Friday, 22 January 2016

REVIEW: Maketoys MTRM-04 Iron Will


INTRODUCTION
I'll state one thing right off the bat: I'm a massive Headmasters fan. So, there you go. I think it's probably because I was the exact perfect age when the Generation 1 toys were first released and the characters introduced into the supporting fiction, although I'd add that there's just something so incredibly engaging about the Headmaster concept itself. Much of my childhood was spent wishing I myself had a suit that enabled me to transform into a giant robot's head, especially as it would come with the added bonus of a rather spiffy attack vehicle to call my own. Alas, this never happened, but at least now almost three decades later Maketoys have seen fit to bring us the next best thing with their RE:Master line, in the form of Masterpiece-styled renditions of the original Headmaster characters.

Their first effort, Cupola, enjoyed tremendous applause from most of the fans who picked him up, and is regularly viewed as one of the standout third party releases of last year. Indeed, if you've read my review of 2015, you'll know that this rendition of the Headmaster Chromedome was in fact my favourite 3P figure of the year, and for good reason. He was excellently designed, brilliantly realised, and a fun and inventive figure to boot, all with the quality from a Maketoys release that their fans have now come to expect.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

REVIEW: Maketoys MTRM-03 Hellfire


INTRODUCTION
I'll admit that I'm still a relatively new Maketoys convert. Whilst others have faithfully followed the company for years and over dozens of releases, I only hopped on board with the recent advent of their RE:Master series, featuring figures clearly designed to sit alongside TakaraTomy's own Masterpiece line. Still, despite not having much in the way of history, I can honestly say that I've quickly fallen for their releases so far. I found the first in this line, Cupola, to be nothing short of an absolute joy, so much so that he ended up as my favourite third party figure of 2015 (which, of course, you will know if you've read my review of 2015!). I have also been a big fan of the other releases so far, including Visualizers and both their versions of a G1 Hound in the form of Gundog. So, I was naturally very excited to be given the opportunity to say a few words about Hellfire, their homage to a G1 Inferno.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

PHOTO GALLERY: Badcube OTS-08 Sunsurge

Featured in this gallery:
Badcube OTS-08 Sunsurge, TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-10 Optimus Prime (Convoy), MP-11SW Skywarp, MP-11T Thundercracker, MP-12 Sideswipe, MP-12T Tigertrack, MP-13 Laserbeak, MP-15 Ravage, MP-17 Prowl, MP-18 Bluestreak, MP-20 Wheeljack, MP-21 Bumblebee, Hasbro Masterpiece Optimus Prime, MMC Ocular Max PS-01 Sphinx, Maketoys MTRM-02 Gundog, FansToys FT-09 Tesla, FT-07 Stomp (test shot)



This guy was one of my most anticipated figures throughout 2015, and even though it took me until early 2016 to finally lay my hands on him I can honestly say that he hasn't disappointed one bit. I knew I was going to have a lot of fun with this gallery, and hopefully it shows in the pictures... Sunsurge is nothing short of awesome!

I'll no doubt share some more thoughts on this beautiful figure another time, but for now let me just say well done, Badcube, and here's over 140 photos to celebrate this great release.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

REVIEW: FansToys FT-13 Mercenary


INTRODUCTION
Outside of the official TakaraTomy Masterpiece line, there's not much that is greeted with quite the amount of excitement that a new FansToys' release seems to generate. However, it's perhaps also true that many of their recent reveals have also brought at least some element of controversy, with even their most ardent fans claiming that figures like their upcoming Spotter have somehow 'dropped the ball' (which is very much not the case, as you will hopefully know from my review of that figure). Despite almost unanimous praise for the first in their line of Masterpiece-styled Insecticon homages, Grenadier, the sophomore effort has been met with its own share of concern, particularly around the design of the face.

So, have FansToys finally gone and done what everyone was worried about and dropped the ball for arguably the first time, or have they crafted another figure that is a welcome and worthy part of their increasingly large line-up? The answer to this question is perhaps not as surprising as some may think, but let's give this new figure a good old once over anyway.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-14C Clampdown


I haven't been doing reviews that long, but I've already been asked quite a few times if I plan on doing write-ups for various new figures as and when they're released. As much as I would love to do full, in-depth reviews of every single figure, I simply don't have the time! However, I do like to share as much as possible, and I'm obviously keen to try and help out fellow collectors who may be struggling with a particular purchase, and so I present the first in a new series of 'first impressions'. Think of them as like mini-reviews of new figures as and when they're released, with plenty of pictures. Don't worry, the pre-releases and test shots will still get the full works, too!

What better place to kick off than with a brand new TakaraTomy Masterpiece, particularly one as handsome as Clampdown? Yes, it's a repaint (I hear some of you groan!) but as with other figures in this line, it's a repaint that homages a particularly important part of Transformers (or rather, pre-Transformers) history. Let's have a look.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2015


2015 has been an amazing year for Transformers collecting, and it's without hyperbole that I can sit here and say that as of the end of the year, we've really never had it as good as we do right now. Not only have we seen some absolutely phenomenal figures released by both official and third party companies in the last twelve months, but there have also been some frankly astounding reveals of new products yet to come. The TakaraTomy Masterpiece line is now set to ramp up the release schedule like never before, and more and more 3P operators have teased us with their own take on Masterpiece-esque reveals.

Still, as exciting as all that is, now's a great time to take stock of the figures that have already been released. In a tradition followed by many Transformers collectors, I bring you my own list of favourite purchases of the last year (a top six, because, well... Sixo!) as well as highlighting some other figures such as my best retrospective purchases.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece Convoy v1


INTRODUCTION
When the idea of doing retrospective reviews of the TakaraTomy Masterpiece line was first suggested to me, I honestly was'nt sure where and how to start. MP-10 seemed like a possibility, although I personally felt like this was skipping an important and not to mention extended period of the line's history. Not only am I a big fan of the figures that were released prior to Optimus Prime v2 and the apparent 'reboot' that came with him, but I think they're often sadly overlooked in the eyes of many collectors. Yet still, they have their place in the evolution of the line, and in my own personal opinion are by no means made obsolete by MP-10 and subsequent releases.

So, back to the line's beginnings we go. For the purposes of this review, we'll be looking at the figure that most will refer to as MP-1, debuting way back in 2003, although we'll also be talking about the significant (and some would say long overdue) upgrade that it had three years later with MP-4, and the addition of the trailer in the form of a so-called 'Perfect Edition'. There's even a little Hasbro 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime, their version of the original MP-1, thrown into the mix.