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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