Madballs, Weird Balls, Super Bouncing Weird Balls, Monster Balls, Blurp Balls, Krazy Balls, Freakballs, Squirt Devils and other nameless imitations.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

All Wound Up

"Wind Up With Double Action Movement"

Madballs weren't the biggest or most lasting trend of the 80's, but it wasn't for lack of trying. The more I get into this bizarre world of monster headed ball collecting, the more I realize how much merchandise there is. Bop bags, cups, bowls, lunchboxes, sleeping bags, erasers, gumball banks, knee pads, Halloween masks....and thats just the licensed Madballs stuff. Weird Balls had all those cards, action figures and bicycle seat covers! So, not only were there rip offs of the actual balls but there were rip offs of the various merchandising offshoots.

These little dudes we're looking at today are AmToy's foray into wind up territory. Sold individually and marketed as having two separate mechanical motions, they also were two different types of wind ups, "spinners" and "hoppers".

Screamin' Meemie and Slobulus were "spinners". So when you wind them up they roll around and kinda spin. They mostly just shoot off in arcs wide arcs. The double action feature they have is that their tongues go in and out while they tool around. Ew. I imagine them soliciting ladies and getting lawsuits filed against them. They're sculpted really well for how large they are too. Screamin' Meemie looks pretty neat and just like the ball version but the Slobulus is what you read this for. This ugly bugger looks just like this larger brother BUT his eye looks even grosser than the foam version. I think it has something to do with the shinyness of the plastic that makes it looks like actual wet tendons. Even his hair and warts are all sculpted and painted.

Then we have Skull Face and Horn Head in "hopper" form. When you wind these nerds up, they bounce around like the someone's givin them a hotfoot. The top of their heads also open and close as they hop much like chattering wind up teeth. My only complaint about these guys is that the paint on Horn Head's teeth is a little sloppy. Other than their other details are really cool (Horn Head even has a tongue!). Especially their feet. Skull Face has little skeleton feet and Horn Head has gross lumpy ones!

In conclusion, these wind ups are really neat and all of the ones I have all work great. If you can hunt them down you should pick them up. They age better than Madballs because of the materials they're made out of and the wind up parts seem pretty sturdy. You can find them on Ebay easy enough but maybe not always for a reasonable prices.

Like I said, rip offs of even the minor Madballs merchandising schemes were everywhere. These wind ups are some of my favorites. Made by Soma (purveyors of little ninjas), these dudes were definitely made to cash in on the monster ball craze. How can you tell? What sets them apart from other wind ups? Check out the packaging here. They're called Monster Balls for one, and they look like Madballs but with feet!

I'm missing one of these dudes, but we'll talk about the three I have. A nice little chat. The purple dude is pretty cool. He's some sort of purple fangy muppet with big feet. As with all of these dudes, the paint job on him is really well done. No fuzzy edges, no bleeding, and lots of colors. His brother, to the left, is the grossest of the bunch. He looks like a burn victim of some sort. Or a piece of mold. OR a piece of mold that was set on fire, was GONNA be a Madball, but didn't make the cut and got feet as part of his lawsuit against the flamable warehouse where he worked. The final grosso is my favorite. His mouth is really cool! He looks like an old man that got turned into a lamprey.

These nerds are of the hopping variety of wind ups and don't have a second action like a bobbing mouth or a flicky pervert tongue but they are really neat. I don't come across these too often and when I have it's at the bottom of a flea market bin or on Ebay for way TOO cheap. So, keep an eye out.

So in conclusion, get all of these. They're all really cool and made to last.

I recently scored (what I think is) the last of the Soma wind ups over at Monster Collectibles. He looks a lot like the "purple fangy muppet" above but with scales and and underbite instead of fur and overbite. He's pretty cool and rounds out the set nicely!

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