Friday, February 28, 2014

Glacialord Part II - Tailclub

Ah, the Doedicurus.  As a kid, I always wished that I could have a toy Doedicurus.  Sadly, it never happened.  Thankfully, Fansproject has answered my prayers and made this a reality.

Who wouldn't want to play with this?
The idea to create prehistoric mammals as robots is really a stoke of genius.  Dinobots are pretty nifty and all, but we could always use more. 

Being a Doedicurus, Tailclub has an appropriately squat alt-mode.  I really like the gray and orange colors; they're really striking together.  He looks so adorable.  Definitely G1-styled, I feel as though I could've picked him up at a Roses or something.  It would've been nice to only pay $3.99 for him...
As with Fangro, the pilot is able to stand up in the slot on the beast's back.  I'm not really sure how I feel about this functionality, to be honest.  I think that it would look better if they had designed a way for the figure to actually sit.  The standing looks tedious.
Heres is Tailclub in robot mode.  The foot/backpack attaches to his shoulder as a shield and the tail and head combine to form a club.  I'm not really sure how a shoulder mounted shield is helpful in a battle, but it's nice to not have to worry about finding somewhere to store it while he's in robot mode.  Since he's G1-styled, articulation is limited to his arms at the elbows and the shoulders.  He is truly a combiner limb.
The shield can also be held in his free hand, which gives a better look, to me.  Now he looks like a Roman warrior.  If I had more of them, I'd do a Phalanx. 
Here's Tailclub in his limb mode.  As you can see, he forms a leg.  It looks sturdy and it's reminiscent of one of Predaking's limb, with the animal head facing out. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Glacialord Part I - Fangro

I know that I did this whole treatise about how I would never own a 3rd party figure, but that was written with the full knowledge that I'd be a hypocrite.  I'm gonna blame this one on paxcybertron.  To me, he's the 3rd party king and every time I check out his site, I'm bombarded by pictures and reviews of some great looking 3rd party figures.  Low and behold, I finally broke down and decided to get Glacialord after reading his review of the first three figures that were released.  He just weakened me, man.

As many have pointed out, the whole concept of the Glacialbots is to have a figure with today's modern tooling and technology feel as if it was plucked straight out of the G1 era.  I'm not going to go into a lot of detail with Fangro, or Tailclub for that matter, since these were released last summer at TFCon as a little early bird special and everyone has covered them already.  I'm going to give some quick thoughts on the Fangro and show you some pics.

I love the style of the box, as it is appropriately retro.  It certainly feels as though it could have been released around 1986 or so.  The worn edges are a nice touch.  Once you open up the box, you're greeted with Styrofoam.  I really can't remember owning too many figures that came with Styrofoam save for Metroplex, Skylynx, Omega Supreme, and Fort Max.  I can't remember if Scorponok was packed in Styrofoam or not.  At any rate, it's a very nice touch.
I'm not sure on the reasoning behind the the partial decal placement.  Maybe so it seems as though it once belonged to someone else?  No clue.  I'm actually not terribly fond of this.  Coupled with the lack of a sticker map in the instructions, I wound up with a decal that I couldn't place.  One unplaced decal does not diminish my love of this guy.
Fangro's sabre-toothed cat mode is awesome.  For some reason, it feels as though he should have been released in exactly 1987, when the Technobots were released.  It seems like a product of that year.
Here is Fangro's trainer?  Head?  Brain?  I don't know what to call it.  He doesn't have a name that I'm aware of.  Maybe he's Fangro and the sabre-toothed tiger is just a transector?  I don't know, but whatever the case, he's pretty detailed.  His articulation is on par with an actual Headmaster, so that's pretty nifty.
Here is Fangro...riding Fangro?  I'm still not sure on how to parse all of this.  At any rate, this looks awesome.  Who wouldn't want to ride a sabre-toothed tiger?  Communists, that's who.
The simplistic transformation actually works in Fangro's favor.  Fansproject has completely captured the G1 feel with this figure.  The cat's head and tail form his gun, and it looks pretty sweet. 
Side shot
I'm glad that I got turned on to the Glacialord project, and I can't wait for the rest of them to be released.  Hopefully, this isn't the start of a trend.  Next up, Tailclub.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Random Thoughts Part 101

So, I've been in a bit of a malaise/tailspin since my wife informed me that we were having a fourth child.  Sure, I'm still excited, but I'm also a bit freaked out.  My mind has been working overtime planning and stressing at the same time.  I was planning on getting a new car anyway this year, but now I've had to switch gears to looking at vehicles that will hold my entire brood.  I've spent the past 2 years comparing and debating cars, and now that I need something bigger, I'm forced into a smaller window of time to choose.  I work at a very slow pace when it comes to cars.  Luckily, I think that we can cram another kid into the house, which puts off the need for a larger house.  For now.

Because I've been so stressed, I actually haven't given too much thought to Transformers.  The blog has been on autopilot, and I've been slow replying to comments and commenting on all of the great blogs that have posted new content over the past few weeks.  Sorry.  As a matter of fact, I currently have 5 figures that I recently purchased that I haven't even opened yet - YOTH Optimus Prime, Generations Scoop, Minicon Assault Team, and Armada Starscream.  It would've been 6, but I gave Skywarp to my son as soon as the package from BBTS arrived.  Yeah, I had no need for him, but I wanted everyone else and my recent experiences led me to just order the entire wave from BBTS.
Speaking of bad experiences, I've given up on finding Generations Skids at the brick and mortar retail level.  I've done so much research on this shortage problem that I feel like I'm trying to break Watergate.  I even went up the chain of my company and had the main office looking into why I can't a freaking case of Transformers delivered to my store.  The long and short of it is that there are system issues where the system is saying we have them, but they haven't actually arrived at the warehouse yet.  And if you don't order at the exact time, you're just out of luck.  It's something that's happening with multiple items throughout the store, so that sucks.  Apparently, Hasbro also experienced problems with this wave as well, because BBTS has stated that they've only gotten 20% of their shipment from Hasbro.  The entire hunt for Skids has left a bad taste in my mouth and reminded me of the bad days of the 1990's - running from one store to the next, trying to find the shortpacked McFarlane toy, or variant costumed Toy Biz figure.  I remember having to cajole store employees about figures because they were hiding them for themselves.  Thank goodness for online ordering nowadays - I finally broke down and preordered him from Toywiz.  I paid more than I wanted, but it was still cheaper than getting him from eBay.

Anyone know where to find plans for a DIY glass cabinet?  I'm thinking about building my own, completely out of of glass and without any wood or anything like that.  I have some ideas, but I'm not sure.  Then again, I need to find the time. 

Here's some quick thoughts on Hasbro's Toy Fair stuff:
Uh, the Age of Extinction figures are, yeah.  Wow.  I kind of didn't mind Grimlock's robot mode, but the more I look at it and the entire line, the more inclined I am to do what I do with every movie figure that I've ever seen - just leave it on the peg.

Gears!  I'm still waiting for Swerve, Cosmos and Tailgate to get released first, but so far, I'm pumped.
So Nightbeat is horrible.  I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting a rehash of the pretty bland Bumblebee mold.  Colors are nice.
I was never that big a RiD fan, but I do have the Optimus and Magnus figures.  I'm still reserving judgement until I can see more pics, but I'm actually liking Sky-Byte so far.  I probably won't get him, but I still like the way he looks.
Not really sure what to make of Jhiaxus.  I was actually thinking that he'd be hunched over more.
Roadbuster!  He looks very G1-esque.  His feet look a little tiny, but I think he'll be pretty cool.  Look at all of those weapons!  And I bet he'll have decals.
Leader class Jetfire!  This came from out of nowhere.  While I'm a big fan of the original Classics Jetfire, this guy looks so radical.  The torso is straight "Fire in the Sky" Skyfire.  He will be mine, oh yes, he will be mine, as Wayne Campbell would say.  Finally, that brings us to the big reveal:
Windblade.  The jet mode is pretty awesome.  I love VTOL jets, and getting another one is always welcome.  The colors are reminiscent of Thrust.  Gotta love that.
Then we have to robot mode.  Look, I'm not gonna rip into this figure because it's a female figure.  I could care less about that.  A good figure is a good figure.  My main concern is the head sculpt.  What is she supposed to be, a kabuki fighter?  Shi if she was a robot?  The head sculpt is just odd.

During one of my 40 minute commutes from work, I had a very disturbing thought.  I started to wonder where the Masterpiece line would end, and I got very concerned about Shockwave.  Was he released in Japan?  I know that he wasn't created by Takara, so I wasn't sure if he'd be an entry into the line.  Should I break down and get Quakwave?  I literally pulled off to the side of the road to look up on TFWiki if Shockers had a Japanese release.  Thankfully, he did, D-49, to be exact.  That was a load off my mind.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Horrorcons Part II - Snapdragon
Back when I was a younger guy and played guitar (badly), I had dreams of starting a band.  I had always wanted to name my band Horrorcon, because the name always sounded so metal.  Thankfully for my ego and the metal community, I realized how horrible a guitar player I was and put that dream away.  Still, I think that someone should still start a band with that name.  Anyway, where was I?  Yes, Snapdragon.  Snapdragon originally appeared on my initial list of figures to buy when I was trying to get to 400, but I just never got around to getting him.  I was just never that enamored with him.  Whereas Apeface is a giant ape, Snapdragon was just some sort of dragon; he was just never that an impressive a figure to me.  But as I was commenting on Heroic Decepticon's post about his Japanese Apeface and Snapdragon, flywheels made a comment about how Snapdragon was better and that got the wheels in my head spinning.  Maybe I'm just susceptible to persuasion, perhaps I was just looking for an excuse, but whatever the reason, I soon bought Snapdragon.
Like Apeface, Snapdragon transforms into a Cybetronic jet and I actually like this one a bit more than Apeface's.  There isn't any obvious kibble popping out anywhere, that's for sure.  There is a canopy that flips open for Krunk to sit in.
Things get interesting when Snapdragon transforms from jet to dragon.
Ok, that's not a great position.  I'll try again.

That's better.  I like the fact that Snapdragon's rifles are able to attach to this mode.  There's nothing I hate more than having to dig in the parts boxes to find a weapon when I'm changing out the displays.  I really like this mode; it's long, and proportioned well.  The tiny arms are a bonus.  As I mentioned in my review of Apeface, there are people out there that have made parts so the necks can have better articulation.  And no, I haven't gotten them yet, but I most likely will.
Snapdragon's robot mode is awesome.  He doesn't look as odd as Apeface does as far as the torso goes.  As an added bonus, Snapdragon features some nice leg articulation thanks to his transformation scheme.
He actually looks like he's walking!  The ability to turn his head and some elbow articulation would be great for some action shots, but for a G1 figure, this is amazing. 

I am so glad to have finally purchased Snapdragon.  When compared to Apeface, Snapdragon stands heads and shoulders above his fellow Horrorcon.  If you don't currently own this guy, I highly suggest that you go out right now and get him.  Quit reading this, and go get him.  He's waiting for you, with open arms and on bended knee.  After you order him, wait for him to arrive, and play with him, my next review will be up and waiting for your reading pleasure.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Horrocons Part I - Apeface
Here we are at yet another purchase made thanks to the influence of a fellow collector!  A few months ago, Heroic_Decepticon did a post about his MIB Japanese Apeface and Snapdragon.  I've been dreaming about getting Apeface since I was in the fifth grade, but I never got around to pulling the trigger.  I'm sad like that.  After looking at HD's pics, I felt motivated enough to finally pull the trigger.

My desire for Apeface started waaaay back in the 5th grade when I was living in Niagara Falls, New York.  The Headmasters had just been released, but I only owned Scorponok and later Fortress Maximus.  Yeah, poor, pitiful me.  At any rate, it was well known among my classmates that I was still into Transformers...and I was the only one. The rest of them were busy talking about Debbie Gibson or Tiffany or whatever else was popular back then, but I was still buying Transformers.  Just so it's clear, I had already discovered Guns N' Roses and Iron Maiden by this point, so musically, I was fine.  At any rate, it turned out that there was one fellow Transformer fan in my class - a girl named Mary (I actually want to say that her name was Hillary, but that was a long time ago.).  I don't know if any of you have actually been to Niagara Falls, but it's mostly farm land.  And Mary would constantly invite me over to her house so I could help her slaughter chickens.  Seriously.  Anyway, one day Mary had a present for me - Spasma, Apeface's head!  Mary told me that she wanted me to have him.  I kept Spasma all the way until 2012 when I finally sold him at a nice price to purchase another figure.  So for 26 years, I only had Apeface's head.  Besides, I've had this image floating in my head for far too long:
Seriously, I love Andy Wildman
 Needing a break from eBay, I decided to check out alternate sources for Apeface.  I decided to go with Transformerland, a company I had dealt with before, albeit a number of years ago.  What I like about Transformerland is that they will negotiate, even if they don't budge as much as I like.  Still, a negotiation is a negotiation.  At any rate, I negotiated a bit and got what I felt was a fair price for a complete Apeface with paperwork.  I'll get to the paperwork later.

Apeface transforms into a Cybertronic jet.  The body of the jet is fairly wide-bodied.  Holding the jet, it's a lot heavier than I imagined it would be.  The canopy of the jet opens so Spasma can sit inside.

Jet mode is serviceable enough, but as you can tell looking at the pictures, there is a lot of kibble.  His robot mode arms and fists are plainly visible.  As are the ape mode's feet.  Still, it does look like a jet.

I know I dropped my contact around here...
It was pretty difficult for me to get decent shots of ol' Apeface in his gorilla mode.  Here he is on all fours.  Regardless of the difficulty getting a good shot, this is my favorite mode, by far.  Everyone loves monkeys.  And gorillas.
Here's El gorila invencible standing on his rear haunches, striking at a foe.  My understanding that there are people that make an extension just for the likes of Apeface that will allow for a better overall look of the figure when attaching the head.  I'll have to look into that.
And finally, we have a profile view of Apeface's gorilla mode.  As you can see, there is some kibble hanging off the back there.  Again, the robot mode arms are quite visible.
For those of you that didn't know, Apeface is a triple changer.  So now that I've covered jet and ape mode, we now go into robot mode.  I'm not too fond of this mode, truth be told and it come down to the torso.  The hollowness of the outer-most midsection is just off-putting.  The colors are pretty great, however.  I do have a question that I'm hoping someone would answer for me: should the back kibble look like this?
I feel as though it should stay up better.  The only reason mine looks like this right now is because I repositioned the treads a bit.  Should it be that loose?

As I mentioned earlier, this particular figure came with his paperwork.
In the above picture, we have the catalog, the S.T.A.R.S pack-in flyer, his instructions, tech spec decoder, and what's that?  A sheet of decals that haven't been applied?  But my Apeface has his decals applied already!  That means that I could completely re-do the decals currently on Apeface since I don't really like their placement, or I could part with them.  I have no idea what the value of unapplied decals are, but I know that there are people out there that look for them.  Most likely, I'll just keep them, hoarder that I am.

So 26 years of procrastination have finally borne fruit.  Am I pleased with myself?  You bet.  Is Apeface pretty freaking awesome?  You know it.  Up next, another entry in my ever-expanding collection!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spousal Support

I've noticed a trend over the last year, that has me a bit puzzled.  I'm sure it's been going on longer than a year, but I've never really paid attention to it.  The trend?  Sneaking figures, or trying to plan to sneak them, past one's spouse.  Luckily, I've never had this issue.  My wife has always been pretty understanding when it comes to my collecting and she's always supportive. 

When I first started dating my wife, she had no idea that I was a big dork, but once I finally brought her to my apartment at the time, she discovered it rather quickly.  I had a couple of bookshelves filled with Transformers and 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe figures.  I imagine that she had one singular thought in her head.
 Luckily, she (mostly) bought my excuse that they were childhood toys that I was holding on to for when my son was old enough.  Sucker.  Once she realized that I was adding to the collection, we were engaged and moving into our new house.  Of course, then came the conversation.  You know which one I'm talking about - how much did I spend on toys on average?  How often did I purchase toys?  Did I sacrifice bills or essentials for toys?  I managed to calm her nerves by proving that I only bought what I could afford, when I could afford it.  At that time, we came to an agreement - as long as I didn't blow the bank and stop the family from doing what the family needed or wanted to do, I was free to buy what I liked.  It's an arrangement that is still going to this day.

Eventually, my wife has taken a bit of an interest in my hobby.  She doesn't look for figures for me, she doesn't know any of their names, but she does like to know what's going on.  Her main point of interest was in the displaying of my Transformers.  To that end, she's been actively searching for cases.  After a few misfires, she was successful in finding me a case.

I got the Detolfs a few months ago, but my wife found me the wonderful case in the middle.  Some shop was closing for good and they put it up for sale on Cragslist for the low price of $40.  My wife found the ad, talked to the seller, and I picked it up the following weekend.  There are a few issues with the cabinet, like the doors are missing from the back, and the shelves aren't as wide as I'd like, but once I put it up against the wall, it was fine.  The important thing is that now all of my Masterpiece and most of my G1 figures are now protected from dust.  My Decepticon MP's and G1 Cars are in another case on the opposite wall.  I'll have better pictures of my collection once I get the room cleaned up and looking like I want it.
Here's a bit of a small closeup on the cabinet.  As you can see, I need to paint the bottom shelf there, but that's something that can wait until the weather gets a bit warmer.  All in all, it's an amazing find.  I'm very pleased with how my display looks now.

Having a wife that is accepting of my hobby is something that I find to be very rare.  I've dated a lot of different women (not to brag), and they've all had various levels of disdain for my passions.  While I don't expect, or really want, my wife to be super in to what I'm collecting, it's nice to have someone in my life that doesn't go ballistic whenever I do bring home purchase or when I get excited about some new release that I just read about.  Many of my friends don't have significant others that can say the same thing.  Heck, my wife is actually trying to work with a guy to build me a custom case so I can put all of my bases comfortably in glass to go with the rest of my figures.  I'm truly a lucky guy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monstructor Part VII - Monstructor
Finally, we're at the "big" guy, Monstructor, which if you've seen him before or if you already own him, you know that he's not that big.  In fact, he's woefully small.  Still, I have him, and I'm pretty pleased with myself.  One quick note, however.  The box art that I'm using for Monstructor isn't his actual box art.  Monstructor was never released as a giftset anywhere, so he never actually received box art.  What we see above is a recolored Dinoking.  It was all part of a project to get Monstructor some box art.

I'm not going to go into Monstructor's history in the fiction, because as I've stated before, I don't really like him as a character anymore.
I don't care how cool he looks
What do you get when you combine six small Pretenders?  A gestalt!
Here's Monstuctor in all of his glory.  It's funny how Slog's arms are still visible, but everyone seems to use those as extra T-Rex like appendages, so I'm good with that.  If you could distill the early 90's into one figure, Monstructor would be that distillation.  Notice the color blocking on each figure?  Or the outrageous, almost garish choices of colors?  This is truly a product of it's time.  Yes, I know that he was actually released in 1989, but this was truly a precursor of things to come.

One thing that may shock some of you is that Monstructor really isn't a brick - he actually has some articulation!  His head doesn't turn, and his arms can only move up and down at the shoulders, but he does have some hidden articulation thanks to his combination scheme.

Run, Monstructor!  Run!
That's right, Monstructor has leg articulation!  I've officially decided that he is now the Forrest Gump of the gestalts, running everywhere.  Don't expect to see any shots of Monstructor's arms moving.  GPS prevents that thought from even entering my head.  I'm surprised that I had the courage to move his leg into the above condition.

Have you ever noticed how short Monstructor is?  I've been told before that he's short, but I never really appreciated just how small until I compared him to some other figures.

Here is Monstructor with the grandfather of all combiners, Devastator.  Monstructor comes to Devastator's waist.  That's pretty small.  What about in comparison to a Scramble City type fustilateral quintrocombiner, you make ask?  Take a look for yourself.
How about that?  He's at Menasor's waist as well.  He's just a puny guy.  I feel bad putting in my gestalt cabinet.  Still, he is a combiner, so that's where he will stay.  Say, I wonder how he fares when compared to the Micromaster combiners?  I'll have to get one of those and check it out.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with myself for getting Monstructor.  He was the last US G1 combiner that I needed, and now I have that category completed.  Thanks to the constant stress I'm under over the ticking clock of crumbledom, I can definitely state that I will no longer buy any figures that I can't pose or touch thanks to GPS.  I just feel bad that I have something that I can only stare at, and not touch.  It makes me feel like I'm a kid again and looking at my dad's stereo.

There you have it, after nearly two months, Monstructor is done.  And thus ends the first set of figures that I bought thanks to the influence of someone else.  One thing that I realized while doing all of these Monster Pretenders is that I don't think I'll be doing individual posts on fusilateral quintrocombiners again unless they've done something in the fiction.  I'd really like to thank flywheels for his input on this purchase.  I wonder what the next figure will be?