Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 1st Haul

POTP WINDCHARGER & BEACHCOMBER


I've yet to pick up any of the TR minibots since Wheelie and these reminds me how great the minibots are at this in between scale (between scout and deluxe). Just enough complexity and adequate articulation that make them fun to fiddle with. And while there's merit in reinterpreting the G1 design, its remarkable how these two look like they stepped right out of an animation cel.

TR KICKBACK & GNAW


Took the longest time to track these two but finally found them. Nice to have an official sharkticon since i last bought the KO and while kickback is prolly the weakest of the new insecticons, his insect mode is prolly the most fun and articulated.

BW BLACKARACHNIA


Wasnt high on my to buy list but it was on sale. Blackarachnia is a remold from the Animated version (with remolded, uh, bikini top). Its not my fave TFA mold but it looks nice in both modes and doesnt look out of place amongst the generations toys, now i need to get rhinox, rattrap and waspinator.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Lego MOC Retrospective

End of the year i was looking through my photo archive and noticed, man, it's been sometime since i last made a lego MOC (2016) since i started doing them back in 2012. Time flies.

2012 was around the time i started buying lego for my kids - they were by then old enough - and that kickstarted me getting into lego again- used to have a big box of em as a kid myself.

My google+ post on lego sets from when i was a kid

I discovered online LUGs and MOCs and that inspired me to build and post my own. Having been around SW and TF community longer, i've noticed lego fans are prolly the smartest and civilized amongst online toy fandom and i get quite a bit more traffic when posting lego content compared to TFs.

My MOCs are generally characters and micro builds - being a toy collector and movie fan i tried to do my own versions of favourite characters and vehicles. There's more at my Flickr page (link in sidebar) but these are some of my favourites.

STAR WARS


MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE


VEHICLES


CHARACTERS


MICRO



Thursday, December 21, 2017

End of Year Haul '17

Rational me: "I should round up Titans Return and get Trypticon before getting POTP figures..."

Impulsive me seeing POTP on the shelves:


VOYAGER GRIMLOCK


Fans have always wanted combining Dinobots team - i don't really care for that - but POTP Grimlock looks great in robot mode, very faithful to the G1 version. I don't even mind his derpy t-rex mode, just wished they gave him bigger toes.

DELUXE SLAG, SWOOP


Slag isn't very imposing at this scale. Swoop turned out VERY nice.


VOYAGER STARSCREAM


I know this version looks like a playskool toy (oversized feet, forearms look like mitts) and the robot mode is obvious in jet mode, but i really like it. The chunky proportions reminds me of Don Figueora's concept art.

DELUXE JAZZ, DREADWIND


Jazz is just okay, i guess. Love the colors on Dreadwind, and this is my 1st experience with Combiner Wars jet mold.

PRETENDER SKULLGRIN, CLOUDBURST


These guys are supposed to be Prime, uh, Masters or something. Screw that noise, i'm just happy we get itty bitty humanoid shells.

TITANS RETURN VOYAGER OCTANE


I was surprised by how much i like this mold - just never cared for the airliner/tanker alt modes - but the transformation is engaging and fun robot mode. Almost makes me want to get the Optimus version of this mold.

Also got this 6" Spidey figure from Hasbro (Marvel Legends - Space Venom BAF wave). There's been a few version of this guy but its so hard to find the regular version at regular retail. I missed out on the previous version with the interchangeable head so even though this one only has interchangeable hands and no accessories i grabbed it with the quickness.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Titans Return: Recent Haul, Sept. '17

Huge dump post to cover recent purchases:

VOYAGER BLITZWING


I've had to bite my lip everytime i come across shelfwarming Voyager Megatron - who shares the same mold - so i was glad to finally find Blitzwing in the wild: COME ON DOWN, AUTOBRAT

Great robot mode, straightforward update of the G1 version. Both alt modes are serviceable, with jet mold having a slight edge - tank kibble is less obvious in jet mode while the rear carapace of the tank gives away the jet mode's wings.

MECH FANS TOYS 3P SHARKTICONS


I still want to get the official version so this knockoff is just to tide me over till the proper cam-dinging grill-cracking things turn up at retail. I was initially sceptical because they straight up ripped off the official design, with tweaks to the color scheme. Solid construction but the plastic isn't as kid friendly as Hasbro's - still pretty robust though.

IRON FACTORY 3P SHOCKWAVE


I was going to get the most recent Legion Class version but the shop i went to had this guy on the same shelf and i went home with the 3P version instead. Its pricier than the official, but its more accurate (or slavish, depending on your attitude towards 3P) to the G1 design and with more frills compared to the official - specifically, interchangeable alternative hands.

VOYAGER BROADSIDE


I was looking forward to this guy despite not being a popular character. He hardly appeared in either comic nor cartoon - same goes for versions of him in previous toylines. He's arguably the least popular amongst the six G1 triple changers. So its always nice when Hasbro shines some light on 3rd stringers.

The robot mode has a nice bulk and heft to it, suggesting Broadside as a 'heavy'. His aircraft carrier mode is - besides being unique - pretty good for what is esentially the robot mode laid down and flattened. The jet mode is, in all honesty, pathetic - but something about this mold makes it fun to experiment with alternative modes. Broadside is not as great looking a toy as Blitzwing but he's still very fun to fiddle with.

LEADER OVERLORD


The G1 toy was a big deal despite being a generally obscure character. Even ignoring the writing of the Masterforce cartoon i just thought the toy was great looking and reminded me of those chogokin type mecha toys, the way its so big and blocky. Back when i got the G1 toy it exceeded all expectations; this toy is a bit underwhelming, unsurprising considering how i was so hyped for it. Its mainly to do with the size: its not that its small for leader scale - its just that the original toy's size was so impressive that this version feels like a downgrade. The way its engineered also makes it feels less substantial compared to the blocky G1. The rear of the jet mode is gap-ish; the tank mode fares better in appearance but still feels hollowed out.

That said, the robot mode looks great - like he stepped out of an animation cel - and the alt modes themselves are decent overall. Its an obscure but fan fave character and for the most parts does the same thing as the old toy. Its only real fault is how it was bound to be overhyped and that the original set such a high standard to begin with.

Bonus pic!


I found some me-time to drag Generations Metroplex out of storage - never did a proper shoot of him and seeing mini Shockwave was handy i thought it'd be a good time as any to showcase Metroplex intimidating size.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Combiner Wars Devastator

It took till almost the end of Titans Return's run but i finally manned up and got it - the crown jewel of Combiner Wars: Devastator.



Devastator is actually one of my favourite TF designs, i've had several variations of the G1 version both original and knockoff. I also have the Energon and Movie version but the original design in all its inarticulated brick glory is still close to my heart. As a kid i only had 3 of the Constructicons (Scrapper, Long Haul and Hook) and i would put them together and *insert strains of world's tiniest violin* my heart would fill with emptiness at the sight of Devastator's lack of arms and left leg.



I like the Constructicons for the striking color scheme and the hodge podge nature of the combined form, and the CW version really knocks it out of the park in terms of design and most significantly - size: Devastator is HUGE.



He comes in the individual members' alt modes and the chunkiness of each vehicle is evident in suggesting how big and sturdy the combined form was going to be. Hook, Scrapper, Bonecrusher and Scavenger are practically perfect modern interpretations; Mixmaster 'i can't tell whether i'm coming or going' is wonky, with its mixing drum reverse orientation. Long Haul is THICC.



The visual effect is consistent in robot mode with Mixmaster and Long Haul deviating while the remaining four retaining accuracy: Mixmaster's drum hanging off his butt like some giant insect-like abdomen while the Long Haul is cartoonishly stocky - he's not fat, he's big boned.



Combining them is intuitive, even though adjustment has been made to make sure the joints are sturdy enough to stand the rigors of articulating an 18" tall hunk of plastic. Each joint has multiple connection points and the clickety clackiness of the ratchet joints tells you how much engineering is required to keep the figure together and not fall apart at any sudden movements.



The height and mass of Devastator and the nature of its deconnectible joints limit extreme poses but the fun is interaction with regular sized figures - with the exception of basebots, he's really a giant amongst giants. The designers have also given a cool feature where you can deploy visors over his eyes - similar to Alternator Hot Rod - so you can choose between toy/cartoon accuracy. His hands could use some extra articulation, but this seems to be a sacrifice for him being part of the mainline - i'd imagine a Masterpiece version of this toy would double the price.



I may be late to the show but the sheer size and quality of the set still makes for an exciting toy that deserves its place as the landmark figure of the modern mainline that brought back a fan favourite gimmick. The hype has died down but Devastator doesnt disappoint. MERGE FOR THE THRILL.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

RID Combiner Force Bludgeon

Transformers 'for kids' line is RID (Robots in Disguise), which latest iteration is 'Combiner Force'. The Deluxe/Warrior class does not feature combining gimmick, but it includes a fan favourite character that's hard to pass up: Bludgeon.


While he's had more recent versions - last seen in the 'Prime: Beast Hunters' line - a personal fave is the version that was released as part of the ROTF (Movie) line. While that version - in voyager scale - was nicely detailed, i've always found the toys to be more fun at deluxe scale.


While the hollow bits make the mold look cheap-ish, the robot mode is nicely design. It looks cleaner compared to the ROTF version and the block-ish proportions give it an old school vibe. I feel like the orange color looks a little pale, but its actually got nice paint apps here and there (like the silver on the feet and the purple on the, uh, robot pecs) on top of its already varied primary colors, which give you a sense that Hasbro put some effort into this toy.


Bludgeon can grip the sword/katana when its holstered to his leg. He can even hold the sword with both hands!..thanks to the shoulder being double jointed to the torso. The tank mode's twin cannon is articulated so you can deploy them in 'battle mode' or tuck them away. Its also detachable so Bludgeon can use it as a gun, but i'd rather they just fixed it in place because its rather easy to come off.


The mold features at least two design 'cheats' - the bottom part of the tank and torso look the same but actually use different parts, and the shoulders feature tank tread detailing despite forming part of the turret. Its also lazy how the fist are just left exposed in tank mode, but these are just nitpicks for an otherwise solid - if not great - deluxe/warrior class. We've seen better tank bots but samurai zombies will never be not cool.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

90's Nikes: On Court Classics

Retro sneaker heads usually have a fondness for 80's models like Air Force 1 and SB Dunk, but as 90's basketball fan that era defined the classics for me. There are more that are considered iconic, like the ones worn by Barkley and Penny, but here are the ones i really dig.

AIR FLIGHT 89


Technically its just outside of the 90's, but i'm featuring it because its a cheaper alternative which takes elements and visual cues to one of MJ's iconic shoe, the AJ4 - evident from its lacing eyelets and mid sole design.

AIR FLIGHT LITE 91


Besides being featured in White Men Cant Jump, the debut of the Flight logo is also prominently represented on court by Scottie Pippen, a favourite player of mine.

AIR MAX UPTEMPO 95


These particular colorway is inspired by the 1996 All Star Game hosted in San Antonio, notable for MJ winning the game MVP honors after returning from retirement.

AIR FLIGHT 96


The Air Flight 96 takes design cues from the immensely popular Air Max 95 (wavy pattern of its upper), this colorway is a tribute to Allen Iverson, who was drafted in 1996.

AIR MORE UPTEMPO 96


Another shoe that Pippen wore before he got his own signatures, its a popular retro design that's even been adapted into an exclusive by Supreme.

ZOOM HAWK FLIGHT 96


Another shoe made iconic by featuring in a movie, Ray Allen wore this as Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game.

AIR AFTERBURNER FLIGHT 99


A personal fave of mine, this shoe was repped on the court by Jason Kidd and Damon Stoudamire, the colorway above are Mighty Mouse's - Damon's nickname - PE's.