January 19, 2010

Munny my world!

Filed under: collecting, custom — fairplaythings @ 12:41 pm

What a day. And it’s only 12:30 p.m.

First the bad news. Leaving the house this morning, I realized that a snap had come loose on my brand new boots. I now have to take them back and get them replaced. Which I hate because they are otherwise fine and will be landfilled. But they are not even a week old.

After that? All good news. Came into work this morning to Castle Greyskull. Seriously! Work colleague is giving away his He-Man stuff. Gave most of the vehicles to another colleague who’s fiancée is big into MotU. But he has Greyskull, so it’s mine! For free! And though I’ve not look into the bag yet, it looks in good shape, with lots of parts! I’ll post a pic tonight!

The beauty of being the toy guy. You get such neat stuff. Over the years, I’ve picked up Sky Lynx, Mirage, broken Prowls and Sideswipes, and mint Soundwaves and Buzzsaws this way, to say nothing of giftos from exotic locale.

Before noon, they finally installed my “shower” sliding door to my cubicle, which gives me a bit more privacy. Awesome!

But the best news? I’m teaching again and this time it’s art courses.

Mel of spins and needles fame facebooked me yesterday to see if I was interested in participating in a program run by the National Gallery of Canada. The NGC runs a art program for teens with workshops at the end of each month. She did a silk-screening course last week for them and heard they were planning a Munny workshop and suggested me, so I sent an email off with my credentials and links to the site and CustomCon and Botcon, and they hired me for the end of February, with the possibility of further future engagements. I am so jazzed right now! I love teaching and I love toys and this is the best of both worlds!

Could it get better? Yes it can! The organizers are making arrangements to get the Munnies directly from kidrobot. Surprised that I bought at retail, they are going to try and set me up so that I can order directly from the company, something I’ve sporatically tried to do in the past without success. Also there is an honorarium involved.

Waiting for further details, but already scratch building lesson plans in my head. This is going to rock!

November 4, 2009

Starscream and an October Gone Awry

Filed under: custom — fairplaythings @ 11:04 am

Due to a glitch on the blog, I was unable to get into my planned entries for the latter part of October and finalize them for their debut. Although the glitch was corrected by my webhosting service, I then didn’t have the time to go back in and make the necessary corrections, on account of the work underway on this year’s halloween costume. Which this year consisted of my first ever attempt at a Transformer, in the form of Starscream.

There is a lot of win mixed into a lot of fail in this costume. Suffice to say, there will be a longer future post outlining the work that went into this creation. I am nonetheless pleased to note that all that work did result in a win as best costume at the annual Comic Book Shoppe masquarade ball despite the costume’s flaws. Like, you know, the ability to breathe in that mask.

In any case, I’ve taken today as a chance to go back and correct my previous oversights. Here is your chance to see my thoughts on such noteable transformers as Sling, Doubleheader, Soundwave, FlakSixshot, Silverbolt, Bludgeon, Bumblebee, Megatron, Rav and Predatron. And hopefully we can finish up our 25th anniversary run without further interruptions…

September 22, 2009

Take your Munny to the Slaughter

Filed under: GIJoe, collecting, custom, munny, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 2:04 am

I’m still pretty exhausted from the past weekend’s activities but I really need to get them down for posterity. And to show you pics of course. So I am holding off sleep to give you the important news. Which I’ll make properly rambly in any event, but still, it’s worth holding out on sleep to note properly.

This past weekend, you see, I took the opportunity to go down to Toronto for the 6th Annual Canadian Action Figure Expo. Seemingly hosted by a lot of the usual TFCon suspects, it seemed like a good reason to get out of the city for a break. Now I’d never been to the Expo before, but experienced a bit of what I thought it would be like with the newly-added second day of TFCon, where the show was expanded to include other toy lines.

I collect other toy lines. Such is my cross to bear.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to see what I could gather up. Of course, I attended this event like I do any other event - with a mental checklist only. Which doesn’t help when it comes to getting parts but isn’t bad in terms of eye-candy (which of course has implications for the pocket book, but no surprise there). Admittedly, there was another draw too. I must confess that an appearance by Sergeant Slaughter, former WWF wrestling champion, current WWE ambassador and past pitchman for G.I.Joe, was the icing on the cake. As a kid, I use to watch WWF and Grand Pre wrestling with my grandfather, so I got to know all the superstars of the day. So I have a healthy dose of nostalgia there too. And I actually own the original mail-away Sergeant Slaughter figure (although could I find it for the show?… not on your life…)

So I chance to blend my love of toys (or as my grandfather use to call them, “dolls”), with our past shared interest in lazy Saturday afternoon watching wrestling was too rich to pass up.

I’ll get into more about the Expo (what I call the good, the bad and the dumb) in the coming days. But let’s talk about Sarge. He was basically running a Q&A session from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then signing autographs afterward. The Q&A was quite good. He’s a really affable fellow and quite interesting with his various stories from his wrestling days and his days as a Joe. And of course, it’s always appropriate to have the last question prompted by Cobra Commander. Later, I waited in what was a very efficient autograph line to dutifully get my item autographed (in my case, the Warthog, the big amphibious vehicle which he piloted in the late 1980s in the toy line) and then back in line for a picture with the Sarge.

While I think having a picture of little me and big him together would have looked cool too, how could I turn down his generous offer of his signature move, the Cobra Clutch?

But then, I had a surprise for him.

At heart, I am a big fan boy. By big, I mean massive. So I am going to Toronto for a toy show and the big push over-the-top in terms of rationale is to meet Sarge. Of course, I have to bring something with me as a gift. The adult in me cringes even admitting this, and yet I cannot help but think it was appropriate to undertake such a last minute project as an adult in appreciation for bridging my toy world with my grandfather’s wrestling world. Something appropriate….

And that’s when I decided to create the Sargeant Slaughter munny.

That I have to wait until the night before I leave to have this realization, while trying to find something for the autograph line meant that the effort did not leave a lot to error. I wasn’t bringing a close to final piece. As with Botcon 2009, I was once again embarking on a project that I would kick myself for not finishing but which might end up impossible to do in the time frame allowed. So I am still a little surprised how (relatively speaking) easily it all came together.

Before I left Ottawa, I grabbed a pre-dyed black 4″ munny and quickly spray painting the flesh parts, I wrapped up the required paint colours, necessary line art for the original mail-in edition (which is also very much his pro-wrestling attire) and accessories, and took it all with me to work on into the wee hours of Saturday morning in my hotel room. Time meant I couldn’t do a fancy box, but having the idea worked out at home meant I could whip up more than just a figure. I was able to use a standard 4″ munny cowbow hat, with the edges removed and replaced with an epoxy brim, for Sarge’s ubiquitous stetson. His staff was an altered pinwheel handle. And rather than paint on the trademark glass, I used the 4″ versions to complete the look. The rest was standard line art and paint applications, except for the whistle which is added with epoxy.

Given the advantage of a dyed body and the spray-painted fleshtone, Sarge Munny came together reasonably easy (with the exception of the hat, which took more effort because I lacked wax paper and a solid plan for working it out in advance) and I’m very happy with the overall effect. In the end, I went with a cartoony look for his face because, well, I’m better at that look than I am at hyper-realism. And I put the GIJoe logo on his back, as opposed to his leg, for space advantages.

So after he released me (you don’t escape the Cobra clutch; the Sarge lets you go…) I mentioned I had something for him and brought out the munny. I really wish I’d had more forethought to tell him the story about papa and I watching wrestling together or even explaining about the popularity of vinyl toys. But I did get out enough to say it was to thank him for coming and could I get a picture.

He was gracious to oblige.

Part of the reasoning to get this post up and printed was in case Sarge checked the site. I did put one of my remaining first-run cards in the box. And I didn’t want to take the chance that he might skip by without seeing a more detailed history. But in the end, even if the munny ends up in one of his boxes of souvenirs that I’m sure he’s picked up at events over the past quarter century, it made all the effort worth it. Thanks Sarge!

Yo Joe!

September 16, 2009

Wasp (09-16-09)

Filed under: 14 animated, TF365, custom — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:16 am

Transformer of the Day for September 16, 2009


-Faction: Autobot Decepticon
-Era: Animated (2008-2009)
-Function: Fugitive / Saboteur
-Motto: “Wasp Never Go Back to Stockade… Never”
-Notable Toy: Deluxe (Hasbro, TBD)

Notes: It’s such an easy idea. Take Deluxe Bumblebee, produce him in green plastic, stick on card and ship to shelves as Wasp. Certainly, there are enough kitbashers who tried their hand at such a thing, like the poor sod who put together the customized version below, to indicate interest. While a new face would have been a nice touch, I’m happy to add Wasp, a better Wasp in my view, to our collection. Now get going with Cliffjumper why don’t you!?!

(Apologies and thanks to tformers.com for the source toy material.)

September 9, 2009

Munny Show 3

Filed under: custom, munny — fairplaythings @ 1:44 am

Introductions are required.

Introductions are required.

Tell them Bumblebee sent you.

Tell them Bumblebee sent you.

Today is the day. Armed with 18+ munnies, I am participating in the Lost Marble Munny Show later today!

If you are in Ottawa, come on out and see the show. September 9. 55 1/2 Murray Street in the Byward Market (Ottawa, Canada). Door open at 7:30 p.m.

July 11, 2009

Hydra (07-11-09)

Filed under: 01 generation one, TF365, ideas — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:11 am

Transformer of the Day for July 7, 2009


-Faction: Decepticon (Godmaster)
-Era: Generation One (1984-1992)
-Function: Space Aviation Officer
-Motto: “Friends are More Dangerous than Enemies”
-Notable Toy: Godmaster (Takara, 1988)

Notes: Hydra is the Japanese version of Darkwing. Similar to his North American counterpart, Hydra can form a gestalt jet form with his partner, Buster (Dreadwind in North America). The whole concept of a combined jet mode is strange enough without the garish colours either brother sports. However, as Hasbro has recently seen fit to recolour Universe Superion as Dreadwind, and the Transformers Collectors’ Club has blessed us with a recoloured Classics Jetfire as Darkwing, can a non-combining Hydra and Buster be far behind?

(Apologies and thanks to botchthecrab.com for the character image.)

June 28, 2009

FansProject and Fan-Based Projects

Filed under: custom — fairplaythings @ 10:28 am

Given the use of their accessory-pack in today’s TF entry on Cliffjumper, it seems a good time to talk a little bit about my very mixed feelings on FansProject.

As the Transformers community grows and matures, it is not surprising that it is able to bring all kinds of new skills to play. From conventions to cosplay, from repaints to scratch-builds, from videos to wikis and websites, I am continually amazed by the devotion and the level of detail available for a twenty-five year old toy line. But nowhere is this more evident in the proliferation and quality of fan-based efforts.

Not intending to slight anyone here, I think the first and best illustration of these efforts are those of unicron.com, an unsung group of fans who remain insufficiently recognized for their contributions to the community. Focussed primarily on accessory packs starting with Beast Machines’ Cheetor’s blade and the Key to Vector sigma, they’ve progressed to minted Golden Disks, an actual Vector Sigma and an impressive set of Transformers: Animated accessories. Since then, more complicated designs have emerged including the World’s Smallest Dinorobots, Impossible Toys’ the Quints, and the Gears of War acecssory pack, all serving to filled gaps in our collections.

Which brings us to FansProject. Certainly there is no doubt that their skill and quality is amazing. That said, it seems that almost from the start they have been pushing the limits of fans and Hasbro’s tolerance.

From the Hasbro side, their initial work seemed to be around the edges of the fandom. However, their announcements at TFCon 2009 (and notably NOT at Botcon 2009) of moving into actual Transformers, as opposed to accessories and the like, has got to be pushing the limits of what Hasbro’s legal department will tolerate. A trailer for Hot Rod? Fine. A brand new Broadside or Springer figure? No matter how cool they may be or how unlikely it is that Takara-Tomy or Hasbro will do something similar, there are already rumours that they are tripping up against issues of copyright and licensing. It will be interesting to see how things continue there.

From the collector side, it’s a mixed bag. Certainly the pinnacle of their work thus far has been the Universe Ultra Magnus armour. But a lot of fan, myself included, were swindled by the third-parties delivers with which FansProject partnered for the Cliffjumper accessory pack. And certainly there remain hard feelings for those fans (to say nothing of TFCon organizers) who spent great effort to get Powered Commander at TFCon this year, only to learn in less than a month that a wider release was forthcoming. Despite their comments to the contrary, it’s a decision that is baffling considering the absence of any indication of their intentions up to and at TFCon itself, and in the face of continued interest in the oh-so-limited Cliffjumper set and the popular Ultra Magnus armour which did not have such a self-imposed limitation.

Here’s hoping that in the next 12 to 18 months, these guys can get their acts sorted out.

June 14, 2009


Filed under: TF365, custom — fairplaythings @ 3:05 pm

I’m spending a chunk of the weekend working through upcoming TF of the Day postings. As always, this has led to new ideas on how to make the exercise more interesting, notably the inclusion of new sub-category headers. These headers are interesting to me, at least, because they’ll give me a better sense of which era I’ve been leaning on (or rather, just how much I’ve been leaning on Generation One).

In any event, it means going back through six months worth of listings to make the appropriate updates. Bear with me. In the meantime, I offer this custom pic for Puppylove-SewingStars and this one for Nala-PlasticCrack. Right up your respective alleys I think. And proof positive that I am not the only one who thinks of this stuff. And, Teresa, as you can see, Towline has much Ratchetability.

May 31, 2009

Botanica (05-31-09)

Filed under: 07 beast machines, TF365, custom, ideas — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:01 am

Transformer of the Day for May 31, 2009


-Faction: Maximal
Beast Machines (1999-2000)
-Function: Deep Space Explorer
-Motto: External Growth Comes from Within
-Proposed Toy: Night Viper (Hasbro, 1999)

Notes: After 10 years of missed opportunities, it’s time for Botanica to stand tall beside her fellow Maximals in the battle for Cybertron. The problem of course is what possible figure could one change into Botanica that would even come close to her appearance in the show? Or do you overlook the obvious and give her a pre-exploratory mode? My vote is for a modified Beast Machines Night Viper, but with work done on the snake head transformation.

May 30, 2009

Straxus (05-30-09)

Filed under: 01 generation one, TF365, ideas — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:01 am

Transformer of the Day for May 30, 2009


-Faction: Decepticon
-Era: Generation One (1984-1992)
-Function: Overlord
*There is No Room for Mercy, Only Death”
-Proposed Toy: Crossformer Hulk (Hasbro, 2008)

Notes: Straxus was an example of the early promise offered by the Marvel Generation One run of comics. Debuting as a throwaway antagonist in #17, Jihaxus would later be described by Jihaxus as a petty warlord.  And though he meets a swift end in the North American run (lingering a bit longer in the UK run), and would return in the IDWverse, Stratux never made it to toy shelves. Which is a shame when the Marvel Crossover Hulk tank is such an obvious candidate for a retrofit into this classic space tank.

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