Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Transformers Limited Edition Seacons = Piranacon!

I finally got off my duff a few days ago and had my BigBadToyStore (BBTS)  Pile of Loot shipped and the "new" G1 reissue of the Seacons is finally in my hands. I knew from the early pictures that the set came w/ a trading card sized tech spec of Piranacon himself, but I had no idea Hasbro included cards of the 6 individual team members! Being a trading card collector I love it when the tech specs come in the form of trading cards. I been known to buy the Japanese versions of Transformers just for the card(s) alone! Yes, I'm that crazy. Well I just wanted to share the cards with everyone today.  Perhaps in the future I'll do a review for Piranacon, but for the mean time enjoy the scans of the tech spec cards.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Machine Robo Change & Glow: Liner Robo CG-08

Name: Liner Robo CG-08
Line: Machine Robo Change & Glow (Bandai)
Year: 1993

** Another archived review for your viewing pleasure!

I honestly don't know much of the background on these toys other than they were released in the early 90's. It appears they were some of the last Machine Robo toys made. IMO these are some of the best MR toys, but can be hard to track down. I know they were released outside of Japan under the Robo Machine banner, but not sure which molds. Here is my feeble attempt at reviewing a few from my personal collection.

We'll start off with the packaging:

The packaging used has the same layout as CG-04's and box measures the same dimensions, 4 in. x 5 in. x 2 in.. Again a photo on the back highlights the lights and sound gimmick of the toy. This time being the lower portion of the train's front lights up when you press the button on the front bumper. I believe CG-08 was from the "2nd series" as you can see a much larger group shot of all the toys released in the line - 12 in all.

Next we'll look at the toy itself in robot mode:

This time around the robot comes packaged in a white plastic tray. Nice overall design of the robot. Not much in the way of articulation, only the arms move. The legs just separate so there isn't any movement there at all. From the front it does scream that the alt. mode is that of a bullet train, but once you look at him from the side and back there is no hiding the alt. mode's form. The bottom lip if you will of the train's front flips down to form the robot's chest, revealing translucent yellow lights that light up when the button is pressed. There isn't much color to robot as all the plastic was either molded in white or gray. Thankfully the large chest sticker brings out some needed color (and adheres well too!).

Now we'll take a look at the excellent bullet train alt. mode:

This alt. mode sports a very simplistic, yet sleek design. The train itself is 4 1/2 inches long. The windows are painted black with the rest of the other colors/detail being stickers. There are black plastic free wheeling wheels underneath the toy, but to give it that more realistic look there are shiny silver stickers that give the train the appearance of having real train wheel assemblies. If you look on the bottom portion of the train's nose, you can see that the translucent yellow is one large strip. There is a gray sticker that is supposed to split up the yellow strip to give it the appearance of head lights I guess. The button that activates the lights and sound is just above the yellow light strip on the nose of the train. Unlike the tanker truck I reviewed early, this alt. mode does a fine job at concealing all of the robot parts.

Overall this is my favorite of the Change & Glow Machine Robos currently in my collection. I've always had a infinity for trains so when I came across this one a few years ago on Yahoo! Japan auctions I knew I had to have him. I believe I got him for a mere 800 yen, but haven't seen a packaged one for sale/auction since. The robot and train modes are equally well thought out and executed. Transformation is very simplistic, but that doesn't detract from the overall coolness of the toy. I would highly recommend this toy, even if you're not into Machine Robo or Go-Bots. Dare I say this is better than the Trainbots from Transformers?!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Machine Robo Change & Glow: Tanker Robo CG-04

Name: Tanker Robo CG-04
Line: Machine Robo Change & Glow (Bandai)
Year: 1992

** This is a archived review from that I did long before this blog ever existed.  I thought readers and visitors of this site may enjoy it.

I honestly don't know much of the background on these toys other than they were released in the early 90's. It appears they were some of the last Machine Robo toys made. IMO these are some of the best MR toys, but can be hard to track down. I know they were released outside of Japan under the Robo Machine banner, but not sure which molds. Here is my feeble attempt at reviewing a few from my personal collection.

We'll start off with the packaging:

The box is about 4 inches wide and close to 5 inches tall and 2 inches deep. I love the CG art Bandai used on the front of the box. Very beautiful. It does have a top box flap where I'm guessing these were originally hung on pegs in the retail stores. I've tucked it into the top of the box to give it a more uniform look. The back of the box shows off this line's gimmick, being lights and sound. This particular toy has it's button on the front grill of the truck's cab. Pressing the button illuminates the front yellow lights and emits a siren like sound. Unfortunately the battery in mine is close to being dead so the gimmick doesn't work too well. I've looked all over and I can't figure out how to replace the battery (if it's at all possible).

Next we'll look at the toy itself in robot mode

Toy comes packaged in a clear plastic form fitting tray in robot mode.

The gas tank is detachable and each end slides into the center effectively forming a backpack for the robot. The torso and thighs are all made of die-cast metal, with the rest being plastic molded in a dark yellow. Silver chrome covers the grill and robot's head.

Thankfully the gas tank is a made of a light weight gray plastic so it doesn't make the robot top heavy when attached. His feet are quite large so the robot stands up very well on his own.

Now let's take a look at the vehicle mode.

The front portion of the truck does slightly pivot from side to side, but because of the robot's arms being behind the truck cab, it does limit the range of motion. Overall length of the truck is 5 1/2 inches. With attaching the tanker, it's a rather bland looking flat bed. The wheels are molded black plastic and are free wheeling. My only complaint with this mode is that the robot's head/face is exposed as you can clearly see in the pictures. Other than that the robot parts are fairly well concealed.

Not much was included outside of the black & white instruction sheet and sticker sheet, but there was a little insert showing off the first few releases from the line. I'm still looking for some of these early releases for myself. The designs for the police car, fire truck & ambulance look very solid.

Overall I love this toy. I purchased it some time ago on Yahoo! Japan auctions for 1,000 yen. There isn't much articulation outside the robot's arms and legs to some degree, but the overall design is a winner. I would have preferred paint apps to stickers as some of them don't want to adhere to the toy very well. Of all the Change & Glows I have the stickers work best on this particular toy. Even with the battery being dead, this is a fun little toy and a great addition to anyone's Machine Robo or Go-Bots collection.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Transformers Energon: Rodimus Test Shot

There have been a lot of Rodimus figures over the years between the various Transformer line of toys and with his popularity increasing with every day it seems I'm sure there will be more and more different toys branding the name of Rodimus to come.  This particular version features an alt. mode not usually associated with the Rodimus name.  Instead of looking at the final product that most fans are familiar with we'll take a look at the last phase this toy went through before being massed produced.  Often called a 'test shot' these aren't easy to come across as they aren't meant for the general public.

" I can take down any Decepticon without getting a scratch. "

Rodimus is a wild, rebellious young Autobot and foreman to the Omnicons.  His taste for danger is almost greater than his sense of style.  He is an aggressive, headstrong young warrior who will not think twice about rushing into battle.  Rodimus is able to powerlinx with his Autobot brother, Inferno.  In vehicle mode, he becomes a semi-truck capable of great speeds.  Rodimus' primary weapon is a powerful energon cannon, which he often uses to teach the Decepticons two very important battle and hide.

Strength: 8 Intelligence: 8 Speed: 9 Endurance: 7
Rank: 8 Courage: 9 Firepower: 8 Skill: 8

As you can tell from the above photo this 'test shot' version of Energon Rodimus is rather plain.  There aren't any paint applications on the toy.  Everything you see is plastic molded in either red, a dark gray or orange.  The translucent orange gun and missile are the same as the production version however.  Test shots are used for a variety of purposes - from testing the injection molds to testing the overall strength of the plastics to safety reasons.  I've seen a fair share of Transformer test shots over the years and not always are they cast in colors used in the final product.  Sometimes parts are clear (to test hidden parts) or the toy has been cast in a bright lime green.  At least this version of Rodimus I was able to obtain features his main colors...which was really desirable to me at the time.  The toy that I have must have been used towards the end of the run as there are no visible changes or differences when compared to my mass produced version.  All 6 wheels roll freely and nothing hinders the transformation process.

In robot mode you can see the orange plastic used for the fists and thighs.  When I first got this toy from China (I believe) the thing that stood out most was how loose most of the limbs were.  Rodimus can still pull of some poses, hold his weapon and stand on his own - but the figure in general is loose.  I'm guessing this is because of the nature of the figure.  It was meant as a test subject so to speak and not meant for me - the collector.  Other than that the figure transforms just as the regular version does.  The combining feature is also in place and can be used with any other deluxe Energon Autobot.  

I used to own 5 different versions of this mold (the other 3 were the white redeco as Energon Checkpoint, the black Japanese Superlink version and the 2009 Botcon version as Thunderclash).  I'm not sure why I liked this mold so much as I don't think it's aged very well.  Perhaps it's the Classics version of Rodimus in recent years that has spoiled me as such!  At any rate I wanted to share a quick look at this test shot version of Rodimus.  If anyone is intrigued I have placed this figure on eBay as I'm trying to narrow my collection's focus.