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SWAG A-GO-GO: reviews for stuff you should check out

By Stefan Blitz

Here at FOG! HQ lots of cool stuff comes in, giving us the opportunity to check out some merchandise, that to be completely honest, we think you should check out!

This time out we’ve a bunch of t-shirts, toys and gadgets geared toward your savvy inner nerd.

Loot Crate: August

Loot Crate is a geek-centric subscription based blind gift box that centers on a single theme with each box.  The August crate theme is “Heroes” and it’s unique contents are far outweigh the cost.  There’s no argument that each of the items are carefully selected.  Loot Crate knows their audience.  Included in this crate was an exclusive Funko POP! Groot Bobblehead (with glow in the dark hand), a Kidrobot TMNT Ooze Action Figure, a pair of TMNT Mask sunglasses, Schwings shoe lightning bolts, an air freshener (Sonic The Hedgehog), a Deadpool magnet and several digital codes for video games.  It’s an appealing selection if you happen to like the subject. 

Subscriptions begin at $13.37 plus S & H with three and six month discounted plans available.  But, the value of the crate really depends on the subscribers interests.  I love the “Heroes” crate, but previous crates have focused on Adventure Time, Transformers, zombies and Attack on Titan, among others.  For me, personally, if it’s not of interest, is it worth paying twenty bucks for a box of stuff?  For many, that might very well be the appeal. 

Loot Crate has also successfully leveraged it’s audience into a community, that includes all forms of social media.  If gamer and geek culture is what you enjoy, give Loot Crate a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

12 Hole Plastic Wolverine Tenor Ocarina in C Major

I have no musical skills and this officially licensed ocarina was as useless to me as a recorder in elementary school.  Includes an instructional booklet, neck strap and Marvel Hero Themes Songbook.  I gave it a shot and every attempt sounded like the death rattle of a member of Menudo.  It’s incredibly well constructed and based on other reviews, if you know anything about ocarinas, it’s a really solid model.  It’s just not for me. 

It made me kill Menudo.

Skinit Laptop Skin

On their website, Skinit Device Skins (or “Protection by design”), “are the easy way to protect your electronics and personalize them at the same time by using a thin protective “skin” applied directly to the surface of your device.  Each skin is made from a flexible, super-strong, vinyl material from Premium Quality that has been specially crafted to perfectly fit every corner, cutout and curve of your device – providing the ultimate in custom lightweight protection from everyday bumps, scuffs and scratches.  And best of all, when you’re ready to change up your style it’s easy, simply pull off your old skin and replace with a new one, no mess, no residue.”

I’ve actually used these on several different devices from different manufacturers in the past and actually have found this one to be the best one yet.  It applies incredibly easy (I applied it to my laptop) and despite going everywhere with me, there’s little surface distress and absolutely no fraying or cracking.  The colors are bright and vibrant, the image sharp and overall, is a highly recommended product.  What makes it even cooler is that the company offers a tremendous amount of flexibility; offering decals for walls, automobiles and virtually every kind of electronic device.  They also offer customized earbuds, Neoprene Sleeves and leather cases in a number of styles.

Among the properties offered are sports teams, photographs, colleges and most importantly, pop culture-centric choices including Masters of The Universe, Hello Kitty, Batman, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, Superman and Disney characters.

Another fantastic option is the ability to customize your own skin with an image or photograph that you upload.  Prices vary based on the size of the device, though gift cards are available.  It’s important to note that these skins will protect the surface, but not the device (you still shouldn’t drop anything), but, with the ability to customize and tweak the look of your beloved device, it really is a must have. 

Veho Ayrton Senna Pebble Smartstick+ 3000mAh Portable Charger

This stylish portable charger is one of the best I’ve used yet.  Incredibly versatile, the Pepple Smartstick offers 3000mAh capacity and includes a USB output for complete universal compatibility and comes with charging adapters for iPhone (30-pin), Micro USB, Mini USB, Sony Ericsson and Noki as well as a small bag.  Wherein lies a small problem.  The charger includes a clip for your belt loop or bag, but you also need to bring the adapters with you, which is just something else to worry about.  This certainly doesn’t interfere with the quality of the Smartstick, but if it offered a storage space at the opposite end of the stick (away from the USB port) for the adapters, this already excellent product would easily become an essential one.  Highly recommended.

World Tech Toys Superman RC Helicopter

The Man of Steel has certainly flown more gracefully than he did with me in this remote control helicopter.  Arriving fully assembled in the box, the helicopter also included a basic remote control, which did take some getting used to as the Superman copter nearly took out most of Metropolis flying out of control.  Fortunately, since it’s designed for users 8 and up, it’s pretty damned sturdy despite all of the crashes.  The World Tech Toys line also includes Batman and The Joker, though I wish the designs were a bit more creative, allowing it to appear that Superman was flying rather than being propelled via the top of his head.

Cthuluau T-shirt

Redbubble offers some of the best shirts by some of the most talented artists around.  This mash-up of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos and your typical Martin Denny ultralounge tiki artwork by HeartattackJack.  This must have design is available in a number of styles, t-shirt colors, sizes and materials and like Vincent Price with his Tiki statue, Oliver, on the Brady Bunch Hawaii episodes, captures horror with a Polynesian twist!  Recommended.

Star Wars First Edition Boba Fett STREET by 50 On-Ear Headphones

I spend at least twelve hours a day either in front of a computer and more often than not, need to wear headphones to both block what I’m listening to as well as the ambient noise of my surroundings.  These Boba Fett headphones might be the coolest listening device this side of Anchorhead. 

With a matte green headband, glossy rust-colored ear caps and ivory leather memory-foam cushions and truly fantastic sound (superb base and clarity), these headphones are also comfortable to wear for long periods of time.  Included within the package are an embossed carry case, a Star Wars branded removable cable with 3- click mic, a cleaning cloth, a First edition Star Wars poster, a -sheet of first edition Star Wars stickers, an owner’s manual and a certificate of authenticity.  These headphones are truly unique, but more importantly, are first rate in terms of quality.  Highly recommended.

Star Wars Bucking Bantha T-Shirt

What’s crazier than a Tusken Raider riding a Bantha side by side?  Try taming one with nothing more than a Gaffi stick and the power of one’s upper thighs.  This shirt shows of the fanciest place in all of anchorhead, where the blue milk is flowing, the party is happening and the kitchen is womp rat free.  The soft 100% cotton shirt is the nicest thing this side of Mos Eisley.  Get it now, before all the kids who hang out at Tosche Station start wearing them.

Ghostbusters Glow Logo Black T-Shirt

Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?  With Ghostbusters celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year and the film returning to theaters next weekend, what better way to honor those who hunt spooks, specters, ghouls and ghosts?  That’s right, this classic black shirt is sure to let those pesky poltergeists know you mean business, and when the lights turn off, the business continues, as the shirt’s glow in the dark ghost icon is sure to remind everyone of the most important thing of all; don’t cross the streams.

Atari Classic Logo T-Shirt

From Pong to the Atari 2600, this classic logo defined videogames during the Seventies and early Eighties. Whether you logged in hours at home or dropped a stack of quarters every afternoon, Atari represented all that was cool: Space Invaders, Asteroids, Missile Command, Spy Hunter, Battlezone, Frogger, Burger Time and Dig Dug.  This 100% cotton shirt is a reminder to that as well as to your own childhood.

Sniff… I think I have something in my eye.  Got a tissue?

Batman Beyond POP! Vinyl Figure

These POP! Vinyl figures can take even the most intimidating figure in pop culture history and make them ridiculously appealing.  The latest figure to check out is the uber-adorable, Batman Beyond.  This future Batman, Terry McGuinness, wears a prototype suit designed by his mentor, the original Batman, Bruce Wayne. 

This figure is ready to protect future Gotham City. 

And your desk.

SpruKits Batman: Arkham City Level 2

Bandai’s Sprukits combine making models with action figures in this unique product line.  I’ve never been a model maker.  I’ve never had the patience or discipline that it requires to do it well.  The Sprukit, however, combines a detail heavy, but fairly easy snap together assembly which results in a fully articulated action figure.  This particular figure was a Level 2, which was an intermediate level model.  It over an hour and a half to build (in no small part to trying to assemble the small joints in my large mitts), and the pieces come molded in several colors so it doesn’t require any paint (if I were more talented, there are a few areas that could benefit, however).  The cape is made from a thin paper-like plastic sheet, which lends itself a bit better to posing it on a shelf rather than any actual play.  There are several iterations of the Batman character himself in Sprukits (this one is based on the Arkham video game franchise) and is appealing enough for any fan of the Caped Crusader.  Putting it together was actually fun and my next step is to tackle a Level 3.

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