Posts tagged with "encore" - 1
Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:34 am
Like with Soundblaster, I bought Twincast for the two new Recordicons he comes with.  Neither were previously as high up on my want list as Enemy, but mostly because neither of these guys I didn't expect to ever be made.

Take Nightstalker, for example.  He originates from the Marvel UK text story "State Games."  He was a peer of Ravage's before the war, another black cat.  Well, sort of.  We think Nightstalker may have been based on a Marvel UK character submission.  There was this wolf-like tape beast vaguely modeled after Ravage called "Night Stalker," submitted by a little kid named Jason Yeo.  (That kid is probably 35 now.)  But a Ravage clone named Nightstalker showed up in a text story later, so there may be some connection.

Despite the incredible obscurity of the character, the problem with making a toy of Nightstalker is he's a black cat Recordicon.  Ravage already exists.  But TakaraTomy got around this by redecoing another Recordicon feline, Steeljaw the lion, in Ravage colors and giving him Ravage's weapons.  Well played, Japan!  Well played!

Of course, an added almost-benefit of Nightstalker is that he's not far from Shattered Glass Steeljaw.  SG Steeljaw is Steeljaw in Voltron Black Lion colors, and so while Nightstalker has the black coloring down, he's missing a whoooooole lotta deco, not to mention the red wings.  On the moments I decide my SG Ravage needs his bestest friend, my Nightstalker will be borrowing my Steeljaw wings.  They're gold and not red, but oh wells.  (For some reasons Stripes' wings don't fit?)

Speaking of Stripes, he's the other new tape dude!  And oh what a dude he is.  What a fantastic world we live in, where a bright orange Ravage is something I can own.  But who is Stripes?  What dark corner of the Transformers mythos is he from?  ...the darkest.  By far the darkest.  He is perhaps the most obscure Transformers character ever made into plastic.

Previously, he only existed in an early draft of The Transformers: The Movie.  Originally, Blaster had a whole different set of Recordicons.  Instead of popping Eject, Rewind, Ramhorn, and Steeljaw out of his chest, there were these other guys.  Stripes was one of them, and he was a tiger.  And so Stripes, until now, never technically existed.  He's from an abandoned draft of the 1986 Animated movie rescued from a trash bin.  That is how obscure he is.

Seriously.  Try to find a more obscure character.  TakaraTomy already has it beat.  Stripes is it.  You can't do it.  Any other character you can think of actually existed, thus is by default less obscure.

And, as previously established, he's amazing.  He's a bright orange Ravage with Steeljaw's wings.  He's an orange Ravage WHO CAN FLY.

Best Recordicon ever.
Posted March 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Find the Power Pack!

Like Soundwave was re-released in Japan in new colors as Soundblaster, so too was Blaster re-released in new colors as Twincast.  (Blaster's name in Japan was "Broadcast," and so "Twincast" was a better new name for him in that context.)  But I'm not as fond of Twincast as I am of Soundblaster.  See, in the hilarious Hong Kong dub of the Japanese Headmasters cartoon into English, "Soundwave" was rebuilt into "New Soundwave."  But Blaster started out being called "Billy" and was rebuilt into... "Blaster."  Owning Twincast, then, doesn't mean I own a guy with an awesomely dumb name.  It's just Blaster in wacky colors.

One of my first memories of being part of the online Transformers fandom was learning about the AMAZING and VIOLENT and TO THE DEATH fight between Blaster and Soundwave in the Japanese Headmasters cartoon.  I was told all these things about how those two just friggin' go at each other like crazy people, and how it's super adult and gritty.  And then, you know, of course years later I got to watch what actually happened, and, well...  Let's just say standing and shooting at each other at point blank range for like fifteen minutes without anything happening, before the pair just leap at each other at the same time and punch each other in their respective chests, before both of them randomly explode... eh.  It was oversold.

Screw this guy, the real prize is inside!

(The hilarious English dub, of course, made the scene fairly entertaining, but YouTube isn't being handy with it at the moment.)

But these redecoes of Blaster and Soundwave are why it happened!  Blaster was rebuilt into Twincast, and no more would he be called "Billy"!  He was a grown robot.  And you got to buy him!  Again!  Like "New Soundwave," he was retooled to be able to hold two cassettes at once, though this didn't do as much aesthetic damage to Blaster as it did to Soundwave.

And just like New Soundwave, Twincast's stickers have become paint detail instead.  And also like New Soundwave, Twincast's Encore reissue attempts to make his face look more show-accurate.  Instead of being all silver, now his face is yellow with blue eyes.  This is a welcome change to me, not because of the show-accuracy, but because non-silver faces on Transformers are things I enjoy.  Another change, related to the exchange of stickers for paint, is the smoothing over of the tech detail on his cassette-door chest so they could tampograph an Autobot symbol on there.

Of course, getting Twincast was just a symptom of requiring the new Mini-Cassette guys who came with him, who I'll talk about later.
Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm
Honestly, I bought New Soundwave just to get these two guys!  Let's talk about them.

Wingthing and Wingthing

Wingthing was Soundwave's Action Master partner.  He transformed from a bat into a concussion blaster.  (aka a folded-up bat with a gun stuck on it)  But now he's been upgraded to a Mini-Cassette!  Well, "upgraded." I'm not sure trading in a weapon form, regardless of how dippy it looks, for a mini-cassette mode is really an upgrade.  Before he was a gun, and now he transforms into a ... rectangle.  Admittedly, it's probably an upgrade in the perception of his peers.  Being "one of Soundwave's tapes" is probably an upward social move from "that gun Soundwave built that time he couldn't transform and then left to collect dust in the closet afterwards."  Now he's Ratbat's equal!  And Ratbat was a Senator!

They come with these clear mini-cassette cases.

(His bio, best I can tell from badly Google Translating it, seems to say he's not technically alive, but a sophisticated drone with a personality emulator.  Perhaps this is related to Wingthing having originally been created as an Action Master weapon.)

Yeah, you remember this thing.

Enemy, meanwhile, is who I desired the most.  Enemy is awesome.  Until this toy was released last week, Enemy was a merchandise-only character.  There was this red Frenzy/Rumble head back in the Eighties that made you sound all robotty when you spoke into it, and its name was "Enemy."  You may remember it from that one birthday part you had.  The real Transformers were all sold out and thanks to one of your friends you ended up with this thing on the left.

And now, finally, Enemy has a real toy.  I couldn't be more ecstatic.  Best New Soundwave I've ever bought!

He has a body! TO PUNCH YOU WITH!

Again, my Google Translator-fu is weak, but I think Enemy's bio says that he's, SURPRISE, a jerk to everybody and everyone hates him.  Also maybe he has some sort of psychological effect on those who surround him, making them hate him more, giving him an advantage somehow?  I am not sure.  Maggie tried to translate it on her own, but the damn bio says "he's an asshole" in so many different ways it was kind of like a big soup of repetitive nonsense.

Finally, Enemy isn't just an immobile objec-- oh.

Like the rest of these Encore sets, both Enemy and Wingthing forego stickers entirely in lieu of painted detail.  I am overbearingly thankful for this, because Mini-Cassettes are the enemy (so to speak) of stickers.  One entire side of them is generally covered in stickers to make them look like cassettes, and their toys are equally covered in moving parts and seams.  And so, y'know, that means buttloads of sticker edges.  It's not a fortunate set up.  But it's all paint now, so I'm stoked!
Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Blue Soundwave and black New Soundwave

America retired Soundwave's toy around 1986 or so.  But Japan wanted to still get some use out of him, and so they re-released him in black as "Soundblaster."  That sentence of setup only really exists so that I can tell you that in the Hong Kong-produced English dubs of Japan's Headmasters cartoon, in which Soundblaster appears, he is called "New Soundwave."  That is his actual name.  And that hilarious fact is the only reason I'm not completely bored out of my mind owning this toy.  (I bought it nominally to get the new Mini-Cassettes he comes with.)

Soundblaster (aka New Soundwave) is Soundwave with his blues changed to black.  No other deco is changed at all.  No new stickers, nothing.  Let's face it.  That's not a very striking change.  You can achieve the look with a Soundwave toy by just squinting at it in dim lighting.  So colors-wise, he's not a very compelling redeco.

Added functionality AND eyesoreness!

What does make Soundblaster stand out is the one molding change done to him.  Instead of the original flat cassette door, Soundblaster's door is an extruded box, making it possible to fit two Mini-Cassettes into his chest at the same time.  This is neat and it is also ugly.  He's already a giant mini-cassette recorder, but now he's one with a weird-ass bulbous door.

This "Encore" version of Soundblaster (meaning this is at least the second time they're reissued him) has some additional changes done to his deco versus the original reissue, which was a more faithful recreation of the vintage release.  My favorite change is the conversion of nearly all of his stickers into tampographed deco.  It's a little anti-climactic to pull Soundblaster out of the packaging and not get to put stickers on him, but I think it's worth it in the long run to not have stickers drying up and peeling off.  Some of the converted sticker deco works way better as paint, like the tiny analog time stamps on his upper right chest, since you're not covering over sculpted detail with a flat decal.

Yeah, those blue "sticker" areas should be black.

However, TakaraTomy didn't take the opportunity to "fix" some of  his deco in the conversion from stickers to paint.  See, original Soundblaster's stickers were unchanged Soundwave stickers, meaning there are these areas of blue that are meant to be continuations of Soundwave's blue surfaces.  But even now, those parts still remain blue, even though now they're painted on.  Durp.

Another thing they changed was the paint on Soundwave's face.  It's an attempt at show-accuracy, so not only does he now have red eyes instead of the original yellow, but he also has the rest of his face painted silver, as well as larger portions of his "sideburns."  This makes him more different from Soundwave than before, so I'm in favor of it.

Mostly, I'm in favor of him being New Soundwave.  And coming with the super-exciting two new tape guys who I'll talk about tomorrow.
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