Ghosts of Christmas Past (part two)

 
One of the coolest kits (which was also quite educational) that I received for Christmas many, many, years ago was Capsela.  This toy was so cool that I have never been able to part with it, and the photos from this blog contain the actual kit I received on that cold (and possibly snowy) Christmas morning of my youth.

After checking Wikipedia, I found out that Capsela was created by the Mitsubishi Pencil Company.  So, surprise, surprise, another cool toy came from Japan, though this one came from an era when Japanese toys were more pedestrian.  It beat out Tamagochi by at least 2 decades.  Apparently, these days, Bandai from Japan has re-released these toys and they go for staggering amounts on EBay, or ship from far away places in Asia.  I had seen them at a science store–but that store is now closed.

Capsela was a rather unusual toy.  It was a motorized toy that didn’t come in traditional shapes and forms.  I think its science fiction look also was part of it’s appeal.  In addition to that, there were things you could build for the bathtub–and nothing could be cooler than that (add some superfoam, a few boats, and you had the making of a fantastic sea battle–probably better than that Battleship movie.)
the back of the box–detailing the parts included

The toughest part of the toy was understanding gear ratios.  Trying to build beyond the instruction booklet was rather difficult.  You couldn’t put things in any order you wanted, because it just wouldn’t power everything correctly.  Having only one set, and no internet bulletin boards for help, I really couldn’t stray from the instructions (though I tried many times).  These days, things would most likely be different.  Looking back on it, I had probably been too young when I got the present to really understand that, and could have saved myself some frustration.

There must be cool things like this today, but they are probably more geared toward use with an iPad, rather than a stand alone construction toy.  At least, I hope there are toys these days which are about building and operating.  I know there are still RC helicopters and cars, so besides Lego, there must be stuff like this–let me know what is out there.  I’d love to know.

It was definitely a cool toy.  Someday I will check out the new version, and that will probably be pretty cool too.

Advertisements

A Dollar Store Find

Although “reality TV” is trying to convince me otherwise, I don’t think poking around stores hoping to find some hidden treasure is exactly a hobby.  That being said, I do find it interesting, and occasionally I do find something hobby related.
One such find, years ago, was a box of hockey cards.  As a kid, I never had the financial ability to buy a whole box of hockey cards.  I bought them one pack at a time, carefully sifting through them while trying desperately to make that cardboard like piece of gum soft.  Sometimes I bought three packs in a day, going back to the store for each one.  A whole box was unthinkable.
This treasure find, in a dingy discount store in an even dingier mall,  involved a box of Original Six hockey cards.  The idea was to release a series of hockey cards,  some in black and white, of my father’s hockey heroes.  They probably weren’t a hit, based on the low price for the whole box.  I think the Sporting News did something similar with baseball cards (though I think they were all in black and white)  I found the black and white pictures to be wonderful, even more fascinating than today’s full car, holographic, multi dimensional foil cards.  Maybe it was the deep hues.
I called this a treasure find because I liked it.  Unlike reality shows, I didn’t (and don’t) expect to sell the cards for a profit.  I managed to get two complete sets from that box–the other, when organized into a quality album, made a decent Father’s Day present.  I think my Dad appreciated it because he has more than enough ties, and our taste in clothes differs on a scale I wouldn’t hesitate to call epic.
Someday, I will probably set the cards up in a couple of frames and hang them on the hobby room wall.

Comic Book Day

Today is Comic Book Day.  You can walk into a comic book store and walk out with a free comic book.  It makes me wonder what I am doing inside, typing this, rather than at my local comic book store.  Sadly, I had made other, unchangeable, plans before I found out that today was comic book day.  For those of you who are reading this, you should be out there getting your comic–after you finish reading this of course.
As you might of guessed, comic books, and the superheroes they were full of, played a big part in my early years (and later years, but that isn’t the point really).  The epic struggles depicted on those pages were great food for my imagination.  Every month my heroes fought the villain, overcame great odds and personal doubts, and eventually triumphed.
These days comic book characters have made the jump to the big screen.  Yesterday the long awaited Avengers opened.  I wanted to be among the first in line, but sadly it will have wait until later this week–but it will be this week.
Comic books might get a bad rap but, honestly, how can anything that promotes literacy be bad.  Besides, comics haven’t just been about superheroes for a long time. They have been used to tell a wide variety of stories with appeal to more than just your stereotypical teenage boy.
Enjoy Comic Book Day everyone.