Tuesday, July 12, 2022



 1985 was a weird year for me.  Yeah, I got to go to Hawaii, but I then had to leave the lovely environment that was San Francisco, with a beach a 5 minute walk from my apartment, for the city of Long Beach.  I only lived there for something like 8 months, but I did not really enjoy my time there.  One thing I did enjoy?  Getting Blaster!

My parents had this fun tradition every year when they got their tax returns.  It involved dragging me and my brother to electronics stores while my dad looked at stereo equipment.  And we wouldn't just go to one store, we'd go to five or six.  My dad would look for amplifiers, equalizers, tuners, speakers, you name it.  About the only thing he never looked at was turntables, because he had some high end Technics turntable that he just adored.  He still has it.  After doing all of that, we'd hit music stores where he and my mom would then look for albums.  This would be the entire day.

There are scenes in the show "The Big Bang Theory" where they're flipping through comics, and saying "Got it" with each issue as they pass it.  That's my parents at a record store.  Their vinyl collection was pretty massive back in the day.  My mom would pull up say Blue Oyster Cult's "Agents of Fortune", and my dad would look over his glasses and say "I have that one already."  As a kid, man, there was nothing more boring than that.  As an adult?  I'd kill to do that these days.

Childhood Blaster in boombox mode, with vintage (r) and box-style reissue

Before being dragged off to shop all day for "adult" things, my parents would placate me and my brother by taking us to Toys R Us and letting us pick out a toy to play with while we were tagging along.  On this particular trip I picked the greatest red, yellow, and gray Autobot of all time.  

Photo from TFWiki

I had no clue about his past as a Micro Change past, so the opening compartment made me angry.  No cassettes?  Major gyp.  I didn't know that in about a year, we'd have four cassettes for Blaster to partner up with.  Another couple of years later, we'd get yet another two.  It's a far cry from what Soundwave got, but it was enough.

 The best part about having Blaster was walking around with him on my shoulder pretending that some raging tunes were blaring out of him.  Usually Boston or Pink Floyd.  I took him everywhere.  One week, while attending Hart Elementary School in Long Beach, California, I was the student of the week for my 3rd grade class.  There was a form that I had to fill out so the other kids could get to know me better (Favorite food?  Lasagna.  Favorite color?  Blue).  I also got to bring in something that represented me.  Guess who I brought?  

Photo from TFWiki


Thanks to a few past incidents and my parents' paranoia, I wasn't really allowed to take my toys out of the house unless my parents were with me.  This didn't really stop me from sneaking toys out of the house and to school.  If I really wanted the kids at this new school to know me better, I had to have Blaster there. I found out once I brought him to school that Blaster had to stay there the entire freaking week.  That was going to be hard to cover up.  Once my mom found out, I was grounded for a week.  Let that be a lesson to everyone.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Rumble and Ravage

Rumble and Ravage

I had no idea what a Transformer was the first time I saw the Rumble and Ravage 2-pack in 1984. We were  visiting my father's family in San diego and decided to got to a Mervyn's department store when I saw it. This two pack ignited my imagination and stayed in my life for the next 38 years:  
Photo: Walmart.com

That's actually the Walmart exclusive reissue, but I did spy the original that fateful day.  I remember looking at my mom and asking if I could get the toys showing the panther attacking the man.  Look, I was 7 and didn't know any better.  My mom, in typical-my-mom-fashion, told me that I didn't need it and dragged my out of there before I had a chance to ask again.  I'm sure I spent the drive back to San Francisco pouting over it.

Fast forward to 1985,  My dad was doing his normal out to sea for six months on a navy cruise.  I used to love when my dad went out to sea, especially when we lived in California.  When dad went out on these six month cruises, my brother and I would get packages filled with toys from overseas.  Standouts that I remember receiving in some of these packages were Super Deformed Robotech toys, and way-too-fragile-for-a 6-or-7-year-old small Veritech fighters.  I remember breaking one just trying to figure out what it was.

This trip out, we didn't receive our normal package of toys.  What we got instead was a phone call from dad asking my mom when my birthday was because my dad was bad at that kind of stuff.  It turned out that my forthcoming eighth birthday was arriving at the right time because I was old enough to join my dad on a Tiger Cruise,.  A few weeks later, I was placed on an airplane, without parental supervision, and I flew from San Francisco all the way to Honolulu, Hawaii where I was going to jump onto my dad's ship and sail back to San Francisco, which would take about a week. There were other kids on the flight that were also doing the cruise, but there wasn't a group chaperone just a bunch of kids aged 8 and up left to their own devices.

I don't remember a lot from the flight other than it was long.  I do recall having a little yellow card that had a picture of a tiger, said "Tiger Cruise," and had my name handwritten on it.  I kept in my Velcro wallet and produced it anytime I went to ask for more soda.  My parents wouldn't let me drink soda at home, so I took full advantage of the soda that was presented to me. I do remember being extremely certain that Barbara Billingsley, June Cleaver herself, was on my flight and sitting across the aisle from me.  To this day, I still don't know if that was true or not but I want to believe it was true.

Sadly, we didn't get to talk jive

After what seemed like a never ending flight, I finally landed in Honolulu.  I told the kids that I had met on the plane that were also part of the Tiger Cruise that I'd see them on the ship.  Their dads had met them at the airport gate, but I was still trying to figure out where mine was.  A Filipino man walked up and told me that my dad, tied up at work, sent him to get me and bring me back to the ship.  I was 8, but I wasn't stupid.  I refused to go with this guy, I just kept saying that he wasn't my dad and I refused to move.  I'll never forget the guy just repeating over and over that my dad had sent him.  Sorry, but I wasn't about to be kidnapped.  My parents had already burned Adam Walsh into my head and there was no way I was going to let that happen to me.  

I could tell that this stranger was getting exasperated with me, but he sure as hell was trying his all to get me to come with him.  Just as I was getting ready to just run away and scream, my dad, the Filipino I was expecting, walked up and I ran to him pointing to the stranger and telling him that he was trying to get me to go with him.  The guy looked at my dad and said "Mendy (dad's nickname), you have one stubborn boy."  Dad started laughing and told me that he sent his friend to get me because he was stuck at the ship, but he got free and came to get me.  Guess that guy was telling the truth.  After thanking his friend, my dad said he was proud of me and wanted to reward me. A shop at the airport had the Rumble and Ravage set, so I got it.

Encore 19 Rumble


Rumble, was a great figure to have. I didn't put it together that Rumble in the cartoon was blue, while the toy was red and black.  It just wasn't something that was on my radar.  As much as I love the figure now, I can't recall being too attached to it at the time.  I don't even remember anything about the guy after I initially got him.

As far as I was concerned, Ravage was the real star of this set.  I took him everywhere I went on the ship.  Playing the Popeye arcade game? Ravage was right there with me.  Trying to catch a shark using a rope and an orange?  Ravage was in my pocket because I wasn't going to risk a shark getting him.  This jaguar had been one of my most wanted figures since 1984, there was no way I was going to put him in harm's way.

"Do you know how awesome I am?" Photo from TFWiki

Everything I loved about Ravage came from the G1 cartoon series.  Shadow lurking, ferocity, growling, being caught in cages - all characteristics that seared into my brain from the show.  It seemed like he was a showcased character, and I believe he was used more than Laserbeak,  He even shows up in Season 3 in "Call of the Primitives," which features arguably the best animation in the entire run of the show.  

Ravage in space!  Photo: TFWiki

After a few days of playing around the ship with Ravage, I lost him.  Luckily, a kid on the ship found him and gave him back to me, so that was nice.  A few days later, I was back in San Francisco, reunited with the rest of my family and feeling a little closer to my dad.  My brother kept asking me how I got new Transformers and he didn't, but since I was sworn to silence, I told him I found them on the ship.

Sadly, we got news shortly after getting home that The Roanoke was transferring from San Francisco to Long Beach.  I don't remember any of the 3 previous moves before out relocation to San Francisco, but I certainly remember this one.  I don't know if it's still the case or not, but anytime we moved, the movers were the ones that packed the house up.  A couple of big guys walked into my room, picked up my toy box and dumped all of the contents into a giant cardboard box.  Everything I owned was just casually dropped into this box without regard for the safety of any contents.  I'm fairly certain that they never even checked to see if everything made it in because once we were settled into our new place in Long Beach, the only thing I had left of Ravage was a missile.  Rumble?  Just his freaking head.  

Thank Primus for reissues.  As Rumble and Ravage have been re-released, I've picked up each iteration.  It's amazing that the mold has held up after so many uses.  I'm thoroughly impressed that the tooling is that resilient.  Unless they've redone the tooling and I wasn't aware.  I still need to grab a set of vintage guys, but I'd need to find room for them first.  Like that's ever been a real concern for me.

Monday, May 2, 2022

New Direction - The Writer Rambles

 It's been a long time since I've updated this space.  There are many reasons why I stepped away from writing this blog, but it essentially all boils down to I wasn't having a good time.  It just became a huge hassle trying to stay on top of new releases and finding something to say that wasn't some regurgitation of what every other person was saying just proved difficult.   I couldn't stand the way my photography was turning out; the more I tried, the worse it seemed to look to me.  This endeavor took more and more of my time, and it just wasn't fun. The toll on my mood and mental health was just too much for me, so I just stopped.

Roughly two years ago, the itch returned for creating new content for the blog.  I even had an idea on what I wanted to do!  I have four children, ranging in age from 16 through 7.  My youngest son, 7, is just full of questions, and always has been.  One of his favorite pastimes is asking me questions about figures in my collection, followed a close second with questions about my life growing up.  If there's one thing that I can do, it's talk about myself.

So, with a new direction, and renewed energy, this blog should be easy to write, right?  That's what I thought, but then a severe case of writer's block hit me.  How severe?  Well, I've been working on writing this one entry for the last year, so fairly severe. Luckily, a confluence of factors led to the proverbial floodgates opening.

It's funny when you think about things like your own identity.  I know who I am, right?  The answer to that question proved to be a lot harder to answer than I initially thought.  After all, I'm just some dude that likes toys and talking about himself.  But, the more I thought about how I wanted to approach this site, and how I wanted to talk to my children about what my life was like, the more difficulty I seemed to be having.  

For those of you who don't know, I'm half Filipino, and half white.  Before you form a picture in your mind, my parentage is the opposite of what you have in mind.  My dad is Filipino, and was in the US Navy for 20 years.  He came to the US by joining the military during the Vietnam War, and he met my white mother after living here for a few years.  

Growing up, I knew that I wasn't like the rest of my friends, who were for the most part, white or black.  My dad was raised in the Philippines with the dream of coming to America already drilled into his head by his father.  My dad was given American comic books, listened to American music, all that kind of stuff.  Sure, he had a thick accent, but he was pretty damn American by the time he hit these shores.  And because he was groomed to be American, his kids were going to be, certainly.  As a result, I didn't know any other Asian kids.  My dad made sure I only knew English.  Hell, I remember having to get my mom to tell me what dad told me because I couldn't understand his accent.  I pretty much just thought of myself as a white kid.  As I grew older, that started to change because I was getting all of the fun questions like "What are you?" or "Where are you from?"

Being a kid that moved a lot (Navy brat), I leaned into stereotypes and made light of my Filipino heritage to make friends and gain acceptance.  Sure, every once in awhile, I'd get irritated and strike back at whatever stupid racist joke someone was trying to throw my way, but for the most part, I just took it.  But with age, comes a semblance of self-assurance. What really helped my sense of self was just talking to my children, especially my 13 year old daughter.  She's so self assured as to who she is and proudly Asian, even if she's only 1/4 Filipino.  The kid is so inspiring in that regard.  

Something else that's helped my immensely in rediscovering my love of Transformers and not just in hoarding things is becoming more active in the Transformer fandom.  Facebook, and all of the "fan" groups there really drove me away from interacting with others.  Know what rekindled that?  Twitter, of all places.  I find Twitter to be an incredible place to meet like-minded fans.  Without those interactions over the last two years or so, I probably wouldn't have even thought about doing this blog again.

This has been quite a rambling opening statement, so I'll get to the point about what this blog is now going to be about.  Simply put, it's going to be me discussing a figure, or figures, and talking about that period of my life.  The hope is that after I'm long gone, my children will have this repository of my gook stories to show their children what their grandfather was like and what he dealt with in his life.  If this is something that you think you might be interested in, welcome aboard!  Doesn't sound like a good idea to you?  Thanks for stopping by anyway.  Let's see how this fares.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Decepticon Small Headmasters Fangry and Squeezeplay

I'm on the march to the end of the US G1 line, and it's been a slow, cumbersome process to get there.
Currently, I'm at a point where getting good specimens are going to be expensive, or there are characters that I couldn't really care about.  Seriously, getting excited about Micromasters is just hard.  The exciting thing is that I'm finishing a ton of subgroups along the way.  Recently, I completed the Decepticon small Headmasters when I got Squeezeplay and Fangry.
We'll start with Fangry since I purchased him first.  The interesting thing about the small Decepticon Headmasters is that the beast modes are comprised of two different animals.  For Fangry those animals are a wolf and a bat.  I think, I'm not entirely sure.  Based on some good old fashioned Andrew Wildman art, the wolf part is definitely right.
Man, could Wildman draw.  Love that guy.  Anyway, Fangry in real life does not look like that.

Fangry has a transformation scheme that I wasn't expecting.  His head goes where is, um, butt is and his tail splits into arms.  As far as robot modes go, it isn't horrible, but it isn't spectacular.  The purple just reminds me of late 80's Decepticons for some reason.  I keep wanting to say that Fangry is Roadgrabber for some reason, and I think it's because they use the same shade of purple.
Squeezeplay wound up being my favorite of all of the small Headmasters, Autobot and Decepticon.  He's supposed to be a crab monster thing.  I guess the claws are crab-like, but I'm also seeing some sort of snake.  Or I'm just wrong.  Either way, it still looks better than Fangry and Horri-Bull, even with the teeny, tiny legs.
The only downside to Squeezeplay is the monster head drooping down on his backside, there.  For the record, I wound up buying an unused Squeezeplay that was barely attached to the bubble, but Lokos was still sealed.  As you can see, he isn't unused anymore, but I still haven't busted open the packet containing the paperwork.
I think that Squeezeplay may be the most articulated G1 figure ever.  Dude can just straight pose.  Waist articulation and bending knees?  Hell yes.  Almost Masterpiece level, right there.  This is how I have him in my display case.  Just simply stunning.
Final shot: all three small Headmasters together.  Such a nice, nice grouping.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

MP-36 Megatron

Oh boy, the big one, Masterpiece Megatron.  I knew that at some point Takara would work to update the horrible thing that was MP-05, a figure so bad that I put him in my closet a couple of months ago.  I'm still not sure what to do with him, but that's not what I set out to talk about.  What I want to talk about is how incredible MP-36 is.  I sincerely think that this is what the entire Masterpiece line has been leading up to.
I can't believe that I let this guy sit at my mailbox at the UPS Store for almost a week before I picked him up and then waited almost two weeks after that before I even opened him.  I was hesitant on what to do with him since I wasn't super excited about him when he arrived.  Reading so many rumblings about scratching pain, parts breaking off and just poor QC gave me pause.  Couple that with the fact that I knew that I'd be getting a Megatron with orange plugs that I wasn't sure would come off, and I was just unsure of what I wanted to do with him.
Upon opening him up, I don't know what all of the complaints were about.  Megatron 2.0 is a delight.  I don't think I've ever handled a better Transformer.  Ever.  There are no wasted parts or details on this guy.  In more capable hands, there would be an infinite amount of awesome poses, but I'm not that guy; I'm still working on it.
Transforming into gun mode had me pretty nervous.  I've seen pics of what people have done to their Megatrons through forcefully putting pieces into place.  My MP-05 Megatron broke on his first transformation, so I've been extra careful with figures since that fateful day, but I sweat still poured from my brow while I slowly folded, slid, and moved parts to and fro.  At one point, I even looked up different YouTube videos just to make sure I was doing things correctly.  All in all, I think it took me about an hour to transform him for the first time.  It took me about two minutes to get him back to robot mode after that.  Perhaps I was being a tad bid overly cautious, but I didn't want to break something that I had spent so much money on.  Oh, as far as the scuffing on the barrel in concerned?  Never happened.
I'll admit that the Megatron 2.0's price point had me a little concerned at first.  It seems like the prices on Masterpiece figures seem to be going up all of the time.  Once I had Megatron in hand, that price was damn worth it.  This guy has a plethora of accessories and swappable faces.  I didn't photo them all, but they're all incredible, like the mace.  Takara has been forcing the energy mace on every Megatron release since the book-style series it seems, and this is the first time I really enjoyed it.  It's proportioned much better than all former versions.
The chain from the mace can be removed and replaced with a jointed piece and I really dig it.  Takara really nailed this accessory.
There's the obligatory pistol from The Transformers: The Movie, but I'll spare everyone the ubiquitous setup shots form the movie.  I'm also not going to showcase all of the battle damaged parts that come with Megatron.
The accessory that I like the least would be the sword. Yeah, I get the significance of it all, and I know it's place, but I still think it's cheesy.  This one is much improved over the one that came with MP-05 and it even breaks down into two pieces so Megs can hold just the sword hilt.
 Megatron loves walking among his troops.
Megatron is a stone cold killer, and I think that this pic conveys that feeling. I may redo this picture with a better setup and more bodies.
Finally, someone to lead my Decepticon army.  Hopefully we'll get more Decepticons in the near future.  Aside from the Megaplex repaint, that is.
Masterpiece Megatron 2.0 is the ultimate Masterpiece figure, in my opinion.  It's been six years since MP-10 was released. ushering a new age of unified scale, and those six years have been leading up to this bad boy.  Don't have him?  Go get him.  Now.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Pic from www.botchthecrab.com
After what seemed like an eternity (well, 29 years), I have finally completed the Decepticon Targetmasters with the addition of Quake.  And there was much rejoicing in the kingdom!  By the way, Quake's pic totally makes him look like a Headmaster.

While jets are the most ubiquitous of Decepticon alt-modes, tanks seem to follow a close second.  It's a shame that the turret doesn't turn, but the tank itself is spectacular.  The maroon and grey is a nice look.  Say what you will about the garishness of the late 1980's and early 1990's, but they sometimes found some interesting color combinations.
This is not a tank that I'd go after on the battlefield, not that I'd be chasing after tanks anyway.
Quake's turret is removable and the Nebulons can be positioned in it's place.  This isn't a look that I necessarily like, but I do see how play value can be added.  Now I know why the turret doesn't move.
Quake is tall.  Like really tall.  I think that thanks to his transformation scheme, he's taller than Powermaster Optimus Prime.  Ok, he isn't that tall, but he's pretty damn tall.  He's certainly the tallest of the Decepticon Double Targetmasters.
Quake instantly became my favorite of the Decepticon Double Targetmasters when I realized that he can be posed a bit thanks to the way he transforms.  Any G1 figure that can move his head is just the bee's knees to me.  And this is just a great pose.
And with Quake, I can finally take this picture!  All Decepticon Targetmasters are accounted for!  Now I just need to finish those pesky Decepticon Headmasters.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


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...