Here is the FansToys FT-05 Soar from their Iron Dibots series, a Masterpiece-style Dinobot Swoop homage that is due to be released soon I hope. Here is the pictorial of robot mode pictures leading up to next Tuesday's full review and pictorial on TFSource blog. I have no embargo on posting images for this figure so I am free to share my photography in lieu of an actual full article for the time being. This beauty - and it is a beauty - arrived today after a bizarre detour across Europe and a hold up in DHL Hong Kong due to an accident. Dino mode pictures should be available tomorrow for posting, but for now I hope you can enjoy this utterly spectacularly magnificently excellent rendition of G1 Swoop by FT.
Monday, 29 September 2014
Sunday, 28 September 2014
In my former collecting life I had a lot of nice prototypes and test shots. They were from Generation 1, Generation 2, Alternators and reissues, pretty fantastic stuff and some of it completely unseen before and unreleased. I gave that up happily and concentrated on Diaclone. Now that I am buying modern lines again, I have slipped into old habits and decided to pay tribute to the best line of sub-deluxe Transformers I've seen for ages, the Animated Activators, by grabbing as many unpainted test shots as I can find. In this post you'll see Starscream, Bulkhead, Ratchet and Bumblebee. Of course I didn't find Lockdown, no, that would have been too convenient. But sod worrying about what I don't have, time to celebrate what I do!
My infatuation with bootleg Transformers Animated toys from China continues, and a shopping spree on Taobao has lead to a number of choice - and mostly utterly garbage- purchases, but what they all have is character, charm and comedy value. They were also all pretty damn cheap, well they were before internal postage, international shipping and agent fees. Then they were more than official figures. Great.
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Here's the dedicated Generations Drift post I promised. Drift as a character was first introduced by Shane McCarthy in IDW's All Hail Megatron #6 in 2008, drawn by celebrated TF artist Guido Guidi, and as you would expect of anything 'new' in the Transformers universe among the sea of established characters and relationships, it was met with mixed reactions. McCarthy makes no secret of the fact that Drift was modeled after ancient Samurai warriors and uses a "cool" Japanese drift car. His inception was due to McCarthy feeling that there was a gap in the Autobot lineup for rehabilitated Decepticons or bad guys who had seen the error of their ways, or simply switched sides. He felt that the IDW approach to Transformers meant that more grey areas existed between good and evil, and the creation of Drift was that perspective on Autobots vs Decepticons personified.
Officially. One. Of. The. Best. Repaints. In the history of repaints. And that is all it is, there is no fancy new head sculpt or re-modeled bodily or vehicular features, the Transformers Collector's Club Barricade of 2014 is a straight-up repaint of Beast Hunters Prowl, itself a retool of Beast Hunters Smokescreen. The Collector's Club re-imagined the figure as Barricade and I have rarely seen a mould re-purposed with such success. I wrote on the TFSource Blog a few weeks back Why Repaints were bought by collectors, and Barricade is the finest example of how some paint and re-purposing can elevate a great figure to an exceptional figure.
Sunday, 21 September 2014
Instead of a new arrivals post (which surely must be getting boring for everyone apart from me), I decided to take my newly arrived MOSC Animated Hasbro Blurr deluxe and make a dedicated post out of it. While this gives the game away a little bit in regards to my upcoming TFSource Blog article on Tuesday, I don't think it's any secret that Blurr is developing into my favourite Transformers Animated figure of all. I missed out on it when released and only discovered it through the enabling of fellow UK collectors. I couldn't be happier, I can't imagine a collection without this marvel.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
Hmmm, lots of things still in the post and long past their estimated arrival date. But let's focus on what did arrive, and both of them were wonderful- and neither of them things that would have remotely registered on my radar even 6 months ago, let alone a year ago. Both arrivals take me one step further towards the full variant and mould completion of the sculpts in question, but at least they're both excellent items in their own right instead of just helping to make the whole more complete.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
I'm warning you right now, if you haven't read IDW's Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #33, don't read this post as there are going to be spoilers of the kind that you will never forgive yourself for reading. Your curiosity simply cannot be allowed to triumph on this occasion. Plus they are just my own uneducated thoughts and feelings on the issue and the title in general of late, so you can find much more insightful analysis and theorising on the TFW or IDW forums. Last chance, leave now or be spoilt/bored.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
After buying every comic-related appearance of Shane McCarthy's brand new IDW Transformers character "Drift" in almost every cover variant available, it was about time I bought the toy! But that's for a different dedicated post, I also came into possession of my seemingly favourite thing in the world, more repaints.
Sunday, 14 September 2014
You know full well that things have gotten out of hand when one starts buying bizarre over-sized/under-sized/wacky coloured variant bootlegs of any and all Transformers of a particular series. That's where I'm at with TF Animated now, and here's the over-sized knockoff Activators Bumblebee from China. There are tonnes of Activators KOs, different coloured and even different sizes. I've gone on a slight Taobao spree buying KOAnimated figures that really made me laugh, but this one came from eBay, listed bizarrely under "Custom Class Bumblebee". It came bagged in a packet labelled simply "Toys".
You're looking at the original Alex Milne cover artwork used on IDW's Transformers More Than Meets The Eye issue #2 Cover A and Cover RI. This spectacular piece of artwork depicting Rodimus on the cover of just the second issue of the massively popular series has also been signed by the original artist Alex Milne himself and series writer James Roberts with one of my favourite Rodimus quotes from issue 17, "Result". I spent a number of months paying this one off and during that time I regularly questioned the sanity of the purchase considering it was in the significant hundreds. However, every time I re-read these issues from season 1 and seeing this art in the flesh, well those doubts went up in smoke like Hyperion and Polaris.
Saturday, 13 September 2014
FansToys rocked the world with FT-03 Quakewave, which at the time was widely accepted to be the best 3rd Party product available to collectors. Then they announced their range of Dinobot homages, the "Iron Dibots" series starting with FT-04 Scoria who would be Slag. Cartoon accuracy was chosen instead of toy accuracy and thus we had swathes of chrome and a red robot face to choose from over a silver face. Toy coloured Scoria will be out in due course. I reviewed Scoria in depth for TFSource Blog a couple of months back, but it still stands as my favourite acquisition of the whole year and sits closest to me on my home desk every day of the week since it arrived. Here's the pictorial using larger pictures than seen on the Source Article.
Thursday, 11 September 2014
For some reason packages are taking much longer to arrive, but the good thing is that whatever arrives allows me time to photograph properly with its mould mates. At the moment I am all about mould completion. This chapter on arrivals includes the Beast Hunters Smokescreen/Prowl deluxe mould, the Minicon Six Speed mould, FOC Data Discs and Animated Starscream.
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
This one almost came and went without a squeak, but I finally got it in front of the camera as it deserves, because frankly, it's probably the nicest of the Fairlady Masterpiece Transformers so far. MP-18S Silverstreak from the 2014 Tokyo Toy Show - or HE WHO IS NOT BLUE - was released in G1 (and GiG Trasformer) all silver colours. It was supposed to be intensely boring and a completely wasted release. As it turns out, it's the height of classy, utterly beautiful and when I saw the first reveals by designer Shogo Hasui on twitter it was insta-bought. Still the best masterpiece headsculpt too. Enjoy!
Sunday, 7 September 2014
Transformers Animated, as a big picture, has more going for it and more that stands out as brave, comprehensive, faithful, diverse and original than almost any other part of the Transformers history of toys, series or concepts. New characters, tried and trusted old characters, unique aesthetic and a cohesive thread of storylines and character development that permeate through the whole of the Animated universe - which of course incorporated virtually every previous TF universe into one anyway. That's to say nothing of the plethora of standout Transformers toys that the line gave birth to, toys that still stand up today against any deluxe, voyager or leader that Hasbro and Takara can produce. One of those toys and concepts that Animated gave us, that the fandom was crying out for, was a superb Arcee.
The Movie Human Alliance cars have been the absolute highlight of Hasbro and Takara Tomy's feature film robot offerings with items like Jazz, Barricade and Bumblebee rightfully considered to be Masterpiece quality toys. They are representative of everything that is right/wrong with the movies, depending on your persuasion. I enjoyed the movies, and the HA toys are some of my most treasured possessions. I thought - mistakenly - that the quality ended with Jazz, but since then I have discovered Human Alliance Skids and now Roadbuster. Roadbuster is one of the Wreckers introduced in Dark Of The Moon, based on Dale Earnhardt Jr's #88 Hendrick Motorsport Chevy Impala NASCAR sponsored by the National Guard. Leadfoot and Topspin were similarly weaponised official NASCAR vehicles, but only Leadfoot got a release alongside Roadbuster. Dino and AOE Lockdown never really stood a chance of being given the Human Alliance treatment. Why do the best things in the TF universe have such tragic omissions?
Friday, 5 September 2014
There is currently nothing more enjoyable and thrilling in the Transformers hobby for me than taking a blind chance on relatively recent toys I've never seen or owned from unfashionable lines at collector-clear-out prices, sent carefully to my by conscientious collectors and finding out that they are very good or even great. Having very nearly completed TF Animated, I'm in the process of discovering TF Prime, Beast Hunters and various ROTF/DOTM figures I missed. The Human Alliance Roadbuster you see above from DOTM just so happens to be one of those great undiscovered - or rather un-purchased - gems.
Here are a few pictures of the upcoming Hasbro Transformers Protectobots Emergency Response "Streetsmart", once upon a time known as "Streetwise", back when G1 Protectobots made some big fellow named Defensor. This toy will be released with a repaint of TF Prime Robots In Disguise Ratchet as "First Aid" and a repaint of Cyberverse Arcee as "Groove". Streetsmart himself is a repaint of the Beast Hunters Prowl mould - itself a later version of Beast Hunters Smokescreen. The set is believed to be due for release in mid-September 2014.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
A few months ago I was approached by Aendrel, a collector from Mexico, requesting that I provide some information about pre-production Transformers and prototypes for an interview to post on his blog. I'm usually asking others for interviews so it was a very strange experience trying to formulate answers in a way that would be informative and interesting for his readers. In fact, most of the time I think my answers consisted of "I don't know" or "I can't be sure" or "I can ask someone else"! Either way, Aendrel has now posted the interview on his excellent blog Under The Radar in Spanish, and has allowed me to share the original English language version of the interview here on Square One. Pictures are from my own archive and collection.