Saturday, 17 June 2017

Because I'm Nothing If Not Capricious...

...I'm going to be heading to TFNation again this year.

Except I'm not just being capricious - despite my misgivings about last year's event, I did enjoy some of it and said at the time that I would go again if there was a particularly interesting guest. Unfortunately, by the time Venus Terzo (the voice of Blackarachnia in Beast Wars/Beast Machines) was announced, there didn't seem to be any rooms available at the convention hotel. Well, it was either that, or I spent a few more weeks procrastinating before trying to book... Probably the latter, now I think about it.

I spent a short while trying to find an alternative hotel nearby and, at that point, failed miserably... But a second attempt, more recently, netted a better result. So, I'll not be staying at the convention hotel, but I will be staying nearby. The short walk between venues shouldn't pose a problem... and hopefully my hotel this year will be easier to locate in the dark..?

To be honest, I'm not expecting much improvement on the setup of last year's - the MCM London Comic Con has been going on for over ten years now, and getting in is no better (just different) each time, so I've no reason to expect a much smaller event like this will develop any better - but there's no Roll Out Roll Call this year, so I figured I may as well give it a second try.

I'll be going on my own again, as my girlfriend wasn't keen to come, so I may end up giving the evening's entertainment a miss, or just go for the script reading... I'll probably make up my mind on the day.

In other news, my birthday netted me only one new TransFormer - RiD2015 Fracture, from my sister - because I'd asked my folks to steer clear of my 'Plastic Crack' wish list due to lack of space. I'm getting very much behind in my write-ups of new stuff while I try to plough through some of my existing drafts (less than 60 to go)... and, unfortunately, won't have much time for photography this weekend, or anything next weekend, as we're having a short holiday over the last week of June. Bit of a shame, as I actually did quite a few posts in May, but there we go. There's more to life than toy blogging.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Last Knight - Trailer Reactions (and Further Toy Musings)

I'll put my cards on the table and preface this opinion piece by saying that I'd made up my mind - quite some time ago - to avoid seeing TransFormers: The Last Knight. It was evident from the earliest trailers that it had taken the franchise's ongoing retconning game way too far, linking the story of these shapeshifting alien robots with Arthurian legend pushed things into the realms of the utterly ridiculous... and that's coming from someone who read the UK Marvel comics circa Man of Iron. That said, a glut of trailers - some almost character-specific - have been released (and there may well be more to come, even now), and I've been watching them for a reason to change my mind.

I haven't seen one yet.

Friday, 26 May 2017

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2017/Generations Lifeline

(Femme-Bot Friday #41)
With Fun Publications' loss of the TransFormers Collectors' Club license at the end of 2016, the fifth and final year of their Subscription Service hit the kinds of delays that members hadn't seen since the first couple of years, back in 2005-6. This didn't really bother me a great deal, as there was only one figure that interested me in the whole set - the almost inevitable green repaint of Generations/Legends Arcee as a Paradron medic, seen briefly in the G1 cartoon - so I hadn't subscribed. It's often a huge risk to not grab a Club exclusive at the earliest opportunity as their prices tend to skyrocket very quickly... but, given the cost of year five of the Subscription Service, it was a gamble I was willing to take.

Of course, the other gamble is, will the figure actually be worth even the first, very slightly inflated secondary market price?

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Last Knight/Premier Edition Optimus Prime

I'll be honest: I didn't bother picking up any version of Age of Extinction Optimus Prime. I was vaguely interested by the improved CGI accuracy, remolded parts and superior paint job of Takara Tomy's Movie Advanced Armour Knight Optimus Prime, but the model itself still looked like a trainwreck. The entire robot was folded up inside the cab, most of nose of the truck ended up on the backs of his legs and the entire rear section hung off his back, untransformed in any way. Compared to the previous Leader class figures, it was a disaster of reduced budget and oversimplified transformation, mitigated only by the extra attention Takara Tomy lavished upon its appearance but, even so, the £150+ pricetag is way more than I'd ever be willing to pay.

Cut to the run-up to The Last Knight, when images of a smaller, yet more impressively designed reworking of the new Optimus Prime character model showed up, actually looking pretty decent. Despite my misgivings about the character's redesign, the toy certainly looked as though it would be worth a look, and so became something of an impulse buy...

...But was it worthwhile after all?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2016/Combiner Wars Bludgeon

Out of all the TFSS4.0 figures announced, I'd say I was least enthused by Bludgeon. Not that the Photoshop-recoloured images and the new head sculpt didn't impress me, just that the Hot Spot mold seems to have had more use than just about any other Combiner Wars torso Voyager figure (bearing in mind that I don't own a single iteration of the Optimus Prime/Motormaster truck mold). Also, by the time this package arrived in the post, I'd already planned to acquire Unite Warriors Bruticus, eventually giving me three very similar gestalts on my shelves.

But, this is the final part of the Collectors' Club's very own, 'unique' gestalt, Thunder Mayhem, along with the other members of the Mayhem Attack Squad: Needlenose, Grabuge/Ruckus, Spinister and Windsweeper. Let's first see how Bludgeon fares in his own, individual form...

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Revenge of the Fallen Dirt Boss

Ever have one of those times when you look at a figure in your collection and wonder why you bothered buying it? I don't often have moments of introspection of that particular kind, but I suspect the extended toylines of the live action movies - that is, the toys made of character not actually featured in the films, but developed as concept art or for the licensed videogames - probably account for the greatest proportion of those few I have.

Probably the finest example of this very specific breed of buyers' remorse would be Dirt Boss - one of the toys based on a drone from the videogame of the first movie. Some of those drones took on cool alternate modes, like jets and cars... Dirt Boss became a small forklift...

Oh well, let's get on with it...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Last Knight/Premier Edition Barricade

Despite an astonishing lack of character, Barricade was one of the more interesting Decepticons in the first live action movie, if only because he was the first one sent to track down the AllSpark's location, and he chose to disguise himself as a police car. His fate was uncertain at the end of that movie, and he didn't appear in Revenge of the Fallen, only to resurface - briefly, and without explanation - in Dark of the Moon which, again, left his fate uncertain.

Now, having been absent for Age of Extinction, the Bad Cop is back... with a new vehicle mode and a whole new look... So, what's the 411?

Monday, 8 May 2017

Dark Portents

Every so often, a fairly random thought - that is to say, unrelated to whatever I'm actually doing at the time - will pop into my head and nag at me persistently until I do something about it... This morning, for example...

It occurred to me, while I was getting ready for work, that it was pretty much right after the HeadMasters , Targetmasters and Powermasters of Generation 1 that I lost interest in TransFormers toys and that, not quite thirty years later, TransFormers toys have basically come full circle with Titans Return. "What does this mean?" I wondered, "Does it have any significance?"

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Revenge of the Fallen Swerve

Back when I wrote about the original Deluxe RotF Sideswipe, very nearly eight full years ago and less than a year into this blog, I noted that the Corvette Stingray would look awesome in red, since that would have been a far more fitting colour for Sideswipe. It didn't take too long for Hasbro to release a red repaint, albeit as a difference character... Though, in a lot of ways, it looks more like a cheeky way of producing a more G1-referential version of movie Sideswipe considering Swerve had traditionally been a truck rather than a sports car...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

iGear Con Air Raptor Squadron IG-C03 Thunder-Wrath

It's been over a year since I picked up the three members of iGear's Raptor Squadron and, while I'd intended to get through them all in fairly quick succession, things haven't worked out that way... I guess part of the problem is that they are basically identical bar their colourschemes, making the exercise seem like a bit of a chore at times.

Nevertheless, let's have have a closer look, to see if there's anything special about iGear's vaguely IDW-style take on Thundercracker

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Last Knight/Premier Edition Berserker (AKA Crankcase v2)

The toyline from Dark of the Moon was extremely variable. Much of it was remakes and fine-tuning of existing figures (most notably those Autobots who actually survived the first two movies) and a whole lot of the random Decepticon background 'characters' never made it into toy form. The Dreads - an indentikit set of spike monsters that transformed into identical SUVs - didn't all make it onto the shelves in the same size class, and the only one of them to come out as a Deluxe, Crankcase, was a hopeless mess of car panels and fragility.

Cut to the fifth movie in the increasingly ridiculous live action movie franchise, and we're introduced to a Decepticon supposedly known only as 'Berserker'... who looks remarkably similar to Crankcase. Berserker somehow managed to be part of the first wave of The Last Knight's toys, and early photos suggested that Crankcase's character model has finally been done justice... So let's take a closer look...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

TLK Definitely Out...

After a false start last weekend - when I was under the mistaken impression that The Last Knight toys must have hit the shelves because photos were cropping up all over the internet - I popped back over to the recently-opened branch of Toys'R'Us in Uxbridge this morning, with a somewhat greater sense of certainty that I'd find something new and exciting...

...And, initially, I was disappointed - their 'Action & Adventure' section at the back featured only RID2015 and Titans Return stuff, and precious little even of that. Of course, Toys'R'Us have the habit of putting the new and exciting stuff right up the front of the shop but, sadly, in the Uxbridge branch, this location is utterly counter-intuitive, because the racks face into the shop, and you'll likely only glance at them on your way out again. Most of it is still full of toys from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One, but I did happen to notice the new 'Premier Edition' packaging of Hasbro's The Last Knight toys, and gladly picked up the interesting portion of Wave 1 (ie. not the AoE Bumblebee repaint).


Of course, I say "gladly", but a look at the price tag certainly gave me pause: £22.99 for the Deluxes, £32.99 for Optimus Prime. Putting things in nice display boxes and labelling them 'Premier Edition' isn't enough to make them premier quality, and the paint jobs on the Deluxes looks pretty sparse even in the boxes. Sure, Optimus Prime has a mass of silver paint over his torso and shins, but the arms and chest panels are lacking the flame pattern and there's very little detail work in general... When something is described as 'Premier Edition' and comes with a higher than normal price tag, I'd expect something significantly better than the average mass retail paint job, even if it's not as opulent as some of the Collectors' Club's output, and I see precious little here that might fit that description.

Essentially, we now have Deluxes at the old Voyager price tag (circa Dark of the Moon, if not Age of Extinction) and Voyagers costing as much the now defunct Ultra class (those toys that were a touch larger than a Voyager and often featured lights and sounds, but weren't big or impressive enough to count as Leader class) and I've yet to see what a Leader class figure will cost on this sceptred isle.

The odd thing about all this is, what with the reduced size and complexity of the figures, the dull paintwork and the increased cost, I've gone from being super-excited about a new TransFormers movie toy range and high expectations for a cast of toy-only supplementary characters, to thinking "Well, the movie sounds as though it'll be crap, so perhaps it's a good thing that Hasbro are currently less likely to produce an extended range of characters under this 'Premier Edition' banner".

There is the sense that actually producing toys to accompany these movies based on a toyline is now a perfunctory process for Hasbro, not helped by the fact that they permitted the designers of the movie robots to create characters who cannot be translated into transforming plastic models without resorting to just folding the robot up inside a vehicle shell. The first three movies just about managed this with varying degrees of success, but the decline into shellforming certainly began with Dark of the Moon and took on a life of its own with Age of Extinction.

I'll obviously go into more detail on all three of these - and any others I might pick up from future waves - at some point (hopefully soon) but, while I'm not absolutely disappointed in them, even at these inflated prices, there's still plenty of room for improvement, though it seems increasingly unlikely - in these economically uncertain times, where Hasbro has to have multiple continuities on the go at all times - that we'll ever get back to the awesome detail and complexity of the Revenge of the Fallen toyline...

Sunday, 16 April 2017

CW Sky Lynx Addendum

Or

Several Subtle but Worthwhile Adjustments to a
Flawed but Fun Figure


Straight out of the box, there were several issues with Sky Lynx. First and foremost, not one of the white hip-caps had been properly attached in the factory, so I had to remove and reseat all of them. Next up, I couldn't understand why the two angled fins had been attached backward (ie. angling forward) compared to the main upright fin, so I switched both around. It has a negligible effect on the look of the Sky Reign torso, but nothing serious and, frankly, both vehicle mode and robot mode look far better with all the fins angling backward.

The two vertical extensions of the red neck
piece had to have their tips shaved back
to allow the joint to move
The more serious modifications actually required the use of tools: in Sky Lynx's robot neck, there appeared to be three hinges - one at the base, one at the mid-point where the red part connects to the grey, and one at the back of the head - but only the outer two would move. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that the red part of the hinge had been melted slightly, or otherwise damaged, such that the warped plastic blocked the movement of the joint. Cutting away a thin sliver of plastic on each side released the hinge, granting smooth movement and a more natural-looking 'curve' to the neck.

The blue parts of the wings are exceedingly floppy, and I'd seen a fix online where the wings are opened up and a layer of sticky tape is placed over the hole in the blue part to add some extra friction. For mine, I used pieces of plastic film because, basically, while I remembered the gist of how to fix the problem, I'd forgotten that sticky tape was used... It worked exactly the same way, but the downside was that the pieces of plastic film had to be held in place with tweezers because, unlike tape, they didn't adhere to the plastic of the wing.

Definitely a more natural, animal-like look
The front legs form the gestalt's thighs and, straight out of the box, the ratchets are barely functional. Fixing this required the gestalt's groin to be unscrewed to access the workings of the joint. There are small white plastic pieces seated in grooves on the inside, but the grooves are so deep that the protrusion barely meets the teeth of the ratchet wheel. They need to be yanked out so that the grooves can be filled slightly. I used four slivers of an old business card (two in each groove seemed to fill to a more functional depth), but thin styrene sheet might be longer-lasting for this purpose. Once done, the ratchts are firm enough to allow Sky Reign to stand even in some fairly wide stances.

The back legs were a different matter, and - I believe - more personal preference than assembly error. I think the idea of the back legs is that the hip and ankle are the only joints you're meant to use in robot mode - the 'knee' is really just a transformation joint. Thus, the thigh is supposed to be more than just the broadly circular hip joint, the actual knee - where the combiner point sits - is fixed at a 90° angle, and the ankle is intended to be poseable. There are two problems with this idea:
  • With a longer thigh and a fixed knee, the sculpted 'wheel' details on the belly flap get in the way of the legs, and they can't raise into a natural enough standing position.
  • The ankles are generally far too loose to be worthwhile, and sag under Sky Lynx's body weight.
Hence, in just about every photo of CW Sky Lynx I've seen, his back legs were in a bizarre zig-zag configuration that just looked wrong. I figured all it needed was for the lower red sections of legs to switch round for the legs to look more natural without exposing the screws in robot mode (technically, one could just rotate them round, after all, and then flip the blue feet upside down, but this exposes the screws). As a result of this change, the blue feet are stopped in a fairly natural position, allowing the leg as a whole to look more natural without any sagging. It also leaves the combiner ports on the backs of the legs, where they're far less intrusive on the overall look of Sky Lynx.

There are two problems with this, however:
  • In vehicle mode, the feet no longer fold into the lower legs and just have to either be left extended out the back of the vehicle, or be folded over each other. Given that the rear of the vehicle looks crap without modification, neither of these solutions makes it look any worse and, arguably, overlapping the feet offers some improvement on the stock model.
  • With the feet attached upside down, they no longer peg into the shoulders in Sky Reign's torso mode, which leaves the rotation joint effectively giving the gestalt an additional joint at the shoulders, allowing him to reach across his own chest to a small degree. Swings and roundabouts, I guess...
I also feel that the rear claws didn't need to be extended quite so far from the ankle, so perhaps some enterprising Shapeways user will come up with shorter, alternative feet for this configuration, with a peg at the toes so they can lock into the shoulder for greater stability in gestalt torso mode...

Sky Lynx - The Fan Modes

Naturally, when it was revealed that Sky Lynx was no longer the gestalt machine-beast-thing of yesteryear, it didn't take long for fans to start messing about with his transformation to create a 'dinobird-only' form and a 'lynx-only' mode, with varying degrees of success.

DinoBird:
Clumsy and lumpy, there's far too much breast on this weird hybrid bird, though it actually looks pretty good from behind. From the front, the wings seem way too small to be effective... but then, he does have rocket boosters for thrust... My reconfigured legs work far better than the stock figure's, not least because his feet actually support his weight, but mainly because they bend in the right direction to be robo-drumsticks.

Sky Lynx's weapons look best as an extended tail in his form, giving him another point of balance if necessary. They can be mounted on this wings, but don't look any more effective in this mode than they do in vehicle mode.


Lynx:
Not perfect by any means - the legs are even more bizarre in this form than on the official transformation - but the biggest problems are the continued presence of the wings and the undisguised shuttle-tail. Most folks seem to take advantage of the former to make him a sort of robo-Sphynx, but the latter has no truly effective solution. The best I've seen has the shuttle's nose fully extended, then twisted upside down at the robot's neck joint... it looks more like a tail that way, but it's an extremely chunky tail. Due to Sky Reign's head coming out of the booster section of the shuttle, Lynx mode has a large white ruff with wings of its own... Not exactly majestic, but not terrible either.

The weapons can be mounted on his front legs, and look pretty good there, though quadruped beast-type robots traditionally have their weapons mounted on their bodies or their back legs.


Combiner Wars Sky Lynx

Back in the days of Generation 1, Sky Lynx was yet another of those toys that Hasbro 'appropriated' into the TransFormers line and, like Omega Supreme and Shockwave, he never appeared in the UK (in retrospect, it's rather suprising we got Jetfire!). In fact, Sky Lynx was one of the very strange few who never had an official Japanese release until appearing in the Encore line back in 2008... and he's still never had an official UK release.

I'd been debating whether or not to try to track down the Encore figure - it's still fairly easily available almost ten years after it appeared, albeit pretty expensive on the secondary market - when, all of a sudden, a year or so ago, Hasbro released images of a whole new Sky Lynx for the Combiner Wars line - a Voyager class figure that would become the torso of a wholly original gestalt named Sky Reign. It met with a fairly mixed reception, so I wasn't entirely sure I wanted it after all... and only really made up my mind when I realised that my purchase of the Deluxe class Groove left me with three 'spare' limb-bots (two from the Collectors' Club's Subscription Service year 4), giving me the opportunity to level the playing field between Autobot and Decepticon gestalts with a slightly customised Sky Reign.

But is this new Sky Lynx sufficiently glorious as a homage to be worthwhile in and of himself..?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Last Knight/New Designs - Early First Impressions

So, we've been seeing photos from a couple of toy shows featuring toys from the line accompanying the new live action movie, The Last Knight and many of them look... familiar. Bumblebee is yet another reshelling of the honed-to-perfection figure they got right back in the Revenge of the Fallen toyline (only to take several steps backward with each subsequent figure, culminating with the over-simplified mess of a toy based on the over-complicated mess of CGI that was Age of Extinction 'Bee). Drift and Crosshairs are reshellings, with the most exciting aspect of the two of them being Drift's new, eyeball-melting orange colourscheme and an inverted transformation versus the AoE Deluxe. There's a new Optimus Prime - obviously - which looks leagues better than either of the Leader Class figures from the AoE toyline, despite being only a Voyager. The only major improvements are with the Decepticons... A new Barricade looks decent, a new seemingly generic character known only as 'Berserker' is the Crankcase toy we should have got in the Dark of the Moon toyline, rather than the brittle piece of crap than came out at the time...

...And the new Megatron...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Titans Return Hot Rod & Firedrive

It should come as no surprise that, when the Classics line came along in 2006, certain characters from TransFormers: The Movie - set in 2005/6 - featured quite prominently. Hot Rod - rebranded as Rodimus, no doubt for complex legal reasons - was one of the very first releases, and the mold was reused about a billion times over the years, twice by the Collectors' Club, and most recently appearing in a Platinum Edition boxed set. It was a decent mold for the time, but certainly not one of the best... and plenty of people have been wanting a proper Deluxe class update of G1 Hot Rod for a good few years, given that we have two Masterpiece versions as well as interpretations for other continuities (though surprisingly not TF Prime where, arguably, Smokescreen took his role).

Cut to Titans Return, where Hasbro is basically reliving their glory days once again by rebooting the entire Classics line, and remaking quite a few characters who received adequate toys ten years ago, but are now considered ripe for updating into the latest part of the continuing Generations line... and, finally, we have a Hot Rod named Hot Rod rather than some variation of Rodimus...

Friday, 24 February 2017

TransFormers Collectors' Club BotCon 2007 (Timelines) Springer

Back while Hasbro were still insisting that they wouldn't be doing Triple Changers in the foreseeable future (I'm actually a little hazy on whether that was before or after the lukewarm Octane (aka Tankor) and Astrotrain), there were several attempts to repurpose more standard two-form TransFormers into one of the much-beloved characters from the 1986 animated movie, Springer. Hasbro themselves released a version of him repainted from Galaxy Force Live Convoy in a two-pack with Ratbat repainted from GF Noisemaze, then followed that up with Springer as a Legends class Osprey helicopter as part of the extended toyline for Revenge of the Fallen. That took care of Springer-as-Helicopter... but what about Springer-as-Armoured-Car..?

Enter the BotCon 2007 additions to the Games of Deception boxed set, where a ground-based version of the character was repurposed out of a surprisingly appropriate source...

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

TransFormers Legends (Titans Return) LG25 Blurr

Back in the 80s, the G1 Blurr toy was an easy pass for me: a large, poorly proportioned mess of a robot that transformed into a sci-fi doorstop of a hover car and, in the thirty-plus years since the character's introduction in the animated movie, only one Blurr toy - the TransFormers Animated version - seemed worth picking up thanks to its improved design and articulation.

...And then Titans Return happened, and Blurr's G1 wedge-shaped alternate mode returned, with massive improvements both to the vehicle mode and the robot mode... albeit with the slightly incongruous Titan Master aspect tacked on. Blurr had been one of the G1 Autobot TargetMasters, along with Hot Rod and Kup, so reinventing him as a HeadMaster initially seemed like a poor choice. That, coupled with Hasbro's hideous colourscheme (seemingly based on the G1 toy, but with less colour variety) made him an easy pass all over again.

But then photos of the Takara Tomy version, from their Legends line (continuing from their 30th Anniversary releases), surfaced, and suddenly the HeadMaster aspect didn't seem so bad after all... And it's about time I posted about something properly new... Though, unlike the other TF Legends figures I've picked up, I won't bother writing about the packaging...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

TransFormers United 2-pack: UN-20 Rumble & Frenzy

If there's one thing I find frustrating and disappointing about the TransFormers brand, it's the reliance on tanks to solve just about any issue with updating a character's form. Megatron can't be a gun anymore because gun toys are considered more dangerous and contentious in America than real guns? Make him a tank. Shockwave can't be a space gun anymore because space guns are still guns? Make him a space tank.

Perhaps I shouldn't be so fussy about a toyline which is still, let's face it, predominantly made up of cars... but surely there are better updates to contentious G1 alternate modes than tanks?

And yet, just because the extended Classics line had no Soundwave of its own (despite there being a sort of contemporary figure in one of Takara Tomy's short-lived offshoot lines), two of his more enduring minions appeared in somewhat familiar and sadly unimaginative forms...

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Unite Warriors UW-07 Decepticon Combaticon Combiner Bruticus

Back in the days of Generation 1, I had much better luck with the Decepticon combiners than the Autobots, managing to complete two of the former (Menasor and Abominus) and most of another (all the Seacons except Snaptrap, who I only picked up on eBay a few years ago) without any of the latter (3 out of 4 limbs for Defensor seems, in retrospect, a little underachieving). The truth was, the Autobots weren't that interesting - Defensor looked a bit boxy, Superion looked very gangly and Computron's components just looked pretty awful to me. Also, with G1 Devastator not making it over to these shores, I felt compelled to compensate by focussing on the Decepticon gestalts anyway.

The one I never got round to was Bruticus and, while Hasbro released his Combiner Wars incarnation as a G1 toy homage - with only one new mold (Brawl) and one reshelling (Swindle, from Rook), reducing Blast Off from a space shuttle to a jet (albeit a more appropriate vehicle  for a military unit) - Takara Tomy aimed for a more cartoon-accurate vibe and created a whole new mold for the Decepticons' 'Space Warrior'.

Of course, buying the Takara Tomy boxed set on import makes it rather more expensive than the version I could pick up piecemeal in UK toy shops... but is it worth the extra..?

Pricing Insanity

It's actually pretty rare, at the moment, that I'll buy any TransFormers in a physical shop, largely because there aren't any decent toy shops close enough to me that the potential for disappointment (nothing new in stock, limited selection, etc.) is outweighed by the likelihood of scoring an awesome new purchase. Out of town, the most easily accessible shop is the Uxbridge branch of The Entertainer. Across the outskirts there's a Toys'R'Us at Brent Cross, another at Watford and the Friern Barnet branch of Smyths (the latter more easily accessible from work than from home). I gather from a trip in to Uxbridge yesterday that the Intu complex will soon boast its very own - and permanent - Toys'R'Us, following the pop-up branch that arrived shortly before Christmas one year, then disappeared very soon into the New Year. The last time I regularly put in the legwork and visited toy shops was back when the Revenge of the Fallen toyline was in full swing, although I did pick up quite a few Combiner Wars figures in the Smyths at Friern Barnet.

We're also in something of a period of economic uncertainty, with the 'Brexit' referendum causing the value of the pound to plummet against the Euro, the US Dollar and the Yen. This would naturally have an impact on the cost of our Plastic Crack, but the pattern thusfar seems to show a specific, strange, yet not entirely unexpected bias. Leader Class toys have long been fairly stable in the region of £40-45, so the RRP of a Leader Class figure in the Titans Return range being £45/£45.99 seems perfectly acceptable (unless you get really technical and compare the likes of Powermaster Optimus Prime or Soundwave with Revenge of the Fallen Optimus Prime - same pricepoint, vastly different levels of complexity). Even the Voyager class figures have been creeping steadily upward from about £18 to £25 over the last decade. Size-wise, they've been reasonably stable so they presented probably the best value for money over that same period.

So, when I visited The Entertainer yesterday, while I was expecting neither to buy anything nor to even see anything new, I was surprised by a couple of things: firstly, they actually had TR Voyager class (triple-changin') Optimus Prime and Megatron (at £27 each); secondly, there had been a significant price hike in the Deluxe class Titans Return figures in only a couple of weeks: last time I was there, they were £20... Now they're £23.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Beast Wars Neo Mach Kick

OK, now for something from the weirder portion of my collection, to celebrate another milestone - TFCC/SS4.0 Windsweeper being my 500th post to this blog - it's kind of a shame I didn't hit the 500th post before starting the new year, considering how close I was... but I've had a hard time with anything creative recently...

I think I've mentioned before how the more ambitious Beast Wars molds came along after Hasbro had gradually started reorienting the brand back towards the mechanical, and Takara picked up the idea and ran with it in some very strange directions. The original set of characters was quite small and, while it certainly covered a wide range of animal types, quite a few others were conspicuous by their absence... For the most part, the animals of Beast Wars Neo were fun, quirky, and beautifully detailed.

Robot modes, however... that's where things went truly bonkers...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2016/Combiner Wars Windsweeper

And so, we come to the final limb of Thunder Mayhem, the former G1 Triggercon Windsweeper. Before even taking this thing out of its box, there was a sense of disappointment about it, because there are only three Aerialbot jet molds, and two of them - Firefly and Skydive - seem to be getting the used over and over again, while the one figure that was not made available officially in the UK seems notably by its absences in the repaints... even though it has actually been reused just about as many times.

It also seems a bit sad that the Skydive mold was only recently repainted for BotCon 2016 set (as General Cicadacon), furthering the impression that certain molds are getting more attention than others.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Perfect Effect PE-DX05 'Beast Muscle' Leonidas

Every so often, a Third Party release comes along that has my attention from the very first images. There's no real pattern to it, but there's frequently a connection to my earlier collecting habits.

One of the stranger examples is this - Perfect Effect's pre-Beast Wars reimagining of Lio Convoy. Granted, I'm a fan of the original, and I love the Collectors' Club's 2015 Membership Incentive version, but this is a version of the character who transforms into a robotic lion... which basically doesn't make sense in the context of Beast Wars... or, really, any TransFormers continuity.

But when has that stopped me buying something potentially awesome?

NB: This post has been sitting in my drafts for well over a year... Nothing unusual for me, in the grand scheme of things but, in this case, there's a very good reason...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...