Monday, 29 February 2016

Nerdversity Reviews - Cabin Pressure Series 4, Episode 1: Timbuktu

Timbuktu aired on BBC Radio 4 on 9th January 2013 and starred:
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Martin
  • Roger Allam as Douglas
  • Stephanie Cole as Carolyn
  • John Finnemore as Arthur
  • Geoffrey Whitehead as Mr. Birling
  • Steve Brody as Giancarlo
There's no pre-credits sequence this episode.  The episode opens with Martin and Douglas playing a game of Beat the Manual, which Martin is winning in and boring Douglas. Martin agreed to play after Douglas got him playing Flight Deck Buckaroo. Arthur comes in and offers teas or coffees, much to Douglas' relief. As they go to land in Fitton, Arthur is saddened to learn that he'll be missing Birling Day as the final is in Twickenham, which Birling would have to drive through to get to Fitton. However, when they get to their Portacabin, an angry Birling is stood waiting for them.

After an argument with his wife, Birling is told that he can watch the rugby in Twickenham for all he cares. After the promise of a few grand and double the fees, they prepare to leave within the hour. Douglas realises there's no Talisker to steal from Carolyn so offers to sell it back to her for £200 a bottle. Martin returns and explains they can't go to Mali because there's a civil war on and it's closed to all air traffic. Martin ponders the idea of taking Birling to somewhere that might be like Timbuktu, but isn't, which gives Douglas the idea of going to Sardinia instead, which is home to a desert and the airport owner is a friend of Douglas'. He offers to get the place looking like Timbuktu.

They take off. Carolyn puts Mr. Birling's seatbelt on despite him not wanting to. Arthur initiates a discussion and tries to override the code red. Carolyn explains that this year, she'll steal it back from Douglas. Martin gets worried about getting away with the crime, while Douglas tries to swindle the bottle of Talisker for £300 as they're in the air. Once they land, they get Mr. Birling into the crew room as they prepare to watch the rugby.

In the flight deck, Carolyn searches for the bottle of Talisker. After Martin catches her out, they have a chat and after giving him £200, Martin tells her it's in the Avionics Bay. Birling returns to GERTI after realising that Italy are beating Wales 38-3 at half time. They prepare to leave, but Birling wants to see the sights and take some photos.

They take Giancarlo's car out for a drive. Arthur keeps dropping them in it that its not Africa.  Birling gets more and more suspicious until they pull over pretending to be stuck. They remind Arthur that they're tricking Mr. Birling that they're in Africa. As they get back in the car, Mr. Birling demands to know what's going on. Martin blurts out that they can see the sea from where they are.

Back in the flight deck, Carolyn announces that Mr. Birling won't sue or pay them. It's a topsy turvy day for MJN air. They flew away from the rugby and Mr. Birling was sober. Carolyn announces she stole the Talisker from Douglas. Martin hands over the £100 from the £200 Carolyn to Douglas and then opens the flight operations manual, where Douglas has hidden the real talisker bottle.

Nerdversity Reviews: Fun4All G.I. Joe Vintage Collection

Fun4All weren't done with the keychain figures at all after the initial release of all 4 characters in 1997. In 1998, we were treated to an all new boxed set featuring the original 4 characters once again. All 4 figures were released in a blue box with the GI JOE logo with red, white and blue striping across the box. All 4 figures were visible through the large window packaging, showing the new variant figures.

The back of the box has the same GI JOE logo in red, with the 1960s artwork on the back, with the 4 characters in a large graphic. They're in the same order and poses as the original boxed versions.

The Soldier is now dressed in an all green uniform with a white belt, black boots and a yellow MP Helmet. The webbing straps and grenades aren't even painted. It's the exact same as the previous version and shares all the same things, the backpack plug and cheap, fragile plastic.

The pilot is in the Original Action Team blue repaint, though there are some differences between this and the Hasbro version. The AIR VEST insignia is a black square and the helmet is painted gold, rather than white. Exactly the same otherwise as the previous orange keychain version.

The Marine is an all new repaint, this time in a desert themed attire. His paint scheme is that of a 1991 Kuwait/Desert storm uniform in all over tan with brown and black splotches. The boots are a slightly darker tan. The undershirt and belt are not painted. He shares everything with the previous release. 

The final figure in the set is the Sailor, in his bright orange Rescue suit, sharing the paint scheme with the Original Action Team figure. The knife handle is painted in silver this time round, but otherwise is exactly the same as the standard retail release.

I couldn't seem to find this set on the secondary market, so I don't know how rare or collectible this set is, even with the repaints of the Marine and Soldier. I think the repaints of those figures make it a unique set and if you do find it, might be worth picking up as something different.

Nerdversity Discussion: The 88th Oscars

Chris Rock hosted the 88th Annual Academy Awards last night, so for those that didn't get a chance to see it, lets take a look at the results:
  • Best Director - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
  • Best Foreign Language Film - Son of Saul
  • Best Song - The Writing's On The Wall 
  • Best Original Screenplay - Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
  • Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubzeki (The Revenant)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay - Adam McKay (The Big Short)
  • Best Visual Effects - Andrew Whitehurst (Ex Machina)
  • Best Documentary - Asif Kapadia (Amy)
  • Best Sound Editing - David White (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Best Film Editing - Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Best Animated Feature Film - Inside Out
  • Best Costume Design - Jenny Beavan (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Best Animated Short Film - Bear Story
  • Best Sound Mixing - Greg Rudloff (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Best Production Design - Lisa Thompson (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Best Short Documentary - A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness
  • Best Live Action Short - Stutterer
  • Best Score - Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight)
  • Best Make Up - Lesley Vanderwalt (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Nerdversity Reviews: G.I. Joe Fun4All Keychain Sailor

The final figure in the single boxed like is the Action Sailor Keychain. Released in 1997 as part of the 40th anniversary line. Hasbro didn't release any 4 inch scale figures as part of the anniversary, so had licensed the figures to the company Fun4All who released a series of 4 keychains in single boxes.

The box on the Sailor is exactly the same as the rest of them. The wooden style shoebox with open window where you can see the figure inside and the keychain attached to it. There's a classic GI Joe logo on the top and an anniversary stamp underneath the window. 

The back of the box features the same GI JOE logo, this time in green. Large artwork of the 1964 figure and a graphic of the figures in poses. Underneath that there's simply copyright information. Like the rest of the figures, the box back is very scant 

Taking the figure out the box, we can see that it is exactly the same as the black retail version of the Action Sailor. He has no accessories from the figure set, just the keychain that plugs into his back. Like the others he's identical to the 1994 releases, except that he's made of a much cheaper plastic, which means he'll break very easily.

While not a picture of the Sailor, the Marine demonstrates the different versions. Like the others, the first release Sailor had a plug that covered his back whereas the later release ended up between his shoulders.Neither version is more rare or collectible than the other. It's not uncommon to find these plugs snapped off in many secondary market finds. 

Fans of this series can get a complete set for £20 in box with shipping from the USA, or cheaper if you went loose. While not a bad figure overall, the fact it has no accessories and is fragile might turn off a lot of collectors from wanting to own these overall. But as I always say, Your mileage may vary

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Nerdversity Discussion: Is The Walking Dead too fixated on Daryl Dixon?

Over the last few years, Daryl Dixon has gone from a first season regular to a mainstay that has gone through hell and back. He's survived everything the apocalypse has thrown at him. He's Rick Grimes' right hand man and loads more besides.

However, it's also in recent years that the focus OF the series has shifted less from Rick's story, but now towards more focus on Daryl and his story, even though he's TV only. The show is marketed around him and most of all, he literally outranks ALL other characters in terms of merchandising for the show. He has action figures, t-shirts, FUNKO products, sponsorships with crossbow manufacturers and bike manufacturers, standees, replicas of his zombie ear necklace, even his own themed video game and more besides.

The other problem we've noted is that it's in the fans as well, they are the ones who refuse to attend conventions unless Norman Reedus goes, they have to find out what happened to Daryl, will Daryl survive another season? There are fans that are threatening to boycott series 7 because there are rumours going around that Reedus is leaving the series. It does feel to me that we have gotten to a state where it may as well be renamed to The Adventures of Daryl Dixon.

Do you agree with this? let us know what you think. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Nerdversity Reviews - Cabin Pressure Series 3, Episode 6 - St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg aired on BBC Radio 4 on 5th August 2011 and starred:
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Martin
  • Roger Allam as Douglas
  • Stephanie Cole as Carolyn 
  • John Finnemore as Arthur
  • Timothy West as Gordon Shappey
  • Paul Shearer as Tommo
The episode has a pre-credits sequence. In this instance, Carolyn is giving a cabin address to a bunch of Russian Yacht Brokers who are coming back from Saint Tropez. She also states that they'd be insulted if they were offered a tip. Douglas interjects on the intercom by stating that they are the pilots and would people like to slide the insults under the flight deck door.

The episode opens with Douglas doing a rather fast walkaround in minus 19 weather in St. Petersburg. He asks Carolyn for vodka, as Arthur seems to have frozen himself to the hold door. Carolyn asks if she can use water, but Douglas explains that vodka is better as it has a lower freezing point and won't injure him. Douglas unsticks him from the hold door but then has to use it again when Arthur puts the keys in his mouth to put his gloves on.

Inside the flight deck, they start the take off procedures. Arthur is drunk. During the flight home, they begin of game of Rhyming Journeys, Their game is interrupted by a bird strike which causes an engine fire. They are forced to return to St. Petersburg for immediate repairs. They get there and discuss their options as a new engine will set them back a quarter of a million, which they don't have. One of their options is to sell GERTI for scrap and use the money to get home. The only other option is to sell it to Gordon Shappey, Carolyn's ex-husband who's been after the plane for years. Faced with no real opportunity, that's what they decide to do.

Martin and Douglas are sat in the staff canteen, eating their meals, when they meet Gordon and his mechanic Tommo. They go out to the hangar so Gordon can go and check the plane out and come back in a few hours with an offer. Arthur hasn't found any toblerones for a present. Gordon comes back and offers Carolyn £500 for GERTI. He states that he intends to break her up for parts and keep the tail fin, which he'll put NYBJAMS on it (Not Your Bloody Jet Any More Sweetheart) and then leaves after Carolyn says £100,000 and that's the final offer.

After they leave for their hotel, Douglas gets an idea and returns to the airport. He checks GERTI and finds out that Gordon had a new engine bolted on. Douglas realises that Gordon intended to steal GERTI, based on the facts that he booked the office in MJN's name, he's qualified to fly her, he still has door key and why his engineers took so long to look at it. This is when they hatch a plan.

Gordon enters GERTI and suddenly finds himself stuck to the controls. Douglas and Carolyn emerge from their hiding places. They reveal that they removed the control column, put it in the snow for 20 minutes and put it back into place. Gordon tries to get them to let him go and they force him to hand over the engine in exchange for the bottle of Gordon's Gin that Arthur had bought for him. Carolyn chases him off GERTI. Outside, they find Arthur asleep. They pick him up and take him onboard and realises that his notion that Douglas would do something clever and fix it was right afterall.

Nerdversity Reviews: G.I. Joe Fun4All Keychain Marine.

Released in 1997, as part of the 40th Anniversary Celebrations. Hasbro licensed the original 4 Action Team molds to Fun4All. The box front has the same woodgrain effect as the old figures used to have. There's a large window in the front where the figure is visible in the box,

The back of the box has the same large graphic of the Marine paratrooper and a graphic of the figures in the set with some copyright info on the bottom

Taking the marine out the box, he's a straight remold and repaint of the 1994 original Action Marine from 1994. He has no accessories, only the chain that attaches to his back. He is made from a much cheaper plastic than the original Hasbro figure and as such is more fragile.

Neither version of these Marine keychain figures is more rare or collectable than the other. One has the keychain plug in his back, the other has it between his shoulder blades. Like the other figures in this set, it's not uncommon to find loose versions with the  keychain plug snapped off.

A complete set of these figures will set you back about £20 for all four, which makes them about £5 per figure, plus shipping from the US. Overall, not a bad little collectible and tribute to G.I. Joe. The only downside is the cheaper plastic makes it very fragile and it won't survive for very long as a keychain, So it would be better off being bought and used as an action figure. 

Nerdversity Reviews - Cabin Pressure series 3, Episode 5: Rotterdam

Rotterdam aired on BBC Radio 4 on July 29th 2011 and starred:
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Martin
  • Roger Allam as Douglas
  • Stephanie Cole as Carolyn
  • John Finnemore as Arthur
  • Anthony Head as Herc Shipwright
  • Gus Brown as Martin Davenport
There is no pre-credits sequence for this episode. It opens with Douglas and Martin are playing a word game when Herc rings in about his and Carolyn's date for the Opera. In the Cabin, Carolyn has decided to update the safety film for GERTI and MJN air, so is filming the welcome with Arthur. They get into arguments over who is doing what. They decide that Carolyn does thr welcome, Arthur does the Safety Demonstration and then Martin does the pre-flight video

Outside the plane, Arthur is on his way with Douglas and the camera. Arthur repeatedly drops the spare lifejacket for demonstrations. Douglas mentions thats the reason why he's carrying the camera. Back in the flight deck, Martin is practicing his lines and speech for the day. Arthur begins his safety demonstration. Meanwhile, Douglas gets in on the chance to do the pre-flight welcome video in exchange for using GERTI to go to the Belgian Grand Prix, to which Carolyn denies. 

Martin comes in early and shows Carolyn the tape he made last night of him recording and it sounds bad. This is when she introduces Martin Davenport, an actor she hired to play Martin, much to the real Martin's annoyance. It also annoys Douglas, since he can't use it as a crux to go Belgium. After both Martin's have blown the pre-flight video, Douglas suggests he'll do it for the ticket to Belgium and the Grand Prix.

As it's Saturday, Herc enters the Portacabin to take Carolyn to the opera. Herc gets requested by Carolyn to do the intro. However, Douglas tries to use the Grand Prix quid pro quo, but Carolyn turns it round and states that he wasn't going anyway. The crew watches their video, which consists of Douglas doing the introduction, then becoming Dougie the Steward for the safety demonstration. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: G.I. Joe Fun4All Keychain Pilot

Released in 1997 as part of the 40th Anniversary of G.I. Joe, The pilot was released in a single box by Fun4All as part of the G.I. Joe Classic Collection Keychains. The box is a wood effect and has a window in it to see the Orange Pilot inside. 

The back of the box shows the Blue uniformed pilot walking towards his F-86 Sabre jet. Underneath that is a picture of the 4 figures in the single box line and some copyright and trademarking information.

Out of the box, the Keychain Pilot is exactly the same as the original 1994 mold, albeit made out of a cheaper plastic and the date stamp has been changed to 1998. Other than the keychain on his back, his accessory is a helmet with attached airmask.

The back of the figure shows the fact that he has been modified with a plug on his back to attach the keychain to. On the earlier versions, the plug covered the screw hole in his back, whereas in the other version, the screw hole was left visible. In many second hand versions of these figures, it's not uncommon to find them with missing plugs as many fans and collectors snapped them off.

As these are novelty reissues that were common in many stores, they are very easy to find on the secondary market and don't fetch a lot. A complete set of 4 single boxed figures will fetch around £20. But do be careful, as these figures are fragile, as they are made of cheaper plastic and will break very easy.

Nerdversity Reviews - Cabin Pressure Series 3, Episode 4: Ottery St. Mary

Ottery St, Mary aired on BBC Radio 4 on July 22nd 2011 and starred:
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Martin
  • Roger Allam as Douglas
  • Stephanie Cole as Carolyn
  • John Finnemore as Arthur
  • Anthony Head as Herc Shipwright
  • Flip Webster as Mrs. Laurel
  • Ewan Bailey as Mr. Hardy.

There is no pre-credits sequence for this episode. The episode opens with Douglas flying GERTI back into Fitton. Arthur comes in with 2 teas for Douglas. Arthur explains that he only knows how to make two teas and he doesn't know how to make half of something until it's made it. They get a sat comm phone call from Martin, who's in hospital with a twisted ankle. He wants Arthur to pick up his van and address from the airfield and then pick him up, so he can take a piano to Ottery St. Mary in Devon. Arthur is excited to do it, but Douglas is offended that Martin didn't ask him. After they land, Arthur hoovers and locks up GERTI, then asks Carolyn if he can go to Devon. Carolyn agrees and then sets up the date with Herc.

Martin and Douglas arrive at The Laurels to get the piano. Douglas shows off by playing some Chopin on it to Martin's annoyance. Arthur helps move the piano into the van so they can make the 200 mile journey to Ottery St, Mary. Meanwhile, Herc arrives at Carolyn's house and he meets the dog, Snoopadoop the Cockerpoo. They decide to go for lunch first, then walk it off. 

They set off on the drive to Devon and this is when Arthur starts his game of "Yellow Car", in which people spot yellow cars coming down on the opposite side of the road. He also notes that you are always. Meanwhile, in the pub, Carolyn and Herc talk amongst themselves and this is where Carolyn finds out he's vegan ad this orders whitebait just to annoy him. 

On the journey, while playing Yellow Car, Arthur wonders why they call it Ottery St, Mary. Douglas informs him that St. Mary was the patron saint of Devon and was martyred by Otters, After explaining that there's a lot of otters in heaven, Arthur imagines a lot of otters. Thus begins the game of fitting 100 otters on GERTI. Though on the way, Martin tries to put the address into the sat nav on his phone, then realises Arthur has forgotten the piece of paper, forcing them to drive back to Fitton to get the information he forgot.

Back at the airfield, Douglas notices a car with Herc in it and then Carolyn coming out. He gets the piano out the van and starts playing "That;s Amore" to Carolyn who leaves with Herc. They go to put the piano back in the van and realise the keys are missing. They take the piano onboard GERTI and fly down to Exmoor and push the piano the rest of the way. They ring on Mr. Hardy's door and he comes out to inspect the piano. finding the van keys on the piano lid, meaning Arthur was right when he said he gave the keys back to Douglas. The episode ends with Arthur screaming "YOU CLOT" at Douglas.

Nerdversity Reviews: G.I.Joe Fun4All Keychain Soldier

Released as part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations in 1997. Hasbro didn't re-release any 4 inch scale figures as part of the celebration, instead licensing the figures out to a company called Fun4All. This is the Classics Collection Action Soldier.

The front of the box is supposed to resemble the original wooden style boxes the figures came in and have a large open window to see the figure inside

The back of the box reuses the original Action Solider artwork with a picture showing the 4 figures in the set, which art Soldier, Pilot, Marine and Sailor. 

The Soldier comes with no accessories and is based on the 1994 figure, His accessory is the keychain that comes attached to his back via a plug. If you had the 1994 version through the retail sets, then you have this figure already, though the only real thing to note is that it's a cheaper manufacturing process and much more fragile plastic than an actual Hasbro release. He is very likely to be broken and probably wouldn't survive being a keychain long before being broken. 

There are two distinct versions of the figure and neither is more rare than the other. In this case, one has a the keychain plug over the screwhole, the other has the plug molded between the shoulders. Many fans have actually broken these plugs off so they can be used as proper action figures. 

These figures can  be bought for much cheaper on the secondary market, even a complete set of 4 can cost as little as £20 plus import from the United States. 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Nerdversity Reviews - Cabin Pressure Series 3, Episode 3: Newcastle

Newcastle aired on BBC Radio 4 on 15th July 2011 and starred:
  • Tom Goodman-Hill as Martin
  • Roger Allam as Douglas
  • Stephanie Cole as Carolyn
  • John Finnemore as Arthur
  • Anthony Head as Herc Shipwright
  • Mark Williams as Eddie
  • Anna Crilly as Linda Fairburn
Note: Tom Goodman-Hill replaces Benedict Cumberbatch who was sick.

The episode opens with Carolyn telling the others that they have a job with Air Caledonian, a Scottish firm who wants them to fly out replacement pilots because one of them was sick. Arthur asks what would happen if Martin or Douglas got sick, Carolyn says they wouldn't dare. Martin comes in and sounds different to normal, but everyone passes it off.

In the portacabin, Martin is printing off a CV to hand in to Air Cal, hoping he'd get a job with them. Douglas learns that one of the pilots he's flying is Herc Shipwright, an old friend of his from Air England, and the other is Linda Fairburn, one that Martin hits it off with rather quickly. 

The flight goes off without a hitch. Martin and Linda talk in the flight deck and really hit off, he ends up mumbling through it because he has problems talking to women and other pilots. However, during the 25 minute flight from Fitton to Newcastle, they smell smoke coming from the plane, forcing them to land in Birmingham, where they meet Eddie. During Eddie's inspection, he finds out that there's no fire, but they're missing the tail light. He lets them go during the day with it on, but Martin gets on his high horse and demands to do things by the book, forcing Eddie to take action and makes Martin wait for a cherry picker, harness, vest and hat.

Inside GERTI, Carolyn, Douglas, Herc and Arthur break open the games cupboard and play Monopoly, where they play by the real rules and it's revealed that Arthur sold his electric company to Martin because he had to times things by four and he didn't want to do Maths while playing a game. He also likes to get Marylebone and Covent Garden because those are the places he's been to.

Outside in the hangar, Martin and Linda have a difficult conversation over her being a female rally driver and also a pilot. Linda assumes Martin was only talking about the Rally Driving and thinks she's a lesbian and that she got the job with Air Cal because her father was Chief Pilot and dropped her name. Eddie returns and commences the changing of the tail light, complete with safety gear. Martin goes to sign off the tech log, but is stopped by Eddie because he hasn't completed the test of the radio yet, all 256 channels and they're grounded until they're tested.

Back in the Cabin, the rest of them are playing Trival Pursuit and they get to a question on Opera and to which Carolyn replies that she can't stand it. Herc goes into the flight deck and bets Eddie £50 that he can't guess which channel he's on. Eddie wins as he states he's on channel 256,

Arriving in Newcastle, Martin asks Linda out on a date and turns him down. He laughs about it and offers a CV, which she also turns down. Herc offers Douglas and Arthur jobs with Air Cal, but they turn them down, stating they're happy where they are, but Carolyn and Herc agree to have a date. 

Nerdversity Reviews: TV Century 21

TV Century 21 was a British comic that was released by City Comics in 1965. It was originally designed to cash in on the success of the Gerry Anderson show Stingray. It was different in that, rather than being akin to any other printed comic of the era like the Beano, it was printed as a newspaper for children. It had "Stop Press" style covers with pictures and articles adorning the cover, 

The internal comic strips were designed to be news reports relayed directly from whatever source they were from. For example, as with the Thunderbirds strip, it was supposed to be a Danger Zone report direct from Thunderbird 5. The artworks were indicative of their era and was designed to closely resemble their puppet counterparts.

As the comics progressed throughout the mid to late 60s, they incorporated Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet into the fold as part of the TV 21 shared continuity between Gerry Anderson shows like Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. In 1966, Doctor Who made the jump into the TV Century 21 comic and became a regular feature. However, in 1968. after 192 issues, the comic was revamped. It was merged with Tornado and they dropped "Century" from the title, rebranding it to TV21 and Tornado. 

By 1969, Joe90, Gerry Anderson's latest puppet series had hit TV screens and was making the jump to the comic world. However, as his comic failed after just 32 issues, he was merged with TV21. They reset the numbering back to issue 1 and titled it NEW SERIES. It retained the original style and format as the previous comics, however, the newsprint format had sadly gone and they had started printing comics in black and white to save money. It was also at this time, that they had gotten their hands on Star Trek and Land of the Lost comics from the USA and were printing those in the series.

In 1971, after a grand total of 242 issues and 7 years on the market, TV21 ceased publication and was merged with the Valiant comic. Gone were the Gerry Anderson and Doctor Who strips, instead they kept up with the Star Trek and Land of the Lost series. 

For any of the comic fans that are interested in seeing what these were like, they are easy to find on the secondary market like eBay or even conventions and collector fairs. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: G.I. Joe Action Pilot Astronaut

The final figure in this set is the Action Pilot Astronaut. He was the only figure to be exclusive to this set and not have a figure released at retail. So before we take a closer look at him, lets look at a promo image:

This promo image was taken from the pre-production catalogue and the most notable difference between the pre-production figure was that it had a metallic silver paint scheme rather than flat darker silver. 

The filecard is off the back of the box and features the action figure picture next to the purple background. His filecard explains that he was a high tech jet pilot before moving onto NASA and becoming a Mercury astronaut.

Taking the figure out of the box, he's dressed in a dark silver Mercury space suit with an American flag on his arm. There are folds in the flight suit and there's a chest box. Aside from the zipper, chest box and flag on the arm, there are no real painted details on the figure. The face sculpt is like the others and features a very 1960s look and even has a scar peeking out the snoopy cap.

His suit is based on that of actual Mercury Astronauts of the era, or better known as the Navy Mark IV, first used in the late 50s for pilots and later adapted for use by NASA. 

His main accessory is a helmet that can be placed over his head, with a clear visor that can be flipped up and down. He only has one other accessory and that is his Mercury Capsule

The only difference between the off white/grey capsules was the sticker on the back. It denotes which country the set is from. There is no difference between the toys and I'm sure if one version is actually rarer than the other.

The real capsule was actually more of a grey colour and not off white, but the figure sits in the same way and there's a plastic cover that opens on the toy version, allowing the astronaut figure to be sat inside the capsule.

Taking a look at the figure and comparing the original figure to the 1994 counterpart. Aside from the suit colour, they are largely the same. Even down to a similar face sculpt. 

An interesting figure overall to say the least. I'm not sure why Hasbro decided to put him in with the collection alongside other branches of the military, but space exploration was a major part of the 1950s and 1960s. In my honest opinion, he is perhaps the weakest link in the set and if he was released at retail, then he probably would have been largely skipped over.