Sunday, 30 September 2018

Prime Wars Trilogy Punch-Counterpunch & Prima Prime

As far as I can recall, Punch/Counterpunch appeared, very briefly, in a grand total of two episodes of the old G1 TV show - 'The Rebirth' parts 1 & 2 - though I can't remember if I actually saw them on TV, or as one of the edited-together stories I owned on VHS. Even so, he was fascinating: appearing first as the Decepticon Counterpunch, he warned a couple of other Decepticons that his "Autobot counterpart" (surely something of a giveaway) was "nearby... real nearby", at which point he transformed back to Punch and attacked them.

I only really looked into the G1 toy once I got back into TransFormers in the early/mid-2000s, and discovered that it was actually a bit shit. Nevertheless, while it never quite made it onto my list of 'Holy Grail' TransFormers toys, even after the less than stellar attempt at an update by the Collectors' Club, based on the Classics Sunstreaker/Sideswipe mold, I was quite keen to get hold of one...

...Until, that is, the Power of the Primes version was announced. Sporting a sleeker vehicle mode and a Combiner Wars-style transformation (minus the combiner peg, thankfully), and coming as an Amazon exclusive boxed set with the Prime Master 'Prima Prime', this seemed like a better use of my money than acquiring the G1 Doublespy which, complete and in good condition, can command silly money on the secondary market. Since I'm still awaiting any news from Amazon on their supposed Prime Day exclusive PotP Nemesis Prime, I ordered this from In Demand Toys for £35 - cheaper than a Deluxe class toy from the Club, certainly... but still somewhat inflated for a Deluxe. Is it worth that?

Friday, 28 September 2018

DX9 War In Pocket #14 Leah

(Femme-Bot Friday #59)
My final purchase on the Sunday of the inaugural TFNation was a boxed set containing two of DX9's War In Pocket line of diminutive transforming figures. Toufold wasn't really of any interest to me, being based on Kup from the 1986 animated movie. Leah, on the other hand, was right up my street.

Considering Arcee was supposedly based on Princess Leia, the choice of name makes a fair bit of sense, and it's less flouncy than the names used by some other Third Party Arcee figures.

When I split a boxed set into multiple posts, I normally end up regretting it, but I figured it's worth the risk for this one, since Leah is a Femme-Bot and Toufold is actually a bit dull. No doubt I'll get to him eventually (2023, perhaps?) but, for the moment, let's take a look at Leah...

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

TransFormers Animated Bumblebee

If I remember correctly, TransFormers Animated's toyline is when fans really started complaining about quality control in Hasbro's output. They had made the rather strange decision to use matte-finishe plastic for the whole line, the engineering was quite ambitious for the time - simpler than the movie line, but complex and intricate in its own way due to the bendy animation models they were attempting to emulate - and a lot of the paintwork turned out to be pretty damned shoddy, not to mention incomplete.

I mention this because Bumblebee was one of the first figures that I added paintwork and stickers to straight out of the packaging because Hasbro's idea of a paint job was just terrible.

I'll also take this opportunity to apologise for the shite photography - I'll retake the photos at some point, using my light tent, and replace those currently included here, all of which were taken about seven years ago.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Generations Sergeant Kup

One of the things I really liked about the Classics line, particularly as it evolved into the earlier stages of the ongoing Generations line, was that it wasn't content to simply re-do each and every character in much the same form as their G1 original - the designers took risks and came up with original concepts for some wholly new takes on the older characters.

Few Generations toys exemplify this better than Generations Kup, which finally gave the old Cybertronian warhorse from the 1986 animated movie a proper, contemporary Earth mode. Naturally it was a pickup truck... but really not the sort of thing I'd have expected. He'd also developed the 'Sergeant' prefix on his name, likely for trademark reasons, which would carry forward to the TF Prime figure (itself a sort of 'pre-paint' of a design intended to represent Ironhide).

There are some characters that shouldn't be altered too far from their original designs, but is Kup one of them?

Friday, 21 September 2018

Tenth Anniversary(!)

When I first started this blog, back in 2008, I was fully in the grip of my rekindled interest in TransFormers toys following my discovery of the 20th Anniversary products - MP01 and the Binaltech line - four years previously. At the time, since I still lived with my folks, my job left me with a good deal of disposeable income and, while the Binaltech line was winding down by that point (BT20 Argent Meister, the penultimate figure in the line and one of the first figures I wrote about here, was released that year), Masterpiece figures were still coming out, and I'd already amassed quite a collection of Cybertron/Galaxy Force toys before looking back to Energon/Superlink and even Armada/Micron Legend... Then Classics had happened and I suddenly had a growing collection of Hasbro/Takara Tomy's remakes of G1 toys along with the 'new' TransFormers Collection/Encore re-releases...

...And then, the unthinkable happened: by mid-2008, the (admittedly meagre, by today's standards) 50Mb web space allowance on my personal website ran out because even the tiny thumbnails images of my toys added up to quite a lot of space. I wanted to keep on taking photos of and writing about my toys... in fact, I wanted to do more of both. One solitary image of each toy's robot mode cannot capture the full awesomeness of TransFormers toys so, having hit my website's limit, I had to find a way to expand...

...Hence the move to a blog. And so, ten years later, here we are. I've managed to sustain the blog (just about) though some troublesome periods, created a recurring feature in 'Femme-Bot Friday' (sadly, Members Incentive Monday ended on #12, due to the closure of the TransFormers Collectors' Club back in 2016), filled in some regrettable gaps in my G1 collection, improved my photography a little, and had quite a lot of fun writing about all these transforming robot toys in my collection.

To more fully celebrate this new milestone, I'd hoped to write up a top ten list of toys of the past ten years (or possibly of my entire collection?) and maybe even a feature or two based around specific characters... But, for one reason or another, I've got no further than putting shortlists into a spreadsheet. Photos are not available for all the figures listed, and I can't easily get my hands on some of them. Perhaps I'll save it for next year, when I'll have been collecting again for 15 years?

For the moment, though, I'll write a few words about the coolest TransFormers toys I've picked up since last year (now, and henceforth, a Top Ten!)...

Friday, 14 September 2018

Masterpiece MP26 Road Rage

(Femme-Bot Friday #58)
I've more or less given up on the Masterpiece line, as it slips ever further down the slipperly slope of 'animation accuracy', but I'm still a huge fan of Generation 1 because of the range of cars it turned into awesome alien robots. While I only had a handful of the Diaclone-derived G1 Autobots at the time, I've filled in a few of the blanks over the years with both Hasbro and Takara/Takara Tomy's reissues, even managing to grab some of the e-HOBBY specials along the way.

One of my particular favourites was the Corvette Stingray and, while I own the Hasbro Commemorative Series version of Tracks, the Femme-Bot repaint released by e-HOBBY was never available at a price I was happy with... The Masterpiece version was available at TFNation this year, and, after much consideration, ended up being my final purchase of the show...

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Cybertron Excellion

With the Unicron Trilogy, Hasbro started each chapter with character names reassigned from their existing pool of G1 names, where Takara (by and large) came up with new names for what were essentially new characters within the franchise. Thus, while Takara had Exillion as their Hot Rod analogue in Galaxy Force, Hasbro actually named the same character Hot Shot for their adaptation, Cybertron, since Hot Shot had appeared, in one form or another, in both Armada and Energon.

But this led to things getting a little convoluted... Because Takara released a G1 Hot Rod-inspired repaint of Exillion as part of a DVD set (much like Chromia White Version), and Hasbro decided to get in on the act by releasing a similar repaint in the western markets. However, with the name 'Hot Shot' already taken by their version of Exillion, they decided to turn him into a whole new character within their Cybertron continuity, named... Excellion.

Confused? Well, let's have a look at the toy, then...

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

TransFormers: Bumblebee Power Charge Bumblebee

While the early trailer suggests the writer and director of TransFormers: Bumblebee have a better grasp of what could make TransFormers an awesome and awe-inspiring franchise than the likes of Orci, Kurtzman and Bay, I'm still not entirely convinced that Bumblebee is the ideal starting point for a reboot. Focus on one character, sure... but the TransFormers franchise is already creaking under the weight of Bumblebees, so making him the focal point fills me with equal parts of dread and outright loathing, and I'm having to tell myself that I'll want to see it because Travis Knight has worked on some excellent movies, and the quality of the cast - headed by Hailee Steinfeld (brilliant in True Grit back in 2010) and featuring the luscious tones of Angela Bassett as one of the Decepticons - is very encouraging.

Ultimately, though, we'll get what we're given... and for the toyline, that means a whole lotta Bumblebees. Toys are just starting to hit UK retail this month, well ahead of the film's Boxing Day release date... and a chance visit to The Entertainer netted me the latest in Hasbro's gimmick-laden, super-sized Bumblebee figures.

This isn't going to go well, is it?

Sunday, 9 September 2018

The Other Half 2: TFNation Edition!

I mentioned in my TFNation 2018 summing-up post that I'd asked my girlfriend, Courtney, to write a little bit about her experience of the show as 'an outsider' - that is to say, someone with a level of familiarity with thing TransFormers-related but is not herself 'a fan'. Courtney and I share similar tastes in movies and TV shows, but don't have a great deal of common interests and are both content to do our own things.

In part, I dread to think what it would be like to be in a relationship with another TransFormers fan - and particularly cohabiting with one - and haven't tried to engage her in my collection, though I have forced her to sit through shared with her some of my favourite TransFormers TV shows, and the first three live action movies. We've been living together for a few years now, and I have asked her if she wanted to come along to TFNation since its first year but, while she's been happy to attend more general conventions - MCM London Comic Cons, London Film & Comic Cons, Hyper Japan, New Scientist Live, to name but a few - she politely but nervously declined to attend until this year (she was out of the country the first year anyway).

Considering I enjoyed this year's show much more than I'd expected, I figured it'd be particularly interesting to commemorate this momentous occasion by getting her take on the event, both as a non-TransFormers fan, someone who doesn't necessarily enjoy crowds, and someone who occasionally attends events around the country as part of her job.

So, without further ado, I'll hand over to Courtney...

Saturday, 8 September 2018

iGear Con Air Raptor Squadron IG-C02 Sky-Wind

Is this the last of them? Am I finally up to date on my Third Party G1 Seeker analogues? Weirdly, it's taken me about 15 months per Raptor to get iGear's sort-of-IDW-style Seekers out of the way, having bought them over two and a half years ago. It's a fine example of the one of the problems with having a G1 Seeker OCD, and feeling obliged to buy the same mold in three different colours: what more is there to say having already written about this mold twice?

Still, Sky-Wind is the Skywarp analogue, so at least you know you're about to see photos of the sexy black-and-purple version, and that has to count for something, right?

No box shots with this one either because there's so little difference between the three... So, without further ado...

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Studio Series #11 Lockdown

It should be noted, first of all, that I did not dislike the Age of Extiction toyline's Lockdown toy. Prewarned that it was a bit rubbish, I bought it with suitably low expections and found it to be a competent toy with a fun transformation and a rather cool head-gun accessory... However, recognising that it was a poor representation of the character from the movie, I was quick to buy Unique Toys' Masterpiece-scale interpretation, Peru Kill, long before Studio Series Lockdown was announced.

So when the photos of Hasbro's entirely new take on the nonpartisan bounty hunter surfaced, I was impressed but, initially, not that interested... We all know how these things go, with my collecting habits, and I ended up ordering him almost as soon as he became available. How many Lockdowns does one collector need?