Monday, December 22, 2014


Picture from
I've put off doing this post for a bit now.  When I originally planned on posting this, Heroic Decepticon posted his awesome Japanese Mail Away Omnibots.  There was no way I was going to post my common and modest Omnibots.  Since enough time has passed, I suppose this is a good time to post Overdrive.
My goal for this year has been to complete my collection of 1985 figures, and it's been challenging, more so with the remaining Omnibots.  Overdrive in particular was difficult to find a specimen that didn't feature a lot chrome damage on the legs.  Just about every instance that I found for sale had anywhere from minor to major chrome damage.  And I looked for an Overdrive for the vast majority of this year.  Price-wise, Overdrive was high on my list to get because he's pretty inexpensive.  After an exhaustive search, luck dropped one in my watch list.  And at a great price!  The only problem appeared to be some stickers that were put on incorrectly, but that's an easy fix.
Like the rest of the Omnibots, Overdrive features an attack mode for his vehicle form.  Overdrive's Ferrari Boxer has wings that flip up from under the body and guns that come from under the hood.  It's not unlike Track's attack mode.
Look!  I wasn't lying!  No chrome damage on the legs!  Overdrive comes with three handguns, but he can only hold two, so I went with the two that I liked best.  Overdrive's head is really small in proportion to the rest of his body.  I really hadn't anticipated that from photos I had seen online.  Articulation is restricted to the elbows and shoulders, which is par the course for most G1 figures, so I have no complaints there.  Those misplaced stickers on the door are still bothering me, but I do have in my possession a sticker sheet for all of the Omnibots that I got from the great people at Reprolabels.  I don't want to use them yet since I don't have a Downshift...yet.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Generations Brainstorm

Okay, I lied.  I had stated a few posts ago that everything from here to the end of the year would be either vintage or Masterpiece.  I completely forgot about some key Generations releases this month, chief among them being Brainstorm.  If you've been reading IDW's fantastic Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, you should be more than familiar with our resident briefcase carrier.  I won't spoil anything for those of you that haven't caught up the series while waiting for trades, or whatever, but seeing this release brings me so much joy based on current events in the book.
One of the first things that struck me as I took Brainstorm out of the box was how many moving parts he had for articulation.  Rotating thighs, shoulders, even his feet feature articulation.  Once that was out of the way, I immediately set about posing him every which way I could.
Here's my favorite pose so far, just because I was so happy that his head moved, unlike the G1 Brainstorm figure from 1987.
Brainstorm transforms into a jet, much like his G1 incarnation.  The transformation is virtually the same, which is a credit to the toy designer.  There are some modern touches, like parts that tab together, but overall, if you could transform G1 Brainstorm, you can transform the Generations version with ease.  What's that sitting in the cockpit?
Why, it's a pilot!  Brainstorm's tech spec doesn't specify a name for Brainstorm's little friend, but I'm calling him Arcana.  I'm original like that.
There really isn't anything to say about Arcana other than his head moves.  That's massive stuff for a Headmaster.  That articulated head allows Brainstorm to have a noggin that can turn around.
When the head is attached, the back of the seat springs forward to reveal his tech specs.  The readings don't correspond to what's on the box.  Instead, they are the original tech specs from 1987.  I think it's cool, but kids might get confused.
Here is a shot of the totality of Brainstorm's figures.  Ever.  It's amazing how much of the original design was kept, form the tail fins on the arms, to the color scheme.  This is really a figure for the fans.
We'll end with a shot of Arcana now and how he once was.  Well, maybe one more picture.
Can Highbrow be far behind?  Next up: something vintage, I promise.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Masterpiece Bumblebee

Finally, after a decade of Masterpiece releases and competition from 3rd party companies, TakaraTomy has finally released a Minibot Masterpiece figure with Bumblebee.  Why it took so long, I'll never know, but I'm pretty glad that they did.  And what better way to start that with the most iconic of all Minibots, and Autobots, really.
We'll start with Bumblebee's vehicle mode.  Yes, I'm leaving the Autobot insignia flipped up while in vehicle mode.  I like it, so leave me alone.  At any rate, Bumblebee isn't exactly to scale when compared to the rest of his Masterpiece brethren, but that isn't really the point.  He isn't exactly in proportion to his animated model either, as that was still the penny racer type.  Rather, Bumblebee is a regular, full sized Volkswagen Beetle.  Like Wheeljack, the side mirrors must be attached once removed from the sprue.  Only one mirror attaches, however.  I'm not sure if that was the intention or not.
This is the rear of the car.  The only reason that I'm showing it, or even talking about it, is to point out that the license plate is removable.
By removing the license plate, you can add the spare tire onto the rear.  It's actually a nice look.
Don't feel like using the spare tire?  It can store underneath the car, as can 'Bee's weapon.
Bumblebee's transformation is pretty straightforward and uncomplicated.  Once you do what needs to be done, you're left with a pretty decent looking robot.  It's like he almost jumped from the screen into my hands.  Unlike his larger Masterpiece friends, Bumblebee doesn't have articulation in his fists at all.  The wrists do not rotate, nor do his hands open.  It's a little disheartening, but I suppose those two features were left off for reasons.  Don't like Bumblebee's solemn expression?  Don't worry, TakaraTomy has you covered.

There's also an opened mouth smile face!  Removing the face plates is a little tough if you don't have fingernails, but it's a pretty neat feature.
For the old school fanatics, there is the exclusive battle mask.  Now you're Bumblebee will look like the G1 figure.  It's a neat look, but why do Transformers need battle masks?  Is it to protect their pretty faces from damage?  Do robots worry about those kind of things?  Beside Sunstreaker, that is.

I'm not going to go through all of the size comparisons and show Bumblebee with the ever expanding lineup of Masterpiece figures.  What I will do is show Bumblebee with some older Bumblebees of yore. 

First we have the O.G.  Faces look about the same.
After 4 years, Hasbro decided to create a Bumblebee with a face like his animated model with Pretender Classics Bumblebee.  If you'll notice, both guns from the Pretender and Masterpiece figure are pretty similar.
With the Takara Collection and then Encore reissues, a new face was sculpted to more closely resemble the animated model.
Bumblebee comes with Daniel in exosuit.  I've seen others calling him Spike, but looking at the hair on the figure, it's clearly Daniel.
The figure is a bit awkward, but it's nice to have an exosuit.
The exosuit transforms into...this.  I'm not really sure what to call it.  It appeared in The Transformers: The Movie and I think some episodes of the Japanese series.  I prefer to not use this mode.
Ok, I lied.  Here's a shot of 'Bee riding Grimlock.  For fun.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Deluxe Insecticon Barrage

Image from
Well, 2014 is closing out pretty quickly, and I still have yet to fulfill my goal of finishing off the 1985 line of Transformers.  With just a couple of weeks left, I'm still short 4 figures - Barrage, Chop Shop, Downshift, and Overdrive.  Sadly, my time and purchasing power were used in other areas.  As such, I'm not entirely sure I'll make it to my stated goal.  Still, it's worth a try.

While searching for a suitable Barrage, I ran across an intriguing listing on eBay.  The seller wanted $20 less than what the average seller asks for Barrage, and he had the "Best Offer" option.  There was only a couple of things holding me back: he only had a feedback rating of 1, and when I asked him questions about the joints, he stated that he was pretty sure that they were tight, but he wouldn't transform Barrage to check because he had a habit of breaking Transformers.  Oh boy.  Nervously, I went ahead and sent him an offer for $10 cheaper than what he was asking and he accepted.  Meaning, that I got a great deal on Barrage.  The results?
Well, the results were pretty good, in my opinion.  Barrage's beetle mode, designed by the good people at Takatoku Toys, is in great shape.  The front insect limbs aren't as tight as I'd like, but they do the job. 
Here's something that I really enjoy about Barrage: his robot mode doesn't have freaking insect leg showing.  It's amazing!  Takatoku really did some ingenious stuff to get the legs completely hidden.  The insect theme is still present with the wings on the back, however.  Perhaps the only complaint that I might have would be the sword.  It looks like someone created it from a paperclip. 

I still need to do some cleaning on the figure, and add some new decals, but I think I really came out with a steal on this one.  Hopefully, I can find a Chop Shop in this fashion, but it's not likely.  Lightning usually doesn't strike twice, but I can always hold out hope.  Now, I only need to to track down three more of the 1985 figures to close out the year.  I...might be able to do that.  Maybe.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Photo from
Man, this is a long time coming.  Countdown was perhaps one of my favorite later era Transformers, and I was happy as a little girl when I found him in parents' attic a decade ago.  That excitement was tempered when I realized that I was missing a few parts.  Missing were: the base arm, the long ramp, and I needed a new gunner pod because the post had somehow broken.  Every part was readily available, save for the long ramp.  Without that ramp, this reconstruction project would be a waste of time, so I was constantly contemplating whether or not I should just start over with a whole new one.  However, the allure of restoring a set that I had as a kid was just too powerful.  Finally, my patience was rewarded.

I put off actually getting any parts until I locate the large ramp, which I finally did a couple of months ago.  As a matter of fact, I wound up winning a parts auction that also included the mechanical arm, an extra helipad, the long ramp, and three small ramps.  Score.  I think I paid $20 for the entire lot, which was great since the only other long ramp I had run across was running $30 by itself!  I quickly sold off the helipad and ramps and set upon looking for a new gunner pod.  Then I realized that I couldn't find my helipad!  After a month of searching, I found it in the garage, of all places.  I think that one of my kids took it in there to play with without my knowledge.  Kids.  The gunner pod, I bought from Flywheels on eBay.  At the time, I didn't even realize that was who I had bought it from, I was just impressed with the price.  By the way, visit his eBay store for some great deals!
Once I had the pieces in place, I decided that a decal overhaul was in order.  The parts all worked, but the decals were in various states.  Some were good, others were utterly obliterated.  A quick trip to Reprolabels, and I was in business.  That is, until I tried to remove the old ones.  Trying to remove 20 year old stickers is next to impossible, it seems.  I've never encountered anything so hard to take off.  Luckily, Brr-Icy had contacted me on Facebook and was able to offer a great tip.  Using Zippo lighter fluid really helped speed things along.  After that came a quick wipe down with a magic eraser and then a few washes with warm soapy water. 
Voila!  Behold the fruits of my labor!
The decals from Reprolabels are great.  I was worried that the colors would be off color as they were with Gnaw, but that wasn't the case. 
Now that this project is complete, I can focus on adding some additions.  Check out who's next on Friday!  Here's a hint - it's Transformer.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Craigslist Adventure Ends! Horri-Bull!

Image from
This is the last of the four figures from the lot that I purchased from Craigslist back in May.  Truth be told, at many points, there were only going to be three figures kept from the lot, but I'll get in to that in a bit.
Horri-Bull is a...horrible bull.  See what I did there?  Anyway, I'm starting with the beast mode simply because I find it the most aesthetically pleasing of the two modes.  This is easily the worst conditioned figure that I kept from the lot.  It really isn't surprising considering that he was just in a box on some guy's porch for an extended period of time.  There is discoloration, as evidenced by the picture.  Amazingly, the joints are like new.  I was shocked by how tight everything was/is on him.
When I first pieced Horri-Bull together from the random assortment of flotsam in the box I got, the only thing missing was the rifle, which can easily be found on eBay.  Even with the discoloration, Horri-Bull is still a good looking figure. 
Why did I almost not keep this figure?  After all, Horri-Bull and the 2nd wave of Headmasters in general, usually command a higher premium than the normal Headmasters.  There's a story to all of this.  In my excitement, when I transformed Horri-Bull from bull to robot, I pushed the bull head too far back and did this:
I broke a piece!  I was so livid with myself.  Still, I suppose it isn't that bad.  Perhaps one day I'll track down a new body.  The most expensive pieces I already have, bodies should be pretty cheap and easy to come by.  Whatever the outcome, I'm fairly happy with this Craigslist adventure.  I paid $200, got four figures, sold the rest and came out way ahead.  That's what hunting is all about.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Image from
Gnaw has been a long time coming.  Way back in May, I took a chance on an ad in Craigslist and walked away with a bunch of Transformers for the low price of $200.  Here's a look at what I wound up with.
As you can see, it's a decent haul.  Missing from this picture is the near complete Scorponok as he was sold before I took this picture.  There was also a Sludge, but he was sold quickly as well.  From this haul, I sold everything except Horri-Bull, Gnaw, Hardhead and Spinister.  I've already covered Spinister and Hardhead.  Finally, after a far too long wait, I can cover Gnaw.

What took so long with Gnaw?  Well, as evidenced by the above picture, Gnaw was armless and without tail.  His gun was included, and his chrome was in excellent condition.  I figured I could complete him quickly through either Facebook or eBay.  I was wrong.  I found the left arm rather quickly and for a decent price.  The right arm proved to be elusive, much like a white rhino.  It took me nearly four months to find that sucker.  The only way I got one was to actually buy a junker Gnaw that came with only the right arm!  Another figure to add to the sell pile.  It took me about a month to track down a tail that didn't have a ton of stress marks and another couple of weeks to get Reprolabels and apply those.  The fruit of my efforts? 
A nice a clean Gnaw!  Complete even!
The chrome on the teeth is quite nice, and a surprise since the seller just had him in a box with a bunch of stuff on his porch for a few years.  I'm taken aback by just how, uh, rotund Gnaw is in person.  I had never seen one up close before, and while I knew that was portly, it still threw me for a loop. 
Robot mode is a tad lackluster, as most of the 1986 line is.  However, the rotating wrists are pretty nifty.

Those are some skinny legs.  I mean, way too skinny to support a torso as large as Gnaw's.  Then again, what do I know?  After completing Gnaw, I think I understand the appeal of the guy.  I understand so much, that I would love to build an army of Gnaws.  That...that would be cost prohibitive.  Unless I'm able to acquire them for basically free as I did this one.