Monday, 2 July 2018

REVIEW: X-Transbots Flipout



INTRODUCTION
X-Transbots Crackup only recently arrived as the first competitor in what is already becoming a war of third party Stunticons. Hot on his heels is Flipout, their interpretation of a Masterpiece-styled Wildrider, and it bodes well for the company that they seem to be planning to release these guys in quickfire succession. DX9 have yet to reveal any of their individual designs after their version of Breakdown, let alone the combined mode, whilst new competitor FansToys have only just managed to unveil rough renders of their first two attempts (and going by their history it's going to be a good long while before we see anything concrete). Meanwhile X-Transbots are busy cleaning up. With a hugely attractive price-point, Crackup has been enough to tempt many collectors along the journey, and thus far has been met with a generally positive reception (including my own review earlier this month). But how does their sophomore effort fair? Thanks to the folks at TFs Express, we can now find out.

Monday, 18 June 2018

REVIEW: X-Transbots MX-XIII Crackup



INTRODUCTION
Third party combiners are nothing new. In fact, they've been going for years, with pretty much every big-robot-created-from-several-little-robots team you can think of realised in a non-official format of one kind or another. However, Masterpiece-styled third party combiners are a bit of a more recent revelation, and there's still plenty of real estate left to be conquered as far as realising all of the various characters in show-accurate, appropriately-scaled toy form goes. So when X-Transbots first unveiled their plans to release renditions of the Stunticons, no other company had thus far attempted it in a true MP-style. Sure, there've been some very cool attempts, most notably TransFormMission's recent more-stylised effort, but nothing that screams the look and feel that many of us would be hoping for from the Menasor team.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

MONTH IN REVIEW: May 2018



So, regular readers will no doubt have noticed my gradual (OK, not so gradual) descent into G1 madness over the last six months or so. In truth it's been on the cards for a lot longer than that, but the joy of rediscovering old favourites has proven too much fun for me to hold the floodgates shut too much, and that's to say nothing of how thrilling it has been to discover at least a couple of moulds from decades ago that I'd never even experienced before! Well, that trend continues aplenty this month, and in particular you'll note that we're taking a dizzying trip back to 1987, with a few pit stops in 1988 for good measure. These two years make up one of my favourite eras of Transformers collecting, with an amazing number of truly epic toys and creative concepts hailing from within just a twenty-four-month period. Anyway, before I give the game away, have a read of what's in store and see for yourself how lovely this lot is.

Monday, 30 April 2018

MONTH IN REVIEW: April 2018



I mentioned last month that I may have been on something of a G1 kick of late, and when you're done reading this month's write-up, you'll likely agree that's no exaggeration... in fact there's possibly only so many months of collecting like this one that I can write about before people start pegging me as an actual full-time, no-holds-barred G1 collector. Which I'm really not, honest. There just hasn't exactly been a lot going on in the Masterpiece world of late, has there? Yeah, that must be it. All that said, what did April bring?

Saturday, 31 March 2018

MONTH IN REVIEW: March 2018



OK, so despite all my best protestations to the contrary, those who know me may well have noticed that I have been on something of a G1 kick recently. Do I collect G1? Well, you'll never hear me publicly admit that (it's a running joke), but no doubt there's something exciting about the hunt for minty specimens of vintage items that's been captivating me of late. If you read my review of February then you'll have maybe noticed some of the journey I've been on as part of that rediscovery, but things have definitely kicked up a notch in the month since.

So, what did March bring?

Saturday, 10 March 2018

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-40 Targetmaster Hot Rodimus



One day someone will put together a list of "rather underwhelming new Transformers toy reveals", and I have no doubt that MP-40 deserves a spot somewhere on that list. Seriously now, would anyone have pegged Targetmaster Hot Rod, a seemingly-close repaint of a figure we received almost exactly two years prior as a desirable choice for the next mainline Masterpiece figure? The problem is of course compounded by the lack of other reveals happening at the moment; as it stands this chap is actually the last G1 standard release character on the roster, with only Beast Wars Dinobot and the special edition MP-17+ Prowl left to go before we're potentially in limbo. Whilst that doesn't concern me too much (I have no doubt Takara are cooking up something), I can understand why MP-40 was met with a collective sense of "huh?" when he was announced. After a fantastic last year run with the likes of Grapple, Artfire, Sunstreaker, Megatron... I don't think anyone thought that this is how they'd kick off 2018. But hey, here we are.

Monday, 5 March 2018

REVIEW: Alien Attack STF-01 Firage



Whilst putting this review together, I shared a couple of completed pictures of the figure with some friends of mine. "Who is that supposed to be?" came the immediate response from one of them, despite him having seen Dark of the Moon, the live action Transformers film from which the intended robot hails. Even when I pointed out that the character's name is Dino, they still had precisely zero recollection of him actually being in the movie, and it's perhaps not hard to understand why. If you check on Youtube, you'll find a video which collects all of the Autobot's scenes in that film into one handy package. It runs for a mere three minutes and fifty one seconds (by my rough approximation, that's about one hundredth of the total runtime, no? It just felt like it?), which is especially telling once you realise that most of that is spent in car mode or hanging around in the background. Still, Dino has seemingly made impression enough to be granted his own third party revision, and so here we are. Oh, and if you were wondering about the name, it's definitely not an unfortunate homage to that political pillock, Nigel Farage (puttup!), but instead a mash-up of Ferrari and Mirage, which was rather confusingly the character's name when he was originally realised in official toy form. And with all that cleared up, let's crack on with it!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

MONTH IN REVIEW: February 2018



Having committed to doing a monthly round-up of my collecting as of last month, it now appears that I perhaps picked the absolute worst time to start! February has proven to be an exceptionally busy month, and whilst that's mostly because of family commitments and professional circumstances, thus not affording me much hobby time to begin with, there has also been something of a deluge of new additions to the collection. Some of you may be aware that I have been going through a bit of a reappraisal of my collecting boundaries of late, especially with my Masterpiece line-up now complete save for any new releases. You'll no doubt notice a bit of a shift towards reissues of some vintage figures and a few other examples from years-gone-by, and whilst in truth this has been building up fairly steadily over the last six months or so, it's definitely kicked into gear of late! In fact, I actually acquired a number of additional items from my wants list that don't even feature here, mostly thanks to a group buy from a Japanese retailer with some friends, but I'm keeping them safely tucked away for later down the line when I can find chance to appreciate them a bit more!

All that said, what has February brought?

Sunday, 25 February 2018

REVIEW: Mayhem Mekanics The Unrustables MM01



Whilst I'm sure that many people, like me, tend to appreciate the wonderful world of Transformers as our sole collecting focus, that doesn't mean that we can't branch out occasionally and have a bit of fun, does it? After all, despite my rather exclusive appreciation of the infamous robots in disguise, I do also make time to keep up with the recent Diaclone reboot, for all its joys. I mean, it's all transforming robots at the end of the day, isn't it? And so it is that I find myself excited to check out new third party company Mayhem Mekanics' first figure, which is also the debut of their Unrustables line. And boy, is it an absolute corker.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

MONTH IN REVIEW: January 2018



I've been steadily pumping out reviews of new figures that come my way for several years now, and whilst I do try to put down my thoughts on most stuff in my collection, I don't always find it achievable to write about absolutely everything! It's not even just that hobby time needs to fit into a busy schedule along with family and work and lots of other stuff; it's also that some of the figures I choose to pick up don't really demand a full review to be written about them. However, that doesn't mean that I don't want to take pictures and even share a few thoughts, so I thought I'd try my hand at a quick monthly rundown of stuff outside of the regular reviews, both old and new, whilst chucking in a few other bits for good measure. Hopefully it proves to be an interesting read too, not least because I think it's a good opportunity to showcase some of the more unusual figures that come my way!

So, what has January brought?

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

REVIEW: Unique Toys R-01 Peru Kill



Lets be frank - some third party toys have rather bizarre names, don’t they? I mean, Unique Toys own efforts can be a bit ropey from time to time, with contributions like Allen and Sworder landing with all the elegance and charm of a handgliding rhinoceros, and that’s to say nothing of me still scratching my head over stuff like Gahz’ranka. Not that the competition have it sown up; let’s not forget that whole FansToys Willys debacle after all. Still, I was genuinely mystified by this submission in particular, until a friend reminded me that the character in question makes a notable kill in Peru as part of the movie from which he hails - hence Peru Kill. I’m not sure if I like it better now or not.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-39 Sunstreaker



Ever since MP-12 Lambor was released in 2012, it’s fair to say that the carbots have been a sort-of backbone for the Masterpiece line. Despite some detours along the way, there’s been a relatively steady stream of the fellas, and so much so that the roster of characters still available for the treatment is actually starting to thin out a little nowadays. That said, there’re still some very notable spots left to be filled, although perhaps at long last we can tick off one ambition with this release, as the ‘bot that started it all is finally able to stand side-by-side with his brother. Sunstreaker is here at last.

Monday, 15 January 2018

REVIEW: TakaraTomy C-310E E-Hobby Fire Guts God Ginrai



I don’t collect G1.

Oh, sure, I do just happen to have a number of classic figures from days gone by, which might lead a casual observer to believe that I had at least the beginnings of a small G1 collection, but I don’t collect G1. And sure, I might have been adding to that pile in recent times with a semi-casual interest in some rather interesting and unusual reissues, but that doesn’t count - I don’t collect G1. And yes, I suppose it might be true that stuff like the subject matter of this particular retrospective has captured my interest arguably more than most recent releases, but that’s not a sign of anything - I don’t collect G1.

Friday, 12 January 2018

REVIEW: Maketoys MTRM-09SP Bounceback



If I hadn’t already gushed enough about how generally wonderful and dreamy I find Maketoys Downbeat to be in my original review of that figure, then I’ve certainly cemented the case by sticking him in a fairly prominent position on my list of best figures from 2017. And why not? He’s positively delightful; an absolutely terrific representation of an iconic character that, thus far, we’ve seen no sign of in the Masterpiece line, presuming we ever will. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, I think Downbeat is one of only a few third party toys that pretty much seamlessly blends with official figures in a way that some can only aspire to. If we never see a TakaraTomy Jazz, I know I’ll remain happy with Downbeat as a representation of that character.

Monday, 8 January 2018

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-15E/ 16E Cassettebot Vs. Cassettron



If there's one thing that can be guaranteed in the Masterpiece line, it's that TakaraTomy like to throw us a complete curveball every so often. The history of the official line is peppered with examples where particular releases went against expectations, or were released in a manner that defied the perceived logic of what came before them. Well, I'm not sure there's ever been a better example to show us that really, we have no clue what the future might hold than this release. I mean, c'mon, who seriously would have predicted that a Masterpiece Nightstalker would be on the way any time soon? Yet, here we are.

Monday, 1 January 2018

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2017


I feel like every year just gets better and better. I said the same thing in my Review of 2016, but it really feels like there were some new boundaries pushed in the wonderful world of Transformers collecting in 2017. Just consider that the Masterpiece line continued at quite a pace, not only expanding its roster of Beast Wars figures with Cheetor, but now also branching out into more 2007 movie characters too, with both Optimus Prime and Bumblebee being released this year. That's to say nothing of some of the wonderful G1 releases that we received in the last twelve months, the most talked-about of which was definitely a new (and very much long-awaited) version of Megatron, which arrived to much fanfare.