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
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
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
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
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
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?