Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Machine Robo Mugenbine: Quest Knight Wedge

In 2005 a Japanese publisher released the definitive Machine Robo book simply called Machine Robo Wedge.  The book featured lots of text (that unfortunately I can't read since it's all in Japanese) and lots of colorful pictures for Machine Robo toys that ranged from the beginning of the line through the then current Mugenbine line.

The book also came packaged with a region 2 DVD full of vintage Machine Robo commericals.  I've only seen a few of these as I'm afraid to switch the region code on my laptop's CD-ROM drive too many times, but it was an excellent addition to the book.  If you are a fan of any iteration of Machine Robo then I highly recommend you pick up this book.  I believe at the time of this post HLJ still has it in stock.

Part of the book was some sort of contest for a special Mugenbine set called Quest Knight Wedge.  Unfortunately I don't know much about the contest itself or how the toy was awarded or how many exist, but I did manage to run across one a few years ago and purchased it.  I had completely forgot I even owned the toy as it never made it to one of my display shelves in my toy room and I only recently came across it buried in a box as I was moving.  While I still love the Mugenbine toys my collection focus has changed so the toy wasn't a fixture in my collection.  I did find a fellow collector to sell the set to and I'm happy it's going to a good home.  Before I let it go however I had to open him for a quick review.

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Quest Knight comes packaged in a plain white box with only a sticker letting you know which character is hiding inside.  My Lucky Draw Carry Eagle came in a similar box.  Slide the inner plastic tray out and you'll see the Turboroid and his Bineparts all laid out.  Quest Knight Wedge is (obviously) a recolor of the regular Quest Knight figure.  I believe he was one of three released that first used the new Turboroid figure as the base.  The translucent smoke colored plastic combined with the orange and silver paint apps are beautiful.  In some ways it looks better than the regular red version.

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The Turboroid figures featured the same articulation and close to the same style that the "regular" Mugenroid figure had - only with wheels!  This allowed the figure to convert to a vehicle of some sort with the attachment of other Bineparts.

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Not the greatest range of motion and articulation, but the combinations can be endless.

Quest Knight Wedge has 3 different combined modes.  The first is his beast mode - a dragon.  Because this version is recolored from the original I have to say the dragon doesn't look as good being mostly translucent.  The original featured a vibrant red plastic with white and gold paint apps.  The toy still looks great in this mode however.  Take a look.

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I should mention that the dragon's tail is comprised of a sword so it's rather thin.  On the dragon's back you can also see the combined robot's head exposed which is a major drawback.

The second mode utilizes the Turboroid's vehicle form.  Again without having the original red color you may not look at the vehicle form and immediately recognize that it's a fire truck of sorts.  The rest of the included Bineparts form some sort of base if you will.  None of the these Mugenbine Turboroid sets had very convincing structures if you ask me.  I'll just call this thing a make shift fire house.

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Is the dragon tail / sword a large fire hose or a ladder?  You tell me!  While the construct may be lacking the fire truck mode is actually pretty good.  You basically just lay the Turboroid face down and snap on 3 pieces and wa-la you have a fire truck!

The last of the combined modes is a robot.  I should also mention that Quest Knight can also form a larger robot with two other Turboroid sets (Razor Ninja & Save Gunman).  Quest Knight's combined robot mode stands at 3 inches or so.  It's not small, but it's not the size of a Transformers combiner either.  The robot can wield the dragon's tail in either hand.  You can rotate the arms out, but that's about all the articulation in this mode that you'll get.

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The head sculpt is excellent and the bright orange really pops on the translucent smoke colored plastic.  This is a great set and has a lot of great parts.  I was immediately reminded of why I was so attracted to these Mugenbine sets in the mid 2000's after taking these pictures.  Part of me wishes I had more room for these toys as I would've loved to have kept my set as I had nearly the entire Mugenbine line.  I doubt you'll run across this Wedge version, but if you can find the regular issue Quest Knight set pick it up.  If you can find the other related sets and you have a good imagination you'll be able to pull off some great combinations.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Japanese G1 Transformers Wrapper

I'm hoping someone out there in cyberspace can shed some light on this for me.  Not too long ago I ran across a wrapper to some vintage G1 Japanese trading cards or stickers.  I've done a few Google searches and nothing seems to come up.  The wrapper is more like a paper pouch than your standard fare card/sticker wrapper.  It appears it was stapled shut at one point as well.  Even though I have no idea about this wrapper I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add it to my "odd ball" TF collection.  Does anyone know anything about this wrapper?

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

New pictures of my Transformers collection

Things are finally starting to come together in my new "man cave".  Last night I loaded up my one lone IKEA Detolf glass display case with all of my G1 Japanese Transformers.  I wasn't able to arrange everything in the cases the way I had originally envisioned, but I'm satisfied with the final outcome.

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Here we have a selection of Headmasters and Masterforce toys including Super God Ginrai, Twin Cast, Metalhawk, 3 of 6 Trainbots, Headmaster heads and a selection of BeastFormers.

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Victory and Zone make up the 2nd shelf in the case.  Star Convoy, Sonicbomber, Landcross, Road Ceasar, Guard City's Fire Chief, Hotspark, Sixwing (sans combiner parts) and the Battle Patrol Micromasters.

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For the Destrons we'll start off with a selection from Headmasters, Masterforce and Victory.  Black Zarak, Dinoking and a selection of BeastFormers.

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The last shelf is again a mixture of Masterforce and Victory.  Overlord, Hydra & Buster, Liokaiser and Guzzle.

I hope to be able to do some individual featured posts of some of these toys once I finish resetting the rest of the room so if there is a toy in the case that you'd like to see more of please comment!  More pictures to come soon (hopefully)!

Friday, November 18, 2011

G.I. Joe Subscription Preview - Big Boa


Finally!  Another Cobra figure joins the G.I. Joe Club subscription service!  I know Big Boa was originally created to pair off against the cancelled Rocky figure, but I always liked the idea of him being the Cobra trainer.  This is a PERFECT update of this character.  Not much is changed...which is good as the original figure was pretty good.  What takes this figure over the top are the included accessories.  For those of you that don't like the idea of him always wearing boxing gloves we now have a pair of interchangeable hands!  on top of that we get "traditional" box headgear, a dumb bell, a baton a sledgehammer!

Most likely there will be no way at this point for me to afford the subscription service so I'll just have to settle and hope I can find this figure on the secondary market.  While some of the figures have me interested this is the first figure that made me say "Wow" out loud.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra Polar Sharc Submarine with Ice Storm

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When the Rise of Cobra line of G.I. Joe toys was winding down several items were axed by Hasbro...my guess to dwindling sales.  I'm not sure how well the ROC line sold overall, but I know a lot of the toys were relatively easy to find in my parts.

One of these "cancelled" items was the Polar Sharc submarine as featured in the underwater battle scene towards the end of the live action movie.  Somewhere along the way Hasbro seemed to strike up a good relationship with several retailers (Marshalls, Ross, TJ Maxx) and finally found an outlet for some of these items such as the Polar Sharc.  I came across this toy along with the Lava Pod w/ Volcano-Viper at a regional store called Ollie's.  I think I've read reports of people finding these toys at Zellar's in Canada as well.  This vehicle was priced at $9.99.  I always liked the design when I first saw images online so I willingly grabbed it to see what it was like.  End result = A-.

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Hasbro did a good job with the likeness of the vehicle when compared to the movie version.  Sure the toy is smaller as it is basically a one man submarine, but that doesn't detract from the overall toy.  The sub features an opening cockpit, retractable guns on the rear fins and rotating engine fins.

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The included figure (or any other figure) simply lays down on their back inside the cockpit.  It would've been better if the cockpit could have been engineered a different way allowing the figure to be positioned a different way, but then that may have altered the overall sleekness of the sub.

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Like with most G.I. Joe vehicles you get to apply the stickers yourself.  Since I didn't attempt to do so I can't comment on the quality of the stickers.  I have applied stickers to other ROC vehicles I've bought and those were fine so I would assume the same could be said about these.  There is also a removable torpedo launcher that attaches to the bottom of the sub.  The downside of attaching this is it creates an uneven bottom not allowing the vehicle to sit without looking lopsided.

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Ice Storm is the reason I imagine a lot of people bought this toy for.  I wasn't a fan of a lot of the ROC figures and I'm generally more of a Cobra fan than a Joe fan, but Ice Storm here is a really good figure.  I was surprised to see that he came packaged with a gun and a bag as a lot of vehicle drivers don't come with any accessories/weapons.

I'm not up to date on my Joe figure parts knowledge so I don't know what figures Ice Storm was made from, but the waist piece does look familiar.  Articulation is your standard fare.  The "skirt" does hinder some sitting poses, but since he lays down flat in the sub I guess it doesn't matter too much.  The colors are a little bright for a polar themed vehicle driver, but the red and black works.  The blue gloves are a nice touch as it helps break up the colors.

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Overall this is a fun little toy and I would think it would have sold better than some of the other vehicles of similar size had it seen a wide release.  It's far better than the Mole Pod / Lava Pod...but then again aren't most other vehicles!  If you can grab this for $10 or less it's a great buy.  I'm in the process of pairing down my toy collection and have placed this toy on Crave.com along with several others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

G.I. Joe Subscription Preview - Cover Girl


I know a lot of fans were clamoring for Cover Girl to be included in the subscription service and now that she has been added to the line-up I can't help but think this has been done before.  Cover Girl got a really nice figure as part of a comic pack in the Direct To Consumer (DTC) line.  I like the updated version, but to me it doesn't look much different.  I'll say it again.  Where are the rest of the Cobra characters?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

G.I. Joe Subscription Preview - Sure Fire


Too bad this figure isn't a "sure fire" win for me.  I like the included accessories, but I was hoping for another Cobra character myself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

G.I. Joe Subscription Preview - TNT


The G.I. Joe Club subscription service just got some South American flavor!  Can't say this figure is as impressive (at least to me) as the last few have been, but it looks like he'll be a popular character for a lot of collectors.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inhumanoids - A Big Coloring Book


Ah, the 80's.  What a wonderful time to be a kid.  There were so many creative and imaginative properties during the time.  One of which was Hasbro's Inhumanoids.  Sadly I never owned any of the toys as a kid.  Guess I was too into G.I. Joe and Transformers for my parents to buy me anything else.  I wasn't able to catch many of the cartoon episodes on Saturday morning television either.  Inhumanoids as a whole was rather short lived so it passed and was mostly forgotten about.  That is until the age of the internet!

One of the good things about my current re-organizing project I'm undertaking at home right now is it's getting my hands on things that have been buried away for a long time.  When I bought the cartoon series on DVD years ago it got me all jazzed up again about Inhumanoids.  I searched the 'net to see what kind of merchandise (i.e. toys) I could find.  The toys can be found, but most of the time they are horribly incomplete or broken.  If you do find any in good condition the asking prices will usually scare you away.  During one of those searches I came across a Golden brand coloring book.  I don't remember what I paid, but I'm sure it was a deal since I don't normally buy coloring books.  I haven't seen this book in a very long time until recently so I wanted to pick out a few pages to share.

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This book has a copyright of 1986.  It's rather thin, but still cool none the less.  If you've seen the cartoon and you know about the toys then you'll know there are some differences in the two.  The coloring book actually tells a story of the Inhumanoids and the Earth Corps.  Most of the art in the book seems to be modeled after the toys and not the animation models.  Bummer as the show was way cooler than the toys.  That said I still would love to get my hands on the 3 big monsters.

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Metlar was the leader of the Inhumanoids and featured the ability to pull out flaming molten rocks out of his mouth.

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D'Compose was the freakiest looking of the 3 as he was some sort of decomposed dinosaur mutant skeleton creature.  This art here is a prime example that it was based more on the toy as the animation model didn't have to stupid pony tail.

D'Compose was voiced by the late great Chris Latta (Cobra Commander, Starscream).  With just one touch he could mutate the living.  Check out this clip from the cartoon to see what I'm talking about.


There is no freakin' way a cartoon like this could air on today's television.  What were my parents thinking letting me watch this as a kid!  You have to track down the DVDs of the show as it is excellent.  Just watching this clip makes me want to pop the DVDs in again.

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Tendril was the plant like monster.  In toy form he is the easiest to find in my opinion.

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The Earth Corps. was a group of scientists that battled the Inhumanoids.  They were led by Herc Armstrong.

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Auger was the hot head of the trio.  I believe he was voiced by Michael Bell (Duke, Prowl) in the cartoon.

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Liquidator was the demolitions expert of the Earth Corps.

Dr. Derek Bright was for some reason not shown in his battle suit in the book.

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The scientists weren't alone in their battles with Metlar and the Inhumanoids.  Granok was the leader of his race of rock creatures and often aided the Earth Corps.

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Redlen was the leader of the Redwoods and often clashed with Tendril.  Do you think Wes Craven took some inspiration for his killer's mask from the look of Redlen?

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Magnokor could split himself into two separate pieces.  He controls electromagnetic waves and could imprison Metlar.

As I mentioned earlier most of the artwork here is mediocre since it's based on the toy designs.  These pages here are probably the best of the bunch.  As a kid I don't think I would've cared about how good the drawings were.  Heck, I don't think most kids back in the 1986 would've even noticed or cared that the art wasn't based on the cartoon.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this odd ball piece of Inhumanoids merchandise.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Transformers Generation 2 "Decepticon Danger" Coloring & Activity Book

What kid didn't enjoy sitting down with a new coloring book a pack of fresh crayons?  I loved it when my grandmother would buy me a new coloring book...especially as I got old and more anal about staying between the lines.  I can't say I remember this particular coloring book as a kid or even when/where I acquired this book, but I recently found it again during the move of my man cave/toy room.

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The book has a 1993 copyright of Honey Bear Books and is entitled "Decepticon Danger".  As you can see it features the Construction Scrapper on the front.  It has a price of $1.29 pre-printed in the upper right corner.  have you seen what coloring books cost now?  $5.00 or more!

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The back features the original box art for G1 Dinobot Grimlock.  Modern Publishing is listed on the back so I'm not sure who the publisher is...but who cares.  What's important are the blank pages ready to be colored...right?

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The illustrations are by Tony and Tony Tallarico.  Apparently he has a multiple personalities...or a brother.  Not sure.  Written by Lara Bergen.  What a minute.  Since when did coloring books have writers?!

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If it wasn't for Sideswipe's name being on the spoiler and the huge 'SS' on the side of the car you might think that was Red Alert rushing to put out the fire with Inferno.  Then again this is a coloring book so who says you have to color in Sideswipe in his G2 (or G1) colors.  Why not color him red and white?

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Look.  Even a drawing of the G2 Optimus Prime toy has the cab ever so slightly angled.  That large sound box that attaches to the front of his trailer makes it impossible for the Optimus to ever drive in a straight line!

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G2 Starscream and Ramjet.  I always wondered why they chose Ramjet for inclusion in G2.  Why not Thundercracker or Dirge?  And why does Ramjet not have the traditional cone head.  Tony.  I'm looking at you.

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When you ready the quote on this page can't you just hear Peter Cullen's iconic voice?  I know I can.

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Growing up my coloring books didn't really make me think.  These days (and even in the early 90s) they started to mix in puzzles, mazes and word searches into coloring books.  I'm not against learning or anything, but as a kid I would've skipped over these pages.  At least they threw in some smaller drawings on this word search page to color.

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This is about as much action as you'll get in this book.  Look at the great writing here by Lara.  Great work!

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I had to include a scan of this page since it featured Constructicon Bonecrusher and one of the Skyscorcher jets.

Overall this is a pretty good coloring book.  It only contains 15 total pages, but it still makes for a nice Transformers collectible.  If you enjoyed this review let me know as I have another coloring book to share on down the road.