013

Buff Is "The Stuff" At A Thrift Store

Sometimes you just have to have a bit of fun with your toys.  That's what they're made for, right?  Rarity, value, and collectibility be damned, these are toys originally made for children, and some adults, to play with.  Though there are some vintage wrestling figures that I would advise against opening, some are simply made for play.  Even if the "F" was still in WWE the last time that you were the age that society would deem it "o.k." for you to play with an action figure, the temptation can often be irresistible.  Finding a vintage figure, still in the package, out and about at a retail store can make it even more tempting.

Like most collectors, I love thrift stores.  Hunting in them can often take a lot of patience, but it usually pays off in the end.  I've found many great wrestling items at various thrift stores over the years, but finding an unopened figure in one such shop is a bit of a rarity.  Such was my surprise when a ToyBiz WCW Buff Bagwell appeared at my local thrift store for the small sum of $3.99.

The ToyBiz WCW figure line was very hit or miss.  The line never seemed to find an identity or figure out exactly what it was going for.  The very first series included a mix of figures that seemed to be geared towards either action moves (Hollywood Hogan, The Giant) or action poses (Scott Hall, DDP).  Subsequent figures were largely geared towards the action features, but scale, design, and general organization seemed to be a total loss.  Perhaps ToyBiz was merely reflecting the oft-talked about management of WCW.

This particular thrift store find is from ToyBiz's WCW PowerSlam release of 2000.  The series also included Hogan, Sting, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Sid Vicious and the lone WCW figure releases of Roddy Piper and Hak (aka The Sandman).  Though the Piper and Hak figures were always two of my better liked products of the ToyBiz line, I never owned this particular Bagwell.  At such a great price, a great looking likeness, and some fun looking accessories, I decided to add Buff to my loose collection.

For you non-figure collectors, "loose" is toy collector terminology for a piece that's been removed from the package.  It was nostalgic to open a WCW toy from its package over a decade after the company closed.  I immediately noticed that Buff's "tan" paint application is splotchy at best.  I'm not sure if this was intentional, but it certainly adds to Buff's crazy character.  Stick him in the nWo?  Possibly.  Drag out the Jakks WWF figure of The Patriot and recreate Stars & Stripes?  Maybe.  Pretend to have a "Judy Bagwell On A Pole" match?  No, but we will play with some of these fun accessories that Buff has been encased with for thirteen years!

Almost all of the ToyBiz WCW figures include some wacky accessories, many with action features all their own.  Some of the coolest accessories of the time, barbed wire and the first wrestling Singapore cane accessory, were packaged with Hak.  Buff's aren't quite as hardcore but may be equally as fun.  Buff's signature stovepipe hat is here, and it actually has a feature!  A plastic piece at the top of the hat is attached to a coil that enables it to be "launched" from the hat.  It's too bad that Johnny B. Badd was no longer in WCW at this point, as this mechanism would've made an amazing "Badd Blaster" accessory.  The hat doesn't actually "fit," but it does "sit."  Buff also includes a training dummy that looks a bit like Ric Flair or referee Charles Robinson.

If Rick Rude showing up on a live Monday Nitro opposite a taped Monday Night Raw appearance was a "cannon ball" in the Monday night wars, this training dummy is sort of like a squirt gun shot.  The dummy, in all his flimsy glory, is clad in a shirt that simply reads, "The Federation."  Yep, this training dummy represents the entire WWF.  Not only can Buff take down other WCW action figure foes such as Disco Inferno and Raven, but he can take down the entire World Wrestling Federation in one single punch.

That punch isn't just any punch, however!  Buff is equipped with an action feature of his own!  Simply twist Bagwell at the waist and his powerful fists unleash a spinning punch that would cause Jim Ross to shout, "...shades of Kerry Von Erich!"  Actually, the spin mechanism isn't nearly as powerful as even the Hasbro WWF Texas Tornado figure's feature, but at least it's there and adds charm to the figure.  Another bonus is that unlike many of the ToyBiz WCW figures, this action feature isn't activated by a lever protruding from the figure's back.  Simply twist and spin!  Set it and forget it!

As I mentioned above, scale was often an issue with these figures.  Buff, along with many of the other figures in the line, are actually a very similar height to the current Mattel WWE figures.  Looking for a WCW invasion to take over your WWE Universe?  The answer lies with the "Handsome Stranger" himself!  Want to recreate the infamous WCW "debut" match on Raw featuring Buff vs Booker T?  Done!  Does A.J. Lee need some "world championship wrestling" in her life?  Groupie away!  Just want Mark Henry to make another induction into his House of Pain?  Buff and many other ToyBiz WCW stars are here for all of those needs and more.

In all seriousness, many of these ToyBiz WCW figures are inexpensive (there are exceptions) and readily available.  Although the line can be hit or miss, there are many figures such as this one, Bam Bam Bigelow, Vampiro, and even Mean Gene Okerlund that have great likenesses, details, and accessories.  What are you waiting for?  Make a trip to your local thift store.  You may just find...The Stuff!

1 comment:

Hobgoblin238 said...

Speaking of WCW...I thought you might find this right up your alley. This was a custom I had done. I also added you to my blogroll. Perhaps you could do the same. Thanks!