Wednesday, August 26, 2015

And the Winner is...

Last week I posted some photos of several of the items I've had just sitting in my room waiting to be opened and reviewed and asked you, the reader to decide what I open next. Across many different social media platforms the answer that I kept seeing was the non-TF product. While some specifically asked for the Metamorphs Triple Changer "Sandstorm", I'm going to assume the other votes were for this same toy.


I've already begun the photo shoot and will start editing the photos this weekend, but a little accident happened during said photo shoot so I need to get that corrected before I can continue. I hope to have the final post up this weekend or the first of next week.

Thanks to all that voted. If this is the item you were most interested to see, stay tuned!

Friday, August 21, 2015

You pick the next review!

You know those memes you see on Facebook and Twitter, the ones with the grown man crying with words such as "I have a job so I can collect toys", "I have a job so I can't enjoy my toys"? Well that sums up my last few months at work. Ever since I took a promotion I've noticed my free time has dwindled to almost nothing. When I do have a little free time, I either want to crash on the couch and watch TV or play my new Xbox One. Opening toys, photographing toys, blogging about toys...it just doesn't come first anymore.

And I don't like that feeling.

I need to change that. How? Heh, you tell me. However I got to thinking this afternoon when I got out of the office a little early and was surrounding my a sea of new, unopened Transformers in my hobby room at home, how on earth do I decide what to photograph first so I can actually open the toy? Is it my imported Transformers Adventures items? Or the Robots in Disguise stuff? 3rd Party figures? Or the random, non-TF items?

So I'm going to leave it up to the readers. In addition to choosing the next item I review, I'm also asking help getting this post out in front of as many fans/collectors/bloggers as possible. Please post, tweet, +1 this as much as you can on social media. I'd like to see several comments/votes on the next post.

What are your options you may ask? Well here are the candidates that I've chosen. All of these are items that I've acquired over the last 1-4 months and have just been sitting, unopened, waiting for me. Patiently.

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Instant Takara Tomy Transformers Adventures collection!

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Autobot RID Mini-Cons!

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Decepticon RID Mini-Cons!

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Combiner Wars

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More Takara Tomy stuff

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3rd Party

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Random non-TFs

So what's it going to be? What is your vote? I know I have a few things I'd like to tear into and share right off the bat. With my hectic work schedule I can't promise I'll have the winning item posted in a day or two, but I do want to make an effort to get some of these opened and photographed very soon so I can at least start to share some of these awesome figures.

So share away! Let your voice be heard! For once in the history of this blog, it won't be Random Toy Reviews because you are choosing the next toy review!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Transformers Robots In Disguise (2015): Thunderhoof (1 Step)

I've you've been following the new Robots in Disguise toy line by Hasbro then you know the Decepticons are really getting the short end of the stick. The Decepticon releases have been far a few between. Steeljaw is the only one to get a proper Warrior class release while the others have been regulated to Legion class, Titan class or to the 1 Step class.

picture courtesy of BWTF.com

Now I wasn't going to mess with any of the 1 Step figures (outside of maybe Fixit) as I didn't care for the simplified nature of the toy, however the more and more I've watched of the new RID show the more I wanted more Decepticons! Dang it Hasbro, where are the other Warrior class Decepticons?! Well when I saw a lone Thunderhoof hanging on the pegs at my local Walmart back in June I caved and picked him up. There is just something about his design that captivated me from the beginning and I got tired of waiting.

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Right out of the package and you can tell that you're not getting a whole lot with these 1 Step figures. The design is very basic, as are the paint apps. However the toy feels some what solid and rolls fine on it's 4 free rolling wheels.

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In true one step fashion, to transform Thunderhoof to robot mode you simply lift the front end of the vehicle and flip it around to the other end, locking it into place. By doing so you reveal the robot head and the arms and legs spaced out.

In robot mode there isn't any articulation to be had. These are like miniature bricks...however that isn't to say that a young child wouldn't have fun with these. My 4 year old daughter played with Thunderhoof for a few minutes and seemed to enjoy it better than some of the newer Rescue Bots toys she has.

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I like everything about this character. His name, design, his television character...it's just a shame there isn't a better figure of him at retail thus far. I know a Legion class figure is coming as well as one of the larger 3 step changer figures coming this fall. I'm still holding out hope that Hasbro (or Takara Tomy) will give us fans a Warrior class figure before the Robots In Disguise series ends.

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Transformers G1: Deluxe Insecticon Chop Shop

The Deluxe Insecticons were never some of my favorite toys from the Generation One days of the Transformers. However in my childhood the Decepticon Chop Shop would find his way into my hands. As a kid I never quite understood why these were so different from the regular Insecticons. I even wondered why the plastic and build of the toy seemed to differ from my other Transformers. It wouldn't be until the wonders of the internet that I would realize that the Deluxe Insecticon toys weren't made by Takara or Hasbro and started off as something completely different.

picture courtesy of Seibertron.com

Created by Takatoku Toys for their Armored Battalion Beetras series, Chop Shop was called Beet-Gugal and sported a gray color scheme over his G1 brown. To this day I still haven't been able to land a nice MIB Beet-Gugal for my collection, but I did get this fairly nice MIB specimen of his G1 self.

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Maybe it was the box art, or maybe its because Chop Shop was the only Deluxe Insecticon I ever owned growing up, but I've also liked this toy. As I've been trying to piece together a full G1 run of toys, I don't usually look for boxed versions. While I love the old school packaging, the boxed versions usually command more money than I want to pay and the boxes will just end up in the closet anyways (unless it's a Japanese G1 release). I can't remember what I paid for this MIB Chop Shop, but I'm pretty sure it was around $40 to $45.

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Until I re-purchased Chop Shop, I don't recall his function being a Thief. I guess I always thought more of him as a body guard or front line infantry.

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Did you notice the small red and white AM sticker on the front of the box? Look back at the Beetras image and you'll see the same sticker. This was for the company Artmic, or ART-Modern Ideologist for Creation. They were responsible for working on a slew of Japanese animation series. While Beetras never had it's own animated series, its quite clear why the Deluxe Insections were never used in any sort of US media.

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Chop Shop came with a set of instructions, translucent label sheet, Photon Cannon and Vibro Spear.

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While remove the figure from the box for this review, I found the original cash register receipt tucked away neatly inside the box. Purchased from a store called Children's Place back on January 02, 1986 for a mere $11.97. I'm guessing some kid had some Christmas money left over that was burning a hole in their pocket and convinced their mom or dad to take them toy shopping. I love finding stuff like this!

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His tech specs mentioned he could fly up to 30 mph, however with these jets on his back I would think he could muster up a little more than a measly 30 mph. As you can tell my Chop Shop is "naked". I couldn't decided if I should take the unused sticker sheet and "dress" him up or not. Perhaps I'll just leave the vintage labels as is and see if Reprolabels has anything I could use.

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I've always thought Chop Shop had one of the more unique and interesting head sculpts in all of G1. I love that Hasbro used orange for his mouth and antenna and the red eyes really make complete that evil look.
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If you've ever held or owned one of the Deluxe Insecticons then you know these seem to have less articulation than most G1 TFs! Chop Shop can move his arms out to his sides, but that's it. He can't even aim his Photon Cannon at an Autobot and I'm assuming he is stuck trying to poke his adversary with his Vibro Spear!

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It would take 28 years before Chop Shop would receive new, official toy. Packaged with Legends scale Megatron under the Generations banner, this small Chop Shop caught me by surprise. While this tiny figure lacks some of the detail his G1 self has, this new version can also double as a Targetmaster type weapon for Megatron!

Now that my G1 collection only lacks 10 or so figures from completion, I can see his pre-Transformers version starting to fall into my collection sights finally. I find this a fun and interesting mold and one of the better Deluxe Instections.

Monday, July 20, 2015

TFCon - 3rd Party Recap

Unless you've been off line all weekend then you may have heard that a little Transformers convention was held north of the US boarder, TFCon. The largest fan organized convention, TFCon operates outside of Hasbro's direction (unlike Botcon) and has become a huge home to 3rd Party news announcements. This year's news that came out of the show didn't disappoint either. I've been a little quiet on the 3rd Party scene myself, mainly because outside of a few select releases I just haven't had the interest (or the cash). After MMC's Feral Rex, I needed a break from the combiners. I did decide to jump in on Unique Toys' take on the G1 Terrorcon's Abominus, Ordin, but outside of those purchases not much has been added to the collection.

After the news of this year's TFCon however I have several items on my want list. Whether or not any of those turn into actual purchases is still up in the air, but man oh man was some great stuff revealed. Makes me wonder what will be unveiled at TFCon USA to be held in my hometown of Charlotte, NC this coming October?

In no particular order, let's take a look at some of the items that were announced in Canada this past weekend.

FANSPROJECT



With this one image, FansProject is back! If you don't recognize this figure, this is Dinoking, Dinoforce combiner from the Japanese series Victory. Stateside these figures were released with a different color scheme as the Monster Pretender combiner, Monstructor. If you would rather add Monstructor to your collection, don't worry, he's coming too.


The Dinoforce were a group of Pretenders. Their Pretender shells consisted of rubber dinosaur shells. Now whether or not these dino shells are produced remains to be seen. I read somewhere that the decision was still up in the air, but if they are produced they'll likely be expensive and sold separately. 



The expense angle makes since the shells could essentially only be used once where as the figures can be used as Monstructor. For me they have to shells. Period. I owned a boxed complete vintage set of the Dinoforce up until late 2014 so there is a part of me that needs this set, complete w/ dinosaur Pretender shells.




I can't tell you how excited I am over the announcement. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next bit of information released.


It's been awhile since we've seen anything from the Function-X series, outside the recent redeco of Smart Robin as a Sonic Bomber homage. Finally however the next two have officially been announced, "Highbrow" and "Skullcruncher". Both of these were always some of my favorite Headmaster characters and toys, so I really look forward to these. I don't really have much these days left in the collection that the Function-X toys scale with, but I love these toys so much I could care less. Code and Quadruple U need some company and the reinforcements are finally coming.



"Snapdragon" looks equally awesome. I love how Fans Project has found a way to make both the robot and the crocodile a little slimmer. The original G1 toy was pretty hefty. The one thing that I noticed, any many others from the social media comments I read, is what appears to be a windshield like chest in robot mode. Do you remember that G1 cartoon episode, "City of Steel"? 

pic courtesy of tfwiki.net

In that episode Optimus Prime is captured by Megatron and ordered the Constructicons to disassemble his body. He later shows up in the sewers as "Alligatorcon". Many believe that we may see an eventual repaint of this mold as Optimus' "Alligatorcon". What do you think? Would you be in favor for another obscure television reference in toy form?

MAKETOYS

I don't have much personal experience with MakeToys myself, outside of the two pack they did a few years back, Hover and Bomber (aka Seaspray and Powerglide). I've got Cupola on the way, their version of a Masterpiece Headmaster Chromedome, but I've been impressed by many of the more recent offerings. One that really has me intrigued is their take on the Protectobot combiner, Defensor. Guardia will be about the same size as their version of Devastator and Computron, however I read somewhere that the limb bots were supposed to be slight larger. We'll see how that works out I guess.


Images of "Streetwise" have been shown before, but I'm not sure if they were colored test shots as this. He looks fantastic in my opinion and matches up scale wise well w/ "Hot Spot". I also like the $60 price point of these limb bots. Even though once combined he'll be smaller that my Feral Rex and eventual Ordin combiners, I really would like to find a way to add these guys to my collection.


Speaking of "Hot Spot" we got a much better look at him this past weekend. He's got some kibble that I wasn't expecting in robot mode, but overall I like the look. It's a little more of a complex look when compared to Hasbro's latest Combiner Wars offering, but in reality I like both. 



Guardia is shaping up to look simply fantastic. I can't wait for colored test shot images of "First Aid" and "Blades" to round out the group. I know a lot of people may be getting tired of combiners, I mean it seems like every other 3rd Party company is working on a combiner plus you have Hasbro's Combiner Wars line...but this is one set that I eagerly wait in line for.


I just referenced MakeToys new Masterpiece scaled version of "Chromedome", Cupola. Well it looks like we already know who is coming next in the series. None other than "Hardhead". If these figures are as good as they look on my computer display, I can't wait.



It appears that Make Toys isn't just making new Headmaster figures either. From these silhouettes you can see that Targetmasters and Powermasters are on the horizon too! "Pointblank", "Crosshairs", "Darkwing" and "Dreadwind". Maybe more info on these will be revealed by the time TFCon rolls into Charlotte, NC this fall?



A lot of fans want someone to complete the cast of the first few years of both the Autobots and Decepticons in the Masterpiece aesthetic/scale. Well thankfully we're getting Vulcan (Inferno) and Wrestle (Grapple). While I'm not against Inferno, I'm beside myself over the announcement of Wrestle. Once those pre-orders go up I plan to be first in line!

Make Toys announced a lot of great looking stuff and they appear to be quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the 3rd Party scene.

TRANSFORM & ROLLOUT


A newcomber to the scene, Transform & Rollout is working on a MP scaled Jazz. A few pictures surfaced on the web a few weeks back, but this may be the first physical example shown. So far I like what I've seen and will be waiting for more info to be released.

BAD CUBE


These guys started out as a company called Cubex. I picked up their MP scaled release of the minbot, Huffer. He wasn't without flaw, but I love the figure personally. I've heard great things about their recent releases, but I've yet to pull the trigger on any of them. However they threw their name in the hat as the second company to announce they are working on a MP scaled Sunstreaker, Sunsurge. Omnigonix was the first to announce they were working on the character, but not much has been seen of them since. Sunstreaker has always been once of my favorite characters so I can't wait to see what Bad Cube does. Heck, if it's nice enough I may end up with both!

UNIQUE TOYS

When Unique Toys first came on the scene with their take on the Predacon combiner, Predaking, well let's just say their quality left a lot to be desired. I took a chance when they announced Ordin, their version of the Terrorcon combiner, Abominus, but wow have they learned a lot in a short amount of time. 



They are taking on the lesser used of the Decepticon Triple Changers, Octane...or Provider as he is called. I'm not sure why I always liked Octane, but I've been looking forward to this release since it was announced. It's good to see some pictures of the figure, even if they are in test shot form. I believe the robot picture has been digibashed, but man does it make me want to speed up the release date. Provider will be Masterpiece scaled.

 MASTERMIND CREATIONS


Not to be out shined, Mastermind Creations finally unveiled their version of Mirage, Sphinx. I thought I had a picture of the robot mode too, but I can't find it and I'm sure most of you reading this have already seen it. I love the car mode, but the robot mode appears to be more cartoon accurate. Not saying that is a bad thing, but I think I like DX9's previous release of this character (Invisible) a little better.

PERFECT EFFECT


Perfect Effect has been releasing some really nice add-on kits for Hasbro's Combiner Wars voyager figures, and they announced yet another set at TFCon. I'm still waiting on their Menasor sets to be released and shipped to me, but I love how these sets seem to fill out the combiners that much more.

GENERATION TOY


Generation Toy is yet the latest new company and their first release is none other than Devastator. I believe they will be the third 3rd Party company tackling the Constructicon combiner. What can they bring to the table that TFC and Make Toys haven't already done, I don't know. The toys do look impressive though.




CLOUD 9

Cloud 9 is also a newcomer to the scene and they are putting their own spin on the popular one eyed purple Decepticon, Shockwave. Not much is known at this point, but I know a lot of people are waiting for more info.



TFC Toys

It seems as if fans either love TFC or hate TFC. I blame TFC for starting this whole 3rd Party combiner trend as they were the ones that started this with Hercules, their take on Devastator. Well I have to say their latest announcement caught me off guard, Liokaiser.




Liokaiser, the mega popular combiner from the Japanese series, Victory. Above you can see images of Thanatos, aka Killbison. 





Hades, aka Hellbat. I haven't had much luck myself with TFC Toys, but these figures look fantastic. Even the Breastmaster companions look great. 

This is just a sampling of some of the items announced and show and TFCon last weekend. There is a lot to be excited about if you are a fan of 3rd Party Transformers. My money only stretches so far these days, as does my time to actually enjoy toys, but I had a great time over the weekend combing through the various social media sites following the news. If nothing else this past weekend has me even more excited about the US version of TFCon coming to Charlotte in a few short months. I wonder which companies are up next to reveal their next projects? Only time will tell I suppose.