Sunday, May 22, 2016

KO Korner: G1 Transformers Egale Jet SY-812 "Snare"

The next entry into the Transformers KO Korner is yet another Decepticon Predator jet, Snare. This is the second KO Predator jet that I've acquired for my personal collection, however it falls a little short when compared to the other I own ("Falcon").

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If you didn't know your Transformers and may have wondered if this was a legitimate toy or not, the name alone should have been a dead giveaway. Egale Jet...ha. I'm sure it was meant to be Eagle Jet, but whatever. What we have here is a blue and yellow KO of the Decepticon Predator, Snare. The packaging was a little rough when I received it in the mail. As you can see one corner of the blister card was bent. What you may not be able to see is that the blister bubble was attached with staples. I'm guessing the previous owner wanted to keep it on the card and when the glue started to wear off added the staples to keep the bubble intact. Personally I didn't care as I knew I'd be opening the toy upon arrival.

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He comes packaged in vehicle mode with a spring loaded missile launcher and 3 missiles attached to the spruce. The plastic felt like that cheap, hard variety where you have to be careful moving parts around due to the plastic possibly breaking in half. The toy itself mirrors the original Takara mold quite well, but the nose of the jet has an ever slight gap. The stickers are cheap, paper thin and the adhesive was all but gone once I got him out of the packaging.

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This mold isn't my favorite of the Predator jets to begin with. I only picked it up because I got it from the same seller that I got "Falcon" from. I don't like how the arms protrude out so far towards the front of the jet and I think the wings are little too short. I like the blue and yellow on the toy however. I should point out that the included missiles are the wrong type. The correct missiles have a hole that allows them to be attached underneath the wings. The missiles that came with the toy actually belong to the Autobot Turbomasters.

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Transformation is rather simple and unimaginative. I did have a harder time with this one to get the metal screw to slide along the groove during transformation. Partly due to the hard plastic and exposed excess plastic that was never shaved off. Without any paint apps or stickers he looks really plain in robot mode.

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Head sculpt is dead on when compared to the original, however again without any paint apps it just blends in with the rest of the yellow plastic. Too bad because I like the look of the sculpt.

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Overall this KO is a disappointment. I know that sounds like an odd statement for me to make, but most of the KO toys I own have their own unique charm...except this guy. He can hold his weapon, barely, and it does fire a missile even though it's the wrong missile to begin with. I've never seen this guy in anyone else's collection or for sale before so I doubt many will have the opportunity to buy this toy in the first place, but if you do come across one in the wild just do yourself a favor and stay away from this toy...far away!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Robo Force: Maxx Steele - the Leader

Back in December of 2013, I posted a quick review of my first Robo Force toy, Blazer. I had forgotten the lot of toys I had purchased actually had two boxed Robo Force toys. These pictures have been edited and sitting in one of my "to do" folders for awhile so why not put them to good use?

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I vaguely remember these toys from my childhood, but I never owned any of them. I was surprised that Maxx Steele's box was in good condition as the other one in the lot I purchased had a very tattered box. Max Steele has a very boring design in my book, however some of the other robots released later looked really cool.

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I think it's funny how people thought of robots back in the late 70's / early 80's. The suction cup bottom and the tube arms...this screams 80's. I do have to give it to the designs on the engineering of the arms and how they move with the press of the button on the back of the robot.

I guess I can see the collectible niche of these figures. While they really aren't for me, I was glad I had a buyer at Charticon in 2013 that was more than happy to take off my hands the two Robo Force toys I had at the time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Transformers Adventures: Thunderhoof TAV38

I wasn't sure what I thought after I watched the first episode of the new Transformers Robots in Disguise animated show. It looked different and had a more "kiddie" feel to it, however I gave it a chance. With each new Decepticon that was introduced in the show the more I enjoyed it. It almost felt like the show writers were following the Scooby Doo formula...each episode featured a new scenario and villain. Once Thunderhoof made his debut he quickly became one of my favorite Decepticons on the show. I mean, what is there not to like about a mafia like tough guy w/ a New York accent that just happens to have antlers?

Sadly when it came to getting a toy of Thunderhoof fans had to wait. Eventually Hasbro released the character as a one step changer and then as a legion class toy. Thankfully Takara Tomy stepped up to the plate and announced a Warrior class (i.e. deluxe) figure was on it's way as part of their Transformers Adventures series. Finally, I have a great show accurate figure and I couldn't be happier!

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The packaging is your standard blister card with the bubble taped to the card. I was surprised it wasn't the type of packaging where the backing card could easily be removed from the plastic blister. None the less it's still some very attractive packaging. Packaged inside are a set of instructions as well as a poster/catalog. Sadly no character tech sec card.

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In place of a character card, the profile is posted on the back of the blister card. I'd love it if someone could/would translate this.

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Thunderhoof is a beautiful figure, let me start of by saying that. It seems like the molds used for this series (Hasbro's RID as well) have been hit and miss. Some of the toys look nothing like their show counterparts, while others suffer from being hollowed out in places. While I still have a good many figures to open, this toy quickly jumped to the top of my favorite list. For starters the mold feels solid. The plastic doesn't feel cheap and I never thought any part of him was going to snap in half during his transformation. The figure is well articulated and is generally a fun toy to play with. Combine that with the premium paint applications courtesy of Takara Tomy and you have yourself a winner.

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Thunderhoof's main color is that of a turquoise blue with black used for the limbs. On his chest is a nice metallic pearl turquoise. His wheelwells are a shiny metallic silver and when combined with the shades of blue he stands out as a great looking figure.

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Thunderhoof is aptly named for his animal like features. His antlers are easy to notice, however check out his feet. Hooves...that has to be a first for Transformers. He comes packaged with a very interesting looking shotgun. Look carefully at the top of the gun and you'll see something that looks like antlers. Flip that around and it would look like one of the guns from the video game Gears of War.

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Articulation is pretty good on the figure, much better than the poses I came up with. His shoulders are on ball joints, but because of the wheelwells and the antlers there is some restriction. His waist can rotate a full 360 degrees, but that is mostly due to the transformation. Hips are on ball joints while he has a mid thigh swivel. Knees are hinge joints and the lower leg is on a pin. This gives you some movement, but again it's part of the transformation.

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I was surprised at how small and compact Thunderhoof was when transformed into his alt mode. Everything snapped together and held in place just fine and his large wheels rolled across both smooth surfaces and carpet with ease. I love the fact that he transformers into a combine tractor and it's surprisingly fun to play with in this form. The "teeth" on the front can be lifted up a little.

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I didn't see this documented anywhere on the large instruction sheet, but you can place his shotgun right in the middle of the underside while in vehicle mode. It fits in perfectly and doesn't hinder the toy rolling on the ground.

As much as I love this toy, Thunderhoof is a little undersized. Take a look at the screen shot above from the animated show.

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None the less this is one of my favorite RID/Adventures figures thus far. The Decepticons have sorely been outnumbered in Hasbro's series so it's great that more characters are on their way. The Hasbro version of this figure should be released to retail around the time of this post, however if you don't want to wait or just want a more show accurate deco look no further than the Adventures version.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mega Bloks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Series 1 Blind Bags

It doesn't seem that long ago that LEGO had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles license for building blocks. Now said license has transferred to Mega Bloks and boy are they making good use of it. A quick stroll down the building block aisle at my local Target and I see several different sets of varying sizes for TMNT.

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Being a sucker for blind packaged toys I had to pick up one bag (or maybe a few more!) to see what Mega Bloks was doing w/ the TMNT franchise. A quick scan of the back of the packaging and I see a total of 8 possible figures - the 4 turtles, Krang, a Foot soldier, a translucent red Shredder and a mystery figure.

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Finding a bag w/ one of the turtles is rather easy thanks to their rounded shell. Two (Donatello & Raphael) of the four turtles are easier to obtain than the others. I'm not sure what the significance of the red Shredder is and I still don't know who the 8th mystery figure is.

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I have purchased a few of the Mega Bloks Halo sets so I kinda knew going in what these figures would be like, but I didn't expect the figures to be this nice! The level of detailing for a $3 bling packaged figure is amazing. The figures are based off the current Nickelodeon show so they have goofy facial expressions and the large knee pads.

The figures have to be assembled. The arms were already attached in the bag, but they do pop off. The turtle head has mold bumps for the eyes, this helps keep the bandana on, but it also makes it hard to fit the piece on the head. The belt is a rubbery plastic that you have to stretch to fit over the body of the figure. I like that you can sheath Donatello's bo staff on the back.

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The figure has a good amount of articulation for such a small figure. Ball jointed shoulders and hips and hinge joints at the knees. Sadly no elbow articulation, but the wrists to rotate a full 360 degrees.

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If you're wondering why Donatello has a heart painted onto his front side, it's because he's been staring at this sketch of April O'Neil he comes packaged with.

Overall I really like what Mega Bloks has done with these figures and I eagerly await the 2nd series of blind packaged figures. I don't know if I'll pick up any of the larger sets, but I do like how the Turtles that come in those sets vary in deco from these blind packaged versions. At only $3 each, I encourage you to pick up a bag or two and check out these fun little toys.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Transformers Robots in Disguise (2015): Overload & Backtrack

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One of Hasbro's biggest issues it seems with the newest iteration of Transformers' Robots in Disguise line of action figures has been distribution. I picked up Overload & Backtrack, part of the second wave of Deployers back in January 2016 from Just in the last 2 weeks have I actually started to see him show up on retail shelves locally in my area. 

At the time I ordered Overload, I had no idea who he was as he hadn't made his appearance in the animated television show yet, but I liked the way he looked and then there is the whole Mini-Con thing...again. Some of you may know I used to be a big Mini-Con collector and at one point had a very large and lucrative collection of Mini-Cons and Microns. I sold off 95% of that collection, however these new RID Mini-Cons have their own unique charm that has been growing on me.

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The first Decepticon Deployer released was Fracture. A lot of fans weren't too crazy about the toy for a couple of reasons, however it seemed like the consensus vote was the ugly Mini-Con launching gimmick that hung off the robot mode. Overload has been designed around a new form of Mini-Cons so his vehicle and robot modes are more slimline and pleasing to the eye.

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While I like the animal themed Decepticons in RID, it's refreshing to see another "normal" Decepticon join their ranks. The inclusion of a new style Mini-Con is also refreshing, however there is something about Backtrack that reminds me of something else...* Bakugan anyone? *

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My first impression of Overload himself upon taking him out of the box was how light he felt. He seemed to have a solid overall design, but just didn't weigh much. Most of the vehicle parts are well hidden in robot mode with is a nice touch. Judging from the large wheels on his shoulders, you would think he transforms into some sort of off road vehicle. Kudos to the design team for not making him look so "tank-ish". The orange weapon you see him wielding is actually the launching mechanism when his Mini-Con is plugged into this tank mode. Again, clever way of integrating this play pattern feature into the toy.

(not sure what happened to the photo on the left...when I was editing the photo this is how it came out and I lost my original photo when I had to re-format my camera's memory card)

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Once I began to play with the figure for a bit I noticed why he felt so light...several parts of him have been hollowed out such as this arms. I know it's just a cost savings move by Hasbro/Takara Tomy and it's nothing really new, however I don't like the effect it has on the figure. It makes them too light and feel cheap in some cases. 

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Backtrack pairs up with Overload nicely. I'm surprised however that his color wasn't matched to Overload's. Playing around with these figures I quickly started to get a bit of a G1 Soundwave vibe. In robot mode the Mini-Con can be transformed back into this sphere form and placed in the clip on the back of Overload's back.

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I have to admit that I had fun with Backtrack. I never owned any of the now defunct Bakugan toys, but I can see why he would remind people of that franchise. For me I was reminded of the spherical Transformers released in Japan under the Beast Wars II series. Backtrack features a very simple transformation and when all rolled up he holds the form quite well.

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Like the individually packaged RID Mini-Cons, Backtrack comes with a translucent orange Deception symbol shaped "tree" holding on the various detachable weapons and armor bits. You get a piece that fits on the head, two shoulder mounted guns, what appears to be a jet pack of sorts backpack and two pieces that look like feet.

If I'm being completely honest - I really don't like these Energon bits. Maybe it's the translucent plastic that is used. I don't know, but these pieces really don't do much for me. Speaking of the parts, you can leave them attached when you transform the Mini-Con back into spherical form.

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As I mentioned earlier, the designers did a good job at hiding the fact that Overload's alternate form was that of a tank. He transforms rather easily from robot to tank and I love how the tank treads are hidden in the back of the legs. Sadly though the tank treads are solid plastic and not rubber. At first glance of this form I was immediately reminded of Armada Megatron and his H style tank form. The little clip in the front also mimmicks the horns of Megatron as well. This clip in the center is what holds and launches the Mini-Con spheres like Backtrack.

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Loaded up, Overload may look a little odd however I like the overall look better Deployer Fracture. There is a small black button on top of the orange gun that when pressed, launches the Mini-Con forward.

Overload is a fun toy to play with. My youngest daughter has taken a real interest in the television show and the toys already enjoys launching Backtrack and watching him roll across the floor. Speaking of Backtrack, he has already been repainted and included in a 4 pack of Mini-Cons, current at retail. He seems more like a real Transformer and less of a gimmick toy. I couldn't say that about the Deployer versions of both Drift and Fracture. If you enjoy the show and you like the new style Mini-Cons, I encourage you to pick up this set.

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I would like to apologize for the less than stellar photography in this post. Sometimes my current set up works great and then there are times my pictures come out with a quality lower that what I'd like to use. However with my current backlog I just didn't have the time to start over and re-take all the photos. Hopefully my next post with feature better photos.