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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A quick video!

I decided to take a really quick video of my collection the other day basically as a test to see if I'd be able to post videos to my blog relatively quickly. I hope to be doing this during Botcon in a few days. So anyway, here you go, a very quick and badly lit collection video!

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Unexpected Change of Perspective...

My buddy Flywheels over at Random Toy Reviews is doing a look back on Botcons of the recent past in celebration of Botcon 2011 starting this weekend. His posts got me all nostalgic for "the good ol' days" and so I started looking at a lot of my old Botcon pictures as well. The funny thing about looking at old pictures is you see things you never saw before. Back in 2006 I was still very much focused on completing my Beast Wars collection and obtaining a lot more G1's. I took a lot of pictures of the dealer room that year, but when I went back to look at the pictures I saw something very interesting:

Yeah, that is a crapload of Tech Specs and Instruction booklets right there. Anyone who has been following this blog for any amount of time knows that these are my highest priority right now. I originally took the picture because I thought it was a good one of Fort Max, Overlord and Scorponok; it is so funny to find this five years later. What I wouldn't give to go back and yank all those up. But it gives me good hope for this year.

I also may have actually gotten Flywheels's head in this picture, but I can't be sure. He'll have to confirm that one for me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mail Call: May 26th, 2011

Got some more paperwork in the mail the other day, nothing too exciting. These will probably be the last things to come in the mail until after I get back from Botcon. I sure hope I have better luck there, these last tech specs are really killing me!

Tantrum Instructions
Rampage Instructions
Brainstorm Instructions
Cloudburst Instructions
Splashdown Instructions
Slapdash Instructions

Monday, May 23, 2011

Collection Pics Update!

Well I finally got around to finishing the next leg of my collection pictures: 2002 through 'The Movie Era'

There is one final section that I need to photograph to have my entire collection complete: Botcon, Classics and Animated figures. I decided to give these figures their own section since they are going to continue to expand in the future. If I do buy Prime toys I will probably lump them into this section. Man, these pictures were so much easier when I could do it by year, but if I did that all the Classics figures would be spread out over five years and that just doesn't seem right.

I'll try to have it completed before I have to leave for Botcon in a week so I can start showcasing all the new stuff I know I'll be obtaining :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Little Fun With Photoshop

My wife is a graphic designer so she uses Photoshop quite a lot. We just got a new version of the program on the computer the other day so I decided to play around with it a bit. After going through quite a few tutorials I was able to create a nice custom image based on an old Transformers G1 TV episode. Basically this image represents what I think a movie poster would look like if the original episode "The Ultimate Doom" was released in the theaters.

Everything was created custom with the exception of Cybertron and the Optimus shadow (which was made from a Don Figueroa drawing).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dark of the Moon toys Street Date today! A lesson learned...

I guess if you are a fan of the movie toys today is a great day for you since it is the street date for all DOTM toys in the United States. If the movies aren't your thing then today is just another day. For me it is the latter; I've learned my lesson. In 2007 when the first Transformers movie was about to come out I had a very specific plan as to what I was going to do. The toys for that movie were to be released in early June. I had actually planned to take the day off from work, and hit six or seven different stores to get all the figures I wanted. I also had saved up quite a lot of money so I could get everything on the release date. Back then the movie universe was just another aspect of Transformers that I planned to collect just because it was Transformers. It didn't really matter whether I actually liked the toys or the designs.

However all that changed as more and more movie toys were released. I believe it was sometime around January or February of the following year that I realized I didn't actually want all these things coming out. I was just buying them because they were new Transformers toys. They really all started to look the same after a while and I had no desire to keep collecting them. This wasn't the first time in my collecting experience where I stopped buying new figures due to lack of desire. The first time was in 1999 with Beast Machines. I bought about five or six figures from Beast Machines until I couldn't make myself buy anymore. But that is another story.

So between 2008 and 2009 I got rid of many of the movie toys I had accumulated. I really only kept figures of characters that were in the actual movie. Then Revenge of the Fallen toys were released and I lapsed. I didn't make the elaborate plans like I had for the first movie, but I did end up going out on the day they were released and picking up ten or twelve figures. During that time I was in the process of moving so I actually didn't get to open them for a few days. Once I finally did I ended up transforming them once and putting them on the shelves. And never touched them again. Not long after that I actually went to see the disaster that was Revenge of the Fallen and was quite dismayed. (To this day it is the only Transformer media that I do not own and have no desire to ever own). I realized after that I didn't really like any movie toys or the movie aesthetic at all. So again I went through a toy purge and got rid of almost all my movie toys. The only ones I actually kept were figures that spoke to me for other reasons. I kept ROTF Leader Prime because he is an amazing feat of engineering, and I kept the original movie Brawl for the same reason. I also kept the twins' Ice Cream truck because my wife likes it so much. And finally I kept the Legend version of Devastator because it represents what Hasbro/Takara could have done with the large Devastator had they really tried.

So to recap I have learned my lesson time and time again. This year I have absolutely no plans at all to purchase any Dark of the Moon toys; in fact only one figure from the entire line has looked interesting to me and that is because he is a homage to a G2 figure. So thank you movie toys, you've made me realize that I don't have to own every transformers figure that ever comes out, because many of them suck in the end.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lego Pet Shop Full Disclosure

Well I managed to complete the Pet Shop set yesterday and it turned out quite nice. I really love how Lego has started doing full interiors with these Modular Buildings starting with the Fire Brigade. It makes a real difference. This set is a little smaller than the previous two, and since it splits in to two distinct buildings (a nice feature as well!) it allows for much more customization than prior releases. The only other modular building that can really split apart is the fan-designed Market Street. This set also introduces the classic 'brownstone' style building that can be found in many cities in the Northeast United States. Overall it is a great set and really adds to a Lego street scene.

First, the Pet Shop
The rear exit/pet washing area.

Interior first floor, notice the fish in the aquarium.
Second floor apartment.
Third floor loft.
The Brownstone (I added the sailor from the Minifig series)

I also added the weightlifter from Series 2. Note the basement access.

The first floor, finally a toilet!
Second floor renovations.
Third floor storage & garden.
Another slam dunk from Lego, I eagerly await more Modular Buildings and hope the line continues for years to come!

See also:
Lego Town Hall
I love Lego Pets!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I love Lego Pets!

I had the good fortune to be able to pick up the brand new Pet Shop/Brownstone Lego Modular building yesterday. I haven't had a chance to build it yet, I just wanted to throw out some teaser pics. I'll do an update when the whole thing is complete.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mail Call: Monday, May 9th, 2011 (and collection update!)

The river has become a trickle; finding these later year tech specs and instructions is becoming harder and harder. So just a few items today.

Beast Wars Inferno Box (for tech spec)
Bomb Burst Instructions
Banzai-Tron Tech Specs

In other news my collection pictures are almost complete. I am about halfway though the 2002 to present day section and should be done with them soon. I am very much looking forward to having a complete photographic record of everything I own. Once the individual pictures are complete I will start showcasing room pictures.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lego Sears Tower

Wow, almost a whole week without an update: things are really slow lately. This is probably due to a combination of me not spending much money because I am saving up for Botcon and no more new Generations or RTS releases. I'm not planning on buying many of Dark of the Moon toys preparing to hit stores so much of this blog will be dedicated to vintage releases for the next two years. I am, however stoked about Botcon and I'm sure I'll  have plenty to share from both the show and when I return home. In the meantime I'll continue to showcase some of my recent Lego creations just because they are a lot of fun.

After I completed the World Trade Center I still had the building bug. So based on another design by J. Spencer Rezkalla, I built the Sears Tower. Compared to the WTC, this was a piece of cake. It was a very straightforward build and I was able to complete it in just a matter of days. Enjoy the pictures!

The base still hadn't been finished at this point, compare it to the following pictures.

Street level and plaza

I still have a few other Lego creations up my sleeve, but I'll save those for later.

See also:
Lego World Trade Center
Lego Rockefeller Center

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thoughts on Action Masters

I recently procured a MISB Action Master Devastator online. Why, you ask? Well because one of my goals is to eventually have one sample of each G1 Transformer AFA'd. This is just one more step towards that goal; a goal that I know will take a very, very long time.

But I thought I would take this opportunity to share my opinions on Action Masters and why I am one of the few that collect them.

First of all, I hate the idea of Transformers that don't transform. Almost as much as I hate the idea of an organic Cybertron. But I feel like Action Masters got cut short before they could really flourish. Think back to 1989; the Hasbro designers were most likely fed up with the scale and articulation problems that had plagued the Transformers line from the beginning. They hadn't had any such problems with G.I.Joe. And thus Hasbro decided for a semi-reboot, recreate some of the most popular characters in a new scale that could move and pose just like G.I Joe figures.

The drawback of course was that the designers couldn't figure out how to make these toys transform in unique ways and keep their 'action' features. So they partnered them with smaller figures or vehicles that could transform and Action Masters were born. Obviously it was a dismal failure that led to the end of Generation One in the United States. But if you lived in Europe during the early '90's you got to see the natural progression of Action Masters: Deluxe Action Masters that could actually transform and retain all their 'action' features. Obviously they were very simple at first, but I feel like if the Action Master line had been allowed to continue for a few more years, we would have seen some great designs when ball joints started to become the norm.

So why do I like these Transformer failures? Well, they are part of G1 which I always told myself I would complete one day, but that isn't enough. I like the idea behind Action Masters, it was just the execution was bad. It is great to finally have some scale in the Transformers world (even if it is screwy scale, see Devastator above). But they can be a lot of fun if you forget they are supposed to transform. They are also pretty sturdy and can withstand more than many of their G1 counterparts. Finally, these weren't the end-all of Transformers; transforming figures returned to the U.S. two years later. So I look at them as just another quirky offshoot, something interesting about Transformers in the past, but certainly not genre defining.

If you've ever never given these guys a chance you may want to take a look before you pass final judgment, you might be surprised at what you find.