Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Beginning the Journey to The Force Awakens with Topps' new set

I am cautiously optimistic about the pending Star Wars movie. I love Star Wars...I always have. My first memory of anything at all is Star Wars. I really became a card collector when my brother gave me his duplicate original trilogy cards that he got new in 1988. (Being born in 1984, I didn't get to collect them new). But I have some...trepidation...about the new movies. I really don't like that they threw out the continuity that has been established since 1991. Without that, there would never have been any more Star Wars anything...cards, action figures, toys, and oh yeah, the new movies, both Prequal and impending releases. On the other hand, the books beginning with the New Jedi Order and later have not been good...ideally they would have picked up fresh right before the NJO. But they didn't do that...they threw everything away.
I'm also not big on JJ Abrams. I've only seen one of his movies, and I did not enjoy it at all. (Super 8). He has a LOT better material to work with in Star Wars so hopefully it won't be as horrible as that was.

With that said, I am still going in hoping for the best, and planning to collect the cards.

The first cards related is the new Topps set Journey to the Force Awakens. I have a hobby box on the way, but my brother got me some of the retail packs...and they are very well done.

This was my first card from the set. A fitting title, I think!
The base cards use the original design from 1977, even having the number on the front.

The base cards cover the original trilogy, the prequals, and The Force Awakens, but the majority of the set is based on the original trilogy.
Here are some more cards-

Unfortunately they are sticking with the edited versions.

The above image is from the new movie. The set is 110 cards, and while I've only opened a couple of packs, it appears cards 1-20 are based on the Prequals, 21-85 are based on the original trilogy, and 86-110 on The Force Awakens.

The backs of the cards are printed on Heritage stock, and some of them detail scenes cut from the original movies. This is the back of card #58. The other cards retell the story of the movie, generally relating to the image on the card front. Cards for Journey to the Force Awakens have puzzles on the back, also a throwback to the original sets.

The set is generous with parallels. So far it appears you get two or more parallels per pack, and one insert.

The most common parallel is this one, which is called Jabba Slime Green. Yes, that is the official title of the parallel!
This is the final card in the set, and it also is the image that appears on the card backs in puzzle form.

The black starfield parallel is the second most common, falling one in every other pack. This one also shows an image from the new movie. It doesn't have an interesting name like the parallel above and below, though...
It actually scans nicer than it looks in person- the number is somewhat hard to read in hand.

This parallel is the third most common, and I've only got one of them out of the two normal retail and one 14 card jumbo retail I've opened. It's called Death Star Silver but in reality it's just gray. They fall at 1 in every 4 packs.
I really like the looks of this parallel, but it's a tossup between this one or the Jabba Slime Green as my favorite of those that I've gotten so far. There are also a Lightsaber Neon starfield and Lightsaber Purple starfield available in retail, but I have not gotten any of them yet. There are other starfield variations available in Hobby packs as well. The two Lightsaber named parallels fall 1 in every 6 and 12 packs, respectively.

All of the following inserts fall at 1 in every 5 packs, but it comes out to one insert per pack. There are several inserts I have not pulled yet either.
 Choose Your Destiny uses the Empire Strikes Back design.
 These two inserts use a similar design, and are solely for the new movies. The design is new for this set, not a throwback.

 The stickers use the design of the stickers in the original series. The autographs, which I do not have any of yet, also use this design, but where the character name is green is instead white and where the autograph goes.
Behind the Scenes uses the orange border from Series 5 of the original 1977 set. I don't know if it's telling, a simple omission, or it was used for one of the inserts I don't have yet so I'm ignorant, but the original Return of the Jedi designs do not appear to have any throwbacks in this set.

The final card I have to show is deemed the "hit" from the blaster box. The manufactured patch cards fall 1 in every 170 packs, or one per Blaster box. It comes in an unmarked silver pack in the blaster by itself. I know some people don't like these, but I do. I also got a manu-patch in the Galactic Files Series 1 box I got for Christmas 2013.
It also features a character from the new movie. I really like these a lot.

That's quite a lot of great cards...and I didn't even share all the parallels I got. (planning to show them in a future post, but it won't be soon)

The cards are available in 4 packaging variations. They are available in 6-card packs in the aforementioned blaster box, and possibly/probably singly as well. The packs from  my blaster had UPC codes so I suspect they are sold singly as well. The first pack I opened was a 14-card jumbo pack. There is also a rack pack which advertises itself as 14 cards as well, but I have not opened the only one of those I've gotten yet. There is also a hobby version. I do not yet know how many cards come per pack. I have a box on pre-order but it has not arrived yet. Here is the front of the blaster box, artwork that is repeated on each pack as well.  All the insert/parallel odds I mention in this post are for retail- hobby packs tend to be easier for inserts.
Now, I have a bit of a confliction as to what I want to do. I want to avoid spoilers for the movie as much as possible - I don't do opening day showings of movies, so between the release and when I see it I don't plan to even go on Facebook for example - and I can't decide if I want to open more of the cards, or hold on to them until I see the movie. My original plan was to not open ANY until I saw the movie, but I couldn't resist. I accidentally blew a major plotline of Attack of the Clones beforehand by reading the Essential Guide to Characters that had just come out, and I don't want that to happen again. I suspect I will open at least a couple more packs before I see the movie in December.

Overall, I am VERY happy with this set, and hopefully with the hobby box and the stash of retail packs I have, I really hope to complete it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hot off the Scanner Tray Week 1

Here's a new feature I am going to sample. I am always scanning something. I love to scan, I love to edit, and I really love the labeling the scans part. (What can I say, I am weird!). There is usually not a day that goes by where I am not scanning something. Usually cards but not always- I also have other hobbies that I scan. Most of the time it's cards, and I may not have a reason to post them to the blog at the time I scan them. The goal, after all, is to have my entire collection scanned front and back. I'm not close to completion, I doubt I will finish in this decade.

So, the idea came to me to post a batch of random scans...For now I'll try for every weekend but that's going to be iffy, as I don't have a lot of follow through. I am starting this post on September 19th, early on a Saturday morning. I will aim for posting it next Saturday, to see what cool stuff I get scanned in the week.

Some weeks may be more than others, some weeks I may not even do it, if I am busy doing something else.

But I'll give it a shot.

Most of the cards will be cards I've had for years, but there may be some new additions in the mix as well.
1997-98 Stadium Club #201. Tim Duncan RC. I got this when it was new, and he's still going strong

1996-97 Z-Force Zebut #2. I loved the Z-Force brand when it was new, in 1996-97 and 1997-98 but not as much now.

1997-98 Hoops Dish & Swish #6.

1997-98 Z-Force Super Boss #2SB. These were pretty hard to come by if I remember correctly.

2003-04 Ultra Gold Medallion #59. I just really like this set. The card is die-cut and scanned with a sheet of black construction paper as the background.

2010-11 Donruss #253. Only my second card of him, despite the fact that he is still an active player, Panini has chosen not to include him in sets anymore.
I got my new computer in December of either 2012 or 2013, I can't remember anymore. I hadn't bothered to change the desktop wallpaper, just left it as it came from the factory all this time. I accidentally changed it yesterday to something I didn't want to leave as the wallpaper, so I finally went into my files and put the card wallpaper I had originally created for my second computer on 8/12/2012 up as my wallpaper on 9/22/2015. Luckily, I put the date I created it into the file name of the wallpaper so now I know. This is the same image I use as my backdrop here on the blog and on Twitter.
1992-93 Stadium Club #388. Note the "audience"...or lack thereof. I have to wonder if this image was taken from a preseason game...Madison Square Garden usually draws in a bigger crowd, and at that time the Jazz had Stockton & Malone so they would have been a good matchup.

2006-07 Ultra Gold Medallion #162. Note that even though this was a third year card, Fleer didn't even know that his name is KRIS, not Kirk! Of course, he's more known for being the former Mr. Kardashian. I'm not sure which is worse. Wait, I do, and it's not the card.
This is not a scan but a photo. My second new Starting Lineup in a decade, 1997 Kevin Garnett. I actually bought this one first, before the Hakeem figure that got it's own post, but it took longer to get here because I did not buy it in person.
And that's it for this week. As I scan each card, I put them into 36 small plastic cases, and when the cases get filled up, I sort the cards by subject and then type them into my collection chart. I filled the cases on Wednesday and have not done any scanning since. Excel tells me the last time I filled the cases was back in April.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Breaking down a box from Baseball Card Breakdown

I recently pulled off a big trade with Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown where I sent him a box of damaged Star Wars cards (he knew they were damaged, and some were not damaged too) and some Jimmie Johnsons, as they went to the same school. I don't have any pro athletes from my school that I know of, although Joe Panik went to the same school district, and one Olympic athlete from the last games did actually go the same school. No cards though...but I digress.

More than a week ago now I got a big box from Gavin in the mail, and I'm finally getting some of the cards scanned and posted. There are more, these are just the ones I'm choosing to show, there were well into the triple digits in cards in there.

He had it filled with good stuff, including NASCAR, NBA and non-sports...and what I needed the most, the non-sports/oddball stuff from Allen & Ginter going back several years, to 2007 to be precise.

I've said several times (although I think this is the first time on my own blog) that I have seriously considered chasing Allen & Ginter over the years. I love the inserts they do, but so far I have not been able to talk myself into spending the money on them.

He sent me more than 20 of them! (mixed between the base cards and inserts)

There are a couple of cards that I really had a hard time choosing between for which was my favorite from the box, but I think this one has to be it.

2011 Allen & Ginter Floating Fortresses #FF14. I love old ships, and I love cards. A card of an old ship? Perfect!

Another one in contention is this Bonus Shots parallel from 2012-13 Prestige. This is an important set to me- it's the second one I got into in my NBA renaissance in 2012-13 when I started collecting full-time again. I'm not close to completing it thanks to the short printed rookies but this is my first parallel. They were hobby only and I only broke retail so I had no chance to get any of them. He sent me a lot of cards from this set- all but this one and one rookie are from various insert sets- and that makes me very happy as it moves some of the insert sets into the range where I'm actually thinking I might complete them. I almost never complete any insert sets so that is somewhat of a big deal. This set is also the first one I ever got a card NPN from, and also the first one I took part in a group break of. (Hit the tag of the set to see the amazing cards I got from that!)
It doesn't really show up in the scan but the column where Bonus Shots is written is gold foil.

Here are the other cards from the set he sent me...don't forget you can click on an image to see it larger.

This one was also in the running for favorite.

Do you see why? No? Look again.

It's an error! The card is #143, of Jameer Nelson, from 2009-10 Upper Deck. But the foil on the card front is for Baron Davis! Nelson has never played for the Clippers or worn #1. I LOVE error cards, and this is a good one! I don't have many from this set, and I don't have a non-error to show.

Here are a bunch of other cool cards he sent me, again, not all of them, just some of those I've scanned. You'll see some more eventually when I get to them in my Sets in my Collection as well, as most of the sets he sent me were new to my collection!
2007 Allen & Ginter #19

2008 Allen & Ginter Mini #349

2009 Allen & Ginter #15

2010 Eclipse Gallery Edition #78. Note the blue foil. I have completed the base set and I'm about 1/3 of the parallell now

2010 Topps 206 Historical Events #HE15

2012-13 Prizm #107

2012-13 Prizm #154 The Big O

2012-13 Prizm Downtown Bound #20

2012-13 Prizm Finalists #30

2012-13 Prizm MVP #5

2013 Allen & Ginter #6

2013 Allen & Ginter #33

2013 Allen & Ginter Colin Lost in Time. This is to my knowledge the only card to depict a card company employee!

2013 Bench Warmer #17. Amazingly, this is the FIRST Bench Warmer base card in my collection. I don't know how I let that happen. I have two promos from the company as well.

2014 Allen & Ginter #302. According to the Database this is a Short Print. (SP)

2010 Eclipse Cars #C4

2010 Eclipse Focus #F4. Although I opened a lot of this set (retail version) this is my first card from this insert.

2010 Press Pass Unleashed #U8. This would have been a great card had it not been censored. (OK, it's still a pretty nice card)
2015 Topps Archives Presidential Chronicles Richard Nixon. He also sent me JFK and both Bushes from this insert.

2009 Allen & Ginter #33

2010 Element #83. Element was a favorite brand of mine.

2009 Allen & Ginter #109

2009 Allen & Ginter #234

2009 Element Lab Report #LR25. This card is die cut and holofoil

2010 Element #41. They don't have the lines in real life

2010 Element #52

2011 Allen & Ginter #293

2011 Allen & Ginter Mini Uninvited Guests #UG10

2012 Goodwin Champions #23. UD's answer to Allen & Ginter. I am not sure why I like these sets so much. They are multi-sport sets, which I have never been a big fan of, and they aren't licensed at all, which I normally can't stand. But I love these sets anyway! I have quite a few 2012 cards but all three that he sent me were new.

2013 Goodwin Champions #179. I don't have as many of the 2013 set as I do 2012, but I have none of the 2014 or 2015 issues at all.

2014 Allen & Ginter #61. This guy got a card for being a beard champion. Fitting as I've had a beard since 7th grade. Didn't trim it for over a decade but I eventually got annoyed with it and now I trim it a few times a year. Guess I won't win the contest.

2014 Allen & Ginter #100

2015 Topps Heritage 1966 News Flashbacks #NF-4. I am not sure if this design was used in baseball, but this was the design used by AMT for it's model kits in 1966!

2010-11 Classics Classic Greats #28. I have very few cards from 10-11 and 11-12 so more are always welcome!

Star Wars Rebels #65. My first cards of this set came from Gavin...I have not seen any of the cartoon yet (I have not taken on any new TV shows in about a decade) but I may get it on DVD eventually. This isn't my first card from the set, but of the ones he sent it was by far my favorite. A Star Destroyer in front of a star field is always impressive.

I have no idea what set this goes to. Help!

1994-95 Flair #190

2007 Topps (Baseball) Distinguished Service #DS19

2008 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks #NF-4

2008-09 Fleer 1986-87 Rookies #86R-190

2008-09 Fleer #235

2009 Wheels Main Event Renegade Rounder #RR2. The "wanted" and Speed's name is made of ground up race used tire.

2009-10 Adrenalyn XL Special Jason Kidd

2009-10 Adrenalyn XL Special Signature Al Jefferson

2009-10 Upper Deck #244

2010 Element High Octane Vehicle #HOV4. This is a replica of the car Buddy Baker drove to over 200 miles per hour, the first time ever that was done.

2010 Topps UFC Pride & Glory #PG-7

2010 Wheels Main Event American Muscle #AM10

2010 Wheels Main Event Fight Card #FC18. This card is smaller than normal size, but larger than a tobacco card.

2010-11 Adrenalyn XL Special #S29. The scan does not do this card justice, it's rainbow foil.

2010-11 Donruss Production Line #18. Love the all-holofoil cards!

2010-11 Donruss Production Line #36. Don't see a lot of Dalembert inserts!

2011 Panini Americana Retail #66

2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame Blue #NHOF130

2012 Panini Golden Age #54

2012-13 Panini All-Panini #30. This was a 100 card insert set and you only got two per box.

2013 Panini USA Baseball Pride #1. Cool design but they should have used a flag from the left arm, it looks weird like this.

2013-14 Hoops #245. I have 283 of the 300 cards of this set...Gavin sent me three of them and one was new!

2014 Panini Golden Age #20

2014 Redline #77

2014 Topps Road to Wreslemania #56. Before the package arrived I had a grand total of 5 wrestling cards. I now have 15!

2015 Topps Baseball History #7A. This was a cool insert set where there were two versions of each number, the A version was a historical event, the B version was a baseball event from the same year.

But, I think my absolute favorite thing that he sent me....was the note, which had this sketch of a squirrel on it! 
Thanks again for a great deal Gavin, and if I get any more trade packages from other bloggers, I think I'm going to take photographs instead of worrying about getting everything scanned!

And I will leave off with one last thing...I think BenchWarmer needs a proofreader. Perhaps they don't think anybody is going to bother looking at the back of the card?

In case it's too small to read, the sentence is "She's did everyone's favorite...". Oh well. At least now Rick Fox is not the only person in my card collection I've seen naked now. (Why did I happen to channel surf RIGHT THEN!?)