Robots/Monsters/Misadventure へんしん せんたい

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Overhaulin Cybertron

In 2005, Transformers Cybertron graced toy shelves with some pretty neat toys. Overhaul was in the initial shipments of the scout class and was a fast favorite of the line for me. Going with the Cyber Planet Key gimmick of the line, you'll notice that he's representing the Jungle Planet. The Jungle Planet was home to beast based Transformers and even though a jeep/SUV style vehicle would fit in that environment, Overhaul was a bit of a beastly bot on his own with claws, sharp teeth, and some distinct styling. Overhaul was effectively modeled after Wolverine.

Though that's not all to his Jungle Planet life. Overhaul was changed into Leobreaker, a lion based bot whom fit in among the Jungle Planet even more. You may notice his names don't exactly translate into each other. That's because Overhaul was originally planned to be Trailbreaker. Leo-Breaker, get it?
If you guessed the toy mold got a repaint, then you've been paying attention to the franchise for the past 35 years. Not too much long after Overhaul was released, a new Decepticon character using the mold was released named Brushguard. Brushguard was not just a cool blue version of the toy, he was also a botanist! He spends his time researching things like poisonous plant based toxins and how to use them in battle! He's actually working for money to spend on science fiction, what a nerd! Not to mention, Brushguard is actually Overhaul's cousin. Talk about an awkward Thanksgiving!
Later when the movie came out in summer of 2007, Transformers fans were treated with a DELUGE of toys! Target featured an exclusive line of basic and scout repaints in movie packaging. While that might sound boring to some of you, it was actually a really neat little line all to itself. The toys would have unique colors and bios expanding the universe of the movie past the handful of bots seen on screen. This lead to a new character using a familiar name-Warpath!

In an attractive red and black with light blue highlights, Warpath is easily my favorite version of the toy. Many of these off screen character types would pop up in movie themed comics where the characters would get into even more adventures. I personally really liked these comics. They weren't just more fiction in the universe, but usually really good too! Part of the fun of the first few movies was all the off screen characters. A mix of new molds and repaints, the toy line was really fun (depending on where you keep sticks on your body). It was so fun that it was easy to overlook the actual movie and focus solely on all the additional product and fiction.

These days the Overhaul mold doesn't get much attention (though Leobreaker's mold got used a million times), and that's a shame. It was a fun little toy that got reused in fun little ways. While I certainly enjoy things like Siege, it's hard not to back at times when Transformers was a little more inventive with it's lines. Something as simple as a repaint got a life of it's own, even if it was just in a few blurbs on the toys package, it was a good few blurbs!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Universal Monsters X Super 7


The mobile-first e-commerce content site will drop the first-ever exclusive TRANSFORMERS x Ghostbusters Mash-up MP-10G OPTIMUS PRIME ECTO-35 and tee on a one-day special programming
June 25, 2019 - NTWRK, the leading youth culture e-commerce and content platform, continues to bring the world’s best brands together with their latest celebration of TRANSFORMERS and Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary, and the release of the TRANSFORMERS x Ghostbusters Mash-up MP-10G OPTIMUS PRIME ECTO-35.

The platform that has brilliantly developed a new form of e-tail – selling products via bite-size video broadcasts and episodic content – will take viewers on a once in a lifetime tour of Ghostbusters Fan Fest before debuting the product for sale. Viewers will have an immersive experience meeting the cast and crew, speaking with the fans and reveling in the attractions of the event. The content culminates with a one-on-one interview with Ghostbusters original film actor, Ernie Hudson, and special appearances by Ghostbusters reboot Director, Paul Feig, and Dan Aykroyd, who co-wrote (with Harold Ramis) and starred in the original Ghostbusters films of the 1980s.

Worlds collide in this TRANSFORMERS-Ghostbusters mash-up pack as the iconic Ecto-1 deco from the 1984 Ghostbusters movie now dawns an iconic TRANSFORMERS robot – the MP-10G OPTIMUS PRIME ECTO-35 Edition! MP-10G OPTIMUS PRIME stands at 9.5 inches in robot mode and can convert to truck mode in 26 steps. The MP-10G OPTIMUS PRIME figure comes with a wearable PROTON PACK-inspired package. The Ecto-deco’d OPTIMUS PRIME trailer can also convert into an ECTO-BASE, including an ECTO MAINTENANCE DECK, ROLLER, GHOST TRAP and a SLIMER accessory.

The collaboration acts as the first ever partnership between TRANSFORMERS and Ghostbusters. NTWRK will be the first platform where viewers can buy the collaborative figure and exclusive NTWRK only tee to celebrate the 35th anniversary of both Ghostbusters and TRANSFORMERS. The episode will air Tuesday, June 25th at 6pm on all NTWRK platforms. Following the NTWRK debut, the figure will be available at the San Diego Comic-Con International.

Find full product information below:

Evangelion on Saturn

I'm having a slightly brain dead day. Despite having a lot of fun this past weekend at Rangerstop, I'm still just a little fried. Maybe it's from displacing my sleep schedule, I took a million naps Sunday. Or maybe I'm just tired in general. Fortunately I have a long holiday weekend coming soon and plan to burn off some of those dead brain cells and get some solid mental refreshment. So, while I'm planning to put out some much better posts throughout the week, in the meantime check this out. Thanks to Netflix, every bodies talking Evangelion and maybe we're all better for it. While I'm slowly working my way through the first batch of episodes, I'm certainly enjoying it again. Here's a set of Evangelion game commercials for the SEGA Saturn. I do love SEGA, don't I?


A young speedster with nerves of steel and technique to spare. Quick-thinking, clever and courageous, his size prevents him from presenting a real challenge on the track. He races out of a sense of duty to his mentor Brakedown, and he knows every bit of road on the Speed Planet like the back of his hand. It's his knowledge of the Great Race that gives Hot Shot the edge he needs.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Blaster Master Zero 2

I'm a little surprised this one snuck past me without noticing a few months ago. I've always enjoyed the Blaster Master games and really liked the reboot/remake Blaster Master Zero that came out a few years ago. I wish I would have known about this sooner or I would have bought it day one. Not sure how it got past me without knowing until now, though admittedly sometimes these things happen (adult life). Totally getting this ASAP and see it being my July 4th holiday weekend gaming fix. My mind is just blown by how good this looks!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Rangerstop Atlanta

Today I'll be at Rangerstop Atlanta 2019! I'll be adding a report of my day at the con later on this weekend (so check back here later), but be sure to check out my Instagram for more regular updates throughout the day!


I had left work early to get some sleep for the show and man and I'm glad I did! It's Sunday morning at 4:45am as I'm just now waking from a sleep coma to finally talk about the great time I had at Rangerstop. We headed out around 11am and with a quick stop at Racetrak for gas and after a breakfast of gas station pizza and Java Monster I was ready for the day! The con was only 30 minutes away, so we got there in no time.

The ticket booth was a bit of a bottle neck as the metal detector was right in front of registration. Next year I'm definitely buying ahead of time as it took a little longer to pay at the booth as opposed to the ones who had pre-paid. Though simple enough as the nice con employee rang up my card and gave us our passes (more on him later). After bag check we entered the show.

There were a few panels going on, but the ones I wanted  weren't until 2pm, so we had some time to kill. There wasn't as many toy dealers as I expected, maybe just a handful as there was more artists and various neat stuff for sale. I wasn't bothered though and honestly found that pretty pleasant. One guy did have a decent assortment of older toys of Power Rangers and other tokusatsu toys whose booth I enjoyed. He had some great boxed Ultraman stuff from the 60's that I took some time marveling at.

He also had a bunch of the action figure style, non-transforming Megazords that I've taken a shine to in more recent weeks. I was tempted on a few, but ultimately decided to pass as they're usually available much cheaper at Toylanta (got one for $7 this year). I did get some great bootleg  robot minifigures from him that were too good to pass up. A original Megazord in red with gold paint, a Live Robo that I thought was Leopardon at first, and a red guy whom I'm currently blanking on. He did have a great Red Baron sofubi in a glittery translucent red in it's original baggie that was awesome, but I ultimately passed on as Red Baron is just something I like too casually to spend more than a few dollars on.

There were a lot of Funko Pops at the show, which I don't mind as I like them a lot already. Looking at the wall of Pops one dealer had while the wife went through the tons of Disney pins at the booth (one of her hobbies) was a good time. There's a great Altered Beast Pop I have to get that one day.  I got a great poster of the Toei Spider-Man from an artist I had a small conversation with. Cool guy, he also had some good Amazon Riders prints available.

A dealer I had been looking forward to since seeing him on Instagram had really cool Ranger clothing. Hats, shirts, patches based on the costumes and such that looked really sharp. Of course being a sasquatch, I'm hesitant on buying clothes somewhere I can't return them or try on first, so I passed on shirts but did get a great Dino Charge drawstring backpack. I've been wanting one for my random errands and such, and this one was perfect!

The hotel had a lunch service available booth available by the DJ . We got some chicken tenders and ate them in line for the first Ranger panel of the day. We stayed parked in that room for the next two hours as the JDF panel followed immediately. The panel was full of Ranger actors doing a mix of q&a and a silly game based on the dating game where they'd pick another panelist based on a question. Who screwed up a scene the most or who was more likely to be late type of thing. It was fun, though just a touch hard to hear. The panel was outright upstaged by an Alpha 5 cosplayer who ran around for a minute before leaving.

The JDF panel was lively, with him starting off telling about his various projects before opening for Q&A. A guy with questionable mental stability abruptly sat next to us wearing an ill fitted red ranger Halloween costume. Poor guy was absolutely soaked with sweat and having some sort of conversation with himself that turned into an argument after awhile. When JDF entered the room, he was holding up a picture he had taken with JDF's daughter on his phone. He then got in line to show him. His gloves were pink from the red bleeding while sweating. That guy man...

During the first panel, Karan Ashley and Nakia Burrise (the 2nd and 3rd yellow Rangers) whom were among the convention organizers took donations for a con staff member who needed medical treatment. He turned out to be the guy I talked about earlier that sold us our tickets. We gladly donated some cash, that guy was super nice. They were keeping it quiet as they wanted to surprise him with the money at one of the parties later in the night. We didn't stay long past 5, so I'm sure he got a nice amount to help out with his medical costs. There was something to be said for having someone you've watched on TV say 'God bless you' as you put cash into a Ranger helmet. One of those experiences you only get at a con.

Speaking of those experiences, Catherine Sutherland (2nd pink Ranger) accidentally almost barged into my wife in the bathroom. My wife found her apology very cute. These things happen and when it's a Power Ranger... well that's funny. We walked around the dealers room a little more before calling it a day and leaving around 5:30. The con ran all weekend, but I was happy to do a day pass and will likely do one again next year. We then stopped at at Target and Five Below before going home and getting some much needed rest... meaning I passed out around 11pm.

Friday, June 21, 2019

In Armada we Thrust

Transformers Armada was a neat line. You had the Mini-Cons adding an extra level of collect-ability and fun to the tried and true Transformers theme. Mini-Cons were available in a variety of colors and would in turn interact with the larger figures in a number of ways. They could plug on and add to the appearance or unlock an action like pop out guns. Sometimes they'd mirror prior gimmicks like Headmasters. The larger figures in Armada were something special themselves. While taking a step back from the hyper articulation of the prior lines, they brought back the chunkiness of G1 and G2 style toys while often being pretty imaginative in the process.

Despite being a Decepticon jet named Thrust, Thrust was one of those pretty imaginative toys. Feeling more like a member of the Predators than a G1 Seeker, Thrust was a neat toy. An F-35 Lightening II in alt mode, he had a cool black deco with silver and green highlights. In the backside of the jet was a loading bay of sorts where his Mini-Con partner Inferno could dock in vehicle mode. This filled out the back more and added a little extra firepower. In robot mode Inferno would empower a spinning blade attack made from the jet wings. As normal, Thrust got a repaint down the line in the 'Powerlinx' named redeco series.
This is where things get funky, you see Powerlinx Thrust was initially shown to be red, but was released in a brown deco despite being red on all art and pictures. This was done late in the planning stages and caused a bit of confusion at the time. Regardless, the brown jet does look good and introduces blue robot parts into the mix creating a unique looking toy. Funnily enough a red version did get released, first in Europe and then as a USA Edition in Japan.
In red Thrust looked more like his G1 namesake while adding white robot parts where the brown had blue with a few small detail differences. At OTFCC 2004 I had an opportunity to purchase one of these red versions. I was invited along with a group of friends to a private room sale where a few cases were available. I don't remember why I declined, but I kinda of regret that now. It sure would have been neat to have, especially during the time when it was perceived as more myth than reality.
Hasbro wasn't done with the mold just yet, later in Universe (another line I sing the praises of) around early 2004 Walmart had a feature Transformers aisle. While later the large overstock from this aisle became a headache for fans (and probably the employees), it did include a number of exclusive items. One just happened to use the Thrust mold in a rather neat set.

Sunstorm took the mold packaged with a forest green/black version of the Street Action team of Mini-Cons and Inferno. I was quick to jump on this set (as with the other exclusives from the aisle), though many could be found years later marked down on clearance. However this was the last version of the toy, though Thrust did get an homage in Unite Warriors (Takara's version of Combiner Wars).

While you either loved or hated the toy (I was in the loved crowd if you haven't guessed), it got quite a bit of mileage in use. Thrust was heavily featured on the cartoon and has made recent appearances in comics like the Kre-O and Legends manga series (not to mention being in the original Armada comic). Sunstorm appeared in various BotCon/OTFCC fiction as well. You wouldn't have guessed the lasting appeal of Thrust at the time, but that's one of the things that time can do with things.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bootleg Robots from Parts Unknown

I'm mentally gearing up for Rangerstop this weekend. This morning before I went to sleep, I looked at various keshi and other mini figures and made a mental shopping list. Sure, I hope to score to score a SPD Megazord to make up for that one I never got around to buying or another few particular items, but smaller figures are a focal point for this show.

My first introduction to Rangers was late night viewings of Dynaman on USA. Here was this cool show that was like a combination of Voltron, Godzilla, and video games that was funny as hell. It didn't take me too long to notice the gumball machine toys I would get from the grocery store and other cheap rack toy robots and monsters looked familiar. I was a kid, I didn't know what a bootleg was, but I knew those cool figures in the gumball machines looked like some of these guys. Years later, Power Rangers started up and these guys looked like Dynaman! 

Around a year ago I talked about bootleg toys from gumball machines, thanks to those gumball machines and random cheap toy purchases I developed an affinity for smaller figures when it comes to Power Rangers. It wasn't until a little later when I started using the internet to get a full understanding of what these various toys were knock offs of. I had learned what Super Sentai was not long after Power Rangers came out thanks to an extremely informative TV Guide article (that's why they look like Dynaman!) already.

Unlike Transformers where I seemingly buy everything (with especial love for the little bots), I mainly buy smaller Power Ranger toys (outside of the occasional regular toy). That stems from my initial enjoyment of Power Rangers that came from little toys. Even when PR started up and other shows like it came around, I'd gear towards smaller toys of the characters. I'm literally chomping at the bit for the new Fisher Price Ranger toys and have the best time with Micro Morphers right now. Holy crap the level of anticipation for those blind bag Fisher Price Rangers I have is absolutely absurd. That absurdity is thanks to little toys of dubious legality in front of Kroger.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Devastating at Target

Whomever cleaned up this image at the TFWIKI is a hero
In Transformers, repaints are inevitable. You either deal with it or complain about it endlessly (and generally have your comments muted by everyone else in the thread). Another inevitability is a team of combining construction vehicles will be Devastator at some point. It's going to happen. Fortunately this isn't as boring as some make it out to be (unless a Hasbro rep is around). In the case of the Target exclusive Devastator, it actually resulted in a neat looking toy.

A repaint of the Build Team from Robots in Disguise/Car Robots, Devastator was available at Target in 2006 in two different boxes with two different team members in each. As with the Build Team, this version of the Constructions was a four member team and the three different limb components could be used in whatever configuration with the main body/head component staying the same. I normally used Hightower for the upper body/arms as I felt it made for a more bulky looking robot.

I had already been a fan of the Build Team, so buying this set was a no brainer back then. Not to mention the classic Devastator colors looked great on the toys. A few years earlier a yellow version had been released in a gift set exclusive to Walmart, which served as a G2 version for some fans. The toy hasn't been in any fiction unfortunately. Being the toy was sold in the Universe line, but clearly had the Robots in Disguise logo on the package lead to the 'Ask Vector Prime' page to describe the team as the Build Team from RID that had been reformatted into bad guys. For a short run series like the original RID, little story bits like that are really fun and neat.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

They call him the Streak

Some of the more cool toys that have come around in the history of Transformers are the non show characters. While this kind of character doesn't happen as much these days, there was a time when they were a good portion of a toy line. In Beast Machines there was some really good figures in the off camera character category. Maybe even better than the main cast folks. Spy Streak was one such toy.

A basic class Vehicon, Spy Streak was a sci fi jet that would look at home in a shoot 'em up video game or a tokusatsu production. Of course being that Vehicons were Cybertronian based vehicles in alt mode, this was a good fit for the theme. In robot mode he had a fun design that fit in with robot designs at the time, while having an alien looking appearance. Simply put, Spy Streak looked like he was from another planet.
The toy mold got used again in Robots in Disguise (the 2001 line) Nightcruz. Nightcruz was a great repaint with the jet parts being mostly black with white robot bits. Blue and yellow accents with dry brushing bringing out the jets tech detail made for a great looking toy. Released in a cool 3 pack with Scavenger and Mirage GT (also Beast Machines toy molds), the toy fit in with the look of the new molds of the line while helping to add more product to shelves.

The toy got used one more time a few years later in the original version of Transformers Universe as Fireflight. Now in an awesome white and blue-gray deco with red highlights, this is my favorite version of the toy. While I normally don't mind when a name gets reused, I do wish Fireflight had a more original name to make the figure more than just another repaint. Fireflight came packed with two Mini-Cons to put the toy in the deluxe price class making for a great little set of toys.

Fictionally non of these great toys got more than a background appearance in BotCon/OTFCC comics. During the 3H fan club, I submitted a bio for Fireflight to the magazine shortly before that clubs demise. At the time I had made him into a version of Randal from Clerks. Looking back now, that was terrible.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Godzilla Storms into Anime Matsuri this Weekend!

Godzilla Storms into Anime Matsuri this Weekend!

Anime Matsuri is an annual anime and Japanese culture convention based in Houston, Texas and will feature a ton of fun Godzilla activations for fans of all ages!

The events this weekend will include:
  • The 1st official pop-up of the Godzilla Store Tokyo, selling items normally not readily available in the US.  More info available here.
  • A Godzilla exhibition featuring the classic posters from every Godzilla movie and original artwork and story boards from the classic TOHO films
  • A Godzilla statue in the classic TOHO style
  • The Mechagodzilla suit use in the classic TOHO movies
  • EXCLUSIVE Godzilla Anime Matsuri T-Shirt
The Godzilla King of the Monsters Panel, Friday 8pm-9pm featuring motion capture actors from the film including:
o   TJ Storm (Godzilla)
o   Alan Maxson (King Ghidora - Right Head)
o   Jason Liles (King Ghidorah Center Head, Rodan)
o   Richard Dorton (King Ghidorah – Left Head)

Thanks to Rogers and Cowan for providing Zone Base with this news.