23 September 2017

2017 Topps UFC Chrome Hobby Box Break

The box containing my Gint-a-Cuffs box of Allen & Ginter arrived the other day, along with several other things I'd ordered. Most of the breaks were pretty good, but the Allen & Ginter box was pretty disappointing. I am having a hard time getting myself motivated to scan the cards and add up the points for the contest, but I will try to get it done by the deadline.

The product that held up the order (I placed the order in July) was 2017 Topps UFC Chrome, which got bumped back quite a bit from the original release date. I ordered a box of it, as Chrome is something that Topps hadn't done yet for UFC. The box has 24 packs in it, with 4 cards per pack and two autographs per box.

The pack design mirrors the box design, so there isn't much to talk about here.

Here are the odds from the back of a pack. Based on this, I am expecting 8 base Refractors, a Blue Wave Refractor, a Green Refractor, an X-Fractor, 4 each of the Top of the Class, Museum Collection, Tier One, and UFC Fire inserts, and the two promised autographs.

Here are the front and back of Neil Magny's base card. The design is pretty familiar to anyone who collected Topps Baseball this year. The backs feature social media handles and a paragraph about the fighter. The cards look pretty good overall, although I noticed a fair number of reused images.

I got 64 base cards total in the box with no doubles, so if collation is decent you could build a 100-card base set with two boxes. This is a selection of 8 base cards I chose to scan. Randa Markos and Jim Miller are two of my primary fighter collections. Jessica Andrade and Ovince Saint Preux put on quite a show in their fights last night. I kind of collect Liz Carmouche and Stipe Miocic's cards, although I don't usually chase them down specifically. Paige VanZant is popular and I thought the Derek Brunson card had a cool image, so I included them to fill up the scan.

I pulled the expected 8 Refractors from the box. The fighter selection on these is all right, with Rose Namajunas, Mickey Gall, Nate Diaz, and Amanda Nunes being the bigger names of the group, in my opinion.

I got the expected X-Fractor in Nate Diaz, a Green Refractor of Robbie Lawler, and a Bule Wave Refractor of Raquel Pennington. The extra parallel in the lower right is a Red Refractor parallel of Matt Hughes, numbered # 4 / 5. That's a 1:359 pack insert, so I did pretty well there. The Nate Diaz is not numbered, the Robbie Lawler is # 51 / 99, and the Raquel Pennington is # 44 / 75.

The UFC Fire inserts are based on an insert called Fired Up from a previous Topps UFC Fire internet-exclusive product, but they are given the Chrome treatment for this iteration. They are pretty cool. I especially like the way the American flag pops on that Frankie Edgar card.

Again, Mueseum Collection takes the design from this year's Museum Collection product and applies the Chrome treatment to it. These look all right, although that's a lot of silver on the front of them.

I pulled the expected four base inserts from the Tier One insert, and I also got a couple of extras in the form of parallels. The Cody Garbrandt card is a Refractor and numbered # 86 / 99. That's maybe a relatively high print run, but these are a 1:73 pack insert, so not extremely easy to pull. The Anderson Silva card is even harder, being essentially a 2 per case hit at 1:144 packs. That one is a Pulsar Refractor, numbered # 23 / 50.

Closing out the inserts are four Top of the Class cards, which again take a previous UFC product and make the design shiny. There was a lot of Arianny Celeste and Chuck Liddell in this box. I also pulled the insert of Conor McGregor, who may eventually return to the Octagon after his stint in boxing.

Finally, I got my two promised autographs. These are signed on-card. I guess I could have pulled better names, but at least my base autograph is a 1st Autograph of Thomas Almeida and I got a parallel autograph of a fighter from the Women's Division in Joanne Calderwood. Both fighters display some pretty good penmanship here.

I believe Green is the most common of the autograph parallels, seeded at 1:57 packs. The Joanne Calderwood card is numbered # 43 / 99, while the base autographs are not serially-numbered.

Overall, this was a pretty good break. The cards look really good, and I got some neat stuff like a Red Refractor and a 2 per case insert. If I had $800 to blow, I would totally love to bust a case of this stuff. I know there aren't a lot of UFC collectors on the card blogs, but if you're interested in a cool UFC product I would give Chrome a shot.

21 September 2017

Pack of the Day 175: A Rack Pack of 2017 Topps Heritage High Number

I showed off a pack of 2016 Topps Heritage High Number with a pretty good pull in it a few days ago, and I decided later to try out a pack of the 2017 iteration.

Here's the front of the pack. It's got 16 cards promised inside, with possible inserts including Walmart exclusive Topps Discs. I didn't get any of those in this pack, but apparently if you want to try your hand at getting one you need to get to Walmart.

This is the back-of-pack stuff, with the odds listed for all the stuff you might find inside, as well as the No Purchase Necessary address and rules.

As is my custom, I didn't scan every card in the pack, but I did scan one card front and back. Joakim Soria was a mainstay on my fantasy baseball teams several years ago (longer ago than I thought), and he's managed to stay in the game and relevant for a few teams in the ensuing seasons, eventually returning to Kansas City.

These were my favorite cards from the rest of the base set. Clippard now plies his trade for the Astros, so I had to include his card in the scan. The Astros are actually his second team since leaving the Yankees earlier this season, as he was acquired by the White Sox in between. His outings for the Astros have been pretty rough so far.

Brandon Phillips is on the Angels now, so he's another guy in this scan who is no longer with the team he's pictured with on this Heritage Update release. Addison Reed is now with the Red Sox, so this scan is 3 for 6 with players in the wrong uniforms.

The pack wasn't done with the Astros, giving me this Rookie Performers insert of Yulieski Gurriel. These are a 1:4 pack insert, and this is the only non-base, non-SP card from the pack. I like the design on this insert, although I don't think I'll bother to chase the rest of the set down.

19 September 2017

2017 Topps Star Wars 3D Widevision: The Force Awakens

Topps released a 3D Widevision set for Star Wars: The Force Awakens quite some time ago. I received my copy of the set, but haven't ever gotten around to posting about it. The original MSRP on these was the usual $99.99, and they are still available on the Topps website as of this writing. I am not sure if this set is included in the periodic sales that Topps does, usually on major holidays, but I guess it's worth a look-see if you're a Star Wars fan who doesn't want to pay the full box price.

Each set comes in a box with a nice embossed Kylo Ren on the top. Inside you will find a complete base set and two autographs, with various parallels possible on the autograph cards. Most of the major Star Wars stars are possible pulls from this set, but I imagine the big names are extremely short-printed.

The print run on the sets was 2000 copies, and each box comes serially-numbered. I got set # 816 / 2000.

The fronts of the base cards don't scan well because of the lenticular 3D technology, but they look all right in person. You get plenty of photos from the film. There are 44 cards in the base checklist.

The card back feature a picture of one of the film's characters along the left side, a small inset picture on the upper right, and a paragraph describing part of the movie plot.

My two autograph pulls were people I didn't really recognize. Jessica Henwick also appeared in Game of Thrones and the Marvel TV shows Iron Fist and The Defenders. Brian Vernel hasn't appeared in anything that I've heard of outside of The Force Awakens.

The Jessica Henwick autograph is a base autograph, and the Brian Vernel autograph is a Gold parallel numbered # 09 / 25. The Gold parallels are seeded 1:15 boxes.

These sets are pretty cool. I have to admit that I wish I'd pulled better autographs, but the truth is that most autographs you get from Star Wars products aren't from the main characters in the films.

18 September 2017

The Who Now?

This was pretty big news a couple of months ago, but talk of it has died down since then. It might flare up again when the episodes start airing. A woman, actress Jodie Whittaker, was announced on July 16th as the 13th person to play the role of Doctor Who in the next season of the long-running series. I am not that familiar with the show, but my wife and my mother-in-law are really into it. Apparently the Doctor has taken on female form before, but not as the lead for a full season. The decision to cast a female in the role was pretty controversial among fans of the show, and the geeky news cycle blew up for a little while about it. I guess it would be similar to someone casting a female James Bond or something. There are traditionalists who yell, "It just isn't done!" and there are revolutionists who shout, "This is necessary!" and there are neutral folks who exclaim, "Let's see how it turns out before we make a judgment!"

Topps holds a license to make Doctor Who trading cards, so they capitalized on the opportunity to make a Topps Now card for the announcement. It sold 1400 copies, and I was one of the folks who ordered one. I think I got mine at a discount from an eBay seller.

I doubt I'll watch the new show. I've seen a handful of episodes from previous seasons, but I haven't ever really had the desire to watch them all. I still have a long list of things I ought to watch, but I never get around to it. I think right now the priorities on my list are Stranger Things (and pretty soon Stranger Things 2), all of the Marvel movies I've missed over the last few years, GLOW, the last season of Arrested Development, the new IT movie, and a couple of cartoons I've been meaning to check out.

17 September 2017

Pack of the Day 174: Value Pack of 2017 Panini Donruss Football

Since today was football day, I guess I'll do up a post on some NFL cards. My fantasy football team had a pretty rough go of it this week, but I'll bounce back. It's an office league, so I'll probably have to endure a little trash talk tomorrow, but at least the Broncos won in a convincing fashion against the Cowboys. That takes some of the sting off.

I grabbed this very wrinkled rack pack of 2017 Panini Donruss cards at Walmart a little while ago. There were 30 cards in the pack, but I didn't scan all of them. There are a lot of inserts and parallels and parallels of inserts in this product, but there are never any odds on Panini's packs, so I didn't bother to scan the back.

Here is the front and back of Von Miller's base card for an overview of the design. I like this design pretty well, although it suffers from the usual Panini problem of featuring minimal stats on the back. I know that all the stats in the world can be found online, but I would like to see a player's career in year-by-year lines with totals at the bottom on the back of a trading card.

These are the base cards I decided to scan. The set has retired guys mixed into the checklist. I read somewhere that each team has one retired guy in the set. I didn't bother to look over the checklist and confirm that. One theme in this pack was guys pictured in Bills uniforms with logos and colors from their new teams. I did like pulling an Adam Vinatieri card. I want to see kickers and punters and linemen in my sets.

The four cards across the top of this scan are the Blue Press Proofs promised on the front of the pack. Along the bottom are the non-standard cards from the pack. That Chris Godwin The Elite Series card is pretty wild with all the patterning. I also got a couple of Rated Rookies and one rookie card of Zach Cunningham. I'm guessing that rookie cards are short printed in this set, which is a pain in the butt for set collectors.

That's it for this one. I like the look of the product, but football cards just don't grab me the way that cards from other sports do. I will probably continue to grab a pack or two of football cards each year, but I can't see myself collecting sets or anything.

15 September 2017

Pack of the Day 173: A Discounted Rack Pack of 2016 Topps Heritage High Numbers

I've been visiting the local Walmart stores in search of the supposedly released new 2017 Topps WWE Women's Division cards that are exclusive to that retailer. So far they haven't been stocked anywhere in my area. On most of my visits I just walk away without buying anything, but I broke down one time and pulled something from the clearance bin.

You know the pickings are slim if I am buying Heritage at retail. I like Heritage as an idea, but busting packs of it is a little mind-numbing for me. I grew up as a collector in the mid-90's, so I am accustomed to being wowed by foil and inserts everywhere. This discounted rack pack of 2016 Topps Heritage High Number was the only thing on the shelf that caught my eye, so I bought it.

I didn't bother to scan the whole pack, but here are a handful of base cards that stood out to me, either because they are current Astros (Morton and Harris) or because I collect their cards (Reynolds) or because I think some other blogger collects their cards (Reimold).

I had to check the little codes on the back of the cards to see if I got anything special, since there were no apparent inserts in the pack. The Max Kepler card is a short print, and the Michael Fulmer card is an error variation card that's pretty rare. The error variation is on the back of the card, which lists his position as PITHCER instead of PITCHER. A couple of them have sold on eBay recently in the $20 range, so it's a pretty good pull from a retail discount pack of Heritage. Now I just need to see if I can find some of those new WWE cards. I'll probably hit up the Walmart stores between work and home this evening.

14 September 2017

2017 Topps Series 2 First Pitch Set

One of my favorite insert sets from the flagship Topps baseball product is First Pitch, which is an ongoing set that highlights different people who have thrown the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game. There is usually a decent mix of names on the checklist, including celebrities, athletes, and the subjects of feel-good stories. I usually pick up a set as soon as another series of Topps is released. I don't always know or like everyone on the checklist, but I enjoy seeing who gets picked and what their story is.

I didn't scan all of the cards in the 2017 Topps Series 2 First Pitch set, but I scanned a handful of them. Isaiah Mustafa is an actor who is most known to me as the Old Spice spokesman.

I don't know who Jannawockeez are, but that card is freaky enough that I included it for shock value. Brian Shaw is a strongman who has trained with a guy I know from the Army National Guard. I also saw him pick up a car like 15 times at the Bodybuilding.com Fitness Expo here in Boise a few years ago. It was on some kind of hinged sled, so he didn't lift the full weight of the car, but I saw a lot of strong strong dudes try to pick it up and fail. I think it would be neat if Topps could get autographs and relics from him for an Allen & Ginter release. Camilla Luddington is an actress whose work I am not familiar with, and Luke Donald is a golfer of some renown.

The First Pitch set has been a part of Topps for several years now, and I hope it continues to be a part of the checklist. It's one of my favorite parts of the product.