Saturday, 17 October 2009

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics...

Since it's been a little over 2 months since my last addition, I figured I'd better post an update on the off-chance that anyone ever visits this thing.

The delays are caused, in the main, by my day job. I've been getting home very late, skipping dinner and heading to bed almost as soon as I've checked my email. Not even my weekends are spare all the time, and I shall be returning to the office sometime over the weekend to make sure I'm up to date for next week. I currently have no life other than work and sleep.

Aside from this, I still do not have my new (birthday present) computer, and may end up just buying one. My current machine has lasted well in its beleaguered state, but it's far to slow and glitchy to upload the number of photos I have.

Also, I've filled my current (free) Photobucket account, and so will need to set up something new to accommodate the next round of photos.

Waiting to be uploaded, I have 700Mb of Transformers photos, spread across 21 categories, taking in more than 90 models.

A further 220Mb of photos have been uploaded, spread across 5 catagories and more than 20 models.

I'll get going again as soon as I'm able...
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Beast Wars Neo Heinlad

Something a bit different this time... In several ways. It's Beast Wars, it's a toy and an alarm clock... and, in honour of the commercial success of Revenge of the Fallen, I present an entry with testicles.

Heinlad is some kind of time-travelling TransFormer (hence the big clock in his chest which, with the addition of a couple of batteries, transforms into a functional alarm clock) with a very strange alternate mode, even for a Japanese Beast Wars model - yes, that's right, this fella never got a US/UK release... which is a real shame, because the model has enormous character. Anyone familiar with Japanese folklore (or Studio Ghibli's anime Pom Poko) will be aware that Tanuki are somewhat special. They are the original transforming beasts, as they can magically take on any form they choose, and their large scrotum play a very prominent part. They are known for thievery and for excessive consumption of Sake, which is why Heinlad carries a jug and a 'promissory note' (an IOU, essentially). Something of these characteristics is carried into Heinlad.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Alternators Nemesis Prime

There is a universal constant in the world of TransFormers: Any mold used for Optimus Prime will, sooner or later, be painted black and called Nemesis Prime (or Scourge). And thus it was with the Dodge Ram Alternator. Even before it got its official Binaltech release as Optimus Prime (first in the dubious and bonkers Kiss Players line, then in the briefly relaunched Binaltech proper line), the Ram was recoloured in traditional Nemesis colours as an exclusive for the San Diego Comic Con... except it soon became apparent that it wasn't really that exclusive.

The Ram is a controversial mold - the bulky vehicle mode never quite jibed with the initial Binaltech concept of performance cars, the awkward and unwieldy robot mode has limited articulation in its stocky legs without significant 'surgery', and the arms are hindered by the honking great chunks of truck frontage stuck on the shoulders. In some ways, this works to Nemesis Prime's advantage in a way it didn't for Optimus. For one, he looks very powerful and imposing, and the use of minimal turquoise highlights on the all-black plastic serve to emphasise the overall darkness of the figure. The only let-down is the use of red-tinted clear plastic for the front and rear windscreens, which just looks unrealistic.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Look what arrived in the post today...

Yep, them thar's BotCon extras: 2009's Razorclaw (Dawn of Future's Past) and Elita-1 (Games of Deception).

Along with these two, I have a whole stack of images uploaded from the following series: Alternators/Binaltech, Animates, Beast Wars, Galaxy Force, Micron Legend, Robots in Disguise, Revenge of the Fallen, Superlink and Universe...

...With even more yet to be uploaded in: Alternators/Binaltech, Animated, Beast Wars, Energon, Generation 2, Galaxy Force, Music Label, Revenge of the Fallen... not to mention the Customs, Limited Editions, TransFormers Collectors' Club and Knockoffs!

Um. Yeah. Coming soon.

I mean it.

Work has been crazy, but I'll get round to an update as soon as I get some time. Maybe even this coming weekend...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Progress of a sort

So here's the thing...

I've photographed a large chunk of my collection - almost everything that is individually boxed, in fact, and all but one of my TransFormers: Galaxy Force models - and even uploaded a decent portion of the images to my Photobucket account...

...but until I get my new computer, the process of blogging the entries is slow, tedious and prone to glitching or crashing partway through.

The new computer has been delayed because my brother in law has had far more important things to do when he's not working. It's frustrating... Still not having my birthday present almost a month after my birthday is kind of annoying in a selfish sort of way... But I know it's coming.

I actually have text files containing lots of the links, created very slowly at home, or far faster at work after hours, so I probably could blog a few more... but even that is going to take time.

Maybe I'll book myself some more time off work, and see what happens.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Galaxy Force Master Galvatron

At some point in the history of all things TransFormers, but well after the 1986 animated move that first introduced the Megatron/Galvatron upgrade dynamic, it seems to have been decided that the difference between Megatron and Galvatron can be nothing more than their paintjob. This has been true with Car Robots/Robots in Disguise, Micron Legend/Armada, Superlink/Energon and Galaxy Force/Cybertron, and it's generally a huge disappointment. Considering that G1 Galvatron was an entirely new mold (and, according to his Tech Specs, at least, an entirely different character), and one of the earliest models with lights and sounds (primitive though they may be) to have an official UK release, using the same mold in a different colour scheme seems like a cop out.

The upside with Galaxy Force, then, is that the original colourscheme for Master Megatron is vile - purple, grey, orange... not a great selection - while the Galvatron upgrade is almost entirely silver and black. In fact, this is one of the few occasions where the US/UK Cybertron figure looks slightly better than the Japanese version, as the yellow panel in front of the head on this one is gold on the US/UK release. There may be other superficial differences but, in the main, they're pretty much identical.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Galaxy Force Flame Convoy

Leader of the Beast Planet, Animatros, Flame Convoy is initially cast as a Decepticon though, in common with many of the characters in Galaxy Force - as opposed to Hasbro's localisation, Cybertron - he has no real allegiance, as such. He is simply the leader of his own planet... and got to that position by being the most powerful TransFormer on the planet.

Galaxy Force First Gunner

The upgraded form of Deluxe-sized Galaxy Force First Aid, First Gunner is now an armoured mobile missle platform, and part of the Vanguard Team (read: Autobot Elite Guard) to boot. Supposedly this upgrade happens after a particularly ignominious defeat at the hands of Megatron, which might explain why First Aid's original Ambulance alternate mode goes through such a drastic change.

Human Alliance Bumblebee

Considering the sheer number of variants of Bumblebee released for the first film (Deluxe Old Camaro, Deluxe New Camaro, Deluxe New Camaro with remolded Battlemask Head, Deluxe New Camaro with Black & Yellow Paint Reversed, Statue, Legends... Beatmix... the list goes on...), it's no surprise that he's still getting a fair bit of attention in the second film. Set up to be the character who provides the audience with a connection to these giant alien robots, Bumblebee was given the lion's share of the screentime, action, and facial expressions.

For the Revenge of the Fallen toyline, Hasbro has created an new subline - Human Alliance - where Binaltech/Alternator fans are given their heart's desire: Cars that are of approximately 1:24 scale, transform into movie-like robots, and come with human drivers. Who could want anything more?

Well, me, I guess... the first in the line - Bumblebee - is a decent representation of the character, but is lacking in a few areas...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Galaxy Force Soundwave

Galaxy Force as a whole seemed to have far stronger links to Generation 1 than any line before it, and these ties were strengthened further by the reappearance of a G1 character who'd been notable by his absence (apart from one reference in a Beast Wars spin-off) since those halcyon days: Soundwave.

No longer Megatron's righthand man, Galaxy Force Soundwave held no allegiance (except to himself, and possibly Noisemaze) and, rather than being anything like his old G1 self, lurking in shadows and using an innocuous alternate mode to get other people to carry him around and aid him in infiltration, this incarnation of Soundwave transforms into a strange, Stealth-style jet. In fact, aside from colour scheme, the only thing this guy has in common with his ancestor is that he has a minion who ejects from his chest (operated by Planet Key, rather than a simple eject button).

Monday, 15 June 2009

TransFormers Animated Blurr

It should be ironic that Blurr, a character associated with speed of movement, should have started his Generation 1 career as a complete brick, with barely any articulation. Even the more recent incarnations of Blurr, using a mold that first appeared in Armada, but was most recently used as the TransFormers Collectors' Club Shattered Glass Blurr, couldn't be posed in anything like the dynamic fashion that the character of Blurr required.

Thankfully, the team behind TransFomers Animated saw fit to correct this... albeit more than 20 years late ... with this lithe, poseable figure, based somewhat on the concept art of the unreleased TransTech Cheetor...

TransFormers Animated Blitzwing

Blitzwing was one of Generation 1's Triple-Changers and, frankly not the best of them. Not that any of them were particularly good, because 80s toymaking was vastly more simplistic than it is today. Each one - Astrotrain, Blitzwing and Octane - had very limited posability and, with the possible exception of Astrotrain, had huge chunks of two alternate modes clearly visible in robot mode. While Astrotrain and Octane got the Classics 2.0/Universe upgrade treatment, Blitzwing was drafted into the Animated universe, and the results are actually very impressive.

Taking the idea of three modes and adding three distinct personalities has given the toy a lot of character and, while all three modes are limited to some degree, they work out pretty well considering the relatively small size of this Voyager Class toy.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Revenge of the Fallen Starscream

The original movie Starscream had more than its fair share of detractors, both in terms of the character model (which, for the record, I quite liked because it was so different from the 25 year old image of the Seekers) and the toy. Bearing in mind that the toy was made based on pre-production artwork, I've always considered it one of the successes of the first movie. Sure, it's F-22 Raptor mode is a little chubby in the undercarriage. Sure, the missile launcher/arms are painfully conspicuous in plane mode, and dreadfully out of proportion in robot mode. Nevertheless, the transformation was clever, and the resultant robot, while chunky, was effective. The original tan colourscheme was way off, though, and Hasbro saw fit to correct their error by releasing Deep Space Starscream into the Premium series of movie repaints.

Noone should have doubted, though, that huge improvements would be made in between the first toyline and the sequel. That said, while the improvements are significant... so are the shortcomings.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Revenge of the Fallen Preview: Soundwave

OK, I'm doing these in a screwy order. This, along with the slightly re-sculpted Deluxe Bumblebee, was among my first Revenge of the Fallen purchases but Prime and Sideswipe, while bought several weeks later, were far more interesting. Figure I'd better get this out of the way, though... and get to RotF Bumblebee whenever...

Soundwave has been on the cards since the first movie came out. The writers wanted to include him, but needed to figure out a way of working in the idea of 'ejecting' minions. Well... they've kind of come up with a solution... but, while this thing has a robot mode, rumour has it Soundwave will not transform in the movie. Perhaps it's going to be like Scorponok from the first film - the toy has a robot mode, but the character in the movie does not.

However it pans out, this toy is said to be a Triple Changer - that's right, three modes. Sadly, the difference between two of them is minimal, and achieved by locking panels together in a slightly different configuration.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Universe Darkwind

There's a funny series of coincidences to this thing... Or perhaps it's not as coincidental as one might think.

Back in 2007, the BotCon box set - Games of Deception - featured a Classics reimagining of Generation 1 Powermaster Dreadwind. Fans immediately began theorising about what this might mean. Would the soon-to-be-rebooted Universe/Classics 2.0 line feature Darkwing? If so, would the two combine into the fearsome superplane Dreadwing? All the evidence seemed to suggest a negative on both counts... Until Kitbashers discovered that, with the right paintjob, Universe Silverbolt looked eerily similar to the Generation 1 gloom-sayer. Very soon after, official photos of Hasbro's own interpretation surfaced. Frankly, both the home repaint and the official one were a huge improvement on the model's original Autobot colourscheme, so I vowed to pick this one up, despite its simplicity.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Revenge of the Fallen Sideswipe

One of the first wave Deluxes from the new movie line is controversial for several reasons - not least that, while it's a popular character choice, the make and colour of his alternate mode don't match the G1 original, being more suited to another G1 character, Tracks. The design of his robot mode - particularly the animal-style legs and wheel feet - has given him a 'love him or loathe him' element and, for the record, I love it.

Revenge of the Fallen Optimus Prime

It's rather unfair that I'm blogging about this toy before the original live-action movie Leader Class Optimus Prime because, as good as that model was, this one is far, far better. From the shaping and sculpted detail to the engineering of the transformation, this thing easily represents something near the pinnacle of TransFormers toy design. A good part of this is the fact that the designers at TakaraTomy had only pre-production artwork to work from for the toys in the first movie. They had to guess which robot parts became which vehicle parts, and figure in the limitations of toymaking back in 2006/7. Now, for the second movie, they have the luxury of having already seen most of the robots in action, and have improved likenesses and worked out upgraded transformation schemes for the new characters and returning players such as Optimus.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Irregularly Updated...

Um, yeah.

Well, now I've semi-moved in to my new place, I should be able to start doing a bit more photography in what little spare time work leaves me. Which would mean the weekends when I've got nothing else to do. I still don't have a light tent, but can make do with what I've got for the time being.

I actually have a backlog of photos - Animated Blitzwing, Optimus Prime and Megatron, Energon Treadbolt, Alternator Rumble, Henkei Lambor, Legends Red Alert, Classics Grimlock and Megatron, and a few I took this morning of THS-01 Galaxy Convoy... Just need some time to clean up the images (just like I didn't with some of those already here) and get them written up.

It's coming. Honest.