Sunday, 30 June 2013

'Shackwave' (aka ToyCo 'Astro Magnum', aka Tandy/Radio Shack 'Galactic Man')

In celebration of passing the 1,000 pageviews milestone in the month of June, here's a real treat...
This model needs no further introduction, not least because I teased it almost two full years ago. It has a strange history, having been drafted into the ranks for Generation 1 TransFormers from ToyCo, where most of G1 was repurposed from Takara's Microchange/Microman and Diaclone toylines.

I may well be misunderstanding what little I know of its origins, but it seems that Shockwave was originally released only in the US and Korea, with Japan picking him up later... And he never arrived in the UK.

So when, browsing through my father's catalogue from Tandy (being the UK name for Radio Shack), I found this very familar-looking toy, and saw my chance to have one of the coolest characters from the Marvel comics at the time... And I really wasn't fussed about the colourscheme.

Further Image Issues

Following my change of policy regarding the images used within these blog posts, I've been finding that some of the draft posts that are queued up waiting for text have started to go a little bit wrong. Not sure what's causing it (other than, perhaps, the billions of system changes at Photobucket), but some of my thumbnails are broken - not just here, but on Photobucket too.

That wouldn't be so bad if there was a way to manually re-make thumbnails within The Bucket.

It also wouldn't be so bad if the full-size images were undamaged, but some of them are broken, too. I figured I could force it to remake thumbnails by choosing the 'Edit' option, doing something minor, then saving... but some of the images won't even load into the editing system.

The upshot of this is that some of the (approximately 120) drafts that are stacked as of this moment will have to be scrapped. Not entirely, of course, I just have to retake photos where I can't access them on Photobucket and reupload them as embedded Blogspot images. I could retake all of them, and just forget about Photobucket, but that seems like a waste... So I may start harvesting those images that work...

Bit of a bugger to have uploaded thousands of images to an image host, only to find it's a bit rubbish...

TransFormers (Movie) Stockade

I'm not quite sure what it says about either the TransFormers live action movie or the toyline that ran along with it, but one of my favourite toys didn't even appear in the movies. Stockade is from the extended original movie toyline, and transforms - perhaps weirdly, considering he's a Decepticon - into a Sector 7 SUV. All the more fun, when the film-makers had the opportunity to include the character in one of the later movies (Dark of the Moon, specifically) they came up with three entirely new characters instead...

TransFormers: Prime Optimus Prime

TransFormers: Prime caught a lot of flak initially for robot designs that seemed to be the illegitimate offspring of the much-loved, prematurely cancelled TransFormers: Animated series and the much loathed live-action movie designs. Personally, I'm more cheesed off that, as a co-production with a satellite TV company, the only way I could watch the series initially would have been by forking out for a subscription and the necessary hardware.

Or YouTube, of course.

Like any TransFormers series since G1, it has its share of detractors... but few can deny that the stories are more coherent and substantially darker in tone than anything that has come before (surprising, given the involvement of Kurtzman and Orci). Hasbro followed up their confounding decision on the creation of the show by releasing the Prime 'First Edition' line, only to cancel it before most people had a chance to find the toys. What came next was subtitled 'Robots In Disguise'... but was it an improvement?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Galaxy Force Dark Nitro Convoy

The original form of Nitro Convoy (aka Override) didn't interest me much. Vehicle mode looked cool and all, but the colourscheme was completely over the top, tending toward clownish. The gold face of the Japanese version didn't help, but the orange face of the western release just sealed the deal. Plus, there's that much-vaunted 'auto-transform' gimmick, the spring-loaded likes of which frequently ruins an otherwise decent toy...

However, if it wasn't already apparent from this blog that I tend to think a black repaint covers the gravest of sins, it soon will be... possibly. TakaraTomy, in collaboration with Telemaga (TV Magazine), released Dark Nitro Convoy... somehow making an eminently avoidable toy become part of my collection...

Friday, 28 June 2013

FansProject CA-10 Causality: T-Bone

Having bought CA-09, the first component of FansProject's mammoth interpretation of G1 gestalt Menasor, pretty much the first thing I did was look up the other components. While I now have CA-11 and -12 on pre-order, this one was a pleasant surprise, arriving rather earlier than expected.

How does FansProject's take on Wildrider measure up?

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2013 (Timelines) Scourge

As with their first, stumbling steps into being the official TransFormers Collectors' Club, Fun Publications' new 'Subscription Service' hasn't got off to a good start. Announced around the middle of last year, the service was supposed to deliver one of six figures every month, starting January 2013. Pretty much every update from the Club thereafter was about delays, with the starting month getting gradually pushed back due to the almost inevitable 'circumstances beyond their control' (not least the likelihood that Hasbro is gearing up for the fourth live action movie toys)... All this, despite the fact that a similar service for FunPub's GI Joe Collectors' Club has been in operation for years...

And so, six months later than initially advertised, the Subscription Service figures are starting to appear... and we kick off with yet another Nemesis Prime/Scourge...

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Cybertron Armorhide

Perhaps the strangest aspect of the Cybertron line was the inclusion of characters unique to the toyline. Not just repaints of existing molds as new characters, but whole new molds which did not appear in the original Galaxy Force line or the TV series.

As one such model, and in keeping with Galaxy Force's tendency towards G1 homage, Armourhide offers something new mixed in with something surprisingly familiar...

Friday, 21 June 2013

Masterpiece Skywarp

When it comes to TransFormers, there are a few things I cannot resist: I'm one of those collectors with the Seekers OCD, I like the 'black repaint' phenomemon... and I'll always pick up a bargain.

So when, by chance, I learned that Argos somehow wangled the official UK release of Masterpiece Skywarp (a feat similar to their coup of being the sole official UK distributor of Alternators Jaguar XK Ravage, and that they were selling him for a mere £20, I made plans to visit every single branch of Argos in London until he was in my grasp.

Thankfully, I got him at the first branch on the list.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2007 Exclusive (Timelines) Airazor

I'll be perfectly frank here - there was one reason that I joined the TransFormers Collectors' Club, and that reason is this model. The moment I saw it, I thought it was awesome. It takes one of the quirkier molds from the Energon line and turns it, quite successfully, into one of the coolest characters from Beast Wars.

Slugslinger may not have been the obvious choice for this accompaniment to the Dawn of Futures Past BotCon set (made, as it was, largely from Galaxy Force/Cybertron models), but it was one of my favourites... surely this is ideal stuff for an exclusive?

Generations Dirge

It must be slightly embarrassing, if not outright upsetting for the Official TransFormers Collectors' Club that, only a short time after their Games of Deception BotCon set completed the full roster of G1 Seekers and Coneheads (albeit with mixed success), TakaraTomy's Henkei line suddenly decided to add Dirge and Thrust to the mainstream lineup... but for Hasbro to then follow suit in the Generations continuation of the Classics line must have been like rubbing salt in the wound.

Still, proper G1 authenticity always wins, right?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Galaxy Force Thundercracker

Considering how much G1 referencing went on in Galaxy Force/Cybertron, it's worth noting that it wasn't so completely slavish that it gave us another set of Seekers all repainted from the same mold. In a somewhat surprising move, while Starscream got a Voyager-scale (or Supreme-scale in the US/UK) model of a futuristic/Cybertronian jet/spacecraft, Thundercracker - the only other Seeker to appear in the TV series - took a completely different form, was released in the Deluxe size class only... and wasn't even in his traditional colourscheme...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Galaxy Force Exillion

As much as Galaxy Force paid homage to Generation 1, it also threw in a few curveballs. At some point, Hasbro stopped using the name Hot Rod and switched to Hot Shot in the Unicron Trilogy, saddling that name with a couple of terrible toys of stereotypically hot-headed characters 'with great potential'. TakaraTomy, meanwhile, used Hot Rod in its Micron Legend range, switched to Hot Shot for Superlink... then changed tack completely for Galaxy Force and came up with the name Exillion for their Hot Rod analogue.

In just about every way, it looks like it should be Hot Rod - it positively oozes G1 Hot Rod references and, in fact, for a limited edition packaged with a DVD, they even gave him G1 Hot Rod's colour scheme... and imaginatively named him 'Exillion Red Version'. Then Hasbro, in their wisdom, released their own red version of the mold they called 'Hot Shot'... and called it Excellion. Confused yet?

So, how does this miscoloured homage stack up?

Revenge of the Fallen... The Fallen

When the title of the second live-action TransFormers movie was announced, a ripple of interest travelled through the fandom... What did 'Revenge of the Fallen' mean? Was is the fallen Decepticons, such as Megatron, returning to wreak their revenge..? or was the Bayverse about to introduce a character invented by the comics? When it was finally revealed that the 'Fallen' of the title was, indeed, 'The Fallen' there was the usual round of cautious enthusiasm dampened by the fans' expectation that Michael Bay's franchise would continue to ruin everything they hold dear... and sadly, they weren't wrong.

One of these days, I'll learn... One of these days, when there comes a TransFormers character so bizarre, that no genuine alternate mode can possibly exist, I'll decide not to buy it. Unfortunately, I didn't learn this lesson for the original TransFormers movie, so I bought Megatron. Nor did I learn in time for Revenge of the Fallen so, not only did I buy Megatron again, but I also bought this, the Voyager class interpretation of the Bayverse monstrosity that is the titular Fallen...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

FansProject CA-09 - Causality: Car Crash

Regular readers may have picked up on the fact that I'm a bit of a fan of FansProject. Their City Commander set, the Warbots and the Crossfire set were awesome and, when the latter pair were re-released with new heads and new paint jobs as the first two entries in their Causality series, I snapped them up at the first opportunity - they are far too good to just be components of an old Superlink/Energon combiner. I'll get to them individually eventually, but my latest acquisition, from the MCM London Comic Con recently, kinda takes precedence for reasons of nostalgia... See, the Stunticons were the first G1 gestalt set that I completed... and Causality-09 (aka Breakdown) could well be the first step toward completing my first wholly third-party transforming robot gestalt.