Sunday, 22 September 2019

TransFormers Adventure TAV28 Ground Vehicon General

I have to confess that I bought this figure by accident. I was having one of those days where I wasn't really paying attention, and somehow got it into my head that what I was looking at was actually the TransFormers Prime Arms Micron AM-34 Jet Vehicon General and, considering it was substantially cheaper than I'd seen it before, hastily snapped it up.

Of course, by the time it arrived, I realised my error... but the original TFPrime Vehicon mold is still one of my absolute favourite TransFormers toy, so another iteration of that - repainted with the idea of it being a higher-ranking version of the Decepticon cannon fodder - can hardly be too great a disappointment, can it?

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Eleventh Anniversary

With the end of the Prime Wars trilogy and the start of the War for Cybertron trilogy, the year from September 2018 to now has seen my toy spending substantially reduced. Part of that, admittedly, is that my finances have been less stable, and during that period there have been several more practical issues requiring financial consideration... but a lot of it has been a sense of apathy over Hasbro's most meagre effort at a reboot yet... However, to be honest, and as has often happened in the past, I've found myself warming to some of the toys in spite of myself.

Hasbro's pitch was that the toyline would represent the period before Generation 1 - life on Cybertron at the very start of the war. That, in and of itself, is another fine example of what I consider to be the greatest malady of the entertainment industry in the first couple of decades of the twenty first century: a prequel nobody needed... but, as the toys arrived, it became apparent that they just didn't fit that idea and that, toy-wise, it was a very thinly veiled continuation or reboot of Generation 1, as an excuse to release loads of toys they hadn't got round to already under Classics, Generations, etc.

Even the 'Cybertronian' aesthetic was inconsistently applied, with the reveal of Astrotrain over the summer offering ample evidence that WfC:Siege couldn't possibly be set before the Cybertronians' arrival on Earth, because he transforms into a steam train, just like the G1 toy. That's pretty much going to be my get-out clause against accusations of hypocrisy over any WfC toys I do end up buying.

Another factor, undoubtedly, was my non-attendance at TFNation this year. Part of that is, again, down to the current primary toyline, and the fact that I can do without spending the required money of ticket(s), transport and accommodation. Nothing about this year's lineup really grabbed me the way previous years have and, having introduced by girlfriend to the whole experience last year, I kind of felt the need for a break... I've not even gone to things like the London Film & Comic Cons this year.

But, anyway... This top ten of the last twelve months is not much less than the sum total of all my purchases during that time, with most of the remainder of that list becoming the 'Honourable Mentions' because they are deserving of note.

So, without further ado...

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Revenge of the Fallen (Walmart Exclusive) Skywarp

Back when I wrote about the original live action movie toyline's take on Thundercracker, I noted that my Seeker OCD would likely, eventually, lead to me buying the Walmart exclusive Skywarp version despite the fact that just about every other version released since has been a vast improvement in almost every way conceivable.

Cut to earlier this month and, while I've seen this particular Skywarp turn up on eBay quite often in the intervening years, it's either been ridiculously overpriced, or missing parts (most frequently one or both of the rear stabiliser wings). It's only been in the last couple of months that the prices of a MISB version have returned to a 'normal' price (being in the region of about £30), but one caught my eye - unboxed, but complete - for about half that... and then the seller offered an extra couple of quid off, so I felt obliged to pick it up.

But this mold is now about twelve years old... Was it really worth even the reduced price?

Thursday, 12 September 2019

TransFormers Collectors' Club BotCon 2008 (Timelines) Shattered Glass Rodimus

I really should have sorted this post out before getting to Power of the Primes Evolution Rodimus Unicronus, not least because Hasbro's homage to this BotCon add-on figure from the 2008 Shattered Glass set appeared a full decade later, and I believe I acquired this not too long after its BotCon debut.

Shattered Glass was FunPub's take on a 'mirror universe' in which the Autobots were the bad guys and the Decepticons were heroic. It's not an original idea (ripped off from Star Trek, if nothing else) and wasn't even especially well-explored in the BotCon comic or the related story in the Collectors' Club comic, just enough to spark the fan community's interest.

Rodimus, if I remember correctly, was presented as a sort of low-level gangster type - very stereotypical Italian-American mob-like - with a black, purple and silver paint job that was one of the oddities of the Shattered Glass concept, in that it wasn't taken from an equivalent traditional Decepticon, it was simply an adaptation of the long-standard 'Nemesis' palette. But let's get into the analysis properly...

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Studio Series #33 Bonecrusher

Bonecrusher appeared in the original movie's toyline as a Deluxe and in the smaller, simpler size classes only... and, in retrospect, Hasbro admitted that this had been a miscalculation on their part. The figure was actually pretty good - I really enjoyed it and thought robot mode turned out rather well despite its small size and simplistic design.

The original toy got a few repaints, none of which seemed worth bothering with, but it's taken over ten years for Hasbro/Takara Tomy to come up with a new version in a more appropriate size class... and I can't help but think it's mostly due to the explosion of Third Party movie figures, not least the amazing-looking Steel Claw from TF Dream Factory, which is effectively a Masterpiece-scale take on Bonecrusher.

Tempted as I was, I elected to take the vastly cheaper option of Hasbro's Studio Series Bonecrusher, since it's widely regarded as a huge improvement on the old Deluxe... Though I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed...

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Binaltech BT06 Tracks

The trouble with Binaltech as a concept was that it rather left Hasbro and Takara (as they were) at the mercy of the car manufacturers. Many of them declined to license any of their vehicles, leading to certain characters ending up in the 'wrong' vehicle form. On that score, Tracks was slightly luckier... Chevrolet had initially declined, but - for whatever reason - later had a change of heart. They insisted, however, that initial release should use their new Corvette's signature yellow paint job.

Of course, a yellow Tracks is not a Tracks at all (Tiger Tracks, perhaps?), so I stubbornly waited for the proper, blue version. Was it worth the wait?

Sunday, 1 September 2019

DotM Mechtech Nitro Bumblebee

Dark of the Moon introduced the Stealth Force concept to the movieverse - whereby the Autobots could partially transform their vehicular disguises to reveal weapons and other such upgrades. Naturally, in the harshly edited delerium that was the Michael Bay movie, it was shown only sparingly, and not to its fullest effect. Hasbro, in their wisdom, followed suit, producing an inconsistent set of Deluxe class Wreckers - one of whom (Roadbuster) featured none of the Stealth Force alterations his team-mates displayed - as well as a set of Human Alliance toys that was as incomplete as it was inconsistent (Leadfood with his normal vehicle mode, Roadbuster in his Stealth Force form, and no Topspin). There was only one other toy made that exhibited any of this extra vehicle mode tech...

And, as if there weren't already far too many Bumblebee figures in the live action movie toylines, Hasbro couldn't resist making that one toy yet another superfluous variant of their already ubiquitous flagship character.

...Sound like fun to you? Let's have a closer look...