Friday, January 27, 2017

I don't dread the Dreads.

Who you calling an ugly mofo?

I have a theory about the Transformers live action movies. It's that the odd numbered ones are the better ones. Seeing as part 5 is coming out this summer, I'll get to put that theory to test again. As news has began leaking it looks like a revisit from one of my favorite parts of Dark of the Moon just might be showing back up in The Lost Knight.

My love for you is like a truck...

Toy leaks have shown a new toy named Berserker, whom looks an awful lot like Crankcase from DOTM. Crankcase was part of a Deception team called the Dreads and I was quite fond of them. In DOTM, they featured in a great action sequence including a great chase and fight scene. Generic bad guys based on them were all over DOTM tie in video games. Personally, I was a big fan of the iPad DOTM game where all the generics were different colored Dreads.

They were just this awesome team of beastly Decepticons who specialized in hunting down enemies. DOTM is 5 years old and it playing somewhere on cable everyday, so I'll risk the spoilers. They all die in the movie, or at least the ones we saw did. Perhaps Berserker is another member of the team who wasn't on that mission or possibly a newer member who wasn't around for that mission. Or maybe he just happens to look an awful lot like the Dreads.

It's possible that this is just a toy meant to homage the older Dreads characters and possibly won't even be in the movie. Who knows just yet? But seeing the pictures of him online gives me hope for some more Dreads in the future. I'd dig that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: OTFCC 2003 Sunstreaker

They can't beat the best.
The complete egotist, Sunstreaker thinks he is the most beautiful masterpiece of Cybertronian design ever built. Loves his sleek styling, slightly contemptuous of his fellow Autobot race cars (particularly his twin Sideswipe). His vanity is matched by a fiercely competitive nature and relentless drive to prove himself the best in the battlefield. In robot mode, the double barreled multi-purpose launcher mounted on his right arm fire dual laser-guided missiles. Launcher also doubles as a melee weapon which can create twin fiery sabers. Shoulder mounted electron-pulse weapons ports are capable of emitting sustained bursts of high-energy electron pulses at 300 bursts/sec.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Combiner Force Combiners?

Of all the places for something to turn up.

Recently art for new combiner teams for Transformers Robots In Disguise popped up. On a bus, but still, there it is. Recently I've gotten the Crash Combiners from the new Combiner Force expression and I'm loving them. They're simple, but all toy. So seeing news of possible traditional combiners in Combiner Force, it's got me wondering.

As the art shows, the teams have 4 members. So, they're not traditional. It looks like the team would have a body bot, two arm bots, and one leg bot? Other art floating around of the Bumblebee combiner shows Grimlock as the legs. So, obviously he splits to make a pair of legs. So it's easy to deduce that the leg bots would be a bit bigger than the others.

I wonder if the teams would be Crash Combiners style toys. The existing Crash Combiners are really basic robots with three modes. A vehicle, a robot, and a combiner form. A team could be released in a box set and if they're Crash Combiners, they could be reasonably cheap. Though, I do feel like Crash Combiners should be less expensive. As is, a two pack costs about $15 at Walmart. So a box set could be pretty pricey for the simple toys inside.

I keep saying I'd love to see individual Crash Combiners released blind box style, and I would. In crazy colors and crazy characters. However, a combiner team in blind box packaging would also be something neat. Each series could be a different team. Maybe even an alternate colors version.

Crap, I'd love that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: B'Boom

A guerrilla warfare tactical expert, B'Boom is one of the fiercest and most unpredictable of the Maximals. Though hard to control and often driven by a temporary fury that sends him speeding up and down the trees, his focus while in battle is easily apparent by the savage fire in his eyes. Dexterous, brave and clever, B'Boom is fiercest while in mega artillery attack mode, a state in which his arsenal is as fully loaded and functional as a battle emplacement. His favorite weapon, a launcher hidden within his mouth, deploys pulse missiles that detonate but do not burn-leaving his best weapon, the wilderness, unharmed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Robot Masters Wreckerhook

A soldier of many mysteries, he has lost his memory of the past, and there is no recorded data on him. A serious 'bot, he goes ahead and takes care of those repairs his teammates would rather not do. Once he gets a weapon in his hand, he's like a different person. No one can physically approach him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Power Rangers blind bag series 1

Mega Consrtux has released a line of Power Rangers building brick toys that are just fabulous. Before, as Mega Bloks, they released similar lines for the Power Rangers Samurai and Megaforce series. I enjoyed the blind bag mini figures from those lines, though doing a series based on the classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series is a solid way to sell me on your product.

While I'm still on the fence about the building sets (I may get one or two), I am definitely all over the blind bags. In my first sighting earlier today at Toys R Us, I googled up the id codes and got the complete set. I'm hopeful the following series will fill out and complete the cast. In fact I may get a few more Putties to make a sizable patrol. Hopefully future series will also have Z Putties and Super Putties.

The figures are pretty decent in their simple sculpts. I've done my best not to compare them to my beloved Imaginext Power Rangers (now those I plan to complete, just holding off on the rest of the Zords until I move this summer. They are huge. The entire line is wonderful). Probably because of their small size and charming nature.

There are some notable things to point out. The Red Ranger is translucent. He's like this on the package, so I don't think I got a special version. I'd assume this is because a solid Red Ranger is included in a few of the building sets. That and judging by the codes, he was one of the more rare figures. So I figure the translucent plastic is the reward for him being harder to find. The shelf pack I was going through was pretty full and mine was the only red one I found. The Putty Patroller and Green Ranger seem to be the most common. Which works for army building a massive Putty Patrol if you want. I'll probably grab two more. Three figures is the usually case in troop building packs and works for me as a rule to go by.

Green Ranger's dragon dagger seems to be a re-use of some other weapon mold. In fact, all of the weapons aside from Zedd's staff look like they could have been from another line. Mega Bloks has made plenty of fantasy themed sets, so I would imagine these weapon molds could be from those. Still, I posed Green Ranger like he was playing it as a flute. Somewhere the Dragonzord is responding I'm sure. The Pink Ranger's bow is almost bigger than her. It's a solid piece that she can hold, though it isn't exact. The tip is molded like it's on fire, which matches up to my mold re-use theory. Pink Ranger and Lord Zed seem to be the middle ground as far as difficulty in finding goes. There was just a couple in the shelf box.

Speaking of Lord Zedd, he's a little silly. He doesn't have much detail and kinda looks like someone wearing one of those zip up character hoodies. His plastic is a darker red and looks a bit like one of those chocolate covered cherry M&Ms that they sell. His staff is great though. White Ranger, I figure, is either equal to Pink and Zedd, or just a little harder to get than Red. I only found the one I got, so I can't speak factually. The included checklist doesn't specify which ones are harder to find than others. The White Ranger comes with a rough estimate of his tiger scimitar, once again possible from another mold. I still posed him holding the sword upside down so he could consult with Saba.

Like all Mega Bloks mini figures, the figures come with stands, which is extremely helpful. You can put them all over the place posed for battle or maybe posed for success. I suppose the Putty could be on his way to apply for a job. I hope at Panda Express. They never seem to have enough help when I go in.

Turns out my kitchen has good lighting.
Below is the list of codes I used when I found mine, allegedly there is another set of codes used on some bags, I have no clue, these are what worked for me. Feel free to copy them to a little note file on your phone so you don't have to play a guessing game when buying the figures. Unless you like that. That's fine, but if you want to use the codes they're on the back on the lower left corner in a black ink.

A17106ES - White Ranger

A18106ES - Lord Zed

A19106ES - Pink Ranger

A20106ES - Green Ranger

A21106ES - Red Ranger

A22106ES - Putty

Monday, January 9, 2017

RID Blastwave

He's uh... cooking
Blastwave is an unapologetic repaint of the upcoming Bludgeon toy in the Robots in Disguise toyline. For some reason he was released first, making not a lot of sense. Though Blastwave IS a very good toy. So it stands to reason Bludgeon will be too. In fact, Blastwave/Bludgeon is a retool of the Megatronus toy from last year. Seeing as Megatronus was a good toy, it stands to reason the retooling should also be.

Blastwave transforms into an H tank with double barrel cannons. It's a solid alt mode, though I do not enjoy transforming a bit. It's not hard or anything, just doesn't work out in a pleasing way. I find myself wanting to be done as soon as possible. However as a tank, he's good enough. It's not a very remarkable tank, but not a bad one either.

In robot mode, Blastwave is a green and blue Bludgeon. There's no hiding that. If his face was painted another color it could have maybe been more disctinct. As is, Blastwave still looks really good. He's a solid robot and has a fair amount of articulation. If I had any complaint, his chest ornamentation can block shoulder movement a little. That and it's pretty east to knock parts loose from place. I found myself accidentally knocking his head loose while transforming as well as his chest. His tank cannons can be knocked out pretty eaily too. I'm not sure if that's just my toy or if all of the figures have the same issue.

In all, Blastwave is a very good figure. He just needs a little tightening up in a few places.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Treadshot

A gun is only as good as the one who holds it!
When someone needs shooting, he's the one the Decepticons call to pull the trigger! Treadshot can outdraw and outshoot any robot this side of the galaxy. And his partner Catgut, is more than a willing weapon. This snarling, ferocious, 4-legged beast eagerly turns into a powerful, fusion-powered particle blaster with pulse demagnetizer attachment. Like Treadshot, Catgut gets a blast out of his job.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Building Voltron Legendary Defender

I don't bother chasing mice around...

When the Netflix series Voltron Legendary Defender started up, I didn't watch it for like a month. Because I didn't have Netflix at the time. Though, instead of upgrading our cable package, we decided to restart a subscription. So about a month later, I became a fast fan of the new Voltron series. I've always loved Voltron and was hoping the new show would be better than the previous attempts at a new Voltron show were and it was. As soon as it was announced that new toys were coming, I promised myself to get some.

So, right before Christmas, the toys started popping up in stores and with some gift card money, I got them all. Well, all that I really wanted. There are various role play toys. There are action figures (I'm a little tempted to get those), and then there is the Legendary Lions that merge to form Voltron (those are the ones I got). The lions are pretty large. I'd say about 5-6 inches long. They are nice and hefty with a good deal of articulation. The package says 20 points, but I didn't count. I was pleased enough.

I'm waiting for the black lion to arrive from a pre order (sometime this week), so this post is really about the limb robots. Each one comes with it's Paladin. The Paladin is molded in a tiny cockpit vehicle that stores easily in the lions chest. The cockpit is a tiny hovercraft vehicle and each one is surprisingly different. I expected and wouldn't blame Playmates to just repaint the same mold 5 times. Each also has a firing weapon that can be mounted on the lions back. They're pretty neat and add to each lions appearance individually. Unfortunately, as I don't have the black lion yet, I can't tell if they intergrade with Voltron in any way. The red and green lion each came with parts of Voltron's sword, which I found clever as the blazing sword is formed in the hands formed by red and green.

If I have any complaints about the lions, it's that the toes and tails are made from a really soft plastic that mushes easily. Also, the cuff that forms yellow lions ankle in leg mode rubs the paint on the nose of the yellow lion a bit. Outside of that, I don't really have any complaints. The four are really pleasant and hefty toys. Each one is individually different and look like they do on the cartoon. I'm really looking forward to getting the black lion and completing Voltron. Considering how large and chunky these four are, I can't wait to get ahold of the much larger centerpiece.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

If I ran the new club

I got this from Party City. 

The year just ended a few hours ago. With it ended the The Official Transformers Collector's Club. Without going on for too long and risking explaining it to someone who already knows, Hasbro has taken the official club and convention license from Fun Publications and everything ended at 12:00am New Year's Day.

So we already know Hasbro intends to roll Transformers and all their other properties into a mega con called Hascon. They did say there is a new fan club coming soon. Personally, I'm more interested in the fan club than the con. Of course being so, I'm really anxious waiting for developments. While waiting for developments, I've pretty much dreamed up how I'd run the new fan club if I was in charge. I'll never be and I'll never get to be more than a member. None the less, I thought of what I'd do and thought it would probably be a good idea to write it all down.

1. There would be a free membership model.

When I would pick up a TF toy and see the TFCC logo on the package, I often wondered how many kids begged their parents to let them join only to feel left out. The old club catered directly to older fans and honestly went too obscure for some members. Sometimes odd fiction or articles would require research for the more casual fan to understand. The free model would be of service to them.

In my mind the club would be web site based and once a member signed in, they would have access to what their membership package would allow.

The free membership would have Transformers news, things like character bios and art, access to a club store, and maybe a schedule of events. This would be adequate for children and more casual fans and not make them feel like they didn't belong.

2. There would be a pay model.

In addition to the basic membership, there would be a paid premium membership. This would give them access to paid benefits that would be of more interest to the more hardcore fan who'd crave more in-depth articles. Interviews with celebrities within the Transformers world. Exclusive fiction such as prose, comics, and character bios. There would be a discount on the club store and exclusive merchandise.

I would offer a membership incentive figure, but it would be a smaller toy to help keep costs down. I would try to keep membership exclusives fairly priced and not have more than a few items a year as to not overwhelm fans who would want to be a completist on club figures. I would try to have a yearly shirt available for sale as well as a printed club annual containing the various articles and fiction from the members section. Because while print isn't as dead as some would lead you to believe, it's not for everyone anymore. I'd imagine some folks would like to get the annual each year, while others wouldn't.

3. Be ran separately from the convention.

Many felt that the existing club was just peripheral to BotCon. While it certainly wouldn't hurt to be involved with the official convention in some way, it would certainly operate independently. This would keep some members from feeling left out of some aspects of the club and allow it to feel more like a fan club in it's own right.

4. Be more community focused.

Fans have get togethers. There are several conventions. There are non Transformers conventions that offer Transformers content. Fans make art. They make custom toys. They get tattoos. They do more than buy. That being said, there would be a community section on the club site where members can showcase their activities. There might even be articles about going to the conventions and stuff. Because it's a club.

Obviously being official, the club wouldn't highlight unofficial products and toys that are sold. However wouldn't make a point to outright damn them. That way they wouldn't ostracize the fans who do participate in those unofficial items and create an unnecessary division. If any fan made a point to poo poo the club for not highlighting the unofficial stuff, then they'd basically just be ignored and not engaged in redundant arguments. An official entity should behave in such ways. While on that subject, personal beliefs would also not be included in the club as much as possible. Because fans are there because they like Transformers and that's all it should be there for.

In all honesty, that's all I got. It's just me fleshing out a daydream and there's more to running an official club than just speculation. There's various legalities and all sorts of operational issues that I haven't ever outright dealt with. I may have a clue, but not all the clues. Anyone can lift a nose towards former license holders, but it takes a certain amount of self righteousness to assume based on your own opinion. So, I can just daydream.

But I suppose there's no harm in that.