Thursday, July 25, 2013

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Skylynx


Summer of 2013 has brought some changes as well as new Transformers toys.  Look carefully at the packaging and you'll probably notice that the Prime moniker has been dropped, and Predacons Rising subtitle has been added.

Skylynx here is the first of many exclusive toys for Target stores to use the new Predacons Rising packaging.  From a marketing standpoint I have to say that Hasbro has done a remarkable job here.  I can see these toys really standing out on retail shelves.  Can't you already see the kids begging mom and dad for a new Transformer toy after seeing the large image of Predaking so prominently displayed?  Look even carefully and you'll see flames molded into the blister bubble.  Very nice touch Hasbro.


While I love the front of the packaging, there is one thing about the back that bothers me...and it's not unique to this release.  Where are the tech specs?  I'm not talking just the number rankings either.  In the 80's we were treated to several paragraphs about the character, their traits, abilities, skills, strengths and weaknesses.  Now we're lucky if a new character gets one or two sentences.  That's it!  Come on Hasbro, do the right thing and bring back Bob Budiansky.  Larry Hama was brought back to right the file cards for G.I. Joe, so why not Bob?


Upon opening Skylynx I was surprised to see how small the instructions were.  Impressive.  The booklet opens up much like the old G1 instructions.  This I like, especially when compared to the massive sheet style instructions that the Prime and Beast Hunters toys previously came packaged with.


Skylynx comes packaged in robot mode, albeit folded and crammed into the blister bubble.  Stretch him out a little and you've got his proper robot mode.  First off let me say this is my first experience with this mold.  I didn't care for the garish colors of Skystalker and his Transformers Go! version doesn't look much better, so Skylynx it is.  First impression, how is this guy going to stand on his own with these chicken legs and huge wings pointed backwards?  Well thankfully he has a tail (that resembles what you'd find on an Ankylosaurus) that you can use to help give him some stability.  Also the right wing's swivel joint was loose out of the package and didn't always want to stay in a vertical pose.  

Plastic seems a little soft, but the paint apps were beautifully applied.  I love the overall color scheme.  If Skylynx wasn't a Predacon I'd say he almost looks patriotic!  Articulation is very laid out with the use of ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.


The robot head is concealed by the dragon's mouth, so you get this cone head look.  Interesting headsculpt, but I wish there was a way to get rid of the upper jaw hanging off the back of the head.


 Not being familiar w/ this mold and kind of in a rush, I forgot to show off his weapons.  I wondered what the odd discs on his wings were for and now I know.  Rotate the wings around forward and now he has "shoulder mounted" weapons.  I'll have to test those out by terrorizing my cat, Lion-O later on.


Transformation to beast mode is very simplistic.  You basically fold him over onto all fours, close the dragon's mouth and post the wings to your liking.  The robot's crotch area does slide apart to give the back legs more distance between each other, but the two pieces don't lock into place.  I found the back half of the beast to be a little loose and jangly for my tastes.  With all the ball joints though I'm sure you can strike much more dynamic poses than mine!


I think my favorite aspect of Skylynx is his beasts' headsculpt.  Just look at this head, it looks like it was taken straight off one of Slayer's album covers!  Great detailing, especially the red horns.  Love it.

Skylynx is a decent deluxe Predacon.  I still give Lazerback a slight nod over Skylynx (mold wise), but Skylynx has a much more pleasing overall color scheme.  I'm still trying to figure out if I'll be displaying these Predacons with my Prime toys, or just giving them their own little corner?  If you like transforming dragons and have a Target nearby then take a gamble on the figure, you just might be surprised.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Transformers Suntory Boss Coffee: Astrotrain

In 2008, Japanese beverage company, Suntory ran a Transformers promotion on their line of Boss coffees.  The oversized plastic caps contained a random Autobot or Decepticon PVC figure based on the color of the cap, red or purple.


The figures are small and rather simple, but there is more than meets the eye here!  Underneath the cap is a small hexagon shaped paper insert that shows off the other figures in the series.  On the flip side are different little diorama images.  Simply fold the insert to display the image you want and then insert it into a small ridge in the top of the cap and you've got yourself a rather nifty diorama display!


I should have put a SFC figure in the picture for scale purposes as these little guys are fairly small.  There is a small bit of assembly required when you first remove the figure from the cap.  Usually it's just attaching the legs to the upper half of the body.  To be so simple of a figure, I was surprised to see a few paint apps.  I also didn't expect the PVC figure to contain much detail, but if you look carefully on Astrotrain's wings you'll see a small Decepticon symbol!

I know these type of things don't appeal to every Transformers fan, but I find them fascinating and best of all, they don't take up much space on my display shelves!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I did it again! + a cheap Charticon 2013 plug

Alright, two months in a row now I've exceeded the free 10 GB of bandwidth Photobucket gives me.  I've thought about letting Blogger host all my pics, but I'm paranoid.  I like being able to take the HTML code Photobucket gives me for each picture and embedding it into Blogger.  For me it's easier to place the pictures where I want them in the body of the post.  Plus I don't have any photo editing software so I use Photobucket for that as well.

Since I have too much fun working on this blog and since so many people keep visiting it (thus going over my bandwidth limits) I'm going to have to figure some out...and soon!  Everything should reset in about 13 days...but I'm not planning on waiting that long before I act.

Sorry this has happened again everyone.  I truly never expected that this humble blog would receive so many hits.  Just please bear with me as I work on getting everything back up and running.  In the meantime let me take a second to brag about how awesome Charticon 2013 is going to be!


The Charticon committee wrapped up another meeting last night and even I was surprised about some of the cool news that will debut at the convention.  Of course I can't say anything now otherwise Arkvander will hunt me down like the Decepticon I am, but I think plenty of TF fans and collectors will stand a cheer.  Of course being part of this convention since it's very early stages I've been very excited, but now I'm so giddy!  I'm counting the days down until August 9th.  That also means I have to hurry as my time is quickly dwindling down for my responsibilities.  I still have to put the finishing touches on my fan panel I'm hosting Sunday, try to round up a few more charity auction donations for Saturday night's event as well as price all the TF goodies and other toys I'll be selling in the dealer room...or I should say my wife will be selling.  Oh yes, Charticon 2013 will be one for the ages!

Friday, July 12, 2013

GI Joe anyone?

If you've been reading my blog for anytime you might recall a post from a year or so ago where my G.I. Joe display rack on my wall fell.  My figures and their accessories went everywhere.  Since I couldn't figure out how to hang the rack again I just tossed all the figures in little zip lock bags and tossed them aside in a large tote.

Fast forward to today.  Outside of a few figures (2-3) I decided to keep for myself, my loose G.I. Joe figure collection is going up for grabs!  I've started by listing my stuff on the Buy/Sell/Trade forums at both YoJoe.com and at HISSTank.com.  I haven't been 100% successful at finding all of the small weapons and accessories that went flying, so I had to re-adjust the pricing (i.e. drop the prices) for several of the figures.  I spent the better half of 2 hours last night looking for some the missing items with no luck.  However I still hope to find some buyers that will take these off my hands.


If the sales threads aren't successful, then I'll be taking what I have left to sell next month @ Charticon and then either to my friend's local store, Retro Reboot or to eBay.

Before some of the figures are gone I do plan on doing some quick reviews for the blog.  I love what Hasbro did with some of the Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary stuff, I just simply don't have the room for a loose Joe collection.  Plus selling these means more $$ for Transformers!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

GI Joe: Micro Force blind bags

Not often that I do a video, but I had 2 blind bags and I was all alone in the house yesterday.  The quiet was a little creepy so I thought why not open the bags on camera?  Here are the results...


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Transformers and Carolina Camera

Last year, January 2012 to be exact, a local news program called Carolina Camera featured me and my Transformers collections as part of their program.  The local television station used to have a link to the video on their website, but after several months the link became invalid.  I tried uploading the video to YouTube from the DVD they gave me of the episode, but after taking the disc around to show family and friends I ended up misplacing it.

Fast forward to June 2013 and I finally found the disc!  After doing some research I found a program that allowed me to rip just the 7 minutes of my footage.  Before you watch the video let me say a few things about the filming process.  My toy room is a decent size, but with a sofa, large computer desk and the sheer amount of "stuff" in the room it does become a little crowded.  Throw in a reporter, a camera man with a big tripod and those light umbrellas and there was literally no where to move!

I was really nervous about how I would come off in the video.  I was also nervous at how I would be portrayed by the interviewer.  She asked me a TON of questions, but most of them were general questions like why do I collect, how long have I collected and do I ever plan on stopping.  Not all the questions made it into the final cut, but overall I was very satisfied with the outcome.  Personally I thought they took the high road and didn't make a bald guy who collects children's toys look like a social outcast.  Take a look for yourself and tell me what you think of the interview.



Since the video aired I've reworked almost all of the shelves.  It's funny that the camera man kept zooming in on a lot of the Animated toys since I no longer have 95% of those.  I look back at the video and think at how much of a small fry I am compared to other collections I see on YouTube, but for the viewers of the Carolina Camera show I'm sure they hadn't seen anything like it before.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hot Wheels: the Mystery Machine

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My Hot Wheels collecting days for the most part are behind me, but when I saw this hanging on the pegs at a Target while celebrating my wife and I's anniversary earlier this year I had to have it.  Growing up I loved Scooby Doo.  My mom would even hold Scooby Doo over my head and threaten to not let me watch the show if I didn't fill in the blank.  Seriously.  I loved Scooby Doo.  Well at least until they introduced Scrappy Doo.

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How awesome is this?


Monday, July 1, 2013

Transformers Masterpiece: Alert MP-14

When Takara Tomy announced that the next two Transformers Masterpieces were going to be Lambor (Sideswipe) and Alert (Red Alert) I was excited, as I'm sure every other Transformer fan was.  However I wasn't sure I wanted to drop the $ on essentially a repaint so I initially just pre-ordered Lambor.  After receiving Lambor and doing my review of him, I instantly sought out the best price and snatched up Alert for myself.  Boy am I glad I did!

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Alert comes packaged in the same gorgeous black matte box that Lambor came in.  There aren't really any other changes, but the box is so beautiful I had to share pictures.

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I half expected the instructions to be laid out in a booklet style similar to what Takara did with the Binaltech releases, but at least the sheet is in full color.  Alert comes packaged with his Particle Beam Rifle and shoulder mounted Rocket Launcher.  While Lambor came packaged with removable pile drivers, Alert comes with what Takara Tomy is calling Circuit Trouble.  I'll touch more on that later.

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Alert features his familiar G1 Fire Department deco along with a new light bar.  Wow what a difference this makes, this is a beautiful toy.  I like the fact that the Autobot symbol on the hood isn't so blazingly large as Lambor's is.  You have to see this toy in person to truly appreciate how beautiful it really is.

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A lot of people mentioned the less than stellar paint job on Lambor, but it appears that Takara Tomy rectified this issue on Alert's release.  At least on mine, I couldn't spot any paint blemishes or defects to the paint or the mold itself.  Two thumbs up to Takara Tomy!

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There is a small peg hole in the center of the new light bar that allows you to still attach either one or both weapons in vehicle mode.  The look isn't for me, but for some I'm sure they are happy to still have this option.

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Where as the vehicle mode may look like a simple re-deco, there are several changes made to the robot mode.  First off Alert features a new head sculpt that looks amazing.  The designers did a great job at capturing the comic and cartoon look of the character.  Also if you look on the side of his shoulders you'll see two faux tires.  I really wish Lambor sported this same look.

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Alert features the same transformation and articulation as Alert, which is awesome.  If you liked Lambor then you'll love Alert.  If you missed out on Lambor, then do yourself a huge favor and pick up this toy.

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I tried finding a clip of the G1 episode where Red Alert has his "panic attack" and he nearly goes crazy, but alas I couldn't find it.  Alert's added bonus, Circuit Trouble, simply attaches to the head to recreate that scene from the original cartoon.  It's is actually one solid piece that snaps onto the back of the head and goes over the "ears" on the head.  Small addition and something I'm sure most fans wouldn't have ever dreamed of finding packed inside the box, but none the less awesome.

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The dealer I ordered mine from included the Masterpiece coin.  At first I could've cared less for these, but now I'm kind of digging it.  The simple cardboard piece is split into two halves.  Pull them apart to reveal the coin.

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Sorry for the blurry pic.  I tried and tried to focus in more on the coin, but my old camera just couldn't seem to get the job done.

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I simply cannot say enough good things about this toy.  Takara Tomy have certainly set the bar high and I can only hope the next wave of Autobot Masterpiece toys (Prowl, Streak, Smokescreen) are just as great.  Takara isn't quite done with this mold yet as the next use will be as Tigertrack, a yellow Diaclone inspired release.  I originally had him on pre-order, but I only have so much $$ to go around and there are so many other things I'd rather have more.  Now if they do a G2 version of Sideswipe or a e-Hobby Clamp Down I'll be all over those releases!