Tuesday, 30 July 2013

LoEB: I Have A Dream... (Updated 01/08/13)

Get There!
League time! I wasn't able to partake in last week's assignment due to barely being in one part of the country for long enough, but I'm back on it now. And the topic this week?

I have a dream…

Not so much one word as one idea, for me this open topic is about what we want to achieve within our increasingly short lifespans. I know I'm older than many of my competitors for my own ambitions, but I guess that means that I just going to have to work even harder...

I'm on the cusp of turning 30, and I've been jokingly saying to family and friends that my ambition for my fortieth is to have a pool party at my LA mansion. In reality I'm a lot less assuming than that, and my honest-to-God dream is for me and the Emcat to own a house by the sea, where I make an actual living writing and we're financially secure enough for Emma to pursue whatever ambition she has. As any good writer knows though, it's not the destination but the journey that counts, so how exactly would I get there?

Sci-Fi, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I owe a lot to Star Wars, but I'm pretty sure I would've been fascinated with space even if George Lucas' opus somehow never made its way to my eyeballs. There are so many great science fiction shows - Star Trek, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, and then the fantastical (magical realism?) ones like Lost that combine imagination, incredible designs and epic storytelling with the nuances of the human condition, and an exploration of what makes us human amongst so much noise. To me these big idea stories are the ones worth watching, and telling, and that's exactly what I'm trying to do.
Kinda like this guy: Dave Filoni (minus hat)
I've read that TV and film executives don't watch sci-fi shows, and that's probably correct - but I'm a firm believer in doing what you're passionate about, and doing it well. At the risk of committing potential career suicide, I actually couldn't imagine anything worse than working on a soap like Eastenders or Coronation Street, having to work with incredibly unlikable characters and putting them into increasingly worse situations whilst leaping on the latest social panic. There would be no passion there, besides a fervent desire to cash the cheque and go home, and I don't think I could write like that.

You are cleared for take-off!
Give me starships. Give me mammoth robots and advanced technology. Give me alien life and dinosaurs, and stakes so high they get lost in the stratosphere. Give me relatable characters of increasing complexity and morality, and give me cannon fodder. I've learned a lot over the two years thus far of my filmmaking course, and amongst that I've discovered that the big picture canvas is what works for me.

Hero.
Let's not forget that superheroes fall into my (increasingly loose) definition of sci-fi as well, and that's an area I know a thing or two about. Big stories on the widest scale imaginable with a human being at the heart of it all - I'm not sure why any filmmaker would want to do anything else.

Built by dreams!
So there we have it - my dream is a secure and idyllic future, paid for by creating stories that I love. I hope you enjoy them too!

Here's what other Leaguers see when they close their eyes at night...

Needlessentials Online provides a piece of beautifully whimsical prose about going home again.
Infinite Hollywood wants an end to subscriptions.
Geekshow Ink has a tale to tell...
G.I. Jigsaw is making it happen!
Random Nerdness is inspired by a green great.
And The 30ish Year Old Boy can't abide no stinkin' muties...

Check out the original assignment over at Cool and Collected, and thanks for reading!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 6" Figure Review

Definitely not in bad taste.
This week we'll be looking at the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 6" figure, from last year's Amazing Spider-Man movie line. The single wave consisted of the ASM (movie costume) Spidey, the Lizard, and in a nice surprise this guy, the new Ultimate Comics webspinner Miles Morales. "Who is this usurper?" and "how good is his action figure?" are questions you may be asking yourself. Well, read on if you'd like to find out the answers!

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
After being bitten by a radioactive spider that was smuggled out of an Oscorp lab by his uncle, thirteen year old Miles Morales developed similar (but not identical) powers to those of Spider-Man. Following the death of the Ultimate universe's Peter Parker, and Miles' guilt at not helping in the fatal battle, he takes up the mantle of Spider-Man himself. As with all good spider-men personal tragedy runs rife, and he's already paying a high cost for the costume...

Packaging Front & Back
So, on to the figure. The packaging follows the template from the ASM movie line with the same visuals and cut of the card, and there's really not much to say about it, other than that this costume pops on the image on the back. These things are made for opening though, so let's see what we get!

Figure, shield and stand.
UC Spider-Man comes packaged with a stand and a clip on web shield, both of which look pretty cool and provide a good looking, if not particularly Spidey-esque display option. That's already more than what came with the 3 3/4" Ultra Posable Spidey, so we're off to a good start...

Face front!
First thing I noticed was how sturdy the figure felt out of the packaging; although I then felt like I was putting that theory to the test with my first attempt at posing. The joints were properly stiff, and I felt like I was going to snap the leg off, but after the first click the hip joints started to move a bit more freely. This figure boasts a whopping 25 points of articulation (including double joints on the shoulders, elbows and knees) which allows for amazing posability, but unfortunately it also suffers from only having a swivel head, which limits how good some poses can look. This is compounded by the hunched neck, which looks cool in some poses but really doesn't work in others. The thighs can only bend so high, which restricts some of the more athletic poses we're used to seeing with Spidey, but really these are the only drawbacks; the articulation is otherwise very well done.

And back!
Cast in black plastic, there's very little actual paint on the figure, but what is there should be good. The intricate lines and design of the costume are very cleanly applied, and the eyes have a pearlescent sheen that matches the black and red colour scheme perfectly and looks beautiful. It's a good looking costume and one that they've applied to the figure very well. On my sample (mail ordered) there were some chips in the paint which are noticeable on close inspection (and unfortunately I can't unsee the red dot on his left eye now), so if you get the chance to inspect this figure before picking it up it's worth giving it a scan. Individual blemishes aside though, the paint job is very well done.


The last strike against this figure is more about the character than the toy itself; Miles is a young teenager and is drawn as such in the comics, whilst this figure looks more like a fully grown and pumped adult. Overall though it's good we've gotten an action figure of Miles so soon in the character's history, and despite its few flaws this is a very solid toy.

*****
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Dark Empire Luke Skywalker

The Siege of Coruscant!
This is one figure that won't be going in the Purge; not least because Hasbro have stated that the Black Series 6" line will be for movie characters only. This Dark Empire Luke Skywalker figure is one that I've wanted for so long (we're talking late 90's here), and I was lucky enough to get him last month for a decent price. I was outbid at the last for the Clone Emperor, but I can live without; I'm generally more selective over EU material than I am the Prequels, but this design of Luke suits my post-ROTJ vision perfectly. At least until 2015, anyway...

I found a decent Photoshop lightsaber tutorial for anyone interested; I still need to refine the process a little bit, but it's easy enough to follow with a good end result.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Coming Storm

General Kenobi, Commander Bly
The Clone Wars are taking their toll on the Jedi. Their numbers are dwindling against the Separatist armies, and the pall of the dark side of the Force clouds everything. Even so they fight on, securing victory after victory, and the tide of the war is slowly turning. Yet as General Kenobi leads his battalion to secure yet another stronghold, he would never foresee the betrayal that awaits him...

The Clone Wars are almost over. The Great Purge is coming.

*

OK, moody scene-setting aside, the purge really is coming to the Mos Espa Collection; and given how sprawling my collection is becoming, that's only a good thing. SDCC this year was a watershed moment for fans of Hasbro's Star Wars line, I think. Fan outrage over the direction of the 'classic' figure line is not a new thing (or fan outrage about anything, for that matter), but I'm getting the impression that the SA 3 3/4" approach is winding its way down now, and that's going to affect a lot of people's collections. The new Saga Legends looks like the template for a continued line, and it's a move I fully applaud - these are toys with great character likenesses that are also sturdy and can stand up to rigorous adventures. These are the kind of toys that I wanted as a kid, and I'm glad that they're there for kids today; whether they're entirely something I would want as an adult today I'll come to in a minute. The fact that I'm not the target demographic aside though, these figures are also seeing release at a reasonable price point, which has been the most off-putting aspect of new Star Wars figures for a few years now. If reducing the articulation allows the line to survive until the new trilogy, then Hasbro should absolutely go for it, and fie on any collector who can't understand that.

I don't get it either.
So, where does that leave collectors? It's been theorised in a few places that the new 3 3/4" Black Series line is a way for Hasbro to release existing (but unreleased) sculpts and simple kit bashes as a way of clearing the line out completely ahead of 2015's sequel trilogy push, and that makes a lot of sense to me. The upcoming figures, both rumoured and confirmed, are ones that have been mooted (and some even shown) for release in previous lines and others are fairly simple updates to older releases. I'm basing this on nothing but speculation, but if, after years of missteps, you have your toy line for children finally in working order, why would you continue to sell a misfiring line to a smaller audience, that's more expensive to produce and harder to sell? Furthermore, why do this when there's very few characters in this line left to make? It's been eight years since ROTS hit cinemas, and there really isn't much left to do in this scale (and I'm a bigger fan than most, but I have yet to see one decent argument for why a Toryn Farr action figure is required at all, by anybody, as a mass-market release. Online collector exclusive is a different matter).

The future's black...
And so, we come to the 6" Black Series, and the future of Star Wars action figures. Following the lead of the re-branded Marvel Legends line, the Black Series introduces a new scale to Star Wars action figures, with superior sculpting, more articulation than you can shake a well-spoken stick at and a long future of first-release main characters to come. I think those doubting this line's ability to last should look at the success (and there is no other word for it) of the SDCC/Celebration exclusive Boba Fett with Han Solo in Carbonite, which sold out in a day despite the inflated price and is now trading for as much as £200 on Ebay. People, not just collectors but real-life people want these toys, and the buzz around them is the highest it's been for a Star Wars line since at least the Episode I merchandising launch. With this weekend's wave two reveals at SDCC, I can now say that I am beyond doubt amongst the converted.

Captain of the Millennium Falcon, woot!
What struck me about the Saga Legends line when I reviewed the Super Battle Droid last week was that they're good toys, and I fully support the line and its reasons for existing, but they're not figures that I personally want to spend money on because I've been there before. I will pick up select figures based on aesthetics or whimsy, but for my tastes, and for the level of quality that's on offer, I intend to migrate fully to the 6" Black Series with an Episode III-VI focus, because frankly these toys really sate my desire for high quality, affordable Star Wars action figures. To do this I'll need to create space and funds, and that means selling off a chunk of my 3 3/4" collection. This in turn means deciding what each figure means to me, which I think is going to be a revelatory process and one that I'm looking forward to starting. It's also a process that I'm going to cover here on the blog (as well as continuing reviews, Vintage Wednesdays and LoEB contributions), because I think it'll be interesting to look at how much of figure collecting is about the purchasing, rather than the enjoyment of owning that figure. Hopefully that'll be something many of us can relate to, so it'd be great if anybody can relate similar experiences over the course of 'the purge'.

And every now and then I may remember that I occasionally cover Transformers too.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 19 July 2013

LoEB: Robots!

League Time!
Now this is the one-word assignment I've been waiting for! Regulars to this blog will know that I have a love of certain transforming Cybertronians, but what about the other robots out there? The ones that also transform but don't belong to either Autobot or Decepticon factions? In the spirit of this week's assignment (and more specifically, the prize...) the Mos Espa Collection proudly presents... Auto-Change!

What is this?!
Made in Hong Kong, Auto-Change is a dateless classic; mainly because I can't find a year of production on him anywhere. The Emcat obtained it for her now-defunct vintage wares store, but during stock liquidation it *somehow* found its way onto the Mos Espa toy shelf, where it's resided ever since. So what is Auto-Change, I hear you ask?

Auto-Change is one half car, one half robot, one half remote control and three parts awesome, that's what Auto-Change is. With a sporty and incredibly 80's alt-mode that gives KITT a run for its money on the cool stakes, in car mode Auto-Change is capable of independent travel both forwards AND reverse, as far as the lead on the remote will allow!

Sporty!

But what if Auto-Change happens to run into some not-Decepticons whilst out on the road? Well, that's where the second switch on the remote control comes into its own...

I wonder what 'ROBO' does...?

With a whirring motor noise appropriate for a mighty transforming robot in no way affiliated with Hasbro or Takara, Auto-Change's roof lifts, revealing Robotic feet and legs. The doors fall open into arms that look ready for a fight. And the bonnet drops to reveal the gleaming chrome head of Auto-Change, robot warrior!

That's what!

What's more, the remote still works! Even in robotic mode, Auto-Change can manoeuvre bravely forwards and back to deliver crushing hit and run blows against the enemy. Take that, Skorponot!

It was a ferocious battle...

OK, that's not Skorponot, that's the G-cat. All the same though, it just goes to show quite how mighty Auto-Change is...

...with only one winner!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my take on robots for the week. I'm not sure I actually contributed anything worthwhile to the discussion, but it was fun. Let's see what some fellow Leaguers thought on the subject!

The Nerd Nook has an android countdown!
Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks has a lot of robots. And a book!
Branded in the 80's re-discovers a slice of Hollywood royalty...
The 30ish year old boy says his droids are allowed here!
And Stunt Zombie says "Johnny 5 is alive!"

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

SL05: Saga Legends (2013) Super Battle Droid Review

"Super Battle Droids are capable of inflicting a punishing assault on their targets."
The 2013 Saga Legends figures have started to hit, which is either a case of 'about time', or 'oh God no', depending on your articulation/price point preference ratio... I plan to cherry pick from the first wave (I'm more excited about the Mission Series line-up), but today I saw the first single-carded figure that I was always aiming to get: the Super Battle Droid. 

Battle Droids (Super and not-so Super) in action.
In the interests of full-disclosure, I should point out that I've never been against this line. When it was announced at New York Toy Fair in February, I thought that the sculpts looked fantastic and the move back to a lower price point was long overdue. Many online were more reticent, to say the least, but the proof was always going to be in the final product.

Card Front
This is the first Super Battle Droid figure I've owned as I wasn't collecting much other than the odd Luke or Anakin during the AOTC/ROTS years, but now I've got a fairly sizable clone squad this seemed like the ideal opportunity to pick one up. Significantly more substantial than the Episode I Battle Droids, the Super Battle Droids, along with the Droidekas, present a far greater challenge to any Republic forces on the toy shelf...

Card Back
First up, the packaging. Now I wasn't sure about this at first, but in person it really works. Smaller than the cards we've been used to, the Vader picture on the front works surprisingly well and the cracked effect of the plastic bubble helps it to look more dynamic. This is exciting packaging, and an inspired choice for the kids/budget line. The card back is still ruined by more warning signs than I have fingers, but at least they managed to get some character info and pictures of other available characters on there. For any fellow EU collectors who picked up the late Vintage Collection, this makes a welcome change.

Face Front!
My immediate first impressions were of how sturdy the Super Battle Droid felt when I removed it from the bubble. The limbs feel solid and the joints are tight, and the figure has some weight to it. As you probably know, the most controversial aspect of the new Saga Legends line is the reduced articulation, with most figure clocking in at five (swivel head, arms and legs). The Super Battle Droid goes one less however, with the head being sunk into the body as it is. For this character that's not so much an issue as it only really stands to attention or extends its gun arm at 90 degrees anyway, so I'll have no problem using this with my clones and other droids.

Take Aim...
The payoff from the limited articulation (other than the lower RRP) is the more accurate sculpt. Unencumbered by multiple joints and hinges, the Super Battle Droid has an accurate silhouette and decent proportions, which means that for display this is one of the best versions of this character you can get. There's a lot of detail in the sculpt, from the pistons on the arms to the grooves on the soles of the feet, and the plastic has a shiny quality to it that gives the Super Battle Droid a metal-like sheen representative of the films. There isn't really a paint job to speak of, which given some of the boss eyes being reported on Mace Windu and Yoda may not be such a bad thing; all we get here is a simple red dot to indicate the power light. A wash might help bring out the sculpt a bit more, but it doesn't require any vital work to look like the character.

'10 to 2' position on the (imaginary) wheel
There's a lot of baggage around the new Saga Legends on message boards and nerd sites the world over, so I think the fairest way to look at this figure is without the context. It's got a great sculpt, stands well (didn't fall over once whilst shooting), and accurately represents the character. Elbow joints would be nice, even just on the left arm, and the almost total lack of paint shows how much the figures are being stripped back for this line. But then at least that's reflected in the price; probably the biggest plus point of all.

"Freeze, Jedi!"
Ultimately, the economy isn't what it was, and if this is the direction Hasbro has to take to keep action figures affordable, then so be it. For the Super Battle Droid the pros outweigh the cons, but I don't think the entire line will fare so well.

*****

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Review: Clone Wars Republic Commando Boss

"Alone against all these droids...heh, they don't stand a chance."
RC-1138, better known as Republic Commando Boss, is a character that I'm mostly unfamiliar with. However I know a cool looking Clone when I see one, and when I spotted the 2012 Clone Wars line in my local B&M for just £3.99 I snapped him up. What do I make of him? Find out below!

Clone Wars Commando Boss
Despite Captain Rex appearing on the banner for this blog, I've not really invested much in the Clone Wars line to date. I never liked the skinny legs or the stylised takes on the characters, but then I wasn't hugely into the show either. Around Series Three that started to change, but I felt that in terms of the toy line there was too much water under the bridge to start collecting. I saw Republic Commando Boss in Sainsburys last year and was immediately taken with the design, and went away to research the figure - but by the time I returned to buy him, he was gone.

Carded Front, Rear & Loose
The packaging follows the Darth Maul Movie Heroes template, which is alright. It's slightly evocative of the POTF2/Episode 1 packaging, and does a good job of displaying the figure. It's easy to flick through these on pegs/in boxes and see which character you're getting from the side, which is always handy.

According to the back of the box, "Republic Commando Boss is the sergeant in Delta Squad, an elite clone trooper unit". Now, for someone who hasn't seen the episode he's in, or played the Republic Commando game, that's a little bit vague, but I get the gist - this clone is the best of the best. Why Anakin and Obi-Wan hang out with Rex and Cody when this guy's going spare I have no idea. Maybe I had better brush up on my Clone Wars a little bit...

Loose with Pack-ins
Out of the box, you can see that Boss comes with a lot of kit. It's a refreshing change to get a figure so loaded with extras compared to some recent finds, and much like the Rebel Commando it adds massively to the value of the figure. In box you get the Boss figure, two pistols, a larger gun, an opening backpack and a grappling hook with real string line. On top of that there's the Maul-card standard game die, character card and stand. This is a toy that was made for playing with, and that in itself gives it plus points.

Republic Commando Boss comes with eight points of articulation: ball jointed head, shoulders and elbows, and swivel waist and hips. The legs are in a stance somewhere between standing and battle-ready, which makes for a good standard pose and works well with the backpack but also leads to the figure's biggest flaw - it has quite a bit of difficulty standing. When you hit the sweet spot with the balance he stands and looks very cool, but it takes quite a bit of fiddling to get there and could easily lead to toy shelf dominoes unless you use a stand.

Front, Open, Back
The backpack was one of the selling points of this figure for me, because it looks good and serves a practical purpose. As you can see from the above shots the grapple claw clips neatly inside, and there's also space for the pistols. The larger gun doesn't fit but I think Boss looks best holding that anyway, so for me it works. There's a lot to like about the design and sculpt of the backpack, and it really does conjure up memories of the Kenner Hoth backpacks from the ESB line. 

Backpack Off & On
It attaches by both a peg, and a clip on the back of the belt. This extra security keeps it in one place and makes the belt sit forward of the figure's torso slightly, which is a good effect. I know some people might not like the hole in Boss' back, but to be honest you'd be a fool to display him with the backpack off anyway...

Best of the Best
The paint apps on my version are pretty clean, apart from a few flecks of orange on the visor. The visor itself looks very cool, the shade of blue reflecting light and really setting the orange and white armour off. As a design Boss is very striking, and this figure really does that justice. The sculpt is fairly detailed with contours and lines cut into the armour, and the legs are just about thick enough for my tastes - if they'd been the skinnier pins of earlier CW figures, I probably wouldn't have bought him.

In conclusion, Republic Commando Boss is a figure that's flawed, but still fun. I think the good outweighs the bad with him, and he's a welcome addition to the collection, but there are still issues. If you like clones, the Clone Wars series, displaying your figures on stands or buying them at discount prices, then absolutely go for it. On the other hand, I think if I'd paid full price for him I would've been disappointed.

*****

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

LoEB: Hake’s Shopping Spree (Redux)

Now, this is a League challenge to get the blogging muscles moving. After a few weeks off I'd planned to take up this week's assignment anyway, but what a great one to return to!

Starts at 99p!
Go on a fictional shopping spree at Hake’s current auction #209 to make your collection a little more amazing.

Oh, and I should mention...

One blog entry will be selected to receive $100 credit to spend at Hake’s!

Welcome back, Extraordinary Bloggers!

I'm going to set a limit of five items, just to make it challenging. Otherwise, y'know - I'd end up getting it all... I'd originally thought about setting a price limit as well, but that was too much. This is supposed to be fun!

OK, first up, the question says 'amazing' - to me that says 'Spider-Man'!


Lot 1
There's not actually a Spidey ring in there, but it's close enough, right?! Besides, it's really not like I'd actually open this if I were fortunate enough to win it. I know, I've proclaimed many times before that toys are meant to be played with, but damn man - this is genuine vintage! TVC need not apply...

Next up, it's a real blast from the past:


Lot 2
Ring Raiders was a brief fad from my childhood that I've never seen mentioned anywhere else, to the point I was questioning its existence. My friend Luke had the pilot (hah!) episode on video, and we collected these toys manically. As I recall there were good guys, who had a large sea-based air carrier, and they flew planes against bad guys. The (toy) planes sat on translucent struts that attached to rings, meaning they could be 'flown' on your hand in a kind of Top Gun/Micro Machines mash up. This provided hours of fun, at least until the next big thing came along; although I'm lacking the time frame to estimate what that would have been...

For more vintage goodness, what if adventure had a name?


Lot 3
That's right, it does! People go nuts over vintage Star Wars cards, but to me this is a far nicer product, and I've never even seen one first hand. I think the vintage Indy figures look great, so charming and fun looking. As a kid I used my POTF2 Han in Carbonite as a substitute, but it was never the same, and the recent Hasbro line? Well, there were highs and lows, let's put it that way.

Fancy seeing the back of the card? OK!

Lot 3
Nice.

I've documented my love of comics in an older League post, but my heart lies with newspaper strips. Specifically with Calvin and Hobbes, but it was Garfield that taught me to read and my affinity with the medium lives on. Subsequently, this is a must buy:

Original 1971 Peanuts Artwork
Lot 4
Schulz was a true great of cartooning, maybe even the greatest - his work redefined the comic strip landscape, and his humour was, believe it or not, considered quite cutting in the 50s. Without Peanuts we wouldn't have Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Mother Goose and Grimm or countless other great strips, or at least have them as we know them. What better way to celebrate such a great talent than to own some original work? Sad as it is to say, it's one thing there won't be any more of.

Last but not least, it's a peculiar item that highlights the kind of behind-the-scenes work I love seeing.

Batman: The Animated Series Promotional Style Guide

Lot 5
The unique animation of Batman: TAS won it a lot of fans, myself included, and was successful enough to warrant a comic book spin-off (kinda like a boomerang) and a Superman series in the same vein. Working on an animated show is my ultimate career aim, and although I'm more on the writing side of production I really enjoy seeing the work that goes into the development of a series like this. That it's Batman is a bonus, but even just seeing a little bit of how it's done makes me feel a step closer to doing it myself.

And how about a glimpse of madness?

Lot 5
The Sinister Six come close, but ultimately this is the best rogues gallery in pop-culture, bar none!


Those are my selections from the auction, but there's so much stuff in there I could easily have missed something. I surprised myself by not picking anything Star Wars related, but when there's items from across the spectrum of pop culture to chose from, why stick with what you know?

Here's what other Leaguers would like to take home...

Random Nerdness has some nice items, including a sketchbook by comic legend John Romita Sr. Do we call him Sr? Or is he just John Romita and JRJR is just Jr? Can we get a confirmation on that?

AEIOU and Sometimes Why hit up another five items and provided a public service to boot...

Shezcrafti makes a mean collage (and we'd get in a bidding war over the Dr. Jones figure).

Branded in the 80s wins my intangible favourite post of the week award, with heart, discipline and Chicken Walkers.

Finally, G.I. Jigsaw is new to the League and signs on with some vintage figure goodness and Wyatt Earp. Good stuff!

That's it from me for this assignment. As ever, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Vintage Wednesdays: G1 Transformers Panini Sticker Album

If it's old school, it must be Wednesday, right? I'm marking the return of Vintage Wednesday with this cracker of a find from A Most Marvellous Place to Shop, Northampton's premiere retro and vintage rummage market. I present... The 1986 Transformers Panini Sticker Album, 3/4s complete!

Ah, sweet memories...
Now, some of you may be wondering what the appeal of a part-used sticker album that I'm unlikely to complete is, but for 50p I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity for some shameless reminiscing. My older brother had this album and he used to give me the spares - I remember one sticker being on the wall next to my lower bunk bed for quite some time. And besides, my collection of vintage TF paraphernalia is the largest claim to a genuine (pre-1990) vintage collection I have, so I guess you could consider this a focus piece...

S.O.S. Dinobots
Following a slightly confusing introduction to the Transformers on the inside front cover, the majority of the book is split into chapters that re-tell several G1 episodes, with the stickers providing the pictures. 'The Beginning' covers 'Arrival from Cybertron', 'S.O.S. Dinobots' and 'War of the Dinobots' introduces Grimlock and crew, 'Fire in the Sky' covers Jetfire's brief return, and then the album bows out with 'The Heavy-Metal War' and 'Fire on the Mountain'. Sounds kind of like a prog-rock album when I put it like that.

Cover Fire!
Two-colour illustrations sit between the sticker boxes, showing various scenes from the episodes. Nowadays this kind of crude picture, with its questionable accuracy, would be derided by kids and collectors but for the 80's this was as good as it got.

Shiny!
In addition are the profile pages that use shiny one-stickers for a TF's robot and alt mode, and then a larger six-sticker collage of them in action. The profile is similar to but not the same text as the on-box Tech Specs, and is enough to give kids an idea of what that character is like. For example, Inferno here 'does not follow orders very well' - goldmine info for setting up an Autobot vs Deception game.

Triple Cool Spread.
Finding this sticker album has been a genuine blast from the past, and is one of my favourite second-hand purchases I've made. It wasn't all I picked up though, so look out for more Vintage Wednesday action soon...

Pow! Right in the - uh... Yeah.
Any info on how to complete the gaps in the collection would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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