Blog on Hiatus :(

Posted: August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Thanks to everyone for looking, I currently do not have time I wish to keep this blog running. I will leave it up as the blog is still receiving over 1000 hits per month and is hopefully of some use to you TF’ers out there.

Peace and Cheers, Brawn.

Everyone’s favourite bumbling Autobot Scientist, or sharp calculated killer in the IDW verse, gets a brand new mould in the Transformers: Reveal The Shield range.

Transformers Perceptor Review

"A scientific examination stated a chassis upgrade was necessary, plus a proper face."

In robot mode Perceptor is clearly a homage to the original toy, the colours in particular are very close, and he is instantly recognisable as the character. I had the original G1 Perceptor toy, but was never happy with it due to the lacking head, he just never came across as the same character as the one I enjoyed in the TV series. This release fixes that by doing away with the faceplate and instead giving him a rather blank but Percy-like stare, evoking his cartoon appearance well.

Perceptor Review

"Magnus has cosmic rust, the hate plague and enjoys Beast Machines? Marvellous!!"

Thinking about sabotaging Wheeljacks entry in Cyberscience fair..... or just about the microbiology of an average Junkions meal?

The proportions are well mapped with this figure, the arms and legs being well balanced, a good chest with a fantastic chrome breastplate and a decent waist are all impressive. Speaking of the chrome, for me, it is the icing on the cake in bot mode, perfectly G1 and is added in the correct places to balance out the tone of the figure. Something I had come to expect from the Japanese release and not Hasbro’s, more like this please :D.

Transformers Perceptor Review

About to reproduce his famous and much maligned "Dare to be Stupid" dance...

Pose-ability is great, make sure you pull the knees out of his legs until they click into place though, he can do plenty of Scientist based posing and pulls off both thoughtful and quizzical well.  Stability is not fantastic, his feet aren’t bad but he is back heavy, making sure his tank tracks are pushed down towards assist in keeping him upright. The only other issue is the backpack. This can be a fiddly affair when transforming from vehicle mode, it is all about lining up the black swivel with the grey head slider correctly, then ensuring the whole mass is pushed up correctly so that the red tab under the bonnet clicks into the hole at the black swivels base. It is an arse, but it will click in and when that is done correctly and his arms raised into the correct position he looks just great. There is a link at the end if you need some help, which shows it better than can be explained.

Perceptor Review

"Can it Perceptor!"

Accessories? Nope, he comes with the attached shoulder scopelauncher, the missile slides forwards and backwards, but that is it. I’m not that bothered and I like his open hands, but it is disappointing not to get some sort of scientific equipment, or for the IDW fanboys, a large sniper rifle.

Perceptor Review

An average scene at Perceptors lab.

Transformation, again finicky, but pretty simple. The doors and the backpack are your main issues but once you get the placement right it is easy. Nothing you can’t work out after a few goes.

Perceptor Review

Because Microscopes just aren't cool these days.

Onto vehicle mode, I will be brief,  I like the idea but not the execution. A scientific vehicle is almost perfect especially with the addition of the G1-esque tank mode tracks but it just looks cheap to me. Mainly due to a lack of decent paint applications and the base colour, which  doesn’t work very well in this mode. Those yellow windows are just nasty and the Takara United version shows Hasbro up, with the metallic paint and the extra detailing, plus a clear windscreen. I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t excite me and I think that is more of deco issue perhaps. Oh and it can’t roll due to the arm positions under the bonnet, my inner child isn’t amused!

Perceptor Review

Tally ho!

QC, for mine, not an issue, some have reported problems with stress marks and I have seen one in the wild with these on his shoulders. Plastic quality isn’t awful, but cheap and forgiven due to the colours being correct. No better or worse than most current Hasbro releases. Joints seem fine on mine.

Perceptor Review

After a physical and psychological evaluation, I can reveal that Cyclonus used to be.....

In summary, he is my favourite Reveal The Shield release so far, a fantastic update to the G1 character. Sure I would have preferred him to transform into a microscope and he does get marked down due to the alt mode blandness and lack of accessories but I still recommend him to all the Percy fans out there! Plus he has CHROME!!!

Robot Mode: 9/10

Alt mode: 5/10

Paint Work and detailing: 7/10

Transformation: 7/10

QC: 7/10

Finally I fixed my childhood Metroplex. Something I have been meaning to do for a long time, and my dad failed to do back in 1990.

He is only one of the (probable) 500,000 broken waist-ed “Metroplexi” in the wild, and I thought this might come in handy for other people who have fallen foul of the “let’s make the most important joint in the toy the weakest!!!” Takara school of thought. I decided to repair rather than replace, as I find something satisfying about fixing, or bodging, my childhood figures rather than grafting parts over or buying the reissue. First of all lets set the scene, with a picture of failure…

Trypticon 1 Metroplex 0.

Trypticon 1 Metroplex 0.

Trypticon 1 Metroplex 0.

Poor design floor = sad 80's kid.

Now to business, as you can see the previous repair efforts, by my father with a wodge of superglue, were never going to work. Once the plastic has snapped from the crotch piece, it is junk, there is too much force involved. I am going to use a nice big screw and bolt to replace this weakness. Now to take the figure apart.

 

Metroplex Repair.

 

Two screws is all it takes, one on the chest, one on the crotch, you will need a long screwdriver with a Phillips head, those thin silver ones you get in sets are ideal. Be careful when you are undoing the chest not to let Metroplex’s head fire into orbit, as mine did and I had to spend 10 minutes spring hunting. Here is what you will find on the inside:

Metroplex Repair.

 

Inside the chest, the remains of the crotch connection can easily be removed, it just slides out, along with 90’s crispy superglue.

Metroplex Repair.

 

Inside the waist, is a large plastic protrusion which was originally connected to the broken piece and WTF….. some Blue Tac, how did that even get in there? It had never been taken apart before, as I had to break the stickers, and I’m sure it wouldn’t fit through the break hole, was it my dad with an extra poor fixing idea or was it left in during manufacture:

Metroplex Repair.

Now to fit the “nut”, or as I have used, a random piece of bracket to give it more weight and stability, you will have to remove the plastic protrusion in the waist. I did this with a  scalpel and some needle-nose pliers. Here is the area you need to remove and the “nut” I put in:

Metroplex Repair.

Afterword, it should like this, but upside down, sorry about that, it now has enough room inside for my fittings:

Metroplex Repair.

Inserting the screw and a washer into the chest was easy, you just need to get one the correct size, the washer fits into a groove and the screw head above it. The original piece if you look back had two heads so to speak, so the washer basically acts as the lower one:

Metroplex Repair.

With the crotch excavated, I put another washer and the nut in there, in retrospect some sort of free moving locking nut might be better as it would never unscrew, but I just used what I could find and found with the larger bottom metal piece it had more stability:

Metroplex Repair.

Now all that was left was to screw the chest back together:

Metroplex Repair.

Then ensure the gap was ok to the crotch, adjust the nut, and reattach the waist:

Metroplex Repair.Metroplex Repair.

Finally! My Metroplex in one piece again, with more stability, weight and die cast :D

Metroplex Repair.

In overview, Metroplex from the waist upwards now acts a bit like a bottle top, rotate it left and you unscrew him, so I have to be careful not to over-loosen him or over-tighten him and cause damage. A locking nut of some sort would solve this problem, combined with a screw with only a shallow thread, but a long shaft, would allow Metroplex to swivel and not screw. However, I could not find these parts in the correct size. I am still happy with the result and he transforms fine, he also no longer causes a catastrophic domino effect by his chest falling over on my display shelf. Here is the equipment I used, and the chaff left over:

Metroplex Repair.

Probably the most anticipated Transformers Masterpiece ever, Rodimus Prime\ Hot Rod has now received the most nerd rage since “The Phantom Menace” with his release by Takara. Here are my thoughts and review on the figure I received.

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

My shades are too cool for haters!

I was never bought a Rodimus Prime as a kid, or have I ever collected one as an adult, I think this was mostly to do with him looking rather rubbish, not even as good as Hot Rod. So I was extra excited when I ordered this Masterpiece version after seeing just how perfectly it matched the cartoon. Well I guess it could have come with a whiny soundbox. I particularly wanted the Takara Rodimus Prime version and not the yet-to-be released Hasbro Hot Rod version without the trailer, because I think the Winnebago \ Campervan extension is part of what makes the Character and is half of what makes the toy.

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Let's go camping!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

So let’s start there! When all is connected and plugged together and aligned it looks absolutely perfect, you can just picture him smashing through Unicron’s eye and out into space. Getting everything into place isn’t easy and there is a qc issue which I will go into later that needs to be sorted first. However, from a visual standpoint, there is nothing like it for accuracy and because it looks so damn cool! Rubber tyres, lots of Chrome, lots of paint details, so yeah it is a big box on wheels but is awesome!  Now remove the cab front, slide him out of the Trailer, reverse the roof… pull down the.. er.. then erm…. Half an hour later….

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Ride in style!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

…Hot Rod! Again a fantastic rendition, perfectly drawn from the movie, it even has an engine on springs so you can pretend it is chugging along if you are so inclined! The original G1 car version wasn’t bad to be honest, but it lacked the curves and the Masterpiece solves that and adds all the extra details. His cab opens nicely and is almost begging for a Daniel figure to fit in there, I would race it across the floor if it wasn’t so damn expensive and….

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Hop in kids!

…if it wasn’t a pain in the ass to get the mode lined up right! OK.. OK it’s not that hard, but it is finicky and especially with the first time transformation. Zooming him along a table and then realising that not all four wheels are touching the ground and that you have his waist plate or noggin scratching along  … does kind of interrupt Stan Bush singing “Dare” in your head. It’s all in the position of the feet and angle of the joints in the ankle, and making sure the knees are correctly bent, and getting the panels to click into place, and to make sure his head is pushed back correctly and getting his arms……… etc etc. Yes it isn’t that intuitive but the end result is worth it. Anyway reverse all that cursing and Transforming and by the time it gets dark you get..

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

You want me!

Hot Rod robot mode! I really cannot find anything wrong with the look of this mode, the detailing, the face, the poses, he oozes smarminess on a level only springer could beat. Now stability wise, well he likes to slump ever so slightly forwards and if you haven’t got his roof slider and window connection bit quite right his backpack will not reach the white clip designed to hold it to his back. In fact not a lot will make that click in without it looking like it is stressing the crap out of it. Quite a few people have commented on this but mine is tight stays up of its own accord anyway so there are no tears from me. He has the duel guns as shown, and on mine at least they click into his hands OK, but just OK, not snug and great, if Masterpiece Grimlock even farts in his vicinity they will drop. Now onto some pretty damn cool accessories….

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Fear my Frisbee hand, I mean saw!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

For all those "Fixxx me Hotrod..." moments.

All are nice additions and work pretty well, though I have heard some people have his zoom goggles fall over his face unrequested, mine only appear when swivelled. They help with the possibility and are also handy for the thousands of fans eagerly updating their stop motion 86 movies on Youtube. You know who you are. Anyway the final accessory ,the Matrix.. leads us onto…

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

I've got the touch!!!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

So Depressed...weight of leadership.. blah blah

Rodimus Prime! See the difference, crank his hips up a notch and extend the Shoulders up and flip over … or is it under.. the face and the inept yet loveable leader of the Space Opera g1 years is displayed in all his glory! His two hot rod guns even combine to make his ridiculously large rifle, which mine can still hold!! I love the quad Transformation gimmick of this toy, and the resulting character change in the figure is enough, for a Transformer fan, to believe he has indeed grown and matured from Smarm Rod into Sulkimus Prime. Job done by Takara in my eyes. Just take a look at the despair in the face mould!

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Whimper..

Just to finish the job off, that Matrix that Hot Rod was holding up, can be stored in his chest cavity, just so he can prove that no matter how temporarily, he was the chosen one.

Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

Stupid £%£^£ Matrix...

Overall, at least on display this piece is deserving of the Masterpiece title, I could not ask for more. Now here are where things get a bit iffy. The Transformation is complex, not just hard but it is at least initially a little stressful. I always do the first Transform by discovery and not by the manual, but with Rod I feel it probably would be better if you totally ignore that the manual even exists. It is useless, you would be much better getting yourself on YouTube and find some, non-clubfisted, individual to show you just how the feet line up for Rod’s Car mode. The arms are also a pain to get lined up and clipped in. The Transformation has to be tender and you need to keep the joints supported when you are moving things. There is no clunk-click satisfying 5 minute job. He will probably be the least transformed transformer ever.

Last but sadly not least with this figure is the QC, here at least even fanboys of the figure like me can agree. Corners were cut. One of my side leg panels arrived with the connection piece cracked and subsequently fell off before I had Transformed him once. Unfortunately mine is not an isolated incident, just google it. The whole connection of that piece could have been designed better by pretty much anyone, barring whoever designed G1 Wheelie, and there is a good chance yours will break. Secondarily a blanket problem for all figures is paint transferal between the Trailer and the Spoiler of hot rod when inserted. More specifically, the orange paint of the slot leaving marks on the yellow paint of the wing. The solution, a nail file to get rid of the orange paint in the slot, I recommend taking it down to the red plastic to be on the safe side. Annoying but at least easy to solve.

In summary, I can understand the rage, but the plus points and the fact he is visually perfect can wash over the annoyances I have with this figure. I recommend him but many more picky fans might not, a little more effort by Takara would have polished it nicely and any kids who receive the Hasbro version WILL break him. Like Rodimus he looks the part, but he has his flaws.

G1 Accuracy: 10/10

Paint Work and detailing: 9/10

Transformation: 7/10

QC: 4/10

Here is my find from “The Range” store in the UK. As you can see it is not the high Quality KO release, but a more compact cheaper version.

£3.49, not overly cheap, but I’d had a really bad morning at work and I wanted something to tide me over until I get my final real devvy limb :D

Sold under the “Alien Terminators” brand which includes some ko power rangers and possibly some robot master jets, though they could be G2. Also available on shelf was a Bruticus in a half RID, half made up colour scheme. I decided to pass on that one. The greeness of devvy in all pictures has been exaggerated by my crappy camera phone.

PREEPARRRE FOR CHEAP REPLICATION!!!

He is not matched to the original in scale and in fact is probably only just Voyager class in size, so sits alongside deluxes quite nicely. In combined mode, he is ok to look at, all combiner parts are there and he even has some paint applications on his waist and chest shield. (Take note Hasbro ;D) The fists fire nicely and despite the cheap stickers and the strange smiling face, he looks OK. The only other issue is that he comes apart very easily, and it is the “fit” of the components that causes most the problems with this KO, rather than the quality.

The vehicle modes all seperate off, some are pretty loose and all have really crappy wheels on really crappy pins. Obviously there is no chrome here. Quality of the plastic is not actually awful. The purple plastic feels nice and solid and is probably better than some you get on official movie toys. The green is pretty naff, but nothing has broken yet and it looks ok as long as you don’t study it too hard.

Individual robot modes are where the KO majorly falls down. They are pretty flakey, barely have faces and those that do have silver paint splodged on them, in addition the three individual guns included barely fit in any of their hands.

Overall, it is not awful for a display piece, the different size is fun and the vehicle modes are ok to look at, but he is not a patch on the real thing and his face is just a bit too weird. :D

I had been waiting for this guy for a long time, maybe even 26 years, but finally he arrived and here is the 2010 Takara G1 Unicron in all his glory!

2010 takara unicron review

First thing to mention is that I have never previously owned this mold, not in it’s Armada or Energon form, which I could have got for considerably cheaper. I passed on them because although they looked good, they don’t look G1 right. This guy changes all that, as soon as I saw the preview shots, he had to be mine. This is the Unicron of the 86 movie.

2010 takara unicron review

It is hard not to be impressed by the figures sheer size, he is much bigger than I had thought, not near to fort max, but taller than the Masterpiece range and fatter all round.  It is indeed a very bulky mass, and a very solid one at that, weighty, clunky and very stable in robot mode.

2010 takara unicron review

The new head mold is spot on, with the dead, sinister stare evoking perfectly his presence as a merciless creature of destruction. It matches the 1986 movie almost perfectly and is a massive improvement over the Armada offering.

2010 takara unicron review

Now, let’s not forget that this release was an expensive figure by any standards and as such I had high expectations of the detailing. On this level, the paint applications are fantastic, easily one of the best I have ever seen. It is well applied, with high quality paints and a lot of time has obviously been spent ensuring that it matches his cartoon appearence correctly and with the right colour pallete.

2010 takara unicron review

Where the Armada Unicron had a transparent plastic chest piece, this has a fully painted, detailed version. The waist and his “abs” are perfect. To top it all off, there is a perfectly applied wash covering much of his form, this highlights the detailing inherent in the Armada mold brilliantly.

2010 takara unicron review

Overall the robot mode looks perfect as far as I am concerned, the only minus point I would give is with the design of the figure, which I have to remind myself is dated by today’s standards. His leg posabilty is pretty poor, realistic posing options are straight or the semi splitz. Anyway gimmicks, gimmicks……

2010 takara unicron review

He comes with a minicon to activate his missiles and chest rocket, I’m not against the idea, but I think I would have preferred his gimmicks to be changed to operate manually. I quite like them, although the chest one is a bit of a pain to get back in, the cavity itself is fantastically detailed and it would make a great end of play destruction weapon.

Gimmick No.2 is the electronics, he features the above clear hand and transparent optics due to the inclusion of red flashy LEDs. They work well and are bright, in fact, it worries me a little that his whole head flashes in the dark, but they would have been much nicer green, indeed the head sports transparent green plastic so it must have been semi-planned at some point.  However, it is still a nice feature, I especially like the hand, it looks almost like glass.

2010 takara unicron review

The minicon is pretty cool, turns into a nice ball, doesn’t really have much of a face, and again I could have lived without him if some opf the molding had been changed.

2010 takara unicron review

Transformation time! Now, you can experience this for yourself, there is alot of popping off and swivelling and a bit of mild annoyance and all this is mainly down to the surrounding ring in planet mode. I can’t say it is a particularily fun or interesting task, but the end result makes it more than worthwhile.

2010 takara unicron review

It’s definately Unicron the moonbase eater. Despite some not so hidden features, overall it is a great reproduction 0f his most destructive form.  Again thanks to the addition of the painted “shell” it is a vast improvement on the Armada deco with the blackwash completing the job.

2010 takara unicron review

Sadly, poor QC has stricken again and although minor, it is something that could easily have been avoided. As you can see above, mine comes with two sets of the same teeth, so they cannot close together but hit each others tips. In addition the minicon falls out of the storage crater with such ease that I have had to add a little tack to keep him in. Annoying!

2010 takara unicron review

Anyway… the box is also a great design and matches the Primus box nicely to form a joined portrait. The inners are not noteworthy, being bare cardboard and twist-ties, no plastic trays here. Obviously included are the instruction, which are again pretty cheap. It would have been nice to get some masterpiece like touches, with a little pamphlet in or something, but it would only give me more clutter! :D

2010 takara unicron review

In conclusion this is a fantastic figure with excellent detail and paint and some fun gimmicks. From a G1 fan point of view, it makes me almost cry with joy that I have my 1986 Unicron and that he is near on perfect. None of the other deco’s with the old head mold did it for me, and they could never substitute for the fantastic job that Takara did for their 2010 celebrations. Despite some annoying Quality Control issues and the high price, as a centerpiece of the ultimate G1 movie collection, nothing comes close.

Transformers in retro Argos Catalogues

Posted: December 22, 2010 in G1

I used to spend hours drooling over Argos catalogues as a kid and now I remember why! Oh and check out how cheap they all are. So lets start at the peak:

1986 Argos Catalogue Transformers Section

Star piece: Combiner gifts sets for £22!

Mistransformation special: Extra Tall Superion

Gangster gun pose: Menasaur

1984 Argos Catalogue Transformers Section

Star piece: Prime for £12!!

Mistransformation special: Conehead Thundercracker

Gangster gun pose: Soundwave

WTF: is in Rollers cab?

Transformers 1984 argos

1985 Argos Catalogue  Transformers Section

Star piece: Soundwave for £11!

Mistransformation special: Conehead Skywarp

Gangster gun pose: Soundwave (again)

1988 Transformers Section

Star piece: Scorponok at £27

Mistransformation special: None? Did they even got Snapdragon’s dragon mode right? I still can’t do that!

Gangster gun pose: Scorponok

Transformers 1988 Argos

 

Credits:

Check out these full Argos catalogues from 1985 and 1986 for MASK, Action Force, He Man and other fantastic toys. Uploaded by Trippyglitter, check them out on this photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38301877@N05/sets/

1984 section comes from the great retrofinds blog. Check it out, especially if you like the retro game goodness of the 80s: http://retrofinds.blogspot.com/2009/07/retro-argos-catalogue-1984-toys-and_24.html

1988 section comes from Thundercats Lair blog, and I know a lot of TF fans love the Thundercats too. Visit the site here: http://www.thundercatslair.org/toys/ukretail.html

If anyone has any scans from the missing years, they would be greatfully received and added to this post.