Friday, January 30, 2015

Microman LED Power Series: MicroBikes Hiper Speeder & Tornado Bison

Many fans know that Takara has re-used various Transformers molds in other non-Transformers branded lines. One of the Brave series re-used Sky Garry, Sonic Bomber and Dai Atlas. Even Takara's Microman line had a few Transformers toys. The Micromaster base, Countdown, and the truck from the Action Master release of Optimus Prime are commonly known TF molds used. But did you know the Laser Cycles from Generation Two were also re-used for Microman?

These re-used molds first showed up in 2000 as part of the Microman LED Powers Series. The colors look very sharp, better than their G2 counterparts in my opinion. Take a look at this article for more information about these. I've yet to track these down for my own collection, but they are on the list.

While I knew the Laser Cycles had been re-purposed in the Microman line, I didn't know there was a Toys 'R Us Japan exclusive two pack of the MicroBikes; released around the summer of 2000. Once I discovered these years ago I immediately set out on a search to find them. I don't remember how long I searched for them, but they eventually were added to my personal collection via a Yahoo! Japan auction.

A lot of the Microman toys of the time were packaged on blister cards with removable bubbles. These exclusive MicroBikes came in a very nice black and gold box.

I'm not sure what it was about these motorcycle molds that I liked so much, but I really wanted these guys. I'm not really a mold completionist, but after adding these two to my collection I found the only version of these molds I lack are the regular Microman versions.

Both bikes come packaged in a plastic tray with each Microman figure already mounted and ready to ride! There have been a few modifications to the molds from their G2 days. The electronics have been removed so you won't a small button by the handle bars or the rubber tubing extruding from the side. Speaking of the handle bars, the original mold had hand brakes molded onto the handles. These brakes have been removed for the Microman releases. I assume this was done to allow the figures to be able to easily grip the handle bars. Outside of these small changes I haven't noticed any other variations.

Hiper Speeder (or is Hyper Speeder?) is a translucent yellow and orange version of G2 Road Rocket. The included Microman figure is Master Laser Arthur. I love how great the figure actually fits on the bike. It's almost as if these bikes were designed for these figures.

Master Laser Arthur comes with a few weapons and a shield he can wield. These weapons can be assembled to form a larger gun as shown above.

In true Microman LED fashion, each figure comes with a battery powered back pack. When the button on the back pack is pressed, a small red LED light shines through the chest of the figure.

While I love the motorcycle mode, the robot mode has always left something to desire. I guess it's the motorcycle wheels that just sort of hang out there that I don't care for. I do like the integrated buzz saw weapon and how it plugs into his forearm.

I've always thought the robot's head/face looks like a masked ninja. Move over Ryu Hyabusa!

I wanted to have a few comparison shots with G2 Road Rocket, but the Robot Masters release was easier for me to grab off my shelf at the time.

Here you can see some of the mold changes from previous releases. Notice the handle bars lack the brake handles the G2 version had. If you look at the center of the handles, you'll see that Hiper Speeder lacks the small button that activates the LED light.

Master Laser Arthur doesn't matter what color his bike long as it's FAST!

The other half of the package is Tornado Bison, a translucent orange and yellow version of Generation Two Road Pig. This is the first laser cycle I purchased back in the G2 days so I'm a little more partial to this toy.

I don't know enough a lot about the Microman toys, but I noticed these two figures are very similar to one another, outside of the color differences and different head sculpts. Tornado Bison's partner is Laser Shakunetsu. I prefer the overall look of him when compared to Master Laser Arthur.

Laser Shakunetsu comes with his own back pack as well as a different set of weapons.

Tornado Bison has an equally strong robot mode in my opinion. He's a little more beefier and the designers did a better job at concealing the motorcycle wheels...or at least getting them out of the way.

The glittery, translucent orange plastic isn't my favorite look for this mold, but it's different and I like different. The original, evil looking robot head returns.While Hiper Speeder may have built for speed, Tornado Bison was built to rumble.

Again, the Robot Masters version of this mold was readily accessible during my photo shoot so we'll use Sideways here in place of G2 Road Pig.

Here is another minor example of the mold change. Just underneath the bike, behind the front wheel is the small black button that activates the LED light on the G2 and Robot Masters versions of the mold. Notice the Microman version still has the battery compartment, but no rubber tubing.

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" Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway, lookin' for adventure and whatever comes our way"

I find these versions of the Laser Cycles to be a lot of fun and since I already have the G2 and Robot Masters bikes it just made sense for me to pick these up. The translucent, glittery plastic may not appeal to everyone; but like I mentioned before I like different.

If you are looking to add these toys to your own Transformers or Microman collection, good luck. They don't seem to appear for sale on the secondary market very often. I haven't searched eBay for them, but you may have a better chance using a proxy service and looking on Yahoo! Japan auctions as I did. 

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Transformers 3rd Party: Renderform Hawk Saber RW-012

I've always been fairly selective when it comes to buying any 3rd party Transformers related items, however some things are just worth taking a chance on. While familiar with Renderform and their past works, I had yet to purchase anything from them. Once a upon a time I owned the Botcon exclusive version of the Pretenders character, Metalhawk. He lacked a weapon and sorely needed one. Enter Renderform's Hawk Saber.

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Limited to just 200 pieces worldwide, I placed my order so that my new Autobot recruit wouldn't be defenseless against his Decepticon enemies. Once I got the weapon in hand I was impressed and disappointed all at the same time. Let me explain myself.

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While the sword was well made and felt very solid, it feel as if it's just too big. Metalhawk is only a deluxe size figure and this Hawk Saber seems to be scaled better for a voyager class figure. It's a shame because I really wanted to like this weapon.

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One other good aspect about the weapon is the additional peg on the sword's hilt. This allows you to peg in the weapon for storage on the back of Metalhawk as shown above.

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Renderform Hawk Saber photo Sale250_zps32397234.jpg   Renderform Hawk Saber photo Sale249_zpse6615951.jpg

In the end I love Renderform's effort with this much needed accessory for Botcon Metalhawk, but it just falls a little short as a "must have" in my book. If you like this piece and still haven't purchased it, it's not impossible to locate. In fact my good friends at Captured Prey currently have the sword in stock and on sale for only $5!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beast Saga: Dakka BS-42

It's been awhile since I've featured one of Takara Tomy's Beast Saga figures. I've had the whole series for quite a while now and I want to eventually share each and every release as I feel they are marvelous little figures. However like many things, they just got lost in the "digital shuffle" of my hard drive.

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This character's name is Dakka, and if you can't tell he is based on a duck. Many of the Beast Saga characters are based on Beastformers (aka Battle Beasts) and Dakka is no different. However this is a little yellow rubber ducky. He is a part of the Sky Kingdom as the green packaging and die signifies.

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There is so much cool detail built into the armor, from the propellers and the fins on the shoulders to the small jets on the side of his boots. I love the goggles and the old aerial flight cap he is wearing as well.

My only complaint would be the brown looks more like fur than it does feathers. I can't tell if his arms and legs have been re-used from another release. Thankfully the rest of the figure looks so great it's easy to give the designers a pass in this one department.

Dakka comes with a sword and shield, both fairly common and used by many different figures in the Beast Saga series. His green die appropriately has a duck on one side.

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The air based Sky Kingdom characters are far and few when compared to the land based Kingdom of Land Gloria so it's nice to see another bird character. Dakka may not be my favorite Sky Kingdom character, but he's a worthy addition to your Beast Saga collection.

If you're looking to grab this character, or any other Beast Saga toys now is a good time. Prices have dropped for the most part and many can be had for cheaper than what I originally paid. This Amazon seller current has Dakka in stock for under $7 with free shipping!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gobots: Street Heat

I was never a fan of Gobots growing up, opting for Transformers of course. However as I grew older I started to appreciate many of Bandai's Machine Robo designs. There was a point in time where you could purchase new, sealed on card Gobots for just a few bucks. My how times have changed!

When I was a kid you didn't dare get caught in public with a Gobot, unless you actually liked being picked on! With today's collecting market it is acceptable for Gobot toys to be amongst your transforming robot collection. With this surge in popularity, the prices of loose toys has gone up as well. I don't usually actively search them out anymore, but if I find a good deal then I'll usually pull the trigger and snatch them up.

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I may have had a few of the early Gobots growing up, but Street Heat was never one of those. As cool as Leader-1 was, I was always attracted to the cars. Blame it on the Autobots. Street Heat is one of the Guardians, otherwise a good guy. His alt form is that of a real world Chevrolet Camaro, modified for drag racing. Being a Chevy guy this one always appealed to me.

His red color has a touch of maroon putting it somewhere in the middle of bright and dark. His exposed engine and exhaust pipes underneath this doors are chromed. His windows are painted silver.

pic courtesy of

In Japan as part of the Machine Robo series, Street Heat had a different paint scheme. I really like the blue on this mold. Even the flame stickers I can deal with. This is one I'd love to personally own someday.

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Transformation to robot mode is achieved with just a few simple steps. Unlike some of the other Gobots, his transformation is a little more elaborate than just pulled out the legs and arms. Articulation wise he is limited, but I'm guessing most people know that. Overall he's got a good looking robot mode. Even his chromed head sculpt looks cool.

It seems that in today's market a good majority of loose Gobots command between $8 and $20. If you decide to go after him or any others, just make sure you inspect the photos well as the die-cast can tend to make some of the joints loose over time. Also many of the toys had chromed parts to make sure you pay attention to chrome wear as well as sticker and paint wear. I actually upgraded my Street Heat with this version as my previous one had some noticeable chips to the gray paint on the windshield.

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...waiting for the green flag to drop!