Monday, November 28, 2016

eHobby Ghost Starscream

Stupid eHobby.  Here I am, getting close to my goal of finishing the US G1 run, and my mind gets stuck on eHobby releases.  The solution?  Why, getting Ghost Starscream, of course.  Besides, it's a Seeker mold, and I love those.
There really isn't much to know about this version of Starscream.  He was released in 2001, over 15 freaking years ago,  I remember seeing him on BigBadToyStore's site for what seemed like the longest time and I just kept passing on him.  There was a point in time where I didn't believe that eHobby figures were real Transformers.  Even though they were released by Takara, I just felt like they were non-entities.  Time and experience eroded that view, so I've some catching up to do.
I really like this iteration of Starscream.  He's just so cool looking, and he reminds me of one of those fabled "Lunchtime Specials" that I keep hearing about on the Internets.  And that nosecone!  The color is so light, yet it looks perfect next to the translucent plastic.  Look at those tail fins!
Look!  You can see through Starscream's wings!  So sexy.
Know the great thing about Takara Seekers?  Working missile launchers!  Know what's great about Ghost Starscream?  Everything! Man, check out those translucent fists!  Check out the translucent...everything!  This is a true piece of beauty.
Here's a profile shot. Starscream is so ghost-like.  I love how that orange canopy just stands out.  If you have to chance to grab one of these, pick one up.  Prices are all over the place on eBay.  I've seen these posted at prices ranging from $100-$200, all MISB.  I've also seen loose or MIB specimens going for $100.  With enough patience and luck, you should be able to get one at a decent price.  I got mine for $100, which I felt was a decent price.
Finally here's a shot of some Seekers, but not all that I own.  Don't pay any attention to the other eHobby Starscream.  We'll talk about him later...
Here they are in alt-mode.  I like Seekers, and I cannot lie.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Masterpiece Thrust

Look, another Seeker.  Man, Takara is really getting their money's worth out of this mold, not that I can blame them.  Thrust was always my favorite of the Coneheads, so surely he'll be my favorite of the Masterpiece Coneheads, right?
This is how Thrust was supposed to look, thanks to design by Floro Dery.  To be honest, I never really paid attention to the character model when I thought about Thrust beyond the head.  Until Masterpiece Ramjet, I hadn't realized that the bulky knees were a thing.  I don't even flip the nosecone up on the original figure.
Until now, I didn't realize just how close to the animation this guy was.  That actually adds a nice level of appreciation to Thrust and Ramjet now.  At any rate, articulation is pretty much what one would expect from this mold that's about 10 years old.  There appears to be a loose waist situation with a lot of these guys now, most likely from mold degradation.  Still, Thrust looks great in robot mode.
My, does Thrust look spectacular in jet mode.  Those VTOL wings look great in Masterpiece scale.
While Ramjet had shells that could fit over the null rays to give him a more cartoon accurate look, Thrust comes with null rays that fold up in this mode and extra missile pods that attach to the wings.  Very cool look.  This is how I wanted Thrust as a kid.  Man, those reds, grays, and blacks are just so gorgeous.  Just based on jet modes, Thrust is my favorite Masterpiece Seeker so far.

As much as I love Thrust, I do a have a minor quibble with the way the wings attach to the body in jet mode.  The right wing, left as you look at the picture, doesn't really want to tab in.  Every attempt to keep the wing in is momentary at best.  It doesn't look so bad in the picture, but it's annoying.  Thrust always looks like he's leaning.
Here's Masterpiece Thrust with his G1 version.  As you can see, they look just alike!
Thrust and Ramjet, together again, at last.  It's amazing what a set of wings can do to a figure.  I didn't really care for Ramjet mainly because of the bulky wings.
And now Thrust gets to live out his fantasy of taking out Prime.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I'm Back! What Am I Doing To Myself?!

Man, it's been awhile since I've posted anything on here.  Checking my posts, I haven't posted anything since sometime in May, which is a long time ago. What have I been up to?  There's all of the usual stuff - work, life, family, all of that, but it really came down to two things - rapid collection expansion and not enough time to document it.  From December 2015 until now, my collection has grown at an incredible (for me) rate.
Me.  This is to scale.
This exponential, unplanned growth meant that I had to spend a lot of time reworking my collection and display conditions.  I have very limited space, so that meant trimming even more.  Binlatechs, CHUGs, and others have been removed.  I still own them, for now, but they're in storage.  I also had to add more Detolf cabinets.


These are older pics, from July, when I was still setting things up and I added even more figures.  But you can judge just how limited my space is.  Still, this is better than the garage.
To make things even more difficult, since I only have about 30 figures left to get to complete my US G1 journey, I decided to up my game a little by going after MIB Action Master vehicles and MOSC Action Master single figures.
I figured that since no one but me seems to like Action Masters that this would be an easy proposition.  Guess who was wrong?  I've only been able to get Wheeljack MIB, and I'm about halfway through the single figures.  This has been an arduous process, and I'm not entirely sure that I have the willpower to finish that particular journey.

Well, thanks for being patient, all three readers.  Starting next week, I'll start cataloging all of my new(-ish) figures here.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Joyride

Image from www.botchthecrab.com
Look!  Yet another subset of Autobots completed!  I should have completed the Powermasters much, much earlier, but I took my sweet time.  The Powermasters are some of my favorite figures in the G1 line, and it pleases me to no end to finally have them all.  Well, all of the U.S. releases, that is.  Japanese exclusives will have to wait.  For now, let's just celebrate the newest addition to my collection.
I think that one of the reasons I waited so long to get Joyride is that his alt-mode is just a dune buggy, and the only dune buggy that I care about is Beachcomber.  That is, until I found out that Beachcomber isn't a dune buggy.  Geez.  However, once Joyride was in hand, I was duly impressed with this mode.  Garish neon colors aside, the dune buggy mode is much better looking than pictures had me believe.  Maybe it was the joy of getting that last Autobot Powermaster making me love the mode more than I should.
Joyride's robot mode is pretty much what one would expect for a later era G1 figure.  His arms move at the shoulder and elbow...and that's pretty much it.  The legs are fused together because this is what many in the toy industry figured would help them pass safety laws.  In short, Joyride is just a brick.
But what's this?  Joyride is moving at the waist!  How is that even possible?  Could it be because of Joyride's transformation scheme? 
Pictured here we have my childhood Slapdash, Getaway, and Joyride.  Seeing them together like this, I'm a tad surprised at the varying heights of the figures.  I'm not complaining, as this just makes them a little more diverse.  Still, I can't believe that Getaway is taller than Slapdash.  I just realized that I've mentioned completing the Autobot Powermasters quite often in this post, but I haven't included Powermaster Optimus Prime.  He was...camera shy.  Or I didn't feel like pulling him out the overly complicated display case that he's in.  You be the judge.
Here we have Rev, Lube, and Hotwire all together in a get together of all of the basic Powermaster engines. 
What I'm most excited about is that getting Joyride allowed me to take this picture - every U.S. released Nebulon in one nice shot.  Eventually, I'll have one of the Decepticon Nebulons.
-FIN

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Triggerbot Dogfight

Image from www.botchthecrab.com
I've been putting this guy off for a long, long time.  Dogfight showed up in my collection about the middle of last year, and the pictures have been sitting on my desktop for about the same amount of time.  Guess I better get this over with.
Before last year, this is what I knew about Dogfight.  He showed up in one issue of the old Marvel comic in a flashback.  That red and white truck?  That's Optimus Prime.  The other vehicles are the Triggerbots.  And Dogfight is the jet flying with his landing gear down because of Jose Delbo.  Oh yeah, Dogfight was also in another issue where he fought psychic vampires.  I'll just leave it at that.
So far, we're not off to the best start to endear a character to my heart. 
Much like the Powerdashers, the entire Triggerbot or Triggercon concept just never appealed to me.  While I love the Sparkabots, the trigger concept just didn't make me jump for joy.  When a subgroup does nothing for me, I tend to not spend a lot of time searching for a perfect specimen.  So for $8, this guy felt good enough to come home with me.
I was a bit thrown off with Dogfight when he arrived on my doorstep.  When I pushed the button to activate the gun mechanism, I could hear the sound of gears cranking and turning.  For a minute, I thought I had a Starcom vehicle.  Backstreet and Override feature spring based guns, so that is what I was used to.  The different mechanism that Dogfight features supposedly marks him as being meant for the Triggercons.  What changed, I don't know.
When the trigger action is used in robot mode, Dogfight's arms merely lift up.  I'll be honest, I've played with this feature a lot with Dogfight.  The sound of the gears just makes me giddy for some reason.  Hopefully, this doesn't trigger (Ha!) some sort of trip down a Starcom buying spree.  That would be...unfortunate.
Finally, this subgroup is finished.  The worst conditioned figure in this group is my childhood Backstreet, but I can't bring myself to replace him.  Also, who cares, they're just Triggerbots.  I suppose that I should start on the Triggercons at some point in time.  I'm not in a rush.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nightbeat

Pic from www.botchthecrab.com
Let's try an exercise, shall we?  I want you to rank all of the Autobot Headmasters in order of best to worst.  Which one was your favorite?  Odds are it was Nightbeat.  Who do you have listed as your least favorite?  For me, the answer is obvious: Nightbeat.  Hey, I'm being a contrarian! 
Pic from TFWiki.net
I get why everyone loves Nightbeat so much.  He's pretty much Simon Furman's masterpiece, along with Scorponok.  Awesome detective solving mysteries?  Yes, please.  Drawn the best by British artists in the early 1990's?  Check.  Then why is it I don't like Nightbeat?  Man, that could be an entire article.  Let's just boil it down to this: all he does is solve "mysteries".  Nightbeat is one giant MacGuffin.  I know that the minute he shows up, he's there to solve some dilemma that's stumping everyone else.  There really isn't any depth to the guy, and I don't get why everyone loves him so much.  I mean, Needlenose has been given more depth than Nightbeat.  Needlenose!  Also, Nightbeat is the worst looking of all of the Autobot Headmasters.  There, I said it.
I remember when I first saw Nightbeat in the catalogs in 1988, right after I got Hosehead.  I took one look at him and just said "Nope."  Over twenty years later, and I still have that feeling.  I've put off getting Nightbeat in my collection for so long, that I entertained thoughts of just not ever getting him.  My collection would have been missing a very important piece, but I think I may have been okay with that.  That isn't to say that this figure is completely crap.  Now that I've spent some time with him, I've come to the realization that what makes him look so rough are those arms.  They don't look like they belong on him.  They're too long.  Everything else about Nightbeat?  The bee's knees.

I really like the Porsche mode, flame decals and all.  I don't know what they were thinking when designing the deco on poor Nightbeat.  "You know what would make this Porsche look great?  Flames!"  Even though I'm not a huge fan of the simplistic yellow/blue color scheme, it somehow works here.  You can definitely tell that Hasbro were gearing up for 1990's color trends here.
Nightbeat's Nebulon partner goes by Muzzle.  He's super yellow.  I really lucked out on this Nightbeat, now that I think about it.  I paid a lot less than what he normally goes for, and he's in such great condition.  I know that a lot of Nightbeats out there tend to get a bit of discoloration on the blues, but I have yet to run across any on mine.  Stickers are in amazing shape as well.
Like all of the small Headmasters, what Nightbeat and Muzzle lack in size, they make up for in accessories.  Unlike Siren, to open the cockpit in attack mode necessitates removing the gun on the roof.  It isn't a big deal.
This is one of those special edition Porsche's that only seat one.  And have a yellow interior.  And guns.
The gang's all here!  All of the small Autobot Headmasters together in one place!  It took awhile, but it was definitely worth it!  Sadly, I could have sworn that I had taken a picture of all of the Autobot Headmasters together, but I can't find it.  Which isn't surprising since I took these pics nearly five months ago.  What I'll show you is a picture of all of the Autobot Nebulons together.


So nice to see, and have, all of these guys.  One day, I'll have all of the Decepticon Nebulons.  Then the Japanese ones.  Guess that means I'll have to keep collecting...

Friday, April 15, 2016

MP-11NR Ramjet

Ugh, another Seeker mold.  It's funny that I would have that type of reaction to the reuse of a mold after all of the reuses of the Lamborghini mold that I eagerly snatch up without hesitation.  Then again, I've never really been a fan of the Masterpiece Seeker mold.  The lack of waist articulation, the fact that every time I pick up a Seeker in my case, the freaking torso lifts up all add up to a figure that just doesn't appeal to me for the most part.  Why do I keep buying Seeker mold figures?  Because they look so damn nice.
Out of the box, Ramjet is a stunner.  Many people prefer the iGear versions of the Coneheads, but, in my opinion, their heads are way too small.  MP-11NR's head is in just the right proportion.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the transformation sequence with the cockpit - it actually twists during transformation. 
Poseability isn't something that Seeker's are known for, but I think I did the best I could with these pics.  Then again, I'm sure there will be tons of better poses out there.  I don't put a lot of time in trying to achieve poses with the Seekers.  They're just too fiddly for me.  The large wings actually helped with some of the poses that I tried.  They offered a bit of stability.
I will say that I got fascinated with how Ramjet is able to turn his head.  I mean, that's just a standard feature now, but I really got into it.  Possibly 95% of the pictures I initially took were just of Ramjet turning his head.  Part of me wants to say that I'm joking, but I'm not.  After decades of having a Ramjet that couldn't turn his head, I got stuck on it with this guy.  Sure, every Ramjet released after 1995 is capable of doing such a simple thing, but they don't have the right stupid look on their face.
Yeah, I love the stupid look on Ramjet's face.  It's perhaps the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time.  Ramjet was always a bit of a dullard thug on the show, and the Masterpiece sculpt just really nails it.  I've seen a fair bit of outrage online over the sculpt, and it usually boils down to "He looks stupid!"  That's the point.  Ramjet looks stupid because he is stupid.  Great job, Takara on capturing the look.
Ramjet transforms into a jet.  I know that this is shocking to most, since Seekers are usually known for transforming into recliners, but Ramjet breaks from tradition.  At any rate, I really like the balance Takara found with the missiles.  Ramjet still sports the skinnier rays while in robot mode, but shells can be placed over them while in jet mode to give Ramjet the fat missiles.  They can also be added while in robot mode if you're looking for a more toy accurate look.
Ramjet seems to beset with quality control issues.  Just recently, Takara issued a recall on the figure to fix an issues where the left and right shoulders were swapped.  I've also read reports of landing gears falling off and just over poor quality.  Luckily, mine arrived in pretty good shape.  The shoulders are fine, as is the landing gear.  There is a spot where the left wing tabs in where the paint flaked off a bit, but it isn't major.
Here's a horrible shot of all of the Seekers together.  I didn't feel like pulling out the Wal-Mart MP-03 deco, or the original MP-03.  I do have the Skywarp MP-03 figure in this shot, however.  Sadly, Skywarp is the great miss in my collection.  I passed on him for unknown reasons, and I've been kicking myself over it ever since.
The rest of my MP-11 mold figures seem to feel the same way as they've turned their backs on him. 
Bring on Dirge and Thrust!  Or else Ironhide gets it...