Sunday, 27 January 2019

Galaxy Force Galaxy Convoy

Galaxy Force (or Cybertron in the US and Europe), the final component in the so-called Unicron Trilogy (or Micron Trilogy, in Japan) had a whole lot of G1 references in its toyline, from characters to colourschemes. For its Optimus Prime mold, however, it went for a mix of G1 and, curiously, Car Robots/Robots in Disguise.

It's also pretty colossal, coming in a box not a lot smaller than that of Megalo Convoy, and perhaps represents one of the last 'playset' Optimus Prime figures Hasbro and Takara produced before the gradual decline in size occurred across the movie toylines, and a whole ten years before Combiner Wars led to Titans Return (which is both a toyline and a mission statement) and its enormous cityformers.

So, in 'honour' of the recently-revealed War for Cybertron (2019) so-called Leader class Optimus Prime, let's take a look at the toy that inspired it... 

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

On Gimmicks, 'Play Patterns' and Fiction

Now that the Prime Wars Trilogy is officially over and the War for Cybertron Trilogy's first chapter, Siege, will be trickling into toyshops, I've been thinking a little about Hasbro's most recently closed line and, with reference to my May 2017 post, perhaps add a few further thoughts on the future of TransFormers toys...

As a collector since the original Generation 1 toys, Prime Wars - mainly in the form of Combiner Wars and Titans Return - was a very familiar concept. First we had combiner teams which were, by and large, remakes of teams from the 1986 portion of G1, but made with today's design nous and manufacturing technology, to the current Deluxe and Voyager size classes. That was all well and good and, aside from a few joint tolerance and general quality control issues, not to mention some rather hollow parts, as vast an improvement on the G1 versions as one might expect. Similarly, Titans Return pretty much amalgamated the HeadMaster and TargetMaster concepts from 1987 into the Titan Masters - small robots that transform into the heads of familiar characters, granting them enhanced stats - but, good as the toys were, something was missing.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

TransFormers (Movie) Landmine

Possibly the most exciting thing about the 2007 TransFormers movie's toyline was that, while the movie had a surprisingly limited cast, the character roster was bolstered dramatically in plastic form, and under the thinnest of pretexts: certain Sector 7 vehicles were actually robots... in disguise.

Of course, given that the shadowy government group had equipment able to detect Cybertronians (and the radioactive residue of having been near them), this seems exceedingly unlikely unless Sector 7 actually were as incompetent as the movie made them seem... And if one of their government issue SUVs can be a Decepticon, why not let one of their attack buggies be an Autobot?

Friday, 11 January 2019

Iron Factory IF EX-27 Streamwing (aka Shrike's Feather)

(Femme-Bot Friday #63)
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I find the name given to Iron Factory's take on Slipstream interestingly coincidental: I constantly referred to live action movie Megatron as 'The Shrike', a reference to a robotic killing machine in a series of Sci-Fi books by Dan Simmons, since he fits its description ("composed of razorwire, thorns, blades, and cutting edges, having fingers like scalpels") surprisingly well... It will be obvious from the images in this post that this is not a movie-style interpretation of Slipstream, yet I can't see any other reason to call her 'Shrike's Feather'... Though it's very likely I'm missing something...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

War for Cybertron: Siege Skytread Flywheels

One of the biggest surprises of the Power of the Primes line was the appearance of the G1 Duocon Battletrap in the form of two combining figures - Battleslash and Roadtrap. Before the first images turned up - a remarkably short time before the two figures actually arrived in shops - there had been no hints of Duocons featuring in PotP, but they turned out to be the most innovative offering of the line, which was otherwise a retread of Combiner Wars with added elements of Titans Return.

Of course, making Battletrap surely meant that a full Duocon Flywheels was on his way, to replace the poorly-executed and otherwise redundant Titan Master/Triple-changing Vehicle combination, Skytread, released under the Titans Return banner, right?

Well... Kinda... In fact, it didn't happen at all within Power of the Primes, and when the second Duocon was finally revealed, he turned out to be a closer homage to the G1 toy than Battletrap had been...

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Armada Overload

It's funny, in collecting, how one thing can easily lead to another. I first saw Overload over a decade ago, and thought it looked like crap. Like most of Armada, it seemed to be oversized, unnecessarily bulky, lacking in both detail and articulation... Basically, an easy pass.

I'd felt much the same about Jetfire, even after buying the Collectors' Club's usage of the mold as Astrotrain back when I first joined, and it was only more recently - having finally replaced my broken Armada Optimus Prime cab - that I rediscovered how cool that toy actually was, and set about tracking down Jetfire just so I could create the proper Jet Optimus (aka Superpants Optimus Prime), which then led me to reconsider Overload.

Since, throughout 2018, Overload - and the Energon repaint, Ultra Magnus - turned out to be ridiculously expensive on the secondary market (upwards of £100 boxed, or in the region of £50 loose and not necessarily complete), I decided to have a quick shuffle through The Spacebridge's tubs at TFNation 2018... £20 later, I walked away with this figure, missing only the missiles for his spring-loaded launchers.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Alternity A-04 Thundercracker (Sonic Blue)

The last of my Alternity purchases was actually in my collection not long after Starscream and Skywarp, and I really don't know why I didn't get to him back then (a little over eight years ago!), not least because Skywarp lacked the immediate, punchy impact of Starscream's stark, pearly white paint job and Thundercrackers icy blue.

There were further entries in the Alternity line after this, but they seemed to be nothing but repaints of a retooled Convoy under the 'Mission GT-R' banner, so I think I've got at least one of all the unique molds and won't be looking to get any more of these... Which means I'm actually closing off one part of my collection right at the start of the year!

Sunday, 6 January 2019


I've got my list of ancient drafts down to about 30 now and, what with a low expectation of adding to my collection in vast quantities for the forseeable future, I'm going to be doing a bit of housekeeping this year. It's not exactly a priority task, but it's a fairly simple one... and it's largely down to Photobucket (again). Back in 2013, I posted about the issues I was having with the image hosting site, mainly that thumbnail links had to be generated one at a time. Since then, Blogger has made changes to its service that switches everything over to HTTPS, which is somewhat incompatible with Photobucket, flashing up errors about 'unsecure items' in each post that linked to images hosted by the third party. Thankfully, Blogger's own image hosting has improved to the point that I've not used Photobucket since another problem arose in March 2017, except for the previously existing drafts, and I've been working through those and replacing the links as I post them.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Power of the Primes Evolution Nemesis Prime

The moment I laid eyes on Evolution Optimus Prime, I knew that it was a foregone conclusion that I'd also buy a Nemesis Prime repaint of the mold, should it appear. It wasn't long before it was announced, and the real surprise was that it had not one, but two unique head sculpts - one for the Leader class figure, and one for the Deluxe class cab robot, named 'Nemesis Pax'.

Then came the bad news... In the wake of the collapse of Toys'R'Us, he would be an Amazon exclusive, to be released on Prime Day 2018. This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but previous Prime Day exclusives had become difficult - if not impossible - to find in the UK except at hugely inflated prices on the secondary market. But then he turned up as a preorder, at the surprisingly low price of about £35. I put in my preorder, and waited.

And waited.

Prime Day came and went, and I received a series of emails from Amazon, apologising for being unable to locate stocks... Despite the figure being widely available in the States (just not for shipping to the UK). Several months later, I gave up. Feeling like he'd never come to Amazon UK (but with the nagging sense that it'd be in stock the very day after I cancelled my preorder), I bought one via eBay for about £60 (cashing in a whole bunch of Nectar points to soften the blow) and cancelled the Amazon preorder... Only for the figure to magically and suddenly be announced as available via Amazon UK less than a month later.

The path of a dedicated Collector is seldom a smooth one... and almost never cost-effective. But let's not get hung up on the negative... Let's have a look at the Nemeses instead...