Monday, June 10, 2019

Beast Saga: Guereu BS-38

The members of the Kingdom of Death Sea are varied aquatic animals with individual personalities, however Guereu seems to be the first "army builder" of the Beast Saga series. Similar to how the Seacons were used in the Japanese animated Transformers show, multiples of Guereu can be seen in both the animated and manga versions of media. Whether or not this character has his own individual personality I have no idea.


Guereu is a green frog in gray armor with a sword and shield. Maybe it's the head crest on the armor, but I feel as if the armor is modeled after an old Japanese Samurai? The armor has some nice touches, most noticeably the "frog feet" on the front of his shoulders. The paint apps are nicely done with a touch of bronze and orange on the armor. The skin is a light green with gold used for the eyes. 

Very nice sculpt, but with all Beast Saga figures the articulation is very limited. Arms have a full 360 degree of rotation. Legs are hindered by the sculpt (mostly the dice launching gimmick) from the same free range movement the arms have.



His sword is a simple weapon cast in a very soft plastic. A lot of the Beast Saga weapons came out of the packaging slightly warped. I'm sure I could use a hair dryer on low to soften the plastic enough to try and flatten it out, but I never bothered to try as the slight curve doesn't bother me that much.

Guereu also comes packaged with two dice, one translucent blue dice based on the character and light blue dice used in the game. I still don't know how the dice game plays so I just tuck the extra dice away.


The Kingdom of Death Sea quickly became one of my favorite segments of the Beast Saga series based on some of the designs. Guereu isn't my favorite, but definitely stands out amongst his teammates. Beast Saga is a lot of fun and I wish it would have lasted longer than it did. Sadly if you didn't jump on the series when it was on store shelves in Japan, it'll cost you quite a lot now on the secondary market. These figures only retailed for a few dollars each and now most sellers want $20.00+ each. Ouch! However if you keep looking you can find deals pop up online from time to time so if you're curious about these Battle Beast homage toys, don't give up searching out those deals. **EDIT** I just released that Robot Kingdom still has many of the Beast Saga figures in stock for under $7 each, including Guereu.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Transformers 3rd Party: MasterShooter Collectibles - Strangedog

I have a confession to make. I simply cannot keep up w/ the 3rd party Transformers scene anymore. Everytime I stop by a TF fan site or get a newsletter in my inbox from one of the big Transformers retailers, there are so many new 3rd party companies and toys that it makes my head want to explode. If you've followed my blog for long then you'll know I don't buy a lot of 3rd party items, but before it seems this segment of the hobby exploded I did pick up a few items here and there.


One of which was the 2013 Slagacon exclusive (limited to just 25 pieces!) from MasterShooter Collectibles - Strangedog. Strange name, yes, but when you realize it's a homage to the Generation 1 Headmaster Weirdwolf, then it makes more sense.

If you're not familiar w/ MasterShooter Collectibles, it's a really small company - like one person. I don't "know" the owner, but I've interacted with him on various social media platforms and he had a table set up behind me at Charticon 2013. His designs are rather simple, yet awesome. Strangedog is a simple recolor of a previous mold, but that doesn't detract from how awesome this little character/toy is.



G1 Weirdwolf was a Headmaster so why would one want a matching Targetmaster? Because Weirdwolf is the best Headmaster of all time so the real question is why wouldn't you want a Weirdwolf themed Targetmaster?!

The colors chosen match pretty well, although the yellow is a darker, more "spicy mustard" yellow. This little guy has plenty of articulation as well as the head, shoulders, elbows and knees are ball joints.


Transformation from robot to gun is very simple and G1-esque. Fold down the gun barrels, fold back the legs and affix the arms to each side of the robot.


All of MasterShooter Collectible targetmaster figures are compatible with both vintage and modern Transformers. At the time I took these pictures (which was years ago!) I only had the FansProject version of Weirdwolf handy. You can tell the colors aren't a 1:1 match, however at least for this fan there is no confusion over who Strangedog is meant to be partnered with.

This is a great toy, but due to it's limited nature be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it on the secondary market...and that is if you can find it. MasterShooter Collectibles put out some great figures, but according to their Facebook page it seems they are just about out of the 3rd party business. It's a real shame because everything of theirs that I've owned has been top notch.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

VooV: FT06 Hokutosei / D51 498

Several years ago I purchased my first VooV toy (Guardian Robo) from HLJ.com on a whim. Before I checked out I wanted to see what else was offered in the VooV line and I saw a series of trains. I've always been a fan of trains for as long as I could remember so I grabbed the cheapest one I could find out of sheer curiosity.

I ended up picking up FT06 Hokutosei. From what I could tell it transformed from an modern style Japanese train to an old steam engine. I've since long sold this train and these photos have been sitting on my external hard drive for years. I should've included something for scale purposes as this train is rather small.


The train came packaged in a very slender cardboard box with a hang tab. On the front you can see the transformation from one style of train to the other. The back of the box doesn't offer much unless you speak Japanese. The side of the box does offer a better image of the transformation process.


When it comes to scale I'm going to say these trains are close to a N scale used in the model railroad community. I could be wrong, but that seems pretty spot on in my opinion. The train does have a connector hook on the front and back so it is possible to link up multiple VooV trains. There isn't a lot of design, sculpt wise, going on in this mode, however the front of the train does have windows and the aforementioned connection hook. The other side of the train does have small painted windows to complete the look. There are several small free rolling wheels on the underside that allow the toy to roll freely on a hard, smooth surface.


The train sides simply unsnap and flip up and over to reveal the coal powered engine inside. You  then take the engine and swing it out and close up the blue train portion to form the final train.


The black engine is very detailed, from the pipes on the side of the engine to the molded wheels themselves. This has the look of an old fashion train and brought out the little kid in me. There is also a little coal tender cart molded into the back of the engine.

I found this toy to be a fun to fiddle around with. I believe it cost me around $4 or $5 US dollars so it was worth what I paid. There were several different versions of these VooV trains available, some featuring more current shinkansen styles. 

I checked HLJ this evening before I started this post and they still had a few, but not many VooV toys left. If you area train lover and want to try something different then you may want to seek out one of these toys. Otherwise, I hope this little review helps satisfies your curiosity.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Free Comic Book Day 2019

May 04, 2019 was more than a celebration of Star Wars as it was also the annual event - Free Comic Book Day. Like the past few years, I took the family up to Nikelspot Comics in Fort Mill, SC to see my local comic shop crew and to pick up some free books and hopefully some good deals as well.

There was rain in the forecast for Saturday so we hit the shop early, hoping to beat the rain and the crowds. I'm glad I did because some of the free books already seemed to be low in number. This year the shop allowed us to pick 7 titles each. I had forgot that I already had the Marvel titles on their way in my monthly DCBS order, however I'm sure I can find someone to gift the ones I picked up. I was glad to see there were books from some of the smaller publishers as I wasn't sure if those would get ordered. There were so many books for the shop owners to order and since they aren't free to the shops, I didn't exactly know what I was going to find. Thankfully I was able to walk away happy with these 7 books:


I honestly don't know much about Animosity Tales, but that's what FCBD is all about! I read the synopsis of the issue the day before the event and it sounded pretty cool so I was glad to see this book offered on Saturday.


I've been a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since the original movie, but more so the Sarah Michelle Gellar led television show. When season 7 ended on television, season 8 was turned into a Dark Horse comic. I followed it for awhile before I dropped out of buying new comics for several years as my wife and I began our family. Now that Buffy is back in the pages of a new comic, here I am being drawn back in. When it comes to Firefly, I can say I've never watched the show.


I don't know much about Lady Mechanika, but I picked up last year's FCBD book and enjoyed it so I figured why not get this year's too? Joe Benitiz art is beautiful and if I had room in the comic budget this may be a book that I'd pick up on a regular basis.


Thanks to the Key Collector comics app, I was clued into Antarctic Press' superhero title, Punchline, some months ago. The first issue shot up in price on the secondary market almost instantaneously making it hard for the average comic reader to acquire/read. This FCBD version reprints the first issue and hopefully wet's the readers appetite for more...which is coming in the version of a TPB soon.


I was a little undecided if I wanted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Spawn but you can see which direction I went. I believe this is a reprint of the very first issue. I know the title is closing in on 300 issues so this was a nice flash back. Had I been willing to look past Marvel comics when I was in high school I might have read and enjoyed Spawn, but as it is I've never read an issue. I was tempted when Angela made her way over to Marvel, but I do plan on sitting down w/ this issue soon. After all, even if I don't care for the story I can gaze at the beautiful Todd McFarlane art!


This Year of the Villain by DC Comics wasn't part of FCBD, but the fine folks at Niklespot were handing it out (to at least the adults) with their free books. I only read one DC book (Wonder Woman) so I'm not sure how much I'll get out of this, but I do appreciate the kind gesture regardless.


I'm still behind on reading my current books that I almost don't want to even crack this cover because I don't want it to spoil anything for me!


Same goes for this issue of Spider-Man. I know it's the start of a wild ride featuring Venom and Carnage and I can't wait to see what happens.

The shop also put out some new dollar (long) boxes and since it was FCBD the books were buy one get one free. I absolutely love digging through cheap boxes so while I was digging through the boxes looking for some deals, my wife took my daughters inside the store so they could get their name on the sketch list. Bernie Cooke was at the shop once again providing free head pencil sketches. Since we were pretty early both my girls were able to get on his list and have one of their favorite heroines sketched. I was a little surprised to see that they both chose a Marvel character (even though that warms my heart) since both of them really like a lot of the DC female characters thanks to Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls. However on this day they made their daddy proud.


My youngest daughter, Winnie (7) chose Squirrel Girl. We both were surprised to see that Bernie also added her companion, Tip Toe on her shoulder!


My oldest daughter, Olivia (9) chose Spider-Gwen. Not too surprising since she takes her Marvel Rising doll of Spider-Gwen with her everywhere.

As I mentioned, I was digging through long boxes outside while the girls were shopping inside the shop and here are the books I left with:


I was surprised to see Avengers #260 in the box, but glad none the less. This book has picked up some steam with Avengers Endgame. For those of you that may not know, this issue is the first cover appearance of Nebula and contains her origin story.

I picked up the Avengers West Coast issue for the Bloodties crossover story. I had forgotten that this series ended right after this issue too, making it a little tougher to find (at least in cheap-o boxes).



After I found these 3 issues of Captain America I could've called it day and left happy. Neither book I'd say is in Near Mint condition, but they were good enough for me. #252 does show some discoloration to the white background, but then again it is from 1980 so I expect it to show some age.


Keeping with the Marvel heroes I found a stray issue of both Daredevil and Iron Man. I was particularly happy to find this issue of Iron Man because the Armor Wars II storyline is what got me reading Iron Man. That and the gorgeous John Romita Jr. art!


My CLZ Comics app told me I was looking or these two issues of Incredible Hulk. After I pulled them from the box I realized I had them on my want list because of their brief tie-in tothe Infinity Gauntlet storyline.



I'm still plugging away on completing Morbius' first run and with these three issues I'm getting ever closer to completing the series. Poor Santa.

 

I wasn't looking for this issue of Spirits of Vengeance, but how could I pass it up with a cover like this? Plus, it has Venom so it was an easy choice.

The Tomb of Dracula was another one of those older books that I didn't expect to find, but was happy to pick up. I believe this is only the 3rd issue of this title that I have in my collection.


This issue of Marvel Comics Presents was purchased not for the Wolverine story (even though I'm sure it's at least decent), but for the 4th story contained in the issue featuring a Thanos story.

Punisher filled a small hole. Not a title I actively seek out, but will pick up when I find issues that are in good shape that are also cheap.


I've mentioned before of my affection towards some of the Star Comics series so I quickly snatched up this issue of Silverhawks. 

Wonder Man was purchased solely for the continuation of the Operation: Galactic Storm story and nothing else!


Of course no dig through the dollar boxes is complete without some Spider-Man, right? Found one lone issue of Amazing the collection needed and surprisingly an issue of Spectacular I needed. This issue (98) is also the first appearance of the villian, the Spot.

 

The original clone story got me reading Spider-Man so I love all of the spin-off series such as the 2nd volume of Scarlet Spider. I wasn't reading comics when this series was new, but have actively picking up issues here and there.

The last book I found was this What If one shot that looked to be right up my ally. I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to diving in.


I've had a little bit of a X-Men itch lately and have been picking up select stories from the 90's, such as the Phalanx Covenant. I picked up a few parts to this story back in March at a local show so this issue leaves me with one issue I believe.



I was surprised that I didn't have any issues of Hulk 2099 before now. I'm working on building the entire 2099 catalog before I sit down and read them all in chronological order. This issue of Ravage 2099 is the last issue and can be really hard to find at times.

 

I remember hearing something about Timestorm 2009-2099, but I've never seen these issues before nor have I read them. Since I'm working on a 2099 collection I thought I'd go ahead and grab these too.


The last item I grabbed (and more of an impulse buy) was this Toy Biz Marvel's Most Wanted Spat & Grovel. I remember this small series of figures when they were new and how sought after they were...well more so Blink than X-Man or Spat & Grovel. I grabbed this for $3 because I was curious more than anything. You can expect a full review of this toy on the blog at some point in the near future.

Overall Free Comic Book Day was a success for me and my family. My wife got some comics for her classroom (she's an elementary school teacher), my girls got their free books and a sketch and I too walked away with a nice little stack of books. Thanks again to the great staff at Nikelspot Comics for participating in the annual event. Until next year...