Extremely quick one tonight ahead of the big one tomorrow, how about a very short post on how certain features of G1 Transformers I've owned for almost 30 years have gone completely unnoticed by me through childhood and adulthood? Looking silly is a specialty of mine, so without further ado...
Monday, 31 March 2014
Saturday, 29 March 2014
When Alternators and Binaltech were huge, I bought as much original box artwork for the Alternators toy line as I could get my hands on. Why? For investment purposes? Hell no, have you seen the artwork for Alternators? Created by Transformers comic and toy industry legends Marcelo Matere, Alex Milne and Guido Guidi amongst others, they were the lovechild of the best official TF artists around and the best looking Transformers toys we'd had in years. If I had not bought them at the time when they were offered by the artists themselves at conventions, I might have lost the chance to get them forever. Having these pieces of unobscured, full-size history was the mightiest honour and pleasure an Alternators/Binaltech fan could experience. And I loved them, and displayed them fully.
Friday, 28 March 2014
Late night post means another Diaclone Quickie! No wacky colours this time, instead it's the Daddy, the predecessor to he who would be known the world over as Optimus Prime. This is the Japanese Takara Diaclone Car Robot No.17 Battle Convoy, the first ever official use of this now-famous toy mould. Released in Japan around August 1983 (which would put it after the Tokyo Toy Show of that year interestingly), I'm not sure it became quite the poster boy for Diaclone the way it did for Transformers, I think Powered Convoy (pre-TF Ultra Magnus) stole that thunder a bit by 1984. It is, however, an absolutely mighty piece of history and toy design that deserves every drop of praise one can afford.
Thursday, 27 March 2014
The gumball yellow and blue Spanish KO Beachcomber may have been first discovered by non-Spanish Transformers collectors 7 years previous, but over 10 years ago there was a different minibot bootleg mystery that was not resolved to our satisfaction. Dutch collector Argus had and sold a KO cream and brown (or so it appeared) Seaspray which was significantly remoulded, and at the time - and until recently for those outside Spain - its origin was never traced back to any range of toys or family of bootlegs.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Tuesday night in March means Ambassadors on the TFSource Blog! This week the crew of experts dissect the 3rd Party scene and select their representatives for TFC Toys, MMC, FansProject and iGear HERE. Companies like FansToys and Perfect Effect were omitted because the choice would have been blatantly obvious for each - Quakewave and Warden respectively - and the 4 companies chosen had significantly more product released to date. But, here now are my admittedly meagre choices for Ambassadors Part 4 which involved late European G1, ROTF, Takara's SCF PVC and TF Prime. You can remind yourself of contributors' choices HERE
Monday, 24 March 2014
The term "Browning" means something special to Transformers collectors. It's that beautifully elegant gunrobo from prehistory that - to most of us - was only available to the lucky children in Japan who first experienced it as part of Takara's Micro Change Series toy line, and then again as a Destron in the Takara exclusive Chōjin Masterforce series. Sure there were Kingdam bootlegs and such, but the real deal was just one of those rare toys we'd read about on the Internet. As it turns out, Browning was widely available - officially - in Europe back in the 1980s.
Sunday, 23 March 2014
As Season 2 of IDW's Transformers More Than Meets The Eye (MTMTE) comic is due to begin in April, and the Dark Cybertron crossover issues of MTMTE are finished, it's as a good a time as any to reflect on all of what writer James Roberts calls "Season 1" of his hugely popular run so far. I myself only came aboard in August 2013, so my MTMTE comic collecting is but 7 months old, and I quickly committed myself to collecting every cover of every issue, be they incentives, exclusives or limited releases. I likened it to my variant toy hunting in a recent article for TFSource, saying "the disease had jumped species". Here, then, are the 3 covers that I found most difficult to find and purchase from issues #1 through #22.
Saturday, 22 March 2014
Four minibots from Pablo, five variants altogether uncovered, and the most important detail - not all of them were Beachcombers. The images I was sent included another blue and yellow Beachcomber, the two red and yellow Beachcomber variants, and remarkably, an all-black Windcharger KO with unique stickers too. If there were at least 4 Beachcomber colour schemes, goodness only knew what was waiting to be uncovered for the bootleg Spanish Windcharger mould.
So I'd discovered that the blue and yellow KO Beachcomber I'd bought and sold from the Spanish seller was in fact the exact inverse of Ras's yellow and blue KO Beachcomber from the Mallorcan gumball. This newer variant came from Extremadura and was apparently found in a street market. Clearly, it was not a one-off bootleg and multiple variants were suddenly a possibility. I just didn't realise how many variants. I've spoken at length in this series of posts about discoveries, yet at every step I've suggested that the big news was just around the corner. Time to get serious now, and not just because many knowledgeable Spanish collectors and enthusiasts have been posting comments on the blog giving away the "Big Reveal" details ;)
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Quickie time again! Blackhood Bluestreak, Diaclone Anime Streak, second release Diaclone Car Robot No.7 Fairlady Z 280Z T-Bar Roof, you know the toy I'm referring to. This figure often has to share the limelight with (or rather relinquish it to) the Diaclone Blue Bluestreak. This early 1983 Diaclone release is exclusive to Japan and is the second ever release of the mould after the famous blue Fairlady.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014
To have new Transformers purchases arrive in "No Transformers March" required the answering of a few awkward questions at home, but the fact is these were bought in January and Celga only just got to a point with me that I could request and actually pay for shipping. Quite why one boxed Valkyrie and what I thought would be a tiny A5-sized poster couldn't be sent small packet I don't know. And then I saw the poster in-hand...
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
In the now standard Tuesday night fashion, Ambassadors Part 4 is live on TFSource Blog HERE, with excellent choices from our contributors for Euro exclusive Generation 1, TF Prime, SCF PVCs and ROTF. Don't you love Transformers acronyms? Part 3 last week (HERE) featured community bigwigs picking ambassadors for Japanese exclusive G1, Generation 1 1987 to 1990, Armada and Binaltech/Alternators. Here, then, are my choices for those lines.
Monday, 17 March 2014
Years passed, seven and a half to be precise, and the memory of the Mallorcan find faded into history. Nothing more was discovered or pursued by us regarding the gumball Beachcomber, no more were ever seen by us and it never made the headlines. In early 2014, though, I believed I had finally found another of those Spanish gumball Beachcombers, an opportunity to make up for not being the one to spot the original find in Mallorca, an opportunity for a proper souvenir from that holiday.
Sunday, 16 March 2014
Puerto Pollensa, the island of Mallorca, Spain 2006. A sunny afternoon, a beach-side souvenir shop, a gumball machine and a bootleg yellow and blue Transformers G1 minibot Beachcomber. Words cannot express the surprise we all felt (except Matt, a non-collector, this must have been his worst nightmare) at finding something so topical - as it was a period of much variant discovery - in the most unlikely of places. But how to get at it?
Saturday, 15 March 2014
Seven and a half years ago, in the summer of 2006, I went on holiday with a couple of friends to Mallorca, an island off the coast of Spain. It was to be a 2 week vacation in the sun, as far removed from daily life as possible. That included the people, the day job and even the hobbies. So imagine our surprise when one of the highlights of the holiday ended up being the discovery of a never-before-seen Transformers G1 variant. Sort of...
Friday, 14 March 2014
Something big, yet very small, but amazing...is coming. Seven years in the making and definitely more interesting than a Diaclone Mirage copyright variant or a slightly different cardboard prison. It's not too often that something G1-related comes up any more that hasn't already been seen, or heard of, by the community at large.
Thursday, 13 March 2014
There's obscure Diaclone, known-about but rarely-seen Diaclone, hyper-rare Diaclone, unjustifiably hyped and expensive Diaclone, and then there's the "Police Sunstreaker". Among Transformers collectors, unlike a number of Diaclone Car Robot variants that tend to evoke resentment due to inaccessibility, rarity, cost or just plain odd colours, the No.3 Car Robot Countach LP500S Patrol Car Type is famous. Famous for all the right reasons: It's beautiful, character-laden, can be had with just a little bit of an extra financial outlay than your standard Transformers rarity, pops up multiple times per year and is far enough removed from its Transformers successor that it ticks the exotic box. Quite frankly, it's one of the best Takara pre-Transformers ever released.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Ambassadors Part 3 has just gone live on TFSource Blog HERE with more terrific choices and justifications by a stellar group of contributors, people whose enthusiasm and knowledge of the hobby continues to inspire my own. They've made their choices on who best represents Japanese G1, G1 '87 to '90, Binaltech and Armada. This post, like last week's, will showcase my own picks for Ambassadors Part 2, which went live on TFSource last week, featuring Masterpiece, Generation 1 1984 to 1986 and Animated. I've skipped DOTM as I never bought any toys from that range.
Monday, 10 March 2014
Diaclone "Red Hoist" is the focus of tonight's Quickie, and Quickies are pretty much all you're gonna get this week thanks to work! This Diaclone Car Robot No.8 4WD Hilux Wrecker Type in red is, along with the "Yellow Trailbreaker" we saw yesterday, one of the most exotic original colours for the pre-Autobot cars. Released late 1982 to early 1983 in red, this Diaclone was also available in blue as a single-packed Car Robot or - more popularly - in the "Blue Hoist/Silver Skids" Wrecker and Honda Doubleset.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Another I-can't-make-an-article-out-of-this Quickie! Impossible not to think of nacho cheese, it's the Diaclone No.5 Car Robot Hilux 4WD in yellow, otherwise referred to as "Yellow Trailbreaker". One of the most exotic original colours for the pre-Trailbreaker mould, and one of the toughest to find. Released in Japan (and Japan only) circa August 1982, he was also available in blue and black as a Diaclone.
Saturday, 8 March 2014
If you're interested in time-honoured, well-known, much-loved vintage Generation 1 Transformers variants that seem to have been around longer than the hobby itself, you won't get much better than the Hasbro Canada late 1984 release of Dinobot Flamethrower Slag, or "Scories" as he was called on the Canadian packaging. Often considered cartoon-accurate (although he isn't completely), 'Red Slag' seems to become more popular as the years go by as folks take the opportunity to polish up certain corners of their near-complete G1 collections. Inevitably, its price has gone up too.
Friday, 7 March 2014
Welcome to the first of many 'Quickies', extremely short looks at various toys I've had the pleasure of owning over the last few years that are a little different or more interesting than the norm. Few pictures, few words, true to this blog's claim of sticking to non-lengthy non-articles. First up, it's the Japanese Diaclone "No.9 Honda City Turbo" in black - or to Transformers collectors - "Black Skids".
Thursday, 6 March 2014
If one is going to collect expensive, rare toys as a hobby, then one must accept that somewhere down the line certain things have to be sacrificed in order to continue collecting the high-end, obscure stuff, or one must switch to cheaper more accessible pursuits...or even cash in on the rare figures in one's collection and accept that other priorities take precedence at certain points in one's life.That's where I'm at, and here is a look at some of the special Transformers and Pre-Transformers items I've said goodbye to recently.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Taking photos for the Ambassadors articles on TFSource Blog recently, I had to dig deep into what collection I have left to put as many different Transformers from different lines together as I could. Doing this - especially transforming and posing them - reminded me just how amazing some figures are, why I've never thought about selling them amidst the variant G1 and Diaclone exodus, and just how little people speak about them in the Age Of Masterpiece And Third Party.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
This week sees Part 2 of the "Ambassadors" series of articles I am - or rather my friends are - writing for TFSource Blog on which toy they'd pick to represent an entire Transformers sub-line or category. This week's chapter covers Generation 1 1984 to 1986, Masterpiece (controversial!), Animated and DOTM. You can find that HERE and last week's Part 1 featuring Generation 2, Pre-Transformers, Car Robots and Classics HERE. I'm going to put my own choices for Ambassadors Part 1 in this post.
Monday, 3 March 2014
This time last year, 3rd Party Transformers were not on my radar at all. I saw them as a dirty little insect on the Transformers floor that needed squashing. Let's just say I've since been educated. As thrilled as I am with my foray into this offshoot of the hobby, now that the initial gloss has worn off some of those acquisitions and they've been 'used', I've noticed a number of issues and niggles with what I've got.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Like just about any other parent who has an interest in Transformers - be it collecting or reading comics, watching cartoons etc - I've introduced the hobby to my child as well, in this case my 2-year old daughter. Nearly all of it is aimed at older kids, but with supervision I've been confident she won't do herself - or the toys - any harm.
Although in the case of Masterpiece Smokescreen, I was happy to look the other way.
|Matsushiro painted-wing symbol variant G1 Jetfire|
What better way to launch a Transformers blog than with a G1 Jetfire? Since there doesn't have to be a theme or any real reason for my making posts here, it can be as basic and fundamentally linked to one of the best parts of a toy-collecting hobby as possible; the actual buying and receiving of new Transformers and toys!