Wednesday 6 February 2019

MONTH IN REVIEW: January 2019

If you were following my blog last year, then you'll know that in January I started doing a monthly round-up of all the various bits I had added to my collection over the previous month. It started out as a way to give a bit of focus to new toys outside of my regular reviews, and became a great way for me to be able to ensure that proper time and attention was given to showcasing photography for stuff that otherwise might not get a mention on this site. Life being what it is, the whole idea kind of went on hiatus for a little while, but given that we're at the start of a new year again it seemed like a good time to give it another go! So here we are.

So, what's the plan? Well, same as before really - this is just a bit of a rundown of whatever has made it my way during the last month! I've also struck up a bit of a relationship with the wonderful chaps at, and will be supplying them with photos of a number of items moving forward, all of which I will feature here too. I'd definitely recommend giving them a look, as their service has been absolutely top notch in my experience - great prices, excellent shipping options and reliable packing.

With that said let's crack on.


Before we get into the stuff that I actually collected this month, let's take a moment to look at some exciting new reveals that have happened!

TakaraTomy Masterpiece MPM Megatron & Jazz

We knew something big was coming in the MPM line, and I had my hopes well and truly up that it would be a 2007-style Megatron. Needless to say, TakaraTomy did not disappoint by revealing not just that, but a Jazz too! Maybe we'll never see an official G1 MP Jazz, but this guy is certainly looking rather sweet!

So there's lots to talk about here, but no doubt the one feature that has everyone gassing is the fact that you can *literally* split Jazz in two and recreate his death scene at the hands of Megatron. That's an actual feature this toy possesses. Sick and twisted or completely awesome? You decide! Either way I can't wait for both of these.


Perfect Effect PE-DX09B Psychro Knight

Perfect Effect's Mega Doragon was on my top ten of 2018 list, and deservedly so - it's an awesome toy. But what's this? A repainted version resembling Cryotek with remoulded parts and new face sculpts for both modes? Well, that's very tempting...


January actually proved to be a bit of a mad one, with some BIG toys barging in and demanding attention!

FansToys FT-28 Hydra

"Sixshot, show them what a one-robot army is!"

And with that came the character's one-and-done appearance in the Western Generation 1 cartoon (outside of his appearances in the Japanese series Headmasters, obviously); less than thirty seconds of screen-time and one line of dialogue later and Sixshot was forever seared into the brains of impressionable children everywhere, as he single-handedly took down all five Aerialbots whilst switching between his numerous alt' modes in the process. The fact that this was a blatantly shoehorned advert for the toy makes no odds - Sixshot is a supremely cool character, and with a fantastic vintage toy to boot.

Yet I was pretty disappointed when a previous experience of a Masterpiece-style take on him, DX9's Hanzo, failed to charm me, and so have been watching FansToys Hydra with anticipation for some time. I was a little put-off by online reports of QC errors and design problems, but much to my delight he's turned out to be an absolute belter in-hand! That robot mode is superb, and has totally nailed the character and the aesthetic in my opinion. Whatever dubiousness there might be about some of the other modes, there's no denying that they're also surprisingly screen-accurate, and I was pleased to find that the transformation between them is surprisingly efficient too.

He's not perfect by any means - I would definitely cite the weird knees and the small flaps underneath them as areas that perhaps could have been done a bit better. However overall I've been really impressed with Hydra, and especially so as I was somewhat on the fence about him after I'd read other people's feedback. Oh, and did I mention that he's humungous? In fact he's only about a half-head smaller than Masterpiece Ultra Magnus - a one-robot army indeed!

You can find this toy available at Show.Z Store here.

With Masterpiece MP-22 Ultra Magnus


Black Mamba BMB LS-05 Ancient Leader
Say what you want about the Transformers live action films, and especially Age of Extinction, but I can't deny that some of the robot designs most definitely do it for me. The idea of seeing the Dinobots up on the big screen was always an exciting one, and despite the incomprehensible storyline that got them there, it was still a thrill to see a massive fire-breathing dinosaur take charge! Having recently fallen into the notion of Masterpiece-styled toys based on these designs thanks to the MPM line, it was perhaps inevitable that I might start exploring the notion of the many OSKO (or oversized knock-offs to you and me) options out there to fill in the gaps. This particular figure is of course based off the recent Studio Series design, but has been significantly upscaled and redesigned to become more screen-accurate.

So look, it's a bit of a grey area, I admit. Personally I'm not one for straight-up KOs that are designed to be purchased in place of an official toy, as in my mind that is directly taking money away from the brand and therefore jeopardises the prospect of further releases and such (although far be it for me to judge how other people collect). However, I'm distinctly more on board when the design has been altered in such a way to become its own thing entirely, which is really the case with Grimlock here. As well as the larger size there's some extensive new moulding going on, including new weapons, electronics and even a tongue!

I first encountered this toy when some friends and I clubbed together to purchase it for a birthday, getting it shipped to my house before we all met up. Having warned my wife that a big box with the words "BLACK MAMBA" would be turning up at some point soon, I was excited to see how it looked in hand. Well, I was not disappointed, as when it was opened in front of me in the pub I became immediately convinced that I also needed to add it to my collection!

So yes, it's massive, and yes, it's awesome. The fact that it's arguably not quite big enough for a Masterpiece-scaled display based on how ludicrously tall the Dinobots were in the film doesn't even matter to me - I couldn't be much more impressed with this thing than I already am. Besides, it is possible stuff like this could just be *too* big?

You can find this toy available at Show.Z Store here.

With Unique Toys Challenger

With Masterpiece MPM-3 Bumblebee


TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-36+ Megatron
MP-36 Megatron, and perhaps to a even greater extent this "plus" repaint, are such funny examples of the typical online cycle that can be expected in the case of any new Masterpiece reveal. The initial photos go up and seemingly everyone hates on the thing, citing how bad it looks and how much they don't need it. Then said toy gets released and (in most cases) proves to be really good and suddenly the mood changes. I definitely saw it happen with this repainted version, which went from "who cares" to "must have" almost overnight upon release! The fact that I've noticed many other online collectors suddenly being tempted to pick it up speaks volumes for the positive power of word-of-mouth, and it's not hard to understand why it's happened in this case - MP-36+ is awesome!

For the record, I think the mould design is nothing short of absolutely genius. There's good reason I made it my number 1 toy of 2017! No, I don't think the transformation is horrifically overcomplicated, and no, I don't mind the slight bit of untidiness that is evident on his back as a result of it. If you've ever had the thing pass through your hands then you know just how much fun it is, and just want a game-changing design that robot mode really is. Well, MP-36+ does all of that and bring bling into the occasion too!

Perhaps the biggest debate for me with this toy was which head to use. I do love the idea of the toy head, with all its retro vibe, but there's also just something about that cartoon noggin with its piercing yellow eyes that gets me every time. Good thing I can have both then, I guess! Just imagine how incredible this thing will look next to the (inevitable?) MP-44+ toy-style Convoy.

Oh, and for the record - I've transformed my copy three times now and I don't see any paint chipping thus far (touch wood).


FansToys FT-17 Hoodlum
Well, this has been a controversial one! Despite my personal love for TakaraTomy's MP-28 Hot Rod (my top-rated figure from 2016, no less!), I'm also well-aware that not everyone feels the same about it. I often read complaints saying that it has awkward proportions or a flat chest or a terrible face sculpt or drowns cats in the river or whatever. Well, needless to say some folk have been waiting for FansToys to swoop in with Hoodlum for some time now, and finally here he is... and he's a little... disappointing? Certainly the reaction online has been decidedly mixed, with some feeling that the usually consistent FansToys have dropped the ball here, especially on a project that should in many people's eyes have been an open goal, whilst others are swearing that this toy is the best thing ever when lined up next to the (obvious) piece of garbage that is MP-28. So yes, emotions are running high, it seems!

For my own money, this toy does some things well. However, it also does some things very not well. It's difficult to see it as a definitive improvement over MP-28 when that toy has significant advantages over this attempt, but there's also no denying that Hoodlum does at least look really nice on the shelf. He also quite clearly slots into the burgeoning FansToys 1986 crowd easier in terms of aesthetic, which will only be more obvious once their attempt at Blurr lands later this year. I think if anything, this toy has inspired me to crack my knuckles and do a bit more of a comparison piece between the two Hot Rods another time.

You can find this toy available at Show.Z Store here.


Takara TFC-19 Perceptor
Time for a change of pace now, as we're heading into vintage reissue territory! Believe it or not, I've never experienced the G1 Perceptor mould in hand before, and so this has been a real delight. I actually picked up this Transformers Collection reissue some time ago, having found it for an absolute song amidst a number of other such examples. The fact that it's been sitting on the shelf for all this time waiting for a turn in the spotlight is no indictment of a lack of excitement on my part, it's just simply been a question of waiting for the right time to fully appreciate it. And now that I have? Well, I couldn't be happier!

I always loved Perceptor as a character, as to me he was one of the most clear-cut examples of how Transformers showed that it wasn't just the jocks who could be the heroes of the story, and that everyone had a part to play no matter their skillset. So it's a real pleasure to see firsthand that his original toy was such a treasure!

With Masterpiece MP-39 Chip Chase

With TFC-18 Blaster


TF Dream Factory GOD-09 Bonecrusher
I mentioned OSKO Bayformers above, right? Well, despite all appearances to the contrary, this chap isn't actually a KO at all! In fact it's an original design from TF Dream Factory, who just so happen to be more well known for their KOs... simple, right? Let's just say that if this design is any indication, then they're very welcome to continue designing their own stuff! He's incredible!

I'm sure like most Transformers fans who were around at the time, I distinctly remember watching the 2007 movie for the first time in the cinema, and of course the highway scene with Bonecrusher was one of the most memorable bits (not to mention that it played heavily during the trailers for the film too). So to see this unique design fleshed out and made real in toy form is something of a real joy for me, especially as I've never collected mainline movie toys and so therefore never owned any interpretation of the character before.

Both modes just work so incredibly well, and the transformation between them is surprisingly non-nightmarish despite how intensely complex it first appears to be. In fact I surprised myself by being able to reassemble him into vehicle mode form without the need for repeated looks at the instructions or any evidence of sweat on my brow. Then there're the smaller details that just make this chap work, such as the clever articulation in the hands and... feet(?), as well as stuff like the electronics and weapons. Overall it's a cracking package, and one that fits seamlessly with the line-up of OSKO/ MP-style Bayformers I seem to be assembling!

As I've already mentioned, I'm now super excited for the upcoming MPM Megatron, meaning that I'm just a Frenzy short of completing my 2007 Decepticon line-up. Now... where are the glasses?

With Masterpiece MPM-5 Barricade


TakaraTomy Encore Big Convoy
I never collected Beast Wars Neo back in the day (I still don't, I swear!), but I did have a good friend who had at least a fair portion of the line, thus enabling me to experience those toys firsthand. Big Convoy was always one that caught my eye as there's something about the sculpt of the toy that is really very striking, not to mention it being a very unique take on the idea of a Convoy design. So, when it was announced that Encore would be bringing us a reissued version I knew it would be tempting, but it wasn't until I saw that they'd done a complete revisit to the paint scheme that I was fully sold on picking it up, despite it not fitting my typical collection parameters whatsoever. Regardless, I couldn't be happier with him, especially as the new colours really make this mould pop beyond belief. It's a very, very, very pretty toy, and lots of fun to boot. But I really don't collect Beast Wars Neo, I *swear*.

With Beast Wars Neo Longrack


FansToys FT-19 Apache
I had completely resolved to never own this toy. The release came and went, and I was never more than even slightly tempted to pick him up, having become somewhat unenamoured with FansToys around the time due to experiences with overly-complicated transformations and what-have-you. Add to that having picked up competitor OpenPlay Big Spring for a cheap price at TFN 2017 and it seemed like Apache was destined to never join my ranks. Well, what can I say... there's just something about that headsculpt that's too darn tempting after all! So when I saw an inexpensive listing for him recently, I took advantage and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Imagine my surprise when he turned out to be a total delight! I was so worried about not enjoying the transformation, but actually it's really quite simple overall. Equally, any concerns I had about the proportions of the robot mode just melted away as soon as I had Apache in hand - the sculpt is sublime, which is no doubt helped by the stunning finish on him. So yes, the car mode is weak to say the least, but the robot mode and helicopter mode more than make up for it, in my opinion. And Big Spring? He's already found a new home, but I definitely appreciated him whilst he was with me at least. Now there's a new Springer in town, and he's a beaut'! And yes he looks especially good riding a lion to fight a dragon...

With Perfect Effect Mega Doragon and MMC Leo Dux


Hasbro Titans Return Trypticon
Oh my, oh my...

So yeah, this one can also fall into the category of stuff I never expected to pick up but then randomly did. I always thought this toy looked cool, but it wasn't until I saw it with my own eyes at TFN last year that I remember thinking how impressive it really was. However, after it came up for some heavy discounting that I missed out on at the time, I had resolved myself to never buying it unless I found it at an extremely reasonable price again. Having found this copy second-hand and going for comparatively cheap, that time was now. And sure, he's not exactly Masterpiece-scale, but then were any of us really ever holding out hope for a proper MP Trypticon one day? I don't think I have the room in my house! If nothing else, this guy makes me want more WSTs and other tiny-scale characters!

Oh, and he's been exceptionally fun to photograph since he arrived too! I've always loved that scene from Five Faces of Darkness where Trypticon destroys the Ark, and so recreating his battle with the Minibots was a real pleasure!

With X-Tranbots Andras & Eligos, and FansToys Sovereign

With Badcube Slick

Also with Badcube Backland, Masterpiece MP-21 Bumble, DX9 Richthofen, X-Transbots Hatch and Badcube Piper


No actual reviews as such this month, but two best of lists for the previous year!


I mentioned that there had been some BIG toys arriving this month, eh? Well, my favourite just also happens to be the BIGGEST!

With Masterpiece MP-13B Soundblaster

Sentinel Gigantic Action Black Zarak
YEESH! Nothing quite prepared me for the sheer presence that this toy brings! I'd long sought-after this version of Sentinel's Gigantic Action mould, preferring the look of Black Zarak over the original Scorponok on account of how faithfully-recreated his head appeared to be. When I came across a listing for him for an acceptable price on a Japanese site, I pounced and didn't look back. Despite it being a heavy month, no other toy in January has commanded as much attention as this! So what exactly is it?

So yes, official toy, made under licence. And no, it doesn't transform. But no, I don't care! The robot form is just *so good* that you don't even think about it! It's supremely detailed, superbly articulated and above all stupendously fun! I'd honestly be quite up for more examples of massive "titan" Transformers done in this way, especially given how well it works alongside smaller scale toys. Absolutely ridiculous though this figure may be, I just can't help but take a sheer sense of delight from him, making him a total shoo-in for toy of the month.

With FansToys Sovereign

With Fans Hobby Double Evil


So, you may have noticed the cheeky comparison photo with Fans Hobby Double Evil above, eh? Well yes he's already arrived, and so will no doubt take centre stage for the month ahead! I'm also hoping that the DNA Design upgrade kit for Power of the Primes Predaking is finally going to land, so looking forward to that too!


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

Keep in touch:


  1. Oh wow. Dat dragon-bot. I've got to say, that looks even more amazing than Megadoragon and... I must have him. I have absolutely no idea where I'm going to put him, but I must have him. Honestly, with wings spread in dragon mode (as one should display him), Megadoragon takes up an entire shelf! That said, I wouldn't mind at all if Perfect Effect would decide to create a whole set of chromatic dragonbots. :) We're still missing green, black and white for a full D&D style chromatic set.

    Not sure what to think about MP-36+. It invokes the feel of the old toy, certainly, but something rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it's all the chrome in combination with their dirty gray plastic that makes it feel a bit gaudy, especially since it's quite a bit bigger than the toy. I dunno. Last year I picked up the Magten KO, since I felt it was just the right shade of muted silver.

    Bit of a slow month for me personally. I've only got Inventa coming this month to complete my Skylynx. Have you taken a look at MMC's Skylynx, btw?

    1. Sorry for the slow reply! It's funny you should ask about that Sky Lynx as I've eyed it up on more than one occasion. I think I eventually decided to jump on board but then it was out of stock where I would have bought him. Maybe another time!