UNKLE vs Super7 splatter 45, middle and toy

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Never shy of releasing music by his UNKLE project in ever boundary-pushing formats, James Lavelle has outdone himself with three 45s from his latest album, ‘The Road Part 1’. Available in July at the San Deigo Comic Convention, the collaboration with West Coast-based toy company Super7 has yielded the craziest 7″ packaging yet.

IMG_4976For $50 you get a clear vinyl w. splatter single with dinked middle and Futura 2000 camo label featuring a track from the album and instrumental on the flip. Not only that but there’s also a Pointman figure with moveable head, arms and legs that fits into a clear plastic stand that doubles as a middle for the 45 and comes engraved with the UNKLE logo. These are housed inside a huge plastic clamshell Pointman ‘head’ that could double as a mask if you cut some eyes out of it.

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There are three different tracks available in different colours: blue, green and pink with corresponding shells, splatter effect and figure colourways. I was lucky enough to get a green one via Daniel Barassi, 45 collector and infamous modifier of the Fisher Price kid’s turntable into a fully functional portable player, who was at SDCC and collared all three versions himself when I gave him the heads up before sending mine over to the UK.

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You can now order these online via the Super7 website but non-US buyers beware – the postage is an absolute killer and only the rich or the mega-fans are going to want to stretch that far. Aside from the postage and the possibility of also incurring customs charges on top there are some drawbacks. Firstly – the size, the clam shell is huge and doesn’t sit upright without support. Secondly, both the 45 and the dink are in there super tight, I thought I was going to break the single getting it out. The toy is nicely moulded but compared to the original Ben Drury-sculpted Pointmen from back in the 90s they’re not quite as special – but for the money and what you’re getting they’re just fine.

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I was slightly dismayed to find that the A side of my 7″ seems to have been cut slightly off-centre so the needle really has to track the groove back and forth and you get a wavering effect on the strings in the track which really rendered it unplayable unfortunately. I have no way of knowing if they’re all like this but the B side seemed a lot more stable if not entirely movement-free. As an object of desire for the price it’s certainly worth it if you can get round the postage costs in some way but maybe next time vacuum-packing the figure and centre to the front of a thick card 7″ sleeve (like the Rave Wars 45s) would be a better solution.

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Beyond 2000AD exhibition glimpse

Beyond2000_poster Beyond2000_progs Beyond2000_records1 Beyond2000_records2 Beyond2000_TimeOutI finally got time to pop into Orbital Comics and see their small but packed exhibition of 2000AD offshoots, tie-ins, cash-ins, memorabilia, music, magazines, toys and so much more. Not having an opening party because it would clash with the comic’s own 40th celebration a couple of weekends ago they’ve decided to have a closing party on Friday March 10th where there will be a podcast recording and music by yours truly among others.
I also just guested on the Big Mouth podcast pre-record, talking about the comic’s legacy which will be available online this coming Sunday. More details as I have it.

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Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar

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It’s that time of year again, check these lovely images for some of the contents of the new SW Lego calendar – miniature building at it’s best.

“The 2016 edition of the LEGO Star Wars advent calendar features a theme focused around the ice planet, Hoth. Most of the builds and figures center around the integral battle at the Echo Base which kicks off The Empire Strikes Back. Snowtroopers and Hoth Rebel Troopers, along with select weapons and vehicles, are among the more prominent figures included, with another wintery-themed pieces such as a sleigh and exclusive white Chewbacca minifigure. The set is rounded it with pieces from Attack of the Clones and a couple from Return of the Jedi, including the Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker from Return of the Jedi, only the second time this character has been featured in a LEGO Star Wars advent calendar.”
More info and photos of the calendar contents here: (German language)

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Cyborg, Muton & Android from Deny’s Fisher

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OK – massive nostalgia-fest post – who remembers these? You’d have to be well into your 40s and even though my brother and I had a couple of these figures, I had forgotten about them totally. But as soon as I saw a photo of one everything came rushing back, the weapons and attachments, the comic story on the box and the extra outfits to change Muton into different guises.
Made by toy company Deny’s Fisher in the mid 70s and apparently riffing off a Japanese toy design-wise, these were pre-Star Wars and 2000AD and the closest thing to a space toy I can remember outside of miniature scale models of Space 1999, Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet vehicles. I had Cyborg with his water-squirting laser cannon and missile firing arm attachments. He was like a bigger version of the Time Traveller from Micronauts, all see-through body, robotic parts and ambiguous features. In reality it looked like someone had taken the standard Action Man body mold and cast it in transparent plastic, forgotten to give him any clothes and added robotic parts.

One of the ways the company got you to buy more products was to sell extra sets of attachments, namely feet or arm pieces, so that you could customise him for different play scenarios (remember them?). His enemy, Muton (my brother’s figure), had a similar set and their back story was rendered on the back of their respective boxes to give you a jumping off point to start play from.

My friend Jason Atomic put a photo of his Muton accessories on his Instagram recently and it triggered some long-buried memory in me that sent me off on a Google search to find how I knew these toys. I’ve cribbed several images from the excellent Plaid Stallions site which has more info about these figures so go and take a look if you want more. It seems there was a third figure which I never knew about, another villain named Android who could be transformed with similar extra sets of limbs and, right at the bottom, there’s what appears to be some sort of Argos-type catalogue featuring the toys plus the Six Million Dollar Man which puts it all into some sort of historical context.

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Rave Wars 3 ‘The Return of the Old School’

Now the circle is complete. Just in time for the launch of the first Star Wars 7 teaser trailer (you may have heard about that) comes the final installment of the Rave Wars trilogy. You should know the drill by now – 7″ vinyl, this time in Sith Lord black or Tatooine orange, packaged with a random character from the original series of SW figures (nothing after ’83). Two rave tracks with Star Wars themes, this time by Luke Vibert and Killa Productions. Available now from Balkan Vinyl – be quick, very limited!

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3AA 2014 set ‘Lasstronaut’

Ashley Wood‘s toy company, 3A, make an annual set for members who pay a fee for a special toy, access to buy all figures at a 15% discount and other perks throughout the year. You order in January and get 12 months of these specials, in the meantime you wait for the exclusive set to appear and this year buyers waited 11 months! It was actually worth it for the figure they produced in the end – spacegirl Lasstronaut from the Popbot universe – a pantie-less cosmonaut of unspecified origins but a pivotal role in Ash’s fictional world.

Inside the huge, obi-stripped box buyers find an embroidered patch, a print on heavy textured card, a protective print on tracing paper, a 12″x12″ book of Lasstronaut drawings and paintings, a t-shirt, membership card and the figure itself. The design and attention to detail throughout is top notch and the fully poseable figure has a new rubber ‘skin’ on the legs that covers any joints for a smoother design.

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Mo Wax 21 / Urban Archaeology exhibition, London

I visited the MoWax 21 / Urban Archaeology exhibition that opened at the Southbank Centre in London, currently home to the James Lavelle-curated Meltdown season.it was stuffed with everything you could want from a visual label retrospective with memorabilia and artwork from across the label’s history and beyond into post MW UNKLE releases.

For those familiar with the label there us much here to wallow in but plenty of behind the scenes stuff too. A letter from Mike D about a planned MoWax / Grand Royal ‘Battle of the Beats’ record, working drawings and model for Futura Pointmen toys and plenty of original art that graced many a sleeve. There are toys in every kind of colourway, some still at prototype stage, flyers reaching back to the early 90’s to when MoWax was more of a Talking Loud wannabe than the trip hop and electronica powerhouse of its heyday.

It’s free but only open until June 22nd so you only have this week to catch it before it’s gone. But if you don’t manage to make it down then there is an extensive book now available with even more info and photos. Initially funded via Kickstarter, I received a copy last week and it’s beautiful to behold, a perfect visual encapsulation of the label.