Sunday, January 27, 2013

Transformers G1: Chase C-94


Chase marks my 3rd and final Japanese G1 Throttlebot in the collection...for now.  With awesome packaging like this how can one not want all 6 boxed, in their collection?  Chase's box sports the same style packaging that Goldback(bug) and Wideload we previously looked at.


I don't think I even brought up the pull back friction motor in the other reviews.  I for one like this "gimmick".  While my Jumpstarters and Battlechargers may not function as good now as they did 20 years ago, all of my Throttlebots work like a charm.

Look mom, no flap crease!
I really wish I could read Japanese...or at least find a translation for the back of these Throttlebot boxes.  The big blue "VS" letters for instance - who were the Throttlebots ever pitted against in the comics or cartoon.  I for the life of me can't remember if they had a nemesis.


I know it's not environmentally friendly to use styrofoam anymore, but dang do I ever miss these kind of inserts.


Who would've thought a small smushed up Ferrari would still look so great!  Chase is by far one of the best looking Throttlebots in vehicle mode, but he'll always be 2nd place behind Freeway.  Speaking of Freeway, I really, really, really want the Japanese boxed version of him.


Blue was a great choice for his robot bits...well at least for his head.  However when I look at his robot mode the G2 Gobots version of Optimus Prime comes to mind..


Fellow blogger, Pax Cybertron, has set out to own all of the Throttlebots as well, Japanese or Italian.  A little friendly competition is always fun.  At least we both have one version of Chase.


If you enjoyed these Japanese G1 posts then keep on reading as I have some more things up my sleeve from the Land of the Rising Sun with a vintage taste.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thundercats: Berzerker Hammerhand


I never had the opportunity to own many of the vintage LJN  Thundercats toys when I was a kid, but I had Hammerhand and most of the pirate themed Berserkers and I loved them all.  Was the pirate or the big honkin' fist that made him so cool?


I love the cybernetics he has been fused with, from his backpack to his large metal boot.  The purple wires you see on his bag plug into two small holes...however due to the short length they can easily be pulled out of the holes.  A minor design flaw, but needs to be pointed out.


Like with most of the vintage Thundercats toys, Hammerhand has his own gimmick as well - that being his fist.  There is a round peg on the back of his elbow that looks like the handle of a pair of scissors.  Pull this back and his fist opens and closes.

" Hammerhand Smash! "

While I love this figure, I do have to admit that he hasn't aged well.  What I mean by that is he looks really goofy.  He looks very much like an 80's era figure.  There are better LJN Thundercats figures to be had, but of the four Berserkers Hammerhand is far the best.




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Transformers G1: Wideload C-92

Continuing my own Throttlebot spotlight we'll take a look at Wideload. Of all the Japanese boxed Throttlebots I own, Wideload's box shows the most wear. It's still a little gem in my collection though.

Wideload will always be special to me as he is attached to a very vivid memory of my childhood. As my brother and I got older my grandmother quickly learned it was easier for her to let us pick out our own birthday present as opposed to her guessing what we liked. I believe I was turning 9 or 10 when I bought my U.S. G1 Wideload. We had ate lunch at Wendy's and then went across the street to a regional store called Roses. Think of a very early Walmart. I actually remember buying several G1 TFs there, but in particular Wideload.

I love the bright orange used for the majority of the vehicle, although it sorely needs some paint apps to bring out the molded detail. I believe Reprolabels may have done some sort of upgrade set, but I haven't looked into those. To this day I still don't know what the blue payload in the back is supposed to be.

Diminished robot mode, but none the less still cool. Great head sculpt I might add, but I wish the red paint just want's slopped on the face. His eyes need to be a different color so they stand out better. All in all this has to be one of my favorite Throttlebots. Can't wait to see what ToyWorld does with him later this year.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

LEGO Legends of Chima: Razcal's Glider #70000

I'm a casual LEGO collector.  I say casual because for one I already buy and collect a lot of other things.  I also don't buy more because of the higher price tag on most sets.  However I still love to browse the building block aisle when I'm at Target or Walmart just to see what is currently on the shelves.  A few times a year I'll even buy a set that catches my eye.

I grew up with the Town / City theme and it has always been my favorite.  The few sets I still own hail from that theme.  I love the other themes that LEGO comes up with, but I've never really attempted to collect much of those non-City sets.  I liked the past Castle sets with the dwarves and trolls and last year's Dino theme was fantastic, but I only bought one or two sets from each theme.  2013 brings yet another new theme and I'm afraid this one really has captivated me.  Legend of Chima.  So awesome.

I think I may have seen a glimpse of this new theme in a catalog I received in the mail, but I didn't really pay it much attention.  However on a recent trip to Walmart I saw most of these new sets on the shelves and I was in awe.  During my free time later that evening (i.e. - after the wife & kids were in bed!) I headed over to to check out what this new Legend of Chima was all about.

Basically the premise of the story is a world where animals have lived together in harmony in the Kingdom of Chima.  However all is not as it was anymore as the different animal tribes are in battle against each other - fighting over the Kingdom's natural resource, Chi, which is their source of life.  Like a lot of fantasy situations this resource is just as dangerous (in the wrong hands).  The lions were appointed guardians of Chi after they were the first animal tribe to drink from the ancient pool of Chi.  Of course the other animal tribes weren't happy and chaos as ensued across the land.

There is a lot more to the story, but you should get the point.  What is really cool about this new theme are the mini figures of course.  And the new vehicles are pretty cool looking as well.  After browsing the website and looking at the various products both online and in store, I'm getting a major Battle Beasts / Beast Saga vibe.  This is a good thing...well for me at least.  At this point there was no way I could turn back.  I had to grab at least one set to see if my excitement was authentic or if I was just over hyping these in my mind.  Like a lot of you that may be on the fence when it comes to a new theme, I grabbed the smallest (cheapest) set for my trial run - Razcal's Glider.

CAM00165, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

As we take a look at this set please keep in mind that in my excitement to get this up on the blog, all photos were taken with my phone.

Alright.  Look at this beautiful blue packaging.  I love it.  Something I noticed while standing in the store was the upper right corner is different from set to set.  Each set has it's own animal pictured in the corner that is most appropriate for the set - in this case a raven.

CAM00166, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

In typical LEGO fashion the back of the box shows off the model and it's action features.  In this case a launching chain type weapon to still Chi from the other animal tribes!

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The main draw for many will be mini figure(s).  I wasn't sure at first how the animal heads would be done.  Would they be solid like some of the past non-human figures or would they be more like masks or helmets?  As it turns out the animal heads are more helmet like, but it they look fantastic.  Most of the figures have shoulder and chest armor that fits on the upper torso.  The flat rounded blue piece I'm assuming is a small piece of Chi.  Perhaps this powers the armor or the weapons?  The wings are done by two small pieces that fit on the back of the armor.  I believe these are the same wings that the flying mummies used in the Pharoah's Quest sets.

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After seeing the animal helmet I figured the actual head piece wouldn't have much detail.  I was wrong.  Of course the head piece would need some good eyes since they show throw the helmet piece, but to see the level of detail along with a painted beak was unexpected.  Flip the head around and you go from an evil stare to a bloodshot look of surprise (or is that insanity?).  Of course the rest of the body sports some nice paint apps.  The talons on the toes are a nice touch.

CAM00178, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Razcal's weapon is comprised of 5 pieces.  It looks pretty fierce in his hands and it's a nice touch over a sword or pistol or some other kind of conventional weapon.  This weapon will break down and be stored on his glider, but more on that later.

CAM00180, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Razcal's Glider is modeled after a raven and I have to say looks pretty nice.  The mixture of black and gray with splashes of red and purple looks really good.  The question I keep asking myself is why would a raven creature that has wings need a flying vehicle?  According to LEGO's website the kingdom of Chima is quite large and the vehicles are needed to cover the expansive grounds.

CAM00182, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Look at the cockpit and you'll see that the steering wheel is actually a small bone.  Nice.  On the back of the glider sits a Chi crystal that I assume powers the glider.  If you look at the "tail feathers" you may notice the two purple pieces are actually the blades to Razcal's weapon.  The other section of the weapon attaches to the side opposite the chain.

CAM00185, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

The glider's beak is actually cast out of a softer plastic.  I don't ever remember assembling a LEGO set that had soft plastic pieces before.  I'm sure this was done because of child safety requirements.  I love how they incorporated red translucent pieces to resemble the eyes of the raven.  Just underneath the front of the glider you'll see what looks like a missile.  You actually flick this piece and a small rod with a chain attached launches from the rear.  From the back of the box this looks as if it is used to steal Chi crystals from their enemies.

The claws underneath the glider along with the wings are all moveable and positionable to your liking.  So far this is the smallest set (minus the coming poly bag sets) released, but don't let it's small size deter you from checking it out.  I believe this is the only set that the Razcal mini figure currently appears in so if you want all of the figures, then you may have to eventually pick up this set.

I like what LEGO is doing with this theme and if I can afford to I'll be picking up more sets in the near future.

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CAM00183, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Friday, January 18, 2013

Transformers G1: Goldback C-97

Inspiration for this post (and a few future posts) comes from my fellow TF fan and blogger aptkane who runs Pax Cybertron. He recently acquired a Italian GiG Throttlebot and that got me thinking of the few Takara Throttlebots I own.

Goldback, or better known as Goldbug, was actually one of my first vintage G1 Japanese TFs I bought when I got back into collecting. Even though the toy is unchanged from it's U.S. release I couldn't turn down the opportunity to add this little guy to my collection thanks in part to the awesome packaging.

Unfortunately my specimen has that dreaded crease flap bend that is really noticeable when looking at the back of the box. If you'll notice at the bottom of the box you'll see the transformation instructions. This is because the Japanese Throttlebots didn't include instructions or tech spec cards like the majority of G1 Takara TFs.

I didn't pay $16, but close to it! I can't believe what some sellers are asking for this toy now!

I really miss the styrofoam inserts such as this. The inner tray perfectly hugs and protects the toy while he hibernates away in his box. There is a small hole in the bottom of the styrofoam for you to push the figure up and out of the tray.

I always loved the Throttlebots growing up. Perhaps it was because they were inexpensive and I could easily talk my mom or my grandmother into buying one for me. Or maybe it was because of their pull back friction motor. Whatever the reason I'm glad I've got all of them. And did I mention how much I absolutely love these small Japanese boxes?!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Transformers G1: Carnivac (Pretender)

Before I jump into this review of a classic G1 Transformers toy let me confess something that may effect this post. I love Pretenders. There. I said it. And I'm not one of those bandwagon fans either. I liked the Pretenders before collectors realized they didn't have them in their collections and the prices shot up on the secondary market. Because of the price increases I'm a little slow on picking up the last few, but I finally finished off the Pretender beasts not too long let me present the Decepticon Pretender, Carnivac!

How on earth can you not like this character based on his awesome box art?! While the whole premise of the Pretenders was to offer the Autobots and Decepticons more life like (organic) disguises, I never did understand the human Autobots and monster Decepticons. It wasn't until I saw the Japanese series, Masterforce, that I began to understand how the Pretenders looked among the human populace. Sadly the Pretender beasts weren't included in the animation. That doesn't mean he's not a cool character with a equally cool toy.

A growling, howling, mad dog destroyer. Commits abominable acts with unrelenting glee. Always smiling, even in battle. Outer shell has built-in hydrolic lifters that enable him to jump over 50 feet in any direction. High-intensity laser beams in eyes incinerate targets in seconds. In robot mode, armed with anti-thermal cannon with infrared scope that freezes targets on impact. 

Carnivac's Pretender shell is that of a gray wolf. It appears as if the wolf is wearing some sort of black harness. On his back is a purple...well, do you know what that is? His bronze rifle can be mounted on the side via a peg hole. Removable teal spiked shoulder pads adorn each side of the shell.

There is quite a bit of detail molded into the Pretender shell. Take a look at the sculpted hair, the layers on the back of the neck and around the side of the head. This looks like one mean Decepticon that's ready to go toe to toe with Catilla!

Unlike a lot of the other Pretenders, Carnivac doesn't have a belt or helmet you must first remove before splitting the shell in half to reveal the Transformer inside.

The inner robot is modeled after it's organic Pretender shell. When Hasbro decided to create the Beast Wars series I wonder if they looked back at any of the G1 animals? I know the knock a lot of the early Pretenders got was for their simplified inner robots and unbelievable alternate modes. All 4 of the Pretender beasts have bulkier figures that sport better forms.

While Carnivac's robot mode is still rather small and non-sophisticated, I like it. The Pretender beast characters always struck me as small and powerful.  His function is a Hunter / Tracker so it makes sense for him to be of a smaller stature.

As with all of the Pretenders the decals are printed on clear plastic as opposed to paper. This allows the stickers to have a slightly different (better) look in my opinion.  arnivac only has a few labels for his robotic form. Paint apps are sparingly used throughout the toy.

Articulation is on par with most G1 toys. Arms move up and down and that's about it. You can rotate the beast legs on the back of the arms or on the side of the legs to look how you wish.

It finally feels good to have secured the 4th and final Pretender beast. Now I just gotta find a way to work him into my crowded G1 Decepticon shelf. I like to display my Pretenders out of their shells - while it looks great it does take up more shelf real estate...which currently is at an all time premium. If you like Pretenders then surely you'll enjoy Carnivac or any of the other beasts.