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Monday, November 28, 2011

A Little European Flair...

When I started to get close to finishing my American G1 collection I began to look across the shores to Japanese and European exclusives. I decided that I would concentrate on the Japanese G1 first and then move on to the European G1 (which also crosses into G2 territory). I did this because I already had a few Japanese exclusives anyway and I considered them more desirable (and thus more expensive) than the Europeans. Since G1 figures only get more expensive as time goes on, I like to try to buy the more expensive figures first so I don't end up spending a fortune in the future. Case in point: I remember back in 1999 when the Liokaiser giftset was going on eBay for about $300. In 2008 when I was finally able to purchase Liokaiser it was for over $700. And this year I've seen the giftset go for over $1000. So yeah, get the expensive stuff out of the way before it gets insane.

So needless to say I don't have that many European G1 figures in my collection. I've picked up a couple here and there, but it was never really a focus. However a deal came up a few weeks ago that I just couldn't pass up, the prices were too good. So as a result I added Rotorstorm and Thunderclash to my collection. I had owned these molds previously since they were both released under the Machine Wars banner in 1996, however I've always loved the gaudy colors of the early 1990's figures and so it was a thrill to finally get these guys. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.


Gah! The blades are pink!!!!

With his Machine Wars counterpart - Sandstorm.
When Machine Wars was released all of the gimmicks of the figures had been removed. So Sandstorm's missile launchers don't fire whereas Rotorstorm's do. It isn't so bad on this figure, but it becomes much more apparent on the other Machine Wars figures.

Identical except for the missiles.

Thunderclash is notorious for suffering from GPS so I didn't want to risk transforming his trailer for the picture. In fact when I got him he was in truck mode and I only transformed him once (very, very carefully) to robot mode. Unfortunately he will probably never be transformed again because of the GPS but at least he is pretty.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Japanese Exclusive Deszarus

I've been on a Japanese kick lately...

Deszarus (often called Deathsaurus) was one of the very first Japanese Exclusive figures I obtained back in 2007. He came after a particularly good year in which I got a big tax refund from the IRS. Of course that will never happen again. When he arrived I was surprised at how big he was, he practically towers over most of my other G1's, I mean he is really on par with the city bots! Up until that point the only other figures I had from Victory were Star Saber and Victory Leo so even though he is huge, he was in good scale with those guys.

You know, I don't know a lot about Japanese Culture, but I think Deszarus's alt mode is supposed to be some sort of Godzilla like monster which is apparently a big thing in Japan. Kinda like Bigfoot is to America, but I've never seen a Bigfoot Transformer. That would be awesome though. Anyway, if you have seen the one with Mechagodzilla, you know what I am talking about here. Deszarus's gimmick is his Breast Force action; in which he works kinda like Soundwave by hiding minions in his chest. Although he is the only Breast Force member that can hold more than one (I assume this is because he is the leader. The only other Breast Force members are those that make up Liokaiser.) It is a pretty neat feature, but it makes the figure very boxy with a big square hole in his chest. This figure has some great qualities about it and I'm glad I was able to add it to my collection.

'Bot mode
'Bot mode sans Breast members
Eagle and Tiger Breast members
Godzilla mode
Aaaand Grimlock, for scale purposes

Saturday, November 12, 2011

TFC Toys Heavy Labor...a sturdy Long Haul

Two down, four to go. Heavy Labor has arrived. I must say that after receiving Exgraver from TFC Toys I was not very impressed. The 'bot mode seemed spindly and the transformation clunky. However after opening and playing with Heavy Labor I am much more satisfied. This figure is very nicely constructed and gives me a lot more hope about Hercules (Devastator) than Exgraver did. Plus he is a lot more fun to play with. TFC seems to have refined their processes to produce a superior figure with Heavy Labor. I only hope this trend continues. I'm not sure who my second Constructicon was as a child, for all I know it could have been Long Haul (which would make this very appropriate) but again it may have been Hook. For some reason I can only remember getting Scavenger and none of the others. But I can also remember playing with all of them and I still have them all from my childhood so I know I got them somewhere! Anyway, this is the Long Haul for my grown-up inner child, if there is such a thing.

That is one big dump truck!
The robot modes match each other nicely. Good color combinations.

Vehicle modes
I imagine all of these figures in this set will be about the same size, as they should be. However it is too bad there isn't a way to make all of the vehicle modes in scale with each other and still make the robot modes the same size. Apparently when you do something like that you end up with this monstrosity.

Keep it up TFC, I am getting really excited about Hercules now!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Headmaster Kirk

Japan has a lot of exclusive Transformers. I mean a lot. It all started back in 1987 when the Japanese and American continuities split off from each other. In America "The Rebirth" aired as season four of the series and was only three episodes long. Japan however got an entire series named "Headmasters" that ran for something like forty episodes. As a result many new figures were released that never saw the light in America. Kirk is one of those figures.

Six unique headmaster heads were released in 1987 without larger bodies. These were supposedly headmasters "in-training" and had not acquired their larger forms yet. Unfortunately they were released in very limited quantities and are very hard to come by today. That is until a third party company released unofficial versions of them last year. Flooding the market with replicas it had the effect of decreasing the price on the authentic versions much to my delight. Before the unofficial ones came out I had already collected two of the six, and now I have added a third.

These guys are just really neat because you can switch them out on any standard size headmaster for a completely new look. I know that there were more of these unique heads planned for release later in the series but for some reason or another they never came to fruition.

Chromedome with Stylor
Chromedome with Kirk. Notice the tech spec difference.
Kirk is slightly larger than Stylor, but the colors are almost identical.
Kirk, Trizer and Loafer
Three down, three to go!
The final three I am missing (Rodney, Lione and Shuffler) are the more expensive of the six but hopefully I will be able to get them at a good price with all of the reissues on the market.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


A buddy of mine has been sending me Gobots as a gag lately. His most recent package included these two little gems: Sticks 'N Stones (left) and Marbles (right). Little does he know I actually love Rock Lords and gladly welcome any into my collection. I never had these two as a child so they were a lot of fun to discover. In fact I may just have to find some more of these guys to collect.

Rock modes
I don't know why but I find rocks that change into different types of robots very appealing. And don't even get me started on Jewel Lords and Narlies!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Distractions, distractions...

Occasionally when something really good comes along it impedes my collecting abilities. For the past two weeks that thing has been Batman: Arkham City on the PS3. I haven't really played any games since BTTF so this has been a long time coming. Whenever I get a good game I usually will focus all of my energy on it and let everything else fall to the wayside for a while.

For the most part I am not a comic person. I don't collect comics (other than TF series), I don't follow comic based characters and I don't see movies based on comic books. You would think that I would given my history with Transformers but I just don't usually find comic characters that compelling or interesting. Except for Batman. I wouldn't go as far to say that I am a hardcore Batman fan, but I can certainly appreciate the franchise much more than any of the others such as Superman, Iron Man or the X-Men. Maybe it is because I feel like the Bats is more grounded in reality than the other superheroes (no doubt helped by the latest release of movies). I still haven't read any of his comics, but I did watch the Animated Series in the '90 (amazing!) and have kept up with all the movies.

I never played Arkham Asylum (the predecessor to Arkham City) however I heard nothing but good things about it. I actually had planned to play it first but upon seeing the new game I just decided to go ahead and give it a try. At first I didn't really think I would like it, but it has turned out to be a spectacular game! Not only does it feature the voices of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and the Joker respectively, it opens up the world of Gotham into a playable environment that is full missions and enemies. I never thought I could have so much fun not killing bad guys!

So Transformers have taken a back seat for a while to the likes of Two-Face and Penguin. And unfortunately another big distraction is being released today: Uncharted 3. Let's hope I don't burn my Playstation out.