Sunday, 30 July 2017

Titans Return Scourge & Fracas

G1 Scourge got a bit of a raw deal. As one of the new characters, introduced in the 1986 animated movie as one of Unicron's minions, rebuilt from one of the casualties of the Decepticons' raid on Autobot City, he represented the start of a very new direction in the toyline. No longer would there be realistic vehicle modes - the whole line was going completely Sci-Fi... and adopting all kinds of shortcuts in the process. Scourge, in particular, was one of the earliest - if not the earliest - shellformer, with most of his space-hovercraft vehicle mode ending up as squared-off 'wings' on his back after a minimal transformation.

Since then, Scourge toys have been few and far between and, aside from the Generations remake as a flying wing and the BotCon adaptation of Noisemaze, even his comic book character models tended to stick to the same bizarre look - moreover, the Third Party models have gone for a screen-accurate Masterpiece vibe rather than actually creating an alternate mode that looks like a spacecraft.

So, with the Generations figure already in my collection, I was all set to ignore the Titans Return version until I remembered that I have a newer Cyclonus and (Grand) Galvatron thanks to Unite Warriors, thus allowing my somewhat random OCD to kick in and demand I complete the set with a new Scourge...But is Hasbro's latest take on the leader of the Sweeps worth picking up?

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Combiner Wars (Custom) Sky Reign

While there is an official team - and configuration thereof - for Combiner Wars Sky Reign, I feel that all the components, even in the Unite Warriors version, turned out very lacklustre. I'd been toying with the idea of picking up CW Wheeljack and sprucing him up with Reprolabels simply because he's was the only CW Stunticon mold reuse that I don't have a version of (well, him and Drag Strip)... but the Breakdown mold he came from wasn't one of the better ones, so I ended up procrastinating.

Then, trawling through eBay one evening, I found the perfect solution, from Fun Publications' now-defunct Collectors' Club's final Subscription Service set. The package containing Toxitron and Counterpunch also contained the somewhat random choice of secret companion, Shattered Glass Starscream, based on the CW Aerialbot Skydive - with the head coming from the same mold's usage as UW Grand Galvatron component Ghost Starscream.

So, now complete, my Sky Reign looks a bit like this:

He's a bit of a jumble - made up of the last two figures from Subscription Service 4.0 - Impactor and Bluestreak - along with SS5.0 SG Starscream and then the two otherwise unoccupied Combiner Wars figures on my shelves - Rook and, of course, Sky Lynx.

And it actually works out rather well... It's a bit awkward that it features two of exactly the same mold, but I can live with that. I'm also not entirely happy with Bluestreak as an arm - the forearm is too wide and, in common with Streetwise on my Defensor, prone to falling apart because it doesn't really clip together. Plus, the wrist is a very tight fit, making the hand difficult to rotate - it almost feels as though the socket is going to pop off its mounting.

On the upside, it seems as though SG Starscream's most effective position is as an arm, because his bio (another of the better-written ones, but more on that soon) describes his hand/foot gun as unleashing and attack called the 'Null Fist'. OK, it also mentions that he can traverse five miles in a single jump in leg mode, but surely that depends on the other leg as well..?

...So I think that's pretty much it for Combiner Wars... I have three complete gestalts for each faction (albeit one Third Party set on the Decepticons' side) and, aside from possibly picking up some of the upgrade sets (particularly the TDW set for Bruiticus, so I can then transfer the Perfect Effect set over to Grand Galvatron), I'm basically happy with the way they all look. It might be nice to have an upgrade set for Sky Reign as well, but there don't seem to be any in the works...

Friday, 28 July 2017

Iron Factory IF EX-16 Pink Assassin

(Femme-Bot Friday #42)
When the first few figures in Iron Factory's line of miniaturised transforming robots appeared, there didn't seem to be much of interest to me. I'm not overly keen on smaller, more simplified models of anything, particularly if they go for the Cybertronian aesthetic (often quite lazy and of inconsistent appearance) or if I already own a larger format version. Of course, that all changed when the first of the line's Femme-Bots - Windsaber/'Miko for IronTitan' - and suddenly I was hooked.

But, when it comes to Femme-Bots, Arcee is pretty much always the starting point, and it wasn't too long before Iron Factory revealed 'Pink Assassin', their impossibly cute but heavily armed take on the franchise's most poorly represented character.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Last Knight/Premier Edition Megatron (Leader class)

Way back toward the end of May 2017, an announcement turned up on the TransFormers fan sites that Amazon UK had put up preorder listings for The Last Knight's Leader class Megatron for about £45. Before I'd made up my mind about whether I wanted it or not, the price and order button were removed. Later, without any fanfare, the preorder became available again and, being a somewhat impulsive creature, I ordered it.

Then I just had to wait for it to arrive... a wait of a little over a month. But, hey, at least I didn't have to pay the current price tag, which seems to be closer to £65!

And, since we're now three toys into this line, I'll spare you any detail about the box... Not least because the only difference (other than size) is that someone at Hasbro decreed that Leader class Megatron actually deserved four whole lines of bland bio in four languages.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2016/Combiner Wars Thunder Mayhem

By the time BotCon 2016 rolled around, Combiner Wars was already winding down but, as well as the show's exclusive gestalt boxed set - (Dawn of the) Predacus, the Club was creating another combiner of its very own via the 2016 Subscriber Service, this time collecting a motley crew of Decepticons - a pair of former Triggercons and a pair of Double Targetmasters, with a former Pretender as their leader - calling themselves the Mayhem Attack Squad and repackaged as Combiner Wars repaints, with the torso figure receiving a new head of his own and a new head for the gestalt.

I've dealt with all the components individually, so it's about time I had a look at the completed Subscription Service 4.0 figure, Thunder Mayhem...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

TransFormers Legends (Titans Return) LG35 Super Ginrai

Let's take a trip back to August 1988. Fourteen-year-old me was reading the TransFormers comics published by Marvel, frequently revolted by the artwork, but at least trying to pick it up every week (asking the newsagent who delivered our newspapers to call in a subscription didn't work, and the place at the tube station occasionally sold out, so I don't have anything like a complete run, and many of those I have are damaged due to poor storage). Having been killed off the previous year, Optimus Prime was finally returned in another of the Nebulans' bizarre experimental processes (which they seemed to enjoy regularly inflicting upon hapless Cybertronians in the name of keeping the peace), where they built themselves mech suits which basically turned them into power converters - Powermasters, in fact - for the newly-rebuilt Autobot leader and some of his cohorts. Not only that, but Powermaster Optimus Prime could combine with his trailer to become one of the few 'Super Robots' the toyline had seen (along with Ultra Magnus and all the gestalts). I can't remember offhand if I owned the toy before the character appeared in the comics, but I do remember being impressed by the idea of Optimus combining with his trailer to make a super robot... only to be extremely disappointed because the basic truck robot was a step backward from the original, Diaclone-derived figure in every way, and the combined 'Super Robot' could barely be considered poseable, even by Mini-Autobot standards.

Takara Tomy reworked and improved several aspects of this toy, releasing it as a new character, Ginrai/Super Ginrai, who coincidentally looked like Optimus Prime, but wasn't... At least until it was repainted in black, to become 'Nucleon Quest Super Convoy'.

So, when images of Hasbro's Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime surfaced, my interest was thoroughly piqued. Based on the awesome Combiner Wars/Legends Ultra Magnus structure, it had far more potential than the old G1 brick but sadly ended up with too many parts recycled from Ultra Magnus and a weirdly beige 'grey' plastic on a lot of its parts.

Of course, it took Takara Tomy to get it right, even if that did mean turning him into Super Ginrai again... but could even they unlock its full potential?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

TransFormers Legends/Tokyo Toy Show 2017 LG-EX Black Convoy

Of all the character concepts in TransFormers, Nemesis Prime (aka Scourge and, obviously, Black Convoy) has to be one of my favourites: a clone of Optimus Prime, with all his strength, intellect and skill, yet unencumbered with his compassion... and occasionally designed in such a way that he can be mistaken for Optimus by unwary (or just plain stupid) humans.

I have a number of Nemesis Primes, including a couple of exclusives/limited editions and, if I'm on the fence about a particular Optimus Prime mold, there is a good chance I'll still snap up the almost inevitable Nemesis repaint. Such was the case with the Titans Return Voyager class Optimus Prime triple-changing HeadMaster figure: as a homage to G2 Laser Prime, it was an obvious placeholder for TR Octane and while the 'Chaos on Velocitron' boxed set version's G2 toy-referencing paint job and tanker sticker looked excellent, robot mode was even more plain than the individual TR release, so it seemed like an easy pass, regardless of the long wait till Octane finally surfaced.

But then images surfaced of a Tokyo Toy Show exclusive repaint as Black Convoy - the show's fourth take on Nemesis Prime - and I was instantly hooked. I got very lucky, and managed to preorder via TFs-Express only days before they sold out, then just had to wait over a month for the event to actually happen, to make the stock available. Was it worth the wait..?

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Thanks a bunch, Photobucket...

So, Photobucket - the image hosting site I used when I first started this blog - has recently decided that one can no longer use images uploaded to their service on remote sites. I'm going to guess it wasn't a popular decision with any users, but in this day and age it's not exactly unexpected... albeit rather misjudged. I mean... why use an image hosting service if they won't permit you to show the images they host for you anywhere but on that site? And to regain this 'permission' to use your own images, you have to pay?

Thankfully, I've been using Blogger itself to host my images since March 2013 (as a result of other irritating changes they made to their 'service'), so I only have to worry about fewer than 180 posts using Photobucket... and they currently seem to be working - the only thing that alerted me to the issue was their warning image turning up in my 'Cool Your Jets' image rotation in the lefthand column, which is now hosted on my personal website as Blogger doesn't seem to like animated GIFs sometimes...

Monday, 10 July 2017

Quick Teaser

Regular viewers may have noticed a bunch of new acquisitions from my Want List getting marked as 'On Order' or 'Bought' (so much for slowing down to conserve space - definitely need to do some housekeeping/shelf-to-storage rotation soon!). While I managed to take photos of much of it over the last, glorious weekend, I'm still having trouble sitting still long enough to compose a good write-up. Not for any significant reason, I'm just not really in the mood for concentrating on things in weather like we've been having lately, and with all kinds of other crap on my mind.

Still, one particular new purchase - preordered from Amazon a while back - only arrived today, so it missed the flurry of photography over the last couple of days. Considering how little toy blogging I've done over the last month-and-a-bit, I figured I should make an effort to pop something up here straight away, in lieu of a decent post.

Of course, as the old saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley... and I barely managed the below before the battery conked out...

Once more, with the flash? Why not..?
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