February 15, 2010

Toyfair 2010

Filed under: Toys, collecting, toy review — fairplaythings @ 10:01 pm

Still the big dream to attend. Still haven’t had my chance. Doesn’t mean that I can’t comment like last year.

Transformers: The Tail End of the Boogalo

2010 has a lot going for it Transformers-wise, the best of which is the simple fact that, as we move farther and farther away from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, those figures popping up under the movie banner are actually much more interesting than, say, a certain set of twins and a small humping robot. And given that Hasbro is not adverse to using one line to advance characters that could fit in other lines, it makes things all the more rewarding.

The best example of this is Seaspray. Now, here’s a toy that could fit into the Universe line with some minor modifications. And even as it is currently constructed, it offers the promise of an exclusive repaint, like Powerglide did for K-Mart.

In terms of other interesting repaints, Jetblade is a nice repaint of the Dirge rethink that I am trying to get my hands on. And a G2 yellow style repaint of Long Haul as Payload, well, I blame a good game tie-in for my interest there.

Other movie-ness? Well, strangely I find the new deluxe Ironhide quite a piece of good news. Now I really don’t need another one of these but it does allow for Ironhide and Ratchet to be in the same scale as Bumblebee and Jazz and the rest of the gang (with Voyager Optimus to lead them). And it gives me a reason to get deluxe Ratchet who intrigued me for his rivalry with movie-tized Lockdown, but just needed a little push to make it to my toy shelf.

Similarly, I am really curious about how sick the combined form of the Autobot girls is going to get. And I don’t mean that in a late 2000s context. I mean physically ill. Seriously, Elita One (in black, leaked through some websites) is the wrong colour and a repaint to boot, but somehow Hasbro is going to be able to have her merge with Chromia and Arcee. I’m curious to see how it looks.

And Hailstorm (also leaked), which I presume is more movie madness, nonetheless looks good as a Wolverine-style missile tank. And I have to admit to admiring the voyager redo of Ratchet in his RPM colours. I remember liking the RPM colours initially and I’m happy that they took the design to the transformable robot stage.

Up and Coming

But back in the rest of the hood, while I am meh on the Powerlinx 2.0, I’m jazzed about Straxus Darkmount (again, not visualized). While I would have preferred a voyager, he’ll fit right in with the new Bludgeon, complete with his pick axe and three forms. Admittedly, there is something just a little off with him, primarily his lack of girth I believe, but I’ll overlook it.

Then there are the previously seen War for Cybertron Bumblebee - looking like he stepped off the set of Tron - and Optimus Prime - looking a little bit Transtech there. But the Generations banner opens up the door to new and different repaints which could be very cool.

And Hubcap. Wrong name. Sweet ride.

I’m excited to see Masterpiece Grimlock (complete with crown) is coming soon to ToysRUs. Although I wonder if Wally-Mart is going to be able to round out its seekers with Masterpiece Thundercracker.  And of course another chance to own Blaster and the tapes at San Diego Comic Con. But I gotta ask. Why no Rewind?


Then there’s Thrust. I’m just waiting for the controversy this time around. First there was the Botcon version that had fans screaming bloody murder that if only Hasbro had gone the Target route their single purchase would have ensured a success, rather than leaving Target to mark them down to clear like they did with the Skywarp/Ultra Magnus set. Then, there was Takara-Tomy’s entry and more fans cried out with abandon that they had spent all kinds of money on the Botcon set and how dare Takara-Tomy release their own Lady Gagafied Thrust. And now Hasbro has taken that Thrust, GeeOned it, and put it on a rack near you. I know I’ll buy him even though I have the others, because he’s so spot on this time. But I don’t regret the slight variant that is the Botcon set nor the Fame Thrust from Japan.

But a Dirge would be nice.

“It’s as if Millions of Voices Cried Out “Squeeeeee” and Were Suddenly [Left Deaf for the Experience]“

Drift. Need more be said? The car mode is a little Armada Hotshot but this is one bad Transformer. Best of the bunch I say.

And Knowing is Half the Battle

I won’t spend a lot of time on dear old Joe. For a line that just had a major motion picture, I didn’t think there were as many additions as expected. There certainly is some good stuff coming (or just arriving) on shelves now. And for fans of Resolute, I’m happy that Hasbro is going with two new seven-packs for collectors.

For me, I’m interested in getting my hand on the Rage (because I don’t have the original) and the new HISS (which has a lot of neat features but will always pail before the 1983 edition save the edition of real freakin’ treads!) And an Alley Viper or three must be have for good measure.

Mostly (and a little off topic) I worry about the price point for Joes, and it’s impact on the long term viability of the line. While all toys have gone up in price in the last two years, GIJoe seems to have suffered disproportionately because the jump seems so excessive given the size of the figures involved (somehow a four dollar jump for DCUC already in the double digits doesn’t seem nearly as excessive as a two-to-three dollar jump for a 4″ figure that was not) and overall popularity. Because, admit it, there are enough stores around still carrying the 25th Anniversary vehicles at their original price point to leave a parent scratching their heads about the very visual jump for the new stuff. Why would anyone spend $27.99 on the SNAKE Armour and Viper, when Wild Bill and his Tiger Rat are right beside it at any Zellers for $29.99 (no word of a lie). More common is the sight of the Armadillo + Steeler Vs Serpentor + Air Chariot hanging around at $18.99, right beside the Armadillo (with firing missile) + Thunderblast combo at the same price.

In the age of Wallymart, parents know bigger bang for buck. This is going to continue to hurt the Joes in a way Cobra never could.

Masters of the Wallstreet

I so want to love Masters of the Universe. But that love would be unrequited and lead to more boxes in the basement. But She-Ra’s coming on the heels of Adora. Keldar is making a non-SDCC appearance. And I am so psyched about Mo-Larr, he of Robot Chicken fame. Definitely one to join Hordak and He-Ro there.

It’s also cool that Mattel is bringing He-Man and kin to real store shelves, packed with DCUC. It’s a cool idea. I just wonder who will be next. Batman and Mat-at-Arms? The Joker and Beastman?? Wonder Woman and She-Ra??? The mind spins!

And in the “what the hell were they thinking - you have to be a fan” category is Gy-Gor, the (formerly Gorilla Grodd) build figure gone wrong. For a complete history of this really obscure creation, see poeghostal.com and he-man.org.

Something Something Dark Side

It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited for anything Lucas, but the AT-AT is the toy of the year for the line and I have to have it!

Oh. You thought I meant the big one. For the 3 3/4″ line. Sorry. I don’t play that way.

I do get all jumpy for “I never had him the first time around because he didn’t exist but everyone I know who collects Star Wars had two” Rocket Firing Boba Fett. That’s a keeper.


I have just one questions on the Marvelformers. Why doesn’t Hasbro replace the heads and integrate them into the main Transformer line. Because a lot of them are really quite wonderful. Case in point, the new Ironman car.  They always look like they could break the Star Wars formers in two.

Still better than most of the first wave of the bayformers and looking pretty solid to boot.
Also, Archangel. Badass. ‘Nuff said.

The Distinguished Competition

I’m not a Mego guy but I do like the BifBangPow retro Hal Jordan enough to want to bring him home.
And what is up with the Brave and Bold hero heroes. How are they this cute? Baby Sinestro and Nurse Fate? Cute. Blueberry Beetles 2 and 3? Super cute.

And DCU continues to hum along. I have some. I need to unload them. But I want a Firestorm. And Manhunter looks like the old pawn from the DC Comics chess set, and probably made of the same calibre of plastic. But want. And of course any chance to get Kyle as Parallax also needs a mention. As do a few particular DCUC figures, namely Gold, Alan Scott, and Tyr!

Did I miss anything?

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.

February 7, 2010

Harts of Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — fairplaythings @ 12:51 pm

On my way out to a local comic show, I was doing some internal juggling of financial accounts. As part of this, I went into my paypal account to see the cost of conversion from U.S. to Canadian funds for two recent pairs of acquisitions: a 1988 line art catalog from Mattel and three Beast Wars scripts used during the recording sessions (Coming of the Fuzors Part 1, Feral Scream Part 1, and Feral Scream Part 2). The seller had six scripts in all (the others being for Aftermath, Bad Spark and Code of Hero), but they fell out of my price range, so I won only the three.

So anyway, I go back into my account today and look at the total cost Canadian for the three scripts and shipping. And then I notice the name of the seller, which is clear in paypal’s shipping information but completely obscured by eBay itself. It is one Jon Hartman. Pretty cool to think that these treasures formerly in his collection are now in mine. It also likely means I’m out of luck with ever getting any other original scripts.

In other news, I missed a week of collectibles. I’m working to catch-up. Keep watching!

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