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.


NEW REVEALS THIS MONTH
Before we get into the stuff that I actually collected in May, let's take a moment to look at some exciting new reveals that have happened this month! And boy, was it a month for Masterpiece...

TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-29+ Laserwave & MP-36+ Megatron


Masterpiece Megatron was my favourite figure from last year, but even such an incredible release was not without its detractors. A lot of people were a bit disappointed that it didn't have a sparkly finish and a more "toyetic" vibe. Well, now's your chance, as TakaraTomy have seen fit to grace us with a fully souped-up "plus" version with a proper blingy toy deco'. And yes, it looks bloody amazing! What's that you say? The price? Er, yes, it's pretty horrific to say the least, but at least the toy itself is looking mighty fine... butt insignia and all.


As if that wasn't enough, we're also getting a toy colours Laserwave (or Shockwave, if you absolutely must). This was another one that many people bemoaned when the original version was released, clamouring for a darker purple and wishing upon a re-release. Now it's finally happening, it seems some sections of the fandom are still not quite happy for one reason or another, but for my part I do think this is looking pretty tempting. I love the mould and so I'm up for a re-do, even though I will admit I would have preferred a grey version. Oh and it's also a shame about that price, yet again - expensive times ahead!




TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-43 Beast Wars Megatron

Photo c/o chohenken.com

So, toy colours G1 Megatron is thrilling and all, but this guy definitely takes the biscuit for best-looking evil despot Masterpiece reveal from the last 30 days or so. I mean, seriously now - look at this thing. Even if you (rather mistakenly!) hate Beast Wars with a passion as powerful as several suns, you cannot surely deny that this is a pretty toy. For those of us that love the show, it's a definite marvel, every inch of what we have hoped & dreamt of for at least several decades. Seeing the character so convincingly realised in 3D form is just too exciting and has immediately put this toy to the very top of my wishlist, maybe even on par with the also-excellent-looking Dinobot. What a time to be a collector.

TakaraTomy Masterpiece Convoy v3

Photo c/o TFW2005

Whoo boy, this has turned out to be a controversial one, eh? Yes, the big news that TakaraTomy were soon to unveil a THIRD version of Masterpiece Convoy (or as we know him, Optimus Prime) sent shockwaves through the internet, which reached its peak upon the reveal of the actual prototype at a recent toy fair. Many loved it, many hated it, many questioned why we even needed such a thing in the first place. It's a fair question, I guess, although I have to say that the toy itself looks stupendous, in my opinion. Now look, I love MP-10 - that's fairly well-documented - but something about this new version looks distinct and different enough to make it worthwhile in its own way. There's definitely more than a few engineering feats going on that I cannot wait to uncover, and no doubt it will be a blast seeing how it all works out. Bring it on, I say.

Photo c/o TFW2005


TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-10G Golden Lagoon Convoy


What's that? There was another Masterpiece Optimus unveiled this month? It was... this thing? Er, yeah. It's real, and it's happening. Ah well, once more unto the breach I guess.


ADDED TO THE COLLECTION THIS MONTH
So, now onto the new stuff from the month. I mentioned 1987-1988, right? I was not kidding. In no particular order...

Takara Super-God Masterforce Blood (1988)


I’m going to come right out and admit it - when I was a child I thought Pretenders sucked. Actually never mind my youth, that opinion stuck with me right through to adulthood, although I have to say I’m not quite sure when it softened. Regardless, I decided some time ago that I would eventually reacquaint myself with some of the original toys in order to experience them anew with a more positive paradigm, and what better way than to start with one of the toys I have actually never owned before. Most Western fans will know this chap as Bomb Burst, but I have opted to instead collect the Takara Masterforce releases of the wave 1 Pretenders, mostly because of how utterly amazing the packaging is. And you know what? It’s been an absolute joy. Yes, the inner robots are very simple and don’t feature much in the way of transformation, and yes, the outer shells are a nightmare to find in minty condition without any paint rubbing, but yes, there’s a charm and fun factor to these guys that simply can’t be beat. I’m just amazed it took me so long to see it!







Hasbro G1 Targetmasters Misfire & Triggerhappy (1987)


One subgroup of Transformers that I most certainly did enjoy as a child was Targetmasters! I’ve mentioned before that there has always been something about the “little man teaming up with a big robot” concept that’s appealed hugely to me, and there’s not much that’s cooler than those little men contorting to become their weapons. Triggerhappy was a well-known and fondly-remembered toy on my part, but Misfire is another new experience for me, and a most welcome one. It’s a shame that their Targetmaster partners are so utterly fragile to transform, but I’m working on picking up a second set of the little chaps to avoid having to do just that, with a spare Blowpipe already secured and in hand. Now I just need a set of labels for Triggerhappy (he’s looking a little naked at the moment) and then it’s time to think about Slugslinger... maybe there’ll be an update on him next time, eh?







Hasbro G1 Targetmasters Crosshairs & Sureshot (1987)


So as if my love of Targetmasters only extended to the bad guys. In fact I was much more familiar with the Autobot toys during my youth, and so it was a treat to experience minty versions of both these chaps once again. There are so many things to love about these two, from the simple but effective ways the Targetmasters transform, through to the creative proportions and physiques of the ‘bots themselves (witness ol’ dad-bod Crosshairs vs the infinitely more athletic Sureshot). There’s also some clickety-clackety goodness to be had when it comes to converting these chaps between modes, in a way that other toys just wish they could be as satisfying. Absolutely top drawer stuff, and a definite couple of ticks off the wishlist.









Hasbro G1 Monsterbot Repugnus (1987)


Confession time - I’ve never owned the G1 Monsterbots before. I love the character designs and have long looked at the original toys as a source of intrigue, so when the opportunity to pounce on a Repugnus at a great price came up, it seemed silly to pass. And would you just look at this handsome chap? Not handsome in the traditional sense, mind, but there’s definitely something acutely charming about the big bug man. I’m sure that monster face is suppose to look fierce, but I can’t see it as anything other than absolutely adorable. Sadly my wife is less enamoured, having described him as a “troll with red man boobs”. Even monsters have feelings, I bet. Let’s see how she feels about Grotusque and Doublecross once I manage to track them down in similar condition, eh?





Takara Super-God Masterforce Warriors Aquastar, Bullet & Zetca (1988)


So here’s something a little unusual for you. I'm guessing most Western collectors will be familiar with the G1 Powermasters, if only by reputation (Optimus Prime was one of them, after all). However, I bet not everyone is so au fait with these little chaps, which were released individually as part of TakaraTomy's Masterforce line-up. They're repainted versions of the partners you'll find packaged with the three regular-sized Autobots, and are essentially alternate engines to insert into any Powermaster toy you wish. You'll notice I've chosen a couple of examples for the photos here, and there's something about the different engines that adds a real new spin to familiar toys. Of particular note is Nucleon Quest Super Convoy, still one of my personal favourite toys of all time, looking positively spiffing with a little help from Zetca. Oh, and did I mention that they have the cutest boxes imaginable?



With Takara Masterforce Doubleclouder

With Hasbro Powermaster Slapdash

With Takara Nucleon Quest Super Convoy




TOY OF THE MONTH
So I mentioned that you'd definitely notice a bit of a G1 theme going on, eh? Well, the top spot this month is no different...

Hasbro G1 Headmasters Mindwipe, Skullcruncher, Apeface & Snapdragon (1987)


So as much as I love Targetmasters, Headmasters will I think always reign supreme as the ultimate little people gimmick in my mind. There’s just something so oddly unique about the whole concept that really appeals to me that I just love the original toys and in particular the design of the heads themselves. So when I decided to get back into G1 collecting in a big way, it was inevitable that these chaps were going to be fairly high on my hit list. What I didn’t anticipate was picking up all four of these specimens from the same (very helpful) source, along with a couple of the other bits on this month’s list. They’re in top condition and a veritable joy to behold, exactly the kind of find I was after. It’s been such a pleasure to rediscover these particular toys, all of which I have fond memories of, that there was no way that they weren’t going to be my purchase of the month. Perhaps it’s cheating a little to include all four as the top spot, you say? Well sod it, it’s my list.


















STUFF FOR NEXT MONTH
June is shaping up to be a big month... a very BIG month. As in BIG. Big toys... yeah, look, Predaking is on the way, OK? And I couldn't be more excited!


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And that's it! Thanks for reading, and here's to another exciting month to come. TTFN.


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12 comments:

  1. Utterly OUTSTANDING photography. Vintage catalogue quality in terms of how stirring it is.

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    1. Far, far too kind - thank you. It's been a fun month!

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  2. Wow, G1 nostaglia all the way to 11!

    Love G1 toys, love your pics.

    Oh, bought the KFC Horrorcons, still need to unbox them. I blame you..........

    Keep up the good work

    Doucoo

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    1. Cheers, dude! Appreciate the kind note. Enjoy those Horrorcons!

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  3. Oh, the decepticon headmasters! What a bunch of lovely, chunky and sturdy figures. And I should know, as I put them through a lot of intentional and unintentional abuse during my childhood. And they survived through it all. The horrorcons were my absolutely favorites, and only later in life I found out they were supposed to represent King Kong and Godzilla.

    When KFC announced their masterpiece versions of those lovely boys, I just had to have them... though I doubt those versions would last as long as the originals did on the playground. :D

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    1. Yeah I absolutely LOVE the G1 Headmasters. The KFC versions are cool too, no doubt, but they don't quite do it for me in the same way, somehow!

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  4. As an aside, your young and adult self were quite right in saying Pretenders suck. Still, I'm glad Hasbro and certain 3rd party characters have done a great job giving these characters a second life as actual proper transformers (looking at you, DNA Designs!).

    Still, I will always have a soft spot for Octopunch. :)

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    1. Haha, agree to disagree on that one! I love those Pretenders now. But I can still understand why others don't. :)

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  5. Incredible additions! I have to ask: where are you getting these G1 wonders in such mint condition?

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    1. Thanks very much! It's not all from one source, although a fair chunk of this month's was from one collector.

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