Writing to be kept to a minimum. Too many Transformers arrived in early July. Loads of photographs, no captions. Animated, Animated, Animated and even a reissue and a TF Prime toy. It's been an amazing/atrocious couple of weeks, have been well and truly jettisoned from the wagon and reversed over repeatedly. So without further ado, here's the first avalanche...
Deluxe class Transformers Animated Cybertronian Optimus Prime, £7 from Masterforce.co.uk collected and paid for in person at Pub(e)Con last week. A terrific event, a magnificent toy. This is one of the best deluxe class toys I've ever owned. Optimus looks incredibly heroic in robot mode, very screen accurate in both modes and the Cybertronian vehicle mode manages to be futuristic and yet unmistakably Optimus, even my 2 year old daughter immediately recognised him for who he was. The transformation is so good, repeatable and the figure so posable, I'm genuinely impressed. At the time I remember being annoyed that a really good Animated Prime was not available in the first wave to complement the rest of the cast, but how wrong I was. My only disappointments are the somewhat crappy axe head that won't stay attached and the shoddy paint application here and there. I do absolutely love that huge translucent curved blue windscreen of his.
Japanese auction purchases both, two sublime items from the Takara Tomy Transformers Animated line: the black Optimus Prime voyager repaint and the Wingblade Optimus Prime featuring the partially clear voyager Optimus Prime toy and the Wingblade God Ginrai-style armour used later in the series. These were a revelation because not only do they make you go weak at the knees in person, such is their beauty, but I got them for less than £7 each, and the Wingblade is sealed! One was a Buy-It-Now for a ridiculously good price and one was mis-listed, not even mentioning the word "Animated". However, after internal and international shipping, tax, fees etc, they easily ran me £35 to £40 shipped each. Such is the way with Japanese proxy bidding services. I've bought and received so much recently, these remain un-transformed and un-removed from packaging.
The bloody fabulous, hideous, ridiculous but spectacular BotCon 2011 exclusive Toxitron, a repaint of Transformers Animated voyager class Optimus Prime, just like the two Japanese figures above. Disgusting in his beauty, I was totally knocked out when I received it in hand, a very lovely toy and an unforgettable paint scheme - fond memories for me as it reminds me of the Toxitron that was based on Laser prime displayed at Hasbro HQ in Rhode Island from the 2007 BotCon tour. This was bought off a great seller from Canada via the TFW 2005 forums, it worked out about £49 shipped. Worth every penny, stunning. Noticing a theme?
More Transformers Animated, more Optimus Prime, but will you just LOOK at these amazing sets? I have always been a complete sucker for a 2-pack of any description, and these deluxe class battle packs containing deluxe Earth mode Optimus vs Blackarachnia and Cybertronian Megatron vs Prowl contain some very very good Transformers Animated toys that can be hard to find sealed on their own for a good price. I sold both of my loose Blackarachnias because I knew this was coming, and now they look so freaking gorgeous I can't bring myself to open them, despite needing all four moulds in my collection! They are huge, and the box back is like a poster for crying out loud. £15 each from a fabulous TFW2005 UK thread member, can't complain, mustn't grumble.
Oh gawd, more Animated, more Optimus. I've had the carded Legends since I got the Roadbuster Ultra Magnus and co in June. The regular Legends Starscream I was handed yesterday by Paul "The Spacebridge" Hitchens at IMAX where we went to see AoE, and the clear Prowl and clear Starscream came from a loose Japanese lot also containing Takara Tomy versions of Animated Wreck Gar, Grimlock, Swoop, Snarl, voyager Bulkhead and other decent loose stuff like Activators Dirge and Skywarp. These Legends are beautiful, apparently completing these is going to kill me/cost me. I am in denial currently and quite against trying to complete them.
Transformers Animated Activators are unbelievably good, so posable, so enjoyable and really possible to display alongside the regular class figures. Dirge is a Takara version, never in the show and looking like he's had severe discolouration but he's mint and as he should be. Skywarp is a Japanese Family Mart store exclusive, so a complete bastard for those who wanted everything that Activators had to offer, but he came loose in the aforementioned Japanese lot and so worked out really well priced. The Thundercracker is a £1 shop bootleg given to me buy Dan Ghile at Pub(e)Con, and my goodness it's crap. Virtually no articulation, meaning that robot mode is a hilariously compromised thing. Feet don't move, arms and guns don't move, head doesn't move and the nosecone doesn't retract. Horrid, brilliant. MOSC Fireblast Grimlock is a very very good find, handed to me along with the Legends Starscream by Paul at IMAX yesterday, £15 sealed, bargain.
The white Soundwave Activator? Oh now we're talking. Unreleased production sample for Electromagnetic Activators Soundwave. Bought on Taobao for a grand total of like £25, and then I got bummed for £27 import/handling. I must remember to chase that up. It's a stunning figure, the perfect toy. Transformation is great and flip-action is the best since Bumblebee. The colours are striking and completely different to anything that was released for this mould, it's relatively rare but you don't have to go far to find one of these, and I was told there were hundreds of the samples floating around at Hasbro when it was meant to be released. An instant favourite I really had to wait and pay through the nose for.
Almost there now, another Animated toy, another Soundwave. This time it's the regular deluxe Animated Soundwave and Laserbeak, completely new and sealed. Grand total of £10.50 shipped, again another bargain for a sealed Animated toy. I wanted a perfect untouched one to make up for the one I sold a few years back, that had been store bought in Iceland and owned only by me. I needed to have that level of connection with this toy again, I didn't want a second hand one. I am correcting past mistakes as well as making new ones!
From France, bought 3 loose toys, Animated deluxe Swindle, Blurr and Activators Cliffjumper for exceptionally good price I thought - until I saw the shipping bill. Oh well. I have a Takara Swindle on the way but having now handled the Hasbro one - don't see how it could be better. What a terrific mould, an exceptionally good value deluxe and show accurate. He's freaking brilliant, surely the best Swindle ever? That's saying a lot considering how much I love BT Swindle. The Animated Blurr will go to be customised into something fun, and Activators Cliffjumper is as lovely as you'd expect. It uses the best Activators mould - Bumblebee's - and he has the most epic chin on a toy that I can recall, plus he's red. Superb, superb, superb.
What's going on here?! A Transformers Prime toy?? Yes, Paul also gave me a Prime Wheeljack to go with the Animated Fireblast Grimlock and Legends Screamer.This toy is - unbelievably - good. It's not unbelievable that it's good, no I mean I can't believe HOW good it is. It is a work of art and an engineering masterpiece for a deluxe class figure. I am assuming it's very show accurate, it's almost perfectly Lancia Stratos accurate, it's totally Wheeljack accurate even to the extent that it mimics the G1 toy's ape-like appearance. The transformation is hugely engaging and something I wanted to repeat and reverse over and over again. I'm so deeply impressed by this toy, it combines the style and soul of Animated Blurr and Generations Wheeljack to create something which can only be described as possibly the best Transformers deluxe toy I've seen in years.
Last on the list and really not least is the TRU exclusive reissue God Ginrai from Hasbro, AKA Powermaster Optimus Prime Apex Armour. Another Optimus Prime. It's God Ginrai with shorter smokestacks and longer missiles. I've had Powermaster Optimus Prime my whole life it seems, and my daughter now owns my childhood specimen and she loves it. Through her eyes I appreciate it even more for the incredible achievement in toy design that it is - albeit one of the biggest bricks in history. This is my first taste of the Takara version, God Ginrai - with die cast, proper cab windows, paint application, Godbomber + accessories etc.
Holy shit. Holy. Shit. So many years collecting, so much knowledge gained about vintage TFs, and yet somehow I managed to avoid this breathtaking figure for all that time. It wasn't until I held the cab in my hand on God Ginrai that I realised how many orders of magnitude better than the venerable PM Prime this toy was. The excellent ratcheted joints, the improved presentation, the feel of every moving part, the heft and quality, the appearance and that amazing Godbomber figure. This is the ultimate Transformers Optimus prime from the vintage era and I completely understand why pre-reissue, the original C-310 giftset would go for 4 figures. I'm completely blown away by God Ginrai, it's fucking amazing. Still a weapons-grade brick, though.
So there you have it, Optimus Prime month. The crazy part is I know how many more Optimus Primes are about to be delivered as well...this was absolutely not on the cards...
All the best