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Saturday, April 30, 2011

An overload of Star Trek

In addition to Transformers I am a huge Star Trek fan. Not the type of fan who owns his own Starfleet uniform, but the type than can tell you the name of Captain Archer's dog or in what episode Data laughed. So the other day I happened to find a huge lot of Star Trek: The Magazines for sale. These magazines came out from 1999 until around 2004 or 2005 and contained a huge amount of information about the shows, cast, technical data, production notes and tons of other stuff. They normally retailed for about $8 or $9 but included very few advertisements, which is rare. I purchased a few of these off the shelves back in the day just for the vast amount of info they contained. So when I came across this lot I knew I could not pass it up; 34 magazines for $35! I snatched that bad boy up like nobody's business! In fact, it cost just as much to ship as it did to purchase, so essentially I got 34 magazines for $2 apiece! I snapped a quick picture, this wasn't all of them just a sampling.
You could say I am one happy fan.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's a new Grapple! Or Grappel if you prefer...

Just like Windcharger I was lucky enough to get this guy off Hasbro Toy Shop due to the diligence of the TFW2005 community. Grapple has always been one of my favorites, probably because he was the only the second transformer I ever owned right after Smokescreen. I don't really remember where I got him, but I do remember him being not too far after Smokescreen; I probably begged a family member for him. As a result, his toy is the one I have kept the longest without breaking. Obviously my original Smokescreen is trashed, I was pretty rough on my toys as a kid. So I really enjoy Grapple. I also liked the fact that he was an Architect (which is what I aspired to do way back when) and the creator of the Solar Power Tower (one of the very first episodes I saw on TV!). It made him a little bit more dimensional than just 'warrior' or 'soldier'.

But enough about the old Grapple, this is supposed to be about the new Grapple!

Obviously Grapple is a remold of Universe (G2!) Inferno. But he is a pretty extensive remold, if you've been around Transformers long enough to remember the Skywarp toy from Transformers: Armada, this is to what I equate Grapple; a 25% remold of another figure.

I love orange construction vehicles. Green? Bleh.
Nice new head, feet, hands and arm panels!
The mold translates amazingly well into a crane.
Grapple and Grappel (stupid trademarks)

Overall a great update! I think we all knew this was coming when Universe Inferno was released but like Inferno, Grapple has started out elusive and hard to find. I'm just glad to be one step closer to completing the '85 Autobot team. If you see him, nab him because there is a good chance you won't see him again.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mail Call: April 27th, 2011

Got some more great stuff in the mail over the past few days. I decided to consolidate it to one post instead of many since I just now have blogger access again.

Instruction booklets:
Powermaster Optimus Prime

Tech Specs:

Powermaster Optimus Prime Gun
Overkill gun
Raindance gun

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And I'm Back! What the hell just happened?

Welcome to the new Mostly Transformers blogsite. Unfortunately last week my google account was hacked and I lost control over my account which included my blog. So I have painstakingly re-created my entire blog from scratch complete with all posts so I have direct control over it again. Of course on the morning that I actually finish rebuilding the blog is the morning I regain access to the old one. But for the sake of consistency from this point forward I will be using this blog only. There may be a few broken links and missing articles, but I will be sure to have everything back up and running soon. Sorry for the inconvenience to anyone but you'll have to update your bookmarks to this new site as it is different than the old one.

So now, back to Mostly Transformers! I have a lot of catching up to do!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cliffjumper is finally complete! Devilhorns custom kit has arrived.

When Classics Cliffjumper was originally released he was done as a straight up repaint of Classics Bumblebee. At the time this wasn't a problem because Hasbro had put their resources into remolding the seeker mold to accommodate Ramjet, Cliffjumper's wave-mate. And I much preferred a more accurate Ramjet to a more accurate Cliffjumper.
However as time went on I became dissatisfied with the Bumblebee lookalike. The excellent third party company Fansproject had produced a replacement that came with a few extra parts but by the time I found out about their product it was sold out everywhere. It didn't help that they limited it to 300 produced. There are a few stores that sell the set today but because of the low production run the cost of the set is usually $279 or more. For essentially a head and a couple of guns. There is no way.

So I was able to purchase a custom head from a fellow TFW2005 member in early 2008. It wasn't perfect and I had to paint it myself, but it was a better solution than the original head and paying out the ass for the Fansproject version.

"For some reason I can't see you very well"
I thought I matched the paint pretty well myself, but I was always dissatisfied with how small Cliffjumper's actual face was. Plus over time, the two halves of the head didn't stay together well anymore. Many people said that you could use the head from the WFC Cliffjumper as a good replacement, but the colors were still slightly off. I bought a WFC Cliffjumper intending to do exactly this, but once I had him decided I liked him as he was and kept him with my other WFC toys.

Enter the Devilhorns Custom Kit in 2011. Finally another third party company had decided to fill the gap left open by Fansproject and produced a new set complete with head, gun and cannon. The set was a little pricey at $30, but I figured it was better than $300 and I really wanted my Cliffjumper to be complete. So I bit the bullet.

Face details!
Overall I am much happier with this purchase; the head is more detailed, molded in the correct color and feels much more finished than my prior head. My only complaint is that it is molded in a way that doesn't let Cliffy look up, but that is a minor, minor concern. The extra guns are nice too.

So after almost five years of dealing with a head issue on Cliffjumper the problem is solved. Now my OCD brain can rest a little easier.
Ready for action!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

TLC is actively looking for Transformer Collector to feature on a new Reality Show

According to a recent post on TFW2005, television producers are looking for a Transformer collector to be featured on a new show about 'Collections'. You can see the original post here. If you know anything about TLC or have watched any of their shows in the past five years you know that the channel has very little to do with Learning anymore and is more about showcasing the lives of people that probably shouldn't be on television.

Let me say first off this isn't something that interests me. I realize the irony in someone who writes a public blog about Transformers not wanting to have a chance to talk about them on television but I am typically a very private person. Plus, there is no telling how reality tv producers would portray a toy collector. My fear is that they would be unfairly shown in a negative light in order to garnish ratings. Something akin to people being shown as obsessive to the extreme. Even the description of the person they are looking for hints at this:

We are not looking for your common collector, though. We want someone who lives and breathes for Transformers. Not someone who just ha one case or even one room dedicated to their collection, but rather someone whose collection has infiltrated every room.
They are obviously looking for someone who is not what I would consider a normal fan, they are looking for the extreme cases. There are some very nice collections out there, but I don't know of anyone who (publicly anyway) has revealed that their entire house is taken over by Transformers. I also can't see how anyone like that could be portrayed in anything but a negative light on national TV. I'm sure there are more than enough parents out there who think collecting toys means you are some sort of pedophile.

However, if the producers were actually interested in producing a show about real people and how Transformers were a part of their lives (not their whole lives) I would be completely fine with that. But based on the track record thus far, I don't have high hopes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mail Call: April 13th, 2011 (and collection pictures update)

Right on the heels of me complaining that the G1 tech spec market had dried up is a bunch of G1 tech specs! I happened to pick these up from a recent Transformerland sale that I didn't know was coming. They had been holding out on me! Fortunately with this group I was finally able to finish off 1985 with Devastator and 1986 with Springer.
Only 44 to go!
I also thought I would go ahead and show a preview picture of my collection; it has been slow going. Over the past two days I've only been able to take eight really good photographs which cover the first four years of G1. I decided it would be best to group the figures by the year released so it can be very time consuming as I am taking every one off the shelves and posing them for group shots. So here is the preview:
1984 - The Beginning.
Here's hoping the rest of the years go a little faster. This strategy is only really viable through the end of RID though, I don't know how I am going to group them from 2003 to present.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mail Call: April 11th, 2011

Got some more items in the mail the other day, since my quest of G1 tech specs has dried up considerably I started going after some of the Beast Wars tech specs. Unfortunately these were all I could find online, most of the others I need are no easier to find than the G1 specs.
I was also fortunate enough to find someone with an extra Wreck-Gar, so now I can finally do this:
 I am in the process of photographing my entire collection for this blog so keep an eye out in the pages section. I haven't figured out the layout or organization yet, but don't worry there will be lots of high res pictures of almost everything I have.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lego World Trade Center

Well, not much has been going on in the Transformer world for me in the past few days so I thought I might showcase one of my Lego creations. First off let me say that this is not my design, but I was able to replicate it from the original without any instruction or direction. I loved the World Trade Center in New York and had the special privilege of being able to visit and enjoy it in 1997. I was devastated in 2001 not only for all the lives lost, but for the wonderful structure that will never be replaced. I will always have a great memory of that place and it will always hold a special place in my heart. This was my way of creating a small tribute to my memory so that the WTC will always be close at hand.
The entire WTC complex.


WTC 3, the Mariott

The WTC Plaza

The entire complex again.
This build took me around two and a half months and about 19,000 lego pieces. The main towers were the most complex but the rest of the site was fairly straightforward.

See also:
Lego Sears Tower
Lego Rockefeller Center

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

90's Kenner Catalogs

When I was authoring my About Me page the other day I began to get sentimental about earlier days in my youth so I started going through some old papers and pictures. While I was going through everything I happened to find some old Kenner catalogs that showcased some late G2 and Beast Wars figures. I'm not sure when Hasbro moved the Transformers brand to their Kenner department, but I think it was around 1994 and that would explain why the catalogs I have are 1995-1998. I also believe Kenner was fully integrated into Hasbro by '98 so there wouldn't be too many catalogs past that point.

These catalogs didn't just showcase Transformers, but all boy's lines being offered at the time. They are mostly populated with Batman, Nerf, Star Wars, Gargoyles, Mortal Combat, Starting Lineup and tons of others. I kept them because they reminded me of the G1 catalogs in some small form. So I thought I'd scan in the Transformers pages since they applied to my interest, I may get around to the other pages one day if I ever get that much time.
1995, Not much here...

1996, yay Beast Wars!

1997, yay more Beast Wars!

1998, long freaking catalog!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Reveal the Shield Windcharger

I was really lucky to get this guy. If it weren't for the great communication system on TFW2005 and a little luck in the timing I would have completely missed out. Apparently Windcharger has been the most difficult Transformer to obtain out of the recent Reveal the Shield and Generations lines followed closely by Grapple. But fortunately I was able to order him just in time off Hasbro Toy Shop and he arrived on Saturday!
I really enjoyed playing with this figure. It has been a while since I bought a Scout class figure so I kinda forgot how big they tend to be, I was really expecting more of a Legend class. So Windcharger sits firmly between a Legend and a Deluxe in size which is perfect for his character. Out of all the G1 Minibots that have received an update, I feel like Windcharger is the best and most accurate, mostly because of the choice of his size class. Bumblebee and Cliffjumper were both released in Deluxe and Legend, Brawn was Legend and Huffer (Botcon Exclusive) was a scout but because he was a repaint of another character he doesn't work as well. Other than the Alternators Overdrive-turned-Windcharger this is the first update this character has received in 25 years and he is well worth it!
Nice solid robot mode.

Great new muscle car alt mode.

Windcharger and his predecessor.

Flip out guns!

The '84 Minibot cast to date.

Notice how Windcharger's vehicle mode seems to be just the right size.

The entire 1984 cast minus one!
 So we only need one more update figure (Gears) to have a complete 1984 Autobot set. They all may not be in the correct scale (coughTrailbreakercough), but at least we have them. It has been almost five full years since this line started way back in October 2006 so I imagine we'll have the last member well before another five years passes.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rediscovering Beast Machines

Every few years I like to go back and re-watch some of the old Transformers series just to re-familiarize myself with the shows and maybe view them in a new perspective. Today I thought I might give Beast Machines another try. Since the original airings, I've only watched this series one other time probably due to my strong feelings against it from when it first came out.
 The culture shock of being introduced to this show from such a strong presentation like Beast Wars was unsettling to say the least. I understood what the writers were trying to do, but I didn't want to accept it at the time because I saw Beast Machines (as many of us did) as the natural conclusion of the Generation One universe. I actually much preferred the "Wreckers" storyline presented by 3H near the same time which helped ease the pain/transition. Ultimately though, this show represents the end of the 'original' Transformers, without any of this re-booting and universe hopping that currently dominates the mythos.
 Watching the first episode again today brought back all of those feelings of betrayal and hatred that I felt as an angry little teenager. But I was also able to look past that and see the show a little differently. I can certainly appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the show, which was much more stylized and a little cleaner than Beast Wars. As I continue to watch, I hope to gain a new understanding of this story and accept it in a better light than I did twelve years ago. But I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around "I am Transformed!". Maybe I can just tune it out...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Classics Comparison: Smokescreen (with Reprolabels!)

Smokescreen has been one of my favorite characters since before I can remember. This is partly due to Smokey being my very first Transformer, ever. I distinctly remember playing with him at the tender age of four at my father's place of business. Of course when I picked him from the shelves I really didn't know anything about the character or who he really was since he wasn't featured much in the show. But I loved his colors! Red was (and still is) my favorite color, coupled with the blue and white highlights how could I refuse this guy? Over the years my Smokey suffered a lot of damage mostly because I carried him around a lot and that particular mold was very, very fragile. How any of those things made it out of the '80's with their windshields intact is a mystery to me.

Anyway, on to modern day where we have a new Smokescreen released, a recolor of the mold used for Prowl and Blue(silver)streak. Unfortunately the paintjob on Classics Smokescreen was just abysmal.
Top: Classics. Bottom: The much improved Henkei version.
 Ok, so obviously I should have gone with the Henkei release like every other collector. I mean, really Hasbro?!?! What five year old was in charge of this one? Well instead of paying a huge amount for the same figure again, I decided to go with Reprolabels to save myself some money. I won't say it is a perfect solution, but it is better than paying out the ass for Henkei Smokescreen because he is not cheap.

The new numbers and white pinstripe made a huge difference, so I think I can deal with it. He certainly looks much better than before and not so out of place. I really can't believe that the same company that produces this can produce such a crappy painted figure but I don't know the inner workings of Hasbro.

So now, he doesn't look so out of place next to G1 Smokescreen.

And he certainly looks better than any other version of Smokescreen we have had up until this point (Cybertron and Armada Smokescreen not pictured because I refused to buy those pieces of crap)

So if you find yourself like me and can't afford or don't want to pay for Henkei Smokescreen, go the Reprolabels route, your wallet will thank you.