Query Datafile:


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Eighth Anniversary

I've played things a little differently this year - rather than trying to cram my picks into this post over the course of a few hours before this blog's birthday rolls around, I've added items to it gradually, over the course of the year (and pretty much finished in June, bar an honourable mention or two), so that it can go live in the morning. It's been quite a year for special releases of one kind or another, with Takara Tomy's Unite Warriors and Legends interpretations of Hasbro's Combiner Wars and Titans Return figures and some phenomenal third party products. I can't decide whether I'm glad I got back into TransFormers back in 2003, or if I'm spending too much money and letting these damned things take up too much space in my flat... I've certainly had to rotate a small chunk of my collection back into its boxes... and may decide to flog some stuff off on eBay...

But let's forget all that for the moment, and celebrate my top eight purchases since last year (with apologies for listing some figures I haven't yet properly written up!)...

1. WeiJiang 'Deformation Era' M01 OP Commander
This was a no-brainer, surely? It's basis was one of the best official TransFormers molds
from recent years, upscaled and improved upon in so many ways, creating what should
surely become the benchmark for Masterpiece figures. This would be well worth the
money even without the knockoff/upscaled weapons, but they're a welcome addition.

2. Platinum Edition G1 Trypticon
One of my last remaining Generation 1 'Holy Grail' toys, when Hasbro decided to release
this - for the first time in the UK - shortly before Christmas 2015, I didn't take long over
deciding to buy it as a Christmas treat to myself. While it's a bit clumsy and simplistic by
today's standards, there's still something very compelling about it, and I'm always tickled
to see it walking along under its own (2x C battery powered) steam.
3. Unite Warriors Combiner Haunt Leader Grand Galvatron
Easily one of the longest, most convoluted names in TransFormers history,
Grand Galvatron - ahem - unites several continuities (G1, Armada, TF Prime) into a gestalt
based on the G1 Galvatron toy's colourscheme. Its torso alone is more varied and
impressive than Hasbro's version of Galvatron, and it's a defined set, with a proper
explanation for its components, rather than the 'choose your own random limbs'
conglomeration with the most hastily-concocted, throwaway explanation I've seen
outside a Timelines character bio. Mine may suffer from a few loose joints, but the
overall figure is an awesome sight to behold.
4. BotCon 2016 Combiner Wars (not Timelines) Airazor
A cute femme-bot mold reused to create yet another FunPub Beast Wars tie-in.
While the mold isn't the most stable Hasbro/Takara Tomy have ever produced, it's an
excellent choice for the character and, for me, was about the only must-have part of
BotCon's swan song.
5. Movie Advanced Dino
While it's a huge shame that Dino didn't get an official release outside of Japan and that
the only transforming plastic interpretation we have is this Takara Tomy retooling of the
Revenge of the Fallen Sideways mold, it's a quirky mold that I quite liked, and this thing
is easily acceptable. It could use some third party parts, like the replacement feet available
on Shapeways, but the head sculpt is excellent and fits the mold well.
6. DotM Mechtech Que/Wheeljack
Another figure not released outside of the Asian market, this is quite a well-painted figure
considering it's a Hasbro-branded figure. It's not perfect, but the overall effect is closer to
the earlier movie figures than the more recent ones, and the accessories are cool.
7. Movie/G2 Dreadwing & Smokejumper
An event exclusive boxed set from Japan, released in 2010, this tends to be quite expensive
on the secondary market, but I was lucky enough to be the only bidder on an eBay auction
with a UK-based seller. The set I got isn't in perfect condition, but it's very cool nonetheless.

8. Beast Wars Metals Airrazor
Honestly, one I would have been happy to skip because of what I perceived to be a
simplistic transformation and a silly 'vehicle' mode, not to mention the lack of weapons
other than the claws mounted on her wrists, this turned out to be a pretty neat figure,
made with some gorgeous plastic... though the 'Seaplane' mode is still daft.

Honourable Mentions:
Iron Factory IF EX-16 Pink Assassin
Essentially a miniature, simplified version of Azalea, Iron Factory's take on a Cybertronian Arcee
may have a simplistic transformation, but robot mode is every bit as good as some of her larger
counterparts and, thanks to the myriad ball joints and double-jointed knees, is actually more
poseable than Hasbro/Takara Tomy's own awesome,almost-thirty-years-in-the-making take on
the character. The super-cute aesthetic works better here than it did on their 'Windsaber',
but her vehicle mode is a bit disappointing...
TF Dream Factory PJ-01 Evil-Blood Blade & UFO Toys UP-02 Mega Arm
Not a figure, but two entirely separate upgrades for a figure. If UFO Toys brought
a surprise left hook, TF Dream Factory provided the decisive knockout blow with their
UV-light spewing Murder Arm, transforming a lacklustre Leader class figure from 2009
into something that looks a lot closer to the movie CGI... in robot mode, at least. The only
downside is the mismatched colouring of Mega Arm - seemingly designed for the
Shadow Command and Dark Energon/Nightmare repaints more than the original
Rumour has it, upgrades for the legs are in the works...
...then all we'd need is a new body and a new head. Ahem.
KuBianBao Deformation Detective
While WeiJaing's upscaled knockoff of Evasion Mode Optimus Prime was a revelation
and a true Masterpiece, beyond almost anything Hasbro or even Takara Tomy have
produced, this was something of a let-down by comparison. Despite the die cast parts
and remolded head, it really feels like a knockoff. With all the metal in the torso, the robot
is very top-heavy, and those feet weren't especially useful on the dinky Hasbro Hound.
On the upside, it was fairly cheap, so I don't feel ripped off at all.

BotCon 2005 Flamewar
Having been hunting for this at a reasonable price for most of the last ten years, I'm glad
to have finally added her to my collection. She may be nothing special by today's
standards - indeed, the character has even been given a more contemporary body - but
this is one of my all-time favourite TransFormers molds, and the colourscheme is cool.
Unite Warriors Bruticus
A more G1 cartoon-oriented colourscheme and a proper Blast Off rather than yet another
bleedin' Firefly repaint (seriously, Hasbro, how many characters are you going to make
out of Firefly and Alpha Bravo?
). It's a shame Vortex wasn't more comprehensively
remolded, but at least he's approximately the right kind of vehicle.
Timelines Ramjet
A toy I wasn't expecting anything from - I haven't bothered picking up
Armada Starscream or any of the repaints because the new, smaller mold
didn't seem like a huge improvement on the original in many ways other that articulation -
but which turned out to be pretty cool. Slightly annoying that the Club's last ever
Timelines figure had some of its paint rubbed off in the box because they neglected to
add a layer of foam above the toy, but that's happened before...
MMC Reformatted Feral Queen & Nero Queen
Exclusively created for the Canadian TFCon 2016, the brought over for TFNation by
Kapow Toys, the seventh and eighth repurposings of the Azalea mold look awesome,
but certainly aren't deserving of a position in my top eight purchases of the year due to
the mold showing its age and a rather brittle feel to some of the materials.

So, that's it for another anniversary... Next year, hopefully, it'll be a top nine, likely with another few honourable mentions. I figure that, after this blog has hit its tenth year, I'll just keep doing an annual top ten purchases... assuming I'm still buying TransFormers by that point.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Robots in Disguise (2015) Windblade

(Femme-Bot Friday #40)
It comes to something when a toyline includes a homage to a toy/character that only came out one year ago... But then, Windblade isn't just another toy, she's quite a significant entry into TransFormers mythology for several reasons. First and foremost, she was the inaugural Fan-Built Bot, created from a series of online polls (an exercise which seems to have clued Hasbro in to the idea that TransFormers fans have been clamouring for more Femme-Bots, where the myriad Third Party releases did not). Secondly, she was introduced with a 4-part miniseries of comics from IDW, - written by Mairghread Scott and illustrated by Sarah Stone - in which her pivotal role in the upcoming stories (and, by extension, the toyline) was introduced.

I'm still not intending to collect the new Robots in Disguise range - I'm not a great fan of the angular aesthetic, most of the toys seem terribly simplistic and I've read reports of light and flimsy construction on some toys - but there are a few which are just no-brainers... or, at least, which should be...

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

TFNation - Day 2 & Toy Haul

Sunday got off to a better start despite not sleeping especially well again, but at least I didn't have another anxiety dream to ruin my day. I didn't bother with breakfast that day as I wasn't feeling at all hungry, but equally didn't make a beeline for the day's only purchase - the two-pack of DX9's War In Pocket G1/TransFormers: The Movie homages Leah and Toufold (aka mini-Arcee and mini-Kup). In fact, I ended up taking a walk around the hotel grounds and the nearby lake before even heading in to the main hall. After that, and having checked the day's scheduled panels, I decided to deal with checking out of teh hotel straight away, rather than risk missing the noon deadline sitting in one of the halls or wandering around the retail area.

Monday, 29 August 2016

TFNation - Day 1 & Toy Haul

The first indication I had that there was such a thing as TFNation was a somewhat cryptic business card-sized card on a table at Roll Out Roll Call. At first, I didn't even look into it and, had I known it was a convention rather than, say, a webstore selling TransFormers toys (which had been my initial assumption) I probably wouldn't have bothered with it. If I'd been told it was happening in Birmingham, specifically at one of the hotels in the NEC complex, I wouldn't have been keen because getting there would involved a train journey (I have terrible luck on trains - the first time I go anywhere is invariably a disaster) and paying for accommodation (albeit simplified as TFNation had made a deal for much-reduced rates with the hotel that was hosting the event).

In the end, I only properly found out about TFNation because of a posting on DaimChoc Reports' Facebook timeline, about Mastermind Creations' event-exclusive boxed set release of what had previously been an April Fool in their Reformatted line, Feral Queen, and its partner figure/repaint Nero Queen. It was created for a Canadian TransFormers convention but was also being brought to the UK - and TFNation - by Kapow Toys.

Monday, 22 August 2016

TFNation Waffle

This is not the full and proper summing up post (which will likely be split into two days again, as with Roll Out Roll Call) for a whole collection of reasons. I got back from TFNation yesterday evening after my train was cancelled and I had to take a later one. I'd slept very poorly over the weekend due - somewhat embarrassingly - to some very bad dreams, so I was basically exhausted the whole time anyway (Saturday in particular was a Very Bad Day for me) and, even now, feel in need of a weekend to recover (and not in the good way). Basically, I'm not yet in a frame of mind where I can look at my notes objectively and come up with a decent post.

Briefly, though, I bought some stuff, I enjoyed some stuff, and I'll write about it soon. Maybe even this coming Bank Holiday weekend...

In the meantime:
The Day 1 Haul in its meagre entirety.
Day 2 added only the DX9 War In Pocket Leah/Toufold set

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

DotM Mechtech Crankcase

The giant alien robots in the TransFormers movie series have, so far, been pretty light on character, and there haven't been any of the traditional teams so far (Starscream but no Seekers, Devastator but no properly individual Constructicons) and, when a proper team was introduced - the ground-based 'Dreads' in Dark of the Moon - they were all unceremoniously offed by the Autobots before we learned anything interesting about them.

While all three appeared on screen as large black SUVs, in a strangely uneconomical move, they were reimagined for the toyline, with two becoming Legends class cars, another being a Cyberverse Commander class jet, and only one becoming a Deluxe class toy that vaguely resembled the character's on-screen appearance. That lucky fellow was Crankcase...

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Generations (30th Anniversary) Doubledealer

As far as I can recall (and without popping back to my parents' house to raid the cupboard in which most of my G1 toys remain to this day) I only ever bought two Powermasters: Optimus Prime and Doubledealer. The former was a no-brainer (albeit quite disappointing in-hand, as it turned out) simply because it was the latest incarnation of Optimus Prime (and was accompanied, in the Marvel comics of the day, by a very strange story). The latter was rather more unusual, in that it was a Dual-Powermaster Triple-Changer with an Autobot mode and a Decepticon mode.

Sure, it wasn't unprecedented - Punch/Counterpunch came out the year before - but this was the first time a faction-switching Triple-Changer made it over to this sceptred isle. The idea of an effectively neutral character, willing to work for either side, tickled me, as did the fact that the humanoid robot was an Autobot and the bird-like robot was a Decepticon, with the vehicle mode bearing no visible insignia. This 'Thrilling 30' update, based on the Blitzwing mold, plays things a little differently...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...