Friday, 9 January 2015

Spotlight: Ascension

Transformers Classics Bumblebee action figure toy Autobot Deluxe car The MEC

I never 'got' Bumblebee. Not as cool as Jazz, not as useful as Inferno, not as chaotically fun as Grimlock... And yet here we are in 2015 with the little yellow guy that could leading the Autobots in a new animated series, after starring in four hugely successful movies and becoming arguably the second most famous Cybertronian ever.

Yep, even replacing that cassette guy.

Transformers Classics Bumblebee action figure toy Autobot Deluxe car The MEC

Perhaps if he'd had an action figure as fun as this Classics version in the 80's I would have been more into him; after all the easy, satisfying transformation, articulated robot body and sporty alt-mode make this a solid toy, and one of my best purchases of 2014.

I think it's safe to say there's still time to warm to Bumblebee as a character. Quite possibly unlike his namesake, I think this Autobot is going to be around for a little while yet...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Tier Zero Point Five


Transformers - The Movie 1986 Toy Collection Classics Universe Generations

It's the little milestones that make it worthwhile.

With this week's arrival of FOC Grimlock, Tier One of the Transformers: The Movie collection is halfway complete. The Iron Factory upgrade kit is yet to arrive for the King, but then the base figure is the most important bit.

Unlike in the case of Rodimus. The CHMS Protector kit arrived shortly before Christmas, and along with Springer and Grimlock it's utterly transformed my Autobot collection, turning them from a ragtag group of deluxe cars and one towering triple changer into a small combat unit with a clear leader. 

Transformers - The Movie 1986 Toy Collection Classics Universe Generations Rodimus Grimlock Springer Prime
Not the clear leader I was thinking of, but who's gonna argue?
After getting Springer and realising how excellent he is (and I'm clicking those satisfying ratchet joints as I write this) I was tempted to get the Transformers Cloud Rodimus from the same mould; however the idea of having two all-but identical robots in the same small lineup put me off. If it were a case of having Bumblebee and Cliffjumper or Frenzy and Rumble it would be acceptable as they've always shared a mould. For two characters as unique as Rodimus Prime and Springer however the Protector armour was the best way to go.

So now it's on to the expensive part of the wave ("why hello there contract extension and bonus scheme, please do acquiant yourself with my bank account"). If you can find Mania King (not-Galvatron) in stock you're looking at anything from £65-100, whilst a quick sweep of eBay indicates paying about £25 each for Kup and Scourge at BIN. Wheelie is proving the most elusive of the lot however, with the GDO Jazz repaint being in far more plentiful supply than the Universe release that I'm after.

As much as I enjoy buying the plastic crack and rattling through these wishlists, patience will keep both my bank balance and my girlfriend happy...

***

So anyway, how are you doing? You may have noticed I took a couple of months off of the blog to focus on other things, like getting better at my job, a huge amount of film editing and a general steadying of the ship during what was a pretty calamitous end to 2014. It was strange to look back on a post from December 2013 where I stated my collecting ambitions then, and comparing it to where I'm actually at now. I've learned a lot in the interim.

Once again I'm making no grand promises about the future of the blog. I have plenty of figures (robotic and otherwise) awaiting their turn in the spotlight, and at some point I'll actually get around to putting them up here. In the meantime, feel free to hit me up on Instagram, where I do my best to ensure I don't mix lighting temperatures as much as I have with the picture on this post. Youch.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Team

Transformers Animated Dinobots Grimlock Snarl Slag Swoop Autobots Hasbro Takara Toys Action Figures

Transformers typically means G1 to me, but nowadays the brand is all but defined by how many different versions there are, whether that's Aligned Continuity, the Bayformers, IDW, or however else the story has been told. I still haven’t even watched all of Beast Wars, let alone journeyed into the world of Transformers: Animated. However, when the Emcat got me an Animated Voyager Grimlock for our first Christmas together I knew that I had a new sub line to collect… 

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Dinobots.


I am a fairly rubbish collector. I mean, I’m miles better at it than your average man on the street, but I have such a wide range of interests and, at least for the last few years, such a meagre disposable income that I’ve found completing pretty much any planned focus difficult – hence why TMNT Classics Michelangelo and Leonardo are still wondering where their brothers are...


The Dinobots however are a team that demand completing; especially when one of their members is Swoop, a toy that was unavailable in the UK during the days of G1. Animated presented the chance to collect a complete version of the powerhouse Autobot team, and after that Christmas Day I obtained Swoop and Snarl (not Slag) in fairly short order.

 
These Dinobots have stayed with me through every house move, every car boot sale, every action figure purge, because they represent the success of a focus, however small. It doesn't matter how clumpy and inarticulate Snarl is, or how frequently Swoop’s head pops off – these robots make a mean looking red, grey, blue and gold team; and one that deserves to be kept together.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Spotlight: One Of A Kind

Cheetor Beast Machines Transformers Beast Wars Maximals Autobots Hasbro Mega Takara

More Wednesday market bargain grabbing, as this week I picked up Beast Machines Mega Cheetor, sans tail. For a great number of reasons, this is the first beast-era figure I have ever owned...

Cheetor Beast Machines Transformers Beast Wars Maximals Autobots Hasbro Mega Takara

It's not hard to see why. He's lanky, doesn't fit in with any other size class, has great difficulty standing and is just kind of garish, to the point that my girlfriend volunteered the word 'crass' to describe him. It's an accurate description as well. That chrome! That neon! That swiping action feature! This guy is such a 90s toy that it hurts.

And you know what? That's what makes him pretty unique amongst my Transformers collection. One of a kind, in fact. 

Welcome to the MEC, Cheetor.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Focus Points


Hot Rod Rodimus Prime Kup Springer Grimlock Galvatron Cyclonus Scourge Wheelie Transformers The Movie 1986 G1
Tier One
My passion for Transformers starts with the ’86 Movie, before anything else. I love a lot of other Transformers media, from the UK comic that was partly responsible for advancing my reading age, through to the humourless but occasionally brilliant Transformers Prime, but in terms of passion… Give me Transformers: The Movie any day.

That pretty much sums up why I want to use the Movie as my focus point – it’s where I care the most deeply about the Robots in Disguise, and it’s what I would most like to see represented on my toy shelf. Besides that, it features a vast but limited pool of characters, which means that I’m not going to break the bank trying to buy them all.

Well, not too much.

I put serious thought into going for a Masterpiece collection, but ultimately the price and the lack of available characters put me off – I know plenty of collectors are still waiting to get a complete Ark crew, so there are no guarantees about ever getting a complete Movie cast anyway. Little by little over the last few years, I have picked up a number of bargains from the Classics/Generations line, a run that continued with last week’s addition of Classics Starscream. This last purchase steeled my resolve to commit to a Classics/Generations TF: TM cast... and brings us to where we are now.

Even with the source media and line sorted, figures still needs to meet a certain criteria to merit inclusion in my collection, and that is where the issue starts to get subjective – I’m not that bothered about getting a load of dead Autobots like Ironhide and Wheeljack, for example; but then no Transformers collection is complete without Optimus Prime.

Because I need to have some clarity regarding what I collect, and because I like making lists, I have split what I consider an essential TF: TM cast into three tiers of priority, starting with a heavy focus on the cast from the third series. As you can see above, for the first ‘wave’ I’m going for a core Autobot cast with a strong focus on the Quintessa faction; firstly because those scenes are unquestionably some of the best in the film, and secondly because it helps to split the cost.

With all that in mind then, what figures make the grade?



Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime


Rodimus Prime

There is only one choice when it comes to the new leader of the Autobots, and that is Classics Rodimus with the Fansproject Protector Armour. I have the Classics base figure already, and the Protector Armour is the highest priority on this high priority list. After all, I still do not actually have a Deluxe scaled Matrix-bearer on the toy shelf.



Kup


Generations Sergeant Kup

For the cranky old timer there is again only one viable option, the Generations Sergeant Kup release from 2011. The secondary market price for this has stayed high, which I imagine is due to the lack of alternatives; there was a Kup released in the TF: Prime line, but the shade of green and comedy face make it a non-starter for the Movie collection.  



Springer


Generations Voyager Springer

Confession time: Springer was originally on the second tier, before I needed an equal number of ‘bots per wave to make that nice picture up top. He made the jump over Ultra Magnus because I already own him, in the form of the incredible Generations Voyager figure, and because he also serves as a reminder for not jumping on third party offerings before Hasbro have a chance to shine first… because with Springer, they shined very brightly indeed.



Grimlock


Generations Voyager Grimlock Fall of Cybertron


Winning the ‘not perfect but close enough’ award, I’ve chosen the Fall of Cybertron Voyager Grimlock from the Generations line, with the Iron Factory Dinoarmor (sic) & Rifle upgrade kit to fix the dinosaur mode’s rather gaping flaws. That the upgrade will also give old Grimmy G1 style wings is an additional bonus, and one that will make the figure even more suited to a TF: TM collection.



Galvatron


Galvatron


Remember what I said about Springer and third party releases? Whilst I would be prepared to wait for a new official release, I have a suspicion that we are not going to see any new Movie commanders until the film’s 30th anniversary in 2016, which is too long to wait for me. It’s a good job then that Unique Toys have already released Mania King, a near perfect take on the crazed Decepticon leader.



Cyclonus


Reveal the Shield Cyclonus



Another character where I have a head start, as I already own the excellent Classics Reveal the Shield version with Nightstick, his Targetmaster partner. From the sublime and intuitive transformation to the imposing stature, fine articulation and impressively effective light piping, this is a great Transformer.


Scourge


Generations Scourge


To round out Unicron’s army I will need to pick up a Scourge (or several), and there are no better options for that than the 2010 Generations release. I’m less enthused about getting this than I am any of the other seven listed here, but I have read good reviews about this toy, and I know that my Decepticon line up wouldn’t look complete without at least one. Or three.



Wheelie


Universe Wheelie


He’ll get no hating round these parts. I looked at the GDO release, but since I already have Jazz, I would prefer something a bit different to round out the wave. Universe Wheelie fits the bill perfectly, and is also close to being the correct scale, making him a lock for the collection.



There are still a lot more figures to come over the next two waves, with a lot more third party expenditure as well. I will say now that if Hasbro can release a decent, vaguely G1 Voyager Optimus Prime before I have to cough up for the excellent looking Orion by Toy World, I will be very grateful…

That's all from me for now. All credit to Seibertron.com for the majority of toy pictures, and as always, thank you for reading!

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