Posts tagged with "united" - 1
Posted February 27, 2016 at 3:15 am

I was satisfied enough with Hasbro's "Armada Starscream" toy.  I mean, I've gushed about it a few times here before, most recently for "Super Mode"/Thundercracker, so it's clearly a toy I like.  Takara came out with their own version which was much prettier (fairly objectively, even), but what mattered to me at the time was that my toy matched how Starscream appeared in the then-current IDW comic books.  Their Starscream looked like the Hasbro toy.  So. 

Fast forward to now, when I've got Super Mode Starscream and that kitbashed Sunstorm and the upcoming Skywarp and Ramjet.  Those are all painted pretty damn well, and suddenly my Hasbro Armada Starscream looks like the odd guy out.  Long story short, I got the Takara one to hang out with my other versions of the mold.

The Hasbro one can continue being the IDW guy.  The Takara one can be the Unicron Trilogy version of Starscream.  He can hang out with Thundercracker and Skywarp, and maybe Ramjet will come visit occasionally when he blows through the vacation days he's built up with Unicron.

The main difference between the two Starscreams is that Hasbro's (left) is mostly red plastic and Takara's (right) is mostly white plastic.  And then Takara puts all this red and black paint on top of that, while Hasbro kinda just let their toy be, relatively.  

I love this thing.

Posted October 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Magnificus is a new character based on the pre-Transformers version of Perceptor, who was, well, a black version of Perceptor.  He was established as his own guy by e-Hobby in 2005, when they released a black version of the original Perceptor (with a Micronauts partner named Ga'mede).  

I don't have that guy.

But e-Hobby (and Fun Publications?) just did a black version of the most recent Perceptor toy as Magnificus, and now I have that!  Built into the original tooling was a toy-accurate alternate head for the toy, which basically works as a Magnificus head and few other things, so that's pretty fortunate.  He's, well, a black Perceptor.  Not terribly exciting on the face of it, but I do like being able to see/own the tooling's alternate head.  Also, it's a character I didn't already have around, so he's not doubling up on any guy I already have.  

What's super-great is the comic this dude comes with.  It's only six pages, but it's got art by the great Hidetsugu Yoshioka and it features Magnificus (and his still-tiny pal Ga'mede)  fighting one of the unreleased Double Pretender guys -- specifically the gorilla.  He's got a name now and he's drawn pretty radly.  I like him a lot.  All toys should come with fiction!

The toy itself is still Perceptor, which is not exactly a beloved pile of engineering, but I never disliked it as much as some other people did.  However, I do have more trouble getting Magnificus's shoulder/backpack arrangement to consolidate into the torso than I did Perceptor's, so he requires a bit extra fiddling.  

He's available from either the Transformers Collectors' Club store or from other online places like Big Bad Toy Store.

Posted May 8, 2013 at 12:15 am
I was surprised at the number of vendors selling Transformers at Calgary Expo.  It was a sizable representation!   Quite a few booths were Transformers-only.

For example, there was this booth at the back of the hall, and, huh, they had mint carded 1984 Frenzy/Laserbeak and Rumble/Ravage sets for like $20 and, weird, is that a boxed Sunstreaker for $40?  ...oh.  Right.  I see.  Counterfeit.  Just buttloads of counterfeit Transformers.  You'd only know because they weren't hundreds of dollars.  (Well, there are really slight ways to tell from examining the specifics of the packaging, like if something or another is a millimeter to the left, but that is not knowledge I possess.)  Thought that was kinda skeevy.  The guy who was selling them referred to them as "reprints."  I suppose that's a euphemism.

But actual Transformers that were real Transformers made by real Transformers factories weren't badly priced, either!  Like the Axalon here.  I think when he came out he was like $50 to import.  He's just a deluxe, but he's "limited run" or something, and TakaraTomy needed the dough I guess and so they cranked up the prices for this leg of United stuff.  But a booth at Calgary Expo had him for $30!  Canadian!  That's like $25 American.  So I scooped up the heck outta that.

And then Air Canada lost my luggage on the way home (nearly getting me stranded in Toronto since you can't go through customs if your luggage ain't security-cleared) and it took a few days for me to get him home.


He's, uh, the Axalon.  The Maximal ship from Beast Wars.  As a robot.  Look, okay, Takara released the Deluxe Class bug-machine-tank-thinger Unicron as "Ark Unicron," aka "The Autobot Ship Is Possessed By Unicron Or Something" and so the story is that Primus made the Axalon be alive too in order to fight him.  Crazy, right?  It's the kind of crazy I'd buy for $25 but not $50.

And, look, yes, I know, he has an Autobot symbol on him despite being a Maximal ship, and yes, I know that his toy was designed to be the Nemesis, an entirely different ship which was also around at the time so why is it the Axalon, but...


Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:06 am

We've gotten quite a few new Stepper/Ricochets over the years, but never a new toy of his buddy Artfire until now.  The pair exist because Japan didn't want to do Cyclonus and Scourge as Targetmasters, I guess, and so they gave their Targetmaster partners to redecos of the Jazz and Inferno toys.  Redoing white Jazz toys in black as Stepper/Ricochet makes pretty solid retail sense, but redoing the red Inferno as, uh, mostly red Artfire probably seems like a less good idea.  Artfire was never very visually distinct from Inferno, roughly being an Inferno with a white chest, so that's likely why he hasn't shown up until now.  (Also because we get a dozen times more Jazz toys than Infernos.)

But somebody over in Japan was willing to do an Artfire as an exclusive, so here we are.  He's got Inferno's head and  hands and the Grapple retool's crane arm, so he's a parts combination that hasn't been done before.  Artfire also comes with two Targetmasters, one being the fifteen zillionth redeco of Universe Nightstick and the other being a redeco of one of Power Core Combiner Pinpoint.  The former is intended to be Artfire's original partner, Nightstick, whose name causes the Transformers Wiki much grief, and the latter is intended to be Sparks, which was the Marvel Comics name for Firebolt, Hot Rod's Targetmaster partner.

Because Artfire has Grapple's crane and not a ladder, the instructions tell you to peg both of his Targetmaster partners through the crane's hook so it becomes this sort of water cannon thing.  Inventive!


At least there's three different heads to go between them.  (You'll note the handpainted Hot Spot head I gave to my Pyro.)  There aren't many G1 firetrucks even left to still make this guy into.  There's probably still a Micromaster firetruck, right?  And Hosehead.  Both of whom are probably red and black, so, well, you know.  And, heck, they could probably still get away with making a Hauler, and I would be very happy to buy it.  I say that not only because I don't have an original Hauler (I got my Sunstorm long after he was released and so after the duo had been split up on the secondary market), but because I still really like this toy.  And thank god for that.
Posted February 9, 2012 at 1:36 am
I got United Tank Megatron shipped to me along with my Windcharger/Wipe-Out, but the deluge of Prime toys that happened shortly thereafter kept me from talking about him until now.  Priorities, man!

I got Tank Megatron for a few reasons.  First, I've never owned the Classics-era Deluxe tank Megatron toy.  They kept on redecoing him as Megatron, and I didn't need another Megatron.  So this was a new toy to me.

Secondly, on the tail of the first reason, a character who isn't Megatron shares these colors.  Late in Generation 2 there was a "Hero" Megatron toy that was purple and blue and orange in black camo.  I own it, in fact!  ...even though it's broken in places and missing some accessories.  It was one of my first BotCon purchases.  But in Europe, that toy was released as a different guy called Archforce.  All they did was modify the sticker on the underside of his chest that said "MEGATRON RULES" to say nothing at all.  (I love that sticker, by the way.)  This new Tank Megatron doesn't have any "MEGATRON RULES" on him, so that says Archforce to me!  Sweet, an Archforce toy.

And most importantly, the thing just looks damn pretty.

Reviews of the toy were not very favorable, so I knew I wasn't getting a spectacular figure.  He's not bad or terrible.  He's sort of in the middle there.  Most people seemed to hate that Megatron didn't have two proper hands.  His cannon arm was actually a gimmicked propeller-spinning thing, commonly called a "rotate blade."  You fold out his cannon in front of his wrist and press a lever on the arm, causing the thing to spin.  There's no hand on that arm, so folks got annoyed.   I've got plenty of Megatrons with two hands, and my mental picture of Archforce doesn't demand a number of hands, so the gimmick doesn't bother me.  Besides, I love rotate blades.

He's a pretty toy who I can easily repurpose as an obscure dude I don't own.  I should probably throw a G2 symbol sticker on him.
Posted February 3, 2012 at 9:34 pm
This second Windcharger is SURPLUS TO REQUIREMENTS.

I got some United toys today from Japan!  One of them was Windcharger versus Wipe-Out.  I already have a Windcharger, so the United one went immediately on eBay.  Go bid on him!  I kept the Reveal the Shield one I already had 'cuz I like rub signs.  Bidding started at $5 and the auction lasts five days.

Wipe-Out was the real prize!  He's so awesome I'd buy Windcharger twice.  I talked about Wipe-Out's origins in a previous blog post, which is totally linked right here.  Suffice to say, he was a character made up for the Marvel stories.  Why Japan-the-land-of-no-Marvel-Transformers-comics is doing him I have no idea, but I'm incredibly grateful all the same.

It may amaze you, but Wipe-Out is Windcharger in black and blue.  To my eye he has two fewer paint apps than Windcharger, missing the paint around his grill and the vent on his hood.  (Neither of those are necessary here, so I don't miss them or anything.) Instead of the flat black painted windows Windcharger has, Wipe-Out has glittery blue painted windows which look very nice.

But mostly I'm stoked that this is a friggin' Wipe-Out toy.  And suddenly I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeed an original Trypticon.  Man, Metroplex got reissued, so I demand Trypticon be next.   It's kind of weird having Wipe-Out be sycophantic to some dude that's shorter than him.
Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Toys are a lot bigger these days.

Loooong ago, Japan had their very own redeco of Jazz which they gave Cyclonus's Targetmaster gun, and they called it Stepper.  It was very expensive to buy in America, once America figured out this thing existed.  Years later, it'd get released as "Ricochet" in America as a Toys"R"Us exclusive for $30, eventually clearanced to... less than that.  Long story short, if you bought an original Stepper as an investment or something, let's hope you sold yours before like 2002.

There's a new Jazz in town, and that means there's a new Stepper.  He's once again a Japanese exclusive, and once again he's stolen his concurrent Cyclonus's gun.  Given the circumstances, he'll probably be more hotly contested on the secondary market than the original.

Reveal the Shield Jazz, from whom this was redecoed, is a pretty fantastic, solid toy, so I'm happy to have a second character from it.  (And we're bound to get at least one, if not more, of this toy in various colors at BotCon this year.)  I don't have a huge fondness for Stepper/Ricochet the character, but I do love Targetmasters.  And I'm enamored with the comic which featured Stepper that came out earlier this year.

Maybe the Targetmaster partner can get his own little sidecar.

I do wish they'd taken the time to drill a 5mm hole into his roof so Nebulan/Nightstick had somewhere to go in car mode.  That seems like a missed opportunity.  And the white paint on half his knees doesn't quite match the white plastic on the other half.  It's a conspicuous difference in most lighting.  Otherwise, I'm pretty happy.  I also haven't gotten a new Transformer in what feels like an eternity, so I'm probably going to be a little happy regardless.  But I feel confident I'll still like him later.

Though, man, somebody update his flame deco, okay?
Posted August 28, 2011 at 1:24 am
This is what I miss about Transformers comics.

So there's a four-page Transformers comic in the latest "Generations" volume of Transformers infobooks.  It's a Japanese publication, despite the comic being by Simon Furman and Guido Guido.  Which I'm perfectly fine with, because they're two of my favorite people.  (I should scan that art of Ratchet that Guido drew me at last year's SDCC.  And somewhere he has an Amber sketch that is not even 10% as awesome as my Ratchet.)

Anyway, why do I like it?  It just feels like oldschool Transformers comics.  You know, back when they were about selling toys, and the choice in characters determined who was required to appear?  That's right, I'm nostalgic for being sold to.  But there's just something undeniably vintage Transformers about reading a Transformers comic and it focusing on guys in bodies that are currently available for sale.  IDW mostly avoids that with their comics.  They make up their body designs and choose their character roster as they please, with a few exceptions.

But I miss the old Eighties demand for relevant product placement.  Transformers has been graced with many talented creative types, and sometimes you squeeze the best material out of talented folks with some imposed guidelines.  Sometimes restrictions aren't bad.  And sometimes those restrictions force creatives to use folks they wouldn't have used otherwise, or make them consider other story or character alternatives.

Would Thunderwing or Bludgeon have become important characters if Hasbro hadn't mandated Simon Furman to use toys they were currently selling in his late 80s work?  Probably not.

That's why I like this story in the Generations books.  It's about Stepper/Ricochet, of course, since that's the exclusive toy that the magazine is trying to sell, but it's also about a bunch of other guys in the United toyline.   It's nice to see guys like Wheeljack and Kup and Scourge and Lugnut and Wheeljack and Bumblebee all in their most recent toy designs.  We don't see that often enough.  I like when I buy new toys of old characters, but there's something missing when I don't see those new toys in new stories.

And it doesn't hurt that Guido drew and colored his comic pages like the original Marvel comics material, either.
Posted April 14, 2011 at 2:10 am
Generations Kup (left) and e-Hobby Kup (right)

When I preordered Scrapheap's three-pack, I knew I'd be selling off at least one of the two other guys. Blue Rodimus was a no-brainer.  Screw that dude!  I don't need him!  And I figgered I'd probably be selling off the extra Kup, too, since I was pretty satisfied with the colors of the Generations Kup that I already owned.  He was green!

And the photography of the e-Hobby three-pack Kup depicted him as bright blue, almost a cyan.

I really hate when Kup is blue.  And Kup is blue all the time.  He's blue all the way through the Marvel Comics.  He's blue in the Big Looker Storybooks.  He's blue in all sorts of obscure merchandise.  But his toy is teal, as Kup should rightfully be, and Kup was sort of a grayish dirty teal in the cartoon.

G1 Kup and e-Hobby Kup, before and after color correction

Part of the reason for Kup's often-blueishness, though, is his original toy just doesn't photograph right.  When you put a camera to it, photos come out cyan-y.  I can't imagine Hasbro or Marvel or whoever could be bothered all that much to make sure that they were color-correcting all of their reference material as they sent it back and forth from one another.  So, well, blue Kup.

(For the record, I would totally dig a blue Kup if they went through the trouble of swapping his helmet and face colors like the toy's.  I would love a Big Looker Storybook Kup.)

And a small part of me hoped the same was true with the official photography of e-Hobby's Kup.

The laser musket is supposed to peg underneath and be his exhaust pipe, but you can see it better placed this way.

Indeed, e-Hobby Kup is deliciously teal.  Bright and vibrantly so.  (After I took photos and he insisted on coming out cyan, I attempted to color correct his colors as much as possible in Photoshop.)  As much as I liked the darker minty green of Generations Kup, I can't resist a more vividly teal color scheme.  So it looks like it's my Generations Kup that has to go.

Another thing that sets this Kup apart from the other decoes is his painted battle damage.  There's silver paint scrapes painted up and down the surface of his vehicle mode.  This is a look that's appropriate for Kup, so I'm glad to have that as well.  It's a nice bonus.  It wouldn't have been enough without the teal, but with the teal it's something I won't scoff at.

Posted April 12, 2011 at 2:10 am
Chocolate and caramel

I gots an e-Hobby 3-pack!  It came with a pointless translucent Hot Rod, a potentially redundant Kup, and this third guy who I actually wanted.  How much of the rest of the set will I be selling off?  Further news as events warrant!

The guy I wanted was Scrapheap, who is a Junkion.  He's not the first non-Wreck-Gar Junkion toy to be made, but he's the second!  The first was Detritus, an e-Hobby redeco of Hound from several years back.  I don't have him.  Though with the potential for an actual Junkion army, I kind of want to now.  Oh well!  No big.  Not like he can ride anybody.  He was, as I noted, a G1 Hound redeco.

All these motorcycles yet nobody to ride them.

Scrapheap's a retool of Reveal the Shield Wreck-Gar.  In addition to Wreck-Gar's head, the mold has two other generic Junkion heads, and Scrapheap uses one of them.  There's no plans yet to use the third anywhere, but it'll probably be a long while before that happens, what with the third live-action film imminent.  Scrapheap gets his name from a list of Junkion names that one of the original cartoon model designers came up with for the other Junkions.  The Ark: A Complete Compendium of Character Designs applied the name to a prominently-featured generic Junkion, but this toy's head seems to belong to the guy the Ark book dubbed "Rubbish."  D'oh!

The colors I'm a little lukewarm on.  It's just chocolate brown, bright red, and a few shades of silver.  It's a little boring.  I mean, yeah, Junkions are earthtone colors, but I feel like I would have preferred something a little more vibrant.

Aaaand the money shot.

Not that it matters too much.  This guy's probably going to be spending a lot of time in motorcycle mode.  The Wreck-Gar/Scrapheap mold is designed to ride itself.  ...if you know what I mean.  There's two pegholes on the motorcycle seat and two corresponding pegs on the underside of the robot mode pelvis.  There's also slots on the side of the motorcycle that can attach to the robot mode legs of the rider.  That's what the main event is.  Scrapheap exists so Wreck-Gar doesn't literally have to ride himself.  He can ride this other guy that looks 90% like him.

I'm tempted to get Takara's version of Wreck-Gar and chop off one of my Wreck-Gar's beards just so I have three distinct Junkions.  Hmmm.
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