Hello there, welcome to Tales to Astonish!

This site is to provide [primarily] Dutch fans with news and information about Star Wars- and superhero-related Lego, 12″ figures and collectibles. Even though there already are a lot of sites out there about any of these subjects, yet I feel there’s a demand for it. Especially Dutch based. While news and pricewatches may be localized, reviews and opinions are for every fan from around the world! That’s why I’ll write this blog in English. To find, share and interact with other like-minded.

So what’s my origin story?
First and foremost, I am what people call a ‘fanboy‘. Luckily for me and people around me,  I’m an open-minded one and not too biased. My love lies with Star Wars and superheroes and I’m susceptible  to other Scifi and fantasy franchises. That’s my secret power! ;)

I’ve been reading and collecting comics nearly as long as I can remember. Collecting toys really began with the first waves of 3.75″ figures G.I.Joe and Transformers toys back in the eighties.  While I was a kid, I wanted to have  them all. Mostly because we couldn’t afford them. And what we couldn’t have, we build with Lego. When I was 8 years old, I build Optimus Prime in Lego, which, by-the-way, could transform from robot into a truck, just like in the animated series. <Geek moment! My apologies.> Lego has passed on to my brothers and me from my father, so we had no shortage of bricks.

For quite some time I managed to collect superheroes only through their stories in comics until the first Raimi’s Spider-man movies. I bought one 6″ action figure of Spider-man and before I knew it, I had half of the Marvel Legends series in my showcase.

The secret origin of the blog
My collections are not what you would call ‘focused’  I have from everything a little something. So after quite a few trials and tribulations I decided to be more selective with the stuff I collect. That’s the first goal of this site. To review and share about what I like. Take a step back and look at it again to see if I really want it. I would like to think it would help other collectors too.
For the Dutch readers I’ll try to provide information on where to find stuff, for how much and where they can find the discounts.

As of late I discovered te awe of the 12″ figures or 1/6 scale figures. I never liked the format as it was to close to Barbie in matter of size and quality. And boys don’t play with dolls. Then I got acquainted with Machiko, the She-Predator from Hot Toys. I fell in love and thus she became the first 12″ figure in my collection.
With a few Star Wars exceptions, because of the high price tag, I try to focus my 1/6 scale figures only to ‘realistic’ movie superheroes.

These are exciting times for fanboys and -girls alike. With more Comicbook movies coming out and the improving quality and details on toys, movies and games.

These are Tales to Astonish!

- MarvelousRoland

How does the grading system for the sixth scale work? Here’s the basic rundown – As I am such a huge fan of Micheal Crawford’s toy reviews, I based the scoring system on his princible. I give a certain number of stars out of four. Zero to four is possible,  I only use full and half stars – no other fractions. Here’s the basic definitions:

**** - only the best get four stars in a category or overall. It isn’t necessary to get four stars in every category to get four stars overall, since I don’t simply average up the other scores to get the overall. That would be pretty silly, and leave out the factors of your overall impression of the figure in its complete state. Four stars are rare, but a few companies have reached that level. The problem is though that the bar always goes up…

*** to ***1/2 - if you see three or three and a half stars in a category, you know it’s a good figure. Not perfect, but certainly well done and above average.

**1/2 - this is a pretty average score, and it means the figure isn’t anything outstanding, but still gets a passing grade. Think of it like a ‘C’ back in the days you were in school.

** - often the lowest grade I give a figure overall, although lower scores on categories are more common. This is a failing grade, and the figure is below average in my opinion. Most toys manufactured today can certainly do at least this good, and many of those that don’t never make it into my collection, so there are far fewer of these (and below) that make it into my reviews.

*1/2 and below – yes, occasionally figures get the really low scores. I’ve even hit zero on categories several times, and even once on an overall score. But fortunately, that’s pretty rare.
My collections
Star Wars:
My first true love. Enjoyed great moments together, had some fights, make ups and eventually broke up as our lives changes. We had a rocky relationship. but I always had warm feelings toward that first love and we occasionally still meet.

  • With exception of the laserdiscs, i’ve got every version of the movie out there on VHS, DVD and soon Blu-ray. They keep tricking me into buying another copy.
  • All the Pocket books, reference books, manuals, encyclopedia, comics and art/making-off books from 1994 ’til 2000 and sparsely until now
  • As many as possible Kenner/Hasbro 3.75″ action figures  available in the Netherlands from 1995 ’til 2005. Which from a Star Wars collector’s point of view isn’t much.
  • Quite a few model kits
  • One of my first 1/6 scale (or 12″) figures are from Star Wars. Stormtrooper and Leia as Boussh where among the first. Quickly added by Obi Wan Kenobi – Episode IV, Luke Skywalker; Jedi Knight, Jabba the Hutt and creatures and, my favorite, Darth Vader -Episode IV. All from Sideshow
  • The biggest part has the be from Lego, I’ve got more than three/quarter’s of what has been released. Trying to focus on the sets from the original trilogy, it’s hard. Price possessions has to be from the USC-series: 10030, Star Destroyer, 10188 The Death Star, and 10212 Imperial Shuttle
    From all things Star Wars, I still collect Lego. However space is getting sparse…
  • I want at least 1 lifesize replica lightsaber and another in-universe collectible.

Like coming home. This stills my ever-present nostalgic hunger. Old is new again

  • Lot’s and lot’s of Dutch translated comics and since 2001 lot’s and lot’s of paperbacks
  • Quite a few 6″ figures mostly from the Marvel Legends line, but also from movie lines.
  • As of recent Iron Man Mark III, Wolverine and Black Widow are the beginning of a new collection for ‘movie’ superheroes. I eagerly await the forthcoming Iron Man Mark VI and Mark V, Thor, Spider-man and Captain America from Hottoys

Star Trek:
Sometimes I cheat ;)

  • Beside all the movies and episodes:
  • A few model kits. I really love the designs of the Enterprise.
  • Reference books and manuals, i just love these

Lord of the Rings:
From 2000 until 2004 I was having serious fevers about collecting stuff about LotR. Off-course fueled by the movies. I made some newbie collector mistakes.  But some items I don’t regret and still enjoy:

  • Original novels
  • Extendend Ed. DVD’s
  • Illustrated books and artbooks and encyclopedia
  • Two replica swords; Narsil and the prize Sting
  • and off-course The One Ring

In 2007, in wake of the Michel Bay movie I got nostalgic and felt regret I sold my Transformers so long ago. While in transfer in Hong Kong I saw and immediately bought Masterpiece 1 Optimus Prime and was from that point forward swept away in collecting Transformers. Luckily I was able to get a hold of myself before i got out of hand. I still have my eyes set on some stuff. But I try not to focus on this.

  • MP’s Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream and Grimlock
  • Quite a few Classic Transformers
  • Too many from the Binaltech series

Assassin’s creed:
Try not to be tempted further:

  • Every ultimate special extended codex  edition of the game.
  • Having hard time not to buy this.

And I’ve got a lot of random Tombraider, Indiana Jones, Sin City, Knight Rider etc. stuff I hope we’ll al learn from this ;)