Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beast Wars 2 AutoJetter

My living room makes for a good backdrop, I guess.

Years ago at Charticon, I bought this awesome AutoJetter figure for a whopping $10. It was a great deal, I had been meaning to get one eventually and for that price, who could argue? I'm quite fond of the Autorollers from G2, and the fact that the two unused molds got released in Takara's Beast Wars II line had always made me happy.

Yes I know, he's not an animal in Beast Wars.

As you can tell from the picture, this is the Korean release, which I tend to prefer for their neat packaging. I don't know why I like a box with a tray better than a window box. I just do. What's neat is, the tray inside the box has a page from a Korean newspaper taped over the tray. For what reason, I don't know. Maybe it's just the way the kid stored his toys. Or perhaps the kids grandparents kept toys at their house and felt they needed to seal up the tray. Either way, my AutoJetter has a page of Korean newspaper taped to its tray and if that's not a reason to brag, then I don't know what is.

From 1999 even! That's such a special year, even Prince sang about it.

Once you open up the special Korean newspaper seal, you find AutoJetter and his parts just lying there like a lazy bum.

Just going to lay there all day?

What's neat about this toy is, it kinda transforms itself. Like all Autorollers, you just roll him along and he folds up into robot or jet mode. That's fun in the same way popping bubble wrap used to corner the market in. With a little switch in the back, you can lock him into a mode. That's handy, because if you don't, he gets floppy. And nobody has the time for that nonsense.

As you can expect, AutoJetter turns into a jet.

Another neat play gimmick is his missile firing wings. Each wing holds 3 missles, when you move the sliding lever, it fires the missles in order. It's pretty neat and even carries over to his robot mode.

You don't want him making finger guns at you.

In robot mode AutoJetter looks kinda like a knight. There's a dominating blue color that is hidden almost completely in jet mode. Personally I love this toy. When it comes to classic toy styling or silhouette, I vastly prefer the G2 visual style. It's just got this character to it that's firmly rooted in it's time and isn't often duplicated.

AutoJetter, like all Autorollers is all toy. Which is something great considering he was made for small children to play with. I like toys better than fancy shelf pieces. A great toy is just more impressive to me and AutoJetter is both impressive and a great toy.

Also, mine is sealed in a Korean newspaper, so I have no choice but to think mine is special. Because he is.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Tripredacus Agent

Deception is the nemesis of detection.

His outer appearance resembles that of a Maximal, but within beats the fuel pump of a devious espionage agent! A former saboteur, this agent adopted several aliases while involved with the Beast Wars. As an assassin, he works best when operating solo. His irradiated spark, which was salvaged by the Vok, allows him to cloak his energy signature. Carries a low-radiation proton bomb launcher, with laser targeting. His only weakness is sensitivity to bright light.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Titans Return Blaster

No way, two can play!

I've been looking forward to getting this toy upon first learning of it last fall. Blaster is one of those special characters that doesn't always get a toy released. So when a really nice one comes along, I'm getting it.

Don't stand so close to the speakers, or you'll get Tinnitus. Then you'll be a Tinnitus Master.

Blaster turns into a boom box for the first time since his original toy. Though since cassettes are no longer a thing, his tapes now turn into media players and Blaster is one of those speaker things you plug your phone into. Though they still insert like a cassette, which isn't exactly how those things work. Though really, it's not a big deal and I appreciate them trying to work that old tape gimmick in.

Hasbro built this city on rock and roll.

Like most large Titans Return toys, Blaster also has a base mode. It's a pretty successful base mode and I like it quite a bit. It almost looks like a stage at a crazy concert. While Blaster doesn't come with any 'tapes', he comes with a non transforming little brick that fits in his tape door that doubles as a cannon for his base mode. Honestly it's his leg parts that transform into speakers and platforms in the base mode that give me the my only gripe with this toy. They're basically boxes that get folded around differently for each mode and it's a bit fiddly. But that's really my only complaint and it's a really small one.


His Titanmaster Twincast actually looks like Blaster in his robot mode, which is a neat feature though I wish he was named Billy instead. Blaster is a wonderful toy and a great example of what's good in Titans Return. When this line eventually ends, I'm going to be super sad.

Ok, let's go help troubled youth breakdance for pocket change.

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime

Prime, you gotta get your head on straight.

As I've talked about before, my absolute favorite Transformers toy is the wonderful Powermaster Optimus Prime. Love it. So, last fall when the Titans Return version was announced, you know I was salivating. Instead of pre ordering him, I decided to wait for him to arrive at retail here in my area. I vastly prefer buying a toy in a physical store. Not for any crazy reasons, I just don't get that same joy from waiting for a toy to show up in the mail that I do upon seeing it sitting there on the shelf. Not to mention my recent bad luck with pre orders (though Groove did come in a month early).

I'm still getting likes for this picture on Facebook.

So after buying him Friday morning, I finally got the time to open him up and just live in this toys majesty. Man, I spent a good few hours just looking at him stand on my TV stand. He's freaking awesome.

He could totally kick your ass.

PMOP is a heavy retool/reshell of the Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus mold. He shares the transformation scheme and a few parts. Outside of that, he almost looks like a different engineering job. This isn't really a problem as he can hold his guns better than UM, though the trailer transformation still isn't my favorite thing to do. Probably the worst leftover from UM is the lower legs tend to push against each other, which I can look over, but don't enjoy.

Apex can also fit into the cab, buy hey look at him standing up there like he's Teenwolf

In robot and truck modes, PMOP looks amazing. It's a wonderful update of design I truly love. They incorporated elements of his Apex Armor into his chest, which coincides with his Titanmaster being named Apex, though Apex looks like Hi-Q/Ginrai in robot mode. In head mode, he kinda looks like Orion Pax. That's a super nice touch. The Japanese version is indeed Ginrai and the face of the head looks more traditional. That Titanmaster is allegedly coming out here as a basic Titanmaster toy. I may or may not substitute it for Apex depending on however I feel upon getting it.

His base mode is a base mode. It doesn't look very remotely similar to the original toys base mode, but I can overlook that. The original kinda looked like a playhouse for kids. This one kinda looks like a robot folded up into squares that smaller toys can technically function with, which is 50% of base modes on TF toys that are not city bots. It gets a pass because it can link up with other Titans Return base modes to form a larger city. That and the while PMOP thing gets me all glossy eyed. DON'T YOU TALK BAD ABOUT HIM! I LOVE HIM AND HE LOVES ME.

I kinda feel like I missed a step.

In all I'm very, very, very happy with him. There's a million Optimus Prime toys released a year, but releases of my favorite version of him don't come around very often. When it did happen and also happens to be part of my favorite TF line in a long time, I feel a special kind of high. Sometimes when your a fan of something, you get this special kind of excited for things that can be very hard to describe. That's what releasing a PMOP in TR does for me, but times a 100. Ok, I'm being modest, it's a larger number.

If only I had a tiny Tommy Kennedy to stand on those pegs so Optimus can tell him about the touch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Dark Crumplezone

With dark power coursing through his circuitry, his might in battle is nearly unmatched, but Dark Crumplezone is just as dumb as ever. Being dead gave him a mean streak a mile wide, and getting put back together by the otherworldly power of Galvatron gave him the weaponry he needed. What he can't smash through, he knocks down, and what he can't knock down, he pulverizes with his forward plasma ejector cannons. He's too dumb to be a real threat to the Autobots, but Galvatron is content to just set him loose on the battlefield and see what he can blast before the Autobots shut him down.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Bomb-Burst

The greater the foe, the sweeter his fuel!

A vicious, vile automated vampire! Enjoys swooping down on unsuspecting Autobots and using his serrated metallic fangs to drain the fuel from his victims. Specially-textured outer shell causes rust rash on contact. Blinded by bright sunlight. The ultimate terror in darkness. Without shell, transforms into a vertical take-off and landing hover jet with dual lasers. Within shell, armed with corrosive slime shooter and armor-piercing battle axe!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

You're not supposed to like them

More than meets the... hell is that?

Picture this, if you will, what if Hasbro made Animorphs toys? What if they made a transforming toy line based on Animorphs? Oh hey, doesn't Hasbro already have a toy line like that? What if they put the Transformers logo on the packaging and stocked them with the Beast Wars toys?

Well, they did.

Hasbro put the Transformers logo on Animorphs toys to basically help sell them. Beast Wars was still a powerhouse on the store shelves and another animal based Transformers toyline had to sell like hotcakes right? The toys were stocked with the BW toys regardless of the actual lack of relation.

It landed with a dull thud.

The toys just didn't sell for any number of reasons. Within the TF fandom, they were regarded poorly and called every negative thing one could imagine. Personally I wasn't sold either and just focused on the new Transmetal 2 toys arriving on shelves.

So, it didn't take long for them to get marked down for low clearance prices. Which is pretty much where I came in. Being a broke community college student, the idea of a $3 TF was too tempting to pass up.

So I started buying them.

I knew going in that these were not my beloved BW toys. I knew they were abominations and I was supposed to feel ashamed of myself for buying them. I kept it secret. My shame in giving these bastards a home was deep. Ok, maybe not to deep.

Turns out, they were really good toys.

As time went on, the clearance supply dried out (never got that Tobias hawk, and still kicking myself for passing on the T-Rex Combiner) and my nights of $3 action figure fun was over. I proudly stood my Animorphs next to my Beast Warriors and took up for the dark horse in the TF section.

Luck would have it that Hasbro found a way to release some unused Animorphs molds in Beast Wars, as the new Mutants sub line. The new figures transformed from one animal to another! The human kibble was remolded into robot kibble. What resulted was a short lived and controversial Transformers toy line.

Of course I loved them.

I loved the Mutants so much, I held onto hope that the line would continue and maybe even get animated. Of course I was dreaming an impossible dream and the Mutants left as quickly as they arrived.

During the original Universe line, rumor had it that the Animorphs molds were to be used as Pretenders (that could of been awesome) and the Mutants Soundwave mold was planned to get a use in the canceled Walmart Halloween Horrorcon toys.

I know I'm alone in my enjoyment of a failed Transformers toyline. Or practically alone, but I don't care. I had a really fun time with the toys when they were out. Not everyone can say that, or would be willing to give them a chance. But it gives me a chance to be hipster over something.

Ok, that was reaching.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Transmetal 2 Sonar

The dangerous cloning experiments carried out by Megatron have created another powerful ally for the heroic Maximals: Sonar. Super-acute senses provide matchless reconnaissance abilities, while bio-cyber elements allow unmatched strength and mobility. When combined with a fiery, almost uncontrollable aggression, Sonar makes a dangerous enemy and somewhat unpredictable ally. Much to his chagrin, Megatron has unintentionally created the finest early-warning system to have ever existed- the Maximal known as Sonar.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The God Bomber Gambit

I just adore a good cross section.

I've mentioned before how much I love Powermaster Optimus Prime. It's no mystery, and Robert Stack isn't going to narrate a reenactment. He might say 'open dammit', but that's non negotiable.

But one thing that took me completely by surprise was the whole Ginrai thing.

You see, in Japan, PMOP was another character named Ginrai. When he combined with his trailer, he became Super Ginrai. When I first learned of this in the mid 90's thanks to the internet becoming a part of my life, my mind was blown. But what really got me was God Bomber. Ginrai's little buddy that would also combine with him to form God Ginrai. I quickly accepted it and even learned to love it as part of my PMOP fandom. But the name always stuck out. I mean, without any prior knowledge, what mental image would a name like God Bomber bring?

This wasn't what popped in your mind, was it?

So later when the God Ginrai gift set was reissued, I was quick to jump on it. Then later when PMOP was reissued in the US, it was just a repackaged God Ginrai (of course I jumped for it too). Funnily enough, they renamed God Bomber as Apex Bomber. Apex Bomber became the Apex Armor for PMOP. Which felt like a better name to me.

When I hear the name God Bomber, I think some giant dude. Not a plucky little box guy. Apex Bomber is much more fitting. Actually, Apex really works. I bet his friends just call him that.

The Apex Bomber name has stuck around and been used occasionally. Seeing as Ginrai eventually became Victory Leo in Japanese TF fiction, I can't help but to wonder. What if Victory Leo got released over here? Would he still be called Victory Leo or something different? Would he be called Apex Lion?


Looks like a problem with his timing belt.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Burning Something

Yuki/Koji looks like he saw the ring video.

Jump back a little farther back in time than it feels like and picture the year 2000. There I was, a broke community college student. Living in my first place, a duplex shared with my best friend since childhood. It was late night into the early morning.

I was sitting in our kitchen, my laptop ran to the phone line, looking at all the cool stuff for Car Robots while listening to the newest episode of WCW Thunder I had taped while at work.

Beast Machines had recently started in America, but in Japan, they got this new show that was a return to vehicle Transformers. I was interested, it looked super cool. All the toys were just out of my reach, as I was hardly able to afford the occasional regular retail TF release. Let alone import toys from another country.

It wasn't but a year later that I was watching episodes of the show subbed on VHS tapes my roommate/friend (different apartment, different friend) would bring me from his part time comic shop job. News of the show and toys getting a US release was starting to filter out and I was pretty excited for the chance to finally get them.

Few months later, there I am waking up early to watch the show on Fox Kids on Saturday mornings. A few episodes in, 911 happened and ruled out certain episodes to be shown. I still woke up every Saturday morning to watch each episode. Then before long, just before the last episodes of the series would air, the Fox Kids affiliate in my area would turn into a Spanish channel and there I was without the end of the show.


Few years later, I acquired a not exactly official DVD release of the series from Rockman666 and finished watching the show (pre YouTube). Little more time and history seemed to try and forget the show, but occasionally reference the toys. For some reason, fate had decided to wipe this show from history, or try to anyway.

Several years later, I'm laying in bed next to my wife, writing a post about how I liked that show on my phablet with 10% battery left. I've seen the standard amount of internet hipsters poop on the show. I've also seen the back of my eye lids roll as I wonder how they magically hate things people like. I don't know, I don't care. That was a lot of fun for me back then.

I liked that show.