Cars 3 Diecast Characters from Pixar

Pixar has been pretty regular with the milking schedule for the Cash Cow that is the CARS franchise. The first movie was a sensation, the second movie had to grow on you, and who knows how Cars 3 will be received?

But already the merchandise is filling toy shelves! What I noticed right away is that all of the old characters are simply being enclosed in Cars 3 packaging and sold as if they were new. They aren’t. No new poses or paint jobs for the most part.

So I kept looking and found a few new characters that were interesting enough to add to my Radiator Springs diecast collection. The first being:

Cars 3 Jackson Storm Face

Jackson Storm

Here is the story synopsis for the movie: Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win, and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!

Mr. Storm appears to be the main competitor that McQueen will have to face.

Cars 3 Jackson Package FrontCars 3 Jackson Package Back

Rather Generic Packaging

Cars 3 Jackson Storm ProfileCars 3 Jackson Storm Bumper

Tough Styling

So just who is this guy? Jackson Storm is fast, sleek and ready to race. A frontrunner in the next generation of racers, Storm’s quiet confidence and cocky demeanor are off-putting—but his unmatched speed threatens to redefine the sport. Trained on high-tech simulators that are programmed to perfect technique and maximize velocity, Jackson Storm is literally built to be unbeatable—and he knows it.

Well, okay then!

The next racer to challenge McQueen for Piston Cup supremacy is Tim Treadless:

Cars 3 Tim Treadless Face

A Face Only a Mother Could Love

Cars 3 Tim Package FrontCars 3 Tim Package Back

Same Uninspired Packaging

Cars 3 Tim Treadless ProfileCars 3 Tim Treadless Bumper

Very Nice Paint Job

Not much is known about this character as yet. He isn’t even mentioned on Disney Wiki in the list of characters for the movie. He’s probably the right-hand car or at least a good friend of Jackson Storm.

Next we have another character, who although mentioned on Disney Wiki, isn’t given a bio:

Cars 3 Smokey Face

Smokey

Cars 3 Smokey Package FrontCars 3 Smokey Package Back

Seriously. Just a Cars 3 Logo?

Cars 3 Smokey ProfileCars 3 Smokey Bumper

Just on first blush, I’d have to say that this guy looks like a counterpart for Mater.

Cars 3 Smokey Side

I Just Love Old Trucks!

Cars 3 Smokey Top

Will He be Friend or Foe?

Cars 3 hits theaters on June 16th, 2017. I’ll be in the audience hoping that this third trip to the motor pool will be a successful one. I’m sure the toys will be! These diecast models were made by Mattel.

For more racing fun, check out an issue of Collecting Toys magazine that features slot racers.

P. T. Flea Diecast Character from Pixar’s Cars

It’s a given that none of us usually likes a flea. But that changes when they’re performing in a circus. Then. They. Are. Amazing! To go one better, what if the flea is the Ringmaster? Well, get ready to cheer for the one and only P. T. Flea:

P. T. Flea FrontP. T. Flea Right SideP. T. Flea BackP. T. Flea Left Side

Ya-da-dada-dada-da-da-dah-dah!

In the 1998 Pixar movie A Bug’s Life we meet our diminutive promoter as he tries to wrangle a less-than-successful group of circus performers.

We next meet him in a brief cameo, in the guise of a car no less, in the 2006 Pixar movie Cars. In both movies, he is voiced by Pixar’s lucky charm, John Ratzenberger.

P. T. Flea Package FrontP. T. Flea Package Back

Contained for your pet’s protection!

Okay, I had to let him out for this post, didn’t I? As far as I know, no one was bitten while this post was being prepared. I’m not sure about the animals.

P. T. Flea Undercarriage

Made by Mattel

P.T. Flea is a Nimbly Company No-See-Um LX that is painted brown. I don’t know what that is, nor do I know what the ‘Z S D’ on his license plate is supposed to represent.

I guess a few mysteries in life are fun!

For more diecast fun from the world of Cars, check out Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze from an earlier post.

Pixar Lithographs from The Disney Store

I wish I had a complete set of lithographs representing the entire Pixar catalogue of films, but at least I have these three. The Disney Store did a great job with the selection of prints.

Let’s have a look. First, we have the original Toy Story from 1995:

Pixar Envelope Pixar Print Pixar Frame

This lithograph would have been released for the 1996 video release. The above pictures show the protective envelope, the lithograph itself, and the back side of the lithograph frame.

Next, we have a wonderful image from A Bug’s Life (1996):

Pixar Envelope Pixar Print Pixar Frame

Again, this lithograph would have been released in 1999 to commemorate the release of the film on video.

Last, but not least, is Toy Story 2 (1999):

Pixar EnvelopePixar PrintPixar Frame

This was released in 2000.

And that concludes my incomplete collection of Pixar lithographs from The Disney Store.

If you have a bit more time and would like to see more of my Pixar merchandise, check out these keychains and minis figurines.

Minis Figurines from Disney-Pixar Toy Story 2

Having a rabid fan base is like having a license to print money! Whenever one of us sees a new product, even if he has hundreds of similar items, he will nonetheless open his wallet and march obediently to the cash register. This happened to me recently when I spotted these Disney-Pixar Toy Story Minis:

Look at those eyes!

In my defense, I’ve always been a sucker for the ‘big eyes’ routine. Just look at how cute they look! Tell me you could resist them!

This line of PVC minis figurines are designed to look childlike in appearance, hence their charm. They vary in size from 1″ to 1.5″ and are Series 1. Heaven help me! Let’s have a look at the store display:

Toy Story Display FrontToy Story Display Back

Toy Story Display Side 1Toy Story Display Side 2

Now let’s look at the figures one at a time:

Minis Color Woody

Woody – The Leader

Woody’s hat is removable and he pivots at the waist.

Minis Jessie

Jessie – The Cowgirl

Jessie’s hat is removable and her head pivots.

Minis Winking Bullseye

Bullseye – The Faithful Companion

Bulleye’s head swivels. You’ll notice that he is missing his left pupil. So I guess we have to say that he is winking!

Minis Rex

Rex – The Nervous Rex

Rex’s head pivots. And… he has tiny little arms!

Minis Hamm

Hamm – The Practical Pig

Ham’s head pivots and if you look carefully, you’ll notice that he has a slot in his back. Feel free to make a donation! Oh, and he also has:

Minis Hamm Cork

A Cork

Minis Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear – The Disrupter

Buzz is not articulated in any way. Kind of feels like I’m saying something derogatory there…

Minis Zurg

Emperor Zurg – Evil Nemesis

Zurg is also not articulated in any way. Oh well, like Father like Son!

Minis LGM

LGM – Little Green Man

The LGM’s head swivels all the way around, which one would expect from a three-eyed alien!

Two things sealed the deal on my buying the entire set of these Minis. One was price. At just $2.99 CAN each, it was a much better value than Vinylmations or other blind box offerings. The second thing was that they were not a ‘blind’ purchase, you could see into the package to determine whom you were getting. I wonder how many more figures would be sold if the blind box feature was eliminated? And if the pricing were more reasonable like these Minis.

To continue, like most PVC offerings, there is a Special Edition figure:

Minis Classic Woody

Woody – Classic Black and White Special Edition

At first I was just going to buy this one figure. Then I thought I should also get the normal variation. But I couldn’t leave without his horse… and best friends, and… Oh, I just bought them all!

Minis Hats Off

Hats Off!

So hats off to the Disney-Pixar marketing department for getting me to shell out again for more character figures of characters I already have dozens of figures of. Man, but those guys are good!

For more Disney PVC figurines, click the link to check out an excellent box set of Gremlins!

Kinder Surprise ‘Finding Dory’ Chocolate Eggs & Toys

I have posted many examples of the plastic toys found inside Zanai chocolate eggs. That company usually has a nice selection of Disney and Pixar characters. You can click the links to see posts featuring Frozen and Inside Out respectively. But this time I’m sharing some characters from  Finding Dory that I found inside chocolate eggs from Kinder Surprise.

Four Chances

Once these were opened I found that I got three different characters and one double. Let’s begin the opening process:

Kinder Surprise Wrapper

Peel away the wrapper…

Kinder Surprise Opened

Expose the capsule inside…

Kinder Surprise Capsules

Open the capsule and see who you got!

My first character was Bill, a minor character who is voiced by Pixar favorite and good luck charm, John Ratzenberger. He is a small but fairly pessimistic crab. Bill, not John.

Kinder Surprise Crab Pieces

Kinder Surpries Crab

Freed at last, and assembled

This toy has an added feature in that it has a little wheel under the crab’s tummy which, when turned, moves his claws.

Kinder Surprise Claws Move

The next character I released was Bailey who is a Beluga Whale and a resident of the Marine Life Institute. He was voiced by Ty Burrell.

Kinder Surprise Whale Pieces

Kinder Surprise Whale

Freed and swimming in one piece

This toy doesn’t move but it does have an interesting feature. If you dip Bailey’s head in water and push the button on his tummy, he will suck up the water.

Kinder Surprise Water Spout

Then when you push the button on his tummy, he will spray the water out… all over your best friend! Well, what are friends for?

The last character I freed from it’s chocolate holding tank was papa Marlin himself.

Kinder Surprise Nemo Pieces

Kinder Surprise Nemo

Nemo’s neurotic father, the un-funny clown fish, is voiced by Albert Brooks. As with Bill the crab, Marlin also has a movement feature:

Kinder Surprise Nemo Wheels

Wheels, for the fish on the go!

When you wheel Marlin across a surface, he will turn slightly from side to side.

But the toys aren’t technically the only Kinder Surprise when you buy one of these great chocolate eggs. That was a hint:

Kinder Surprise Chocolate

CHOCOLATE!

Unlike the eggs from Zanai, which are just milk chocolate, the eggs from Kinder Surprise give you both milk and white chocolate. Have mercy!

So let’s put the three characters that I got together for a group photo:

Kinder Surprise Set

Not too many smiles for some reason

The quality of the toys from Kinder Surprise are slightly better than those in most of the ones I’ve found from Zanai. But from a creative standpoint, both companies do a good job of giving kids a fun little keepsake.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some indulging to do!

Monsters Inc. Disney Store Lithographs

Monsters Inc. was produced by Pixar Studios and released by Walt Disney Studios in 2001. Since then it has spawned one prequel/sequel, Monsters University (2013). And as we will see, it has also spawned one awesome set of lithographs!

Monsters Inc. Cover

Front Cover

The Disney Store releases collector series lithographs when Pixar or Disney re-releases an old animated classic or when a new production is being promoted. The idea is that if you preorder the release from The Disney Store you will be given a set of complementary lithographs for ‘free’. I say ‘free’ in quotes because usually the prices at The Disney Store are slightly higher than retail elsewhere. However, the small price bump is well worth the value of the exclusive lithographs!

This particular set was available in 2002.

Monsters Inc. Back Cover

Back Cover

In some cases, as with this Monsters Inc. offering, the packaging of the lithographs is almost as good as the actual artwork contained inside!

Monsters Inc. Opened

Opened

I love the door motif that has been carried over from the movie. But you haven’t seen all the surprises this packaging has to offer. The side doors open to reveal even more cool imagery:

Monsters Inc. Door One

Door No. One

Monsters Inc. Door Two

Door No. Two

The lithographs themselves are 11″ x 14″ including the white border and are suitable for framing. The paper used in this case has a smooth gloss finish. Other Disney Store lithograph sets were produced on textured paper and looked and felt more like professional quality. Let’s have a look at each of the four Monsters Inc. lithographs in turn:

Monsters Inc. Group Shot

Group Shot

Monsters Inc. Buddies

Buddies

Monsters Inc. Bedtime

Bedtime for Boo

Monsters Inc. Kitty

“Kitty!”

I added my own titles for each image as they didn’t come with any from the manufacturer.

Monsters Inc. Empty Folder

Empty Folder

You can buy this set of lithographs on eBay currently for between $8.00 and $25.00 US depending on the Seller and location of the item.

For more Disney Store lithographs, please check out these 75 Year Anniversary lithographs from 1996.

Cars Diecast: Rusty & Dusty Rust-eze

Diecast cars. The term just conjures up all sorts of great childhood memories! Hotwheels tracks with colorful cars doing impossible stunts. Hotwheels cars crashing off the track because of doing impossible stunts! But that was then, now we have diecast characters from the Pixar movie Cars:

“What’s wrong with rusty cars?”

When Lightning McQueen gets his big break and is able to race in The Piston Cup (“He did what in his cup?!?” -Mater) he has a not-so prestigious sponsor to thank for it: Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment. Oh, feel the soothing relief!

And who are everyone’s favorite Rust-eze representatives?

McQueen is embarrassed to be associated with rusty cars and so tries to avoid them at all costs! But he later learns that they aren’t so bad after all.

Rusty, but faithful and grateful!

In the end, McQueen rightly decides to stay with his original sponsor instead of changing to the much cooler Dinoco. A good call if I do say so myself!

DiecastDiecast

Vanity License Plates

“Hey! Don’t drive like my brother!” Brothers. What’cha gonna do? These brothers have taken family togetherness to the next level with matching vanity plates. Rusty (the car) has ‘Rust’ on his and Dusty (the van) has ‘Eze’ on his. These guys are just too cute!

Okay, stop looking at their butts, they’re not that cute!

Diecast

FUN STORY: When I was in my early teens, my father bought an old Dodge van like the one shown in this post. Our ‘Dusty’ had an old 8-track player and a 3-on-the-tree shifter. If you’re under 30 years of age, ask your parents for a translation.

I used to drive around listening to the greatest hits of Burton Cummings (again, ask your parents) and feeling pretty cool because I could use a column shifter! True story.


For more fun with diecast Cars characters, check out some truly odd members of the series with Bessie and Ted Yale.

Easter Egg: Finding Dory Swims with Herbie

Disney/Pixar animators love to add little inside jokes to all of their theatrical releases and Finding Dory is no exception. Each of these inside jokes are called an ‘easter egg’ because you have to really look to find them!

So somewhere near the beginning of the movie and in the end credits of Finding Dory we see a little white Volkswagen who could be no other than the famous Herbie the Love Bug himself. First, we see him with Dory just while she is trying to find someone to help her:

dory-and-herbie

And then we see Herbie being test driven by Hank:

finding-dory-activity-book-001

But how did Herbie get there? If you remember the film Herbie Goes Bananas you’ll recall that Herbie is punished by the Captain of The Sun Princess cruise ship by being made to ‘walk the plank’, or in reality, by being tipped overboard. Re-live the sad moment by watching the video below:

FUN FACT: The car that “walks the plank” in the movie was never recovered from the sea. It was tossed overboard from the SS Cozumel ferry ship. The car is somewhere between La Paz and Baja California. The car thrown overboard was not a proper car and had many wooden parts.

But for the purpose of this easter egg, we’re saying it is actually Herbie himself chillin’ at the bottom of The Big Blue. And although his trademark stripes and number 54 are worn off by years under the sea, he looks like he is still ready for one last drive with Hank:

finding-dory-activity-book-003

So is the initial pass in the night with Dory and this chance meeting between Hank the septapus and Herbie the Love Bug really possible? Would they end up in the same part of the Ocean? Well, consider the following map:

nemo-trip-mapIn Finding Dory, she, along with Marlin and Nemo, once again leave the Great Barrier Reef and would again need to use the East Australian Current (EAC, dude) as a highway. This time they would need to travel across the entire Pacific Ocean to a point just off the North-West tip of Africa where the EAC completes its circle and heads back to Australia. From there, they would have to swim up to California where the Marine Life Institute is located, in a picturesque Bay.

Now in the film, it is claimed that they simply use the California Current to make the entire trip, but this current doesn’t start over near Australia. And… it also flows South, so it would be going the wrong way to carry our characters up to California. But hey, it’s a movie, so lighten up!

As mentioned earlier, the cruise ship The Sun Princess dumped Herbie somewhere between La Paz and Baja California. So Hank and Herbie could definitely end up in the same part of the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of California.

Hypothesis: Proven! At least in my mind.

Be sure to read my full review of Finding Dory along with the Blu-ray release from Best Buy which came with a great 69-page Activity Book!

Movie Review: FINDING DORY Blu-ray ‘Best Buy’ Release

Before we can get into a brief review of the movie itself, and further, a detailed review of the Blu-ray Limited Edition release from Best Buy… we need a snack! And what better candy to nibble on when reviewing Finding Dory than:

ctf-exhibitors-018

A Fin-tastic Mix!

Well, if you’re all settled in with Jelly Belly Beans in hand, let’s start with a brief review of the movie, Finding Dory, itself:

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I don’t like sequels. And I was very upset to see Pixar follow Disney into Sequel Hell soon after the merger of the two companies. But I’ve recently learned that Pixar was already planning sequels before the merger in an attempt to remain lucrative, which from a business standpoint, makes sense.

So I went into this movie with reservations (mainly because I wasn’t impressed with the premise) but determined to give it a fair chance. I’m glad I did because although I don’t think it was better than the original, which some claim, it was a fun swim through a familiar ocean.

Synopsis: Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The one thing she can remember is that she somehow became separated from her parents as a child. With help from her friends Nemo and Marlin, Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them. Her journey brings her to the Marine Life Institute, a conservatory that houses diverse ocean species. Dory now knows that her family reunion will only happen if she can save mom and dad from captivity.

There were many holes in this movie but both Hank the septapus and Gerald the sea-lion made it worthwhile. I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

And with that, let’s move on to the Blu-ray release:

finding-dory-jacket

MAIN DISC: BLU-RAY

Movie w/Commentary – On the main Blu-ray disc you get the movie with an optional commentary with three people, one of whom is Director Andrew Stanton. The commentary is informative. Listen for hints about Easter Eggs, who constitute ‘Jerk Fish’, and which Finding Dory character was voiced by original Nemo voice actor Alexander Gould. Hint: it ain’t Nemo! Oh, and we are told to watch for a shoplifter in the scene where Marlin and Nemo end up in a display tank just outside of a souvenir shop. Happy hunting!

Theatrical Short – Piper

Previews – There are two previews of upcoming theatrical releases; Moana (already No.1 in theaters at the time of this writing) and the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Extras –

  • Marine Life Interviews – Animated characters talk about Dory.
  • The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar – Learn how Hank vexed the animators.
  • What Were We Talking About? – Dory’s short-term memory loss is discussed.
  • Casual Carpool – Andrew Stanton picks up the voice actors to make sure they get to work on time!
  • Animation and Acting – The staff talk about making the movie sincere and real.
  • Deep in the Kelp – Jenna Ortega hosts a look at the research trips taken while making the movie.
  • Creature Features – The voice actors describe their characters.

Most of these extras were short and to the point and offered nothing overly new about the movie-making process. But Casual Carpool was hilarious! It reminded me of the fun and innovative ways Pixar used to present their extras.

Sneak Peeks – A look at the Disney Store and Disney on Ice, along with miscellaneous advertising.

EXTRAS DISC: BLU-RAY

Behind the Scenes

  • Skating and Sketching – Jason Deamer explains the simple shapes used to create each character.
  • Dory’s Theme – Discussion about the music between Andrew Stanton and others.
  • Rough Day on the Reef – A goof reel containing rendering mistakes by the computers.
  • Finding Nemo – A Short depicting the first movie as told by Disney Emoji.
  • Fish Schticks – A collection of short animated gags starring the characters.

Living Aquariums – Four screen savers lifted from scenes in the movie.

  • Sea Grass – A tad boring.
  • Open Ocean – Very detailed.
  • Stingrays – Beautiful but just a clip of the stingray migration from the film.
  • Swim to the Surface – The closing scene behind the end credits.

These weren’t as well done as the aquariums you got with the Finding Nemo DVD. So in the words of Bloat from the original film: “Pity.”

Deleted Scenes – With Andrew Stanton. A collection of scenes that weren’t ‘asked back’.

Trailers – See how the film was marketed in four different countries.

  • United States
  • Japan
  • Spain
  • Russia

And that was it for Extras. I would give the extras with this release 4 out of 5 Stars. I will never give any higher marks to extras until they once again equal what we used to get with the 2-disc DVD Platinum releases!

Lastly, we come to the special feature of this Blu-ray release. If you purchase it from Best Buy, you also get a 69-page activity book:

activity-book

Contents –

  • Fun Movie Scenes – Stills from the movie.
  • Scene Development – Concept Art.

finding-dory-activity-book-004

  • Family & Friends Kelp (or Family Tree).
  • Weekly Calendar
  • Find Hank – Find the septapus in 5 different scenes from the movie.
  • Sea Search – Find 11 characters from the movie in a picture.

finding-dory-activity-book-006

  • Favorite Quotes
  • Character Development – Early concept drawings.
  • Marlin’s Maze
  • Coloring Page(s)
  • Spot the Differences
  • Dory’s Word Search
  • Crossword Puzzle
  • List Your Favorite Memories
  • Things to Remember – Birthdays; Special Events; Chores; Other Stuff.
  • To Do List
  • Connect the Dots
  • Trace Bailey
  • Rescue Hank – Maze.
  • Which Character Are You Most Like? – Quiz.
  • Who’s Who Game – Match the character to their name.
  • Note Pages
  • Memory Card Game – Cut out square tiles with character images for matching fun.
  • Two-Sided Nameplate – Hank and Destiny.

finding-dory-activity-book-007

  • Two-Sided Door Hanger – “Come On In!” and “Go Away!”
  • Sticker Sheet

I would give this Activity Book 5 out of 5 Stars easily! Although the extra price tag when buying this edition of the movie may make it a bit expensive.

If you’re still with me after all of that then you probably feel about as perky as Marlin after his second trip across The Big Blue! So as a consolation prize, gaze one last time on the jelly bean goodness of Jelly Belly:

ctf-exhibitors-016               ctf-exhibitors-017

More please!

And I say ‘more please’ because I ate all of these soon after I purchased them and days before I got around to writing this post. So seriously, someone, GET ME MORE!

Pixar’s Planes: TED YALE Bellhop Tractor Diecast

Who? Well, that’s what I said when I saw this little diecast on the shelf at T. J. Max yesterday. We are presently on holiday in Chicago and so have been checking out the local stores. We don’t have T. J. Max in Canada.

The idea behind this chain seems to be to sell name-brand merchandise at discounted prices. That is why I picked up Ted Yale for just $2.99 instead of his original sticker price of $9.99 US.

planes-ted-yale-diecast-006

Someone has a lot of luggage!

Planes didn’t do to well, although well enough to spawn a sequel called Fire and Rescue, which in my opinion was a better movie.

planes-ted-yale-diecast-003planes-ted-yale-diecast-004

But after multiple viewings of both features I have come to appreciate them more and have grown to love the characters.

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Love the little bellhop hat he’s wearing!

This will make a great keepsake to remind us of our hotel stay here in Chicago.

planes-ted-yale-diecast-008

Ted Yale: Unhooked

The three round bags hanging on the top rack actually move back and forth and you can unhook Ted from his cart. His wheels also move.

Only in Chicago one night and I already found Disney treasures to add to my collection!

Oh, did you see my other post featuring a diecast character from Pixar’s world of Cars? Check out Frank the lobster combine!