Archive for the ‘G1’ Category

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.

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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.

Like with my previous Sunstreaker review, I hope that people find this useful when trying to find out if their loose G1 Transformer Mirage is K.O. or original Hasbro\Takara Generation 1. I’d like to say I don’t have any particular axe to grind regarding these reproductions, I just don’t like people getting scammed! Mirage has been around for quite a while now and seems to have been the most mass produced of all the high quality Transformers KOs. He was available in a multitude of colours, but for the comparison I’ll just use the standard Blue.

KO Mirage is in robot mode.

Quality:

Overall, the quality is not that different from original, and from all the reproductions I have seen, Mirage is probably the best effort. It isn’t quite as solid as the original, but is at least equal to Hasbro’s own Reissue series. He has the same feel of the G1 Mirage but with modern day slightly cheaper materials that all toys now have. For example, he does not hold quite the same weight in your hand, and his plastic is visibly thinner, especially on certain areas (Which I’ll show you further down). The joints all seem pretty good, possibly a little too tight around the arms, but the correct bits slide and swivel as they should. There is more play around the wheels,  mine have more room to move side to side on their pins and rattle about a bit,  but that can be forgiven.

KO is on the right

Colours:

First off the white plastic is very bright, we will see in time how prone it is prone to yellowing. The Blue plastic definitely has a darker deeper more “bluey” tone. Compared to several originals, even discounting blue plastic aging and slight yellowing, it is clearly different. This does come out better in photos than with my eyes though. It is worth noting that the chrome detailing has altered, but not necessarily in a bad way, the application is thicker and has a darker tinge to it. I hope you find this visible in the photographs and it also should be less prone to wear.

KO on the right.

Stickers\Decals:

Biggest giveaway apart from the darker blue is the removal of the “26” sticker as this has been Tampo’d on the K.O.  Like the similar addition on the Takara Encore’s, this is a mixed blessing. On the plus side there is no nasty sticker to get wrong or lose, on the minus side they don’t always get them straight! The “26” is also thicker, in the way the font could have been set to a bolder format. The shoulder sticker varies in colour from the original, this one having the blue areas in a much more purple tone. In general the black lines are all a little thicker on the reproduction stickers, and you should be able to tell from the pictures.

KO on the right, nice Tampo!

Other Comparisons:

You can just tell on the picture above that the KO is missing the refuelling ring, which is a circle outline molded into the plastic on the original, this is positioned behind the cockpit in car mode and on the groin of robot mode (Just below the elf sticker). The head sculpt is nearly a straight copy with the following changes. The main difference is in the “ear” pieces, you can see in the picture below, that these are definitely a re-sculpt, being of different sizes, depths and design. The yellow paint on the eyes of the reproductions seems to wrap around the head too, making it look almost like a visor.

KO on right.

From the side view, you can see again that the tampo’d 26 is thicker. The other feature to note is that the chrome wheels, like with Sunstreaker, are slightly smaller, but end up the correct size due to the thicker rims and thicker tyres.

KO on the right. With the fatter tyres!

At the rear of the vehicle is the only real problem with the plastic, it does not sit flush against the solid metal rear end. However, there is another bonus, this is with the connection of the rear spoiler pieces. These are heavily re-enforced compared to the original and should not snap as easily. On the flip side the stronger design comes with a price, each spoiler piece tilts upward towards the centre of the combined wing, giving it a slight inverted v shape instead of being totally flat.

KO on the right, Check the spoiler supports!

Overall, he is a pretty good recreation of a classic hard to find G1 Transformer, and very close to the original, just not quite identical.  Thanks for reading! :D

KO is on the...

(14/01/14 Updated with thanks to Specimen-17 and Jim for comments)

Right, I have had my hands on this guy for a while and I know a lot of people have bought him unaware that he is a KO. So here is a quick comparison to help you spot if that ebay loose Sunstreaker is original Hasbro\Takara (84 or Classics release) or not. I’m not doing the box as that has been covered by other people who enjoy such things :D. So let’s start with a picture! (click the pic if you want full size)

Car mode looks great, but check the yellow difference. K.O. On the left.

Out of the box in car mode, the biggest difference with both in front of me is the shade of yellow. Now I know that paint can fade over time but the original SS has good paint condition with consistant colour underneath and for the plastic. The reproduction is simply a brighter yellow. This is a dead giveaway, with the original being far more of a sandy shade and the KO a deeper and on the underside slightly greener shade. The paint application is also far thicker as you can see. The panel lines are less apparent and although it looks good, it comes across as slightly cheap looking. Chrome wise you cannot fault it, looks great, again a slighly different tinge, similar to the Mirage KO but not enough to notice or bother me.

K.O. on the right.

The face is a very very good reproduction, although, the eyes are painted smaller,  the paint not as smooth and the area of yellow on the “ears being smaller and with the depth of the lines being different. You should also be able to see the difference in tyres on the above picture, with the silver wheels being smaller on the KO and the tyres being fatter.

Stamps on underneath, K.O. bottom.

On the underside you can see the greenish tinge to the paint on my particular KO. You can see the manufacturer stamps shown above, They differ from my original SS, but I do not know if they are the same as other versions. Showing Hasbro 85, Takara 85 and JAPAN. The bottom black plate seems to be remoulded from scratch, with the detail being slightly  different sizes and postion. You can also see the addition of two moulded circles on the underside of the cockpit on the KO which are not present on my original. Now for a nice big giveaway!!

KO on the left.

As you can see in the above picture, a totally different colour for the plastic is used on the roof piece. Instead of a smokey plastic it is a fully transparent construct. This should be the easiest way, apart from the colour to tell a KO!

Following information from Specimen-17 and Jim in the comments, the last major difference between my copies are in fact differences between original Takara release molds.

Here is the original cockpit area.

…and here is the K.O.’s

Compare the two black areas, either side of the cockpit. Compared to my original the KOs are totally different, with long nobbly bits in different places, a different amount of small nobbles and some different detail just for fun. Again it seems to be that this not an indicator of being a KO, but an indicator of two different Takara molds with the classics release possibly coming from a Diaclone mold. Any extra input on this would be good.

KO on the right.

The final real obvious difference is above, and that is the shoulder joints. On the KO the metal rod is far more visible as the black shoulder pieces again look like they were made from scratch.

I have no particular axe to grind with these KOs and I’m not going to get into the ethical argument, this comparison has been made with my original Sunstreaker. If you have spotted other differences or believe I have marked something on the KO incorrectly (as it is present on your version of the original), please comment.

Thanks, and I hope you found this useful!

You should be able to tell by now! :D