Monday, January 25, 2016

Alternators/Binaltech Retrospective

Sub-line retrospective time!

Alternators, or rather Binaltech (since BT did come out first) was a big part in me starting to collect TFs as an adult collector (i had been previously focusing on SW at that point). When takara announced BT Smokescreen (and MP Convoy) - at that point TF was doing pretty good with the Armada line and reissues - fans rejoiced: takara/hasbro, finally conceding that TF adult collectors was viable enough for them to put out a collector series that wasn't just capitalizing on retro appeal (G1 reissues). It was exactly what the fans asked for: bigger scale, realistically detailed, articulated, DIE CAST (this fan hang up seems so archaic now). Sure the current MP cars show how much better they can do as far as cartoon accuracy but at the time it was revolutionary.

I started out with buying takara's BT series (Smokescreen, Lambor, Hound, Meister) but evetually Alternator caught up and started releasing their stuff earlier than takara and i went with hasbro the rest of the way until the line ended with Frenzy, uh, i mean Rumble. RIBFIR!

The line started strong, but towards the end there were a few clunkers (Prowl), some odd choices (remolding Ravage from Tracks, and then making a new Ravage figure when they acquired the Jaguar license) and lets not forget about the whole Kiss Play debacle...actually, let's forget about the whole Kiss Play thing.

All in all, the line had a good run, the toys were very finicky, especially the earlier releases but you can't say takara/hasbro didn't try to please us fans.

BINALTECH MEISTER



Can you dig it???

ALTERNATOR DEAD END & SWINDLE


Dead End is a good example of how the all-plastic Hasbro versions could be considered an improvement over Takara's version with die cast - the red hood on Lambor was prone to paint chipping due to the delicate transformation.

ALTERNATOR GRIMLOCK


The Ford Mustang mold was the 1st time Alternator debuted a new mold/character and Grimlock was the 1st character in the line that normally isn't associated with a car as an alt mode - Shockblast/wave and Ravage would come out later.

ALTERNATOR RUMBLE


Towards the end of the line distribution went south, so the last 1-2 releases were hard to track. Rumble was the only one 1 had to track down online, which to be honest was for completist sake. Rumble came with piledriver arms and piledrive arms ONLY. Good call on Takara not bothering releasing this mold.

ALTERNATOR RAVAGE



The Jaguar mold saw the character Ravage being released twice in the same line - the earlier release was a repaint of the Corvette mold (Tracks) with Ravage referencing his Beast Wars version (humanoid bot mode with beast mode head). The Jaguar mold is unique in that its the only 1 with a beast mode. Opinions on this mold differ depending on who you ask, but i think this mold is fun and certainly far from the worst of the line COUGH*Acura*COUGH

ALTERNATOR OPTIMUS PRIME



The line had 1 mold that wasn't a car: Optimus' Dodge Ram is the only truck in the line. The bot mode doesn't have the best proportions - but its PRIME - so it gets a pass.


My collection is a mix of the japanese and american version (with the early releases comprising of Binaltech versions). I didn't get all of the characters released in the line, passing on the remolds that appeared later in the line - I passed up on remolds of the Acura, Scion and Honda S2000. The Jaguar and Civic mold were not remolded - which means i still bought about half a dozen remolds from earlier in the line. Well played, Haskara.


(An inside joke amongst long time G1 fans, some people confused Ravage - a jaguar - for a dog; a doberman probably.)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Welcome To The Monkey House

I'm a big fan Toyfare (i loves me some Twisted Toyfare Theatre) and one of my fave recurring feature - it was really just a panel in the letters section - was 'Welcome to the Monkey House'. Which is prolly a Kurt Vonnegut reference - thanks, Google! Or maybe i just give too much credit to toyfare's staff.

ANYWAY. WttMH would showcase a random toy or action figure from any toyline by any toy company, as long as the character was based on any member of the ape family. So one issue it would be write up of a video game toy of Donkey Kong and the next could be a movie action figure of King Kong or maybe even a random toy with the likeness of YOUR MOM.

Hehe, that never gets old.

I don't buy a lot of collector type action figures, much less anything other than Star Wars/Transformers. But York House - a long time toy-run haunt at BSC - would sometimes have random items offloaded by other collectors - and i came across this Planet of the Apes figure by Medicom: Milo in spacesuit from Escape from Planet of the Apes. I'm not even a PotA fan but its a man-monkey! In a space suit! *cash register sound*

So of course once i get home i line em up with other toy monkeys. Genuinely surprised at the realization of my collection's low ape count, actually. Something i should rectify.


Monkey conga line!


Tower of simians, Jenga!


Unfortunately i couldn't find a way to incorporate Milo into the pile due to lack of articulation. Damn hipster toys.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Year's MOC: Kylo, Vader, Castle Grayskull, WWII Diorama

January continues my MOC binge from last year's holidays, check 'em:

KYLO REN


KYLO IS HAN'S SON AND KILLS HIM IN EPISODE 7!

Ahem, now that we've got that out of the way, Kylo turn's out to be a fun character to mess with (draw, action figure posing, fake tweeting, etc.) and that goes for doing a character MOC too. Key part here is the grill pieces, had originally wanted to use angular pieces for the hood, but these curved pieces work even better. Like how the saber turned out too - Kylo's saber in the movie has a rougher edge compared to typical smooth looking sabers from the previous movies.

DARTH VADER


Can't do Kylo without his senpai. DV's head was fun to work on, purposedly used some dark grey pieces for the base to accentuate the black shapes used for the facial features. Particular liked the exaggerated brow using the semi arch pieces - very Dark Helmet-ish. The profile doesn't quite work if you look straight from the front (the brow's too flared compared to the helmet's 'mullet' sides) but in 3 dimensional it looks okay. Also, he's missing his sloped lower jaw pieces - the head would've been too tall - so now the mouth grill borders look like a moustache.

MINI CASTLE GRAYSKULL


Been meaning to do this after the MOTU character builds i did some time back. Skulls and castles are fun to do in lego so it's like 2 great flavors in 1! Collecting MOTU back in the day, Castle Grayskull was highly coveted (even if the new modern one makes it look like ass). Might still wanna hunt 1 down eventually for keepsake one of these days...

WWII MINI DIORAMA 'PANZER RAID'


Again with the grill pieces! They're usually used horizontally to more accurately mimic tank tread tracks, but i thought i gave it a crack at micro scale. I still had tank tread portions from when i last built my mini sandcrawler. With a panzer tank in mind (at least in color scheme) i went with the SNOT approach, adding a building facade at the last minute to give the scene a town backdrop.