Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Finally united together - Transformers G1 Sixshot

For several different reasons I'm not able to acquire many G1 TFs anymore.  When I do I usually have to piece them together since I don't usually have the coin to drop on a complete figure.  I know I spend more in the long run buying bits and pieces here and there, but no one ever said being a collector was easy!

Several years ago when helping a local friend and fellow Transformer collector move his collection he gifted me with a pair of guns for G1 Sixshot.  I knew TF parts were getting expensive at the time so I was very grateful for his kind gesture.  I never thought it would take so long though before I finally found a decent priced Sixshot to go along w/ the guns.  Thanks to parting w/ a few Hercules 'bots I was able to use those funds to pick up a decent Sixshot on Yardsellr.com of all places.

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I don't think I ever realized just how large this figure was until he showed up.  Quite impressive figure, but it needs a new set of reprolabels.  Guess I'll have to see what I can find online.  

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Not having the instructions I grabbed one of my Transformer books off the shelve so I could get a good look at the other 5 alt modes.  Since it's a G1 toy I figured it wouldn't too hard to figure out the different transformations.

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The jet mode is probably the biggest and one of the best.  It's not quite aerodynamic, but still pretty impressive.  Early on it's one of my favorite modes.

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My book called this a jet propelled laser gun.  I guess since Sixshot was a one robot assassin he didn't want/need anyone to hold him while in gun form.  It's a decent alt form, but fairly weak in my opinion.

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The armored car mode is small, but pretty cool.  Too bad the wings just sit on top in the forward swept position otherwise it's a great alt mode.

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I wondered why the legs in robot mode bent they way they did.  After transforming him into this armored platform I now understand.  I'm starting to begin just how well armed and deadly this guy is!

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The final mode is some sort of large cat.  Now this is one mode that I really like.  I immediately remembered the scene from the old cartoon where Sixshot assaults Ultra Magnus.  Awesome stuff.

I can't believe it's taken me this long to appreciate such an awesome figure.  I always wanted to get the reissue, but for whatever reason I dragged my feet and he got expensive on the secondary market.  Then came the recent news of him being reissued again w/ some minor changes.  1) I didn't like the added chrome and 2) his price tag was way more than I expected.  My friend was right.  The good thing about all these reissues is it drives the prices down on the original figures.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Transformers Beast Machines: Hammerstrike

This is probably one of the few times a Beast Machines toy will make this blog.  Ever.  While it took me awhile to be able to 1) watch the animated television show and 2) appreciate the show the toys were a whole 'nother animal.

Towards the end of the line when it was branded "Battle of the Spark" we got some decent toys like the excellent Motorcycle Drone, Tank Drone or even Battle Unicorn.  We also got Hammerstrike.

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Name: Hammerstrike
Faction: Maximals
Function: Tracker, Ocean Attack
Motto: The ocean depths conceal all intentions.

Bio:
Not known for his intelligence or cunning, Hammerstrike is the best there is at what he does - destroy Vehicons. Of all the Maximals, Hammerstrike is the most battle hungry. Insatiable appetite for combat; devastating "frenzy" assault leaves few Vehicon survivors. Knows no fear, feels no pain and has an endurance second only to Cheetor. Calculating and fearless, Hammerhead gives the Vehicons a good reason to stay out of the water.

                                                                        Strength 10 Intelligence 6
                                                                            Speed 8 Endurance 10
                                                                              Rank 6 Courage 10
                                                                      Firepower 8 Skill 5

For some reason I was so excited about getting this toy when it was released in early 2001.  Now I look at the mess of a toy and wonder "what was I thinking?!"  We'll start off with the bad (i.e. the robot mode) so we can get it out of the way.

Hammerstrike has to have one of the most spindly robot modes I've ever seen on a Transformer toy.  The only defined limbs are the legs and the tail fins which surprisingly provide some stable feet.  The upper torso including the shoulders, arms and hands are a complete mess.

The lower jaw of the shark doubles as his hands and are utterly useless.  I use the word arm very loosely here.  There isn't a defined elbow and the arm is hinged rather high on the shoulder.  The shark fins on the arms and back of the shoulders are very annoying and just get in the way.  I suppose you could pop them off if you wanted to.  Didn't really try much w/ this craptacular figure.

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The other low point of the robot is the head.  Just look at this thing.  Can you even tell you're looking at a robot's head/face?  I'm guess the eyes are the two indentions on the sides.  You're guess is as good as mine what that translucent orange piece is hanging down.

With the toy being a modern Transformer there is a bit of articulation to be had in robot mode.  The legs attach to the hips with ball joints and there are hinged joints in the knees.  The feet/fins rotate a full 360 degrees.  The range of motion in the top half is very limited which really hampers this already suffering robot mode.

The one redeeming quality of this figure and the only reason worth buying it is the alt mode - a techno-organic hammer head shark.

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Surprisingly the colors work well for this toy.  Between the primary beige, translucent orange plastic and the metallic blue paint it all blends well.  He does have a small section that has been chromed in a metallic bronze color a la the Beast Wars Transmetal 2 toys.  So far mine has aged well and shows no signs of the chrome starting to peel or flake.

In shark form you can move his side fins up and down while the rear section that forms the robot's legs has a greater range of motion.  Hammerstrike also features an attack mode so the speak.  His spark crystal on the top (blue orb) also functions as a trigger that activates a battering ram on the crest of the head.  Mine doesn't work all that well.  Even if it did the orange plastic doesn't extend very far.

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The head portion of the shark removes to form a weapon of sorts while in robot mode.  Whether it's a gun or some sort of melee type weapon I'm not sure.  Either way I'm not a fan.

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Hey look, I'm a butterfly...
Unless you are a Beast Machines completionist I really can't recommend this toy.  Yes the shark mode is a fairly decent (albeit small) the rest of the toy just isn't that worthy of adding to your Transformers collection.  That said I only bought this toy to review and warn others!  This toy will be headed to my online Yardsell very soon!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Somebody please explain to me...

I was reading a post on another blog about movies that make you cry.  It was actually this week's assignment from the League.  Any kid of the 80's that has seen the '86 animated Transformers movie could agree that the death of Optimus Prime scene was pretty memorable.  Later on in the movie after the Matrix of Leadership is passed on Galvatron gets his hands on it.  Inside Unicron the two fight with Hot Rod eventually gaining control of the Matrix and transforming into Rodimus Prime.  He then uses the Matrix to light the Autobot's darkest hour - killing Unicron.


I feel embarrassed as a Transformers fan to say that I don't understand how the Matrix killed Unicron.  The clip from the movie shows all sorts of glitterly blue light extending out.  Next thing you know there are all of these explosions like Unicron himself pushed some sort of self destruct button.

Someone please explain to me how the Matrix of Leadership was able to destroy a titan like Unicron.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Transformers 3rd Party: Maiden Japan - Generations Inferno add-on kit

Third party Transformer products are everywhere now.  Unless you've been living under a rock then you've probably seen some of the products or at least heard of companies such as Fans Project, iGear or TFC Toys.  There are plenty of smaller companies out there that produce great items that just don't have the same exposure as the big guys.

One of these companies is called Maiden Japan.  I had never heard of them until a friend of mine pointed out a thread on TFW2005.com with custom armor for your Reveal the Shield Wreck-Gar.  Slap these pieces on and bye-bye Wreck-Gar and hello random Junkion!  I never had the cash at the time so those sets came and went.  I hadn't heard of Maiden Japan again until when they recently resurfaced with a simple upgrade for Universe / Henkei! Inferno.

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Inferno received an excellent upgrade with this new voyager size mold.  He is missing a few key components from his G1 days however and I believe TFC Toys was the first to try and remedy this.  The Gears of War set included (among other things) a white extending ladder.  Since then I've seen several custom mods with various ladders and they all look nice, but since I display my TFs primarily in robot mode I felt the ladder was an unnecessary purchase.

Take a look at the awesome head sculpt.  Notice anything missing?  The white wings!  Yeah, I never understood the significance of them during the G1 days either, but they are a part of his look.  This is where Maiden Japan's latest effort comes into play.

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This simple, yet beautiful piece is color matched near perfectly for your Universe Inferno.  Have the Henkei! version instead?  No worries as the same piece was made in those colors as well.  In fact there is even a kit already made for the forth coming Million Publishing exclusive Artfire...which reminds me I need to order (the kit, not the figure).

I'm not a handy or adventurous collector.  I don't custom or mod toys.  I'm too afraid I'll screw up the toy or once it's taken apart I won't be able to re-assemble it correctly.  That's why I was thrilled to find that this piece just slips on the back of Inferno's head.  No assembly/dis-assembly required!

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I know it's not a glaring change, but it looks great once applied to the figure.  Sorry for the flash as it kinda washed out the white wings.  The red used matches the rest of the toy really well.  The whole head piece is a one solid piece and the level of detailing is fantastic.

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The only downside to this piece would be that it takes away from the ability to rotate Inferno's head.  I believe it would also block light from entering the back of the head for the eye's light pipping.  Neither one of these "issues" really effect me.  I think this is a simple, yet awesome little upgrade kit.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Transformers G1: Aquablast (Stormtrooper)

I bring today another Transformers European exclusive toy from the 2 year transitional period between G1 and G2 that started in 1994.  Aquablast was originally released in 1993, but released again in 1994 in G2 packaging.  No changes were made to the toy however.  I still view these as more G1 than G2.

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As I mentioned in my last review I was able to get several of these European exclusives sealed in a lot for cheap...and I didn't hesitate one moment to open them up either!  My version of Aquablast is the 1993 G1 version.  Aquablast comes packaged on the standard blister card for that market w/ bi-lingual text on the card's back.  As you can tell from the instructions he as the water shooting and color changing gimmick.

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I love the roles and personalities that the tech specs give each character and Aquablast is no exception.  Being an engineer would you say he's the Decepticon equivalent of Wheeljack?

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According to Transformers Wiki his alt mode is a Mitsubishi HSR.  Not a model I'm familiar with, but a sharp looking sports car none the less.  Since I was able to obtain him sealed I didn't have to worry about the color changing front portion of the car already being discolored.


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I don't mind the water gun near as much on him as I do others from his subgroup or from the toys Hasbro released in the G2 series.  It seems fairly well integrated into the alt mode.  I would have preferred some other color plastic being used for the windows, but keep in mind this toy was released in 1993.

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Nothing to write home about when it comes to the transformation.  Very simple, but I like that in my TFs.  I don't mind some level of challenge, but I'm also not going to complain when I don't have to have the instructions in front of me each time I attempt to transform the figure!

Aquablast has gold thighs / legs, but they don't appear to suffer from GPS.  To my knowledge I haven't heard of this toy suffering from this problem, but if I'm wrong then please do correct me.  In addition to the dark green car parts and the yellow rear "windows" he sports dark blue arms.  In a weird way all these colors come together well.  I also like his head sculpt and the eyes have some good light piping.

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The other Stormtroopers have a long plastic hose for the water to travel through - which gets in the way in my opinion.  While the other guys weapons are smaller and less obtrusive I still like Aquablast's weapon because it lacks the hose.  When he's wielding his weapon I also get the impression there was a reason he has a Firepower ranking of 9 on this tech specs!

Ever since I found out about these various European exclusive Transformers about 10 years ago I've enjoyed tracking them down and learning more about the characters and the molds.  While not all of them are great Transformers toys I've found the majority of them have their own redeeming qualities.  The Stormtroopers have quickly become some of my favorite car based Decepticons...sorry Stunticons.




Monday, July 2, 2012

Transformers G1: Falcon (Predator)

In my never ending quest to arrange my cave at home like I want it I present another toy that I needed to open to review and display.  I miss those days when some of the non-U.S. released TFs could be had at a bargain.  Thankfully I was able to pick up Falcon and a few other UK exclusives fairly cheap in one lot.  

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Falcon is part of the Predator subgroup of Deceptions.  Only released in Europe and parts of Australia (and later released in Japan as part of a versus set) these jets were some of the last toys released under the G1 banner.

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Falcon is the leader of the Predators (I always thought it was Skyquake) and apparently doesn't think too much of the weak.

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Each Predator jet features a gimmick like their cohorts the Stormtroopers.  Underneath is a flip down Megavisor target reticule with a picture of an Autobot.  Alone you can't really activate this feature - you need either Stalker's missile or Skyquake.


 Once plugged in the Megavisor is flipped down and you can see the Autobot just waiting to be obliterated.

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 Falcon transforms into a Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth jet.  It's not my favorite jet of the group, but still impressive.  I can't help but think this toy should have been released in the G2 series thanks in part to the colors used.  Now the blue gray for the jet is fine, but the neon yellow plastic in the cockpit, bright stickers and neon green missiles are a bit much.  How you can be all stealthy w/ neon colors everywhere?!

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The 4 small Predator jets are small.  They aren't even comparable in size to a modern day deluxe Transformer.

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Like with most G1 TFs the transformation is very simple.  Articulation?  What articulation?!  The arms move up and down and that is it.  Falcon features a nice head sculpt and some great light piping on the back side of the head.

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Falcon comes packaged w/ 3 green missiles, his bronze/gold launcher and instructions/catalog.  It's been said many times before beware of the launcher.  The launchers are notorious for suffering from GPS (Gold Plastic Syndrome).  I won't even plug the gun into his hand let alone load a missile inside it.  If you are brave enough (or stupid as I to think) the gun can be pegged into jet mode as well.

While the Predator toys certainly won't win any awards they are fun little toys and represent some of the last G1 toys released.  They aren't extremely hard to find nor are they expensive so if you get the chance go ahead and jump on it.