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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yes, more European G1 Exclusives; they just keep on coming.

I believe I am starting to delve into some really obscure characters here but I guess that is the only real way to grow a vintage collection. Hell, I used to think of the Action Masters as obscure too but I could probably list 90% of them off the top of my head if it were really necessary (on a side note, I find this situation kind of funny. I mean when in life would it be really necessary for me to list off Action Masters? I've often thought of situations where my life could potentially depend on my Transformers knowledge though. I can see it now: a man has a gun to my head and tells me I'm dead if I can't name every G1 Transformer in order. These are the strange types of incentives I use to maintain my knowledge :). ANYWAY; I got these two obscure G1.5/G2 guys the other day, Talon and Staxx.

Talon is the jet and part of the Predators, who are commanded by Skyquake. Skyquake was repainted and released in the US as Starscream as part of the Machine Wars line. Unfortunately the US never received any of the other Predator molds other than Stalker. The smaller jets like Talon here have a neat feature that you can plug a tab on the underside of the jet into either Stalker's giant missile or Skyquake's fuselage and it changes the battle scene you can see through the scope. I attempted to obtain a photograph of this feature however I nearly dropped everything in the process and decided it really wasn't worth it. One other note about Talon is his weapon is completely made of Gold Plastic. I have decided not to even attempt to make Talon hold his weapon for fear of the weapon crumbling in my hands.

Man, he is looking evil!

Staxx looks like he could be made of Gold Plastic, but fortunately he is not. Staxx is a Power Master (not Powermaster, mind the difference) and is one of the very last G1/G1.5/G2 figures produced. As a result his robot mode leaves a lot to be desired. He is basically a Battlecharger that doesn't transform automatically in that he has a strong pull-back motor. I honestly don't have a lot to say about this figure, I really only got him because I am a crazy G1 completionist. As if to taunt me, the seller of the figure included the top of his card which shows the other three crappy Power Masters. Yes I will purchase them at some point in the future and no I probably won't enjoy it.

Reminds me of Rorschach for some reason

Dare I say Staxx is the best looking of the bunch?
However all these figures are filling up my European shelf quite nicely. Less than six months ago I only had five European figures and now I've at least doubled that. It is amazing what you can do when you finally focus on something!

And yes, I know Staxx is erroneously with the Autobots, to be rectified shortly.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Transformers Prime Bulkhead, alone in America

This was not an easy purchase. Just finding someone off eBay willing to sell me a Bulkhead was a chore in itself and then the task of trying to decide if I wanted to pay a little extra for this version or just go with the darker green Takara release. In the end I decided I'd rather go with what was supposed to be the domestic release since I already had all of the other domestic First Edition figures. I also tend not to like the Takara stuff as much since it is usually a lot flashier with sparkling paint, chrome or whatnot and I didn't want my Bulkhead to stand out like a sore thumb. In the end I didn't really pay that much more than what the Takara version would have cost me anyway and I'm really happy with 'ol Bulky here. He is definitely one of the better engineered figures I have seen recently. My only gripe is that he isn't a leader class (or larger) figure because he is barely taller than any of the other deluxe figures due to his stout nature. However this is a Transformers figure I am talking about and even just mentioning scale is an effort in futility so I'll just leave it there.

He has some awesome pose-ability which I am not showcasing very well.

I put Prime Bulkhead up against the last Bulkhead figure I bought: Animated Leader Class Bulky! There is an interesting dichotomy between these two: Animated is a large vehicle that compacts down into a smaller (but still sufficiently large) robot mode. By contrast the Prime figure is a very compact vehicle that expands into a larger robot! The Prime vehicle mode is barely larger than a deluxe, but his robot is very robust (heh, robust robots; sounds like a Daft Punk song). But look at that, I'm getting into that whole scale mess again.

My favorite part about the Prime figure has to be that he is so 'round'! I wasn't a fan of the Bulkhead character when he first appeared on Animated; but throughout that show I grew to love him and the Prime version just takes him to a whole new level. In fact, I find myself wanting a Classics version of Bulky to retcon back into the G1 universe like Lugnut or Drift. Even though he was probably the most expensive Voyager figure I have bought, he was definitely worth it.

Maybe the scale isn't so far off after all :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Transformers Prime Cliffjumper: Make your Decision

So I was going to do a nice side-by-side on the differences between Prime First Edition Cliffjumper and Prime Robots In Disguise Cliffjumper since I got them both in the mail the other day. However it seems that Scotty P has beaten me to the punch with an excellent post showcasing the differences between the two. All I will say is take his advice: get the First Edition if you can and leave the RID version for the kiddies.

On a somewhat related note I now have multiples of two characters: Cliffjumper and Bumblebee, and I am at a loss as to what I should do. I've really never had this problem before because I have often refused to buy different molds of the same character ever since that crap started back with Beast Machines. I wonder how other people deal with multiples? This is especially difficult because they are of the same size class! Ah, tis such an onerous existence we transfans lead!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King

I don't get to read fiction very often, so I have to be very picky about where I decide to devote my time. If there is one thing I really hate it is wasting time on a bad story, whether that be TV, Movies or Books. But sometimes I am presently surprised, as was the case with the movie: Kick-Ass. But in this case I knew I was in for a good ride. I am a child of the '80's, not the '60's, so the Kennedy assassination was about twenty years before my time. However it is a subject that I have always been interested in because it was such a big event, and even remains so today. I mean, how many specials on the History channel do you see about the assassination of James A. Garfield? I also knew this book involved another storytelling device I am fond of: time travel. Some of my favorite stories involve time travel so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this book.

That being said, I absolutely loved it. I started reading on an airplane during my vacation and was done just a few days later; and this is an almost 900 page book! Although I am a big fan of his Dark Tower series, I don't read a lot of Stephen King. But he is one hell of a storyteller, and this story is no exception. The amount of research required for this project boggles my mind since it involves so many historical excerpts.

I don't want to spoil anything here, so if you don't want to read any spoilers, stop now. However if you have read the book and want some of my thoughts continue reading...

Spoilers Ahead!!

There was only one thing that I had a bit of a problem with in this story and that was the protagonist's unwavering desire to change the future. I'm no expert but (as is mentioned in the book many times) the smallest changes in the past can drastically affect the future. I don't understand why the protagonist never thought that perhaps Kennedy was supposed to die, especially so that we could end up with the world we have today. I also have to wonder if he considered that preventing the death of the President could potentially erase him from existence? These questions were addressed way too late in the book for my taste. However I do love King's method of time travel, his explanation of how quantum physics fits in to the overall story.  I also enjoy how the endings to his books aren't all wrapped up in a nice little bow like so many Hollywood movies nowadays. Although I have learned that this story has been optioned and picked up to be made into a movie so it will be interesting to see how much they change things.

I love a good story. This is a good story. I might just read it again for fun.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The final figure: White Headmaster Shuffler

Saved the best for last. You would think that because Shuffler is the hardest to find of the color versions of the Headmaster Warriors that he would be the hardest to find of the white ones as well. But according to Shmax at least two other people have white Shufflers while no one else has white Rodney or Trizer which I find odd. Especially because I haven't been able to obtain a regular Shuffler myself yet. At any rate, here he is, in all his glory:

Something else that distinguishes the KO Shuffler from the real one, the trunk doesn't fold down as far when he is in elephant mode on the KO. I assume it is a mold deterioration issue but I'm not sure.

KO on the left, original on the right

Since I don't have an original Shuffler yet, I compared the white version to the color KO. You'll notice on the color KO the trunk doesn't fold down as far either.

So that is it. Four of the six extremely hard to find white Headmaster Warriors.

Rodney, Lione, Trizer, Shuffler

I'll always keep an eye out for the other two (Kirk and Loafer) however I doubt I will find them anytime soon and probably not at the unbelievable price that I was able to get these for. In fact, I do remember seeing one of these guys on eBay a few years back, I think it was Rodney, up for 3/4 of what I paid for all four of these guys. I don't remember if it sold or not and that was before the KO's hit the market but that was a lot of coin for one small figure.

Maybe Heroic Decepticon can hook me up if he ever finds any in his travels ;-)

On another note this post marks the one year anniversary of this blog, yay! Actually it is the one year anniversary of 'Mostly Transformers' but since that site was hacked I am celebrating it anyway. My very first blog post was on 2/19/11, but I back-dated a few posts from that day. I thought that it was only fitting I celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog with something as special as White Shuffler. I'd like to thank everyone who has read and participated in my blog, hopefully you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Here's to another great year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The White Lione!

Third of the four white Headmaster Warriors I recently obtained is Lione, the lion. I really wish they had completed all the designs originally scheduled for these Headmaster Warriors as the animal ones are really the neatest. Of course we got the Headrobots Cobra just recently, hopefully we'll get some more eventually.

And the inevitable KO comparison:

KO on the left, original on the right

And White Lione with his color counterpart:

Who is the final figure I obtained? The suspense is killing me!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wait, what? There's another one?

So I had to build up the suspense somehow. Amazingly I actually ended up getting four of the six white headmaster heads in what I will now call the chance of a lifetime. However they are each so glorious (as Lugnut would say) that I thought they each deserved their own post. Today Trizer gets his spotlight.

This is just another beautiful figure and again, when you stand it up to the KO, there really is no comparison.

KO on the left, original on the right

There isn't much I can say that I didn't already talk about with Rodney, so again I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Trizer with his color counterpart

Two down, two to go. Who is up next?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Grail Find! Headmaster Rodney's white counterpart

If you had asked me a few months ago if I thought I would ever own this figure, I would have told you that you were crazy. The exclusive headmasters are rare enough as it is, saying nothing of their all white versions. But, an opportunity came up a while back to own this guy and the price was so good I just could not pass it up. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

So how does the original figure stack up against the recent KO that was released at the same time as the Headmaster boxset? There are a surprising amount of differences I've found:

KO on the left, real on the right

It becomes glaringly apparent how much the KO is a KO when stacked up against the original figure. I never did this with the colored versions but I should have as the differences are so obvious. Now if I didn't have the original figure I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But in a side by side comparison the KO doesn't have the same amount of detail in the mold and the plastic is of much worse (and brigher) quality. You can really see it in the face here. Under this light the KO looks almost yellowed compared to the original figure. The rivets are also slightly larger on the KO.

I have never seen this guy anywhere other than officially sanctioned TF books so for me this was a once in a decade opportunity. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love reissues because they drastically reduce the price of the originals (although in this case it was a KO and not a reissue). Otherwise there is no way this purchase would have been possible. And I know the term Grail is overused in the TF community, but this time I think this actually qualifies. For me it is a grail when I think I will never, ever own a particular figure then by some happenstance I actually end up with said figure. I feel the same way about VSX.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Transformers Prime....uh Prime.

What a stupid name for a series, I don't even really understand the rationale behind it. I mean, Prime is probably the least featured Autobot in the show thus far, everyone else has gotten a lot more screen time and characterization. But I digress.

So apparently Optimus here never came out in the U.S. I had to get mine from a seller in Canada due to the whole First Edition debacle, along with pretty much every other First Edition toy. Although I got Bulkhead from a seller in Singapore. I've had such a hard time attempting to wrap my head around why Hasbro would go to the trouble of designing an entire line of figures and then scrapping those figures after one run and releasing another set of (some say inferior) molds of the exact same characters! Then a friend of mine pointed out that due to the rising costs of petroleum in the world market Hasbro may have decided that it would be too expensive to continue to produce the 'First Edition' line of figures since they are more complex and from what I have heard slightly larger. Hasbro may have already had the first run of these figures in the works by the time they made this decision so they decided to release them as First Edition only and they would use the less expensive molds for the mainline. Unfortunately this theory fits all the known facts and if it proves to be true, some of the First Edition figures could end up being some of the rarest figures that have had a semi-mass release. Three figures, Bumblebee, Starscream and Arcee, were released in the U.S. and were pretty easy to come by around the holidays but have since disappeared. The other figures in the First Edition: Optimus, Bulkhead, and Cliffjumper only saw release internationally. The two remaining figures: Vehicon and Zombie Cliffjumper have not even seen a release yet and may never reach any market. Only time will tell.

The gun is just an add-on and doesn't fit into the figure anywhere which is just fine with me.

The same goes for the sword which is super bendy and flexible.

The truck mode is very impressive, the arms fold up in a very unique way.
At any rate, from what I hear the First Edition Optimus is superior to the general release version that is coming later in the year. I don't have them both to compare side by side, but I can say Optimus is a very sold figure by himself and fits the animation model quite well. He also scales well with Bumblebee and to some extent Arcee. Since he is the first Voyager class Optimus I have purchased in a while I thought I would show him with the last Voyager class Optimus I purchased...back in 2006.

Pretty much the same size figure.
I feel pretty lucky to have gotten this guy at a good price, eBay just about exploded the day after the First Edition cancellation announcement was made. Although I am hoping this figure does see a wider release so more people can get their hands on it since it is a very faithful and fun interpretation of the character.