Tuesday, September 29, 2015

KO Korner: Metamorphs Jack SL-SS01A (Transformers G1 Action Master Rad)

I had such a great response from my last Transformers G1 KO review (thanks to Maz for all his Tweets!) that I couldn't wait to share the next piece from my personal collection. However due to other projects going on in the background it'll take me a little longer than I would like to get the photo shoot ready and completed. However while digging through the 1.5K pictures I already have just waiting to be edited, I ran across another G1 KO to share. Not quite as exciting as some of the others I own, but nonetheless worth sharing.

 photo IMG_1406_zps1bce6760.jpg

Ah, Action Masters. The Transformers that don't transform! I know these toys created a lot of division within the TF fandom, but I always liked them. While I never owned any as a kid in the 80's, I guess I can appreciate them as I've always been a fan of 3 3/4" action figures like G.I. Joe. Not saying that Action Masters are my favorite G1 TFs, I don't loathe them like some fans do.

I've seen these KO Action Masters before on eBay before I started to collect G1 KOs, but of course when I was ready to make the purchase it took me awhile to track one down. The thing about a lot of these KOs is they are almost always found overseas, particularly in Italy or Australia. This means I pay more for shipping than what I pay for the actual toy at times!

 photo IMG_1408_zpsd22068f1.jpg
You may recall the original Hasbro G1 Action Masters figures came packaged on blister cards, so I find this box packaging to be a little appealing. Unlike many packaged G1 KOs I own, this box doesn't really borrow any aspects from the original packaging, opting to go with dare I say an original design?

 photo IMG_1410_zpsabf7ea39.jpg     photo IMG_1409_zpscf3e5749.jpg

Now you may be wondering what Jazz is doing on one end of the box Jack comes packaged in. It appears the same style box was used for that release as well and perhaps Jack and Boa were released at the same time?

 photo IMG_1407_zpsde4fa5c3.jpg

One top of the box you can also see the shared packaging design with Boa's turbo skate board. Hopefully one day I can track down this other Metamorph Action Master release.

 photo IMG_1411_zpse0c7eff4.jpg

Inside the box you'll find a very then and flimsy plastic tray housing the figure, it's Targetmaster like sidekick and his weapon. No sticker sheet or instructions were inside and my specimen was sealed when I purchased it.

 photo IMG_1412_zps7ab03252.jpg

I always did like Rad's sculpting and his partner, Lionizer was in my opinion one of the better Targetmaster like partners for the Action Masters. Rad, er, Jack traded his red for orange. To me he looks like he should hiding inside Groundbreaker's Pretender shell with these new colors. His unnamed partner wasn't changed much from his G1 predecessor.

 photo IMG_1413_zps03f3e715.jpg      photo IMG_1414_zps82e9dae1.jpg

 photo IMG_1415_zps18b4a5d2.jpg

 photo IMG_1416_zps448748d7.jpg

I should mention that the spring has been removed from "Lionizer" so now when you disengage the animal head it just drops. However when you put him in Targetmaster mode he does clip together and hold his gun form just fine. By the way, Rad's gun is the same as Jack's, just a shade darker.

 photo IMG_1417_zpsbec12783.jpg

Orange or red, what's your favorite color? Looking over both figures in hand I really can't find any changes to the mold itself, however as you can see the KO figure is slightly shorter. The quality of the plastic used for this KO release is actually quite nice. It seems to have a glossy shine that the original doesn't have, but it doesn't feel cheap and the joints are tight...then again I purchased it sealed.

G1 KOs aren't for everyone, as Action Masters aren't "real" Transformers for a lot of fans. However I found this release to be have some charm, got it for cheap and looks good alongside my other G1 KO Autobots.

 photo IMG_1418_zps5f8f7f4e.jpg

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Transformers Adventure: EZ Collection Toys 'R' Us Prime

I've seen a lot of wild Transformers decos in my days of collecting, but I think this one has to be at the top of the list for the craziest idea. Part of a promo in Japan at, you guessed it, Toys 'R Us stores; spending 3,000 yen or more in new Transformers Adventure product in July of 2015 and you got to take this guy home with you for free.

 photo IMG_2139_zpsw9etb4fm.jpg

A redeco of the earlier released Legends figure from Hasbro's Transformers Robots in Disguise (2015), this figure may not be for all collectors. I can get that. However there was just something about this oddly colored figure that called my name.

 photo TRU20Prime_zps1vxxsosi.jpg    photo TRU20Prime202_zps1ynitgxe.jpg

Bundled inside Prime's clear baggie was a folded sheet of instructions and a small card with his colored Autobot symbol. I immediately pulled out my iPhone and launched the Robots in Disguise app so I could scan the Autobot symbol, hoping that I could add Geoffrey Prime to my ranks...but alas it wasn't compatible with the app. Bummer. Who knew these things were region locked?!

 photo IMG_2141_zpsqacldjjg.jpg


 photo IMG_2140_zpssnrrkt9j.jpg

In vehicle mode there isn't much to look at. Prime's iconic red has been replaced with orange. There are bits of red poking through. You can see here that one side is red while the other side is green. These form Prime's shoulders in robot mode and you'll see more of that in a bit. 

 photo IMG_2145_zpsbexbib4p.jpg

Once you get him transformed into robot mode you get a better idea of just why he is called Toys 'R' Us Prime! If the star spotted legs weren't enough to give away the Geoffrey mascot homage, then check out those colored shoulders. Initially I thought the designs on his shoulders were tampographed on, but sadly they are just stickers. Blah.

I'm not sure why I enjoy this deco so much. Perhaps its because it's a fun mold? Or perhaps its just because its weird and straight outta left field? No matter the reason this is one little toy that I was glad to jump on and import before the prices started to climb. I paid about as much as you had to buy in Japan to get him for free, but shortly after I purchased mine it seemed as if the asking price started to rise to $50+ on the secondary market. I don't know how many of these identity crisis Prime figures were made, but I can see how this one may only be fore the hardcore collector.

 photo IMG_2142_zpsxwi4wekl.jpg

What good is a review of a repainted toy without some comparison pictures against the source material? No mold changes, just a new paint design and the addition of the two TRU stickers in robot mode.

 photo IMG_2144_zpsrg7ws6v0.jpg

 photo IMG_2143_zps7xe29cwi.jpg

 photo IMG_2149_zpshfrkkai6.jpg



Monday, September 7, 2015

Transformers Legends: Arcee LG-10

When it was announced that Takara Tomy would be using the new Transformers Legends series in Japan to release some of the then current Generations figures from Hasbro, many were hoping that Arcee would be included in the series.

Takara Tomy has a knack of taking a good figure and making look great. Premium paint apps or just slight tweaks and collector's have that dilemma of whether to settle for the average Hasbro version or too import the better Japanese version.

  photo IMG_1758_zpsf50kny3y.jpg

If you aren't familiar, the Arcee on the left is what Hasbro gave the fans; while the version on the right is Takara Tomy's. How long have we been waiting for a proper non-motorcycle version of G1 Arcee? Forever. That's how long. When I first saw the mold I was really excited...except those black areas killed a lot of that excitement. To this day I can't figure out why someone at Hasbro thought the use of black was acceptable. Thankfully Takara Tomy came to our rescue.

 photo IMG_1741_zpslj1u1709.jpg

This is my first Transformers Legends figure...that is until Nightbird and Blackarachnia are released later this year. I'm a sucker for packaging and I think that Takara Tomy did a great job here. On the right we have the classic G1 grid look while on the left you have the now widely used Transformers logo. The large window allows you to get a good feel for the figure before you even remove it from the box.

 photo IMG_1743_zpsnu45yscr.jpg

Throw in large vibrant images of the toy's vehicle and robot modes with some great anime style artwork in the back and you've got a very nice back to the packaging. It appears Arcee has a mini bio too, but since I can't read Japanese I'm just guessing.


 photo IMG_1742_zpsqmjxliak.jpg      photo IMG_1744_zpsnjq9oro2.jpg

The sides of the box give you a better look at the art work and the toy itself, even if it's only half of the figure!

 photo Arcee_zps6gbymyfk.jpg

When I first saw a similar image as above for Optimus Primal, the first figure released in the Legends line I thought for sure it was a trading card sized tech specs. After all, outside of Masterpiece releases not many of Takara Tomy's Transformers have come with cards lately. 

This wasn't the case however as this is really just the instruction booklet. However someone really needs to make a trading card using this design! It lends itself perfectly for a trading card set.

 photo Arcee 001_zpshe7wf3l5.jpg

The back features a bio of the character along with their individual tech spec rankings. No artwork is included here, but when the figure looks this good who needs art?!

 photo Arcee 002_zps74qajnef.jpg

 photo Arcee 003_zpss8dbwtlr.jpg

The inside of the instruction booklet also contains a comic. I recognize T-AI from Car Robots, but I really have no clue as to what is happening in this mini story.

 photo IMG_1745_zpse73ugxvf.jpg

Arcee comes with two pistols and a set of translucent blue weapons. I think they look like knives, but others seem to use them as guns as well. 

 photo IMG_1754_zpsoztexrrp.jpg

 photo IMG_1755_zps9jkbg7za.jpg

Whomever designed this toy needs some kind of medal or trophy. I haven't been buying many of the modern updates of G1 characters, but Arcee was a no brainer. I mean just look at the alt. mode here. It looks so close to the animation model of herself.

 photo IMG_1756_zpsfvwqgqmf.jpg

There are 5 mm peg holes on the side of the vehicle that allow her blue weapons to attach to the sides. Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure there are some that like this weaponized look.

 photo IMG_1757_zpsl6e4sezl.jpg

I didn't have many Generations figures handy at the time for a scale comparison so I just grabbed Hoist. I know Hoist has one of the smaller alt modes, but I think you can see she fits in good with the rest of the Generations cast...or Classics...or whatever people are calling these series these days.

 photo IMG_1758_zpsf50kny3y.jpg

As much as I enjoy the alt mode of Arcee, I truly feel as if this is where this figure really shines. The figure's head sculpt captures her G1 animation model look and lends itself well to the feminine body sculpt. I know some people have an issue of a robot having a sex in the first place. I get it. It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. However if you are going to have both male and female robots, the females should...well look like females. While in the past there have been a few decent attempts at female Transformers figures, I feel this mold nailed the overall femininity.

 photo IMG_1760_zpszixo7jpr.jpg      photo IMG_1761_zpsnofcf576.jpg

Arcee does have a little backpack kibble, but surprisingly the figure stands up well on her own without needing additional assistance. The view from the side or from the rear makes the backpack look rather large and unattractive, but when you look at her head on it doesn't look so bad.

 photo IMG_1762_zpsh4qv6naq.jpg

I know Arcee is being portrayed in a whole different light in the current series of IDW comics, but I never pictured her as carrying much firepower, however with this figure you can easily equip her with all 4 of her included weapons.

 photo IMG_1763_zpszmqxwhhz.jpg

You would expect a modern day Transformer to be articulated and Arcee doesn't disappoint. I'm not good at posing my figures so this is about the best you'll get out of me, but hopefully you can get the picture that one more creative than myself can really pull of some great poses with this figure.

 photo IMG_1764_zpsxfsfcifa.jpg

Surprisingly she even has neck articulation. Arcee isn't the biggest of the Transformers so I guess it makes sense that she can look up as that is the direction she'll be looking when she is near Springer or Ultra Magnus.

 photo IMG_1770_zpsauhzfwfb.jpg

 photo IMG_1769_zps1nhd3rri.jpg

 photo IMG_1767_zpsu147uiqg.jpg

Just a few comparison pictures with a few 3rd Party items I happened to have handy. I don't know about you, but I think Arcee is a tad undersized compared to ToyWorld's Orion figure.

Arcee is a great figure hands down. From the alt mode to the robot, you can't go wrong. They nailed her classic G1 look for once. Takara Tomy just took this figure a step further by painting the black areas and making the figure look more uniform. I can't afford to import many figures that end up being released by Hasbro, but sometimes there are some that deserve to be imported. Arcee is one of those cases where the extra dollars are justified.

 photo IMG_1759_zpsghutnqb9.jpg

Friday, September 4, 2015

Star Wars The Force Awakens: First Order Stormtrooper

So today, Friday, September 4, 2015 is Force Friday. The day that Hasbro and other companies unleash a plethora of new Star Wars toys and memorabilia upon the masses. Not being a huge Star Wars fan I barely knew this day even existed. Thanks to my news feed on Facebook however I was informed of the big day many fans had been waiting on...and the disappointment that a lot of people were going through.

I usually work from home on Fridays, or at least that is the plan. Today was one of those rare days that at least my day started off how I planned. I took my youngest daughter to Bojangles for a biscuit, then dropped her off at school. There is a Target just down the road and I wasn't quite ready to go home and delve into my laptop for work. A few moments later I found myself in Target.

It was around 8:30 AM so there wasn't a crowd or anything...kind of refreshing. I headed over to the toy department as I usually do and proceeded down the Transformers aisle. I noticed the figures had been moved again and this time there was new product on the pegs! Found the whole Combiner Wars wave of Protectobots, even Hot Spot. Make that a first.

Then I went over one aisle and noticed Star Wars had been given one whole side of the aisle! I saw action figures, vehicles, Revell model kits and Micro Machines? Yep, Hasbro was dusting off the old Micro Machines brand name again. I even saw transforming playsets that hearkened back to the 90's. I casually looked through the Force Awakens 3 3/4" figures and saw some pretty nice looking figures. Darth Vader, a few different types of Stormtroopers, some dude that reminded me of Darth Raven and a whole bunch of other characters that I wasn't familiar with. I'm not a Star Wars collector, but I can appreciate toys from just about any brand or license. I stood there looking at them all thinking I'd pick up one just for fun. About the this time more and more people (i.e. adult males) started converging on the aisle. I knew I needed to make a decision and quick so I grabbed one of the troop builder characters.

 photo IMG_2132_zpswvtycp4w.jpg

Most of the figures available had at least two left on the pegs. I have no idea if this store opened at midnight and sold a lot of their stock earlier, or even what the case assortment for these figures are. I've always liked the look of the average Stormtrooper so I walked out with a First Order Stormtrooper.

 photo IMG_2133_zpsbzejy0a3.jpg

Equipped with sleek armor and powerful weapons, the Stormtroopers enforce the will of the First Order.

One of the first things I noticed was the multi-lingual packaging. From a business cost perspective I get it. It makes sense. However I'm just not used to seeing 4 different languages on my toy packaging. The back doesn't really give you much information on the character other than the one sentence from above. There are 2 other figures in this "subset", Rev (Starkiller Base) and Darth Vader. Each of these figures comes with a weapon that can combine with each other (3 pieces total) to form a larger weapon. For me this is just a marketing ploy to get you to buy a figure you don't really want just for the piece. 

 photo IMG_2134_zps1qky2pfr.jpg

I do have to say that Hasbro has done a great job with the artwork used for the packaging. Both the figures and the various vehicles looked beautiful sitting there on the retail shelves.

 photo dd9a166c-248f-4841-ad4e-2aef31b7fd04_zpsqrd9orur.jpg   photo d979617a-44b3-4419-b54c-ead2702c92ae_zpsjnsa14wh.jpg

I don't have any other Stormtrooper figures from the other movies so I can't really compare him against other versions of the popular troop builder, but the figures seems familiar. It seems to have that classic design while yet sporting a new, updated helmet. Even his pistol seems to be the same as from before, just with some white paint apps. 

The figure has 5 points of articulation. Legs, arms and head. This is your basic action figure build. I'm fine with it. For me the more articulation means more loose joints down the road. I can't strike my figures in eye capturing dynamic poses anyhow so I'm fine with the square crotch, stiff articulated figure.

 photo IMG_2136_zpso8fkmtol.jpg

I do find it a little odd / funny that his included combiner weapon is nearly the size of the figure itself! The gun has a nice look and the blue paint apps are a very much welcomed addition. I guess once combined with the other 2 weapons the gun doesn't look so big. He is able to wield the gun in his right hand, but it makes him top heavy so don't expect to display him holding this gun without some sort of figure stand or other support.

 photo IMG_2138_zpsu8xrgrbq.jpg

Overall this is a pretty cool figure. The hardcore Star Wars fans may have more positive (or negative?) things to say, but for this casual fan I like it. I'm not jumping head first into buying The Force Awakens toys by any means, but don't be surprised if you see a few more of the First Order figures appear on this blog at some point or another.