Sunday, 21 February 2016

iGear Con Air Raptor Squadron IG-C01 Star-Burst

IGear don't have the best reputation among the third parties (and, at the moment, seem to be entirely out of action) with some truly awful products in their back-catalogue, as well as some blatant rip-offs (specifically the customised Masterpiece Seekers which were 'acquired' by iGear for not-quite-mass production, and their 'Faith Leader', a downscaled MP01). As well as their (as far as I know) wholly original mini-bot remakes, they released a set of larger-scaled Seekers and Coneheads (designed by Cassy Sark, after Guido Guidi's updated Seeker design for the IDW comics) which were just as divisive as their other products.

Now I have a set of the Seekers, I honestly can't understand why...

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Generations Skullgrin

Generation 1's Pretenders were an interesting idea, executed poorly because (a) it hadn't been especially well thought out in terms of how it would fit in with the rest of the line (particularly in terms of scale) and (b) both the robots and shells had to be very simplistic to make the Pretender gimmick work. I ended up getting only two - the Autobot asteroid miner Landmine and the vampiric Decepticon predator Bomb-Burst. It was a system that worked great in the comics, but I was never sure if they were supposed to be giants, like the other Cybertronians, or human-sized, as some of the Pretender shells seemed to imply (possibly making them the immediate ancestors of the smaller, more energon-efficient Maximals and Predacons?). The concept died out mercifully fast, but suddenly popped back into the collective fan consciousness when an apparently human character in Revenge of the Fallen turned out to be - somewhat incongruously - a human-sized Pretender.

Even so, when the Revenge of the Fallen offshoot toyline, N.E.S.T. Global Alliance, released its interpretation of Bludgeon, I doubt that many suspected any other G1 Pretenders would be reimagined within the contemporary toyline. Another was soon revealed, bizarrely, on the instruction sheet for Generations Darkmount/Straxus, which somehow showed Skullgrin's head instead.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

New York Toy Fair 2016 Thoughts

Well, Titans Return looks suitably amazing, doesn't it?

Not necessarily a toyline I'll be delving into a great deal (though I may end up adding a couple of new entries to my Want List over the next few weeks, as more images and details come to light), but it all seems very impressive.

Also - and this is where it gets a bit dubious, for me - very familiar.

TransFormers Collectors' Club Botcon 2011 (Timelines) Boxed Set: The Stunti-Con Job

While I was - obviously - going to get around to this sooner or later, I've re-prioritised this for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it's a sort-of celebratory post. I don't tend to harp on about the number of views this blog gets, as it's not usually foremost on my mind, but I did note the first time I got more than 1,000 views in a month (June 2013), and January 2016 saw the count pass 5,000 for the first time, so thanks to all you visitors for that!

Secondly, this is probably an appropriate time to tackle this old BotCon set, considering I've done two complete Combiner Wars gestalts now, and currently have no intention of trying to get any of the CW Stunticons (though the Perfect Effect upgrade kit including the new head may eventually change my mind as it does make a decent-looking Menasor out of the CW Stunticons). This boxed set from BotCon 2011 was designed entirely around the Stunticons, who were the first and the coolest of the G1 combiner teams that I picked up. For a contemporary version of Menasor, I'm happy with FansProjects' Intimidator... which is just as well, I suppose, as this team of Stunticons don't even combine!

So... what's the point of a combiner team that doesn't combine?

Monday, 8 February 2016

"Well, that's just Prime..."

Which is to say that, unless I'm gripped by another one of my whims, I've picked up the last of the TF Prime figures I'm interested in, Arms Micron Skywarp. I found him on eBay, second hand (Arms Micron off the sprue and built, all stickers applied) at an excellent price last week, and he arrived at my office today. Probably won't get a chance to take photos till the weekend, but it's in my possession and looks rather spiffy.

I'm not expecting to make much headway in my other searches this year due to other, more serious financial commitments, but it's a good start nonetheless.

On a related note, I found a BotCon 2006 Megatron on eBay over the weekend... for $1,300 plus shipping and Customs charges.

Ain't goin' near that one.

I really want that figure... but not enough to pay over £1,000 for it.

[Addendum 22/2/16: Looks like I'm not alone - the auction ended and the seller relisted at a discounted price... $1,100, only to later sell it for a "Best Offer" of $1,000. Sheesh.]

Saturday, 6 February 2016

AD16 Movie Advanced Autobot Dino

The more I think of the more recent TransFormers movies, the more I think they were basically designed to make it next to impossible for Hasbro/Takara Tomy to successfully make toys out of the robot characters. Hasbro - these days styling itself as "an intellectual properties company" - didn't even seem to mind that one of its biggest toy brands was being misused so grievously, even seeming to quickly lose interest in trying to make plastic versions of anyone who wasn't Bumblebee. Then again, it's not as if other characters got much screen time or character development anyway... Hell, a good number of them didn't even get proper names, or got lumbered with a different name in the movie versus the toyline (Brawl/Devastator in the first movie, just for example).

So while my happiness at Hasbro's announcement that they were making a toy of Dino/Mirage, quickly turned to disappointment when they backtracked and cancelled the entire tail end of the line, I didn't exactly feel that I was missing much. While he seemed pretty cool in the (approximately) one minute of screen time he got in Dark of the Moon - particularly in the motorway battle with the Dreads - the cancellation of the figure might even have been a good thing given how poor some of the DotM toys turned out to be.

Then came Takara Tomy with their Movie Advanced line, loosely associated with the fourth movie, Age of Extinction, and releasing several figures that never made it to shelves in the US/Europe (or did so in very limited quantities) along with some fairly cool repaints of older figures... But even these were not quite what we might have expected.

Friday, 5 February 2016

The Question of Video

I think I've made enough disparaging comments about the phenomenon of 'Video Reviews' on YouTube to be fairly sure that I'm not going to go that route myself, but this little blog has occasionally featured video snippets, normally to illustrate the irritating sound effects given to some G1 TransFormers or, more recently, to demonstrate some of Trypticon's features.

While Blogger allows video to be embedded, I've found several times that my browser of choice will display them for a while, then suddenly - and with neither warning nor explanation - replace them with empty white boxes. I believe this may be the browser arbitrarily deciding that the extensions required to play the video are somehow 'insecure' and in need of update. Which is very tedious.

So, to counter this, I've decided to replace the embedded videos with YouTube videos, which seem to work nicely (and display larger by default). I've only done Trypticon so far, but will get to the Shackwave and G1 Galvatron posts as soon as I can.

This may then encourage me to include video clips in other posts, if they seem appropriate...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Beast Wars Metals Silverbolt

While late to the game by over a decade thanks to patchy UK TV showings, I've considered myself a fan of Beast Wars for quite a while - certainly longer than I've owned the DVD boxed set of the complete series. Even so, I think the turns it took later on - mainly as a toyline rather than the TV series - were a little bizarre, and consequently I own very few toys from the extended lines (Fuzors, Metals/TransMetals, Beast Machines). Then again, the toys weren't very well represented in the TV series - only two Fuzors turned up, and the introduction of the TransMetals was completely inconsistent.

Of those Fuzors toys available, one exemplifies the better aspects of the concept, and was an awesome character in the TV series... That character is ol' Bird-Dog himself, Silverbolt...