Saturday, June 30, 2012

2014 Marvel movie announcement!!


Marvel has been working on building a unified movie universe w/ several of their franchises such as Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and now the Avengers.  If you stuck around for the scene after the credits rolled in the Avengers then you would have seen a character teasing us all for the next Avengers movie...and this movie slated for release sometime in 2014...


Now at this point it's too early to tell which cast of characters the movie will contain.  Will it be the 2008 cast from above or will it have characters from the original comic series?  Two characters that are almost guaranteed to be in the movie will be Nova and Thanos.  Thanos is obvious and Nova is arguably one of the most well know Marvel cosmic characters.  I just hope it's the Richard Rider Nova and not the guy that just showed up in the Avengers vs. X-Men comic.

With Thanos in the movie the comic geek in me says it's a safe bet that Drax the Destroyer will also be in the movie.  If they can make him look anything like Hasbro did w/ his Marvel Legends figure then I'll be a happy camper.

Wow.  I'm still beside myself.  I really didn't expect this.  I was hoping for cosmic characters to get the movie treatment after seeing Thanos in that short scene in the Avengers, but I didn't expect it.  

My brother pointed me to HERE about the announcement.  While it's not officially official yet I'm sure the big news will come at the just around the corner San Diego Comic Con (SDCC).  

These next few years will be full of great Marvel movies.  It's going to be a fun ride to 2014!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

80's toy memories

Life With Fandom is featuring all month long an interesting theme called "80's Toy Awareness".  In conjunction with this theme is a contest where you can win a sealed package of OMFG figures.  As a toy blogger the contest was right up my ally.  All you had to do was e-mail Life With Fandom and share your favorite toy memory - preferably something related to the 80's.  Being a kid in the 80's I was exposed to lots and lots of great toys.  Many readers may think the memory I shared for the contest would be Transformers oriented, but before I was introduced to TFs in 1984 I was Yo Joe! all the way.


I'm a huge Transformers fan, but oddly enough one of my favorite memories revolves around my 6th birthday (1983) when I received the massive G.I. Joe ARAH Headquarters.  Before my parents bought me the HQ my grandmother had taken me earlier for lunch and to pick out a toy for my birthday.  I always thought that was cool of my grandmother to let us choose opposed to buying us some random toy for our birthday.  After a quick lunch at Wendy's we went across the street to a store called Rose's (very similar to the early days of Walmart).  I had my choice of a lot of different toys, but ended up going w/ the G.I. Joe M.O.B.A.T. tank.

Already having the tank in hand it made my excitement that much more upon unwrapping that large HQ.  I wanted to immediately rip into the box and start setting up the playset right there in the middle of my birthday party, but alas my dad made me wait in fear of losing any parts.  I swear for the rest of the party I wasn't the best behaved 6 year old as I was ready for my friends to go home so I could set up the new Joe HQ!


Once I had the chance to finally sit down and pull out all the parts I was in heaven.  One thing I liked about the old Joe toys was building the vehicles and playsets. As cool as the inner workings of the base were I loved the two bays on each side.  Once it was set up I was quick to park my new M.O.B.A.T. tank in the repair bay.  It was much later before I was able to get the V.A.M.P. jeep to park in the other side of the base.


I kept all of my Joe toys for a long long time, but like a lot of kids growing up my parents sold most of my toys when I got older.  It wasn't until a few years ago when I bought the HQ again to "Cobra-ize" that these memories were re-kindled.

(all pictures courtesy of YoJoe.com)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

HeroesCon Day 3

Day 3 - the final day of HeroesCon 2012 has come and gone.  It was a great weekend and personally one of my favorites. 

Sunday always brings smaller crowds and better deals than Saturday.  The deals were so good in fact that I was so wrapped up scoring some cheap bronze and silver age comics for pennies on the dollar that I forgot to take pictures!

There were plenty of good photo ops too so I hate that I missed out, but as I just mentioned I was on a mission to seek out all of the reduced prices to score some deals.  Speaking of deals I walked away with some very impressive Avengers and Captain America books from the late 70's for as cheap as 25 cents.  These were torn up, ragged books either.  I'm not a grader so I can't say they are in Near Mint condition, but they look fantastic.

On the toy front I continued to see several toys for sale...but most of them weren't moving thanks in part to the high prices.  Several vendors had those Walmart exclusive Avengers movie figures that are Marvel Legends scale, but who is seriously going to pay $50 for Hulk or $45 for Hawkeye?  One dealer may have gone as low as $30 which is essentially double retail - so that I can see.  Anything higher to me is crazy.

As far as 80's toys go again I saw plenty.  One dealer where I was browsing had a nice loose (and I think complete) G.I. Joe ARAH Rolling Thunder vehicle.  I didn't see a price nor did I ask.  I saw two different dealers that had a decent selection of Transformers.  I was surprised I didn't see more honestly.  One guy was asking $250 for a loose, complete G1 Jetfire.  Seriously?!  Closer to reality was a MOSC G1 Stranglehold Pretender for $100.  I've seen him go for $75+ loose, complete so I thought he would've sold. Another dealer (it may have been ToyNK.com) had a few Masterpiece TFs including the sought-after MP-10 Convoy.  $230 was too rich for my blood so I just looked.  He also had a few Hasbro Prime First Edition figures of Cliffjumper and Arcee for $30 a piece.  And I think I saw a Prime: PRID Vehicon at one random dealer for $25.

I didn't buy any toys this year which really surprised myself - but I did find one little toy related treat before leaving today in one of the many 50 cent boxes.  Behold:


I love these old Marvel Star Comics of the 80's toy properties.  I have the whole Visionaires series and this makes the 2nd issue of Inhumanoids that I now own.  One dealer had just about all the Star Comics Thundercats, but they were way overpriced in my opinion.

Assuming my schedule is free next June I plan on attending the show again.  Unless Botcon comes back to NC or somewhere within relative short driving distance the HeroesCon will be my summer convention of choice for the foreseeable future.

A quick shout out to Shelton Drum and his amazing staff for organizing and hosting one of the best, if not THE best comic book conventions in the country.  I never cease to be amazed each year and somehow they continue to improve the show year after year.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

HeroesCon Day 2

Day 2 at the Heroes Convention brought lots and lots of people into the Convention Center.  I haven't heard any attendance numbers yet, but I overheard several dealers early this morning talking about the disappointing crowd on Friday.

I for one enjoyed Friday thanks in part to the smaller amount of people in attendance.  Let's face it the price of the dealer's tables aren't cheap and not everyone setting up is "professional" - as in they do this for a living.  A lot of the smaller dealers had to get creative in how they set up their space and a lot of them utilized the space under their tables w/ 50 cent or dollar boxes.  That said its already hard enough to browse these cramped selling environments and boxes on the floor, but add in a LOT more people to the mix.

That's not to say the day wasn't fun or deals couldn't be had, but I bought far less today.  I think I walked out w/ 33 books.  Several of these however were key issues that I've been searching for for a long time.  Always a nice feeling when you finally get the chance to cross off on your list that issue(s) that has been eluding you for quite some time.

One of the perks that came w/ my 3 day advance ticket was early admittance to the convention and today I took advantage of it.  While my brother sat upstairs waiting for the doors to open to everyone else at 10:00 am I got to head downstairs early.  The line to get in this morning was ridiculously long so I headed over to the elevator for a little short cut!  

I was on a mission.  Late yesterday I found a dealer that had just reduced his dollar books to 50 cent.  I only bought a few because he said he was going to mark the books down again to 25 cents just before closing today and for all day Sunday.  That said I grabbed 2 issues of the old Marvel series Super-Villain Team-Up.  I couldn't believe they were in a dollar box much less marked down to 50 cent.  I grabbed issues 6 & 7 yesterday thinking issue 6 was the first appearance of the character The Shroud.  I was wrong.  So I headed back to that table to grab issue 5 (which was the first appearance) and the rest of the books from that title.

When I hit the sales floor this morning however I was surprised to see how empty it was.  I just saw this incredibly long line to get in today so where was everyone I thought.  

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They where here - in line for a chance of an autograph and or picture of the legendary comic creator Stan Lee.  While it's cool that he was there and a host of many other creators that has never been my cup of tea.  I may try and get Mike Zeck to autograph an issue of Captain America tomorrow, but I won't go out of my way.

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On the way out to drop off our comics in the car and grab a bite to eat we saw that the Ghostbusters' Ecto-1 was parked outside of the Convention Center!  These guys are local so I've see the car at other comic related functions, but I've never had my camera on me before.

I saw them pull up late Friday and the guys were posing in front of Ecto-1 w/ all of their gear on, but for whatever reason I didn't snap a picture.

The cosplay people were out in force today.  I saw a lot of great costumes and I'd love to have gotten pictures of them, but I still feel weird going up to them and asking for a picture.  Some of the more notable costumes I saw today were of Iron Man, the Black Widow, Spider-Man, a Umbrella Company soldier (Resident Evil), Sub-Zero (Mortal Kombat), Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow, Dr. Fate, several different Cat Women and I'm sure I've left off a few.

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By the end of the day I was tired of the crowds so when we headed upstairs for the Stan Lee panel we purposefully sat in the very back of the room...so I apologize for the crappy picture!

The Stan Lee panel was basically a thirty minute Q&A session.  This was the first time I've seen Stan in person so it was cool, but the panel wasn't anything spectacular...at least to me.  I admire what the guy has done for comics, but I wasn't gushing over him like so many of the people that stood up to ask him a question.  I will say that Stan's wit and humor was fully intact and it made the short panel entertaining.

Two days in the books.  One day left.  I'm ready to seek out some deals tomorrow and sit in on the afternoon Marvel Comics panel.  I don't anticipate staying until the convention closes at 6 pm as my body is already feeling the effects of these last two days.  Plus I'm ready to pick up my little girls as I've missed spending time w/ them this weekend.

Friday, June 22, 2012

HeroesCon Day 1


I feel very lucky to have such an awesome annual convention such as the HeroesCon held in my backyard each year.  There are no shortages of great comic book conventions across America, but one of the best is held in mid June each year in Charlotte, NC.

I took a day of vacation and made the short trip uptown to the Charlotte Convention Center w/ my wife, older brother and a friend of mine. With my mom watching our two girls this weekend my wife and I were excited to "get away" a bit.  Even though comics aren't really my wife's thing, she graciously agreed to come along and help me look for comics.

Beforehand I made her two lists.  A text list and a list w/ thumbnail images of the covers.  She doesn't really get the differences between Captain America vol. 1 and vol. 3 and I wanted to make things as easy on her as possible.


I like attending on Friday as you get first dibs at thumbing through all the boxes before the masses swarm the sales floor on Saturday.  It all paid off today as I set my wife loose at a booth that had all of their 50 cent books in alphabetical and numerical order!  I believe she found about 60 books for me at that one booth.

I think we spent a total of 6 hours today at the show and even though my body is tired I'm ready for more tomorrow.  I was unable to take many pictures today, but I'll work on that tomorrow and see what I can upload.


It's hard to believe this convention is as old as my wife!  This is the 30th anniversary of the HeroesCon and to celebrate the event a very nice Rocketeer print was made and given to people that bought a 3 day advance ticket.  The prints weren't ready this morning so I'll have to pick up mine on the way out tomorrow.

Also to help celebrate the anniversary this weekend they brought in the legendary Stan Lee!  I didn't pony up the extra cash to buy a ticket that had special privileges for autographs and such, but we do plan to attend his panel tomorrow.

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This is just a very small sample of what I brought home w/ me today.  I still can't believe we found all of these books in the 50 cent boxes!  Well the Nova Essential TPB wasn't $.50, but still a good deal at $5.00.  I could've knocked out a big run of The Defenders, but I settled w/ issues #61 & #62 for the time being.  I know a lot of dealers will start marking things down late tomorrow and going into Sunday so I have to practice some patience.  I couldn't believe that my wife pulled out Avengers #188 & #189.  I'm getting ever so closer to have a consecutive run of 250 issues of the Avengers!

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My brother is the one who found this Captain America Annual.  The cover artist Mike Zeck is in attendance this weekend so I might have to take this book back w/ me to have him add his autograph to this iconic cover.

All in all it was a great day and I can't wait to see what day 2 and day 3 has in store for us.  Keep checking back for more updates, pictures and to see what else I bought.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy Birthday - Thundercats style

Today marks the day that I'm officially old.  Well at least that is what my family is telling me.  Right before I walked out the door for work on my 35th birthday my little girl stopped me w/ a card in hand.  She was smiling ear to ear and couldn't wait for me to open the card.  She was so impatient she took the card out of the envelope and handed it to me.


I was a little bummed about having to work all day, but at least I walked out that door with a smile on my face.  Thanks Livi!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Go Shooter Project

I love G1 Transformers. I love acquiring G1 Transformers even more.What I don't like are the prices of G1 Transformers on the secondary market. Who does, right?

A month ago (I think) I was fortunate enough to be able to pick up what the seller called junk via Yahoo! Japan auctions. I don't remember how I came across the listing, but when I translated the description the seller literally called this junk.

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Go Shooter - from the 1988 Japanese exclusive Transformers Masterforce series. I'll take junk like this any day of the week! (I should mention the light bar was attached, but I removed it as part of the restoration process.)

Granted when I bought this item I didn't really have a good idea of it's condition. I was just so giddy when I saw that my bid ended up being the highest I quickly hit the check out button and paid. I know you're probably already wondering what I paid. Normally I wouldn't share that info, but in this case it's all part of story. How about $39? Yup, no kidding.  $39. Plus fees from the proxy bidding service I used. In the end he was still cheap.

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In addition to what you see I also got the seat/helmet and the Headmaster, Shuta Go. Once the toy arrived I was still excited, even though the condition was a little worse than I thought. The figure had wear to both the stickers and the plastic, especially around the roof, bumpers and the rear spoiler. What really took the wind out of my sail was when I turned him over and saw his beautiful blue plastic...was green.

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OK, it wasn't completely green. You get the picture though. I was determined to breath new life into Go Shooter and make him display worthy. I wasn't sure where to start so I bought a junker G1 Siren to experiment on since essentially the two toys were one in the same.

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Upon closer inspection it appeared that all the blue plastic that doubled as the robot bits were just screwed on. Underneath the nose of the car I noticed 4 small phillips head screws so I decided to take Siren apart.  Thankfully the whole section disassembles really easy so I did the same to Go Shooter. Siren's plastic hadn't turned colors so I switched the two. Amazing the differences. The greenish plastic almost looks normal when matched with the gray plastic of Siren.

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The next part I had to tackle was the chest. It was held on by 3 screws. This is too easy I began to think as I removed the screws. The black piece of plastic is where the arms/shoulder assembly attaches. I also got to see how the Headmaster tech spec gimmick works.

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The arms were a royal pain to remove. Even though I didn't care about breaking this junker Siren figure I wanted to be able to safely remove and disassemble the arm. I didn't dare tackle this step on Go Shooter until I was comfortable. The small black piece you see acts as the shoulder assembly. On the other end of the round portion is a screw. Apparently you can tighten this screw and it has the effect of adding more resistance to the ratcheting portion of the assembly. Looks like you can do this to fix any sagging arm problem you may have with Siren or Go Shooter!

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Earlier I mentioned that I removed the light bar. Underneath the cockpit was one small screw that held this piece in place. Even the blue plastic on the Go Shooter's light bar had discolored...and on my junker Siren figure. Luckily however my now naked Siren figure on my G1 shelf called out to me. No, not really. I did think to check him out a little closer however. Luck was finally on my side as the Siren I had in my collection all this time had perfect blue plastic!!

This is where I had to make a tough decision. Now I had already raided my Siren of his weapons for Go Shooter, but did I want to swap out parts of his blue plastic? Hmm. Would I rather have nice looking semi-complete Siren or a beautifully restored and complete Go Shooter? Actually it wasn't a very hard decision at all.

Now that I had all the blue plastic parts in hand and ready to reassemble the figure I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I wasn't out of the woods yet though as I had two looming problems. 1) The small flap that covers the tech spec meter was missing and 2) The stickers needed replacing.

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To try and remedy problem #1 I again went back to the junker Siren body and looked and looked and looked some more at this flap piece and the small metal pin that held it in place. I was at a loss of how to remove this. I posted a thread on the TFW2005 boards asking for help. I didn't get much credible help. So I kept looking. I ended up taking a small flat head screw driver and gently applied pressure to the metal pin. The more and more I slowly tried to edge it to the left I noticed it moving ever so slowly. I kept at it and after a minute or two the pin came out and the flap fell off!  Success!

Now of course Siren's body is gray while Go Shooter's body is white. Knowing I was lucky to already find a "junker" Go Shooter body I knew my chances of finding another w/ this flap attached were slim to none. That said I grabbed a can of Krylon Fusion Satin White spray paint and proceeded to paint the flap. If you've never used this Fusion paint let me tell you how great it is. Nice wide spray nozzle and dries to the touch in 15 minutes! Once it dried I added it to all the parts and proceed to put Go Shooter back together.  Sadly the flap and the pin didn't go back together as easy as it came apart, but I managed to get everything back into place. I still need to do some small touch up work to the bottom of the flap where it rubs against the chest piece. All in all though I thought it turned out wonderfully. The white turned out a nice bright white.  So bright in fact that you can tell the rest of the car has some very minor yellowing.

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Problem #2 wasn't solved as easily. Unlike many G1 Transformers finding new repro labels wasn't going to be easy. To my knowledge no one had ever replicated Go Shooter's stickers...until earlier this year. The great folks that run Reprolabels gave away absolutely free exclusive sticker sheets for both Minelba (Minerva) and Go Shooter! All you had to do was register for their forums and show proof of owning either the original toys or the recent high quality KOs that had surfaced. Of course I only found out about this offer a month or so ago so that ship had sailed. I registered in the forum anyhow and began to see if by chance anyone that received the free stickers would sell me theirs. It didn't take long before someone responded to my plea and offered me up this awesome set of stickers for Go Shooter. He only wanted the set for Minelba's stickers so I quickly made an offer of $10. About a week later the stickers were all mine!

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I was scared to clean the white plastic with anything but a solution of mild soap and warm water, but with a little elbow grease and some q-tips I thought he cleaned up quite nice. Add the new stickers and he was good as new. Well at least good as new for me. The police details on the hood of the car are the original. I didn't know the reprolabel sheet would contain the hood decoration, but thankfully I didn't need it.

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Go Shooter "junker" = $39. Proxy fees = $35. Siren junker for parts = $15. New reprolabels = $10. One head gun = $21. Restored and completed Go Shooter = priceless.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Transformers G2: Meanstreak (Power Master)

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Only sold in parts of Europe in 1995 Hasbro released 4 Power Masters.  They didn't have transforming engines and that's not a typo - I meant to put a space between the two words.  The gimmick behind Power Masters was that they had pull back friction motors.  When their weapons were placed in certain holes they would unlock the engine and allow it to power forward.  Not the best gimmick if you ask me, but still a unique piece of Transformers history.

Function: Street Fighter
Motto: "I'm a fuel injected firestorm screaming through the streets!"

Meanstreak would rather drag race than fight, but he's never shirked his duty when called upon for combat. A blur in battle because of his speed, Decepticon targeting sensors incapable of locking onto him. Due to body structure and ground clearance, rough terrain reduces performance levels. But on smooth city streets, he's a devastating destroyer of Decepticons!

Strength:Speed:  10  Rank:  5  Firepower:  7
Intelligence:  7  Endurance:  6  Courage:  9  Skill:  5

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Meanstreak eluded my grasp for so many years.  I was able to acquire Ironhide, Staxx and Bulletbike years ago and rather easily.  I bought all of them MOSC for I'm sure less than $20.00 each.  Fast forward to today when Transformers is a much more popular brand and finding these isn't so easy.  When you do find them they are usually on eBay with inflated prices.  Thankfully I didn't have to go that route as this one was acquired via Amazon.uk with the help of a very generous TFW2005 member.

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I don't recall my other Power Masters coming on multi-lingual cards such as Meanstreak.  Good thing TFW2005 had his translated tech specs!

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Meanstreak has a great alt mode.  I don't recall any other Transformer being a dragster.  Plenty of race cars of all sorts, but no dragsters come to mind.  I love the airbrushed white on the nose as it gives the appearance of the dragster tearing up the streets.

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 The alt mode isn't perfect though.  Since the toy hails from the Generation 2 era it has the requiste pink windows.  The yellow doesn't bother me as much.  Like other G2 toys the faction symbol and name is stamped on the toy, this time on the front window.

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The only stickers on the toy are on the side doors.  At least they aren't as garish as the sticker on the front of G2 Megatron!

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Meanstreak features an easy transformation.  You basically stand up the front portion of the car and separate the nose into the arms.  That's about it.  If the head looks a little funny it's because those are the front wheels on the side of the head.  Too bad they were molded in black plastic as that would have looked better in my opinion.

I didn't think I'd like this toy that much going in, but since I had the other 3 Power Masters I figured why not go ahead and complete the set.  While all the robot modes on these toys are very simplistic I think Meanstreak has one of the better looking robot forms.

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Of all the early simplistic Transformers (Battle Chargers, Jumpstarters, Throttlebots) it's at least nice to see the idea of friction powered Transformers evolve a bit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Transformers Campaign Micron - Arms Micron Vector Oracle

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this Targetmaster was one of the first new Mini-Con / Micon figures released.  Originally Nightstick, partner of Transformers Universe Cyclonus, Vector Oracle was released in Japan in February of this year.  Limited to just 3,000 pieces the toy was given away free to any customer that bought over 3,000 yen worth of Transformers product from Toys 'R Us Japan.

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I'm all for Hasbro and Takara getting their monies worth out of a mold, but man have they ever used this little mold a lot.  I count this mold being used 7 other times!  Yes, 7 times (Universe, Reveal the Shield, Challenge at Cybertron, Transformers Collector's Club Shattered Glass, Henkei!, Henkei! Strafe and e-Hobby exclusive.

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I'm glad they chose such a good mold to release so many times.  This mold has to have some of hte best articulation for a Mini-Con / Micron toy.  I'm not sure where the inspiration came from for Vector Oracle's colors, but it oddly works well.  This was the first toy that kicked off the various Campaign Microns and one of the best.

Transformers Campaign Micron - Arms Micron Decepticon Blowpipe

I can only say this Micron was purchased with the "gotta have 'em all" mentality.

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Decepticon Blowpipe was exclusively available at Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera, Edion Group, Ishimaru, Deodeo, Eiden and Midori stores with a purchase of 3,000 yen or more of Transformers Prime First Edition toys. 

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If Blowpipe is to be a Targetmaster like his G1 namesake then I have no idea what is going on here!  I believe what the problem here is this toy was made to interact with this original Power Core Combiner partner Heavytread.  As a stand alone figure he just falls so short when compared to just about any other Micron or Mini-Con.  The head sculpt is very non-descript and he doesn't have any hands for crying out loud!  His legs also seem to be out of porportion to the rest of the body. 

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The only good thing Blowpipe has going for him is his colors.  The black and dark blue are a huge improvement over his original Groundspike colors.  Not one of my favorite Microns.  Unless you are hopeless addicted like myself I really can't recommend this toy.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Transformers Campaign Micron - Arms Micron Autobot Pinpointer

Continuing with my look at exclusive Transformers Microns we'll take a look at Autobot Pinpointer.  This Micron was limited to 10,000 pieces and was given away free to people who bought 4,000 yen or more worth of Transformers product at Toys 'R Us stores in Japan.  Released on March 31, 2012, I'm not sure if all were given away.

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Autobot Pinpointer reuses the name of a G1 Targetmaster, but sports a different color scheme from the past Micron Targetmasters.  When this mold was initially released as Waterlog w/ the Power Core Combiner toy Undertow I was immediately intrigued.  However I hated the translucent bluish-green color Hasbro used so I was thrilled to see the mold was getting a better choice of colors.

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Pinpointer has one of the best head sculpts I've seen on a Micron/Mini-Con toy.  The wings are articulated in that there is a hinge in the middle that allows you to fold and pose them out or folded back.  I personally like them folded out in robot mode.  Pinpointer also sports a very nice and convincing Targetmaster weapon.

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It's amazing how a change in colors makes this mold look so much better.  I'm still trying to figure out why someone at Hasbro thought it was a good idea to use translucent plastic for these PCC Mini-Cons.