Monday, October 27, 2014

MP-20 Wheeljack

I can't believe that I get to do a review of Masterpiece Wheeljack.  This has been a long time coming.  It was a bit longer for me, however.  The month of September was a very busy one for me.  One week, I got the wave containing Skids.  The following week, the wave containing Windblade.  UPS made a killing off me with shipping, so I decided to turn on my Pile of Loot option at BBTS, knowing that Jetfire and Wheeljack were to release soon after.  What I didn't realize was that I wasn't going to get in on BigBadToyStore's initial shipment of Jetfire.  My Wheeljack was placed into the pile pretty quickly, but I had to wait another two weeks for Wheelack.  Two long agonizing weeks.  Everywhere I looked, people were posting about how great Masterpiece Wheeljack was while I waited, dejected.  My wait is over and it was worth it.
Let's start with Wheeljack's alt-mode.  It is truly a thing of beauty.  Takara really went all out with the deco on Wheeljack.  There's a nice balance between toy and cartoon accuracy.  Curiously, the side mirrors must be snapped off a sprue and then placed on the car.  Why, I'm not sure., but it doesn't detract at all from the splendor of the Lancia.
 I don't recall Wheeljack ever having an attack mode in the cartoon, but it's been awhile since I've watched the series.  Does that make me a bad fan?  I don't care.  Regardless, it's a mode he has, just like the rest of his Masterpiece car brethren.  One thing that set's Wheeljack's missile launcher apart from Bluestreak's and Sideswipe's is that Wheeljack's missile is removable.  While great in concept, I'm irrationally worried now that I'm going to lose the missile.  It's not like it's spring loaded or anything.
Here's where things start to get real with Wheeljack - robot mode!  I can't say enough about how great this is.  The bent legs just really make this figure.  I've always wondered why Wheeljack was in a permanent squatting position on the show, but at least his figure matches his animation model now.  He's equipped with one shoulder mounted missile launcher, as he should be.  There's a third party add-on that will give you two launchers like the original toy, but I think that's missing the point of the Masterpiece line.  The tiny pistol is very show accurate as well.  The only thing missing are light up panels on his face.  Good lord is Wheelack pretty.
Not only is Wheeljack beautiful, he's also poseable.  I've never been that great with posing my figures in action shots, but I think I did a decent job here.  It's only now that I realize that his wings aren't aligned correctly; I really need to stop taking these pictures at 2:00 in the morning. 
I opted to purchase the Wheeljack that came with the coin and the anti-hypnosis device.  I still don't know what to do with the coin.  I have quite a few of them, and they're still sealed in the little sleeves.  Is there a coin binder that these will fit in?  I'm loathe to get more of them, seeing as how I'm already experiencing space issues that forced me to get rid of my G.I. Joe figures.  Still, the coins come with the little bonus accessories, and they look great.  I'll just have to suffer, I suppose.  First world problems and all that. 
Because I haven't touched my Masterpiece  Grimlock is years, I've decided to take a little photo with Wheeljack and his creation.  Father and son, together.  Makes me misty-eyed. 
Another shot of Wheeljack and Grimlock.  I had forgotten just how massive Grimlock was in robot mode.
And because it's become de rigueur to show off one's Masterpiece collection, here's a shot of my first two seasons worth of cars, minus Bluestreak.  Silverstreak is taking his spot since I'm so enamored with the deco over Bluestreak's.  I'll say that this type of shot is taking longer and longer to set up, even as horrid as mine is.  It seems that each passing month is adding another great Masterpiece figure.  I'm not complaining; I think it's great.
Finally, a shot of all of the Masterpiece Autobots released thus far.  Well, excluding Bluestreak, who again, is replaced with Silverstreak.  Bluestreak is on probation in the Detolf.  One day, one day I'll let him come out in public again.  Now I can't wait for Ultra Magnus so I can have a nice car carrier for all these guys.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finally! Generations Skids! Finally!

I think it was a year ago, roughly, when Generations Skids was released to general fanfare in the collecting community.  He was also nearly impossible to find.  I never even sniffed any of his wave-mates at any store in my area.  Because of my inability to find Skids, even at online retailers, I believe that I, uh, whined a lot about it.  Sure, he was readily available enough on eBay, but there was no way I was paying secondary market prices for a new figure.  Finally, a ray of hope - around February or so, I placed a preorder for Skids from, and patiently waited.  As days turned into months, BBTS announced that Hasbro would be making another production run on the entire wave that Skids was in and it would be released in September.  Score!  If only I had remembered to cancel my preorder wit ToyWiz.  Alas, I now own two Skids figures.  That's right, I went from none to two in the blink of an eye.  They actually arrived within days of each other.  Hoo-Hah?

I tried something new with Skids' photo shoot with the blue background.  It's not too great.  Skids' alt-mode is a Honda Fit or something.  He's definitely some sort of sub-compact car, like his G1 incarnation. 
Like most Generations figures, Skids is able to mount his weapons in vehicle mode.  The Dodge Dart may not look scary, but just wait until one is barreling towards you with guns ablaze.  Scared yet?
Here's Skids in all of his Alex Milne goodness.  Skids is surely the most armed Theoretician in the universe.  Look at him - two hand-held guns, wrist lasers, shoulder-mounted cannons, and what I'm assuming are missiles in his actual shoulders.  Never, ever tell Skids that his hypotheses are incorrect.  He just won't have a good rebuttal, but he'll probably just blast you.
Speaking of guns, I keep popping the wrist lasers out and I don't know why.  Also, Skids' two pistols combine to form a bigger rifle.  It's pretty great.  I love how the rear wheels from the car still wind up under Skids' feet, like the G1 version.  Posing is both fun and easy with this guy.  I've been able to get a myriad of poses with Skids, but I was too lazy to actually photograph them.  Imagine them for me.
Finally, we have a shot of Generations Skids slumming with his G1 counterpart.  Naturally, the G1 Skids that I own is the Encore version.  Don't hold that against me; I'm a real collector, I swear.  I was actually a bit stunned to realize that both of these guys are roughly the same height.  For some reason, I was expecting Generations Skids to tower over his more primitive self.  Shows what I know.

Was Skids worth a nearly year wait?  Primus yes.  As for the second Skids?  My oldest son will have a nice treat under the tree on December 25th.  Nice indeed.  Next time - Waspinator!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Generations Roadbster

I'll be honest, when I first read that there would be a Generations release of Roadbuster, I was a tad confused.  Don't get me wrong, I've always loved the guy, but it seemed like most Generations had some sort of tie-in with the IDW comics.  Roadbuster hadn't even appeared in a comic since Transformers: Bumblebee, what 4 years ago?  Then I saw the pictures.  I had to have him.
Roadbuster comes with a metric ton of weapons.  He has weapons for his shoulders, weapons that he can hold, and weapons to mount on his weapons.  There are a multitude of weapons, is what I'm getting at.  What's more, these weapons care designed in a way to allow for a vast array of combinations.  I'm pretty much staying basic for my setup. 
All of the weapons can combine for the Voltron of weapons, which can awkwardly be held using both arms.  I'm not overly fond of this configuration.  Still, it's a thing that can be done.  So, do it if you want.
Roadbuster is pretty poseable.  Certainly much more poseable than the G1 incarnation, which I meant to show in comparison with the Generations version, but I forgot.  Roadbuster also comes with a lot of decals.  This seems to be a running thing now as Whirl also came with decals.  I used to love decals, but this is starting to get tedious.  For Roadbuster's chest, there is the regular insignia decal and one for the Wreckers.  I went with the plain Autobot decal just because I was worried that the blue of the Wrecker decal would clash with the other colors.  Gotta be fashionable, you know.
Keeping with the modern G1 look, Roadbuster transforms into a heavily armored all-terrain vehicle.  He is armed to the teeth.  The transformation scheme is pretty straightforward and not complicated at all.
I really love the vehicle mode.  It looks like it could climb over mountains.  If I wasn't so worried about messing him up, I'd take Roadbuster out on some rocks in the yard.  Gotta keep him mint, you know. 

Roadbuster is awesome.  He's a long awaited, if somewhat surprising, addition to the Generations line.  Now if only we could get a new version of Jetfire.  What's that?  Oh yeah...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Generations Tankor

I've gone on record a number of times about how I really like both Beast Wars and Beast Machines.  I liked Beast Machines more for the animation than anything else, and I only owned one figure from the line, Cheetor, which wasn't that great.  Truth be told, none of the figure were that great in my mind.  With the new tooling and design of the Generations line, I was hoping that Tankor would prove to be better than his original incarnation.
Here's a shot of Tankor in his tank mode.  With a name like Tankor, it would be highly unlikely that he'd transform into anything else.  A distinguishing feature with Tankor through the years is that his head is visible in tank mode.  That continues with this iteration.  Maybe I have Tankor transformed incorrectly, but it looks like he's just a scrunched up mess.
The cannon launches a missile.  The missile itself is rather flimsy.
Tankor is rather short and stocky, earning the name "Fat Tankor".  Robot mode is much better than tank mode, for sure.  While not as poseable as other Generations figures, he certainly looks great. 
Here's a closeup shot of Tankor's forearm. There is a dial on each forearm that does...nothing.  They spin, but the claws work independent of the dials. 

Tankor's a good figure, but not a great one.  Hey, that sounds like this post!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Monsterbot Grotusque
It's been a bit since I got something vintage, what with all this new stuff coming out.  What better way to go old school than by finally completing my Monsterbots?  Grotusque is here and it's time to celebrate. 

Before I get into the review, I'd like to relate a story.  When I first got back into collecting G1 figures way back in 1999, I felt that the prices were outrageous on eBay, the only way I knew to get older figures, so I never really bought that many figures.  I think I may have bought one figure a year, maybe two.  At any rate, in 2005, I found an auction for a Doublecross with box working spark, stickers not applied, tech spec, unused decal sheet, and paperwork that I won for a whopping $25.  At the time, I felt it was ridiculously high price.  But, it got me on a tradition of getting Monsterbots for cheap.  I got working Repugnus a couple of years ago without stickers and gun for $17; I already had somehow managed to get his gun at some point in my childhood and managed to hang on to it.  Getting Grotusque brought about a lot of trepidation simply because I wanted to keep this tradition going.  Would I?  You bet you Aunt Sally I did.  One day I got a coupon from eBay for $20 off thanks to their security breach or whatever, plus I had some eBay Bucks that I had acquired.  All in all, I may have paid $30 for Grotusque.  The tradition continued.
Grotusque's alt mode is a griffin?  A liger?  A gargoyle?  I don't know.  It's cool looking, however.  A distinguishing feature with Grotusque is that in his monster mode, he's able to mount a weapon, in this case on his back.  Neither Doublecross nor Repugnus are able to do this.  Once they're in they're monster modes, the guns go in storage.
There are apparently two ways of transforming Grotusque into creature mode.  There's this way, which is depicted in the instructions, and the way where his back isn't completely curved.  The second way supposedly looks better, but I'll just stick with this way.
Another unique feature with Grotusque is that his wings are removable.  This is to help with transformation into robot mode, but I've been able to keep them mostly on during transformation.  They just wiggle off a bit.
Here's a side shot of Grotusque.  Like most figures of his day, the only articulation is in the arms.  I'm really impressed by how majestic Grotusque looks.  He's barrel chested.  Looking at this pic, I'm not 100% sure that I have his monster legs in this mode.  Oh well, it'll suffice.
Finally, a shot of all three Monsterbots.  All had for under $100.  Not bad.  Now, if only I had thought to include Kup and Rodimus Prime in this pic, then I could recreate the commercial...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

With the arrival of a newborn (again), the removal of clutter in my collection continues.  One item that I actually uncovered that I completely forgot I owned was my original copy of The Transformers:The Movie vinyl album.  I can't believe that I forgot I owned this!  And it's now on eBay.  Well, hopefully it's sold by the time this hits.  Gotta make room, you know.  What I'm doing here is documenting something that gave me a lot of joy before it gives someone else joy.
Ah, memories.  I still remember when I bought this.  It was 1989, a full three years after the movie was released.  I was in the sixth grade and dragged out to yet another record store with my parents.  Weekends when my dad was home were basically always spent at record stores, which isn't the worst thing in the world.  At any rate, whenever I ran across something - a 45 or an LP that was reasonable and not a burden on my parents' nerves, they usually got it for me.  On one fateful trip, I ran across this gem - and it was on clearance!  Ninety-nine cents later, I was sitting in the car holding this beauty.  At this point, I already had a stereo, so I was able to listen to this thing nonstop.  It drove my parent's crazy.  I no longer have a turntable and I have the soundtrack on CD, so I'm o.k. letting this thing go.
Remarkably, this album has held up extremely well.  That is most likely due to the fact that my dad is an absolute beast at keeping his albums in brand new condition.  Sadly, the cover isn't in the greatest shape thanks to my abuse as a kid, but the vinyl is spotless.  Not a scratch or scuff.  I really hate to part with such a great keepsake, but space is space.  Man, I hope the new owner appreciates how great this album is.

Speaking of how great this album is, I think I'll run down my favorite tracks from the album in descending order.  I'm going to omit the Vince DiCola stuff.

  1. Instruments of Destruction by N.R.G. - Hair metal, sure, but such a great song.
  2. Hunger by Spectre General - Fun bit of trivia: Spectre General is actually a Canadian hair metal band called Kick Axe.  Apparently there was some legal issue preventing them from using their actual band name on the soundtrack.
  3. Nothin's Gonna Stand In Our Way by Spectre General - I'm sensing a trend here...
  4. Dare to Be Stupid by "Weird Al" Yankovic - I thought that it sounded like Devo when I was a kid, but I wasn't sure.  I recently saw Yankovic perform this on TV with an orchestra.  It was magic.
  5. Transformers Theme by Lion - Well, it is the theme song.  Don't forget: something evil's watching over you.
  6. Dare by Stan Bush - I will just say this: I can't stand Stan Bush.  This song is the least grating on my ears.   Sacrilege, I know, but there it is.
  7. The Touch by Stan Bush - No comment, other than Marky Mark did a better job with this song.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Hey, another Beast Wars figure!  This time, it's Rattrap, who is apparently a scurrying little weasel willing to do whatever for power.  At least in Transformers: Robots in Disguise
Rattrap comes with two guns that are cast is a translucent plastic.  I really like translucent plastic.  The one thing I'm not fond of with this guy are the rat feet dangling from his back.  They seem to be in a permanent jazz hands pose. 
The guns combine to form a larger rifle, which I prefer. 
Rattrap's face is designed to more closely resemble his animation model.  It's a good looking face.
Funny story about Rattrap's rat mode.  I showed it to my 3 year old and she freaked out.  She ran away screaming.  Anyway, the rat mode is vastly improved over the old Beast Wars version.
My favorite detail with Rattrap is his ability to stand on his hind legs.  The tail is rubber with a wire running through it, like a Gumby toy, which allows for some posing options.  Again, in this arrangement, Rattrap has jazz hands.  As you can plainly see, Rattrap's rifle stores in his undercarriage.  Now that's another figure to add to the Beast Wars shelf.