Friday, 26 June 2015

Mastermind Creations Reformatted: Azalea * (Asterisk Mode)

(Femme-Bot Friday #24)
While I love the standard Azalea figure, I can't help thinking it went through an explosion in the pink factory and came out rather too thoroughly empinkened. It could have used a few more non-pink painted details in some places, considering the character it was based upon - Arcee in IDW's Spotlight story - features touches of orange/gold to break things up a little.

When Mastermind Creations decided to make a couple of even more exclusive versions of their short run model, one was a sort of Nemesis version, featuring darker pinks, purples and greys, and the other took its cue from one of the other colour options in the early concept artwork options by Alex Milne...

And, knowing what a sucker I am for limited editions, it's predictable enough that I'd go after one or the other (or both, eventually)...

Thursday, 25 June 2015

That All-Too-Frequent Problem

I received this year's TFCC membership figure - Lio Convoy - today, and am well pleased with him. I may be alone in this, but I strongly feel that the Club has erred in giving away Lio Convoy for free, and making Nova Prime (basically the same figure, but with less variation in colour) the premium exclusive... but I'll get into that in more detail when I finally get round to writing up Lio Convoy in the next Membership Exclusive Monday.

And therein lies the problem. Since I've been back at work full time (a little over a year now), I only really have time and opportunities for photography at the weekends, even now there's semi-decent light for quite a while after I get home from work. Similarly, I find it very difficult to do much writing in the weekday evenings, so that normally gets left to the weekends as well... and my priority recently has been ensuring a seamless run of Femme-Bot Fridays.

This weekend, I'm off to Lincolnshire for the momentous occasion of introducing my parents to my girlfriend's parents. In a couple of weeks' time, I'm off on holiday with my girlfriend and her family and, later in the year, my girlfriend and I are taking our second 'proper' holiday together, across the Pond, so I really need to buckle down an get things done over the weekends in between, or I'm never going to keep up with my purchases, let alone clear my backlog (#firstworldproblems).

Femme-Bot Friday is all complete and up to date, with the total now standing at 29 posts (6 remain, all scheduled). I 'only' have a further 80 draft posts, but have yet to photograph 9 Combiner Wars figures (Megatron being the latest aquisition) so, on balance, I hadn't got that far through the backlog before starting to add to it all over again.

It's times like this that I wonder if I should start doing these things as videos after all...

...But, no...

Saturday, 20 June 2015

It's BotCon Weekend, and I'm Not In Chicago...

...But then, really, neither is BotCon.

I have a friend who's a Chicago native and, back when this year's BotCon was first announced, and I was intending to finally attend (because a BotCon at the end of my Birthday week seemed like the Universe was telling me "Gord, it's high time you went to BotCon"), I contacted her to discuss the location, amongst other things. She was quite disgusted that the publicity described the Pheasant Run Resort as being 'in Chicago' because it's about 30 miles outside what she, as a native, considers to be 'Chicago'.

In the end, the Birthday/BotCon Holiday plans had to be cancelled because it was also around this time that my girlfriend was to be doing exams toward her Open University degree, and I had no wish to cause problems for that.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Perfect Effect Motobot PE-DX02 Aranea

(Femme-bot Friday #23)
Perfect Effect's Motobot RC was certainly an interesting addition to their lineup, considering some of their underwhelming early efforts. As their first foray into full-size transforming figures, it was highly ambitious and pretty well executed. I'd been keen to get my hands on one of them from the first moment I saw them, however, my interest in the original Motobot paled into insignificance when the first remolded variant was announced... because rather than just rehash the same basic design with a couple of new parts, the remold was every bit as ambitious as the original, and they had only the core structural parts in common.

Plus, the remold - hinted at in the comic packaged with RC - was an intriguing Beast Wars/TransFormers Animated mashup homage to Blackarachnia in Perfect Effect's own futuristic biker-bot style.

Apologies in advance for some inconsistency in the photos - what's here comes from two different sets of photos, taken at different times on different days, and in very different conditions...

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Another Marketing Snafu

And so, it came to pass that the whole of Europe will have to do without Wave 2 of Combiner Wars. This is, according to an email posted on several fan sites, because Hasbro "couldn't meet quantity targets for Europe". This apparently means that orders for Wave 2 didn't indicate a level of demand that made it worthwhile bringing the final Aerialbot and 3/4 of the Stunticon Deluxes out. That's not just in the UK, but orders across the whole of Europe.

Friday, 12 June 2015

TransFormers (Movie) AllSpark Power Black Arcee

(Femme-Bot Friday #22)
If there's one thing that's certain about TransFormers, it's the black repaint. These have been appearing quite regularly in the toyline, at least since the first Nemesis Prime, if not longer. Arcee seems like a peculiar choice for a black repaint, all things considered, and especially since she'd also been given a G1-homaging pink-and-white paintjob, but that sort of thinking had never been known to stop Takara.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

CW Silverbolt Addendum

Or

A Quick and Easy Modification to Silverbolt/Superion's Antennae,
being a Cheaper Alternative to a Third Party Head


I opened up Superion's head to look at how the antennae are attached, and found that they're both part of a single piece of painted rubber. This, no doubt, contributes to the difficulty in flipping them into place because there's not just the resistance from each individual antenna, but the drag caused by the piece linking them twisting rather than actually moving as well as rubbing against things inside the head. Having cut a chunk out of the rubber in the middle, I can report that the antennae - while still not perfectly willing to move into the proper place due to friction between the painted rubber and the plastic they're mounted in - are far more cooperative.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Things of Value

At work recently, I got into a brief conversation about my collection, in which I was asked what the most valuable item in my collection was. The truth of the matter is that I have no idea.

As collectors, we all assign 'value' in different ways - and that's before you get into the prices assigned to things on eBay and the like - because we all have our own preferences. Then, when looking at cost as an analogue of 'value', things get very complicated because secondary market prices are just plain bizarre. with the same item available at wildly different prices for no readily apparent reason.

I wasn't able to give my colleague anything like an answer to his question at the time, but it's been rattling around in my head ever since... So, here, I attempt to pick out a few of the items in my collection that I value the most... Not necessarily due to their cost or the difficulty I had getting hold of them, just a few things that stick out for one reason or another. Details of my favourite/least favourite things can be found on the 'More About Me' page, so I should probably attempt to steer clear of things mentioned there. There are some TransFormers in my collection with a story attached, though whether that adds value or just some sort of nostalgic feeling, I know not...

So, in no particular order, here are some of the TransFormers toys I (possibly) consider 'valuable'.

Friday, 5 June 2015

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2014 (Timelines) Trans-Mutate

(Femme-Bot Friday #21)
Since it's only fairly recently that I've seen the entire run of Beast Wars, the whole 'Trans-Mutate' phenomenon passed me by at the time. Out of curiousity, I did once consider trying to buy the US Beast Wars reissues which came with parts of a Trans-Mutate figure but, frankly, the Japanese reissues that were around at roughly the same time looked better, and more accurate to the TV show.

'Trans-Mutate', the episode of the TV show, was an interesting one... a damaged stasis pod releases a misshapen, cognitively impaired wreck of a robot that can't even transform. Megatron loses all interest but, strangely, Rampage and Silverbolt instantly take a shine to the new arrival and each tries to convince her to join them. Needless to say, it doesn't have a happy ending.

Now, almost 20 years later, the Collectors' Club has decided, almost on a whim, to add an alternate continuity, properly functional version of the character to its collection of exclusives...

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Age of Extinction/Generations Drift

Drift has a curious history. The original character was created by IDW writer Shane McCarthy, who apparently felt that a certain element of character was lacking from the existing lineup. Like Beast Wars Dinobot, he was a Decepticon-turned-Autobot with a strong sense of honour and a large sword. Riding on Dinobot's coat tails, McCarthy's Drift apparently proved so popular that Hasbro created a toy based on the character and then, all of a sudden, Drift was announced as a character in Age of Extinction. The design looked daft - someone clearly took the samurai motif a little too far and a little too seriously - but he was to be voiced by Ken Watanabe, so surely movie Drift would turn out to be awesome?

As it turned out, Drift was another toe-curling stereotype, along the lines of the twins from Revenge of the Fallen, speaking in haiku and, without explanation, suddenly transforming into a Cybertronian helicopter as well as using a terrestrial disguise, introducing the audience to the concept of Triple Changers in a slightly more overt way than the likes of RotF Mixmaster... But, hey, whoever said the live action movies were internally consistent or coherent?

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Combiner Wars Silverbolt

Now that Combiner Wars is in full swing (kinda), I've even more glad I didn't bother buying the Universe/Classics Silverbolt back in 2008, instead choosing the Darkwind repaint. It was utterly daft of Hasbro to release a Silverbolt remake that wasn't going to be part of a gestalt because the whole point of Silverbolt is that he's the leader of a gestalt team of flight-capable Autobots... and he's afraid of heights. Leading the team and becoming the main part of Superion is all intended to keep his mind off his phobia long enough to do something useful. Take the team away from him, and there's really no point to a Silverbolt toy (unless it's an update to the Fuzor - go on, Hasbro, you know you wanna).

But back in 2008, Hasbro had no apparent plans to do any more combiners, repeatedly telling BotCon attendees that they weren't financially or technically viable these days. More than five years later, and in the wake of a veritable plethora of third party combiners, Hasbro announced its latest phase in the continuation of the Classics line: Combiner Wars... and one of the first teams to be released is the Aerialbots... meaning, at long last, we have a true Silverbolt

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

FansProject Function-X2 Quadruple-U

Function-X is a very different line to FansProject's Causality range. While the latter reimagines and updates Generation 1 figures into something that resembles the original, but has a very modern feel, the former seems (based on the few I've seen so far) to hark back more strongly to G1 in terms its presentation, striving only to improve articulation. The first Function-X model in the line was an update of the G1 HeadMaster Chromedome, a figure which I still own from those days, and something about the way it looked didn't impress me the way their Causality figures did (and continue to).

This second figure, however, intrigued me. Not only was it a stylistic improvement over the first, but FansProject decided to recreate one of the HeadMasters I didn't get back in my youth, for whom I have developed a small fondness due to the BotCon 2007 repaint of Cybertron Snarl/Galaxy Force Fang Wolf.

Monday, 1 June 2015

AD17 Movie Advanced Darkside Soundwave

After a rather disappointing 'appearance' in Revenge of the Fallen, I was thrilled to see Soundwave taking a more active - and ground-based - role in Dark of the Moon... At least, I was until I realised that it wasn't really Soundwave. His satellite-violating tentacles were pared down into spiky things used to threaten Carly and he may have had weird speaker things all over his arms, but he was just another of Megatron's thugs - capturing, then executing some of the Autobots.

Even so, the design of the character impressed me, and I was really looking forward to picking up a small plastic version to transform and pose for my shelves. Hasbro even announced a Human Alliance version, which was awesome until I actually saw it (75% of the vehicle mass becomes his arms, and the rest is unevenly distributed between his torso and his legs? Is that really the best you can do, Hasbro/Takara Tomy?) so I was hoping to 'make do' with the Deluxe.

But, because Hasbro sometimes clearly hate TransFormers fans, neither version got a full release and the molds - licensed vehicle mode and all - were consigned to limbo.

Then Takara Tomy did something a bit special for their extended Age of Extinction toyline, and 'Darkside Soundwave' turned up with a new and unique paint job, along with a set of other toys which celebrated some of the lesser characters from the series. Of course, they weren't easy to find outside of Japan, and import costs were pretty heinous... But then I found this fella at the MCM London Comic Con in May, for a mere £30.

That, dearest reader, is what one calls "a no-brainer"