Thursday, 28 July 2016

Device Label Broad Blast (aka Blaster)

Music Label and Device Label were two very short-lived offshoots from the TransFormers brand, created by Takara Tomy, which featured functional memory sticks (2Gb - paltry by today's standards) and optical mice which transformed into robots. They were so short-lived, in fact, that they seem in retrospect to have been created to facilitate one particular model in each case (Soundwave, under the Music Label banner, for example).

The last two releases in the Device Label line were a third repaint of the memory stick (as Cheetor, supposedly, Takara Tomy having used the same mold first as Ravage, then as Tigatron) and a the only model never to be repurposed: a functioning 4-port USB hub made to look like a Toshiba laptop. How does Blaster fare with such a strange alternate mode? Let's find out...

Monday, 25 July 2016

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2016 Members Incentive (Timelines) Ramjet

(Members Incentive Monday #12)
This is very likely to be the last ever Members Incentive Monday on this blog, unless Hasbro license a new Collectors' Club or, y'know, set up one of their own. These 'free' figures, given away since the very first year of Fun Publications' tenure at the helm of the Club, have been a welcome benefit of international membership to a club which is, awkwardly, based in the States and primarily geared toward the domestic market there. They haven't always been awesome figures, but they frequently exceeded my expectations.

Ramjet arrived a few days before Roll Out Roll Call, and was one of those Membership Incentive figures I had very low expectations of - I quite like the Armada Seeker mold, despite the massive protrusion from the back of its shoulders, but the Generations remake seemed pretty pointless. Based on a 2003 Toys'R'Us exclusive Universe repaint of Armada Skywarp, this is probably one of the more obscure homages the Club have released. Is it as dull as I was expecting?

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Someone Up There Likes Me...

And, by "up there", I mean at WeiJiang/BlackApple, because now there's going to be an upsized and vastly improved version of Dark of the Moon Megatron, just like I've always* wanted!

Going by the images, it scales very well in vehicle mode with other (early) movie figures and MP10 (at least, I think that's MP10 and not their own MPP10) and, going by the comparison with Hasbro's version, it may well be even taller than M01. It strikes me that the head is disproportionately small to the rest of the robot, but proportionally similar enough to the original toy to make me think it's due to the amount of space available to it in vehicle mode... but, even with a shrunken head, he looks pretty cool. Can't wait to see what accessories he comes with (damaged head? fabric cloak?) and whether or not he'll have any weapons beyond the shotgun... It looks very much as though his entire tanker transforms into his legs now, meaning no upsized Mechtech fusion cannon...

(* 'always' being since I first learned about their upgraded/upsized Age of Extinction Evasion Mode Optimus Prime)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Unite Warriors UW-06 Combiner Haunt Leader Grand Galvatron

Combiner Wars and Unite Warriors have both had a very strange approach to some of their characters. One of the earliest releases was a very G1-styled standalone Leader class Megatron, followed by a Voyager class Optimus Prime who could combine with four other Autobots to become 'Ultra Prime'. We later got a standalone Leader class Ultra Magnus and 'Galvatronus', a gestalt whose limbs could be whichever mind-controlled Autobots or Decepticons he cared to subjugate... neatly removing any need for Hasbro to provide Cyclonus with his armada, or even a ramshackle team of his own. Hurrah for Hasbro and their amazing talent for never releasing enough Decepticons!

As a result, while I had high hopes for Takara Tomy's take on Bruticus, I had been all set to get through Combiner Wars with no other Decepticon gestalts aside from this year's Collectors' Club Subscription Service combiner, Thunder Mayhem. Then Takara Tomy announced their Unite Warriors Grand Galvatron set, with a positively opulent repaint of CW Cyclonus as its centrepiece, and a rag-tag team of cross-continuity limb-bots of his very own, which combined to form a version of Galvatron based heavily on the G1 toy and, as is my wont, I put through a preorder almost immediately because my hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

One Clearly Wasn't Enough...

...Because, with Roll Out Roll Call out of the way, I've now registered myself for TFNation, at AutoAssembly's old digs in the Birmingham Hilton Metropole, at the NEC.

I know I've previously stated that the schlep up to Birmingham or down to Southampton by train wasn't especially appealing to me, and that honestly hasn't changed. The only times I managed to attend AutoAssembly, I was driven up and back by car.

RORC was a lot of fun, though... and, having made the effort to attend, I decided I'd aim to attend again next year. TFNation had some advertising cards at RORC, but they weren't exactly going out of their way to advertise, and I only really started looking into it this week. There are two reasons I'm making the effort to attend a second TransFormers convention this year (and only a few weeks after the first!):
  1. My girlfriend is taking a short holiday, visiting a friend in Munich, so I'd be on my own that weekend anyway
  2. I've been thoroughly seduced by a couple of ladies who will be there
They are, in fact, event exclusives. They made their debut at TFCon in Canada, and are making their way over to TFNation. Kapow Toys are/were taking reservations (that is, the "last chance" was announced on 17th... not clear when that last chance actually expires) for collection at the show at the very reasonable price of £80 and, while they reckon that any left over after the show will be put up on their website, I'm less inclined to take the chance that any will be left over considering the scarcity of the previous show exclusives.

The only potential problem is that it's occurring at the end of a particularly busy week at work, and one of my colleagues is leaving on the Thursday. It shouldn't affect my ability to get there (I've booked a train a couple of hours after I should have left the office), but equally I don't have the best track record when it comes to travelling by train: the first time I go anywhere tends to be problematic due to a variety of public transport reasons.

Still, that's another couple of gorgeous Femme-Bots to look forward to...

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Roll Out Roll Call - Day 2 & Toy Haul

Yes, you read that correctly - there's a toy haul for today, after I'd essentially decided I'd bought everything I wanted to yesterday.

Except with caveats:

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Roll Out Roll Call - Day 1 & Toy Haul

I was completely thrilled when Roll Out Roll Call announced they bringing their show to a hotel near Heathrow in 2016. Just about every other TransFormers convention in the UK has been either way up north (Birmingham, for AutoAssembley) or way down south (Southampton for previous RORCs), involving lengthy journeys in either direction and, frequently, the necessity to stay overnight.

But Heathrow is basically in my neck of woods - way out West London. Heathrow Airport is best accessed by taking a train toward the City, changing part-way, then heading back out again in a slightly different direction, which tends to take about an hour or so. The Radisson Blu Edwardian, meanwhile, is a mere 45 minutes away by bus. Of course, this being a new route for me, I decided to leave a little over an hour before the show was due to open, to give myself some leeway in case of traffic problems. Getting there turned out to be simplicity itself - easier, in fact, than TfL's Journey Planner made it look. Pretty much bang on 45 minutes, and I was bumming around the hotel's atrium, waiting for registration to start.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2016/Combiner Wars Spinister

As with the first two components of Thunder Mayhem, I know very little about Spinister... which is amusing, considering he's apparently characterised as a bit of a 'mech of mystery'. The G1 Double TargetMaster is here reimagined as yet another reuse of the Alpha Bravo helicopter mold, with the same stock weapons and the same Generations TargetMaster guns as Needlenose, just with different paint jobs.

So far, so blah... are we already seeing a downward trend in the 2016 Subscription Service figures?