Showing posts with label Hasbro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hasbro. 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!

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!

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!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Doing The Rounds

Comic Shop Leicester
Enter, ye pilgrim, and browse silently...
This week the Emcat and I took a trip out of town, and as always when we end up anywhere other than here I was spoiled by the selection of geek wares available to purchase. This amount of capitalist envy may necessitate yet another move in the near future…

To begin with we stopped in at one of my favourite stores, Leicester’s Forbidden Planet International. I’m a big fan of both FP chains, and I always try and drop into them when I can (FP Coventry served as my LCS from Civil War through to NYX, and it was somewhere I always enjoyed going). The Leicester store is no different and over the last three months they’ve sold me plenty of Transformers, TMNT and Spider-Man comics and TPBs. This was the first time I’d been out this way since May, and there were a few standout items that really caught my eye this time around:

Last Stand of the Wreckers, Gypsy Danger, Play Arts Kai Robin
Yes please!
Here we have IDW's Last Stand of the Wreckers, Play Arts Kai's Arkham City Robin, and NECA's Gypsy Danger from Pacific Rim (something I had little interest in until actually seeing it on the shelf). Unfortunately at the minute these are all consigned to the ‘one day’ list – but given that I started my new job today, that’ll hopefully be one day soon!

A brief sojourn into the Disney Store scored me a look at the rest of the first wave of Star Wars 12” talking figures, and whilst I’m not sure about Luke, Han Solo and the Stormtroopers look as good as the Darth Vader. Given the size, great sculpting, poseability and action features on these guys, it’s actually criminal that Hasbro is selling the 6” Black Series at the same price point. Something is going to give there, and soon.

Leicester City Centre Shopping
The standard attractions...
We saw a few other cool sights as well, including a market place which was trying its hardest to entice me back to vintage video games, which reminded me that I’m interested in Titanfall and led directly to a look around Game. Verdict: I have no time for video games. This makes me feel sad on one level, but productive and ever-so-slightly ‘adult’ on another…

Of course, all these boasts of adulthood were undone with a follow up trip to Northampton’s Toys ‘R’ Us, the finest purveyor of Transformers toys that I’m aware on in the Northants area. This is in large part because other than the supermarkets there’s nowhere else to actually buy the things, of course…

Transformers 4 Age of Extinction at Toys R Us Northampton
The state of brick and mortar today...
I’ve not really been too smitten with the AOE line, but I think that Scorn looks quite nice. This trip also gave me my first glimpse of Evasion Mode Optimus Prime ‘in the plastic’, so to speak, and I have to say that it looks even better in real life than it does online. I’m still not convinced that it’s the Prime for me though, although I’ll reserve my full judgement until I see the Evolutions two-pack version up close. It’s a definite case of facemask FTW.

Transformers 4 AOE Age of Extinction Optimus Prime Evolutions 2 Pack Evasion Mode Faceplate
Double Optimus!

So there you go; in the world of ‘If I Had Money’, these are the kind of products I’d be coming home with after a Saturday afternoon out. The thing is that even with all this brick and mortar love, I know that online shops provide a much wider selection at highly competitive prices – sites like the excellent Kapow! and Star Action Figures bear me out here – but I maintain that there’s nothing like seeing an item in hand and weighing it up before committing to buy it, and that’s where TRU, with its FOC Generations Deluxes and Voyagers gathering dust, holds the slightest of advantages.

This is an area where I struggle with buying 3rd Party products (as opposed to any moral/copyright concerns). I’ll caveat that by saying that I own Fansproject’s Quadruple U and I’m really impressed with the build quality; but that was a purchase I had weighed up for a long time before going for it. Maybe it’s the case that it is worth waiting on those pre-orders until the figure is in (someone’s) hand, with the trade-off being that you just pay a slightly higher price later down the road for a figure that you know is worth the cost?

So anyway, there’s that idea… And then FP comes along and teases Classics style not-Dinobots.

FP Columpio Derpan Dinobots Sludge Snarl Swoop Slag Slug Grimlock G1 3P
Targetmaster Dinobots!

Well, there goes that resolve.

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!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Vintage Wednesdays: POTF2 Biggs Darklighter Review

Star Wars Rebellion against the Empire

Yesterday (April 29th) marked the anniversary of the 1997 release of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, the single greatest Star Wars video game experience available. Some other Star Wars news overshadowed this monumental date for some reason or another, but to ensure XvT gets the love it deserves this week I’m celebrating with a Vintage Wednesday look at Luke Skywalker’s best buddy, Biggs Darklighter!

POTF2 card front freeze frame

First of all then, the packaging. Biggs comes on the iconic green blade POTF2 card with the distinctive Vader cut edge, and also comes packed with my favourite of the 90’s era promotions – the freeze frame. I loved these things for a few reasons back in the day; firstly, they were a neat memento to the character’s appearance in the films in a way that harks directly back to the medium of film itself, and secondly they marked the start of a significant upturn in quality for the POTF2 line. This is a US cardback and so doesn't have the trilingual descriptions that I normally saw on my figures - a nice added bonus of being able to pick these guys up for peanuts on eBay nowadays...

Star Wars Power of the Force 2
 
Released in Wave 14, Biggs benefits massively from a slimmed down sculpt and realistic proportions in comparison to previous human characters, a change for the better that the line started to take in 1998. Whilst still dynamically posed, the figure has a good centre of gravity and stands easily.

Star Wars Biggs Darklighter Hasbro

In addition to the more realistic sculpt Biggs also has much better detailing than the earlier releases, such as the pipes that run along his flight suit and a strong facial likeness. The paints are a nice combination of colours, with the dull, screen accurate orange much better than the day glow Black Series version that’s currently available, and the recreation of Biggs’ helmet design is superbly done. There is some unfortunate sloppiness with the paint apps on my figure, such as some spill from the black glove onto his arm, and a little grey splodge on the back of the white tabard which does count against him. Other sections such as the helmet and the chest panel are as sharp and clean as possible, however.

Power of the Force 2 Biggs

He comes with two weapons, the standard Correllian Blaster that came with nearly every Rebel POTF2 figure, and a larger blaster cannon. Both are fun (and he looks mean carrying one in each hand), but the larger gun works best in his left hand, due to the sculpt of his right elbow. The helmet isn’t removable, but given how the Wedge Antilles from the Rebel Pilots Cinema Scene set turned out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

POTF2 Biggs and X-Wing

Anyway, there’s one area in particular where the POTF2 Biggs Darklighter excels, and that is in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter. The first actual X-Wing pilot figure released in the modern era (Luke and Wedge were both previously released in their Snowspeeder gear), Biggs needs a slight push on his arms but once he’s in the cockpit it’s like he was made for it. I’ve had a POTF2 X-Wing for a while now without a pilot, and Biggs here does the job perfectly. I just need to make sure I keep him away from any Death Stars…

Biggs Darklighter Admiral Ackbar X-Wing

The 1998 Biggs Darklighter is a fantastic figure, and was a sign of the great things to come with the Hasbro Star Wars line. If you have an old style X-Wing kicking about in desperate need of a pilot, you could do far worse.

Thanks for reading!

You may like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...