Sunday, March 26, 2017

Needlenose

Photo from www.botchthecrab.com
I'm getting so close to finishing the Decepticon Targetmasters that I can practically taste it.  Needlenose brings me one step closer to that goal.  I've always liked Needlenose because he reminded me of a knight, but I don't think I'm really alone in that thought. Besides, Needlenose belongs to best group of Targetmasters - the Double Targetmasters!
Why not use a "snap!" sound?  Pic from tfwiki.net
I missed the start of Simon Furman's Matrix Quest event, actually, I missed issues 61-64, due to moving and finding a place to buy comics.  As such, issue 65 is when I was first properly introduced to Needlenose.  I seem to remember seeing him on the cardback from the Autobot Double Targetmasters, but I'm not sure.  At any rate, this was where I remember seeing him in all of his Geoff Senior drawn glory.  I've seen every Transformer drawn by every artist, but to me, Geoff Senior is the only person that can draw Needlenose.  Weird, innit?  I don't particularly remember Needlenose doing a whole lot, but his visual has always stuck with me.  
Pic from tfwiki.net
I don't even want to discuss Needlenose in the IDW continuity.  For the most part, his portrayal has been decent, but the entire plot point about him being Tracks' brother is just pushing it for me.  Their helmets are vaguely similar, so that means that they're related?  Ugh.  See, I'm discussing it and I didn't want to.  Let's get on to the toy, shall we?
Needlenose's alt-mode is an F-16, which isn't shocking.  I'm too lazy to look it up, but I'm fairly certain that most Decepticon alt-modes are jets.  Maybe not most.  The vast majority.  two out of 5?  At any rate, there are posts under the wings to mount Needlenose's two Nebulons  - Sunbeam and Zig-Zag.  It's a nice look; very tough looking.
Zig-Zag is the Nebulon in the black outfit.  According to his bio, he's an incompetent mechanic.  Man, these Nebulons had some weird jobs before joining the Decepticons.  Not a lot of mad scientists, that I'm aware of.  Just thugs and ninnies.  Even Sunbeam (what?) is a surfer.  Did Bob Budiansky quit caring about what he submitted for tech specs by 1988, or had someone else taken over writing chores?  If so, was that person 7?  Ugh, looking at this picture reminds me that I need to dust my fiures more often.
I really need to get some decals for Needlenose.  He looks so naked sans stickers.  That helmet is just exquisite and certainly better looking than Tracks'.  It's odd to see lavender on a Transformer, but it looks pretty good.  At least I think it's lavender.  I'm kind of color blind, not in a major way, but I do have issues from time to time.  The yellow on his face really stands out as well.  Needlenose has perhaps the best looking robot mode of the Decepticon Double Targetmasters and the second best of all of the Double Targetmasters.  Quickmix has the best, by the way.
The best part about Double Targetmasters is that their looks can be customized in regards to the weapons.  Want a guy who can dual-wield?  Done.  Want a BFG?  Done.  Wand a BFG with a single barrel?  You get where I'm going with this.  Just so nice.  Now that Needlenose is out of the way, that just leaves Quake,  Gotta catch them all...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

MP-35 Grapple

When Inferno was announced in the Masterpiece line , I knew that Grapple wouldn't be far behind.  After receiving Inferno, the wait for Grapple became unbearable.  For as much as I enjoyed Inferno, Grapple was a character that I seemed to enjoy more, just from his history during season 2.  I don't really recall anything that Inferno did, but I sure remember Grapple getting scammed by the Constructicons into building the Solar Power Tower, which puts Grapple over Inferno in my mind, even though Inferno is a firetruck.
Like Inferno (last mention, I promise), Grapple comes with a ton of accessories.  Just as I did with Inferno (sorry), I'm only going to discuss and show accessories that I like.  Out of the package, Grapple looks just like he did on the show.  For some reason, the fact that the crane can extend and move up and down was perhaps the feature that I least expected, especially at this price point.  I actually think I spent ten minutes just playing with the crane.  I might be 8 years old.
For some reason, there's a shovel attachment, like a cherry picker.  It's pretty nifty and now that I think about it, I could totally put Spike or Daniel in the bucket.  That's what happens when you take pictures one day and type up the review weeks later.  Man, Spike even looks like a phone repair or cable guy.  Hindsight.
My favorite attachment has to be the claw.  Just seeing it makes me say, in wonder, "The Claw" like I'm a toy alien.  I've never been good at the claw game, but with this attachment, I was able to grab something.
I grabbed the freaking Solar Power Tower!  I'm not totally enamored with the Solar Power Tower (that's a mouthful) as an accessory, but it is nifty.  I've decided to go with the more toy accurate look so I'm only going with the chromed pieces.
Grapple in robot mode?  Exquisite.  The proportions on this guy are amazing.  My Grapple came with both fists attached, but I've always had my Grapple with the chromed wrist barrel attachment, so that's what I'm going with for the Masterpiece version.  Wrist barrel attachment?  I've always called them missiles.  How was I to know?  I was 8 when Grapple was released.
I had a lot of fun posing Grapple.  This mold just seems to lend itself to more poses than a lot of the previous Masterpiece figures.  Or it could be that I've just now started getting posing ideas.

Transforming Grapple is just such a delight.  It's just intuitive.  Breaking down the crane arm for the first time gave me fits, but subsequent transformations have been easier.
My only quibble with Grapple has to do with the Arc-welder rifle.  Mine is a chore for Grapple to hold onto; it's difficult to position the rifle securely.  Add in the fact that you can't position the rifle with the hand open all of the way, and it just isn't fun to do.  Also, the screaming face will most likely stay on Grapple for a very long time.
The chuckling face seems almost boastful to me.  Maybe Grapple is bragging about how he made the Solar Power Tower?
Grapple and that red firetruck guy, together, striking a pose.  Man, those wings on red firetruck guy really stand out.
And for no apparent reason, Red Alert joined the party.  Yeah, he's more of a friend to red firetruck guy but aren't all Autobots friends?

I tried something different with this photo set, and I'm entirely sure I'm happy with the results.  I shot from a much lower angle than before, but I didn't adjust the lighting accordingly.  Some of these pictures just seemed washed out to me, and that's all due to lighting.  The angles looked pretty good, they're just so badly lit.  One day I'll get this right.
 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Micromaster Construction Patrol

Pic from www.botchthecrab.com
The year 1990 was a strange year for me collecting-wise.  Like most people around this time, I was growing out of action figures.  I'd get back into them a few years later, but that would be things like McFarlane Toys, Playmates Star Trek: TNG. and Star Wars.  Transformers wouldn't enter my brain after 1990 until Beast Wars started, and that didn't really endear itself to me.  1990 would, of course, be the last year for new US G1 releases.  Oddly, the only thing that I remember from that year are Action Masters.  I owned the Astro Squad and the Hot Rod Patrol, but they always seemed to be 1989 figures to me.  Now that I'm on my quest to finish the Micromasters and US G1 in general, it's time to get some of these 1990 guys.  Enter the Construction Patrol.
There's something about construction vehicles that just say "Transformers" to me.  Maybe it's the Constructicons.  Perhaps it's the guys like Quickmix and Landfill.  Whatever the reason, I just always seem to equate construction vehicles with Transformers.  This means that the Construction Patrol is right up my alley.
Takedown is the Construction Patrol leader.  He's a red cement mixer, just like Quickmix.  He has more of a realistic design than Quickmix.
I have to say, I didn't think that I'd like Takedown as much as I did.  Really, the entire patrol is much cooler than I originally thought.
Next up, we have my favorite figure form this squad, Neutro.  Bonecrusher was always my favorite Constructicon, and Neutro seems like a worthy successor to the bulldozer Transformer title.
Neutro features a very striking looking robot mode.  The pistons from the back of the scoop add a nice look to the shoulders.  The colors are pretty 90's, but I like him.
Crumble transforms into a crane truck, just not one that I've ever seen.  It kind of looks Cybertronian, I suppose.
I'm not really sure how Crumble is able to walk with one insanely large foot.  Or one insanely small one, depending on your point of view.  Surely that can't be efficient.
Finally, we have Groundpounder, and he's an earth mover.  He looks like Scoop, but tiny.  Maybe I can find someone to 3-D print some mini Nebulons for him.
Groundpounder's transformation has the added step of flipping his head up, which is pretty cool for a Micromaster.  Extra steps are always welcome.
You know, with so many characters to choose from, I'm always surprised that the focus is almost always on the same few.  While trying to find anything on these guys, I really couldn't find anything.  Sure, there was an appearance on Gorlam Prime.  Maybe a background cameo in Regeneration One.  Then again, there are a ton of construction vehicles.  A LOT.  Maybe that played a part in the Construction Patrol getting ignored?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Slugslinger

Pic from www.botchthecrab.com
If there's one Targetmaster out of the three original mold Decepticon Targetmasters that gave me pause before purchasing, it was Slugslinger.  It's very hard and very expensive to find one in decent condition. Most of the ones that I ran across were yellowed and Caliburst just seems destined to have as many possible.  After what seemed like an eternity, I finally tracked one down to replace the super yellowed and weaponless version that I had somehow acquired as a kid.
Slugslinger was always one of my favorite looking Decepticons, at least in vehicle mode.  Slugslinger looks like be belongs in Star Wars to me.  Twin cockpits?  That is just so damn cool!  I mean, it leads to a ton of questions, but those questions can just wait.  Who wouldn't want to pilot this thing?
Caliburst gets to pilot him, I guess.  I mean, he could if he wasn't mounted to the Slugslinger's top in jet mode.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for figures that have a lot of blues.  This light blue and off-white combo just really pops.
The blue carries over to Caliburst, and it meshes well with the gray on his legs and the red on his face.  You have no idea how glad I am to finally be done photographing all of the large Decepticon Targetmasters.  Every time I even think about going from gun to Nebulon or the other way, I get a nervous twitch.
Robot mode for Slugslinger isn't great.  Toy safety and articulation being what they were in 1987 means that Slugslinger won't be running any marathons.  Or will he?
Well, no, Slugslinger won't.  While he won't be mistaken for a Masterpiece Transformer anytime soon, Slugslinger can be made to look like he's sulking off to his room.  I kind of wish that Slugslinger's wings would fold back a tad because he kind of looks like a robot with a jet on his back.
I'm so happy to be finished with the large Targetmasters.  Looks like I just need to get those pesky small Targetmasters to complete the set...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Autobot Air Patrol

Image from www.botchthecrab.com
I used to get the Air Patrol confused with the Decepticon Air Strike Patrol all of the time.  For some reason I believed that the Air Strike Patrol were just the Air Patrol. Up until I started typing this post did I realize the error of my thinking.  I can be an idiot.
The Air Patrol is, in case you couldn't guess, is made up of aircraft.  They were released in 1990 as part of the last wave of US Generation One figures.  According to the group's tech spec, they're the best aerial fighters that the Autobots have.  That doesn't really seem right to me.  What about the Aerialbots?  Surely Fireflight is a great flyer.  Certainly better than a Micromaster.
Tread Bolt is the mysterious member of the Air Patrol.  His bio states that he likes sneak around scaring the energon out of his fellow Autobots.  So I guess he's like Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on The Block.
Tread Bolt transforms into one of the many variations of what people thought a stealth bomber would look like before it was actually revealed to the public.  It was kind of close.  Tread Bolt looks much better than the G.I. Joe bomber with the name that I can't remember.   The blue is a little much, however.
Yeah, that's it.  Now I can sleep at night.  Photo from www.lelu-berlu.com
Next up, we have Blaze Master, and he's a military chopper, and the team's resident psychopath.  See, it's hard to have a truly 90's team without a psycho.  You're Wolverine's, Chapel's and whatnot are important to the team dynamic according to Liefeldian Law.  Look it up.  What makes Blaze Master a psycho?  Pouring napalm on everyone until they melt away, which brings in a whole host of issues for me, none of which have to do with his psychotic nature.  Are we to believe that a Transformer that underwent a change to make himself smaller to conserve fuel is able to carry enough napalm to douse and liquefy a full size Decepticon?  Or are the Micromasters small in toy form and not in the fiction?The Marvel comics sure seemed to depict them as small.  Then again, this is a toyline from the 80's and trying to make sense of any of it is a fool's errand.
Toy-wise, Blaze Master is my favorite of the Air Patrol.  I have an affinity for the Micromasters that have extra parts,  Figures like Growl, Tracer, and the aforementioned Blaze Master just seem that much cooler because of a little piece that can come off.
Hey, it's that guy that is constantly showing up in my saved eBay search for Pretender Sky High!  I mean, he's always gonna show up in that search because I just cannot seem to find a decent looking Pretender Sky High, but I'm not bitter.  It's hard to be bitter when you have such a bright optimist like Sky High to hang out with.

Sky High transforms into a Concorde jet, just like Silverbolt!  Really, I wouldn't have realized it unless it was stated in his TFWiki entry.  I think of Concorde jets, I think of Silverbolt, but I guess Sky High is a super deformed version of a Concorde?  Maybe micro-sized?  I see what they did there.
Lastly, we have Eagle Eye, the leader of the group.  It seems that the only reason that Eagle Eye is the leader is because Dreamwave declared that in the More Than Meets The Eye bio series that they produced in the early 2000's.  Even then, they couldn't be bothered to draw the correct jet for his vehicle mode.  One of the things that I liked about the Micromasters that I owned at release was the fact that there weren't listed leaders or any kind of hierarchy for the groups.  If I had received this set when I was 12, I probably would've made Tread Bolt the leader, just based on looks.
The molded missiles on Eagle Eye's jet mode are an odd touch.  I don't know that I would've made that call as a designer.  Guess that's the one reason why I don't work for Hasbro.  Of course, the missiles do add to the effect of the jet as a Hornet fighter.
Here's how I would position the team, with Tread Bolt as commander, and Eagle Eye in support.  The way it should be.  Just ask my 12 year old self.