Sunday, August 14, 2016

Combiner Wars Sky Reign, Decool 'Bricktober 2014 Mini Modular'

I've been holding out on these guys on account of damn repaints, but Sky Lynx's fun factor finally convinced me to cave in. Damn you, Hasbro!


'Shampoo' Wheeljack is the weakest repaint of Sky Reign's limbs. Off white has never been the best color to cast a mold in - Wheeljack looks like a bottle of Pantene - made worse by his faux car roof chest which lacks black tinted windows (the actual car mode canopy is colored in proper though). He also has wonky hip joints. But Wheeljack has always been my favourite character (wacky science guy!) and the remold does a good job in making the car mode look like a Lancia Stratos.


Smokescreen has always been the best looking paint job amongst the Datsun bros, and he makes the remold look good here, better than Prowl who was released prior. The proportions are a bit chunky, but its very solid in either car or robot mode, and is least likely to be mangled up by a ham-handed 5 year old.


Instead of getting the remainder of Sky Reign's limb - Trailbreaker and Hound - I bought Ironhide (and Mirage) from previous waves instead. I just thought the colors go better with Sky Lynx. Trailbreaker actually makes the mold look sharper in black, he also has the has the better headsculpt. But CW Ironhide is serviceable as an homage to the G1 version, albeit looking a bit young-ish/too svelte for an ornery vet.


I've always thought the Classics Mirage was pretty damn good but this CW repaint is pretty good on its own too. Excellent deco/paint apps, nice alt mode and good articulation in bot mode. Only thing I'd nitpick are the forearm which looks like flared sleeves but otherwise it'd give the Classics mold a run for its money even without the combining gimmick.


The combined figure has some flaws - notably the shoulder area which doesn't quite lock in place - but he looks great overall. The beast head really makes it distinct from the other gestalts and the fact its an all new character is a bonus.


These are knockoffs of Lego's TRU exclusive sets and my 1st experience with Decool. Quality is noticeable inferior to Lego of course, but these are hella cheap. These are actually smaller scale than the actual mini modulars (which I've reviewed in the past), here's a good link with comparisons:

But micros are always fun to build - lots of parts despite small size, clever offset techniques - and require very little shelf space. The sets also come with itty bitty vehicles:

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Autobots...Come Out and Play!

Awhile back i posted some pics of robits in outdoor settings. Dug up my photobucket account and found a couple more:

THS series by Takara is a good example of Takara's wonky marketing department decision making before they were taken over by Tomy. It's literally a tweener sub-line that tried to bridge the complex and detailed high end stuff with the mass market stuff. Sub-lines are usually short lived (the line didn't make it to a THS-03) and end up as novelty item/curiosities that don't really contribute much to the brand overall.

The THS-02 G1 convoy is still a fun piece tho, albeit too fiddly. MP convoy with trailer hadn't been released at this point so the trailer was a big selling point. But thanks to its compact size it makes a great display piece as a desk toy.

The Getter Robo is from when they started making Revoltechs. I know diddly squat about the source material, but i thought it looked cool and just wanted a reason to mess with Revoltechs.

These are RID spychangers, repackaged as dollar store/KB toys exclusives. Got suckered to buy these on account of G1 accurate colors, good job Hasbro.

Snarl was the 1st in the series of non-official WST dinobots by Justistoys. His dino-buddies hadn't been release yet at this point, so he's feeling a little bit lonely.

More recently Hasbro Malaysia's Transformers FB page held a toy photography contest. Transformers 4 had just came out then, which featured Drift as a samurai robit. And i thought it'd be apt to shoot him fighting another samurai robit: ROTF's bludgeon.

KO Cassettebots

While knockoffs/bootlegs/repros are generally frowned upon, there's been instances where they become interesting items due to novelty. Back when reissues were all the rage and China repros were floating in the secondary market, I picked up a couple'o stuff that caught my eye.

I picked this up through Singapore's Yahoo! Auctions (it was shut down years back, that's how long ago this was). Singapore's collectible toys market was thriving and this popped up as i was searching for cassettebots - keep in mind that while Soundwave and Buzzsaw reissues were available at the time, Rumble/Frenzy hadn't been reissued yet. It's actually a knockoff of the Microchange version, so while it's not an original, it's still a vintage.

It came in a box as opposed to carded, complete with inner tray. Both box and tray seemed appropriately aged, which is a good indicator its genuine.

Funny enough, knockoff manufacturers decided to keep things interesting by producing clear plastic versions of G1 molds, thus clearly marking them as fakes (although this trend itself owes to Takara, who produced a number of clear plastic version of G1 reissues as exclusives). They came in both clear and clear colored/tinted versions.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

More Than Meets The Eyedropper Tool

Being a designer...well, design-based professional anyway, I have cultivated many designer powers (including but not limited to producing scale drawings, modelling in CAD and the ability to bullshit the client). But the most useful power, which lends itself to being a collector is my mastery of Photoshop!

Besides helping me to color my fanart (see art posts) and adjust toy pics (to improve lighting, colors and contrast, etc.) you can use Photoshop to generate composite pics. And in the immortal words of my wise Uncle Ben - God bless his soul - WITH GREAT PHOTOSHOP POWERS COME GREAT PHOTO MANIPULATIONS.

Here's something I did for an online contest, hosted by TFW2005 and BBTS:

I actually won 1st prize - a USD100 gift voucher to shop at BBTS - which I used to buy Diamond Comics' Soundwave and his minions diorama (see past post).

Background cobbled from random images from the internet, natch, but the toys are all individually photographed. I did a composite sketch before choosing which toys that was included, what mode they'd be in and what angle i'd shoot 'em - a lot of pre-planning, actually. And once all the pics were taken I'd arrange em in layers, add in highlights, shadows and effects. The look i was going for was the old back of the G1 box battle scenes. And i guess the judges liked that shit, too.

This was done for fun, when Classics came out. I used similar technique/style to the G1 battle scene pic and meant to fill it out with more characters as they were released but never got around to it. The remaining Classic figures that never made it into the montage suffered their ignominy of being left out by residing in the I-ran-out-of-shelf-space bowl.

Most of times the forces of good graphic skills and taste prevail. But sometimes...sometimes the dark side beckons and you make a slip in judgement and end up using your Photoshop powers for EVIL! And stuff like this happens:

name: lumberjack
allegiance: autobot
function: lumberjack, duh.
motto: lumber is the right of all sentient beings.

lumberjack is a distant cousin of giant planet's metroplex. a juggernaut of a 'bot, he is armed with his big ass chainsaw, "barkmuncher".

cast down to earth eons ago, he was raised by ancient mystic lumberjacks, hence his fondness for plaid and denim. after being discovered by the autobots in their search for the planet key, they naturally appointed lumberjack as guardian of earth's forest.

while conflicted by his primal urge to actually cut down the forests instead, lumberjack has vowed to protect the earth's forest from decepticon threat, except on wednesday's, for shopping, and have buttered scones for tea.

lumberjack's redeco is not limited to paint apps.

lumberjack is the only transformer with a grizzly beard.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Combiner Wars Sky Lynx

Finally found the toy i most anticipated from Combiner Wars: Sky Lynx.

This is the 1st time we're getting a new version of him since the original G1, and the primary robot - he's supposed to be a dragon? IDK lol - and vehicle mode seems faithful to the original, at a glance. But unlike the G1, this version can't split the shuttle/transporter components - thus losing his lynx form - instead Sky Lynx gets to be a combiner torso (the gestalt form is named Sky Reign, which is pretty cool actually) with the gestalt form having a lynx head.

The vehicle mode is pretty good considering other combiner leaders in the line, like Onslaught and Scattershot. But its in robot mode that this mold really shines. Besides its unique non-humanoid form, its well articulated from head to tail and the wing missiles double either as wing or tail extensions. The best thing you can say about a toy is that it just has personality - Sky Lynx has it in spades - fun to fiddle with and hard to put down.

Bonus! Here's my lynx fanmode. To be honest he's really just missing a few joints/articulation here and there to make this mode legit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gotta be the shoes

So the 2016 NBA Finals just wrapped up and it got me thinking about all the basketball shoes i've worn. Check it:

I've had Nikes before this, but the Jordan 6 was the 1st signature sneakers i bought. It was 92 and the Bulls just won their 2nd championship and Michael Jordan was HUGE and was my reason to pick up a basketball at the late age of 16. I even cut out black socks and wore em on my left elbow and right shin like Michael's warmers, LOL.

Next year the Huarache debuted which featured inner sock thingies and the Jordan 7 had 'em too. Also, there was a special edition on account of the Barcelona Olympics with Michael's number 9 from the Dream Team.

I chilled it with basketball during my early college years - was into the underground music and i was rocking Puma Clyde's - but i 'borrowed' these Jordan 8 from my brother. This was about the time Space Jam came out.

Couple'o years later Jordan Brand started issuing Retro's and i copped Retro 5's when they came out. These were actually before my time and always wanted to have 'em on account of Rokawa Kaede from Slam Dunk comic wearing 'em.

I wasn't into the AJs that came out after he retired, but i did get these 18's as a present from wifey. These were simple and less way out there compared to the recent ones that came out then.

Most recently i got these AJ 11's (finally! even if they're lows) from last year trip to NY. I actually had a pair of black AJ 11 when they came out but were stolen after only a few times wearing 'em so it nice to finally re-own a pair.

Besides Jordan i've worn a couple'o other kicks too. The Pippen 2 is easily my fave design, even amongst the AJ's. They were a bit uncomfortable tho' on account of narrowness and i have feet that are wide up front.

I also owned these t-bug flight's too - not a signature shoe but they were repped by Tim Hardaway around the time when those Nike's Fun Police ads came out. It utilizes the monkey paw structural elements, kinda like Payton's the Glove shoes. These were easily the most comfortable and lightweight shoes i've used on the court.

The Hyperflight was worn by another fave player - Jason Williams - and this is the shoe i wore for the longest time. I initially bought the grey/silver ones and later after it got worn down i replaced it with blacks. These had very nice grip and the thin soles made them feel very stable/grounded.

The only non-Nike shoe i wore on the court, the Stack 2 came out and at the time i felt Nike's were too common/played out. Definitely didn't feel as good as Nike - although the soles were more lasting - but i like the minimalist design when a lot of the shoes that were coming out at the time were kinda out there/had a lot of stuff going on visually.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus, G1 Beastbox & Squawktalk

It's been a long drought for me collecting-wise but i finally mustered up some enthusiasm to pick up some robits.


This figure is based on IDW's MTMTE comics. We've had good figures of Magnus before in previous lines (like the leader scaled TFA version) but this is the 1st one (besides the MP line, which is more collector orientated) since the 6" Titanium version where we get a self contained Magnus figure - he's alt mode is a car carrier like in G1, but unlike G1, the whole cab and trailer transforms into a single/main robot (as opposed to the trailer forming the body armor for the smaller cab robot).

There's still a robot within a robot gimmick though - the plot twist with Magnus in MTMTE (spoilers!) is that Magnus is just an outer shell for a smaller robot - Minimus Ambus. So while the G1 version allows the cab robot to be independent sans outer shell, the CW version has the cab integrated with the trailer and Ambus fits into Magnus like the torso was a cockpit. Its actually a cool gimmick - although you have to take out Ambus for Magnus to transform into car carrier (which defeats the purpose of Ambus hiding his identity like in the comics). But who cares? Smaller robits piloting bigger robits will always be cool.


Galvatron sounds like he could use a Snickers bar.

A homage to the UK comics Target: 2006 storyline. Some really great old-school Furman action sequences and fantastic art by Geoff Senior.


G1 is currently low in priority in my catch up list (i'm behind on both CW and MP, plus i already have quite a few of cassettebots, thanks to the reissues), but i made exception to this pair because ROBOT MONKEY! Beastbox and Squawktalk combine to form humanoid robit Squawkbox, BUT WHO CARES?!! Robots are awesome, monkeys are awesome, which makes Beastbox double-y awesome.

(Sorry, Squawktalk. You're not even the best bird robit.)