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 23, 2010

Goodnight Coco and Good Luck

Filed under: nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 1:24 pm

It’s done. And we’ll see what happens in the fall. But in anticipation of NBC taking down the site, a few screen captures for posterity:

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!

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 10, 2010

TFwiki: A prelude to new collectibles

Filed under: tfwiki — fairplaythings @ 5:57 am

I’ve spent a good chunk of Saturday using my new scanner to put together future entries in the Collectible of the Week franchise. Since a future entry is going to discuss books, I scanned select pieces of artwork for the future entry. In the meantime I was checking out tfwiki.net and discovered no mention of the Ultra Magnus radio. Which lead me to create my new account (fairplaythings). Which lead to a newly created article on the Pulsating Light AM Radio, my debut piece, as well as a stub entry on its manufacturer, Nasta.

Now that I have it, you see, I am much less worried about letting others learn of its existence.

Given that book scanning was already underway, I took the liberty to upload some other pictures as well, notably the Reader’s Digest Children’s Book’s line of Armada Books that are in my collection. Since I only have The Battle Begins and Race For The Mini-con Robots, I was really only able to make a contribution to those entries (which to this point had been left blank). However, I did post a stub entry for both the Secret of the Star Saber and The Autobots Strike Back.

However, it was the next two entries of which I am most proud so far. I added some material to the Panini Sticker Album (including interior artwork and a detailed listing of contents) and created an entry for Sarah Sanders, a scientist who appears in the Find Your Fate Junior books of which I am quite fond, and the scans of which started this whole exercise.

I was pleased to discover that Ms. Sanders was also the originator of all things Transformers slash. Not bad for my first day.

Hole in the Sky / Burden Hardest to Bear

Filed under: collecting — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 4:11 am

As a result of my work on the TFwiki, I also can report that I now have a list of all the Panini Stickers I need to complete my 25 year old sticker book (and yes, before you ask, it will be a great day when and if I ever fill this book):

  • Mural: 1, 6, 7, 10
  • The Beginning: 12, 13, 15, 23, 25, 26, 29, 32, 33, 36, 41
  • Optimus Prime: 43, 47, 49
  • S.O.S. Dinobot: 52, 54, 55, 63, 65, 66, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 81
  • Megatron: 83, 84, 86, 87, 89
  • War Of The Dinobots: 92, 93, 96, 97, 98, 101, 107, 108, 110, 111, 116, 119,
  • Slag: 122, 123, 126, 129
  • Snarl: 130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137
  • Fire In The Sky: 139, 141, 142, 143, 145, 146, 147, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 162, 164, 165, 167, 169
  • Thrust: 170, 172, 173, 174, 176
  • The Heavy Metal War: 179, 182, 183, 189, 193, 195, 198, 199, 201, 202, 205, 206, 208
  • Inferno: 209, 210, 211, 213, 215, 216
  • Fire On The Mountain: 220, 223, 228, 232, 236, 240, 245
  • Swoop: 250, 252, 253, 254, 256.

While I am at it, I should attempt something similar with my Transformer Action Cards. Since the character cards came on FOUR different colour backgrounds, I’ll list at the bottom what I actually have:

  • Autobot Character Cards: 1, 4, 7, 13, 15, 19, 23, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40

    All the colours of the rainbow.

  • Cartoon Cards Pt. 1: 43, 48, 50, 65, 67, 77, 81,82, 83, 86, 87, 88, 93
  • Decepticon Character Cards: 97, 98, 102, 103, 122
  • Cartoon Cards Pt. 2: 125, 128, 130, 131, 132, 143, 144, 147, 151, 152, 153, 154, 157, 160, 164, 168, 169, 171, 173, 175, 177, 182, 183, 185, 189, 192
  • Replacement Cards needed: 63, 159, 170

Autobot Character Cards in Collection:

  • Jazz (DO); Bluestreak (DO); Ratchet (BL); Tracks (LO); Trailbreaker (LO); Smokescreen (LO); Skids (LO)
  • Sunstreaker (DO); Sideswipe (LO, BL); Mirage (DO); Red Alert (BL); Wheeljack (LO); Prowl (DO); Grappler (DO, BL); Perceptor (LO)
  • Topspin (DO); Twin Twist (DO); Huffer (LO, BL); Brawn (BL); Cliffjumper (LO); Gears (LO); Cosmos (DO, BL); Windcharger (LO)
  • Bumblebee (DO, BL)); Powerglide (LO); Seaspray (DO, PP); Warpath (BL); Beachcomber (DO); Slag (DO, PP); Snarl (BL)
  • Sludge (BL); Omega Supreme (OR)

Hey kids! We have colours too!

Decepticon Character Cards in Collection:

  • Dirge (PP, DO)
  • Thrust (BL), Skywarp (BL), Ramjet (LO), Soundwave (PP, DO), Buzzsaw (BL), Rumble (BL), Ravage (PP, DO), Laserbeak (BL)
  • Frenzy (PP, DO), Astrotrain (PP, DO), Blitzwing (BL, LO), Shrapnel (PP, DO), Kickback (PP, LO), Bombshell (PP), Devastator (BL, DO), Mixmaster (PP, DO), Scavenger (BL, DO)
  • Long Haul (PP, LO), Bonecrusher (BL, DO), Hook (PP, DO), Scrapper (BL)
*Legend: Dark Orange (DO); Light Orange (LO); Blue (BL); Purple (PP)

Collector Stickers in Collection:

  • Red Alert, Smokescreen, Inferno, Slag, Grimlock, Swoop
  • Tracks, Prowl, Optimus Prime, Twin Twist
  • Frenzy, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Rumble, Megatron

Flicker Stickers in Collection

  • Bumblebee, Prowl, Optimus Prime
  • Megatron, Soundwave, Laserbeak
  • Beachcomber, Swoop, Omega Supreme
  • Galvatron, Mixmaster, Kickback

Dare to Trade?

I’m also missing (and probably have no hope of catching them) the following cards from the IDW freebiesat Botcon 2006: 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16. I do have doubles of 4 (Blitzwing), 7 (Megatron), 9 (Bumblebee), 10 (Jazz), 11 (Ironhide) and 12 (Skywarp) to trade…

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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