January 5, 2012

Give me something to obsess about and I will freely blog

Filed under: Transformers, botcon — fairplaythings @ 10:15 pm

So Botcon 2012 is coming up in April and we’re counting down the SIX figures that constitute this year’s box set (with the theme of Shattered Glass comes to the Classicverse). I’m having a lot of mixed feeling though because of the toys, and because I’m not going.

Yes, ending a six year string, I’m not attending this year’s Con. It was not an easy decision actually:

  • It is being held in Dallas, Texas, a city (and a state) I’ve not yet visited, so it would have been fun to see someplace new (and I could probably get there on points).
  • The add-on set is Shattered Glass, which I have really really come to love, and showing up is still the best way to get the toys (and get excited about them).
  • There is a better chance this year to get into the customizing course because of a doubling of places. Given the molds from 2010 (G2 Sideswipe) and 2011 (TF:A Minerva), you just know it is going to be something interesting (probably, with my luck, Sunstorm or Shattered Glass Dirge already molded in yellow…)
  • And, selfishly, I really wanted to take a shot at a five-peat in the diarama competition. Since 2007, I have alternately placed first and second every year for the past four, and I have some great ideas to enter to continue the streak.

But these factors are outweighed by the Cons, so to speak.

To do the city right would require more vacation time than I am prepared to commit, particularly with a long-talked about vacation on the horizon. Having just bought the new house and just after Christmas, I’m feeling the bottom line much more than usual, so not attending will also save me several hundred dollars in food and accommodations and transportation, to say nothing of the sums I have been known to drop in the dealers’ room.

And while I want to try for a five-peat, the amount of time and effort that has gone into each presentation over the past four years has been exhaustive. Even last year’s nesting dolls took a long time, and in the case of the last three years, I was still working on the entry on site. But KidRobot has what appears to be annual munny contest (or at least one it has run for the past two years) in May and I really want to have the time to do a proper entry - getting street cred with them would be mind blowing and really good for my munny aspirations! (Also, I have the perfect idea, brewing for three years and needing to escape my head…)

Related to this is my planned attendance at TFCon in Toronto in July as a dealer. It certainly means I have access to a toy buying opportunity (with no customs or suitcase hassles). But it also allows me time to overcome the big challenge from 2009, namely having time to put forward Transformer munnies for sale. While I had about 20 for sale, most were non-TF, and I’m curious to know how I will do with an army of cute robots.

But lastly, my long-term Botcon friends aren’t going. Teresa, Toddmichael and Matt, “Crazy” Steve, Josh Miller, they are not going. And while I’m constantly making new friends at the event, I want to hang with at least some of my posse. So I’ll stay put and lure at least Teresa, and hopefully Toddmichael and Matt, up for TFCon in the land of gravy and cheese curds on french fries.

But having friends does have its advantages. Chip and Elizabeth are going and they’re getting the toys for me (and getting in the door with my pass!). So deep into my savings I go to line up payment for tomorrow’s registration. Even if it is not me doing the registering!

(Coming up: My thoughts on the toys! (Hopefully) with pictures!)

July 31, 2010

Transformers: Animated Part II & III: Dinobots, Junkion and Elite Guard

Filed under: Toys, Transformers, collecting — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 5:00 pm

Just to let you know that, in putting together today’s installment of the Animated toy serial, I’ve undertaken some touch-ups of on Part I. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t tip my hat to shadowbot, for his two-year old renderings of Animated logos that I’ve appropriated for use in this project. They are still first rate.

And without further ado, here is Parts II and III:

July 23, 2010

Friday ComicCon is Love!

Filed under: ComicCon, GIJoe, Shogun Warriors, Toys, Transformers, collecting, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 12:31 pm

I’m back from TFCon. The fabled Munny draw will take place this weekend so if you’re watching this space, watch this space this weekend for the winner.

In the meantime, Friday and ComicCon is barely underway and yet the pictures and information are coming fast and furious. Too much to tweet really, so I’m putting it all together in a post.


Transformers: Prime looks nice style-wise. Now let’s see if it has the heart of Animated, or the soul of Beast Wars…

However, these movie two-packs are just hitting the shelves. I have to say I like them. I thought 2010 was going to be a safe year for me in the toy isle…


With the new Renegades cartoon coming, there certainly is good Joe potential. But looking at the clip from the cartoon, a very Resolute story, I am wondering if the toys will be in the same style (so like TF: Animated was in comparison to the movie line). It would be cool but will cause some astetic issues. Anyway, some toy highlights:

Mini-Hiss Tank. What is nice about this is that it’s another opportunity for the HISS driver, a perrenial favourite.

Alley Viper. You can’t be released soon enough!

Lowlight in the RAH style. Nice.


It seems to be a good year to be a Lantern. Could there be a movie coming?

A five pack of Lanterns, plus a new (two-ups are yum!) DCUC Kyle in the foreground.

It’s DCUC Alan Scott!

No! He’s only available at Wally-Town!

It’s DCU Power Ring. I’m in! (And the Reddy looks awesome!)

Manhunter? Looks more like the Ultra Humanite. Whatever. Want!

Hey I just bought this set at TFCon. Go me!

I love the McGuinness-style toys. So Hal and company make me happy!

More Metal Men in the DCUC style. Fantastic!

Epic Win, Epic Fail!:

I think for me the big news is to see a resurgence in Shogun Warriors. Check this out!  I am totally getting this!

But, is this a Battle Beast? Can’t tell. Hope not.

February 12, 2010

Transformers: Animated

Filed under: Transformers, collecting, comment — fairplaythings @ 1:51 am

Yup. Still no Collectible of the Week. Basically I’m preoccupied with organizing bills (lame adult stuff) and haven’t had a chance to properly photograph the pictures for the next few Collectible entries. I’ll get there yet!

In the meantime, inspired by today’s shortpacked, I found that I suddenly had a lot to say on Takara’s upcoming release of Transformers: Animated. It’s not good and it coalesces around three themes: colour applications, size, and what could have been.

The Magnificent Time Delayed Colour Palette

I am sure I am not alone among Transformers fans who have scooped up domestic Hasbro releases, only to find a later and far superior release by Takara. You don’t need to look much further than Universe to see what I mean. Sometimes it’s subtle differences like with Optimus Prime, Inferno and Bumblebee, where you realize you’d prefer the Takara release but can live with Hasbro’s. Other times it is completely radical changes like with Megatron, Starscream and Powerglide, where one could argue that Takara’s look is sooo good that they’ve inspired Hasbro retroactively with reissues.

Most often, like for Ironhide, Ratchet and Smokescreen, it’s just enough to make you kick yourself for not waiting.

For the longest time, though, it looked like Takara would let Animated go the way of Beast Machines, which it only belated picked up ten years after the show went off the air and only as an exclusive for ToysRUs (and which featured the best renderings of unfortunately scaled figures like Silverbolt and Tankor). But less than three years after their debut in North America, Takara surprises us with the pick-up. And then decides to make them less than show accurate by using what looks like a vac-metal paint application.

Very shiny! Very wrong! They look like Transformers: CGI!

On the plus side, it means that I don’t regret picking up the line as it was released, and I don’t have to pay big import fees to get the Japanese market versions. In fact, the only case where I might be interested in such an effort is Shockwave, who would look really cool in vac-metal purple. But the rest can take a pass. And while Hasbro has been fairly consistent with the paint applications for this line, it would have nonetheless been nice to pick up a few particular characters (like Ratchet) who should have enjoyed a little more tender loving care.

It’s All About Size Going off the Cliff

I gotta say the strangest thing about Takara release is the use of Cliffjumper in his Activator mode. Despite what I said about the colour situation, I had presumed that Takara would take the opportunity to put out a Cliffjumper that was in scale with the rest of the line, particularly since Hasbro has already said they were not going to take such action for Cliffjumper and given that they never bothered to redo a Henkei version of the Universe deluxe rendering.

Cliffjumper would have been the clear import winner for the first wave from Takara. Their decision to go the easy route is unfortunate.

RIP Animated: Gone Before Your Time

If it was clear from Botcon 2009 that Animated was dead, the announcement of Transformers: Prime was the sound of Animated being lowered to its final resting place. And while I should never dismiss a show for which I’ve not yet seen an episode, I am very leery of the participation of Kurtzman and Ori (of TF: Boogalo fame)’s in the new cartoon (because it can’t all be Michael Bay’s fault, can it?)

But I can’t help but think that Animated might have been extended if Takara had gotten off the pot sooner and come to the party. So instead of a great show, we’re left with the great unknown. Although I’m quite sure the new toys for the new CGI cartoon would look good in vac-metal colours.

January 25, 2010

Damn the Cereal! Give me the Flicker Stickers! - Collectible of the Week Pt. 4

Filed under: Collectible of the Week, Toys, Transformers, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 11:58 pm

Collectible of the Week Part4


-Special Features: Transforming Before Your Very Eyes
-Manufacturer and Year: Kellogg’s, 1985 and 1986
-Key Words: Transformers, Lenticular, Motion, Flicker, Stickers

The Story So Far:

I can honestly say that I’ve been waiting 25 years to tell this story, and practically envisioned this whole Collectible of the Week column to give me means, motive and opportunity to post this story.

But let’s start from the beginning. The year is 1985 and Transformers are marketing gold. Literally, any opportunity to put something related to Transformers on the market is tried and that includes cereals. Now it may seem hard to believe from cereal packaging these days, but back in the 1970 and 1980s, you couldn’t escape cool promotions just waiting inside the packaging of your favourite cereals. A perennial favourite for me was Sheddies with their Black Hole pencil holders. That is, at least, until 1985 and Kellogg’s introduced a series of eight motion stickers.

Flickering Away My Days

Measuring about one inch cubed and based on the line art associated with each character’s two modes superimposed on a blue background, the stickers were thicker than the usual decals of the day to allow kids to transformed the character in question from robot to vehicle with a flick of the wrist. The sticker set was equal representative of each factions, with four Autobots and four Decepticons. Of course there was going to be an Optimus Prime and a Megatron, and it’s really no surprise that Bumblebee and Soundwave also made the cut. What’s interesting then is, like other promotions of the day, which other characters were seen to have high marketability. In this case, it was Laserbeak (posing in Buzzsaw colours) and Skywarp, Prowl and Sideswipe that ultimately won the day.

The promotion must have been successful because Kellogg’s returned the next year with another series of stickers. Once again, both factions found equal representation. What was curious about this line-up though was the choice of characters. First, Kellogg’s was clearly drawing on source material pointing to Ultra Magnus as the next leader of the Autobots, as Rodimus Prime is nowhere to be found. In fact, Magnus and his counterpart, Galvatron, were the only 1986 characters included in the set, with the rest of the assortment drawn from the 1985 line-up. Even here, it is a curious choice of characters. Omega Supreme was paired with Swoop and Beachcomber, both of whom are surprises from a toy assortment that included the likes of Grimlock and Jetfire. The Decepticon assortment ignored the chance to add Starscream or Shockwave, and went instead for Kickback, Mixmaster and Astrotrain.

Just a Marginally Taller Version of My Twelve Year Old Bad Self

In any event, both assortment led to much encouragement for my mother to buy Kellogg’s cereal, so clearly the promotion was a success, with the spoils ending up in a box where I kept various paper promotions and tech specs, where they remained until I found a way to put them in with various card sets gathered over the years. But I cannot take credit for the entire collection. As difficult as it has been to round out the numerous holes that existed in the collection for decades, I was able to virtually double my collection overnight when a fellow traveller gifted me her collection some years ago (still in their original wrappers I’m astonished to report). That said, finding the remaining four flicker stickers has proved elusive indeed, primarily I suspect because of the lack of a common terminology for the stickers, a problem I believe originates from the absence of original packaging.

That is, until now!

This is one of those occasions that the obsessive collector of today is grateful for the somewhat-less-meticulous-but-nonetheless-obsessive collector of his youth. You see, I didn’t just save the stickers from being applied to items lost in the winds of times, I also thought it was a good idea to squirrel away the packaging for the 1986 promotion. Why I only put aside one such box and neglected to take similar care to retain the 1985 cereal box is lost to me, but I can relate the reason why the promotion is in the piece meal form it finds itself today. Boxes were to be thrown out, so the only way to spare the information and pictures a similar fate was to break them down for a possible entry into a scrapbook along the way. So like all my cards and boxes of the day, I cut the cereal box apart, threw away anything that my younger self didn’t deem to be relevant, and put the remainder in a box.

Now this is where things get particularly exciting for me. I’ve known for a long time that I salvaged most of the back of the box in question, because I’ve kept it pretty close to the top of the pile. Some years ago, I even photocopied the artwork and sent it off to Raksha for her interest. But it’s the other pieces of the puzzle that fill me with glee. You see, as I was expressing my love of this collection, I was also lamenting the fact that I didn’t have other pieces of the puzzle. And then it hit me, that maybe, just maybe, I saved more than just the back of the box.

So I went to the basement to take a look. And sure enough, I had saved three more pieces to the puzzle in the box containing my earliest paper collection. In typical cut-what-is-important-style, I saved the front advertisement, a copy of the small Transformers logo on the box, and a picture of the mail-in promotion from the side of the box. Because Kellogg’s also managed to find its way to offer the deluxe Insecticons to kids at the same time as it promoted its flicker stickers. While the details of the offer have yet to surface, beyond the assortment of characters available, it’s incredibly likely that it involved box-tops from the cereals in question. Given I was able to locate these bits after literally a quarter century (!), it’s probably worth it a second, more thorough examination to see if I have the actual text.

Did I Really Say Four?

Excluding this long-overdue review and particularly tonight’s discovery, information on these stickers was almost as hard to come by as the stickers themselves, even on the internet. What information is out there seems to be confined to a few historical sites like Raksha’s site and TFMuseum.com. The most organized source of information, however, really has to be Lui’s Transformers page, which somehow manages to effectively tell their story in a very few words and some very successful links. (Clearly I could learn a thing or two from Lui.)

This link came to my attention when I decided I should do a thorough check to see what was actually written out there on the subject. Before that day, I honestly thought I was dealing with a mostly Canadian phenomenon, three-quarters of which I could lay claim.

Then I learned of the Ralston promotion in the U.S., and suddenly the number of missing stickers doubled over night.

Now it’s probably not surprising that I didn’t put two-and-two together and realize there was a U.S. component to this story. When even finding hardcore fans look confused when you raise a topic is usually a sign of some level of exclusiveness. But the signs should have been there, given that I was well aware of the Cookie Crisp Jazz, and should have deduced a promotion associated with him.

But what is so striking about this new information is the particulars of the U.S. campaign. Running in 1985, Ralston relied for the most part on second wave characters. Keeping its promotion to six characters in a two-to-one ratio this time, what is striking is that there are only two stickers that are duplicated across the promotions: Soundwave in Kellogg’s wave one and Omega Supreme in wave two. Of the remaining four, Blitzwing makes a great complement to Astrotrain, just as Slag and Snarl complement Swoop. Perceptor seems to be there as a foil to Soundwave more than anything.

And there we have it. Twenty stickers (excluding duplicates) little seen and known. And the hunt continues…

January 18, 2010

Beasties! Eat them Up Yum! - Collectible of the Week Pt. 3

Filed under: Collectible of the Week, Transformers, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:18 am

Collectible of the Week Part 3


-Special Features: Autographs Not Included
-Manufacturer and Year: Alliance Atlantic, 1997
-Key Words: Transformers, Beast Wars, Placemat

The Story So Far:

To promote the 1997 release of “Beast Wars: A Feature Length Beasties Adventure” on VHS in the Canadian market, Alliance Atlantic had an interesting promotion. If you bought the VHS tape and clipped the proof of purchase located on the back, and sent along a defined amount to coverage postage ($2.95, if memory serves), they would send you a bilingual plastic dinner place mat feature all your favourite Maximals and Predacons.

What can I say? Having infrequent viewing patterns, I took advantage of the chance to bring home a video cassette of my favourite beastformers, clipped the POP and sent the cash. Four to eight weeks later, I received my placemat, which promptly was put back in the original bubble envelop and buried in with other memento gathered here and there. Which is pretty much where it lived for the next half dozen or so years, coming out occasionally during a move, and then going back into the original bubble envelop until the next time it saw the light of day

So that’s I came to get my hands on this particular artifact. The story of its defiling is a little more interesting.

Fast forward to 2002 and the first Canadian Transformers convention takes place in Hamilton, Ontario. Having never ventured to the U.S. for a Botcon, how could I not go to a TF-focused toy show literally in my own backyard. And it was such a good time that I went to the next two, in 2003 (in Hamilton) and 2004 (when TFCon made the switch to Toronto for the first time). Two years later and attendance and space had tripled, and the con was able to bring about its first real guest, the voice of Beasties Megatron myself, David Kaye. Needing something to have autographed, so I of course grabbed my Complete first season on DVD to take with me for David to sign.

I completely forgot about the placemat. Dummy.

Fast forward again to September 2006. I had seriously considered going down for Botcon 2005 in Texas. But I just couldn’t quite bring myself to part with the money required, particularly having just come back from a month long trek in Europe in the Spring (that prevented me from attending that year’s TFCon and affording me the chance to have Gary Chalk’s autograph on the DVD package.) In the end, the events and Fresco weren’t quite enough, and I stayed put. But 2006 was a different story for three reasons. One, the toys (which to be fair had been pretty enticing in 2005 with Ironhide, Ratchet and Deathsaurus) blew me away. The theme was pre-Beast Wars and, having been lured back into Transformers by Canadian produced Beasties, I could not resist the theme. Two, they were going to have the first of their customizing classes and I was keen on picking up new skills. And three, to go along with the theme, they were bringing in Beast Wars guests by the (not quite half) dozen in the forms of Scott McNeil (Rattrap, Dinobot, Silverbolt and Waspinator), Richard Newman (Rhinox), Blu Mankuma (Tigatron, Tigerhawk), and Pauline Newstone (Airazor).

So off I go to my first Botcon, but not before dragging out the DVD collection to get autographed. And somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, I remember the placemat. Truth be told, I’d remembered it in 2004 too, but I think I was in the hotel room getting ready to go out to see Danko Jones at Lee’s Palace and four hours away from doing anything about it. But the fates were kind to me, I was able to remember this time, and the results were pretty cool. There were quite a few impressive noises from the cast to what turned out to be a relatively unique artifact. So I was pretty pleased with myself.

Of course I was now completely hooked on Botcons, so there really wasn’t much discussion about attending the next one in 2007, at which David Kaye (by now having added the voice of Animated Optimus Prime to his considerable repotoire) was in attendance. So I got to make up for past mistakes and add his autograph to the lot.

Suffice to say the bubble envelop is long since lost, and the placemat hangs in my overcrowded study for all to see.

(And if you really want to see the fun that this crowd of actors can have, check out this video I took of them goofing around in 2006: On the merits of a hammer, a ferret and a roulette wheel.)

January 12, 2010


Filed under: Collectible of the Week, G.I. Joe, Transformers — fairplaythings @ 9:40 pm

What’s really interesting about the Collectible of the Week is the amount of information one either forgets to add to the entry, or how much they subsequently learn. It would be a shame not to share this with you, so as more salient details emerge, I’ll prepare addendums to keep you in the know.

Addendum: Collectible of the Week Pt. 1: Bring Me the Head of Ultra Magnus

Three points of interest here. First, the company responsible for the head of Ultra Magnus, Nasta, is also responsible for the red Rumble “Enemy” voice changer unit, smaller Ultra Magnus voice changer, and the Megatron Wireless Microphone. Neat!

Second, remember how I mentioned that I found the elusive head on sale at Botcon 2009 for $70, that I passed it by, and then returned to find it long since sold? Well, it turns out it was bought by none other than Crazy Steve himself, which is both ironic and gratifying. Ironic that someone who read the post was behind the purchase. Gratifying because I know the Magnus went to a good home.

Lastly, I wanted to share with you the instructions that came with the radio for posterity.

Addendum: Collectible of the Week Pt. 2: Of Fates Found and Corgi’s Too

In my haste in putting together the entry on Find Your Fate and Young Corgi books, I neglected to mention that Ballantine also marketed a similar line of books for the G.I. Joe crowd. What is particularly interesting about this sister book line is that the G.I.Joe set of books numbered twenty in total. Why the Joes got almost double the number of books is something lost to me. But would make a great future Addendum.

In any case, for a full list (with relevant images), you can visit the archives at yojoe.com. They also have an image of the Slipcase Edition, which bundled the first four books together that can be found here.

January 11, 2010

Of Fates Found and Corgis Too - Collectible of the Week Pt. 2

Filed under: Collectible of the Week, Transformers, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 11:11 am

Collectible of the Week Part 2


-Special Features: Choose Your Own Adventure. Paint Artwork
-Manufacturer and Year: Ballantine Books (US), 1985-1986;
Corgi Books (UK), 1985-1987
-Key Words: Transformers, Books, Choose Your Own Adventure

The Story So Far:

This is one of those times when the pictures really speak for themselves. With Transformers a big hit, it wasn’t long before every possible licensing opportunity came to the forefront. So it’s no surprise that a number of books for young readers came onto the scene.

Find Your Fate: Ballantine Books

In North America, these books took the form of choose your own adventure-type books under the banner, Find Your Fate. There were nine of them produced in North America, featuring painted covers and black and white art work in the interior. If memory serves, there was even a nice little collector’s sleeve for the first six books.

The interior art was based completely on the line art of the actual toys. If the character in question had to move, it actually looked like an outline of the toy was making the movement. And because it used outlines of toys, the toys actually resemble the toys. Jetfire* is actually drawn like his toy namesake rather than as “Skyfire”, while Ironhide is drawn as if he was pulled from a Diaclone back catalog.

Even better, these books did not guarantee a happy ending. You could royally screw up and let everyone die if your choices were wrong. Of course, you could undo the mistake by starting again but still, it was a nice touch.

One more interesting piece of trivia: the story arcs for the last three books features the Autobot’s leader, Ultra Magnus, with no mention of Rodimus Prime. In fact, it’s not clear from a quick skim what actually becomes of Optimus and Megatron after the sixth book, something that needs further investigation. Given my newfound involvement in the tfwiki project, a full read of these books will be useful to fill in the background for their respective entries, although given what I’ve seen so far, I also expect it to be somewhat painful.

Young Corgi Books: Adventure Game Books

Same concept, different publisher and market, the Adventure Game Books were released in the U.K. Although there are six in the series, I’ve only been able to obtain the first four in the series over the years. They seem to have come out in pairs, with the first two issued in 1985 and the second two issued in 1986 (with presumably the last two from 1987.)

Although the covers are attractive and rendered in a similar style as the Find Your Fate collection, the interior art is much different. There are less pictures involved and the renderings are more stylized than simple outlines. Although somewhat cruder, they have a spark of originality missing from their Find Your Fate equivalents.

The other thing worth noting is that YOU are in charge of this adventure. Instead of sitting back directing the actions of Optimus or Sparkplug, the reader is in the driver’s seat and it’s his (or her) decisions that will win or lose the day.

But enough rambling. Bring on the pictures!

January 4, 2010

Bring Me the Head of Ultra Magnus - Collectible of the Week Pt. 1

Filed under: Collectible of the Week, Transformers — fairplaythings @ 3:37 am

Collectible of the Week Part 1


-Special Features: Pulsating Light, Working AM Radio
-Manufacturer and Year: Nasta, 1985
-Key Words: Transformers, Ultra Magnus, Radio

The Story So Far:

There is quite simply no better choice to begin the Collectible of the Week than the Transformers Pulsating Light AM Radio, simply because of the sheer effort it took to finally bring it into my collection.

(4" Munny Goldbug provided for size comparison.)

I honestly don’t know the origins of this particular artifact, other than it was manufactured by a company called Nasta in 1985,  as I don’t recall any pictures of it showing up in Canadian advertising. However, it first became known to me in August 2006 when, in the early days of myspace, I stumbled upon a picture of it in the blog of Screamer, she of Cosplay Soundwave and Wheeljack fame. The picture made the radio look impossibly large, and I was completely gaga over the idea of a radio moulded precisely like the toy rendition of one-time barrier of the matrix.

It became an obsession to own, and one that literally took almost four years to satisfy.

(Original 1986 Toy Head for comparison. Note the similar construction down to the small circles over the eyes.)

You see, for an item that seems to have been marketed in good quantities, it became incredible difficult to find, even using eVilBay. It just didn’t seem to turn up under multiple searches. The few times it did, I was also outbid at the last minute and left wanting. And then there was the farce of December 2006 where I actually won an absolutely pristine, mint in box version of the radio, only to have the seller provide contradictory information as to when and how it was shipped and leaving me going back through PayPal to get my money back. In fact, it was like the stars themselves were against me, for I even found a loose one on eVilbay at the beginning of the year, for US$50, for which I could not get a response out of the seller and which remains for sale to this day.

(Back of Radio. Note that Ultra Magnus requires 4 AA batteries to operate.)

(Just think. If he had actually answered his email, the seller would be rid of the item and have saved himself quite a bit of financial charges. It’s all quite funny when you think about it.)

Anyway, sometime after that, in the weeks leading up to Botcon, I found another boxed version of what by now had become the holy grail, but the seller was unwilling to ship to Canucktown. Fortunately, it was this site’s favourite Rhode Islander to the rescue, as Teresa agreed to receive the grail and ship it to me after the fact. And if things had been farcical before that, it really got downright silly after that, because shortly thereafter, what do you suppose I stumbled upon at Botcon, again prestine in box for about $70? Having not yet received the shipment of the eVilBay version, I almost bought it then and there (and of course when I decided to, just as a precaution, it was long gone.)

(Ironically, the opened speciment has a box in better condition.)

While the radio did in fact arrive, I am sad to report that while the radio functions, the pulsating lights do not. However, proof positive of the dangers of obsession, I subsequently found a second radio on eVilBay in fall 2009. Surprisingly, given all I went through, a casual bid in the mid $20s was enough to secure it for the collection, although I am sad to report that this time, neither the radio nor the lights work. Given that the box had clearly been opened at one time or another (to say nothing of the radio’s rattle), this is not actually surprising. Nonetheless, my kingdom for a bit of knowledge of AM radios…

So, in summary, I now have two Magnus radios. And while there is always the danger that the non-working version will suffer a repainting odyssey as Powered Convoy, the subject of at least one and possibly a second obsession, for now he rests comfortably.

(Back of package. Note the glowing forehead and eyes.)

One thing that you will notice in particular is, like the Optimus Prime cookie jar resembles the original Optimus Prime head, the radio very closely resembles the actual toy. The notable exception is the clear piece of plastic between the eyes, which, as demonstrated on the back of the package, is intended to light up. (You’ll also notice that, unlike the actual toy head, the radios have not discoloured to this point in their history.)

In any event, a gorgeous addition to any collection. Both times in my case, as it were. Makes you long for a Galvatron version.

January 1, 2010

2010 and the Absence of New Ideas

Filed under: Collectible of the Week, TF365, collecting — fairplaythings @ 7:33 pm

I had really hoped to spend today gloating.

And really, I totally should be. I should be talking about the total success of a little idea that dawned on me back on January 2, 2009 to run a new Transformer entry each day for the 365 days that was 2009. And with a few hiccups, I did too, until December 1. Who knew that a new, faster, shinier computer would completely knock apart my efforts due to incompatible software (and the inability to get my ten year old toaster to read a memory stick.)

Nevertheless, I do want to claim a partial victory on making it through 334 days and pledge to round out the 2009 year soon, as well as a review of the effort including metrics (yes, I am just that bureaucratic…) Maybe I’ll even find the time to put something more permanent together based on my efforts over the past year.

There are no new ideas.

Changing the subject, I noticed something this week that is the title of this piece, mainly the absence of new ideas. I don’t mean to say there are no new ideas but rather that the ideas are not as “new” as we think them.

At the end of the day do any of us truly have original ideas or are we simply mislabelling just mashing preconceived thoughts and contexts from around us and calling them new.

Case in point, I was reading Dark Horse’s Dr. Horrible one-shot yesterday and, in the editorial section, my eyes fell on a new tag line for the company: “You Love Comics. We Love Comics Too.” And my mind wandered back to my original fairplaythings.com business cards, the ones I’d put together back in fall 2008 and had been using until Teresa put together the specs for my new cards (with the new logo), which can be seen in the attached picture.

The old tag line? “You like toys? We like toys too.”

But there are new configurations.

Despite December’s challenges, the TF of the Day was a very satisfying accomplishment, a way to show that I could have something ready on a (mostly) regular basis for readers. So I thought I’d learn from it to undertake a new exercise for 2010.

GIJoe of the Day…

Just kidding. While I’d love to do a project like that, given the nature of the Joeworld, it would take a lot more planning. So I’ll shelve it for the time being and announce the real thing for 2010. It ties into a pledge I am making this year to take the collection, scattered throughout the house in boxes and half displays, and do something meaningful with the best parts of it, while cataloging the rest, and putting some pieces up for sale. And to use this website, which I hope to reconfigure and refresh, as it was intended - as a place to show off my custom works and celebrate toys of the past (and present), as well as provide an avenue to sell and trade doubles and items procurred just for this reason.

What better way to encourage the organization of the collection than to showcase a part of it. In that vein, I am unveiling this weekend the Collectible of the Week. The Collectible of the Week is something or somethings in my collection of which I think is particularly rare, unique or just cool that I want to show off and to hear discussed. It won’t always be toys and it won’t always be Transformers, but it will (try to) appear every Friday and hopefully be something fresh. And it will be weekly, instead of daily, so that I don’t underwhelm the collectible (to say nothing of my other posts) by knocking it out of its spot with a new collectible each day. And, admittedly, to aid me staying on track this year.

The first one will be up this weekend. Do come back and check it out. For it is the year 2010. Happy new year!

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