Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Universe Ramjet

Accept your fate and welcome the glorious chaos that awaits.

The being originally known as Ramjet has one goal and one goal only; to enact his master's every whim and desire. For millions of years he executed the Chaos Bringer's commands without question or fail. Traversing dimensions and realities with the simplest gesture; Ramjet's power was near limitless. With the Unicron singularity destroyed by the actions of Nexus Prime, Ramjet's sole reason for existence, securing Unicron's presence across all parts of the multiverse, is no more.

With his dimension hopping abilities and raw power also severely dampened by the effects of the Terminus Blade and Star Saber, Ramjet once again relies on his supersonic jet mode for attack and pursuit missions. He has a top speed of Mach 4. Emits powerful blasts from his body. Channels Unicron's dark energy through two Antrodemonus Swords hidden within his wings. Can lanuch MX-00 caliber missiles capable of collapsing a Transformers' spark upon direct impact. Due to the torturous pain he endured and his undying devotion to his master, Ramjet often suffers from fits of insanity.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Bugly

The greatest power is the power to control.

 A deadly warrior with pinpoint maneuverability in the air. Intense, mystical, and very cruel. Practices the deadly martial art of Circuit-Su, which channels energy into one powerful electric blast. Electro-stingers in helmet deliver 3,000 volt charges that paralyze on contact. Also armed with 2 photon rifles. Transforms to lasered, hover jet with built-in, forward-thrust turbo boosters. Also able to pilot outer shell by remote control.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TF Pachinko


Just because I was aware of the Transformers Pachinko machine, doesn't mean I knew of it's crazy anime style music video.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hello, we're The Halloween Horrorcons


You know how in late August stores start putting the back to school stuff on clearance and the Halloween stuff starts trickling in? That's pretty much what just happened to Zone Base. We're entering Halloween season and I'm pumped. It's my favorite time of year and this is something I've been wanting to do since launching the site in April.

So, while I'm pretty much going to write the same kind of posts, the weekly spotlight is going to highlight the more in season characters from here until Halloweens over. I'm sure I'll also write some more posts that are in the spirit, but they'll be regular posts as well. But hey, what's a Halloween Horrorcon?

Leatherhide 


In 2003, during the heyday of the Transformers Universe line (when it was a repaint line, before it was used for classics, not the game, it's confusing, I know) there was plans for a Walmart Halloween toy exclusive set called the Halloween Horrorcons.

Blackarachnia 

They were Beast Wars molds in Halloween-ish colors in two 2 packs. I really wanted them as well...duh, it's a combination of some of my favorite things. Unfortunately it was cancelled, which shouldn't be too surprising as Walmart had a lot of planned Universe exclusives, and a few were dropped for various poopy reasons.

Waspinator, this one actually got homaged in a BotCon set.

I've always wished they would have happened and become an annual thing. Sometimes I see a kinda spooky or outright monstery TF toy and picture them as one of the Halloween Horrorcons. That's the kind of thing us cool kids do.

Nightprowler 

So I guess that's kind of what I'm doing with the Spooky Spotlight posts, I'm assembling lost potential. I'm assembling Halloween Horrorcons that never were or to be. So from now, until the end of the season, every Wednesday morning, there's going to be a Spooky Spotlight. Highlighting the oooooky and spoooky and creeeeepy and... uh scary robots.

It's what us cool kids do.

Something's coming to Zone Base

Believe it or not, this is a clue

This is the second Under Constructicon post you've seen on Zone Base. First was the initial 'I'm making the site, it's coming' post. This is the 'first time annual thing coming' post.

So basically, this site is about enjoying Transformers. So, basically I'm about to do something fun that I plan (hope) to do each year and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I hope they will.

This is a super low key post, I'm not even going to post links to it all over social networking. It's just a little hint for those of you who follow the site regularly. I'm not even going to give it tags, so it's only going to show up in the archives without searching.

Like, it's happening this week and will go until the end of the season it's attached to.

I'm super excited.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Weekly Spotlight: Energon Rodimus

"I can take down any Decepticon without getting a scratch."

Rodimus is a wild, rebellious young Autobot and foreman to the Omnicons. His taste for danger is almost greater than his sense of style. He is an aggressive, headstrong young warrior who will not think twice about rushing into battle. Rodimus is able to powerlinx with his Autobot brother, Inferno. In vehicle mode, he becomes a semi-truck capable of great speeds. Rodimus' primary weapon is a powerful energon cannon, which he often uses to teach the Decepticons two very important battle maneuvers... run and hide

Monday, August 15, 2016

Disappointment Maximus

This could be us right now, but Toys R Us fumbled 

Like many others I was really looking forward to the new Titans Return Fortress Maximus. Several places had him for pre order and I placed mine at the one place I knew I could depend on. Good old Toys R Us, that monument from bikes to planes, to video games. I had rewards points waiting to cash in on this pretty big purchase to save money.

In fact the rewards program is one of the things that keeps me coming back. TRU has lots of sales and when combined with rewards points, you can really get some good deals.

So I placed my order with a really good discount and waited for shipping day to arrive. Star date: July 20th 2016. Which I thought was an odd date as other stores were already shipping, but hey, I got a good price. So, I can wait a few extra days.

The morning of the 20th came and I was excited. I actually had a not so great night at work and was looking forward to that shipping email when I got home. Sure enough in my inbox was a email form Toys R Us.

Imagine my disappointment when the order was delayed.

I was annoyed but just reassured myself it would come soon enough. A week later another email from TRU. Still delayed and if they couldn't fullfil the order within a month they'd give me a refund. Uh...

So, I called the customer service line. You see, not only had other stores gotten stock shipped, but the figure was showing up in Toys R Us stores. So why is there a problem shipping mine?

The representative told me that stores were stocked before pre orders were filled and they ran out of stock. They also couldn't use the ones in stores for pre orders and those who did would have to wait.

So in other words, customers who paid in advance got screwed.

Part of me feels robbed.

So here I am still waiting as I used my rewards points (the term is starting to feel ironic) to get a great price. Other have publicly told of canceling their pre orders and buying it either at TRU retail or from somewhere else. Because you know, getting screwed makes you want to take your business elsewhere. Personally I'm conflicted as my I got a great price, but also got a pinecone stuck up my behind for my rewards.

I could cancel my order, but hey... what about those points I earned? That's store credit. That's money, my money that I earned for being a loyal customer, that got taken and wouldn't be returned. Like I said, I feel robbed.

So I remember asking the customer service representative if I could get my order changed to store pickup in the case that I saw one at a local store. I was told it could be done easily if the occasion occurred. I decide to check the site to see if the figure if available for store pickup at any of the locations near me.

Theoretically I could run over to one first thing in the morning and problem solved. Ok, problem solved with bruised feelings and kinda not wanting to bother with the chain anymore. I mean, competition is literally at my fingertips. I could literally buy something from another store while in the bathroom.

Technology.

So I look at the page for Max and what do I see?

What's that?

Am I seeing things? I just saw a friend tweet his disappointment that his most recent call to customer service gave no new info on shipping dates. But right here on the order page, in plain easy to read and decipher wording.

Don't see any fine print 

So now I'm confused. Do I remain patient and brush it off? Do I go ahead with my plans to store pickup? I'm laying next to my wife in bed, writing this on my Samsung Galaxy tablet bought at Toys R Us (I clearly said I was a loyal customer). Her Samsung Galaxy tablet is on her nightstand, I bought that also at Toys R Us (think they'd want to loose a loyal customer?). In the next room over is my computer/toy room. It's stacked to the ceiling with Rubbermaid totes and boxes filled with Transformers. There's thousands of dollars paid out to Toys R Us sitting in that room.

From childhood to adulthood. Gifts to self purchase. I'm 38 and have literally been shopping there my entire life. When I was a kid, it was like Disneyland to me. I remember my last visit to the store I had been going to since I was a child. The same one that was my first. It was closed due to a newer location opening and I was there at the last day of it's operations to say goodbye to an old friend.

In the bathroom, on the back of the door was one of those clear plastic things used to hold paperwork. I assume it was for checklists at one time. I never once saw anything in it, except for a small piece of plastic. You know those plastic frames, the ones accessories are on in the toy boxes? It was the corner and side of one of those. I had seen that little plastic piece in that plastic thing since I was a child. I made a point to look at it one more time before leaving the store. I contemplated taking it. I had never touched it or anything before. Just saw it every time I had to use the bathroom in that store.

I thought about taking it as a reminder of that very special place that was going away.

Then common sense about handling an unwashed piece of plastic that had been in a public restroom for at least 20 years kicked in. At that point it was probably more fecal matter than plastic. So I took a picture.

That's how loyal I've been to Toys R Us. I took a keepsake of a piece of garbage in the bathroom. I've been a loyal customer for a very long time. There's been several times that I was the only person in the store aside from employees. So imagine how much something would have to burn me to consider never buying from them again.

That's this situation. I live in a world where I can order anything from anywhere in the blink of an eye. My only reason to continue my shopping there is personal satisfaction. So, when that's taken away in a manner that not a single person I've talked to can make sense of. In a situation that every person I've talked to about it has said, 'that's not right'. Why would I ever want to go back?

So, I've decided to call the customer service line in the morning. Perhaps the site was right and I'll get Fort Max here soon. Maybe they'll attempt to make it up to me with some sort of peace offering like a coupon or something as a matter of apology. Like when the cashier at McDonald's throws in an apple pie when I've had to wait a little longer than I should. Maybe I can do a store pickup and get taken care of in a manner that calms me down over the entire ordeal.

Or maybe, I'll cancel my pre order and take my business elsewhere.

Please don't force my hand Geoffrey.

*UPDATED THE NEXT MORNING* Spoke with the representative, the shipping date is a hard date and if there are any problems I can use the rewards points until they expire if I cancel. So, if it doesn't ship on the 22, I'm going to just get it in store. I was happy with my phone call and the representative was pleasant. So, I'm happy. My main beef was a mishandled situation and the fact that I would get screwed over the rewards program. It doesn't look that way now, so I'll just hope everything goes well from here out. This isn't the first time I've been unhappy with TRU, but each time I've came out ok. So, in one week, we'll see.

I still don't understand why they didn't fulfill orders first.

*UPDATED A WEEK LATER*


He shipped when they said he would and got here in two days. In fact the only reason I'm posting this the next morning is because he got here right before I left for work.

Thanks Geoffrey, I knew you could do it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Where it all began

Often, people tend to ask what got me into Transformers. My answer tends to confuse them, as it's always pretty simple.

"They came out."

It's pretty simple, really, but I guess it does need further explanation. You see, when I was a kid, Star Wars was everywhere. Literally everywhere. It was on our lunch boxes, school supplies, clothing, cereal, our everything. As one could expect, it flavored everything. The package art for video games sure did seem similar. Fantasy and sci fi entertainment was everywhere.

Robot toys were already on shelves, Shogun Warrior leftovers and random Japanese toys that found their way to store shelves. As Star Wars was winding down, these robot toys started appearing more heavily as well as robot cartoons started filling the airwaves.

One of my favorites, was a Saturday morning cartoon called "Mighty Orbots" that had the best music, the coolest robots, and just the funnest show. Voltron and Gobots were beginning to be a thing, and then it happened.

As more kids did back then, after school I had came in from playing and was watching my cartoons before dinner when this new robot toy commercial came on.


I was mesmerized. I was transfixed. I was glued to the screen. Who are these guys? Can I have them? The next day at school, I was in kindergarten and we had some sort of standardized testing going on. The teacher made us put up these paper barriers so nobody could see your work. When you were done with whatever section you were working on, you had to sit in silence until the teacher called for time to stop. I have always been a daydreamer, so it was no problem keeping myself occupied during that silent time.

I found myself fantasizing over those cool Transformers things I just saw on tv. I had imagined I found a box of them on the side of the road and had them all. For some reason, I remember thinking Thundercracker was the main character. Time went on, and as children do, I would get toys of all these new robots. There were plenty of cheap copycats, and bootlegs. Gobots and Convertors were much cheaper, so I ended up with a lot of those in particular. Being from a middle class blue collar family, Transformers were a little too expensive for a weekend allowance toy. But I still managed to get a real Transformer on occasion. 

One week, my brother and I had to stay the week at our Grandmothers house. My brother being 6 years older than me would often roam the neighborhood while I was pretty much at Grandmas playing with my Jeeper Creeper Gobot and reading issues of the all new Transformers comic that was starting to pop up while Gilligan's Island reruns were playing in the background.

One day, shortly before we had to go back home, my brother got me and made me go with him down the street. A kid who had gotten Optimus Prime had set him up in his garage and was basically showing him off to all the kids. 

I was already hooked, now I really needed more.

Before I knew it, the Transformers had a cartoon show that came on in my area in an afternoon block with GI JOE. Not to mention, another channel would show it on Sunday. Topping of off, Bozo the clown began showing episodes. I didn't have a chance, Transformers fast became my favorite cartoon. It was a good time for kids entertainment and I was fortunate to have such cartoons as Transformers, GI JOE, He-Man, Voltron, Robotech, M.A.S.K, Robotix, and so many more on tv regularly. While not from the most wealthy family, was fortunate enough to really delve into all my interests. I had a subscription to He-Man and GI-JOE magazine, an Atari (later NES). Tons of cool toys, and always had my nose in some monster book.

As I got older, Transformers went away (we had no clue it was just in America) for a few years. I still read my old comics over and over regularly. As middle school marched on, despite my best attempts to be cool and play sports, I slowly accepted that they just were not for me (though I did buy baseball cards for a while, turns out I liked collecting things). I was a regular reader of Fangoria, video game magazines, and other similar publications. In those days, they'd have several pages of random classifieds and ads for mail away stores. I often would send in a dollar to some of these ads to get on mailing lists.

Oh man, the random catalogs, newsletters, and homemade magazines (it took a few years to learn they were called fanzines) I would receive. Often I'd get great little books made from Xerox copies full of stories based on all sorts of cartoons and games (I also didn't know yet what fanfic was), including Transformers! This went on for a few years and before I knew it, Transformers G2 had started. Reruns of my precious cartoon came on in the morning before school and it was great. I'd occasionally get a G2 toy, usually from the local Goodwill that managed to get recent toys really often. New comics started back up and oh man, that was awesome. Of course now I was in high school and at my school peer pressure pretty much meant to keeping such interests secret.

Time went on, and I was a community college student, Beast Wars was going on, and I started using the Internet. First in my high school library, then my college library, but the minute I was able to use it at home, I was in heaven. For someone with my interests, I had a hard time meeting others who had similar interests. Now, I was in touch with people who liked Super Mario, liked watching old horror movies, liked cartoons, and hey... look at all these people who also like Transformers. Neat. I had a part time job at Office Max and before I knew it, the occasional toy purchase became regular purchases as now I had this thing called 'disposable income'. 

Turns out, I was a 'fan' and 'collected Transformers'.

I thought I just really liked them and bought toys.

*shrug*

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My personal Woodstock


It's hard to believe that this week is the 3 year anniversary of the best damn Transformers convention ever. Charticon was more than your standard fan convention, Charticon was an event that made every attendee family.

I'm not intending to take anything away from other convention organizers. Putting one together is a huge act of work that requires miracles and heart trauma. I've mentioned before how much OTFCC meant to me. I meant it. It's just, the bar was raised in August 2013 in Charlotte, NC.

It's literally the gold standard.

It's kind of hard to pinpoint what made it so special. I'd been to plenty of TF conventions before. It was like everyone involved was bubbling over with how much love and work they put into the weekend and it bled out onto all the attendees. Almost all of us at RFC made it and we spent the weekend having the time of our lives. My wife, who normally humor's these things, still calls back to it fondly.

We kind of had a follow up with TFCON Charlotte in 2015, and myself and others hoped it would signal the start of regular shows in the area. But a sadly, that wasn't the case. Charticon was a one time deal that's left it's fans wanting more ever since.

I promised them a tolberone if they brought it back and forgot to bring it at TFCON Charlotte.

It might be my fault we haven't had another.

Weekly Spotlight: Cryotech

Always know what your allies and enemies choose to ignore.

Cryotek is one of the most deadly and mysterious figures in the history of Cybertron's criminal underworld. Though he was once considered one of the planet's most gifted engineers, Cryotek became increasingly dissatisfied with the actions of the Predacon ruling class - leaders who he felt had too quickly abandoned the classical Decepticon philosophies of conquest and deceit. Relying on the more illicit opportunities available to a being of his considerable skills and intellect, Cryotek eventually became one of the most dangerous outlaws on Cybertron - one more than willing to apply his scientific talents to the less-than-noble pursuits of extortion, theft, and criminal mayhem. Cryotek's logical mind and pragmatic bent have made him an extremely successful gangster, one who approaches each new "business venture" with the discipline of a trained researcher. Nevertheless, Cryotek does find the time to take great pleasure in his work.

The ingenious malefactor behind the theft of the legendary Golden Disc and one of Megatron's earliest mentors, Cryotek was eventually betrayed by this former pupil as Megatron fled Cybertron to pursue his fortunes on prehistoric Earth. Upon Megatron's return, Cryotek struck up a bargain with his old student, willingly "assisting" Megatron with the elimination of his hated beast form - or at least those elements that Cryotek could most readily exploit! Unprepared for the painful metamorphosis involved in assuming Megatron's Transmetal II body, Cryotek was sent into temporary stasis lock, allowing his research and development operations to fall into Megatron's waiting hands. Left betrayed both by his former protégé and his own pursuit of power, Cryotek recovered only in time to see his empire - and Cybertron - fall completely to Megatron's sinister designs.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I had a cherry slushy

Setting the standard for future imagery.

It's super hard to believe that this week marks the 30th anniversary of Transformers the movie. Of course I'm 38 and the movie came out when I was in the 3rd grade. I still remember it pretty fondly, opening weekend, early Saturday afternoon. There we were. My mother took my older brother and I to see it.

We were super stoked, I got a large cherry slushy and just sipped it and watched wide eyed. It was amazing.

Like a rainbow in the dark

There was this kid that rode the same bus as we did to school that always had a Transformers toy with him, he was there. He had been there all day and seen every showing (lucky). Sometimes I wonder as an adult fan if I know him now. I don't remember his name, he most likely remembers my brother over me (they were in the same class). It'd be pretty funny if we've ran into each other online or at a con, and had no clue we saw the movie together back then.

TFTM was pretty much the most hardcore thing my entire childhood. No other cartoon move tie in ever featured the characters getting blown to bits to introduce new characters. Then there's Unicron, literally the most metal thing ever. Giant robot space Satan who eats planets. Even if someone doesn't like Transformers, they think Unicron is amazing.

Matrix Forever 

In college, I had blue t shirt with the classic movie poster printed on it. That bad boy and a zip up hoodie was pretty much what you could expect to see me in whenever I went anywhere. My Airwalks squeaking along as walked, making sure the hoodie was unzipped just enough to show that awesome art. I remember a stop at Dunkin Donuts with some friends ended up with my toasted bagel with cream cheese and vanilla frozen coffee was free because the clerk *really* liked it. I still have it, but decades of wear and washing have drawn it up some in size. Not to mention that weird bleaching deodorant can do to the underarms of t shirts is pretty unavoidable. It sits with some other older t shirts I wore with that same hoodie combo in my Transformers/computer room.

I guess this post doesn't really do much more than give me an excuse to post some memories. TFTM is in that same category as Star Wars for me. Certain movies and shows helped shape who I am. I can't always say that's been a high point for others, but for me, it's a point of pride. I'm happy with who I am, and can't imagine why I'd want to be anyone else.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bio-Genetic Morphing Process

I am the night.

Earlier today (or yesterday, depending on your sleep schedule), E-Hobby teased their upcoming Optimus Primal exclusive made from Titans Returns molds. It's a wonderful homage to the original bat Primal toy that was released in the introductory two pack with him and a Alligator Megatron.

That two pack has always held a special place in my fan heart. I just loved the toys and was always a little sad that they never really got a chance to shine.

The original story pitch for Beast Wars was a continuation of the original crew past G2, and the pack in comic was all that existed of that premise. Shortly after, the story went in a 'Next Generation' direction. Which ultimately was the better idea, but I always held onto that original idea and wondered how it would have been.

I've been a fast fan of the Titans Returns toys already. Not just as a Transformers toy line (I kinda like them), but on their own as well. Just a fantastic toy line that merges various toy things I dig and the fictional basis just keeps adding to my happiness.

I had made the comment on my podcast that this might be my favorite line since beast era, and while it may be super early to think that way. I can't help it, I'm just so swept up in that certain joy you get as a fan when something is hitting every note just right.

Man, I hope they do the Alligator Megatron too.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Minor or Major?

I kinda like it

So, picture this. It's just after midnight and I'm on my lunch break (night shifter). I'm just sitting here eating my salad and see that the TF5 Twitter account posted a look at the movie version of Hot Rod.

Without a doubt, it's not traditional G1 and is mostly dark colors. Now that the obvious is stated, I kinda like it.

I like the overall design and look. I've been wanting Hot Rod to be in the movies and have always considered his personality a good fit for movie universe characters.

*Shrug* I don't hate the movies. I'm looking forward to buying him at Walmart.

*HOURS LATER EDIT* I just realized he would make a perfect Rapido. I think I would loose my mind if they had Rapido in the movies.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Weekly Spotlight: Action Master Wheeljack

"Never do what your enemy expects you to do!"

Wheeljack built and currently drives the Turbo Racer, the most versatile ground/air attack vehicle ever made. In car mode, its energon-injected, liquid nitrogen-cooled engine accelerates the craft from 0 to 250 mph in just 3 seconds. Armed with Laser-strafer rifle and a rear-mounted cannon that fires shrapnel and incendiary projectiles. Car instantly converts into jet fighter with nose mounted proton missile launcher.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ok Wars, Combine

Angels, I have a mission for you.

After what seemed like forever, the Combiner Wars web series started today. I had been looking forward to it for awhile as it combines (no pun intended) two things I love. Transformers (I don't know if you realize that yet) and cartoons. So this morning after getting in from work, I downloaded the Go90 app (it's exclusive platform) and waited patiently for 10 minutes for the new episodes to show up. Then I went to bed.

When I woke up, the show had uploaded and I gave it a whirl (he's not in it, I don't think). The animation looked good on my 7 inch tablet, but the show left me wanting more, which is a self righteous want considering it's a five minute episode.

It's too early to tell if it's a good show or not. So far I think I like it. I hope more story gets worked in, and I hope the audio gets a little better (it seemed like it could have used a little more audio mixing to blend the voices in better). So far I have an introduction episode (which after four preludes, I feel like we should be done shaking hands) that's all action.

I really like Computron. I may be convinced to get his box set sooner than later if this goes on. I wish there was more to Menasor, but there's time for that I suppose. Windblade and her friend, I'd like more on her friend honestly (probably not getting that). So far for a 'mature' Transformers cartoon, it doesn't really seem that different from regular Transformers cartoons.

I'm sure as things go along and more episodes come out the show will even itself. That's the problem with most cartoons, you have to get past the first couple of episodes for the show to really get going. It's hard enough to be patient with that on a 30 minute show as is, a 5 minute show is a little rougher.

So far I think I like it, and I'm hoping I like it overall. The general consensus I've seen online is the same general all over the map that you can set your watch by. The Transformers fandom can never agree and there's always a variety of opinions (good, bad, self righteous, and just plain eye rolling). So as usual, I'm just going to follow my own instinct and try to enjoy it.

It kinda has me excited for what's to come and also wondering if the upcoming Prime Wars segments will also feature in a series. I'd *really* like to see this kind of thing continue.