Confessions of a huge nerd: cool toys for big kids

A few weeks back, I did a piece about some of the ridiculously stupid toys available to kids today. Being a pretty severe toy aficionado myself, I’ll still treat myself to a particularly cool figurine or statue from time to time. So, I’ve decided to take on the flip side – that is, list some of the cooler toys of today. And yes, most of these are geared towards older collectors (i.e. me), but there’s a couple thrown in there just for fun that I would have loved as an eight-year-old.

So, enjoy.

Transformers -- Optimus Prime 20th Anniversary Figure: 20 years ago, one of the greatest animated films of all time hit the theaters: “The Transformers: The Movie” was one of a kind; a slick, awesomely epic big-screen treatment of one of the coolest cartoon franchises of our era, Transformers. And here we have a truly awesome toy. This is Optimus Prime as he appears in the film, classic red, blue and white with semi-truck alt-mode (that’s geek-talk for “he transforms into a truck”). I’m not ashamed to say I own this bad-boy. In fact, I display it proudly upon my stereo. This thing stands at a full 12”, and weighs a good four pounds (it contains die-cast parts) in robot mode. It’s incredibly detailed, with functioning hydraulics and vents, visible rivets and other nifty niceties. The transformation is tough (it took me nearly thirty minutes the first time), but it’s well worth it – eventually it becomes second nature. In possibly one of the coolest features, Optimus’ chest opens to reveal a light-up Autobot Matrix, the crystal heart of leadership. Too cool, eh? Included is Optimus’ signature ion cannon and energon axe, and – a cool throw-in – Megatron’s pistol-mode. This is seriously one of the coolest toys around, and any collector should get their hands on it before it becomes unavailable.

Nerf N-Strike Long Shot CS-6: As a grizzled veteran of many a childhood Nerf gun war, I can honestly say that this thing is one of the most wickedly awesome toy guns I have ever seen (or used for that matter – yes, I own it). Essentially, it’s a large sniper rifle that propels orange foam-darts at a alarming high speed, able to reach ridiculous distances. Let’s say your mom is making dinner in the kitchen – you could take her down with a headshot from the top of the stairs, easy. It’s a heavy piece of plastic weaponry, but it’s got all kinds of cool gadgets on it. A zoom scope, magazine feed for darts, extra clip, and even a concealed secondary barrel for overkill take-downs (“I just shot you twice in like a second, dude!”). Definitely a badass toy.

Star Wars Force Action Extending Lightsaber: When I was a kid, my friends and I had to make due with lightsaber blades we had to extend ourselves. But now, with a simple press of a button, the lightsaber blade extends through the magic of springs! These things are definitely nifty, and the fact that they also have electronic lights and sounds make them my new lightsaber of choice (other than my coveted Force FX Lightsaber).

Batman – Black and White Kelly Jones Statue: I’m a big Batman fan, he’s most assuredly my favorite comic book hero, and this black-and-white statuette is one of the cooler figurines I’ve seen. Done in the style of graphic novelist Kelly Jones, this statue really captures the dark, wicked side of Batman. I’m lovin’ it, and when I get some extra spending cash soon, I’ll definitely pick one up.


  1. In regards to your FX saber, how is the durability on those? Because I've been awfully inclined, for a while, to get one, but I know I would hit things with it. Quite violently, and I don't want to get something that expensive just to break it.

  2. That laser nerf sniper rifle? I remember the first time I saw that commercial. Ten kids dressed in black in an abandoned warehouse sniping each other. That Jesus Camp movie doesn't have shit on nerf when it comes to employing America's youth as a skilled militia. And you've been caught up in the brainwashing, Matt. I'm ashamed of you.
    And yes, I was turned down at the audition to be in that commercial. What of it?

  3. May I just say how much this post made me laugh. As someone who doesn't collect toys for grown-ups, I can honestly say I'm a bit envious of your nerf long-shot. Pretty kick-ass.

    And as to your thought of the day, I almost hope Scorsese doesn't win so that I can watch you burn the giant Oscar statue on the blog (if not in person). Can we bring marshmellows?
    (Oh, and, you spelled backyard wrong. It's deadline night again.)

  4. Have I mentioned lately how much I love you? Mostly for the lightsaber, because I had the same problem with my lightsabers as a kid (not to mention the lights always burned out!), but the others were a nice touch as well. Bravo. :)

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