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...

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The Robot Heroes Army!

Posted: June 19, 2010 in Robot Heroes

The full G1 collection, with a few Myclones and none of the duplicates!

(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

Japan trip!

Posted: June 18, 2010 in Japan

I have returned from my stay in Japan, which is an absolutely awesome country and thought I would give my TF blog an update with my findings and hopefully help other people who are visiting for a short time locate Transformers.

First of all are two google maps I have created with the locations of shops that I personally found to sell Transformers. Some are second hand, some new, some are cabinet shops. More details on each of the places can be obtained by clicking the flags I have added. :D

For the Full Tokyo Map Click Here.

For the Full Osaka Map Click. Here.

Now for just a few pictures of what I found out in the shops. There is loads, loads more out there and of much better quality and rarity, and this is a very small selection to give you a taster from a few places. Most places didn’t allow cameras.

Window Selection in Mandarake Akihibara

Nice Gold Lucky Draw Armada Jetfire!

More Mandarake Akihibara Goodness

Variety Variety!!!!!!

New figures are usually on display in Japan

Can I get an encore?

Masterpiece Madness

Collectors Club exclusives were all over this place.

Second hand boxed goodness! No ebay needed!

so much to choose from!

not even a tenth of the selection at this shop

another shop another selection

Finally here is what I bought!

All were far cheaper than importing to the UK!!!

I came across this guy again, whilst sorting through some of my original collection. It was one of my childhood “TF’s” and I also had a gold eggbot that turned into a Lion,  but unfortunately that did not survive. I remember my Uncle giving me them both in about 1987, but I have no idea what packaging they came in.

Heavily armed eggbot

What I do know is they are from the pre Transformers Takara Microchange line, which also included Soundwave, the casettes and many more that were later used.

The Chrome Nightmare

I really like this guy though, he fits in perfectly with the 84 era Transformers and has Metal in his feet and various joints. He was originally a fully Chrome sphere but  as you can see in the pics mine has faded and blackened in some places.  I don’t think this takes too much away from it though, he looks a bit battle worn.

I transform into!!.... a metal ball?

He comes with twin blasters, which can be mounted in round peg holes in his hands, or when in sphere mode, there are peg holes to place them in. In addition there is a cool stand, with Microman inscribed on it. I like having the sphere in this stand with the guns mounted, it looks like some sort of future Anti Seeker gun.

Better alt mode than Soundwave Cybetronian Lampost?

I have never seen anyone else with this bot, so I don’t know how rare he is, or what he is worth, but still he is one of the highlights of my collection.

There is a brochure picture of this guy and the lion, please visit this site for more information on Takara bots. http://1501bc.com/pretf/microman.html

Robot Heroes: Custom Skyfire

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Robot Heroes
Tags: ,

I made this a while back but thought Id repost onto my newish blog. Since I have a few billion robot heroes swaps I thought Id hack a few up and make a Skyfire. Jetfire has already been done by someone else with similar parts and I wanted a more show acurate bot to fit with the rest of these crazy bots.
I am pretty pleased with how he has come out. I need to touch up the blue cockpit and a few other bits and maybe sort the wings out, but Im happy.

Skyfire mysteriously legged it as soon as Unicron appeared.

Parts used = Hot Rods Head, Insecticons body, with bits cut off, Red leg boosters cut off back of a movie Megatron, and I fabricated the wings from the top of a cosmetic tub.
Paints used = Tamiya Acrylics for White, black and blue and some Humbrol red.

Good palls with Starscream apparently...

Here is the Jetfire which influenced me:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_yix_TLGw0vE/SW5xBCoou0I/AAAAAAAAA_E/Y72Hs9_hc-U/s1600-h/RHjetfire01-full.jpg

I’d been looking forward to these guys and am very happy to get my claws on them. As most people know, they have not been released, and are marked as cancelled by Hasbro. Which is definately a shame as these guys rock, in a bizarre way.

The ultimate team?

They make a strange pairing.

Sneaky sneaky...

Lets start with everyones favourite Datsun, Prowl. I really like this character, his colours are great, he looks tough, problem is the dude has always been a bit of a tool. For me the greatest victory of this sculpt is that he does indeed convey his smarmy toolness well. His cheesey grin, and his mamsy wave all add to this and I love it.

Wait Grimlock, thats not what Optimus would do!!!

To get technical his sculpt is a usual Robot Heroes style mishmash between toy and tv. His head is nice, with the red horns well pronounced and the aformentioned grin in place. Bodywise, the chest is great, he has little wheels above his arms like the toy and all the right paint aps. His “backpack” is well designed with lots of extra lineage and detail I would not have expected. The only strange part seems to be the legs. I’m not sure why but he only has a wheel on his right, but it is forgivable. The windows on the side of his ankle are also a slightly unneccessary, but the bumpers on the toe area look good.

 

I may be a square, but Ill still kick your ass!

The paint is there in all the right places, though he has blue and red sirens now, instead of just red. I guess some police insignia on the doors would have also been good. The only remaining question I have is over the lack of missile launchers on the shoulders. Whilst his animation design did not have these, I always thought they looked great on the toy and other art, but they are not included here. They may have cluttered him up anyway and got in the way of his swivley head.

 

Instruments of Destruction.... not Prowl's favourite song.

Overall, i really like this design and even though he may be a bit of a Prime fanboy, Im very happy with the addition.

Next up: Laserbeak….. kind of.

 

All the years of war got to the old bird.

The first thing you’ve probably noticed about Laserbeak is that he takes the Super Deformed look to a whole new level. I think its fair to say they got a standard LB and imagined what he would look like if someone had shoved a pinapple where the sun dont shine. Personally, I just think it looks mental.

 

cccccccccccccccccccccccccccrrrrrrrrrrrrrrawwwwwwwwwwwww!!!

The mold is actually quite nice, it’s a bit small, which is good compared to Rumble for instance who is way too big, and though he’s had a few too many blue smarties it’s definately ol Laserbeak. The one thing I have to mention is articulation, it breaks a new record by having exactly no points, joints or swivels anywhere. So if you had ideas to make him look less disturbing, well bad luck.

 

Laserbeak Returns Megaaa.....................WTF!!!

I really like the sculp, the detailing is fantastic, especially with the indented marking on the back of the wings and both cannons complete and looking great. I even like his tongue, who knew? The colours too are a plus point on LB, compared to say Ironhide, where they look a tad basic and bright, the apps are deep and strong, contrasting with each other well.

In conclusion I think Laserbeak is awesome, because the whole thing is nuts, you can’t even stand him up on its feet! I’m very glad I came accross these two, here a few pictures to finish this off.

 

Try and get him in your tape deck

Fact: None of these guys would invite Prowl on a night out.