April 18, 2011

Bigger than the soul train, more timely than the O-train…

Filed under: Collectible of the Day, Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 12:31 pm

Seen better days

Seen better days

The day began with planning days in the making. Toy amigos Julie and Kellie arrived at 8:30 to pick me up and take us first for Bridgehead coffee and then to the show. The plan was to grab My Little Ponies and other toys for Julie (she has a fondness for Starriors and TMNT!), mini donuts for Kellie, and general interesting plastic for me. Having arrived right on time at 9:00 a.m. (for the first time ever), we turned right from the entrance and headed to a regular at the end of the second row who usually has a few transformers. Alas there was nothing to be found, always a possibility, but I noticed that Julie was nowhere to be found. Turning to Kellie to inquire what happened to her, she pointed to the table directly behind me where Julie was digging with joy through a pile of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Which happened to be right beside the original 1985 Transformers train set.

I almost leapt the table to get over there.

The trainset, one of Tyco’s many licensed train sets from back in the day, had seen better days box wise. It was tattered and damaged, but it was intact. And inside appeared to be all the parts included originally in the set. The price was $30. With a bag of figures in my hand that I will talk about tomorrow, I figured why not grab the set. I mean, after all, what is the likelihood that I’m going to find other items of significant note. Oh how little did I know…

Now, the tfwiki does a better job talking about this find than I do. All I can really say is that the set was certainly loved. The cardboard cut outs that form the electrical station and towers are all intact, albeit clearly showing signs of being folded in the same manner for a quarter century. The mat itself though is in near perfect condition which is really the important thing. And all the paperwork is intact.

The train...

The train...



In terms of the train itself, the train tracks are showing the results of wear and tear, with some of the “wooden” sections snapped off over the years. The train itself is almost completely intact, save a radar dish for the command centre car, and, most distressing of all, the side panels (wings) and one set of wheels for the caboose. Here’s hoping another caboose can be found one day to substitute into the set.

Finally, we come to the robots, which you would think would be the highlight of the piece, given that most of the train itself has been recycled across Tyco’s licensed train sets. In fact, the “transformers” are completely non-descript, generic robots that someone thought would do the job. They could pass for many a cannon fodder robot introduced throughout the comic or the cartoon over the year, but there is no sign of Optimus, Megatron, or the others.

Frankly, given Hasbro’s penchance to reuse molds in the early years, the entire force could be rounded out by seekers, mini-spy volkswagons, lamborghinis and datsons. That said, it does appear the robots are all present and accounted for.

And that’s not bad for $30.

February 18, 2011

Collectible (02-18-2011): Powerglide

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 12:15 am

K-Mart Exclusive

February 18, 2011: 19th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers: Universe
Region, Year: North America, 2009
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2009/Autobot/TFUPowerglide/powerglide.htm

The Rundown: Having talked about the mistakes made with Powerglide v2.0, let’s move right into Powerglide v2.1. Part of the K-Mart exclusive wave, this is Powerglide done right. In proper colours. It’s a no-brainer to add to one’s collection, particularly when you look at the price point at which it could sometimes be found (thanks Teresa!).

Interestingly enough, I also have Powerglide v2.2, the Takara-Tomy release. It’s a little more red and a little less grey. Honestly, I kind of like the K-Mart edition better, even if Takara-Tomy’s is a more accurate rendering. One of these days (and hopefully soon), I’ll pop one out of their package, and put the other one up for sale. Hopefully.

Additional Pictures:

February 17, 2011

Collectible (02-17-2011): Hardhead

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 12:15 am

K-Mart Exclusive

February 17, 2011: 18th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers: Universe
Region, Year: North America, 2009
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2009/Autobot/TFUHardhead/hardhead.htm

The Rundown: Other than the head, Hardhead is a perfect rendering of how the character appeared in the IDW comics. Or at least as perfect as one can make without retoolings. But leave it to fanboys and girls to improve on a good toy, with the Hardhead add-on accessory pack, widely available. While I don’t yet have mine, I still plan to pick it up, swap out the old head for the new, and go from there. No wonder Hasbro has started to mold secondary heads with all its new releases.

February 16, 2011

Collectible (02-16-2011): Silverbolt

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 12:15 am

Universe 2.0

February 16, 2011: 17th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers
Region, Year: North America, 2008
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2008/Autobot/TFUSilverbolt/silverbolt.htm

The Rundown: Silverbolt rounds out the first (and only) three unique Voyager molds for Universe 2.0.  There is very little difference between his North American and his Japanese release, other than shading - North American Silverbolt is slightly grey; Japanese Silverbolt is all white. I wonder what effect that will have on the toy in terms of plastic discolouration for years to come?

February 15, 2011

Collectible (02-15-2011): Powerglide

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 12:15 am

Powerglide Hothouse
Universe 2.0

February 15, 2011: 16th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers: Universe
Region, Year: North America, 2008
Essential Weblink:

The Rundown: The second of three Voyager-scale Universe figures, Powerglide is an example of getting a good thing wrong. Here is a perfect toy mold, one that is both modern and reminiscent of the original toy mold, with all kinds of swell extras like lights, sounds, and hidden hearts. And they get the colour wrong, wrong, wrong! It’s almost like they ran out of red crayon after the head and had to leave the page unfinished.

It was little wonder then that Takara-Tomy’s release was so radically different. Even Hasbro acknowledged its mistake in a fashion. When it lent the three Universe molds (Onslaught, Powerglide, and Silverbolt) to a K-Mart exclusive release, Powerglide was the only one of the three that was not given a new identity with the redeco. They simply put him right by making him red.

What was sad about the whole exercise is that Powerglide was screaming out for a white repaint as the old Micromaster Hothouse, something the gang at reprolabels.com were able to facilitate (and thus save poor Powerglide version 1.0) with a few inexpensive stickers. As you can see from my version, comfortably sitting on a stove burner, it’s the route I took.

February 14, 2011

Collectible (02-14-2011): Onslaught

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 12:15 am

Universe 2.0

February 14, 2011: 15th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers: Universe
Region, Year: North America, 2008
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2008/Decepticon/TFUOnslaught/onslaught.htm

The Rundown: Onslaught leads off a week or so of Voyager-class Universe 2.0 Transformers. What’s funny about Onslaught is that, back before we had any idea that “Classics” would evolve between the first and second live-action Transformer films into Universe, I grabbed two Cybertron Mudflaps from Botcon for very cheap. The first was intended to be for the collection (I’d not bothered with him at regular price to that point) and the second was to be repainted into Onslaught since his body resembled the original GI form of the mighty Combaticon.

So while I’m happy to have a proper Onslaught, I don’t have any use for the Mudflap anymore. Poor loose (because space considerations came into play in his case) Mudflap. Not really feeling the love today. See if Andrew has any thoughts on what to do with Mudflap…

February 12, 2011

Collectible (02-12-2011): Optimus Prime

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 3:54 am

Optimus Prime
Movie Edition - Nightwatch Version

February 12, 2011: 13th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers
Region, Year: North America, 2008
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2008/Autobot/NightwatchOptimusPrime/optimusprime.htm

The Rundown: Another movie-former, Nightwatch Optimus Prime is a pretty good lesson in how not to collect toys. Not because he is a bad toy, but because of the experience in getting him.

First, he who waits takes his chances. Nightwatch Prime was released near the end of the first line of Movie toys. In fact, in Canada at least (which admittedly is not the best gauge for toy availability) he was kind of a “blink and you miss him” deal. Having been burned on a number of occasions for buying a figure one week, only to find that the cost was cut dramatically the next, I tend to hold off on more common figures to allow for sales to actually occur. The bigger the figure, the more likely this is to happen, particularly when a sale can take a leader class figure down from the CDN $60-$70 range to CDN $35-$40. So when I did see him, I took a pass waiting for a sale that never came. Finally, I broke down and grabbed him from one of the Comic Book Shoppes in the city.

Second, always check the box. So when I finally did grab Optimus, I did so with a gift certificate won at the 2009 Heroes and Villains masquerade. But I was so eager to finally bring this figure home (for some reason the blues and black just sing to me on this figure), I neglected to notice the box was damaged. Given I already had two versions of the same toy (the Costco regular edition Leader Prime with Legends Bumblebee and Jazz, and the Premium edition), I figured he was a Mint in Box item (something that tends to happen when I have multiples of the same figure when he is the same character). Doesn’t work so well when there is a big tear on the top flap.

Ironically I paid more for him (in a fashion) than the other two versions, for whom I waited on the sales. That’ll learn me to trust a black and blue truck.

February 11, 2011

Collectible (02-11-2011): Bludgeon

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 1:13 am

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

February 11, 2011: 12th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers (Revenge of the Fallen)
Region, Year: North America, 2010
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2010/Decepticon/Bludgeon/bludgeon.htm

The Rundown: Moving away from Beast Wars for a change and the first character I put up happens to be from Revenge of the Fallen, one of the worst movies ever, made even worse for destroying happy childhood memories?

I know! But here me out!

Bludgeon is an example of Hasbro taking advantage of the Movie line to really introduce new and old characters in really cool forms, in a way they didn’t avail of themselves after the success of the first movie. Yes, Bludgeon is a Movie-former, as the aesthetic very different from the Generations line that has successed Universe 2.0 and Classics. And yet here is a good example of trying to take a classic, albeit obscure character, and bringing him to life.

Bludgeon is a character that should be forgotten. There was so much working against him. He was part of the sixth and final year where Transformers actually transformed (quickly replaced by non-transforming, show accurate Action Masters). He was on store shelves for less than a year (as opposed to being featured for up to three years like some of his predecessors). There was no cartoon to feature his likeness. He was not a re-imagined classic character like Pretender Grimlock or Starscream, nor was he has large as the previous year’s Pretender offerings.

He was an ordinary little tank with an outer shell that looked like a samarai with a skull for a head.

And he would be forgotten too if Simon Furman hadn’t been turning out good comics in the dying days of Marvel’s original Transformers comic. He took the quirky shell and made Bludgeon de facto leader after the fall of Scorponok and Megatron. He made him ninja-cool with his Metallikato skills. And made him stand out among the crowd. And so he never quite faded away. He was briefly a Universe 1.0 figure in 2004, a repaint of Megatron interestingly enough. Later he was a two pack movie character, a repaint of an off-screen movie character called Wreckage.

And then he got spruced up proper like.

Alas, poor Bludgeon. He is still trapped in his plastic package. Another Transformer I have yet to free from his shackles. But that day will come. Bludgeon is too cool to stay bound for long.

February 10, 2011

Collectible (02-10-2011): Dinobot

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 2:40 am

Tekemocha Edition

February 10, 2011: 11th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers (Beast Wars)
Region, Year: Asia (Japan) 1997
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2006/Maximal/Dinobot/dinobot.htm

The Rundown: So two days ago, I brought you the 10th Anniversary North American rendering of Dinobot. Today, it is the Tekemocha edition (which sound absolutely adorable when said by a nine year old Andrew on the phone). Not a lot new to say other than, man, did Takara-Tomy get the face right. Check out those teeth!

February 9, 2011

Collectible (02-09-2011): Rattrap

Filed under: Collectible of the Day - Transformers — fairplaythings @ 1:01 am

10th Anniversary Edition

February 9, 2011: 10th in a series
Toy Line: Transformers (Beast Wars)
Region, Year: North America, 2006
Essential Weblink: http://www.tfu.info/2006/Maximal/Rattrap/rattrap.htm

The Rundown: The story of 10th Anniversary Rattrap is actually one that involves my attempts to get out of collecting Transformers. Believe it or not, it has happened on a few occasions. I pretty much put down Transformer collecting after the rise of the Powermasters and Pretenders (which may explain why I look at them so fondly today). Other than a few cheap sales, the chance to grab a particular character (Bumblebee was the primary beneficiary of this), or a few other tricks, I really didn’t grab more than a dozen transformers in the fifth, sixth, and final year. I was not even tempted seriously by the introduction of Gen 1.5 in Canada, or by the initial waves of Generation 2. Alas, it was the hyper-articulated Generation 2 Dreadwind and Smokescreen (and closeout prices) that helped open the door again, a door that got stuck on a combination of the wild west days of the Internet (alt.toys.transformers, I’m looking at you!) and, later, the introduction of Beast Wars.

And then somehow in the second season, I briefly fell off the wagon again. I don’t know if it was selection or available money, but I pretty much failed to get any of the original Transmetal characters the first time around. As a result, even now, there is a notable difference in the consistency and quality (owing to second-hand finds and the like) for that wave of Beast Wars characters.

Which brings us to 2006 and the 10th Anniversary. Though I am a collector, I do have moments of clarity. As pretty as the characters were, with their new paint applications, and the added incentive of Transmutate parts, in the end I only jumped on two characters. The first, Dinobot, was primarily the fault of a good sale and the right circumstances. I never did follow through on the other four first season characters - Cheetor, Tarantulas, Waspinator, and Rhinox - because I had perfectly fine additions of these characters the first time around (I similarly resisted the Fox Kids repaints of these characters, but for different aesthetic reasons). I also avoided them too because, forced to choose between the North American renderings and Japan’s Tekemocha edition, I opted to throw my money to imported toys.

The exception was Rattrap. Why Hasbro didn’t just two pack basic Terrorsaur and Rattrap together as the sixth in the assortment, I don’t know. Maybe it would have been too close to another Beast Wars mouse and lizard bird two pack. Or maybe it was just easier. In any case, for the only time in the series, they reissued a Transmetal version. And Rattrap, a character I had missed the first time around, was able to come home.

Strangely, this Rattrap was probably the least colour-changed of the line, which says something about Hasbro getting better with the paint applications as the original series rolled along. As a representative of the second season, Transmetal Rattrap also hinted at the possibility of more anniversary toys, something that was not to be.

But I still say a Rattrap / Terrorsaur set would have been very cool indeed!

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