Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Retrospective

I didn't quite keep to last year's clever plan of starting my retrospective in January, the first words here typed near the end of November, but this year has been one of my less prolific. I'd put most of that down to simple exhaustion: around August/September of last year, things at work started changing quite dramatically, and the fairly constant stream of problems ever since has left me very drained, and in a state where I'm not finding a great deal of joy in my collection a lot of the time. Spurts of activity in May, July and September (the latter largely due to this blog's ninth anniversary, as well as the aftermath of attending TFNation for the second time, and news of HasCon) punctuated the months where I was surprised if I managed to squeeze out more than a couple of posts.

Still, having made a start (which was actually far easier than I'd expected), I can at least follow the template of the previous years and have this ready to go live just before 2018 - which will be this blog's tenth anniversary year - is rung in. While one of my blogs came to an unceremonious end on its tenth birthday, I see no immediate signs that this one will suffer the same fate. Then again, I have yet to even start my more generalised toy blog (inspired mainly by my purchase of a Vitruvian HACKS Medusa and some Play Arts Kai figures, but it's been eye-opening to think about the other non-TF toys I have lying around), and my foodie blog seems to have ground to a halt despite my few continuing forays into simple cooking when the opportunity arises. My blogging, generally, has been patchy for the last couple of years, but this one has been, if not consistent, at least ongoing... and that's the main thing.

I have noticed that, with about 50 draft posts (many of which featuring now-defunct Photobucket image thumbnails) still hanging around, I've spent rather too long agonising about clearing my backlog and not enough time focusing on new purchases, which is something I hope I'll have at least started to address before the end of the year...

But, without further ado, here's the roundup of what has felt like a rather crummy year...

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Titans Return Cosmos

Bizarre as he was, G1 Cosmos was one of my favourite figures - as a fan of vintage sci-fi, I really liked that a TransFormer had been based on the UFO from the celebrated hoax photograph by George Adamski, despite being completely incongruous in a line of toys whose terrestrial disguises were still largely based in reality. Trouble is, with such an outlandish - literally - vehicle mode, he became rather difficult to fit into later lines.

Thus, aside from a very basic disc-shaped saucer, very poorly articulated version in the late noughties and an aborted Titaniums version, it had been left up to the Third Parties to produce their usual plethora of versions of the same character, each with their own unique interpretation of the iconic G1 design of both vehicle and robot mode.

Then came the Thrilling 30 line, and a whole new version of Cosmos was released... Or was it? I certainly never saw it in shops, and couldn't easily find it online at a reasonable price. Thankfully, Hasbro deemed it worthy of a more widespread rerelease for Titans Return (since it had already been repainted as Marvel Comics' wheelformer spy, Scrounge, to partner with the Technobots). Needless to say, I snapped him up pretty sharpish... but was he worth the frustrating wait?

Saturday, 16 December 2017

TransFormers Adventure/Prime of Micron TAV41 Optimus Prime & Gravity 'Gravity Armour'

Back in October 2016, my best mate took a holiday in Japan - somewhere I've wanted to go for many years now, and which was actually on the list of possible destinations when, about 20 years ago, he and I occasionally travelled together. I asked him to be on the lookout for any cool new TransFormers (and particularly Legends Blurr), but with no expectation of him actually buying anything on my behalf. When he came back, he came bearing a gift, in the form of one of Takara Tomy's versions of the RID2015 Mini-Con Battle Packs. He seemed a little disappointed, and said that TransFormers didn't seem to be widely available, but a gift is a gift, and I was more than happy to receive it.

I don't normally go in for this scale, but the RID2015 take on Mini-Cons was at least intriguing, if a little inconsistent,

Friday, 1 December 2017

DotM Mechtech Ironhide (Leader)

Considering the multitude of repaints already made of Ironhide by the time Dark of the Moon rolled round and (spoiler warning) unceremoniously killed him off, it seems more than a little odd that Hasbro chose to release several new versions specifically for that movie, not least a Leader class version replete with electronic features in the form of the lights and sounds that had been pretty much ubiquitous with all the movies' Leader class figures.

Then again, they (foolishly, I feel) chose not to create a Megatron figure any larger than the Voyager this time around and, aside from Starscream (who'd already received a Leader class toy back in the Revenge of the Fallen subline 'Hunt for the Decepticons') and Bumblebee (who got a larger format toy of one form or another for... every... movie), there weren't that many worthy options in DotM.

Also, up to this point, most of the Ironhide toys had been a little lacking... and, if RotF Optimus Prime and DotM Sentinel Prime were awesome, surely a Leader class Ironhide would be too..?