Friday, January 31, 2014

Video Games & the Hyperkin RETRON 5

In the midst of opening new toys and prepping them for reviews, I've also had a renewed interest in my other hobby (or should I say one of my other hobbies) is gaming.  I've gone back and forth trying to figure out which label applies to me - gamer or collector?  I'd like to consider myself a gamer over a collector, but the truth is I have a TON of games that I've bought and never played.  Well, yet.


I have a lot of different video game consoles hooked up in my room at home.  I'm actually in the process of moving some of the older consoles over to an old CRT tube style TV I just picked up.  When you hear that retro games don't look good on an HDTV, let me tell you those people are right!  I bought a Sega CD set up over Christmas with some money I was given and the Genesis and Sega CD games looked down right horrid on my HDTV.  Cue the CRT television set!

Having so many different consoles makes gaming for me more fun.  I don't usually narrow my focus to any one collection, though if I did it would have to be the PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16.  I would never go for a full collection of games for any one particular system for many reasons I won't go into.  However the collector in me has certain criteria when it comes to buying used games - both retro and modern.

For cartridge based games the criteria differs from platform to platform.  For instance if the game originally came in a cardboard box I don't really care to track down the box.  Here's the breakdown of the criteria I try to follow for each system I own:

MICROSOFT

Xbox - must have original green DVD case w/ instructions
Xbox 360 - must have original green DVD case w/ instructions

NEC

TurboGrafx 16 - must have original jewel case w/ instructions
PC Engine - must have original jewel case w/ instructions
PC-FX - must have original clamshell case or jewel case w/ instructions

NINTENDO

NES - loose cart is fine, prefer instructions
Famicom - loose cart is fine
Famicom Disk System - must have disk case, prefer plastic box & instructions
Game Boy - loose cart is fine, prefer plastic case & instructions
SNES - loose cart is fine, prefer instructions
Super Famicom - loose cart is fine
Game Boy Advance - loose cart is fine, prefer instructions
N64 - loose cart is fine, prefer instructions
GameCube - must have original DVD case w/ instructions
DS - must have original case w/ instructions
Wii - must have original white DVD case w/ instructions
3DS - must have original case w/ instructions
Wii U - must have original blue DVD case w/ instructions

SEGA

Master System - must have original clamshell case, prefer instructions
Mark III - must have original cardboard box w/ instructions
Genesis - must have original clamshell case, prefer instructions
Mega Drive - must have original clamshell case w/ instructions
Sega CD - loose disc is fine, prefer instructions
Mega CD - must have original jewel case w/ instructions
Saturn - loose disc is fine, prefer instructions
Saturn (imports) - must have original jewel case w/ instructions
Dreamcast - must have original jewel case w/ instructions
Dreamcast (imports) - must have original jewel case w/ instructions

SONY

Playstation - must have original jewel case w/ instructions
Playstation 2 - must have original DVD case w/ instructions
Playstation 3 - must have original BluRay case w/ instructions

Still with me?  Think I'm crazy?  Yeah, I guess I kind of am.  Here lately I've even started using The Cover Project website to print my own custom case inserts for my Sega CD and Sega Saturn collection.  Those games come in huge CD style jewel cases.  Not only are they big and brittle, but they take up more space on my shelves which is already severely limited.  I've also started making cases for my small N64 collection since those cartridges don't have spine labels w/ the name of the game.

also comes in grey
So where does this new Hyperkin RETRON 5 come into play?  It's a space saver!  What I mean by that is this one console will take the place of many in my crowded entertainment center.  I have so many cords behind the shelving unit I use that it looks like a rats nest.  If the Fire Marshall were ever to stop by my house like they did my office, I'm sure I'd get some sort of violation!  

The RETRON 5 if you didn't know is an unofficial game console coming out in April (I think) that will play NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Master System (w/ adapter), Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance all on the same system!  You can even use all of the original console controllers if the wireless gamepad that comes included isn't your cup of tea.  If that in itself isn't cool enough, the console also hooks up to HDTVs via an HDMI connection, effectively upscaling the graphics and sound.  The console also has built in save slots so you no longer have to worry if your copy of Zelda on the NES still has a functioning battery (though acid leaking from an old battery inside is still a concern).  In addition to the save technology, there are also built in cheat codes that can be turned off via the in game menu.

Now a lot of gamers refuse to use "clones" like this RETRON 5 citing nothing beats the original hardware.  While I do tend to agree that the original hardware is always the route to take, sometimes it's not always an option.  While I can play all of my games on the original hardware there is just something about having an all-in-one system like the RETRON 5 that is really appealing.  Amazon.com just put up the pre-orders this morning (again) for only $99.

Assuming that Hyperkin's claims of the system are all true, this looks to be an awesome piece of hardware.  I'm mainly interested in buying it to save space.  I plan to disconnect my modded SNES to make room for the RETRON 5.  So I guess what I'm saying is the downside to collecting video games is that it can take up a lot of space...both on your shelves and in your entertainment center.  I'm just looking at this new "all-in-one" console as a space saver.



Monday, January 27, 2014

KO Korner: Transistor Robots: Insect Robot

There was a company back in the day called Four Star.  They had a series of transformable toys called Transistor Robots.  Trying to find more solid information on the Four Star company can be tough.  Originally I had labeled many of their toys as KOs as they had some clever takes on Transformer molds, especially G1 molds.  They would take a G1 mold and alter it heavily to create a new character, yet still retained some of the G1 characteristics.  As I've searched out more info on the toys and even acquired a few, I've really grown fond of what they did with the molds.

Four Star Bombshell photo 016_zps66fe6508.jpg

One of the first Four Star molds I acquired was of the Transformers G1 Insecticon, Bombshell.  Originally Bombshell's insect mode was that of a boll weevil.  Four Star took the mold and added a few extra parts and turned him into a elephant beetle...or so I'm told that is what this new insect mode is supposed to be modeled after.  Looks more like a scorpion to me.

Take a look at the purple and blue areas.  Look familiar?  Those are the shoulder/arm joints on the G1 toy.  You can see the horn section has been replaced with what appears to be a scorpion like tail and the arms are newly casted pieces.  The legs are now large gold chrome die-cast metal pieces with antennae and pincher claws.

Four Star Bombshell photo 015_zps6fe462b3.jpg

Somewhere in the shuffling around of some items I was taking to Charticon last year, one of his antennae fell off and I lost it.  Bummer.  For a off brand toy I really didn't expect to see so much die-cast metal used.  In fact, this version features more die-cast than the original Takara version!

Four Star Bombshell photo 018_zpsa3819884.jpg

Even with all the new casted pieces and parts, this version of "Bombshell" transformers very much like the original.  Here in robot mode you get a better look at the original mold and how it was altered.  Four Star even elected to to paint the torso purple keeping in line with the Insecticon colors...kind of.

Four Star Bombshell photo 019_zpsc760e255.jpg

A new robot head was given to the character as well.  Gone is the lower face plate, replaced with a mouth and what appears to be a blue goatee.  Notice the gold panel on the chest?  This opens up just like the original translucent yellow "cockpit" door that harkens back to the Microchange days of Takara.

Four Star Bombshell photo 017_zps975a37a4.jpg

Four Star Bombshell photo 020_zps7e156d70.jpg

After getting my hands on this toy I found a new appreciation for Four Star's "Transformers" and sought to find more.  Since selling this guy a few months back, I seem to find him popping up on eBay quite frequently. Maybe he always did and I just didn't notice?  If I can find another one, complete, for a decent price I may just have to snap him up as he's a pretty cool take on the original Bombshell mold.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Beast Saga: Swordbill BS-07

One may think Killer Shark and his crew that came packaged in the Kingdom of Death Sea BS-02 set would be up to taking on Raioga and his crew from the Kingdom of Land Gloria, but Killer Shark's crew was a little outnumbered.  Have no fear as Takara Tomy comes to the rescue with the first individually packaged Death Sea member, Swordbill.

BS-07 Swordbill photo 100_5279_zps22804565.jpg

All of the packaging for the single packaged figures is pretty much the same, only swapping out the colored background for the appropriate kingdom.  That said we'll move along.

BS-07 Swordbill photo 100_5281_zpsafe691b9.jpg

BS-07 Swordbill photo 100_5283_zps8bb6c693.jpg

Swordbill is a marlin.  When I see this character I immediately think he'd make a great mascot for the horrible Miami Marlins baseball club.  Initially I didn't care for this release and skipped it all together.  I thought the choice of animal to be lame and the goofy looking red eyes (or are those glasses of some sort?) didn't help matters.  Swordbill ended up being one of the last figures I picked up.

When I finally got around to opening Swordbill and many of the other Beast Saga figures I had bought, something changed.  No longer did I hate this guy.  I actually kind of dig is unique look.  While he is far from my favorite figure, even of the Death Sea characters, I don't tend to push him to the side as much.  He has a generic sword and shield which is kind of a let down, but with his long and sharp "nose" does he really need a sword?

BS-07 Swordbill photo 100_5280_zpse968b9f9.jpg

Swordbill may not be the most intimidating member of the Kingdom of Death Sea, but he's a worthy addition to your collection.  If nothing else you get another cool trading card with some awesome CGI rendered art!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Beast Saga: Long Tsurafu BS-06

The different tribes or lands in Beast Saga are filled with many different types of animals.  The types vary from land to land.  The Kingdom of Land Gloria is comprised mostly of land dwelling mammals.  Long Tsurafu is one of the larger individually packaged figures.

BS-06 Long Tsurafu photo 100_5314_zps561dedef.jpg

Long Tsurafu is one of the beasts that was used in the original Beastformers and Battle Beasts line from the 80s, known simply as Yellow Giraffe.

BS-06 Long Tsurafu photo 100_5316_zpsa5c6e3de.jpg



BS-06 Long Tsurafu photo 100_5317_zpseee8b019.jpg

Long Tsurafu is bigger than most of the Beast Saga figures and being a giraffe is certainly taller than other figures.  However I feel he just lacks character.  His armor has some nice elements and I like how the armor extends up the neck.  I'm not sure why Takara Tomy opted to paint his helmet a different color, but the orange just doesn't mesh well w/ the turquoise blue armor.

His weapons aren't anything special either.  His sword is made of a very soft plastic and as you can see it has already started to warp a bit.  His shield is decent, but like all of the Beast Saga shields it just has a peg on the back to fit into the fist hole.  It really needed to be a L shaped peg so the character can wield the shield properly.  As is he can really only defend himself from downward attacks.

BS-06 Long Tsurafu photo 100_5315_zpsce5ba50c.jpg

I really wish I had more positive things to say for this figure, but as it is it's just an average Beast Saga figure.  I can only recommend this guy to those of you that are trying to complete the line.  The Kingdom of Land Gloria has greatest number of characters so save your money and go after one of the other cooler figures.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beast Saga: Kingdom of Death Sea BS-02

Opposite of the Kingdom of Land Gloria would be the Kingdom of Death Sea.  Doesn't that name sound so cool?  Death Sea.  I bet you can guess what type of animals reside in this kingdom.  Upon the first solicitation images posted online of the early Beast Saga sets, the Kingdom of Death Sea was the one that seemed to garner the most attention and hype.  While the Land Gloria's lion, deer and hamster were cool characters, they just can't compete against a shark, coelacanth and pirahna.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5352_zps5110ed5f.jpg

BS-02 shares the same style packaging as BS-01.  Takara Tomy would continue to use this 3 pack style packaging for subsequent releases down the line.  I love the image of the main character blasting the dice from their chest.  In this case we have Killer Shark firing his blue die.  The rest of the box has the yellow tribal like markings.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5356_zps8cea5a88.jpg

The back of the packaging gives you a little story update (I think) at the top where you see the image of Raioga.  You can also see that a play mat is packaged inside.  Below are the three characters and a layout of their respective dice.  The right side of the box gives you abbreviated examples of how the dice game plays out.  Underneath those examples is a group shot which is a direct homage to the Beastformer packaging of old.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5355_zps489a74ed.jpg   BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5354_zpsd28c6d97.jpg

The ends of the box gives a breakdown of the characters and their accessories while the opposite end gives you each character's strengths and weaknesses.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5353_zpsec24f06f.jpg

From left to right: Killer Shark, Shirensu and Pirazon

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5357_zps27b47771.jpg

Inside the box you'll find two items.  You get a full color play mat to play the associated game with the figures.  The back and white sheet is a basic set of instructions.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5359_zps482331fc.jpg

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea Killer Shark photo 100_5360_zps2e7bfca0.jpg

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea Killer Shark photo 100_5361_zps9e8d09b4.jpg

Killer Shark is the leader of the Kingdom of Death Sea.  His arch rival would be Raioga from the Kingdom of Land Gloria.  Killer Shark is based off a Beastformer of the same name.  I absolutely love the sculpt of this figure.  The sharp fin blades on his forearms, the image on his die, his toothy grin...all excellent.  Even his trident weapon looks great in hand.  However I do have one problem with my figure.  Do you see it?  He has two left arms!  At the time this set was still fairly expensive ($30) on the secondary market.  Most e-tailers had already sold through their stock and re-orders didn't seem like they were going to happen.  I know it's a small issue, but it's one that bothers me.  I will eventually buy another set so I can get a Killer Shark w/ the proper arms.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea Coelence photo 100_5362_zpse80adf9d.jpg

Second in command is Shirensu.  If you aren't sure what fish he is based on it's a coelacanth.  I believe this is the same animal the Transformers Seacon, Skalor, is based on.  He's pretty cool looking and has some nice features.  The armor bits on his shoulders look like the front section of a submarine.  Kinda fitting seeing how this type of fish usually lives in deep waters.  Giving a fish arms and legs couldn't have been easy for the designers so I love how the feet came out looking like flat fins versus more humanoid.  I'm not crazy about the purple armor myself, but I guess it works since it's a darker color.  He comes with a decent looking shield and a spear type weapon.  The plastic used for the weapons especially is a very soft plastic.  Because if this expect to see minor warping of the weapon, sometimes straight out of the packaging.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea Coelence photo 100_5363_zps0e9e0c1d.jpg


Pirazon looks fearsome and awesome at the same time.  The beady red eyes, the mouth full of sharp teeth and the double bladed weapon makes him someone I wouldn't want nibbling on my toes!  I also love his animal design on his blue die.  Pirazon's green armor has a slight metallic hue and works very well with the fading yellow touches to the fins on his armor.  He also has a uniquely shaped shield that looks nice in his hands.

BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea photo 100_5358_zps20bbcaf3.jpg

Of the three Kingdom themed sets, BS-02 is a strong candidate for the best set.  You get three very strong and fierce looking figures with great weapons.  The artwork used on the playing cards are great looking as well.  I'm guessing I just got a dud with Killer Shark having two left arms, but thankfully I found a listing on clearance at Plamoya for this set that I plan on buying.  I just hope this time around I have better luck w/ Killer Shark!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Beast Saga: Kingdom of Land Gloria BS-01

I've already talked about a few single packaged Beast Saga figures, but now I'm going back to the beginning. Over the next week or so I'll be starting w/ BS-01 and going in numerical order, taking a look at the different Beast Saga releases.

Beast Saga is basically the spiritual successor to Beastformers, or Battle Beasts as most people remember them.  Gone are the fire, water & wood rub symbols and paper/rock/scissors "game play".   In their place are three different kingdoms, land, sea & sky.  The sub symbols are now dice that can be launched from the chest of the figure.  There is a whole game associated with the figures, but with Beast Saga being a Japanese toy line I'm unable to read the game play directions.

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria photo 100_5423_zpsea04c4ad.jpg

The BS-01 set is called Kingdom of Land Gloria.  It features 3 characters from the land subgroup, one of which is the leader of the Kingdom, Raioga.  Initially there were three different 3 packs, one for each Kingdom.  These retailed for around $20-25 at various online retailers.  While they still can be found, the prices I've noticed have creeped up a little.

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria photo 100_5425_zpsdbde5d2b.jpg

The packaging of these 3 packs is beautiful.  The Kingdom of Land Gloria's primary color is red and you'll notice that red is integrated into the packaging.  Here on the back of the box you can see a play mat and what appears to be stats for the different characters.

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria photo 100_5424_zpsb2071b71.jpg

From left to right:  Raioga, Big Serow and Jidamu

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria photo 100_5426_zps79d4a6cb.jpg   BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria photo 100_5427_zps8690cb44.jpg

One end of the box shows the box's contents, while the other end of the box showcases the abilities along with the strength and weaknesses of each character.

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria photo 100_5438_zps71193c1d.jpg

Inside the box you'll find two items.  The colored one on the left folds out to be a play mat if you want to play the game that is associated with the figures.  The black and white paper is a set of instructions.

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Raioga photo 100_5429_zps7e4fadb0.jpg

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Raioga photo 100_5430_zpsb153e886.jpg

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Raioga photo 100_5431_zps77bb7b6b.jpg

If Raioga looks familiar to you, he should.  1) I've already reviewed the single packaged version of this figure and 2) he is loosely based off of White Leo / Pirate Line from the original Beastformers / Battle Beasts line.  I should also mention that Raioga is the only character in any of the multi-packs that also received a single release.  While the figure is the same, his accessories in the 3 pack are different.  The single packaged version comes with a generic sword and shield, while the 3 pack version comes with a set of unique weapons.

Raioga early on was one of my favorite sculpts, but as the line progressed and the selection of characters was more diversified he sorta just blended in with the masses.  That's not to say though that this isn't a nice figure.  From the sculpted brown fur to the red bits of armor and the great head/face sculpt...he's pretty fierce looking.  His arch nemesis would end up being Killer Shark from the BS-02 Kingdom of Death Sea set.

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Big Serow photo 100_5432_zpsd3645395.jpg

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Big Serow photo 100_5433_zps793b6e8c.jpg

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Big Serow photo 100_5434_zps631a209d.jpg

Big Serow I believe is a fairly high ranking officer in the Land Gloria's army.  He is based off the character of the same name in the original line.  I love his look - regal, yet someone I wouldn't want to tangle with.  The dark green armor meshes well with the brown skin and the gold accents on the armor are the icing on the cake.  I'm not sure I ever noticed this feature initially, but on his back he has a set of what appears to be exhaust pipes.  I'll have to tune into the anime and see if he uses these in combat.  His weapon is a nice spear that again homages his original weapon.  If I have anything negative to say about this figure is his antlers are cast in a very soft plastic.  This causes them to easily be warped...as you can see on my figure.  Outside of that small bit, this is a great figure and one of the larger Kingdom of Land figures released (at the time).

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Jidamu photo 100_5436_zps0662d8fe.jpg

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria Jidamu photo 100_5437_zps9b0877bd.jpg

Jidamu is one of the smallest Beast Saga figures in the whole line.  If you didn't guess correctly, Jidamu is a hamster all armored up and ready for battle.  The dice gimmick in the chest is fairly large and most of the figure's mass hides this well, but on a small figure like this one it's painfully obvious as Jidamu looks like a box with a hamster head stuck on top.  His arms and legs are relatively tiny.  I don't know if this issue is confined to my figure or if it's a widespread issue, but his right leg is slightly bent out making it harder to stand him up without added support.  Jidamu's weapons include a gun and small shield.  Most of the Beast Saga characters feature swords or other melee type weapons.  This makes him stand out a bit since he gets to wield a gun.

BS-01 Kingdom of Land Gloria photo 100_5428_zps74710e8a.jpg


This is a great starter set for the Kingdom of Land Gloria as you get the leader, a high ranking officer and a adorable hamster wearing a suit of armor.  I really wish I had bought this set earlier, but I knew I wanted all the figures in the series so it was just a matter of time before this set would be mine.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Featured eBay auction of the week - 2001 Botcon Arcee & 2004 OTFCC Sentinel Maximus w/ Ape-Linq

Back before the days of Fun Publications, Botcon was a smaller, more affordable Transformers experience.  Originally the brainchild of the Hartman brothers, they later took on a 3rd person (Glen Hallit) and 3H Enterprises was formed.

OK, so then what is OTFCC?  Well that's an interesting story.  At some point the Hartman brothers had falling out with their business partner, Glen.  The Hartmans owned the Botcon name and took their property elsewhere.  Glen was left to his own devices and carried on the annual Transformers convention w/ Hasbro's help.  Dubbed OTFCC, this was an acronym that stood for Official TransFormers Collector's Convention.  Yeah, doesn't exactly run off your tongue as easily as Botcon, does it?

click on the picture to see the eBay auction

I was fortunate enough to attend the annual Botcon/OTFCC convention from 2000-2004 and 2006-2007.  2001 will always be special to me as it was held in Durham, NC...just a few hours drive north of where I was living in NC at the time.  Back then it wouldn't cost you an arm and a leg to attend the show and buy the exclusives.  Admission was reasonable and there were only two exclusive toys to buy.  That's it.  In 2001 fans were treated to Beast Wars Tigertron and Arcee.  The packaging on these guys is a sight to behold.  Blue Olive Studios was contracted to design the packaging and they hit a major home run in my opinion.  There were actually two versions of Arcee made available, though you can't tell just by looking at the packaging.  Pre-registered attendees were treated to a surprise when they opened the front window flap on box.  They were greated by Susan Blu's voice saying, "Arcee, Maximize!"  Yup, the voice director of Beast Wars and the voice of Arcee from the G1 cartoon recorded a few phrases on a chip.  This was embedded inside the box.  Pretty cool.  Only downside is when the battery dies, you have to open up the package in order to change the battery.

While I love the overall presentation of this toy, I never cared much for the actual mold the toy uses...Beast Wars Transmetal 2 Blackarachnia.  I debated whether or not to keep Arcee and in the end decided she was better off in someone else's collection.  After all she had been stored in my closet for several years.  Trying to find a fair asking price wasn't easy as not many have sold in the last 6 months on eBay.  My price may be a little high, but we'll see what happens.

click on the picture to see the eBay auction

After the fall out with the Hartmans, Glen Hallit marched on with OTFCC.  In 2004 the show was held again in Chicago, IL.  I could only attend to go one day that year, so I flew in early that Saturday and flew home later that evening.  I was hoping to go home with this awesome piece, but due to circumstances beyond Glen's control, Sentinel Maximus wasn't available at the show.  In fact, Hasbro had to step in and mail the toy out to those that had pre-registered several months after the actual convention.  Some people never even got their toy due to old, outdated mailing lists that 3H provided Hasbro.  Thankfully, I got mine.

Sentinel Maximus is a remolded, recolored Armada Overload.  His Mini-Con, Ape-Linq features two new head sculpts.  It's a beautiful toy, but the time has come where he just doesn't "fit" into my collection.  I had a hard time finding a fair asking price for him as well, but we'll see how he fairs on eBay.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

GameGavel.com




GameGavel has changed a lot since I first registered on the site back in 2009.  Today it's one of the better alternatives to eBay when it comes to selling and buying video games.  While it's hard for anyone to complete head to head w/ the juggernaut that is known as eBay, GameGavel has done a good job creating a niche video game auction website.

I've mentioned before that I've been getting more and more (back) into retro gaming.  This has lead me to combing through my game collection and pulling out a few titles I had duplicates of, or just no longer wanted.  Some of these titles came in lots I bought and others just haven't aged well.  Some of the games I'm letting go of are being sacrificed due to space restrictions.  I love the clamshell cases that Sega Master System and Genesis games come in, but they take up more room on a shelf than say a loose NES or SNES cart.

While I already sell a lot of the toys on eBay that you see reviewed here on the blog, I'm trying my hand at selling my unwanted games on GameGavel.  The site seems to be getting more traffic these days so we'll see what happens.

I've added a link to the upper right corner of the blog.  This link will take you directly to my page with all of my current listings.  The same can be said for the eBay link.  

That's it. Just a little plug for the auction website.  More great toy reviews will be on their way soon!



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Transformers Arms Micron: Shadow Gora (Promotional Micron)

During the Arms Micron series in Japan, several Micron toys were made available as promotional items.  Megatron's packed in Micron, Gora, was redone in black and released as Shadow Gora.  Released exclusively at participating Joshin and Bic Camera stores, Shadow Gora could be had for free with a purchase of Transformers Arms Micron / Prime toys totalling 3,000 yen or more.

There was a time where I wanted to collect all the Arms Micron Microns, but ultimately I decided not to pursue that chase as it would turn out to be expensive and overall a headache I just didn't need.  However I did acquire Shadow Gora before I decided to turn my efforts elsewhere.

Black Arms Micron photo 09-11-13005_zps8b9d1c7d.jpg

There are no mold changes to this version of Gora.  Other than the sticker underneath the red crystal, the figure is also free of stickers.  Shadow Gora's alt mode is a gorilla type creature.

Black Arms Micron photo 09-11-13004_zps0bcb69ea.jpg

Shadow Gora still retains the flip out blades on each side on the weapon mode.  Just like the regular version of Gora, these blades look more like butter knives.  They are fat and have rounded tips.  Without the silver chrome stickers that Gora sports, this just looks bland and silly.


I appreciate what Takara Tomy was trying to do w/ the majority of the Microns from the Arms Micron line, just they just don't fit into the scope of my collection any longer.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Transformers 2007 Botcon: Mirage

Botcon 2007 will always hold a special place with me.  1) It was the last Fun Publications ran Botcon I attended, 2) it was held in Providence, Rhode Island and was bundled in with a trip to my wife's family in the New England area and 3) it was the year of the Hasbro tour.

This particular year of Botcon also yielded a fairly nice freebie to all of the attendees that pre-registered for the show and made the trip.  The Classics series had recently been unleashed on the masses and Fun Publications decided to take the excellent Mirage mold and cast it in translucent blue plastic, effectively making him look invisible.

2007 Botcon Mirage photo 9-21-13037_zpsc6ebe027.jpg

I know it's a simple idea, but it's one that really works well.  Pictures don't serve this toy the proper justice it deserves.  This piece looks much nicer in person.

2007 Botcon Mirage photo 9-21-13039_zps0ab6feb8.jpg

2007 Botcon Mirage photo 9-21-13038_zpsa47c138d.jpg

If the Classics Mirage mold wasn't so beautiful in of itself, I'm sure a translucent version wouldn't make the toy that much more desirable.  Most readers should be familiar w/ this mold already and if you aren't, you really owe it to yourself and your collection to go out and buy the regular version of Mirage immediately.

2007 Botcon Mirage photo 9-21-13041_zpsa0e6bceb.jpg

In both formula one car mode and in robot mode this toy just oozes awesomeness.  Definitely one of the better translucent Transformers released.

2007 Botcon Mirage photo 9-21-13040_zpsd4b61700.jpg

2007 Botcon Mirage photo 9-21-13043_zps1ac0ceb4.jpg

2007 Botcon Mirage photo 9-21-13042_zps7927a27f.jpg

Did I mention this guy is super articulated and poseable?  Mirage usually commands near $100 on the secondary market these days so that may make him unattainable for some collectors.  However the mold was also used in the first Movie line as a Walmart exclusive, Fracture, a homage to the Go-Bots character Crasher.  One way or another this mold needs to be in your collection.