Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Ironfist

A brilliantly designed piece of firepower is a work of art to me.
A most distinguished weaponry mastermind. Strong, silent, and likes his action fast and furious. Easily eats up every type of ground, no matter how rough. As a vehicle, attacks with recoil-action, visible tracer missile launcher. In robot form this provides cover as a free-standing launcher weapon.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Monster Planet of Awesome

Hold onto your seats.
I probably say the words Universal Studios about 20 times an hour. It's an amazing theme park that features some amazing experiences. Recently when I went, I rode the newly opened Skull Island: Reign of Kong ride and was both amazed and blown away by the mixture of 4D screen simulation and classic dark ride elements. It really took you into the experience of having an adventure on Skull Island and being caught between Kong and some dinosaurs. The entire ride was part of the experience, even the line was part of the attraction. That's some of the magic that only Universal Studios can bring to life. You are literally plopped out of reality and dropped into the movie each ride is based on.

So what if they made a Godzilla ride? Well, they do have an attraction at Universal Studios Japan...

As part of Universal Studios Japan's knack on making cool attractions based on various anime and video games, currently they have a 4D movie experience where you get to ride out a Godzilla attack in the new (and wonderful) Shin Godzilla setting. It's pretty awesome and I'd love to see it make an appearance at the Florida resort. Though, real talk, that's way too off the beaten path for a mainstream audience at a US theme park. So if anything, it would have to be based on the Legendary version of Godzilla. Which I wouldn't complain about. That would actually be somewhat amazing as there's already instances of Monsterverse inside the resort. Skull Island is based on the 2005 Peter Jackson King Kong. But that IS King Kong in some form. There's a Jurassic Park Island as well, which isn't technically Monsterverse, but Legendary is behind the Jurassic World series and that's pretty damn close. So, you can squint and just accept it like I do. I mean, in Jurassic World, they had a shopping area that looked ALOT like City Walk. Just humor me and imagine Universal Studios changing their tagline to 'Run for your life like you mean it!'

So as I find myself imagining the possible scenario for a USF Godzilla attraction, I find myself  thinking it would be perfect to retrofit the Shrek attraction as a 4D experience with Godzilla. It's not far from the Transformers ride, so I wouldn't have to walk far to hop from one to another (it's my daydream after all). Not to mention Monsters Café is nearby and naturally matches up with the theme on it's own (and it's really good food too). The theater could have all those seat shaking moments, blasts of water, heat, lights, and smells to go with the movie. All while the façade could be right out of Monster Island. It would be rad. Ideally, I'd love a simulator ride or a hybrid ride like Skull Island. But I'm thinking within the confines of the park already and going with the rumor that the Shrek attraction will close soon (the one in Hollywood will soon after all).

He just needs a pink bow.
Now here's where I really start reaching. You see there's a Sanrio store at Universal Studios. That's Hello Kitty and her pals. Well... Hello Kitty is a Godzilla character. As in, in the early 90's there was a Godzilla simulator ride at the Sanrio theme park in japan. Part of the ride film featured Hello Kitty as an in universe character.

The clip of Hello Kitty is edited out of the ride footage online
So, work with me here. Hello Kitty store... Godzilla attraction... get a hamburger at Monsters Café... ride Transformers. They could even sell the Hello Kitty Transformers figures because ...

Don't look at me like that.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

You see, he kicks.

While the cartoon at times felt like a fever dream, I absolutely loved Energon in comics and on tv. In fact I was a big fan of the Unicron Trilogy as a whole. Just like any incarnation of Transformers (past, present, future, whatever), it had it's detractors (surprise, surprise). Personally I had a ball with it. 

Following the events of Armada, Energon was a jump forward into the future. Alpha Quintesson was utilizing his huge Terrorcon army led by Scorponok to take all the energy they could (by force!) to revive Unicron (whose corpse they were floating around in). Megatron gets revived and brings his Deceptions into the fray (because there wasn't enough going on already). Optimus Prime and the Autobots were left with the only choice they ever have, go save the day! But this time with combination powers giving them a much needed power boost in this far out space opera cartoon.

It was insane.

The toys were super neat. The Autobots from deluxe sized and up could almost all combine with each other in some way or another. The Deceptions from deluxe up  mostly had an attack mode gimmick following in the idea that they were much more dangerous this time. The basic class of each faction had weapons that were essentially a building toy with parts for creating your own weapons. It was a super modular themed toyline that was fun to play around with.

I still remember waiting after the new product panel at OTFCC 03 for the toys to arrive on shelves. Armada had finished and it's last figures were still on shelves with the first incarnation of Universe. Christmas shopping season had rolled around and as usual, during the rushed restocking, the new Energon figures found themselves on shelves just before Christmas day. I had just gotten off work and was grabbing the new toys at my local Walmart.

I had my lanyard with work id badge on still with a BotCon Europe t-shirt on. That's specific, because that shirt had an autobot symbol on the left side of the front and the art on the back. Being winter, I had a jacket on. So here I was holding new toy boxes and reading the back when various parents started asking me about the various Transformers toys. Being a nice person, I tried to answer all their questions as polite as I could. After a bit I took my toys and left as soon as I got an opening from all the questions.

As I walked through the aisles towards checkout, I began seriously wondering about the onslaught of questions that just happened. Taking a shortcut through the clothing area I got a glimpse of myself in a mirror. Jacket, cargo pants, lanyard with badge, kinda nice looking t-shirt with obvious branding...

They thought I was a product rep.

Good thing I was in a good mood. I can only imagine what could have happened if I was grumpy or something. That potentially could have been hilarious.

Energon and it's Japanese counterpart Superlink was around during the 20th anniversary of Transformers. Which at the time seemed unreal, can you imagine it's really been 20 years (mind you, we're approaching the 35 anniversary pretty soon)? At the time Masterpiece first raised it's head with a showcase figure intended to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Transformers (which in turn became a successful line in it's own right). However as not only Transformers was celebrating it's 20th anniversary, another related line was celebrating it's 30th.

Microman, which several of it's molds were used for Transformers in those early years was turning 30 in 2004. In Japan, a special figure pack was released to commerate the occasion. A Superlink gift set featuring a deluxe sized Optimus Prime (with wonderful chrome) and a Microman version of Kicker (the human companion of the Autobots at the time) in his trademark armor, also with wonderful chrome).

The two pack was a nice set and while I wanted it, I had learned that the smaller Optimus was to come in a set with the smaller Japanese version of Megatron in a Toys R Us exclusive gift set (sans wonderful chrome). The Kicker was also released as a stand alone Transformers edition Microman (also without wonderful chrome).  So I bought the standard Kicker and held off for the TRU set. Figuring I'd save some money and also get that Megatron.

In hindsight I should have got that set, just for the special edition-ness (and wonderful chrome). A few years prior, I had really gotten into Microman/Micronauts and was in heaven with the newer (at the time) Microman toys as well as the Palisades recreation Micronauts toys. The Microman Kicker wasn't released as an American version, though Hasbro did release a Kicker using GI JOE engineering and giving him a scale version of the High Wire Mini-Con to ride. Which was a cool toy in it's own right.

By the time Energon/Superlink reached it's end, I was ready for the next series : Cybertron/Galaxy Force. It had been almost 2 years and time for something new. The comic had ended early due to the bankruptcy of its publisher and while I did enjoy the cartoon, the tail end was very hard to enjoy (that's a nice way of putting it). Looking back though, I can only remember all the fun had with the series and how much as a whole I enjoyed it. The Unicron Trilogy as a whole was a very good time for me in Transformers, with each component being great in it's own right and own way. It's something I'll always have enjoyed while it was going on and look back fondly on despite how much hate it gets from others​.

(with wonderful chrome)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Vroom

Don't take a chance if you don't stand a chance.
A drag racing daredevil. Learned his trade blowing up enemy fuel depots in the Asphalt Wars on Cybertron. Armed with two exterior 3000 rounds-per-minute ion pulse guns and magnetic repeller rifle. Also wields mind-altering illusionizer that distorts optic impulses. Transforms to rocket car made of rubber-coated armor that deflects and ricochets enemy shell fragments. Outer shell cycle equipped with oil slick and smokescreen ejection mechanisms, retractable tire spikes, hydraulic jumpers in suspension system, and rocket boosters in rear that provide short-term flight capabilities. Combines with rocket car to form super cycle equipped with digital fuel gauges and micronized turbo injectors.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Greasepit

An engine is only as powerful as the fuel that runs it.

A small-minded swindler. Siphons gas from the cars of humans to supply his Decepticon comrades. In battle Mode, his station is armed with ionic cannons, rail-launched incendiary missiles and circuit-scrambling jammers. Tower-mounted sonic disruptor emits pressurized sound waves that can crush any target.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tie In Masters: Revenge of the Product Placement

As the new Transformers movie release draws near, merchandising mania starts running wild. Personally, it's my favorite part of a new TF movie. There's TF imagery on just about everything and all sorts of TF editions of products. It's like having BotCon in my local Walgreens. Seeing as there is to be a new TF movie every year for the foreseeable future, I'm certainly going to enjoy the onslaught of licensed products available.

The BBQ Double Stackticon from Burger King.

While Revenge of the Fallen wasn't the highest praised of the Transformers movies, it's licensed tie ins will forever hold a special place in my heart. Most specifically it's junk food items. Each movie season since I hope for a return of the items released that fateful summer of 2009 with Optimus and company proudly on the packaging. Pictured above is the wonderful BBQ Double Stackticon from Burger King. Burger King had kids meal toys for movies 1-3 as is, but for part 2 they included a wonderful bacon double cheeseburger with bbq sauce that was pretty low priced. I must have eaten enough to fill Unicron and still want more. I know, it sounds so simple, but it's usually the simple things I'd rather have on any menu. Tie that in with Transformers (which, I kinda like or something) and I'm buying it every time. There's literally a Burger King just a few blocks from my workplace, if they brought that back, I'd probably have it every night for lunch. Admittedly that's probably best for my own health... but... shut up.

These were wonderful.
I usually don't eat a lot of M&M's. Not that I have anything immediately against them, I just don't. If I do eat M&M's, it usually the peanut butter kind, because I'm pretty crazy for peanut butter and chocolate candy. So when TF2 came out and M&M's had a tie in flavor that was based on the kind I eat normally already, I was sold. Turns out these were crazy good. So good they went into normal M&M packaging after the Transformers deal went out. Essentially it was just a regular peanut butter M&M with a touch of strawberry flavor (get it, it was a pb&j candy). There was some sort of mail way promotion with M&M's to get an Optimus Prime candy dispenser. I should have taken advantage of that, I certainly bought enough of the candy. I shouldn't have brought that up. I've already lost enough sleep over it. I kinda hate myself for it.

This is the Lexus of candy bars.
The most important tie in ever was, the Bumblebee Snickers bar. This was the luxury cruise, the first class, the biggest diamond ring of a candy bar ever. While by all looks it was just a Snickers bar with the nougat dyed yellow... it most certainly was not just that. Food coloring used in commercial food products has a flavoring that is just wonderful. Next time you're in the baked goods aisle, buy one of those crazy color cake mixes and frosting. It's just so much better tasting than the yellow cake and vanilla frosting that it is allegedly based on. You'll see.

So there was this wonderful Snickers bar with Bumblebee proudly on the label. As I mentioned just now, it tasted better, sweeter and just high five awesome. I stockpiled these. Even as movie hype winded down, I found stock at discount stores and piled them up. I cherished them and mourned them when they were all gone. Each and every movie season that has come and gone since 2009 I've hoped for it's return, only to buy a regular Snickers and inflict my disappointment upon it. It's just not the same.

I'm just hoping that Bumblebee solo movie can give me hope. Because I'm going to hope anyway.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Weekly Spotlight: Optimus Prime's Armored Convoy

Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.

Philosopher, scholar, soldier, leader -- Optimus Prime is all this and more. To peace-loving beings across the galaxy, he is the living symbol of freedom. A true beacon of hope that shines against the forces of darkness. To his followers, Optimus Prime represents a bottomless well from which they draw courage and strength. And to the evil Decepticons, he is the hero in the universe who can shatter their dreams of conquest. He drives the Armored Convoy, a trailer truck with communications, fueling and offensive capabilities. It divides into an interceptor shuttle and fortified battle headquarters equipped with a multitude of defense weaponry, including heat-seeking ballistic buzz bombs, a long-range photon cannon, rapid-fire disintegration laser and double-barreled pom-pom cannons.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Throwback Thursday- Botcon 1995 Pre Reg

Oh, they're doing it again? I can't miss it again this year!

                             BOTCON '95             

The Second Annual Transformers Convention             
Dayton Convention Center, Dayton, Ohio
Saturday and Sunday, August 5 & 6, 1995
Some planned events include:
- A special Convention Exclusive Transformer figure available only to preregistrants
- A laser light show synchronized to the soundtrack of Transformers the Movie
- A presentation by Hasbro executives on upcoming plans for the toy line,
  including a question-and-answer session
- An art display and contest with prizes awarded in color and black & white
  categories, as well as an art auction
- A display room featuring private collections of Transformer-related
- Continuous videos, including the Japanese episodes and the Movie
- Dealer tables for the buying, selling, and trading of Transformers and
  Transformer-related items
- Presentations by the officers of the fan clubs and club media producersPrices:Non-Dealers:
     Preregistrants $25 for whole weekend, $15 for single day (Sat. or Sun.)
          (Preregistration includes the Convention Exclusive Transformer)
     For non-preregistrants, admission at the door is $5 per day.Dealers:
     $80 per table for whole weekend; $45 per table for single day (Sat. or
       (Price includes admission for dealer and one helper, and the
          Convention Exclusive Transformer)
Hotel Costs:Stouffer Renaissance Dayton Hotel is connected directly to the Dayton
Convention Center.
$64 per night, single or double room (up to 4 people per room), plus 12.5% tax
(=$8 in tax per night).  To reserve rooms, contact Stouffer Renaissance Dayton
Hotel at:
          Fifth & Jefferson Streets
          Dayton, OH 45402
          phone: (513) 224-0800 (call collect)
Remember that you must make hotel reservations separately (not through the
convention organizers) by *July 14, 1995*.  Be sure to say you're coming for
BotCon '95 in order to get the reduced room rate.
Other things to see in and around Dayton:Wright Patterson Air Force Museum with IMAX theater; International Women's Air
& Space Museum; Dayton Art Institute; Dayton Museum of Natural History;
National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center; Victoria Theater; Memorial
Hall; Sunwatch Village; Paramount's King's Island; The Beach Waterpark; Blue
Jacket Outdoor Drama.
     The Dayton Convention Center is conveniently located close to Dayton
International Airport, and is easily accessible by highway.  Greyhound bus
station is located directly across the street from the Convention Center and
Contact:  Raksha, convention organizer
          a.k.a. Jovanka Kink                    Michael Payton, phone contact
          1177B Georges Place           OR       (614) 885-5313 (Sun.-Wed.)
          Columbus, OH 43204-1085                e-mail
          e-mail jk...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.eduArt Contest:   David Kolodny-Nagy
               3701 Connecticut Ave. N.W. #500
               Washington, D.C. 20008-4556
               e-mail                         BotCon (TM) by Jonathan Hartman******************************************************************************                                                      _____________________
                    Registration Sheet               |Official Use Only:   |
                                                     |Date Received_______ |
                        BotCon '95                   |Registration #______ |
               August 5 & 6, 1995; Dayton, OH        |Weekend__ Sat__ Sun__|
                                                     |---------------------|Name       _________________________________________________
Address    _________________________________________________
City       ______________________  State___  Zip____________
Country    _________________________________________________
Phone      _________________________________________________
e-mail (if applicable)   ___________________________________               __ Dealer
               __ Non-Dealer               __ Attending whole weekend (Saturday and Sunday)
               __ Attending Saturday only
               __ Attending Sunday onlyPrices:
     $25 for whole weekend; $15 for single day (Saturday or Sunday)
          (preregistration includes the Convention Exclusive Transformer)
     Admission at the door for non-preregistrants is $5 per dayDealers:
     $80 per 8' table for whole weekend; $45 per table for single day (Saturday
     or Sunday)
          (Price includes admission for dealer and one helper, and the
          Convention Exclusive Transformer)Total amount enclosed: $___Hotel Accommodations must be made separately:
$64 per night, single or double room (up to 4 people per room), plus 12.5% tax.
Contact Stouffer Renaissance Dayton Hotel directly at:
     Fifth and Jefferson Streets
     Dayton, OH 45402
     phone: (513) 224-0800 (call collect)
Reservations must be made by July 14, 1995.  Be sure to say you're coming for
BotCon in order to get the reduced rate.Registration deadline is July 20, 1995.
Cancellations must also be received by this date to guarantee a refund.     Return this sheet with check or money order payable to:
               BotCon '95
               1177B Georges Place
               Columbus, OH 43204-1085                         BotCon (tm) by Jonathan Hartman

*note* I had so much fun doing this last week, I thought I'd do it again. Not sure how many of these I plan to do, but for the moment I'm having fun. I pulled this from this old usenet post.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tiny Turbo Changers!

They're out and tons of fun! If you're wondering how to decipher who's who in the surprise baggie, there's a easy way to figure it out. On the back of the baggie in the left corner is a little window you can peek inside of as well as a tiny imprinted letter or number that's actually a code! Thanks to Robert Hardin in his Talk Transformers post, we've been able to decipher the code!

A - Grimlock gold
B - Grimlock black
C - Lockdown
D - Hound
E - Bee yellow
F - Crosshairs
G - Blackout
H - Soundwave
J - Starscream
K - Sideswipe
L - Bee black
!, I, or 1 (it's a little unclear on the bag) -  Optimus Prime

I've put the code on the side bar of the page for the time being to help out fans looking to collect all these great toys. If you have a problem reading the code, you can try the method my wife and I did before finding out about the code. Feel the baggie, the bots are in their alt mode inside. Look in the window, and after you've identified which alt mode you have (silver car, green truck for example) you can easily move the toy around in the bag to line it's face to the little window. Going by the pictures of the toys on the shelf packaging, it's pretty easy to figure out who you got in that little baggie!

If you're viewing the mobile version of Zone Base, tap the full page option towards the bottom of this page to view the scroll bar.

Weekly Spotlight: Garboil

A member of the Cobalt Sentries, the public safety arm of the Decepticon Secret Police, Garboil is familiar with the personal information of countless Decepticon soldiers, and observes in detail each one's ulterior motives, plots being executed, or treasonous conduct. His duty is to ascertain the results and select those evaluated as suitable for the evil elite. However, he tolerates absolutely no resistance in the nations and worlds under Decepticon government and suppresses the controlled citizens through fear, pain, and total management of information. When in battle, he can blare out from his vocal processors a directional, cacophonic blast that includes an override signal, using it to render enemy robots into a state of panic.