Showing posts with label G1. Show all posts
Showing posts with label G1. Show all posts

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, 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!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Episode Guide: More Than Meets the Eye

G1 Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, More Than Meets The Eye
Here We Go!
Perhaps it’s a sure sign that I have too much time on my hands, but this is it – the start of my watch and review of the original Transformers animated TV show. Whilst I’m not going to go through every series in strict chronological order, there’s probably still no better place to start than with the original arrival from Cybertron…

Before the comic book, More Than Meets the Eye was the three-part cartoon pilot that introduced the first generation of Transformers to Earth, and it sure opens with a bang: that theme song, combined with a colourful, fast-paced montage of action shots that lets the viewer know that they’re in for a sugar rush of fun. It’s eye-opening and exciting, and even if it is a bit crude by today’s standards it’s still highly effective at setting up the sides of the conflict and the concept. It definitely reels you in.

Cybertronian Thundercracker and Skywarp hunt Bumblebee and Wheeljack
Enter the Tetrajets
We come straight into the action on Cybertron, with the Autobots desperately hunting for more energon resources as the Decepticons tighten the net around them. These intro scenes do a good job of setting out the basic premise whilst the Cybertronian alt-modes are visually fantastic, with Bumblebee and the Seekers in particular looking like the sleek, futuristic alien vehicle robots they’re meant to be. Size and mass issues are apparent almost immediately as an injured Bumblebee hitches a ride inside Wheeljack, before transforming into a vehicle of almost equal size. As this actually happens so much during the entire series (this isn’t even the worst instance in this episode) I’m not going to draw any more attention to it unless it’s really glaring; but still – improved physics were a welcome addition to later versions of the franchise!

G1 Autobot Ark base background
Home Sweet Home
With the type of compressed storytelling that’d give Brian Michael Bendis an aneurysm we’re on Earth in little over eight minutes of runtime, before succinctly skipping ahead four million years. The Decepticons are repaired first, and there’s nice dramatic irony in the way that Starscream’s petty anger causes the Autobots’ own reactivation. Of all the Decepticons Starscream has the most apparent character in this episode, as his scheming and cowardice is painted in pretty broad strokes. On the Autobot side Hound and Cliffjumper get the most character time as Cliffjumper’s impetuousness causes their spying mission to go awry. I was surprised by how much I liked Hound, an Autobot I’d never cared for before, but his easy going character and love for nature is clearly stated and immediately makes him one of the more likable robots we meet. On that note, it seems apparent that the writers attempted to stagger the character introductions throughout the episode, but by the time Jazz is lining up the Autobot strike force it really becomes no more than a bunch of names and different coloured cars. Never mind though, that’s what the tech specs were for, right? Just don’t tell the FCC…

Autobots More Than Meets The Eye Part One
Heroic Autobots
There are nice references throughout to how the Transformers are robotic beings, which I don’t remember occurring as clearly in later episodes. Bumblebee sustains damage to his rear axle, for example, whilst Hound has a problem with his drivetrain after being attacked by Laserbeak. This is just reaffirming the concept, and the fun of the idea for young minds – these warriors could literally be our cars, with us none the wiser. Robots in Disguise indeed.

Decepticons More Than Meets The Eye Part One
...And Evil Decepticons
The sound design is well worth commenting on. The music tracks are pure 80’s cartoon gold, and the sound effects have become so iconic that they’re instantly recognisable – the transforming noise and Megatron’s cannon are just a few of the audio treats that became staples for the series. The seeds of the great voice work to come are there, but the characters here are the least developed they’ve been in any iteration of the franchise ever. It’s going to be interesting watching how these sketches became the now-familiar heroes and villains of Cybertron as the series develops.

G1 Transformers Optimus Prime More Than Meets The Eye Part One
To Be Continued!
At the episode’s climax the Decepticons raid an oil rig, and the story starts to deliver on the promise of the premise as the two factions battle fiercely. The Autobots and a couple of human workers are trapped underneath the burning wreckage of the rig as the Decepticons flee, before BAM! Along come the end credits and we’re left waiting for Part Two.

More Than Meets the Eye Parts Two and Three are less successful when viewed in one hit, and from the Burma plot line onwards events feel superfluous, and more like extended standalone episodes than necessary additions to the introductory story arc. In fact the first three episodes cover such a wild amount of ground by today's standards that the structure seems all over the place, and certainly doesn't come together as cohesively as multipart stories in later series.

Transformers G1 Autobots Decepticons More Than Meets The Eye
Now this is how you conclude a story arc... Oh wait - it's not?
But ultimately the 1980’s was a different time for kids’ TV programming, and whilst the fast plotting and inconsistent (inconsistently brilliant) animation might not stand up by today’s standards, the opening episodes really do a great job of highlighting the fantastic concept behind the Transformers, and the play possibilities inherent in the toys. That core concept still works, and that’s probably the reason why the Transformers are still around now, a whole three decades later.

Thanks to the excellent TFW2005 for the screengrabs; it's a truly great Transformers resource.

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!

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.

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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