Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hot Wheels: Corvette C7 Z06 Convertible (HW Roadsters 5/5)

Anytime I see a Hot Wheels Corvette I don't already own I can't resist the urge to pick it up. In this case I found a new version of a model I previously own...but this time in my favorite color!

Beautiful car. I ended up having to look at several different specimens as the paint apps are hit and miss, just like on action figures. I particularly like the red chrome outline on the wheels.

I found the blue model first, but the red is definitely my favorite. Fits this model Corvette like a glove.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Transformers Cyberverse: Gnaw

The Cyberverse series of Transformers has been pulling in characters from other TF series and even though there are plenty of characters based on their G1 selves, I didn't see a new Gnaw toy coming. Last released in the Titans Return series, this version of the Decepticon Sharkticon shares a lot with his "little cousin", but also brings a few new tricks to the table.

I was a little shocked to find Gnaw at a Target a few weeks ago. He must have just been put out on the sales floor because when I went to check out the toy didn't scan at the register. While I don't go hunting for toys like I once did, I still have yet to see another Gnaw at local retail.

Gnaw is part of the Power of the Spark subseries in the Cyberverse series. Like other Warrior class toys, he has a gimmick called "Mace Mash". We'll look at that in a bit. Packaging is your standard fare for the series, however I'm digging the new artwork at the top of the blister card.

Upon taking Gnaw off the pegs, I could immediately tell that this toy looked a lot like the Titans Return version, only bigger and beefier. In the G1 animation / movie, he was always portrayed as a hefty 'bot in both robot and beast mode. I'm glad that this toy takes those cues as he has more girth than the smaller Legends scale Titans Return mold.

Out of the packaging you can really tell Hasbro "upscaled" this mold in some ways. The figure's construction is similar to the Titans Return mold and transformation is pretty much the same. Looking at the rear of the figure however you'll see some changes. First of all the shark fin is much bigger/longer as this acts as a lever for the Mace Mash gimmick. You can also see two stickers on the back of the figure - one is an instructional sticker for the gimmick while the other is a warning. I thought about removing these, but once you transform Gnaw these stickers are concealed.

Articulation is limited this time around. His head does turn side to side, but the plastic that houses the hinges for the mouth does restrict some of the movement of the head. His arms are attached with ball joints at the shoulders so you've got a good range of motion there, but at the elbow are these odd joints. It's possible to pull the arms off at this joint if you aren't careful. The stubby little legs attach to the torso using ball joints. The knees are on a hinge, but the Skarkticon kibble on the back of the legs make it tough to pull off any good action poses. I do want to point out that the little Sharkticon arms on the sides of the legs are not poseable.

Gnaw comes packaged with his mace which also acts as his tail in beast mode. He has a great head sculpt and his colors are pretty spot on to his G1 self. Overall he has a great look and I wouldn't mind picking up another one for the collection at some point.

I mentioned his Mace Mash gimmick before. Basically you unclip the lower jaw on Gnaw's chest to disconnect the top half of the figure from the lower half. Then you reach around to the rear and push the blue shark fin down/in. It's on a spring so it'll come back up and you can keep pressing this down/in as much as you want. With each press of this fin the top half spins around. If you're old enough to remember the Berserkers from Thundercats, Gnaw spins around a lot like Topspinner.

I only own one other Warrior class Cyberverse figure, but he seems to scale well here with Shockwave.

Transformation from robot to beast mode is basically the same as the Titans Return version. You collapse the upper and lower jaw around the head, folding up the legs behind the figure to form the main body of the Sharkticon. Position the arms, which are now the legs as you like and clip in the mace to form the tail.

Again I love the colors and the big, beedy green eyes are awesome...however I just can't get past how the robot head is still visible in the mouth of Gnaw. I also wish the blue shark fin on his back would stand up a little higher in this mode. 

If you can look past these minor issues this is a great looking Sharkticon figure in my opinion. I really wish I could have got to the cabinet where my G1 Gnaw is on display so I could have provided a few comparison shots, but alas my office/toy room floor is/was a mess and I didn't have a clear path to him. However I was able to grab the aforementioned Titans Return version so let's check that out.

Other than the size differences, the other major difference is the shade of gray plastic that was used. The Cyberverse version of Gnaw uses a much lighter gray and better resembles his G1 self. The eyes are opaque lime as opposed to a translucent darker green. There are additional paint apps to the upper row of teeth. Mold wise, the arms/legs attach to the body much higher than the Legends version. 

In this shot you can see why I said the Cyberverse version has more girth. The body itself is wider and longer than the Legends version. The robot head is more prominent as well.

Overall this is a great Cyberverse toy. I know this line is aimed at a younger Transformers audience, but a character like Gnaw had to be thrown in to appease the older generation of TF fans. While I don't care for the gimmick, it doesn't detract from the figure too much. Gnaw in my opinion looks great in either mode and most importantly is a fun figure. Since I opened him he has been one of my deskbots and has often been fiddled with, going back and forth between robot and Sharkticon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

McKay's - A little bit of everything

Several weeks ago now (because I've been sitting on these pictures!) I stopped by McKay's in Greensboro, NC while traveling for work. It had been almost exactly a year to the date since the last time I visited this store so I was eager to get back. If you're not familiar with McKay's, it's a chain of stores that buys/sales a lot of different things including: books, movies, music, video games, comic books and more. You never know what you'll find when you go in. Most of the time you can find some good deals, but just like anything "collectible" there are times where the asking price is higher than you'd like to see. Regardless, I walked out with two boxes of goodies on my last trip and this post will share them with all two readers of the blog!

McKay's doesn't bag your purchases, so I bragged two empty boxes by the door to make it easier to haul my loot home.

It's not that often that I buy a Pop! figure, but ever since I grabbed the Peggy Carter Pop! figure a year or so ago, I wanted her niece. I looked for her at the Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC this past June, but didn't see her oddly enough. I flashed a quick look at the wall of Pops! while at McKay's and wouldn't you know I found Agent 13...for $5 none the less too.

I browsed all of the various video game platforms, but didn't really find anything that stood out. Then I turned my attention to the discount shelf near the comic books and bingo! I found NES Play Action Football for super cheap. A lot of times old NES games marked this cheap have dogged labels, but this cartridge looked brand new. I'm not a big sports game fan, but I couldn't leave this one behind.

My youngest daughter, Winnie, 8, loves Spongebob. She got some Game Boy Advance games last summer and I told her I'd keep my eyes open for other games. While I can't say I've heard of this game, she was super excited when I got back home and gave her this.

The Lights, Camera, Pants! game is the only one I pulled out of the normal section. The rest of the games, including this complete, $.95 Creature from the Krusty Krab GameCube game came from the discount shelve. The first game is a 4 player co-op game that I thought would be fun for the whole family. The other is the console version of a GBA game she already had.

I mentioned the discount game shelve was near the comics and that was my next destination inside the store to check. The organization of the books left a lot to be desired, but I'd find little runs of a title here and there. One I was glad to find was the post-Legacy run of Daredevil. Partially thanks to the Netflix show and the Legacy promotion Marvel was running, I started buying Daredevil. I heard the creative team on the book was doing an exceptional job too. Artist Phil Noto transitioned to the book around this time. These 5 issues filled in the gaps I had so I was thrilled to find these. Priced at $.75 an issue too.

I purposefully left the price tags on the bags so you could see the deals I got. The Sentinel of Liberty series didn't run that long and issues are getting tougher to find. The Alice Cooper was a surprise for sure. Once I got back to my hotel room I was surprised again as when I pulled the book out of the bag/board one of the rear corners was creased. Bummer.

Marvel is doing something with the 2099 universe again soon so I've been picking up any 2099 book I can find. I already had two of the four issues of Timestorm so I was floored to find the other issues I needed. Plus who can pass up $.25 comics?!

After browsing much of the store my feet and back were starting to hurt and I was hungry. Before I left though I lightly browsed the music area, particularly the cheap CDs. Glad I did...

I was a fan of The Classic Crime since their first album was released on Tooth & Nail Records, however I thought once they left the label the band was done. Turns out this album, Phoenix, was Kickstarter funded! I also found a CD by a band called Undercover that I didn't know existed.

The last two items I purchased that night before heading across the street to Kickback Jack's for dinner was Bride's "Live to Die" and 10,000 Maniac's "Our Team in Eden". The Bride album is a classic metal album featuring the classic song "Hell No"...well at least classic in my circle of music. I was also shocked to see that this was the original Pure Metal Records release...nice!!

I didn't listen to much mainstream music in high school, but I remember this album and I always enjoyed Natalie Merchant's vocals. I thought for a quarter now would be a good time to give this album a listen.

I love going to McKay's as I always find something exciting and interesting. If you are a fan of physical media (as I) then you have to stop by McKay's if you're ever near one of their locations. I also recently found out they are building a larger store in near by Winston-Salem, NC. By the time I have to go back to this area for work it should be open so you can bet I'll be checking it out.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Transformers Cyberverse: Cheetor & Sea Fury

Hasbro's Transformers Cyberverse series of toys moves into a new phase, subtitled Power of the Spark. With this new series of toys comes Spark Armor and a new sizes: Battle Class and Elite Class. I was quick to dismiss these new toys and their gimmicks, but I when I saw them on store shelves I was intrigued enough to at least give one a try. I chose Cheetor as he was a Target exclusive.

Cheetor is part of the new Elite Class size and comes packaged in a big window box. This allows you to clearly get a good look at the toys. Strange to see Cheetor again, but it's a welcomed sight in my book.

One side of the box has generic Cyberverse artwork of Optimus, Grimlock and Bumblee, while the other side features new artwork of Cheetor himself.

Cheetor was pretty light once I was able to free him from his plastic and cardboard prison. Hasbro continues to leave many of the limbs on the toy hollow. It's a nice sculpt however, especially the face of Cheetor. He's got a very slim and sleek look to him, something his original Beast Wars toy couldn't do. He has a few paint applications in robot mode. He retains his animated green eyes and blue face. There are a few black spots on the figure, but not as many as their should be in my opinion.

Articulation is limited, but surprisingly better than I would have anticipated. He features ball joints so if you put too much pressure on a limb it'll safely pop off. You can rotate his arm at the shoulder a full 360 degrees. His elbows have a swivel joint allowing about 180 degrees of motion, but some of this is because of the transformation. Hinge joint at the elbow. No waist swivel, but the legs can fully rotate forwards and backwards and he can even pull off a full split. There is a little bit of swivel to the legs, just enough to rotate the legs outwards a little. Hinge joint at the knee. No ankle rockers, but thankfully he does have large heels that fold down to help stabilize the figure.

If you were wondering, Cheetor without his Spark Armor is close to a Warrior Class (deluxe). My only real gripe of Cheetor's robot mode is his tail. It's just there. It doesn't fold up, in fact if you do fold it up it stops at a 90 degree angle. If you leave it down it shows too much through his legs. Small gripe, but valid none the less.

Cheetor's Spark Armor is called Sea Fury. I have no idea if these armor suits are controlled by the Transformer partner or what. I doubt they'd be sentient robots themselves. Either way Sea Fury is more impressive than I figured he'd be. The battleship is just over 6 inches in total length so it's not a small toy. Unfortunately none of the guns on the ship move. There is an anchor piece that flips out, but that's about the play value of the ship itself. I do want to point out that on the front hull of the ship is a red Maximal faction emblem. Cheetor himself sports an Autobot faction emblem. Interesting...

Transformation from robot to cheetah is pretty straight forward with 11 steps. I couldn't help be reminded of an old Playskool GoBot, Preditron, while I was transforming Cheetor. A few more steps of course, but I guess it was how the robot head flips into the chest and the beast head rotates up and into position. I do like how the legs collapse to form the rear legs. They look very powerful. Other than the robot fists showing on the side of his front legs, this is a pretty nice (stylized) beast mode.

What does a cheetah and a battleship have in common? Nothing...but there is "more than meets the eye" here.

Sea Fury basically fits on the bag of cheetor like a large backpack using two pegs. As you flip the ship/armor down over Cheetor's head, the ends of the ship fold down into position. This I wasn't expecting! The armor more or less gives Cheetor an armored helmet and two large gauntlet like arms. The Spark Armor does hinder the articulation of Cheetor's arms, but he can still move them a bit.

I dig his new battle armor helmet.

Once Cheetor is all armored up he's pretty menacing looking. I thought that when combined with Sea Fury he would be top heavy, but those large flip out heels he has really helps to stabilize the figure. 

I would think younger Transformer fans will really like this toy and some of the other Spark Armor releases. I know this figure isn't necessary aimed at my demographic, but I found this to be a fun figure. He'll most likely become my new deskbot for awhile. I don't know if I'll chase down the Bumblebee figure as it's too similar for my tastes. Cheetor here is an odd choice on many levels, but it's fun having a new Cheetor toy regardless.