Saturday, 12 January 2019

TransFormers (Movie) Landmine

Possibly the most exciting thing about the 2007 TransFormers movie's toyline was that, while the movie had a surprisingly limited cast, the character roster was bolstered dramatically in plastic form, and under the thinnest of pretexts: certain Sector 7 vehicles were actually robots... in disguise.

Of course, given that the shadowy government group had equipment able to detect Cybertronians (and the radioactive residue of having been near them), this seems exceedingly unlikely unless Sector 7 actually were as incompetent as the movie made them seem... And if one of their government issue SUVs can be a Decepticon, why not let one of their attack buggies be an Autobot?

Friday, 11 January 2019

Iron Factory IF EX-27 Streamwing (aka Shrike's Feather)

(Femme-Bot Friday #63)
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I find the name given to Iron Factory's take on Slipstream interestingly coincidental: I constantly referred to live action movie Megatron as 'The Shrike', a reference to a robotic killing machine in a series of Sci-Fi books by Dan Simmons, since he fits its description ("composed of razorwire, thorns, blades, and cutting edges, having fingers like scalpels") surprisingly well... It will be obvious from the images in this post that this is not a movie-style interpretation of Slipstream, yet I can't see any other reason to call her 'Shrike's Feather'... Though it's very likely I'm missing something...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

War for Cybertron: Siege Skytread Flywheels

One of the biggest surprises of the Power of the Primes line was the appearance of the G1 Duocon Battletrap in the form of two combining figures - Battleslash and Roadtrap. Before the first images turned up - a remarkably short time before the two figures actually arrived in shops - there had been no hints of Duocons featuring in PotP, but they turned out to be the most innovative offering of the line, which was otherwise a retread of Combiner Wars with added elements of Titans Return.

Of course, making Battletrap surely meant that a full Duocon Flywheels was on his way, to replace the poorly-executed and otherwise redundant Titan Master/Triple-changing Vehicle combination, Skytread, released under the Titans Return banner, right?

Well... Kinda... In fact, it didn't happen at all within Power of the Primes, and when the second Duocon was finally revealed, he turned out to be a closer homage to the G1 toy than Battletrap had been...

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Armada Overload

It's funny, in collecting, how one thing can easily lead to another. I first saw Overload over a decade ago, and thought it looked like crap. Like most of Armada, it seemed to be oversized, unnecessarily bulky, lacking in both detail and articulation... Basically, an easy pass.

I'd felt much the same about Jetfire, even after buying the Collectors' Club's usage of the mold as Astrotrain back when I first joined, and it was only more recently - having finally replaced my broken Armada Optimus Prime cab - that I rediscovered how cool that toy actually was, and set about tracking down Jetfire just so I could create the proper Jet Optimus (aka Superpants Optimus Prime), which then led me to reconsider Overload.

Since, throughout 2018, Overload - and the Energon repaint, Ultra Magnus - turned out to be ridiculously expensive on the secondary market (upwards of £100 boxed, or in the region of £50 loose and not necessarily complete), I decided to have a quick shuffle through The Spacebridge's tubs at TFNation 2018... £20 later, I walked away with this figure, missing only the missiles for his spring-loaded launchers.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Alternity A-04 Thundercracker (Sonic Blue)

The last of my Alternity purchases was actually in my collection not long after Starscream and Skywarp, and I really don't know why I didn't get to him back then (a little over eight years ago!), not least because Skywarp lacked the immediate, punchy impact of Starscream's stark, pearly white paint job and Thundercrackers icy blue.

There were further entries in the Alternity line after this, but they seemed to be nothing but repaints of a retooled Convoy under the 'Mission GT-R' banner, so I think I've got at least one of all the unique molds and won't be looking to get any more of these... Which means I'm actually closing off one part of my collection right at the start of the year!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Housekeeping

I've got my list of ancient drafts down to about 30 now and, what with a low expectation of adding to my collection in vast quantities for the forseeable future, I'm going to be doing a bit of housekeeping this year. It's not exactly a priority task, but it's a fairly simple one... and it's largely down to Photobucket (again). Back in 2013, I posted about the issues I was having with the image hosting site, mainly that thumbnail links had to be generated one at a time. Since then, Blogger has made changes to its service that switches everything over to HTTPS, which is somewhat incompatible with Photobucket, flashing up errors about 'unsecure items' in each post that linked to images hosted by the third party. Thankfully, Blogger's own image hosting has improved to the point that I've not used Photobucket since another problem arose in March 2017, except for the previously existing drafts, and I've been working through those and replacing the links as I post them.

Of course, Photobucket has since made further changes to make even that more difficult... Part of the draw of the site when I first started using it was that I had very limited space on my computer at the time, and things like external hard disk drives and USB memory sticks weren't as common - or as cheap - then as they are now. What I used to do is transfer images directly from the camera to Photobucket, and then erase the original pictures so I could take more. Now I'm running a computer with vastly more internal storage, two external hard disks and myriad USB memory sticks, I always keep the images... But there's a huge number of legacy posts on this blog for which I no longer have the original, high res photos. The images on Photobucket are downsampled, but still decent... but Photobucket in its current form only allows users to download images one at a time. If the issue I had back in 2013 was unacceptable, this new development is even worse... and, from my point of view, amounts to the service holding my files hostage as they try to get me to pay out for a better version. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad they haven't immediately thrown everything behind a paywall, or deleted my free accounts, but I don't recall being informed of any of these changes, and I certainly don't like them.

Thankfully, I was able to source a third-party browser extension that adds a 'gallery download' button to the system, and have been downloading everything with a view to deleting them from Photobucket and, potentially, closing my account before I have to pay for the dubious privilege of using their crippled service.

Many of these photos, it turns out, are already on one of my external disks, downloaded before the process was made more difficult. Still, better to have two copies than none, right?

At this point, aside from a few anomalies, everything from August 2011 to date, and the few posts from 2008 are up to date and no longer link to Photobucket. The process of making the shift is reasonably quick and straightforward but, short of doing nothing with my life but updating my back catalogue, I probably won't finish within the week... But hopefully within the month.