Manhunt! The Electric Computer Detective Game

Detective shows were very popular on television especially in the 60s and 70s. So it’s no surprise that detective toys were bountiful during that time as well. Like 1972’s Manhunt game by Milton Bradley.

The story in the box lid gives you a great overview of the game. It is pretty wordy, this gives you a good idea of the learning curve for Manhunt.

manhunt inside lid

Now that I think about it, a lot of these board games from this era could be pretty complex. I guess that is because technology was just being introduced. People were so eager to make cool games with cool tech, they did not think about streamlining the gaming experience. Manhunt is a good example of this in action. It comes with scads of accessories. You have readout books, a scanner, handbooks and a battery operated crime computer! This is all great in practice, but lose on of these pieces and you suddenly have a less fun game.

manhunt game pieces

Not pictured here is the board itself, which is surprisingly simple.

manhunt board

The reason this game is such a star though is the computer. Take a look at the computer in action in this YouTube video.

Manhunt Game Computer

After reading the directions I’m not sure what is harder, figuring out how to play the game or catching the criminal once you do.

Clown Around

Do You Remember Mego’s Clown Around Figurines?

There are quite a few people who suffer from Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. However maybe they never were able to play with Mego’s Clown Around PVC figurines. Before I go further into the joy of the fantasy world of Clown Around. I need to thank Michael R. Johnson of the Retroist Clubhouse for reminding me of these awesome toys.

Clown Around - Brochure

Image courtesy of the Mego Clown Around Blog.

It is an honest fact that I had plumb let the Clown Around figurines slip from my mind. Having sad that though I can add I was a fan of the collectibles. Back in 1981 you must remember that The Smurfs were making lots of money. Thanks in no small part to their animated series as well as their awesome figurines.

Read: My Review Of The Excellent ‘World Of Smurfs’ by Matt. Murray

It of course is no wonder why Mego would decide to throw their hat into the collectibles market. I would very much like to know how they decided on clowns though however. Furthermore they ran with the ball in naming the Clown Around characters. For example you had the likes of President Ronald Reaclown and Bad Bad Leroy Clown as well.

Image courtesy of the Mego Clown Around Blog.

While I never owned a large collection of the figurines. It should be no shock that the two I fondly recall and long for to own again to this day. Were two PVC figures from the Universal Monsters inspired Monster Clowns.

Image courtesy of the Mego Clown Around Blog.

I think we should start with that Dark Prince of Puns. Clownula.
Clown Around

And let us not forget the jolly lycanthrope, Clownman.

I never obtained Clownenstein I am sad to say. But in addition to those two wonderful figures. I also owned the Clown of Steel – Superclown!

Now I have some pretty great news for you if you want to know more about the Clown Around characters!

The Mego Clown Around Blog is chock full of images of the PVC collectibles. Not to mention it has information on the various playsets that were made available in 1981. So make sure to hop on over and check the site out by following the link provided here.

That is totally not Mayor Ed Clown! That is Saturday Night Clown!


A Little Bit Of The Enterprise

A lot has changed over the years. My hairline, my waistline, the number of bills I have to pay. But not my deep and abiding love for Star Trek: The Next Generation. A unique occasion has arrived to compare what’s probably the very first piece of TNG merchandise I ever shelled out money for, to the most recent addition to my collection…which are nearly the same size.

On the left, we have the Enterprise 1701-D from the Eaglemoss Star Trek Starship Collection. Eaglemoss is a UK published specializing in collectible “partworks” – magazines with goodies. Those signing up as subscribers to the Starship Collection get two $20 models a month, each with magazines detailing the histories of each ship both on-screen and off. That’s an awesome idea…and way too rich for my blood. But I did avail myself of a recent sale on Eaglemoss’ site to pick up a couple of additions to my own Starfleet.

On the right, we have my very well-worn die-cast metal Enterprise 1701-D, released by Galoob in 1987 alongside the earliest episodes of TNG’s first season. Now, given that I was a teenager when both show and ship arrived, you’d think this ship would have occupied a place of honor on a shelf somewhere, but no – full disclosure: it has been flown around many a room, virtually every place I’ve ever lived, and has almost as many battle scars as my old die-cast Kenner Star Wars ships. It is much loved…and it’s 30 years old this year.

It’s easy to see that there are worlds of difference between the two – advances in paint application and manufacturing abound over a three-decade time period. The Eaglemoss Enterprise has much more precise detail, down to the hull-plating “aztecing” that many a modelmaker (or admirer) obsesses over. The clear bits that are supposed to be glowy? They’re clear and, if you hold the Enterprise up to a light source, glowy.

The Galoob Enterprise is nothing to sneeze at. Yes, there are visible screws, and much of the detail is part of the mold rather than part of the paint job. But the amount of detail that’s there is impressive and accurate. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the Enterprise’s legendary “aztecing” wasn’t present in the earliest days of the show: it couldn’t be seen until a new four-foot model was constructed for filming roughly halfway into TNG’s on-air lifespan. The bluish-gray of the 1987 Enterprise reflects what we saw on screen.
Enterprise 1701 D

Oh, and the Galoob Enterprise can separate its saucer section – the Eaglemoss Enterprise can’t do that, full-stop. (Which is okay – saucer separation happened three whole times in nearly 200 episodes, four if you count the save-our-skins maneuver in the movie Star Trek: Generations; spoiler: it didn’t save the ship on that occasion.)

Eaglemoss’ model is equipped with a display stand that seems, well, a little on the delicate side. The ship is also on the delicate side: the saucer and main body are a lightweight metal, but the engines with their transparent components are plastic. This Enterprise would probably suffer critical damage if dropped. It’s meant to spend its time flying on a display shelf. The Galoob Enterprise has no stand – you’re on your own there – but has obviously survived some rough flying. It’s a hefty die-cast metal with no plastic.

A Galoob Enterprise in good condition will probably set your Starfleet fleet-building budget back a few credits, especially if it’s still in the package. The Eaglemoss model will also do this, but you get a much more delicate (but also possibly more accurate) model out of the deal. If you plunk down money for the subscription, there’s also a lot more where it came from; Galoob’s toy license for TNG was short-lived, and its die-cast Enterprise flies alone.

The good news is, they’re both the same beautiful ship.

If you’re not flying it past the camera or just your face and making whooshing warp drive sounds, what’s a little Enterprise for?

Turn the Terrible Tank

Fire your weapon and turn the Terrible Tank

Sometimes I forget about toys from my childhood until I stumble onto one in a flea market. Like this great toy from Tomy in 1979. It’s the Turn The Terrible Tank Game! A futuristic tank runs in a track between two opponents. Each player can fire their ball bearing ammo at the tank and make it change direction toward your enemy. Once the tank reaches your base it blows up your cannon and scores a point. First player to score 4 points wins the game! The tank runs on 2 double A batteries and looks awesome on its own.

I searched for an original TV commercial but could only find this parody on YouTube but it’s pretty great!

Watch the Turn The Terrible Tank Game Parody

I also took some video of the tank in action. Picture this with menacing late 1970s music behind it for greatest effect.

See Turn The Terrible Tank in action (HD)

This was a great bargain find for me. It is exciting when you find things like this and get a good deal. Not only does it enhance your collection, but it also gives you hope that items exist to add to your collection. So keep your eyes open at Flea Markets and Garage Sales. You never know when a Terrible Tank is going to make an appearance.

3D printed TRON Bit

Get your own 3D printed TRON Bit

In the original TRON film, Bit is a fascinating but often overlooked character. A digital creation, Bit was probably the first completely computer-generated character. Bit was simple and adorable. So naturally I fell in love with the character. We have digital assistants that are much more capable than Bit, but they don’t scratch that itch. So I have been looking at picking up a 3D printed TRON Bit. Not only did a find one, but a host of them.

Listen to the Retroist TRON Podcast

I was rewatching the underrated TRON Legacy recently and I was reminded of Bit from a scene where we see models of them in Kevin Flynn’s home. Seeing them all shiny and physical made me want my own. A quick search online and I found a few options. The first were these papercraft Bits. They look cool, but I am not very good with paper. And I would prefer something I could hold in my hand and play around with. So I decided to look for a 3D printed TRON Bit option.

Bit is only capable of yes or no answer. So it has three states, yes, no and idle. All 3 are available from 3D print marketplace, Shapeways. They would make a wonderful addition to any desk or shelf. You could even put them in a bag or cup and draw them randomly to get a quick answer to any question. Be warned when browsing Shapeways, you will be tempted by many wondrous TRON creations. This Recognizer is calling to me. Don’t even get me started on their 3D printed dice.

3D Printed Tron Bit Yes

3D Printed Tron Bit No

3D Printed Tron Bit Idle

For those of you who have not seen this remarkable creation in action. Here is bit doing his computer-generated thing all the way back in 1982.

Watch this Bit scene from the original TRON