September 17, 2011

Sometimes it takes a while for the show to turn itself around

Filed under: Toys, nostalgia — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 11:52 pm

So today was the latest (and rumoured final) of the Landsdown Flea Markets (owing to the unfair takeover of public land by a private consortium that managed to bully and sweet talk the city of Ottawa just right). And I’ll be sad to see the end of what has been a consistently good source of finds over the past number of years.

Today’s adventure started slow though. Following my standard pattern of attack (walk in, turn right, loop left for second row, loop right for third row and circle around to get the other half of the first row missed in the initial assault), I first stopped at the table that brought me a Great Mazinga only last spring. There were a few junior talking Animated Transformers that I passed on at $5, although I was tempted by the Mego-style K-9 unit at $15. Then onto the Lego table which is sometimes good for Transformers or other items, but, other than a $10 Optimal Optimus on which I passed, nothing of note at this point. Second row was a strike-out, as was the third, aside from an Energon Scorponok on whom I passed at $10.

Maybe I’m getting too picky in my old age.

Anyway, I was already writing off the show in my head when I return to where my standard trajectory forced me right, intent on finishing the first row. In this area, there’s always a toy table staffed by a couple who know their toys and whom I speak to at every show. Their prices are reasonable and sometime I find something to repaint or round out a line, but at the same time, it’s not a great table for “oh my god” kind of finds because they know what they are doing. So I’m poking through the Transformers box and opted to buy a Leader class Animated Megatron (for kitbashing purposes, perhaps) at $6 and a white 3″ titanium movie Ratchet repaint TRU exclusive I’d been eying for awhile (but reluctant to buy at full cost) at a buck.

And then lady luck shined on me for the first time.

Some time ago, back in the days of the Alternators, there was an odd little Transformer who hit the market called Swerve (and known in the community as Chevrolet Swerve). He was the oddest of Transformers: an official product produced by Hasbro, never distributed at retail and never repainted or retooled, and only available a giveaway through GM / Chevrolet dealers in Europe around 2008. He could be categorized as a price point below the standard alternator, owing to his size (so a deluxe compared to a voyager), but a real treat owing to his original form and difficult to obtain. At the time, there was a way to order Swerve from one of GM’s european websites, but the cost of shipping made him prohibitively expensive and out of price range at the time. Eventually, the European sighting fell off, the website link went dormant, and Swerve became an eBay only-Buy It Now at the $100 range.

Fast forward to 2009. Somehow, for some unexplained reason, Swerve showed up in Canada, in the Greater Toronto Area at least, at Chevrolet dealers for a limited time. Again, he was a giveaway. And despite my efforts to track him down short of driving to Toronto myself to get him, he eluded my grasp. Now the folks at TFCon were not as unlucky and managed to get a number of the toys, which they used as giveaways and door prizes at their Botcon booths. This is how I ended up getting my very own Swerve, for $40, at Botcon 2011, one of the last of this collection.

So a pretty hard toy to find, and not one you expect to find sitting in a miscellaneous Transformer box with a sticker that say $6…

Yes. Six dollars.

Swerve suffers a bit because, despite his full formed head and unique robot mold, he resembles a certain shelfwarmer Transformers Swindle in vehicle mold. I presume what happens is that these folks, finding him in car mold and having somewhat less than a complete encyclopedic knowledge of the Transformers, presumed he was Swindle and priced him at a fair price for such a toy. And so I scooped him up, none the wiser, a little disappointed that I’d dropped major quid on the one at Botcon, but nonetheless pleased that my toy eye remains as sharp as ever.

So clearly the show was worth attending to this point, and I round the corner to find a new table populated by cheap DVDs and video games (aside: I always wonder, when I’m looking at bargain basement priced DVDs if I am looking at stolen merchandise…) What drew me to this table, the kind of which I usually avoid, were some Real Ghostbuster toys in their sealed boxes. Not a line I collect (and in fact one that I am trying to unload for a friend), but a sign. If there are boxed vintage toys, there might be toys to my interest.

And lo, lady luck shines for the second time.

Under the table are a number of boxes. In the boxes are a lot of Star Wars (both vintage and new) and other toys. Including, I am pleased to report. Transformers. A lot of them. Bagged in assortments at $10 a piece, I found the following bags (all G1 unless noted):

  • Point Blank and Ultra Magnus white cab (with rubber wheels, good chrome and one white fist)
  • Punch/Counterpunch, RiD Mega-Octane, Top Spin, and (blue) Energon Strong-Arm (missing one arm)
  • Micromasters Tailspin, Stormcloud, and the Hot Rod Patrol (Greaser, Hubs, Trip-Up and Big Daddy)
  • Micromasters Tailspin, Powertrain, Barrage, Slide, Blazemaster (no propellor) and Tread Bolt
  • Costco Bendy Prime (cab only at $5)

Total price. $45. Even better? Another collector found a bag of Transformers in the box (likely one of the few bags that I left behind because it either didn’t have Transformers I wanted or ones I thought I could sell) and asked the vendor if he had any more. The vendor, from whom I’d yet to buy the toys, said he did but had seen someone going through the box ahead of him. Which means I outwitted a fellow collector. Sweet!

Satisfied the day had been worthwhile I set about getting ready to go and made one more pass through the show, and returned to the Lego table to find a small box of G1s (Scourge @ $75, Sandstorm @ $25, and Wreck-Gar @ $40). Not bad prices but not steals for sure for toys I had. Anyway, what caught my eye was a decent looking Slag for $10. Chewed at the tail and at least one arm, with broken horns, Slag would have been unremarkable except he was the red faced, white legged variant. I’d never seen him before, and didn’t actually know he existed. In fact I was so certain he was a fake I had to consult TFU.info and search out the Takara-Tomy imprint.

But sure enough, I had a variant in my hand. And still I balked. The teeth marks and broken tips really made me question the purchase. And I still don’t actually know if he is all that valuable (particularly in that condition). But then lady luck appeared for a third and final time, and I got talking to the woman who runs the table, and gave her some advice on the G1s (basically confirming her prices were fine and she should put them on eBay if they didn’t sell, but that she should also be willing to be $10-$20 flexible on price for Scourge, but not $50 flexible). Anyway, she ended up giving Slag to me, which is awesome. I’m still unsure if he is valuable in this condition, and whether or not I should simply get another G1 Slag and do some part swapping. But I know he’s a fun variant for the collection, so valuable or not, he’s going on the shelf.

And that was how I spent the possibly last Landsdown Flea Market. On a high.

January 7, 2009

We interrupt our regular programming

Filed under: Transformers — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 10:53 am

See. It’s not all about the Transformer of the day anymore.

seibertron.com is reporting work towards a plastic version of Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime. These screen pictures, taken from monilith productions website… well, wow doesn’t cover it.

Quintessons, Classics Ultra Magnus armour and now this. Our community has got talent!

December 13, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — fairplaythings @ 6:20 am

The last day of a hitherfore unknown Transformer sale at Toys ‘R Us, literally stumbled upon by chance when I was at St. Laurent Shopping Centre, netted me one TFA Grimlock and Snarl, plus Activators of Grimlock, Thundercracker and Megatron.

But leaving the store, I saw Toy Mountain, the annual gathering of packaged toys for disadvantaged kids.

I really struggled here. Here I am, with five brand new Transformers. Can I share a Dinobot with someone else. But I want them. But they will find love under a Christmas tree in the city. But I’ll show them love too. And on it went.

Finally, I sent Kirilaw on ahead to Dairy Queen, our intended next stop, so I could go back inside to buy another Transformer for toy mountain.

I settled on TFA Soundwave and Laserbeak. It gives me much joy to drop it into the tent for someone else on Christmas day.

November 28, 2008

Having one too many ideas in the land of lost time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — fairplaythings @ 6:02 am

So you would think that the last month would be full munnyload, and a good part of the month has been, although admittedly a lot of munnies started and not as many finished.

But then this other idea popped in my head - wouldn’t my nephew love a Transformers advent calendar.

Now I’m not talking a “High School Musical”-style advent calendar, with bits of chocolate for $1.49, if such a thing could be found in the orgy that is Transformers-related merch. No, I mean a full-on, overload kind of thing. You know, one that comes with TOYS.

But what toys? They have to be small enough to be able to be made into a calendar, and they have to be inexpensive enough to be affordable. So after mulling over possibilities - knock-offs, Legends, Robot Heroes - I hit upon the new 12-pack of mini-cons (at $24.95 at Zellers). Granted it only leaves me with half of the boxes filled (with the rest to be covered by Halloween premium chocolate bars). And, really, what kid is going to complain when 12 toys are better than chocolate bits anyday.

So everything went into a bag and waited for time.

Last night, or rather Thursday morning at 1:00 a.m., using the ironing board set up in the kitchen as a desk, I decided it was the last chance to get things done before the postal window to back home (2-4 days) expired. Really, it had already expired but this was the last point before things got silly.

First I needed an overall storage unit. Thankfully, Loblaw’s No Name Cheese pizza boxes were lingering in the recycling and were easy to open up and cut doors into. Then, using leftover poster board from the Hawk project (see Halloween 2008), I created a 5 X 5 grid about five centimetres squared by intersecting eight strips of poster board into place, which was glued to the back of the pizza box. The sides and top (now featuring ventilation) were then wrapped around the grid and everything glued in place with a glue gun. Then I simply stuck the minicons into place, adjusted the few squares where size was an issue (Brimstone, I’m looking at you…) and voila!

I have a crappy looking pizza box filled with chocolate and mini-cons. While cool for figures, it’s doesn’t really sing. So I sealed it up and, over my lunch hour today at work, I worked through the web to find a varety of Transformer emblems that could cover the pizza-doors.

The end result still looks amateurish, admittedly, but at least it has colour and the date numbers. Also it meant I was able to personalize things a bit and expose the little guy to some pretty neat interpretations of faction logos - I particularly like the Decepticon logo in the middle of the top row. And of course any attempt to throw in G2 faction logos and the Go-Go-Gobots autobot is just joy.

Though I fear my sister-in-law will look at the Car Robot’s Decepticon logo and think I put it upside by accident.

Now this is where working in the same building and eating in the same food court for the past twelve years really pays off. What is the best and most economical way to send a pizza box-filled Advent Calendar in the mail? Well, in another pizza box of course. So I asked the local pizza fellow if he’d do me the favour of a box and he was happy to oblige.

Let it be said - my artery’s sacrifice has not been in vain.

November 26, 2008

Apologies to Nala

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — fairplaythings @ 3:55 am

Good Nala, kind Nala. He comes to my new toy blog, pops its sweet cherry with its very first independent comment.

And the blasted thing waits for me to accept that.

This has been fixed. Please post away. You know provided I have something interesting to say.

Like maybe how Revenge of the Fallen Soundwave makes Cybertron Soundwave look cool.

Earth 3 Magnus? Or just another Convoy? You decide!

That’s okay though because Robot Heroes Powered Convoy makes everything okay.

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