Friday, May 30, 2014

We Care a LOT

"We care about the Transformers 'cause they're more than meets the eye."
-Faith No More "We Care A Lot"

That's the only song that I could think of that had the words "Transformers" and "lot" in it.  It kind of relates to what I'm about to talk about.  Just give it a chance.

It seems as though I'm constantly running across people on the Internet that have incredible luck finding others selling job lots of Transformers for incredibly cheap.  I've always wanted to do something like that, but I've never had any luck.  As I've mentioned before, pickings are slim in my area.  Craigslist ads usually sell nothing more than current figures, or figures from the movies.  The local picking scene is just as bad.  It just sucks trying to find anything here.  Did people my age just not get toys around here?  Are they just keeping them?

About two weeks ago, I decided to do my monthly check on Craigslist.  There was the guy selling about 30 figures from the various movies for $1750, and a couple other ads for people selling comics.  Craigslist has a nice feature that will show ads from other cities if there aren't any ads locally, and I always check those.  This time, this time I found something.  A seller in Pensacola, FL had a job lot of figures for sale.  He wanted $200 and it included quite a few figures.  Judging from the pictures, there were a few Go-Bots as well.  What piqued my interest in this particular lot was a Scorponok body with some accessories, a complete Hardhead, what looked to be complete Spinister, a Gnaw missing an arm and tail, and a mostly complete Horri-Bull.  That alone was worth it to me.  Pensacola was only a 45 minute drive away, so I first contacted Flywheels and Brr-Icy to make sure that it seemed to be as good a deal as I believed it to be.  They agreed, and I contacted the seller.

After a short trip, and meeting, I had a box of figures in my possession.  The seller mentioned that he had other offers on the figures, but they were from people out of the area that wanted him to ship, and he wasn't interested in doing that.  He also informed me that he had more figures that he had to dig out and as soon as I did, I'd be the first person to be contacted.  Score. So, what did I get?  Let's take a look.
Here's a rough view.  There were also some very rough condition Constructicons with loads of rust on them.  As you can see, there's a complete Sixshot, but he has some missing chrome on a wheel.  Repugnus still has working sparks!  Longtooth came with the inner robot, but the hood had broken off, and Bomb-Burst is missing the wings.  It's hard to tell, but there's a rough condition Ravage in there as well, minus guns.  Where's Scorponok, you ask?  Well, I sold him before I took these pictures.  Here are the pics I used to sell him.

Not a bad little haul.  I also got a Sludge that Flywheels wanted, so off he went.  The Go-Bots went to my kids since they really wanted something from the haul.  I'm okay with that. 

I've listed everything on eBay and should have all that sold within the week.  I basically broke everything in to lots, minus Sixshot, and set them up as auctions.  As long as I pay for the cost of the $200 purchase, I'm happy.  I kept Hardhead, Horri-Bull, Spinister, and Gnaw.  I got two complete figures, and two missing easily attainable parts for essentially free if I can get everything sold.  Isn't that what it's all about?  I'll have detailed reviews of the figures that I kept further down the line.  For now, they're in line behind everything else that arrived first.  By then I should have Gnaw and Horri-Bull complete. 


Monday, May 26, 2014

Deep Cover
Over a decade ago, I saw a preorder on for a black version of Sideswipe.  I don't remember what the preorder price was, but I remember remarking to myself about how foolish it was for Takara to release it.  It wasn't a real Transformer, I told myself.  It wasn't official, I reasoned.  I even went so far as to mention this on the Allspark's message board.  I had no idea about the significance of the reasoning behind the release.  I also didn't realize that eHobby wasn't a division of Takara.

I had a passing knowledge of Diaclone that I had picked up over the last few years.  By that I mean that I knew that Diaclone was a thing and that the Transformers came form this line.  But I knew more than my friends, so there was that.  After I decided to start this blog two years ago, my knowledge of Diaclones expanded greatly.  Thanks to Heroic Decepticon's blog, Maz at the TFSource blog, and the TFWiki, my knowledge both increased and felt pitiful at the same time.  I had no idea that there were so many variations of early Transformer releases that I had loved as a kid.  A police car version of Sunstreaker?  A red Hoist?

Then Heroic Decepticon had to run across a figure that still floats into my head from time to time:  the heretofore unknown Black Diaclone Sideswipe.  After reading about it and seeing the glorious pictures of black Sideswipe, my mind wouldn't let it go.  Will I ever own such a rare figure?  No, not ever.  I could, however, own the eHobby version.  I've been thinking about a owning Deep Cover ever since I learned about HD's find.  The price; the price just always seemed too steep for some reason.  Finally, I just couldn't stand the thought anymore and decided to pull the trigger.
Deep Cover is the source of a...discussion between my wife and myself over whether or not I should open him, but since he's mine, I opened him.  He is stupendous.  First, the box is pretty.  The G1 grid coupled with the nice big window just looks gorgeous.  The tech spec card being so prominent is a first for me.  I'm used to seeing those bagged with the instructions.
Once Deep Cover was out of the box, I was struck by just how powerful a simple switch from red to black can make a figure.  I've always been fond of the Sideswipe mold, but it just looks much more impressive in black.  The addition of the gold police shield is a nice touch as well.
Here we have my Takara Collection Sideswipe with Deep Cover.  The black just looks so much more imposing.  I know that the red Lamborghini was all the rage back in the 1980's, but I still like the black better.
Here are Sideswipe and Deep Cover in robot mode.  I thought that I had taken pictures of Deep Cover by himself, but who knows what I shoot at 2am?  As you can see, all of the blacks on Sideswipe were swapped with blues for Deep Cover.  Even the missile launcher was cast in a blue plastic.  The impression that I get from this assortment of colors is that Deep Cover can blend into the shadows if needed. 

Deep Cover is a figure that I didn't necessarily need; if I had skipped him, I would have been fine.  My collection wouldn't feel incomplete with the omission of a Japanese exclusive figure that is a homage to a Japanese precursor to the Transformers.  Especially since the focus of my collection is the US run.  Still, having him makes my collection feel more robust.  Certainly I'm happier for having him.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Unvincible One Part II!
Part I of my coverage of Whirl focused on his Generation One figure.  Now, let's look at his new Generations figure.

Everyone knows why Whirl got another figure - he's been an incredibly popular and vital member of the Lost Light crew since Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye launched a couple of years ago.  And everyone knows that the Generations version of Whirl is nothing like the Whirl depicted in the comics and is more or less a faithful update of his Generation One figure, with a very little of his IDW version to show.
As you can tell, Whirl's head isn't as blocky as his G1 counterpart.  There are some rounded angles to the shape.  Perhaps the biggest thing taken from Alex Milne's design are the bird-like legs. They're different, and I rather like them.  The arms are a little lanky, but the shoulders can push into the body, something I didn't figure out until I had already taken these pictures.  You can read more about this feature at the great 'Til All Are Mine blog.  Of course, this wouldn't be a proper update to G1 Whirl without a plethora of weaponry.
All of Whirl's weapons feature c-clips so they can be combined, or attached just about anywhere.  I've decided that for now, Whirl will be displayed in a manner befitting his G1 figure. 
Here's a profile shot of Whirl where you can see his armaments a bit better.
Unvincible x2!
Of course, there has to be the obligatory shot of G1 and Generations Whirl.
Whirls' helicopter mode is pretty fantastic, in my opinion.  It's really evokes the Airwolf feel of the original.  Keeping with the G1 theme, Generations whirl comes with a decal sheet.  The instructions for the decal sheet are horrendous and led to me looking at my G1 Whirl to figure out a few details for placement.  Hasbro really wanted to get this guy as close to G1 as possible.  His canopy even opens.
Here's Whirl all gunned up.  Again, weapon placement is up to the individual.
Two generations of Whirl, side by side, ready to take on some Decepticreeps.
I'm not entirely sure why, but Generations Whirl has been endowed with a third mode - Gerwalk.  It's clever, but I've always felt that gerwalk worked better with jets.  Just look at any Robotech fighter.  Or, you know, Jetfire.  I'm sure that the designers thought that it was a good idea, but I'd rather see this on the upcoming Generations Jetfire. 

Even when the lackluster gerwalk mode, I'm happy with this figure.  Sure, some of the joints are super tight, and the struts for the legs are razor thin and make me think that I'm going to break them at any moment, but Whirl is a very solid figure.  I understand that there are stores out there with literally dozens of Whirls just sitting on their shelves.  Why this is a shelf-warmer, I don't know, but everyone should grab one. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Variety of Life

I collect toys, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog.  My focus has always been on Transformers.  There have been other lines that I've collected throughout my life, but they've always been short lived.  Anything that takes away the focus from my one and only love becomes a distraction in my eyes.  It's like cheating on my wife, I suppose.  However, certain feelings have started to surface that have me rethinking that position.  Not the cheating on my wife part.  I'd never do that.

The main reason that I've stuck with a Transformers only habit is because I tend to become focused on whatever it is that I'm on at the time.  That's what an addictive personality does to a person.  I can't count the number of other lines I've collected over the years that I just stopped when I realized that I was getting too involved; but I'm not going to get into abandoned collections now.  However, during these excursions, my focus and what I wanted to do with my Transformer collection became clearer with each abandoned line.  Maybe doing that on a regular basis will help me to be a better collector.  I know that I started the year with a better picture of what I wanted the end result of my collection to be, but here we are, 5 months later, and I'm having trouble even deciding what to buy next.  Even when the opportunity presents itself, I find myself balking at each turn.  So I think that I may branch into a few other toy lines to get the juices flowing back to the Transformers.


When I purchased Jetfire last year, something started to stir within me.  I had long been battling the urge to purchase a Robotech figure since I rediscovered my Alpha fighter in my parents' attic over a decade ago.  It's still in storage in my garage, and I pull it out every now and again to satisfy an urge, but that's been about it.  And yes, Maz has been doing his Macross project, but using his project as an excuse for me to get back into this line is me telling myself a lie.  I've been watching auctions on eBay for the better part of 5 years now for Beta fighters, and Veritech fighters.  I've nearly pulled the trigger on a Masterpiece Robotech figure on BigBadToyStore so many times that it's hard to fathom.

I have Rook's Alpha.  This picture is actually from the Toy Archive since I'm too lazy to take a picture of it.
While my favorite part of the Robotech series was always the third arc, dealing with the Invid, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want any of the Veritech fighters.  There are actually only two that I'm at all interested in: Max and Miryia Sterling's fighters.  But only with the armor.
With the Veritechs, they would have to be 1/55 scale to match up with Jetfire, otherwise what's the point?  As far as the remaining Alpha's?  They'd have to be the 8" versions to match up with Rook.  I actually had all three at one point in time, but I was very rough with my toys, even at 11.  Still the price is a bit prohibitive for a distraction.  I did preorder the Max and Miryia Toynami 30th Anniversary 1/100 scale figures.  Still, there isn't anything like 1/55.


I owned a few M.A.S.K. figures and vehicles as a kid, but I was never really in love with that series.  The only three vehicles that I ever really liked were the Thunderhawk, Condor, and Piranha.  I owned the Thunderhawk and Condor, but never the Piranha.
Unlike the Robotech figures, M.A.S.K figures are pretty cheap to come by, as long as they're from the first couple of waves.  There's even a store selling a MISB Piranha down the street for me for like $90 that I'm sure I can haggle down based on the condition of the box.  Definitely something to think about. 


Specifically, the Gundam Wing series.  I'm a huge, huge fan of Gundam Wing, but I'm extremely ambivalent about the rest of it.  But out of all of the Gundam in Gundam Wing, there are three that I love above all else: Deathscythe, Sandrock, and Heavy Arms.  When Gundam mania started here around 1999 or 2000, the little Bandai figures where everywhere.  I had so many Gundam figures that I lost count.  Then I gave them all away.  The reasons were various, but he main two reasons were that I started to get down about the plastic quality, and I started to rediscover my love of Transformers.  Really, if the figures were a bit bigger and a little more articulated, I'd still have them.  Bandai seems to have found a way to get me to give them my money: the Bandai Tamashii Nations line of figures.  Heavy Arms looks beautiful.
As does Deathscythe.

These figures are about 6" tall and only run around $50.  That's pretty cheap compared to what I pay for imported Transformers.  Or when I used to import CDs from Germany.  Thank goodness for the Internet, but I'm digressing.  These figures are very doable and shouldn't impact the expansion of my Transformer collection and definitely worth looking into.

I think that distractions can be a good thing, and studies have shown this to be true.  Then again, it's not like I'm having serious troubles; these are just toys, after all.  I think - after I've just spent all of this time writing this piece - that I want something else to look at.  Don't get me wrong, Transformers are awesome, but sometimes, sometimes we need some variety. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Continuing with the overall goal for this year, I have yet another Transformer from the 1985 assortment.  This time, we're going to look at Ransack, the Deluxe Insecticon warrior.  I purchased him with his box and an unused set of decals for what I consider a steal at the first part of the year.
Being a figure that was imported by Hasbro from Takatoku Toys, and not Takara, Ransack was not featured in either the animated series or the comic.  This seems to be a running theme of the 1985 assortment.  Like many of the non-Takara produced figures, Ransack didn't start making appearances in fiction until Dreamwave decided to use him.
Ransack and his fellow Takatoku brethren in Micromaster #1 by Dreamwave.
Once that happened, Ransack started to show up all over the place.  He's shown up in the Devil's Due G.I. Joe vs the Transformers series, 3H comics, and multiple issues of the IDW comics as well as the Regeneration One continuity.  This is one in demand bot!
Ransack's alt-mode is a locust.  It's a fairly good looking mode.  The black, yellow, and orange make for a good grouping of colors.  His antennae are moveable, for what reason, I'm not entirely sure.  The wings move up and down as well to simulate a flying action.
I do have a few issues with Ransack once he's in robot mode, however.  If you notice the box art at the top of this review, Ransack is holding his shield in a way that might actually be useful.  He's doing the same with his gun.  Try that with figure and prepare to be disappointed.  Unlike the other Deluxe Insecticon that I currently own, Venom, Ransack is unable to move his arms up and down.  His arms move to the side, and that's about it.  As a matter of fact, that's the only articulation Ransack has besides the wings that flip up, which is a shame, really.
Lack of articulation aside, Ransack is a very nice figure to look at. 
This is the box that I got with the Ransack.  I didn't get the insert, but I'm not really concerned about boxes or inserts.  The price tag from Kay Bee stores is still on it, and I find that more fascinating than the box itself. Seeing price tags just reminds me of the good old days, I suppose.
My particular Ransack box has an "AM" sticker on it.  Some boxed samples had this sticker, some didn't.  I used to know what that meant, but I can't remember now for the life of me.  If anyone has any info on this, please let me know.
Back of the box.  Sadly, the Robot Points were cut out, but I still have the tech spec, and most importantly, the awesome box art showing a red Tracks gunning for Jetfire.
The seller did include a tech spec decoder, the instructions, and an unused decal sheet, however.  As you can see, they're in rough shape.  It's still nice to have them.

Well, that's two Deluxe Insecticons in the collection, and another 1985 figure added.  There are only a few left for me to get, and only 7 more months to get them.  Will I get them all before the year's up?  Most likely, but it's always fun to add a little suspense.  Next week, we change things up a bit by reviewing a Transformer that I purchased.  Hope everyone's okay with that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Birthday Decisions

I turned 37 last week, and my wife had difficulty getting me a present.  I'm a hard person to shop for, she tells me.  Then again, everyone tells me that.  As such, this year, the responsibility of getting me a perfect gift falls to me.  Guess, what?  I really am a hard guy to shop for.  So much so that I pushed this week's article back a week just so I could ask for input.  Input, you ask?  Yes - I want your help in deciding what I'm getting myself for my birthday!  Without further ado, here are the list of candidates!

First, we have Chop Shop, one of the Deluxe Insecticons.  My stated goal for the year is to complete the 1985 line, and this would certainly help towards that goal.
Barrage, see above for reasons.  I do really like his color scheme.
I LOVE Pretenders.  I don't think that's a secret.  However, I still have so many left to get.  Chainclaw has always intrigued me.  He's a pretender with an animal alt-mode.  Plus, his animal shell is a freaking bear.  Bears are awesome, although, I really wish that there was a panda one.  Pandas are awesome.
I've been putting off a Cloudburst purchase pretty much since I got back into collecting.  I currently own the inner robot, and he's missing a foot.  I also have the gun, helmet and the front half of the shell.  My dream auction has me finding the foot, whip, and back half of the shell for under $20. This will never happen.
Ah, Carnivac.  He's a wolf!  Wolves are cool.  Especially if you have two of them on one shirt.  Anyway, I've gotten a lot of Autobots this year, so perhaps a Decepticon addition is in order?
I don't know if Floro Dery is just horrible at designing Transformers, or if Hasbro/Takara did a bad job at translating those designs into plastic.  I'm certain that the fault can't lie with Takara.  I have never really liked the 1986 figures, Magnus excluded.  Then again, Dery didn't touch Magnus, now did he?  Still, Scourge here is the last of the Decepticon Jets that I need.  Unless I decided that I need 3 more so I can have Sweeps.  I...I don't think I need that many.
Springer is the last Triple Changer that I need to complete the set.  Well, I need a new body for my childhood Sandstorm, and the tanker cover for my childhood Octane, but that's another matter.  While I've always lusted over owning Springer again, they proliferation of KOs has pretty much assured that I wouldn't purchase one without a lot of forethought and research.  I'm also lazy and pressed for time nowadays.  For the most part, when I see a Springer on eBay, if he looks too new, I think it's a KO.  This means that I'll get a plastic chest version with some defects for my peace of mind.  Most likely.

Ok, that's it for the candidates.  Let me know which way you think I should go!  If you're at all familiar with prices, you'll notice that all of these guys are pretty close in price, with the exception of Cloudburst and Chop Shop.  I pretty much gave myself a limited budget because I don't believe in having a lot of money spent on myself by others.  Even if the money is coming from my bank account.  Besides, I spend enough money throughout the year on toys.  And we all know that Christmas is the time for expensive gifts...

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Unvincible One! Part I!
It's the unvincible one himself - Whirl!  I've been after Whirl pretty much since I got back into the collecting game nearly 15 years ago?  What was holding me back?  Truth be told, other figures.  Every time I would think about purchasing Whirl, I'd end up getting another figure.  Finally, I decided to make a concerted effort to get all of the figures from the 1985 line that I kept neglecting within the year.  First on my list?  Why Whirl, of course!

As a kid, Whirl never really factored into my collecting habits.  He wasn't featured on the show, and he was never in the comic; at least the US version that I had access to.  The only reason that I even remembered him at all was because I had pretty much memorized the 1985 catalog.  Thanks to his prominent role in IDW's Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, I was relatively concerned about prices.  After consulting with flywheels, I think I came up with a decent price range for a complete Whirl and got to work looking.  After about a week, I found one with a price that didn't make me convulse.

Whirl's helicopter mode is awesome, especially for something designed in the '80's.  He was originally released in Japan by Takatoku Toys in the Dorvack line.  In the Dorvack line, he was a much darker blue.  I won't go into the original version as I don't own one, and Maz at the TFSource Blog has already done an amazing job detailing the origins of this figure.  I highly recommend reading it.  

Whirl wouldn't be an early 80's figure if he didn't have space for a humanoid figure to sit.  There is a variant version of Whirl that has raised ridges on the canopy, but I could care less about that.  As you can see above, my Whirl came decal free, as preferred.  I took these pictures in early January and I've already acquired Reprolabels to make him look better.  Time constraints and, frankly, laziness, have prevented me from using those pictures.
Sadly, the rubsign is destroyed.  Always pay attention to pictures on an auction!
Whirl comes with four weapons, two of which attach to the helicopter mode giving it an Airwolf feel. 
Transformation is pretty standard.  Once transformed, Whirl doesn't really look like he belongs in the line.  He is very different aesthetically from the rest of his brethren.  For starters, there's the single eye that looks more like a camera than a face.  Secondly, his hands are just claws.  It's a very unique look that distinguishes Whirl form everyone else.  Once acquired, I realized how cool he looks.  However, a flaw was detected on mine - loose arms!
Apparently, Whirl's arms are on ball joints, and are prone to becoming loose over time.  After some research, I discovered a neat trick on how to tighten the arms that involved nail polish.  Once that fix was done, I was quite happy.
See?  Good as new!
Articulation on Whirl is pretty much limited to the above picture.  His head can move up and down as a result of his transformation scheme, but that's really it.  After dealing with Venom, another figure from Takatoku included in the Transformer line, I thought that there might be a bit more articulation.  Still, Whirl is a very gorgeous figure.  The blues go rather well with the yellow highlights.

That's one more figure from 1985 crossed off my list, leaving just a handful more.  I must say, if I'm going to complete that year, Whirl is a good place to start.  You may be wondering why this is titled as Part I.  Think about it.  Think about what figure was released this year.  If you can't guess it, don't worry, Part II will be around soon.  How soon?  Well, let's get through more of my backlog first. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Random Thoughts Part 102!

Today's my birthday, so I'd thought I'd just toss out some old man random thoughts today.  Let's get to it!

Transformers: Regeneration One ended with a double sized issue.  I wasn't terribly sad to see it end.  It started out strong, plodded, lost it's footing, and then just ended.  The entire battle against Jihaxus and his army was too condensed, and the entire fight for Cybertron introduced in the last couple of issues resolved itself too easily.  Those should have been multi-issue arcs each.  I know that Furman was given just a finite amount of issues to work with, but that should've been explored more than Scorponok invading Cybertron  But I'm not a writer, so what do I know?
I'm sure that everyone has seen the pics of MP-22 floating around out there.  If you haven't, then it pleases me that you've seen them here first.  I'm super excited about it.  I do wonder if the cab will have the ability to transform into a smaller robot, however.  Have you seen the accessories for this guy?  Here's the rundown:
  • Daniel
  • Spike
  • Extra fists
  • Face exchange gimmick
  • Gun
That's a lot of stuff!  Even better, the price has dropped from $289 to $189!  That's insane!  I remember paying $250 for MP-10 when he was first released!  I actually felt fine with that price, but wasn't happy paying that for MP-0, but that figure was horrible.  Still, all that goodness for $189?  Outstanding.  I'm definitely getting the version with the coin.

My quest for Skids is pretty much over.  I've given up.  I still supposedly have a preorder over at ToyWiz that I've paid for, but even they don't know when they're getting him.  I made the preorder back in February.  I see that happening.  I may just break down and buy him off eBay.  Or I'll probably just not bother with it at all.  C'est la vie.  I'm still waiting on whether there's going to be a Tomy release or not.  There better be.  You know, Tomy is running way behind on their figures as well.  I wonder if there's something going on that we're not privy to?

Speaking of giving up on figures, I guess Hasbro is having all sorts of issues lately, I suppose.  The wave with Crosscut, the remold of Skids has been delayed indefinitely.   Why, no one seems to know.  The more I think about it, the more I wonder if something happened to the mold?  There's definitely something going on here.

After conversing with Brr-Icy, I think I'm going to start using a proxy service to see what I can find in Japan. The proxy service that I use, Rinkya, was recommended to me by Flywheels, but I haven't really had any success the few times I've tried to use it.  I'm going to keep trying to figure that thing out. 

Anyone a fan of G.I. Joe? Flywheels has a good article about the death of the brand here.

I got a couple of eHobby figures recently, and I'm fairly pleased with them.  Expect to see reviews of them...sometime.  I know that the Cobalt Sentry release was marred by Q/C issues, but was this common with all of their early releases as well?  I seem to have an issue with one of the figures I got.

Well, that's it for now!  Next week, I'll talk about an actual topic.  Probably.