Showing posts with label Autobots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Autobots. Show all posts

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!

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!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Spotlight: Old Friends

Last summer I spent quite a bit of time in Sheffield, and was fortunate enough to get to visit Weston Park Museum with my baby nephew. The museum covered a lot of 20th Century culture, and whilst there I ran into some real old timers keeping guard in a display case...

Inferno Optimus Prime G1 Generation One G1 Transformers Takara Hasbro Sheffield Weston Park Museum
Robots Half Disguised

This is Inferno pretty much as I remebered him; fistless and awesome. He was actually the best G1 Transformer I owned and accompanied me on many otherwise boring trips away - which is no surprise considering how all-around excellent he is. Optimus Prime (half-transformed on the right there) may be more iconic, but Inferno is the better toy. And after all, didn't ol' Convoy just end up copying the fire truck alt-mode?

He-Man Skeletor Vintage MOTU Masters of the Universe Sheffield Weston Park Museum Mattel Mos Espa Collection The MEC
Who Will Win?! WHO?!!
There's a teasing glimpse of a certain Horde leader on the left of the top picture, but the main event is right here: peerless good versus evil incarnate for the title of Master of the Universe... It has to be He-Man and Skeletor. 

After Thomas the Tank Engine these are the very first characters I had any conscious engagement with, and both He-Man and She-Ra became huge parts of my childhood experience. Oddly for someone as backwards looking as myself I've not really gotten into any of the modern Eternian revivals, but that's not to say that I haven't enjoyed looking at some of the fantastic 2002 and MOTUC figures in recent years.

It was a real treat to see these fine vintage on display, and if you're in the area I recommend checking the museum out. There's a lot more great stuff to it than just toys as well, but hey - a blog's gotta eat, right?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Spotlight: Head Off!

Transformers Voyager Springer Hasbro Autobot Fansproject Weirdwolf Quadruple U Monzo Decepticon Headmaster
Not-Monzo makes a break...
Let's face it, it doesn't matter how gnarly your colour scheme, how awesome your alt-mode, how 'second-in-command' you are of the Decepticon Headmasters... When Voyager Springer comes swinging at you with his massive sword, you're not going to stand much of a chance. Monzo knows this. That's why he's getting out of there...

Catch you later, Quadruple U. Best of luck!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Spotlight: Generations Orion Pax

Orion Pax Optimus Prime IDW Transformers Autobots
"What happened to my lucky face plate?"
I've been getting to grips with the local landscape since moving earlier this year and I recently found a most excellent location for Transformers shots, as demonstrated by Orion Pax here. Next time I go, I'm taking a few more robots with me...

Amid all my G1 Classics/Generations loving the other month, I neglected this guy due to his IDW origins and anachronistic standing. Yeah, he is a little out of place in my collection, but he's definitely still there on merit.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Spotlight: TFA Grimlock

Transformers Animated Voyager Grimlock Dinobots Autobots
Me Grimlock go alone!
Transformers Animated Voyager Class Grimlock: one of the finest Grimlock toys made this side of G1, in my humble opinion, and a fitting leader for the three TFA Dinobots

I have some trouble getting the spring loaded flame sword to work properly but that's a minor concern next to how awesome this figure is - bulk in all the right places, decent articulation and a pretty fun chomping feature. I'm generally not a fan of the Animated aesthetic but this is a solid update to the Dinobot King, and well worth tracking down if you haven't already got one.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Welcome to The MEC!


So, have you noticed the rebranding?

When I first started the Mos Espa Collection, it was a simple hobby page for posting photos of my Star Wars figures as I got back into the collecting game. Whilst my interests have splintered over the years it was always my love of Star Wars that formed both the spine of this site and my collecting habits; at least up until the last year, anyway. Since then I've found myself moving away from Star Wars as a toy line. It was a good run, but - you gotta follow the river.
 
And so with the blog as with my collecting habits, I've determined to regroup, refocus, and pursue the robotic drift of my interests – and start reflecting a toy shelf that has been taking on an increasingly Cybertronian slant. I did consider starting a new site, but I'm proud of the history of this blog and I don't want to take a singular approach to collecting when my interests flex as much as they do. Let's just consider this the first major evolution for the site, and go from there...

I’m no expert on Transformers, but that’s kind of the point - and I'm looking forward to discovering a lot more about the Robots in Disguise as I chart a course through the toys, cartoons, comics and games from the last 30 years, in the many varied iterations. It's fair to say that I've missed out on a lot.

Don't let the URL confuse you. Welcome to The MEC!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Habit


CHUG Autobots Jazz Bumblebee Transformers

I’ve been fighting the urge again today.

Time and again I’ll get that uncontrollable desire to put down some money for some fine plastic crack, whatever line I’m into at the time, and much like Decepticons dogging an Autobot shuttle (which sounds kinda weird when typed out like that), the need doesn’t abate until I’m ripping plastic from cardback and welcoming a new soldier to the collection. That’s how so many of the figures I own have come into my possession, and quite tidily explains how I always veer so wildly off of any kind of focus.

It’s all good fun, don’t get me wrong – new toys can be exciting photography subjects, or companions on adventures around the house, but after a while the thrill wears off and in most cases the figures end up in a box waiting for the day they no longer fit the trim of my collection, gathering dust whilst destined for eBay. What’s more, impulse purchases never feel as good as ticking something off of ‘the list’ – finding Battle in Space Rodimus second-hand for £6 has been one of my best finds since starting collecting because a) he’s one of my favourite characters, and b) it scratched that G1 Movie itch. Beast Hunters Deluxe Smokescreen, currently on sale for £6.50 at the supermarket down the road doesn’t have the same pros going for it, however much I liked the character in the show. But still, despite these rationalisations, the temptation is there to nip out and buy it anyway. It could be in my hands in ten minutes.

CHUG Decepticons Galvatron Nightstick Cyclonus Transformers

Further propagating the insatiable urge has been the recent launch of the AOE toys, which I scouted out just this morning at another supermarket slightly further down the road. My willpower took an easy victory there though as those toys (the one-step changers and battlers) look terrible, completely and utterly devoid of the skill and invention that continues to make Transformers an evergreen line. Hasbro’s continued cheapening out will come home to roost (if it’s not already), but that’s a subject for another post…

So then, a thought suggests, maybe I should just go and buy the substantially better (and cheaper) Beast Hunters figures whilst I still can?

No. That way lies madness, and an inevitable financial loss when the toy ends up at a car boot sale one year hence. Furthermore it could also mean the difference between making all my bills this month or not, which means buying the figure would be both a serious lapse of responsibility and indicate a failure to contextualise my dilemma. They’re just toys man, just toys. 

Still got that urge though. What to do?

CHUG Autobots Rodimus Hot Rod Jazz Bumblebee Transformers

Here’s a novel suggestion, amidst the wave of purchase enabling which goes on online - how about appreciating the plastic I’ve already got?

My CHUG collection (Classics/Henkei/Universe/Generations, the standard Transformers lines of recent years) is small but pretty, and contains several of my favourite characters – the aforementioned Rodimus (Hot Rod in all but copyright-concerned name), Jazz, Galvatron, Cyclonus and Bumblebee. All G1, all Movie, all fun… Well, with the unfortunate exception of the small, fiddly and frustrating Galvatron, but I’m not here to focus on the negatives. The glorious weather we’ve had so far this week was a big motivating factor in taking them all out to photograph, and in doing so I remembered why I collect these figures in the first place.

So much of collecting is about the next big thing, the upcoming releases, the new third-party or Masterpiece pre-orders, with the result being that the current releases tend to get forgotten, celebrated wildly upon receipt but then left to stand on a shelf; at least, that’s something I’ve been guilty of anyway. What I think I’d be better off remembering is that I’ve got a great little collection of toy robots already, and in future I should perhaps try to associate my urge with appreciating what I have, rather than with spending what I don’t.

All that said though… One Kapow! sale, and I’m anybody’s…

Staying on target then, does anyone reading have any particular method for avoiding the temptation of sales and keeping focused with their collecting? Or is it just an intrinsic part of the collector mentality to move from one purchase to the next? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Photoshop Prime

TFP Bumblebee
Over at TFW2005.com I found a Photoshop tutorial by Cheebs (presumably not his real name) - you can see it for yourself here. Given I had a bit of time to kill today I thought I'd give it a go, and the pic above is the result.

It didn't take ages, I maybe spent an hour and a half in total on the edit, but this level of touching up makes a huge difference to the quality of the finished shot, to the extent that I've been happy to put my name on this one (definitely not my real name). It's also good to think that I'm starting to get decent use from my light box; it's about time I learned how to use it properly...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Shelf Review: Classics Deluxe Rodimus

"My actions speak louder than words."

Shelf Review! Not as in-depth as my regular musings, but a look at the equally-deserving items on my toy shelf all the same. For today's trip we're continuing the recent focus on toy lines beginning with the letter 'T', as we look at the G1 Autobot heir-apparent, Hot Rod! Oh, wait - he's called Rodimus now...




All-American Bot.
"Hot Rod is an all-American-boy Autobot. He's a typical adolescent who dreams of being heroic and important. He tends to not follow rules too closely. Although he means well, Hot Rod's impulsive actions often get him into trouble. He carries two photon lasers that temporarily electromagnetize an enemy robot's microcircuts. Speed: 120mph. Range: 4 miles. He can be hotheaded, but he's always a well meaning, admirable lad and a brave and honorable fighter."

From the tech specs found at www.tfu.info.

Now, I was born in 1983, and so my memories of seeing the Transformers on TV over here in the UK are slim to none - for me, it was all about VHS. I watched a whole host of pre-Movie G1 videos and loved the heck out of them, but when I saw the Movie for the first time at my friend's house, it was like a tiny star had exploded in my brain. The animation, the music, the consequential plot... And you know, by the end of it, I didn't care that Optimus Prime was dead, because there was a new leader in town, the evolution of this guy - Rodimus Prime. It wasn't until years later that I discovered that this continuation of Autobot leadership had caused any controversy; to me and my friends it was just part of the coolest film ever.

Collector Haul!
I'd been a fan of the Classics Deluxe Rodimus figure for a while, but had always found the price on Ebay to be prohibitive. However when I came across a loose specimen in the wild, at the only sci-fi/collectible fair we get around here, I leaped at the chance to own him. He may have come unarmed (or had he?), but was most definitely still a bargain for £6.

Reprolabel Required.
So, what's so good? Well firstly, from the unique sculpt to the colour scheme to the light-piped blue eyes, this is Hot Rod, and looking better than he has in any form since 1986. The proportions are solid, the articulation is fantastic, particularly compared to the original version, and he can strike some mean looking poses. The fire burst decal design looks true to the character and actually doesn't look cheesy at all - there was a later repaint of this figure that had a more cartoon accurate design and colour way, but this version bosses it. Furthermore, he feels sturdy. As a commander of my toy shelf Autobots (in lieu of actually owning a Prime), this guy does a great job.

It's, uh, a design choice...
Despite Rodimus' ability to pull a mean pose, kibble is still a bit of an issue. As he was actually designed simultaneously as a toy and a character he does do a better job of integrating his alt-mode into his robot form, but it's obvious that the red car bodywork on his thighs really had nowhere else to go. Rodimus does look messy from the back, but I doubt anyone would display him that way anyway. The only other design issue I've found with him is the elbows - being jointed where they are, it looks like his arm is snapping every time he bends there. It's not, and there's no stress on the plastic from doing it - it just definitely hurts the appearance of the figure.

Earth Car of 2005!
You wanna know what's neat though? Rodimus' alt-mode. Reportedly based on the prototype Dome Zero sportscar, Rodimus has a tidy transformation into this mean looking beast. Smooth and sleek, and just like you remember him from the cartoon, this is the best looking Autobot car you're going to get. Everything fits together so well it makes it easy to forgive the odd looking elbows on the robot mode; this figure's alt-mode is up there with Cyclonus as a favourite in my collection.

And do you wanna know what else is cool about this guy? The left fist flips back into the arm, and this little circular saw flips out in its place. This was such an awesome design choice and such a nice nod to the fans, who can now faithfully recreate Hot Rod Rodimus saving Kup on Quintessa. Furthermore it means that even without his gun, Rodimus here still isn't completely defenceless.

So, all in all Classics Rodimus is a must have for any G1/Movie themed Autobot collection, and he's definitely a good start for my Movie Autobot focus. If only there were some way to make him complete though, to make him truly a Rodimus Prime...

Photo by the Amazing Ed Speir IV
Oh, hey Fansproject.

OK, so any Transformers fan with an internet connection knows about 3rd Party products, and Fansproject is, by my understanding, the daddy of them all. The Protector Armour upgrade for Rodimus here turns him into a bonafide Rodimus Prime, and as far as I can tell creates a superior figure in every way. Now at present I've only had one dalliance with a 3P product, which I pre-ordered and then, eventually, cancelled after continual delays; this one however is already out on the market. I've got one lined up on Ebay, and as soon as I have the funds it will be mine; and my toy shelf will finally have a Prime - the one that I grew up with.

As for the off-the-shelf Rodimus though, well - solid robot mode and great alt-mode - he gets four stars.

*****
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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