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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Human After All

I have been a Daft Punk fan since 1997 when a friend introduced me to their debut album, Homework. I listened to that album constantly through those last years of high school and first of college. I really liked DP for not only the rhythm that their music offers, but the innovative way they manipulate the sounds into songs. Of course when Discovery came out in 2001 I immediately picked it up. After that DP faded from my view until I found Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem on DVD. And man, I was right back in. But somehow I completely missed their 2005 album: Human After All. When Tron came out late last year I picked up a few of the soundtrack songs off Itunes since I knew they were DP and I had been craving some new music. And then I found Human After All. I must say, this is my favorite Punk album thus far. I know I am six years late, but I really enjoyed finding this gem. If you've never given Daft Punk a chance, this is a good one in which to begin your Punk journey.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Botcon sold out in record time!

Wow, I knew it was going to be fast, but I didn't think it was going to be that fast. According to a mass email to all TF Club members:

BotCon Primus and Iacon and loose packages are now all sold out!
That's right, it took just a little over 5 days for all of the toy packages to be gone!
This has been the fastest sell out of Botcon Attendee and non-attendee sets since Botcon was started back in 1994 according to The Unofficial Transformers Club and Convention Exclusive Data Sheet. So if you were planning on ordering a set you are most likely out of luck and will have to head over to eBay to get your fix.

This will be the first Botcon I have attended since 2007 so I am quite excited, not to mention after it is over I get to spend a few extra days with some great friends that live just north of L.A. Hopefully when the time comes I'll be able to post pictures and maybe even video here while the convention is going on. I am also hoping we get a pre-screening of the new movie: Dark of the Moon, but I'm willing to bet they'll only show a few clips. I thought the best was when they showed the '07 movie to all Botcon attendees in Rhode Island which was a blast. It took them three theaters! I'll always consider the RI Botcon the best one since we all got to tour Hasbro and see the new movie but I vowed it would be my last Botcon. However after four years I am getting anxious and want to go. Even though I have very low expectations for DOTM, I think FunPub and Hasbro would do the fans a real favor to pre-screen the movie at the convention. I guess we'll find out when we get there.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tech Specs and Paperwork, what to do with it all!?!?

For anyone who has been curious as to what I am doing with all the paperwork I have been collecting lately (see here, here and here) I wanted to post an update on my organization. I was inspired by G1 Junkie of the TFW forms, you can see his setup here. For the longest time I thought collecting all the paperwork was a waste of time because I hadn't figured out any really good way to organize and showcase everything. Once I saw G1J's method I was inspired. It took a while to find all of the materials to make it happen, but here is a small sample of what I've been able to do in the past five months:
This is really fun to just sit and read for a while.

What doesn't belong?

I need to figure out a way to keep these guys in their sleeves, they like to come out easily.
 You'll notice I have a Bruticus Tech Spec in the second picture. Seasoned fans will know that Bruticus never had his own tech spec in America because a Bruticus Giftset was not available. The same thing occurred for Abominus while Predaking, Reflector and Monstructor's tech specs were printed on instruction booklets. I decided that I wanted to include a tech spec for all of these guys in my collection since the other gestalts have one. The ones I printed for myself came from Slim, he does some great custom tech specs and they fit in perfectly with the originals. Unfortunately as of this writing I am still 57 tech specs and 39 instruction booklets short of a complete collection, but I am well on my way. If anyone has any extras they want to get rid of, let me know, I may just need some! Oh, and you may ask where do I go once my G1 paperwork collection is complete....
...oh, I dunno.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reveal the Shield Perceptor, scientists FTW!

Close on the heels of Generations Wheeljack we have Reveal the Shield Perceptor. This is an okay figure overall, I'd say my only complaints are that his 'backpack' doesn't really lock into place and his face looks so sad! Also, he doesn't have a fast transformation. This one can take a while until you figure out the tricks. But as an update to the character I think he is great! I much prefer the mouth to the faceplate of the G1 figure.

I particularly like how he retains his arm dials. And of course the colors are spot on. However the alt mode is a little weird. I guess it is some sort of ATV tank?

G1 Perceptor's tank mode doesn't really compare well. And then of course there is the microscope mode:
 Kinda. This was the best I could come up with, to tell you the truth, the generations figure has no business being a microscope. Which is disappointing because I would have liked a good microscope mode. Oh well. This figure follows Drift and Kup in the fashion that he is actually based more on the IDW comic character than the G1 figure. Note the crosshairs on his shoulder cannon:
 Not a bad figure overall, especially if you like Perceptor. Personally I like any Transformer that fits into the scientist/medic category.
The three Autobots least likely to see some action. (take that meaning as you will)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back from AFA!

Well I got my first set of items back from AFA the other day. Not much to say about these guys other than I am very surprised at the grades. They all came back with 80's except for Tracks which got a 75 due to the back of the box being a little crunched. Personally I didn't think they were that good, but I'm glad they did as well as they did! I could be really mean about this and post one a day, but I won't :-)

Dirge and Cyclonus still have yet to be sent off, I am just waiting a while for some funds to even out some more. I also have a complete set of sealed G2 Aerialbots that need grading, but that is probably way off in the future. Here is my AFA corner again with my new items:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Japanese Exclusive: Black Shadow

I had the fortune of finding this guy on eBay for a steal a few years back. Black Shadow can be one of the more difficult Japanese Transformers to obtain (along with Blue Bacchus which I am still hunting). He was released as part of the Transformers: Victory line in Japan. Though I believe he was released near the end of the line and because his character only appeared in one episode of Transformers: Victory he wasn't that popular. This particular find was a complete figure with unopened paperwork but no box. However he was in great shape so I decided to go for it. I was able to pick up the box from a TFW member last year finally completing my Black Shadow. There was an American counterpart of this toy released as well; Thunderwing which had a remolded front plate effectively making him a different figure altogether. So in my ongoing quest to own all molds I had to grab this guy. On to the pictures!
The 'Pretender' Black Shadow

The actual figure that fits inside the Pretender Shell.

Alt mode of the smaller figure.

Alt mode of the Pretender Shell.

Combined alt mode, quite an innovation for 1989!

Compared with the American Thunderwing on the left.

Pretender shell alt modes, notice the stickers are almost exactly the same.

Alt modes of the smaller robots.

I really like Black Shadow better as his colors are more cohesive.

The figures with their shells.

Here you can really see the mold differences between the two.

A complete Black Shadow! And no, I will not be stickering him up.
Overall this is a great figure and a nice addition to your collection if you can find it. If Thunderwing's popularity continues to skyrocket you may be able to eventually find this guy cheaper than Thunderwing himself.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reveal the Shield Goldbug (Gold Bumblebee) and Trailbreaker (Trailcutter)

So I got these guys a little while back with Lugnut and just wanted to showcase them a little bit. First off: Goldbug or Gold Bumblebee as he is called on the package. I don't know if Hasbro no longer owns the name Goldbug or if they are just trying to build on the popularity of the Bumblebee character. This is a great little figure, just about as easy to transform as the original Goldbug and a pretty good homage, with the face being the only exception. He should have a mask instead of a mouth, but I can overlook this.
Robot mode, notice the lack of a faceplate.

Vehicle mode, generic car.

Compared to the original, smaller vehicle mode...

...but slightly larger robot mode. Strange.
If this was G1, the guy on the right would get shot and rebuilt as the guy on the left.
 Good figure overall, a nice representation of the character and nice colors! Next up: Trailbreaker, or as the package says: Trailcutter. In this instance I believe Hasbro actually did loose the name Trailbreaker unfortunately. Doesn't matter to me, I'm just happy to have a representation of the character in my Neo-G1 setup no matter what they call him or what size he is. Hasbro did a great job on this one and even incorporated the original Trailbreaker's sensor array over his head. Again, transformation is fast and quite a lot like the original toy.
Again, a generic vehicle mode.

Nice robot mode, notice the blue visor.

Pretty good representation!

Love the red knees, perfect!
 Another great release by Hasbro. I know a lot of people are clamoring for a larger version of this character, but this one actually fits me just fine. Trailbreaker was always sort of a background character in the TV show and comics anyway, I only really remember him standing out a handfull of times. So I don't mind he is a little smaller. After these guys and Wheeljack I believe only two of the original Autobots that were on the Ark still haven't been released in the new Classics format: Gears and Huffer. And I don't count the Power Core Combiner Huffer, that is not a good representation of the character. I'm eagerly awaiting good versions of these guys as well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Insight into something Interesting

If you are anything like me you have an incessant need to understand why and how things happen. Ever since the financial meltdown of 2008 I was curious as to how such a thing could come to pass. Of course the easy answer is 'greed' but I already knew that. I wanted to know exactly what happened and how. Fortunately I found a great book on the subject: The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
It goes into great detail about how the entire subprime mortgage situation came about in Wall Street and how those that saw what was coming were able to profit off one of the largest financial collapses in history. I really enjoyed reading this because the author doesn't leave any detail out; I found myself re-reading sentences many times just to understand their underlying financial meaning. Of course it doesn't hurt that the author was once a Wall Street yuppie that has since reformed. I plan on checking out his other works on the subject. Many times I find books like this more entertaining than fiction, since everything actually happened. If you are at all interested in what happened on Wall Street in the years and months leading up to the collapse, then this is a great learning opportunity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Generations Wheeljack: what a guy!

 I was super excited when I heard that Generations Wheeljack was being released. I've always loved the character and I feel like it is time Wheeljack gets a good update. Amazingly, the mold for Tracks works really well for Wheeljack as well. With all the new parts, new head and accessories this is a brand new figure. This is how I wish every retool were done. Does anyone remember the days when a 'retool' consisted of a new colorscheme and that was it? Wheeljack here goes above and beyond that calling. And he fits in swimmingly with the other Classics. Hasbro is really starting to outdo themselves; I hope they can keep reaching the bar they have set because it is crazy high.

With his G1 counterpart.

Scientists unite!

Night and Day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Love the new Blue! Generations Thundercracker

I hadn't really paid much attention to the new Generations Thundercracker. I had just automatically decided I would get it and put my BC version back in the box, not sure why. So when I opened him up today lets just say I was pleasantly, pleasantly surprised. His colors look so good! Compared to the BC version the colors are brilliant, it makes the BC version look teal. It really looks like the art department over at Hasbro got a budget boost because this guy is way above the other seekers. Just take a look:

Generations on the left, Botcon on the right.

Look at that teal!
 I swear, Thundercracker looks so good he outshines Starscream and Skywarp. I guess we're going to need another Skywarp release at least. And some more good news, TC is very tight which is surprising to me considering this is somewhere around the eight or ninth use of this mold. If you are on the fence about this one I'd highly recommend it for the colors alone! Of course I don't really know how it compares to the Henkei version, but I have to assume the less chrome the better.

A great update, matching paint jobs!