Sunday, 8 February 2015

Last Post!

Transformers Masterpiece Sideswipe and TMNT Classics Michelangelo on the shelf | The Mos Espa Collection
I think this just about covers it...
Well, it’s been great fun.

The MEC, or Mos Espa Collection as it was known for the duration of its existence, is coming to a close. For reasons I outline below this will be the last post I make here.

It’s been a good run, just two weeks shy of five years old and four posts short of 200. Writing and running this site has put me in touch with some of the friendliest folk in the toy-blogging community, and feeling that you’re not alone when you indulge in a niche hobby like ours makes it more enjoyable by tenfold. In particular I want to give a shout out to Optimal Omega, Chris at Stunt Zombie and Bro Midnight at Green Plastic Squirt Gun. They’ve all been supportive of my ramblings over the years, and each brings a personal and unique perspective to their own collections over at their respective blogs. I heartily recommend all three.

Why am I winding up? That’s a good question. I still love blogging but I’ve ended up at a point where the MEC no longer reflects the type of collector that I am, and it’s gotten increasingly difficult to create content. In retrospect it’s essentially been a practice blog, for want of a better term, whilst I’ve figured out what toy lines I enjoy collecting, how the toy industry and fandom works, how blogging works, and how it all integrates into my life. I’ve learned quite a bit, and rather than walk away from the hobby I’m taking that knowledge and putting it into two new projects.

Firstly, Variable Thoughts is a blog about life in its entirety – which for me means a splattering of comics, films, video games and action figures. It’s an attempt to get away from having everything segmented and compartmentalised, and I think it’s also a better online profile to be able to show prospective employers.

Going in completely the opposite direction, Green Card Back is what I originally envisioned this site to be. It’s a weekly photo blog that spotlights Star Wars action figures from 1995-2000 with the affection and nostalgia that I feel that they deserve, and I’m keeping it separate because I want it to stand on its own as a complete project. How long it will last is anyone’s guess, but I’m giving it a two-year lifespan to see how it plays out.

So it is that I’m signing off here for the final time, with a ton of gratitude for the fact that we live in a world where anyone can make a soapbox for their interests and connect with like-minded people from literally anywhere. I’ll keep the blog up for posterity for the immediate term, but otherwise it’s time to look towards the future – which is something I find truly exciting.

As ever, thanks for reading. See you around!

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.

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