Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Predaking Part II - Rampage

Here's part two of my Welcome to 2010 Predaking reissue review.

Rampage forms Predaking's right arm. Or if you want to be cartoon accurate, he forms Predaking's left arm. Either way, he's an arm.

According to his bio, Rampage apparently has ADD. And the only thing that calms him down is TV. Reminds me of one of my cousins.

Like anyone who isn't a Prime, Megatron, Galvatron or Starscream, Rampage wasn't really developed in the US cartoon. I'm not so sure about the Japanese Headmaster series as I've yet to watch it. Yeah, I'm not a real fan in the eyes of many based on that last sentence. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Rampage fares better, as far as development goes, in the comics. To me, he's famous just for getting the tar knocked out of him by Apeface. It helped that Apeface used his own dismembered arm to do it. Other than that, there isn't anything of note that happens to him in the Marvel run. Probably because the Underbase powered Starscream destroyed him. And the rest of the Predacons.

No, kitty, that's my pot pie!

IDW's use of Rampage has been preferential to me. With Razorclaw trapped on a barren asteroid with Starscream, Rampage essentially takes command and the Predacons align themselves with China. It actually makes sense to me that the Preds would choose China. It's nice to see Rampage in charge, at any rate.

Rampage's alt-mode is that of a tiger. If I'm being totally honest, he doesn't look like a tiger to me. He looks more like, well not a panther or a jaguar, but maybe a combination of the two? At second glance, the head is more reminiscent of a female lion to me. I could be wrong or an idiot, however.

Other than those issues, I like his beast mode. The rear legs are awesome to me. They're shaped the correct way, and the thrusters on the hind legs look cool. It just adds emphasis to his jumping abilities. Great little touches like that make his "tiger" mode awesome.

I don't know if Rampage went through several designs before what we actually got, but it seems as though he was supposed to rotate at the waist at one point. Or maybe it's the way the plastic attaches to the die-cast or I just got one that was poorly constructed; I'm not sure since I never owned Rampage before this version was released.

I remember reading about how the original script for TF:TM called for an Autobot combiner group called Ani-bots or Zoo-bots or something like that. Anyway, from my understanding, these guys were turned into the Predacons. Looking at Rampage's head, it's apparent that he was going to be an Autobot, at least to me. He just has a face that screams Autobot.

Up next - Part III!

Apeface beating Rampage pic is from the TFWiki.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Holy Grails - Predaking Part I

All of this talk about Encore Fort Max has really had me thinking about my collection. I've seen, on various sites, people talking about how Fortress Maximus has been something of a holy grail for the average collector. This hasn't been the case for me since I still have the one I got when I was 11, but I'm by no means stating that I'm not the average collector. My collection is far too small to claim otherwise. Since I still have my Fortress Maximus, I had another holy grail - Predaking.

There's an old phrase from when I was a kid - "You're a liar!" It was primarily used whenever someone tried to brag about a toy that they owned, but no one else had ever seen. I used this a lot whenever kids would talk about how they had a Unicron or Spike and Sparkplug action figures. Tit for tat, it's been used on me as well. The last time I had ever called someone a liar over a Transformer was on a kid who claimed that he had Predaking, 1986 I think. Naturally, when prodded, the kid produced Rampage, but nothing else.

My cousin had a Tantrum that I confiscated a few years later from him for neglect, but other than those two examples, I had never seen any other Predacon in person. Since he was never featured in the comics, save for issue #25 of the Marvel run, I promptly forgot about him.

Fast forward to the Dreamwave comics and his appearance in two issues and I all of a sudden had an appetite for him again. Searching eBay, I knew I couldn't get him just yet. But luck was on my side when I saw a preorder for for a reissue! If memory serves, BBTS had him for $175, so that was a definite purchase. Unfortunately, I had to cancel the order, so I missed out on him. I tried to find the reissue after that, but by then it had skyrocketed to $500! I just can't stomach paying that much for something so recent on the secondary market.

Thankfully, Takara decided on a New Year's version of this massive guy. This time, there wouldn't be a cancellation of an order. There were differences between this version and the others. The main differences being the changing of yellow to gold and the addition of metal flaked paint. Still, holy grail attained.

I've decided to break Predaking into several posts, focusing first on the individual Predacons and then on Predaking himself.

First up is Divebomb, Predaking's left arm. There's a lot about Divebomb that I don't know. Character development on the cartoon was not exactly a thing for combiners back then. Everyone knew that the combined form was the real draw. Sure a line might be uttered by some team members now and again, but it was rare for Predacons to get any real dialogue.

Divebomb got most of his character development fiction-wise in the Marvel UK run which I've never read. I knew that the issues existed as a kid thanks to the Marvel US run's letter pages. I have yet to read a UK issue. Thanks to the TFWiki, I've come to understand that Divebomb took his name from Swoop. That right there tells me more about Divebomb than I had ever known about him based on 16 years of fiction that's he been a part of. As an aside, I find it pitiful that the comics always focus on the same few characters with so many others out there. Thankfully, this has changed recently with the great More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise series. Skids is all of a sudden cool!

Divebomb transforms into an eagle according to his wiki entry. Honestly, I could've sworn it was a condor before I found that out. I know the head is all wrong for a condor, and that eagles are actual predators, but condors are cooler.


Divebomb's eagle mode is pretty great. Well, it's pretty great standing up. Once you try to put him into a standing position problems arise. I can't seem to get him to lay flat.  Looking at him, his backpack/wings just look too big to me. It just seems out of proportion to me. I realize that it's a design thing, since the wings come off for Predaking, but I'd still like for them to have a thinner profile. However, the wings have articulation, which is awesome, as does the head.

The eagle head forms a type of helmet in robot mode. I actually like the chin strap look on Divebomb. It reminds me of a knight's helmet. Combined with the wings, he's very impressive in robot mode. I'd dare say that he's the best looking Predacon. And at least his name wasn't reused for a crab.

Eat it, Swoop

Well, that's it for this post.  See you soon for the post on Rampage.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Sorry I haven't really updated anything in a bit. Things have been hectic around here. My wife's little furniture restoration business has taken off. So I've been spending my off time taking care of our kids. The oldest will be seven next week and the youngest is one. So if I'm not playing with the one year old, I'm picking up my hour year old from preschool or the oldest from school. Or doing housework. Not that I'm complaining. My wife's business venture is really bringing in quite a bit of cash, which means more money for building up my collection and other things.

On top of that, I've been in the process of building a light box so I can take better photos. I haven't been too pleased with the quality of photos I've posted, so I'm looking to improve that. It would've been easier and cheaper for me to just buy one, but I'm planning into the future here and wanted one that was large enough to stick my Fort Max and the Encore version in side by side. It's massive and made of wood. Hope this thing turns out correctly.

I've been planning on at least posting my custom Seeker, but that's hit snags as well. I ordered reproduction long missiles from Broken Arrow Toys almost a month ago and still haven't received them. I just got an email saying that my order is being processed, so they should be here eventually. The last time I wanted to order something repro, it was from Jangar, but I never did as he was having health issues. Apparently so is the owner of Broken Arrow. This is just a sign that I shouldn't get repro parts.

As soon as I get caught up, I'll have plenty of posts. Thanks for sticking around.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Custom

I've been planning this for months. I've put this off for months. Finally I did it. Finally I've built my custom Seeker. Well, nearly built. I'm still waiting on a few things, but the hardest parts are done.

This custom finally came about thanks to my wife, actually. My wife has a furniture restoration business and volunteered to do the painting for me, which was great since I suck at painting. Sure, I can paint a room or a house, but I can't spray paint worth a damn. I just can't spray evenly.

Anyway, I decided to do this custom because I realized that I had a ton of seeker parts. I had like eight tailwind, six rudders, four or five launchers, two sets of wings and a Thundercracker body. Unfortunately, hardly anything matched so I couldn't just create another Thundercracker.

Once I started this, I realized that my Thundercracker body had broken where one of the feet connects. Quickly, I purchased a junker Starscream which proved beneficial as I wanted to use the blue nosecone.

Overall, I'm pretty stoked at how this guy came out. I still need to decal him and get his missiles and fists, but for now he's looking pretty good. Well, I need to come up with a name, too.
In the meantime, enjoy these pics of him in jet mode.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


This is just a reaction post, but I just saw the news about the Encore reissue of Fort Max coupled with Masterpiece Ravage and Rumble. Hot damn!

At $350 at BBTS, this will surely help those who don't already own Fort Mac. For those of who do, it'll bring down the value, but I'm not really concerned about that. It's nice to see a reissue that isn't Jazz, Prime, or Starscream. And what a reissue! Hopefully this will lead to an ehobby reissue of Grand Maximus. Oh boy, I'm excited about this.

As far as the Masterpiece cassettes go, those were automatic purchases anyway. Bring 'em on!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Move

I never realized how many figures I had until I had to move my collection. Aside from the nearly 400 Transformers I had on display in the garage, I also had nearly 300 G.I. Joes all of which were 25th Anniversary through 30th Anniversary with the exception of the movie figures. I've just never like the movie designs or sculpts. At any rate, I had to find a way to fit nearly 700 figures into my bedroom's sitting room so my wife could use the garage as a workspace for her furniture restoration business.

The master bedroom is huge; I've seen smaller living rooms. At the front of the bedroom is a sitting room and then the actual bedroom is sunken in. It's rather nice. There's a master bathroom of course in the bedroom and a built in vanity to go along with a walk-in closet and a regular closet. Huge. The sitting area has a built in desk with a built in bookcase over that. I had already started using that as a space for my Masterpiece and Binaltech figures. The desk was cleared of the computer since I had made the switch to using laptops a few years ago. I don't program or anything anymore, so the desktop computer wasn't needed.

Clearing out the desktop gave me room for Fort Max, Scorponok and Countdown, but that was about it. Since I was moving everything out of the garage, I was able to take the fast track I had hung in the garage down. Well, two of the three fast tracks. The middle one was in there pretty good. Not one of the screws would budge from the middle track. But I still had plenty of shelves hanging on the walls in the garage that I could use.

The first thing I decided to do was move my G.I. Joes because, quite frankly, I knew it would be a pain. Having to pose all those guys all over again was not going to be fun. I don't like the stands that come with the figures because I can't do any kind of dynamic posing with those things. That makes whatever shelf they're on extremely volatile. One funny look starts a domino effect.

I used some sort of cubed curio case that my wife found for the vast majority of my Cobra forces. B.A.T.S, Vipers, all the special forces and the vehicles I had for them. It worked out pretty well and it gave a better look than what I had in the garage. The very top went to the Joe vehicles I had.

So that left me with a need for my actual Joes. At this point, I made a hard decision. One of the great things, on Hasbro's end anyway, is that there are tons of variations on each figure. For me, it was nerve wracking. I decided to just display my favorite version of each Joe that I had and put the rest in storage, which sucks because I'm a firm believer in displaying everything. I also decided to do this with some of my Cobra figures like Destro, the Baroness and Storm Shadow.

So up they went on a shelf. Above that shelf, more Cobras. It looks nice. Still, this is a blog about Transformers, not G.I. Joe, so that's it for Joe talk.

The shelves that I had on the fast tracks in the garage were 6 feet long. I also had a few other shelves plus a workspace that I kept my bases on. This wouldn't work in the sitting area. The first wall had a window and then the Joes filled up what space was remaining there. That left one wall.

The wall I had to use measured 55 inches, meaning I had to cut each shelf shelf 17 inches. Space was going to be tight, but somehow I had managed to make enough room to add an extra shelf to the fast track. Bonus. It wasn't until after I had put all of the shelves in place, screwed them to the brackets and added everyone that I noticed that the fast tracks were a little off. I measured everything before hanging and used a laser level. Turns out my house is kind of leaning. That was a bummer. I should have used the laser level at multiple points to find that out beforehand. I managed to make a few corrections to offset the slope some, but I still notice it.

Even after adding the extra shelf, I still didn't have enough room. To help out, I built two shelves in an "L" shape to hug the corner of a wall. Here I placed my Seekers one the top shelf and my gestalts minus Predaking because of his weight and my Dinobots. All of my shelves were filled and I still had about 100 figures left to display. Hrm...

This led me to another difficult decision. I boxed up all of my Joes, a few Cobras, and some vehicles. That freed up the two smaller shelves, which helped out tremendously with the most important thing - my Transformers. On those shelves went my Blasters/Twincasts, Soundwave/Soundblasters and their cassettes and all of the Autobot cars.

I think for the space that I was able to use, I did ok. My non G1 figures that I had went into storage (shelf in my closet) until I can figure out how I can display them. Which also means that my collection will stay pretty steady in size for the moment until I can work out this space thing. There's still MP Sideswipe, Red Alert, Soundwave, TFCC Shattered Glass VSE set and MP Thundercracker (should I ever actually find one!) to get shelf space for. This setup will probably change multiple times over the next few weeks. I just have to find a way to get everything displayed.