January 31, 2009

1985, Childhood’s End

Filed under: Toys, nostalgia — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 8:39 pm

Even though I attended a small school where all grades from primary to grade twelve were in the same building, there was a psychological break between grades six and seven. What in really wasn’t that big of a deal felt enormous at the time. We’re only moving between school ending in late June and school returning in early September. And yet it seemed to mark this huge change, make this big difference.

Grade six was for children. Grade seven was for adults. Or adults as seen through the eyes of twelve year olds.

Twelve years old was also perceived by many as the age in which boys put down their toys and picked up with girls. To risk doing otherwise was to risk stigmitizing one’s self as a child, and one ran the risk of having that stigma remain for one’s entire high school career. And who really wanted to do that.

In 1985, I was twelve years old.

What this meant was that the toys I got for Christmas 1984 — notably the G.I.Joe Killer Whale and the Decepticons Soundwave and Buzzsaw (my first transformers) — were meant to be discarded within eight short months. Well, not meant as much as predestined. To do otherwise was to risk the above mentioned stigma.

So I went underground.

Now that was actually quite easy for me to do. The only toy line I really collected and really connected with was G.I.Joe. Micronauts were just outside my time horizon (although I had a few pieces) and Star Wars seemed lacking because of the absence of joints. But I was all about G.I.Joe, mainly because my buddies (exactly one grade behind me in school but within a six house radius of mine) were all about G.I.Joe. And because my buddies were still a year younger than me, it was relatively easy to continue to pick up a few pieces here and there and fully enjoy my G.I.Joes. I even still got toys for Christmas the next year, notably the G.I.Joe Tactical Battle Platform (if there was ever a toy that encouraged kids to want to work on an oil platform, this was it!) and the Cobra Moray.

And then we were in 1986, and my G.I.Joe days were truly done.

In 1986, my younger friends hit the point I was suppose to have hit, and I actually didn’t feel much like playing with toys anymore. Others who I knew had gone undercover as well (one friend in particular had been inspired to buy the entire line of Coleco’s Sectaurs figures) lost their taste for it. So I carefully wrapped up my G.I.Joes and put them into storage (avoiding the familiar pattern of either blowing them up with a fire cracker or selling them at yard sales for a quarter a figure). And promptly forgot about them until today.

Okay, that’s all true except for the promptly forgetting about them part. Instead, I quietly got hooked on Transformers. But that’s a story for another day.

The Ark (01-31-09)

Filed under: 01 generation one, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:31 am

Transformer of the Day for January 31, 2009


-Faction: Autobot
-Era: Generation One (1984-1992), Beast Wars (1996-98)
-Function: Deep Space Interceptor
-Motto: N
ot applicable
-Notable Toy: Titanium 3″ (Hasbro, 2006)

Notes: Not a Transformer per se, the Ark is the deep space exploration craft shot down by Decepticons over pre-historic earth. A base for both Autobots and Maximals and home of Teletran 1, the Ark was eventually destroyed in a fit of bad animation by Trypticon in “Five Faces of Darkness Part V”. Interestingly, the 3″ Titanium version of the Ark bares little resemblance to the original cartoon, at least that is until you separate the front part from the rocket section.


With the Ark, fairplaythings.com prepares to enters the second month of its ongoing Transformers-a-day 25th anniversary online calendar. And what better way to proceed then to use the next month to spotlight some of the many heroes of the very first North American cartoon series. For the Month of February, all characters spotlighted will be from the original North American Generation One release, alternating in the now-familiar pattern between hero and villain. Roll out!

January 30, 2009

Staxx (01-30-09)

Filed under: 03 generation two, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:30 am

Transformer of the Day for January 30, 2009


-Faction: Decepticon (Powermaster II)
-Era: Generation 2 (1993-1995)
-Function: Highway Destruction
-Motto: “I Was Born to be Wild, Born to Be Bad”

-Notable Toy: Powermaster (Hasbro Europe, 1995)

Notes: One of the strangest assortments to come out in the history of Transformersdom, Staxx (along with his contemporaries, Ironhide, Meanstreak and Bulletbike) were available only in continental Europe and Australia as, wait for it, Powermasters. With no articulation to speak of and pull-back engines reminiscent of the mini-spies, these four characters don’t resemble anything that would follow. They are what they are, a throwback to an earlier time.

(Apologies and thanks to the futuristgroup for the toy image.)

January 29, 2009

Dai Atlas (01-29-09)

Filed under: 01 generation one, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:29 am

Transformer of the Day for January 29, 2009


-Faction: Autobot (Powered Master)
-Era: Generation One (1984-1992)
-Function: Supreme Commander
-Motto: “We Are Powered by Compassion and Fueled by Courage”

-Notable Toy: Wonder Festival Exclusive (Sunrise Mega Action Series, 2007)

Notes: In 1991, Transformers were all but gone from shelves and airwaves in the United States, but Japan was still turning out micromasters and platforms. And Dai Atlas could merge with other platforms. But as cool and rare as he is in all his motorized glory, I love the Wonder Festival non-transformer figure. Because how cool is it to have a toy with a giant Z!

(Apologies and thanks to plasticcrack.net for the toy images.)

January 28, 2009

Strika (01-28-09)

Filed under: 07 beast machines, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:28 am

Transformer of the Day for January 28, 2009


-Faction: Vehicon (General)
-Era: Beast Machines (1999-2000)
-Function: All-Terrain Combat
-Motto: “No Road is Rougher Than Me”

-Notable Toy: Beast Wars Returns (Takara, 2007)

Notes: She was the greatest of Cybertron generals, but invented for the show. She was akin to a dark Big Barda, and yet her “gender” is not even mentioned in her original text spec. Her profiles talk of “consorts” but she needs no one. The same figure was produced on three occasions (BM 2000, Universe 2004 and BW Returns 2005) and none of them get her quite right. Too good to lose, we hope TF:A get Strika done.

January 27, 2009

Optimus Minor (01-27-09)

Filed under: 04 beast wars, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:27 am

Transformer of the Day for January 27, 2009


-Faction: Maximal
-Era: Beast Wars (1996-2000)
-Function: Ground Commando
-Motto: “Monkey See, Monkey Grab”

-Notable Toy: Transmetal 2 Basic (Hasbro, 1999)

Notes: As further evidence that Prime may be a military rank, we present Optimus Minor (of no relation to Optimus Primal). I love him for the name alone. Although the transformation of the basic figure is not particularly impressive, the toy really allows you to take advantage of the magnificant poseability that is inherent in so many of the Beast Wars toys. Articulation that, like die-cast construction, seemed to be a dying art in the 1990s.

January 26, 2009

Mighty Mugged?

Filed under: Toys, Transformers, munny — fairplaythings @ 5:39 pm

Oh Hasbro… how can you get the Mighty Mugg Jazz so right and Shockwave so wrong! The laser is too big and what is with the painted-on ears? Nothing, that’s what.

Autolauncher (01-26-09)

Filed under: 05 beast wars ll, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:26 am

Transformer of the Day for January 26, 2009


-Faction: Destron (Autoroller)
-Era: Beast Wars II (1998)
-Function: Shock Troop Guard
-Motto: “In the Face of Danger I Will Find My Glory”

-Notable Toy: Takara Release (Takara, 1998)

Notes:Autolauncher was one of two unreleased autoroller molds used to round out Beast Wars II. Originally intended to join Dirt Bag and Roadblock on North American toy shelves as part of Generation 2, a Hasbro-release of Autolauncher never arrived, nor appeared in dealer catalogues for the year. Which is a shame because a self-transforming disk-firing military vehicle is far cooler than a green dump truck.

January 25, 2009

Stepper (01-25-09)

Filed under: 01 generation one, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:25 am

Transformer of the Day for January 25, 2009


-Faction: Autobot (Targetmaster)
-Era: Generation One (1984-1992)
-Function: Sniper
It Isn’t Concentration that Improves Your Aim, it’s Guts”
-Notable Toy: Reissue (Takara, 2003)

Notes: Stepper is one of two Japanese-only Targetmaster. A repaint of Jazz, he shares a targetmaster partner with the 1988 North American release of the Decepticon Scourge. Although reissued in North America as part of Hasbro’s commemorative line in 2003, it’s Takara’s reissue that proves to be a more faithful rendering to the original.

January 24, 2009

Drag Strip (01-24-09)

Filed under: 01 generation one, TF365 — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 12:24 am

Transformer of the Day for January 24, 2009


-Faction: Decepticon (Stunticon)
-Era: Generation One (1984-1992)
-Function: Warrior
-Motto: “The First One to Cross the Finish Line Lives”

-Notable Toy: HasbroToyShop Universe edition (Hasbro, 2008)

Notes: The Decepticon’s second merge squad, the Stunticons were their answer to the Autobot’s supremacy on the roads. Their combined form of Menasaur was a counterweight to the Aerialbot’s Superion. Drag Strip is also the first Stunticon to be redecoed as part of the Universe line, albeit in a form available only through hasbrotoyshop.com, a site that (unlike its predecessor a decade ago) hasn’t bothered to consider shipping to Canada.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress