Friday 1 March 2019

MONTH IN REVIEW: February 2019

I mentioned in January's entry that I had decided to pick-up doing a monthly review of my collecting again, having originally started doing this at the beginning of last year. Well, here we are, straight into February, and what a month it's been - especially on the reveals front! Lots of new and exciting stuff has been unveiled over the last twenty eight days, and a couple of prize pieces added to the collection during that time too.

So, what's the plan? Well, as before 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.

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 MP-45 Bumblebee

Rumours were already circling that TakaraTomy were working on a second version of Masterpiece Bumblebee, with sources citing that this new attempt would feature a cartoon-accurate "chibi" vehicle mode. Well, guess it was true! Unveiled at Wonderfest, we've since been gifted with official photography of the little guy too, and it's fair to say that reactions have been... mixed. OK, that's perhaps putting it politely. For my own part, I'll admit to being rather less than impressed myself on first reveal, although I have warmed to him somewhat over the last couple of weeks.

One thing's for certain - this was a pretty poorly handled reveal, with a badly-transformed test shot out on display at the 'con, and then some unflattering photography landing right after. TakTom are infuriating in this regard, as when they get it right they really nail these reveals. Bumblebee is, however, evidence that they can definitely drop the ball with how they showcase their toys on occasion. So yes, he looks like he has some slightly awkward proportions and a lot of messy back kibble, and yes that face is taking a bit of time to get used to... but I'm also betting on the fact that an in-hand examination will make up for at least a fair few of the perceived shortcomings, as is usually the case with these sorts of things. Or hey, maybe he'll be as terrible as everyone is imagining and I'll immediately fall out of love with toy collecting - who knows?

I will say that I am coming round to that face more and more. Where initially it just looked rather puffy and strange, the more I look at it the more it does remind me the character's cartoon appearance. I will admit to also kinda digging the alt' mode, which is something I didn't think would happen, so there's that. I think it's safe to say this release isn't going to be for everyone, but I'm at the very least going to wait and see more with anticipation.


TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-18+ Bluestreak

If Bumblebee was how not to do a reveal, then MP-18+ Bluestreak was exactly how it should be done! Just drop some rather stunning stock photography out of nowhere and blow us all away! It says something that I'm already super excited for this chap despite having six versions of this mould in my collection already.

Oh, but what's this? He comes with a remoulded head, additional faces and new accessories? Well, colour me impressed. Bluestreak was always going to be a top tier candidate for the cartoon-accurate "plus" treatment, but he really hasn't disappointed now that he's upon us. Flippin' gorgeous.


TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-46 Beast Wars Blackwidow (Blackarachnia)

Pic c/o TFW2005

Another new toy that was unveiled at Wonderfest was of course MP Blackarachnia, which was a total surprise - albeit a very welcome one, as the Masterpiece Beast Wars line is, for me, the most exciting thing going on right now in terms of collecting! It's great that new moulds are being unveiled in relatively quick succession, and Blackarachnia looks set to be another intriguing addition. We haven't seen the spider mode yet, but hopefully it lives up to expectation as much as that robot mode does! Well, most of it anyway... I'm really not sure why the designers felt the need to give her nipples! And yes, people have already spent who-knows-how-much-time digging out one blurry screenshot where apparently there's evidence that it's cartoon accurate, but I can't say I really care - it's still pretty tasteless. Still, here's hoping that particular element looks better once the whole thing moves beyond prototype stage. Overall though, pretty exciting stuff!


TakaraTomy Masterpiece Atmos MP-10 Convoys

OK, what on Earth is this all about, eh? Another Wonderfest reveal, although this time one that left more questions that answers! Basically, three new recolours of MP-10 Convoy were debuted at the 'con, each corresponding to a design of Nike Atmos trainers. Whilst not entirely unprecedented given that TakTom have previously partnered up with the likes of BAPE, a Japanese clothing store, it's still a bit of a surprise and especially given that we have a new mould of the Convoy character on the horizon. Still, the designs themselves are looking mighty jazzy!

MP-10ASD Convoy (atmos safari DUCK CAMO Ver.), pic c/o TFW2005

MP-10ASE Convoy (atmos safari ELEPHANT CAMO Ver.), pic c/o TFW2005

MP-10ASV Convoy (atmos safari VIOTECH CAMO Ver.), pic c/o TFW2005

It now turns out that what we're seeing here are officially titled as MP-10ASD Convoy (atmos safari DUCK CAMO Ver.), MP-10ASE Convoy (atmos safari ELEPHANT CAMO Ver.) and MP-10ASV Convoy (atmos safari VIOTECH CAMO Ver.), and will all see release in 2019. Wow. I haven't yet decided if they're for me or not, but I have to be honest and say I do like the designs very much.

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, but then we just had official photography of another version too! Yes, it looks like MP-10ASL Convoy (atmos safari LEBRON JAMES Ver.) will also be making its debut in the remainder of the year. So there you go!


And some other stuff...

I'm lumping these three in together purely because they weren't so much new reveals as they were more definitive looks at previously-unveiled stuff... but that doesn't mean that I'm not super excited about all of it! First up was Fans Hobby revealing the prototype of their MB-11 figure, intended as a homage of God Bomber, the Masterforce comrade of Ginrai (the sort-of equivalent of Powermaster Optimus Prime in Japan). This toy is of course designed to fit alongside Fans Hobby's own Power Baser, and is shown here in combined vehicle and robot mode forms with the black version of that figure.

Not only does the individual Godbomber mode look excellent all unto itself, bringing a sense of completeness that even the original version arguably lacked to some extent, but the combined vehicle mode looks astonishing (especially when you consider the side of Power Baser by himself!). Then we have the God Ginrai combined mode which... well, see for yourself. I cannot wait.

Then we had something which I've been waiting to see for a long time... TFC have had their St Commander figure in production for a while now, with the original version released only recently in traditional Optimus Prime red & blue. Whilst I was seriously tempted by that version, especially after it was met with rave in-hand reviews, I'm so glad I patiently waited for the promised green camo' version you see below. It looks glorious!

So what's the deal with this thing? Well, it's based on a piece of artwork by the legendary Don Figueroa, reimagining the classic GI Joe toy Rolling Thunder into a transformable Optimus Prime design. That artwork keeps the original Joe toy's green colour scheme, so it seemed like a preferable option for this third party update, in my eyes. This thing looks absolutely incredible, and I can't wait to finally have it in hand soon. Oh, and it seems quite compatible with TakaraTomy's Diaclone reboot line too, so that's pretty swish!

Then finally we have an updated look at the finished prototype for X-Transbots Deathwish, shared by the designer on Twitter. Regular readers will now how excited I've been by this company's Stunticon line-up, and this chap looks to be another cracking addition!

That robot mode is just pure Dragstrip perfection, and the vehicle mode looks utterly sublime! Dare I say I think this might be my most anticipated figure of the entire crew so far. Oh, and before anyone asks - yes, that driver is removable from the vehicle mode! Bring it on.


OK, let's crack on and see what's been added to the collection this month!

TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-20+ Wheeljack
Say what you will about the "plus" redecos of the Masterpiece line but there's no denying that they're cracking on with them these days, and Wheeljack was always going to be a main contender for the treatment. For what it's worth, I do think that the recooked carbots we've received so far have mostly proven themselves as valuable second attempts, with the possible exception of Prowl who really didn't vary all that much from the original version in all honesty. Fortunately Wheeljack proves a worthy candidate yet again, with a surprisingly reimagined colour scheme meant to closer resemble his on-screen appearance.

So I'll be honest and say I was distinctly underwhelmed by what I had seen of photos prior to his release, especially as I was rather worried it all looked a bit too plain. I was pleased then to crack open the box and be blown away by how nice it all seems in hand. The major selling point of these releases is the extra coat of paint they receive that adds a pizazz to the proceedings, meaning they outshine the originals quite comfortably in terms of finish. Wheeljack is no exception, and makes MP-20's bare white plastic all the more obvious. Then there's stuff like his exceptionally gorgeous blue eyes, which just honestly melt my heart... there's so much character in that noggin and this deco' brings it out superbly. In truth I do miss the racing decals, but there's no denying this repaint is still a worthy purchase in my opinion, and makes me even more excited for Bluestreak!

With MP-20 Wheeljack

With MP-17+ Prowl and MP-12+ Lambor


Hasbro Generation 1 Targetmaster Quake & Quickmix (1988)
I actually picked up these two lads a little while ago, but it was only in the last month that I finally found time to give them a bit of love and attention, and also got round to applying their stickers! Yes, I'd picked both of these handsome specimens up with decals unapplied, so it was a fun experience to complete the look after all these years. They're both toys that I was already familiar with, but owning them again in such superb condition is a definite thrill.

Whilst the 1988 Targetmasters don't quite sit at the same level as their prior year predecessors in my book, they're still remarkably fun toys and worthy of picking up. Quickmix was the final toy of the Autobot ranks that I needed for this subline, whereas Quake makes me all the more eager to pick up a decent Spinister and Needlenose now.

Of the two, there's no doubt for me that Quake is the better toy, and probably reigns as the best of the '88 Targetmaster class overall. If nothing else, there's a very cool feature where his two gun buddies can sit in place of his tank turret in vehicle mode that just adds an element of fun to the proceedings that's hard to match. Wonderful stuff.


X-Transbots MX-XIV Flipout
There's not a lot I can say about this toy that I didn't already mention in my full review of it back in July last year. So wait, why did I decide to pick up another copy? Pretty simple really - the test shot that I still had in hand was a little worn in places, with paint chipping quite evident on the chest from before he made it to me, and a loose left foot. Not major problems, but enough that made the opportunity to pick up a cheap retail copy all the more tempting, and especially as I have already managed to move my test shot copy onto a loving new home in the process. So, all's well that ends well.

Oh yeah, and I'm definitely going in on the stunning G2 version of this chap too! Can't wait!

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


Hasbro Generation 2 Jazz & Starscream
Another example of toys I actually collected some time ago but only just got around to fully appreciating in the last month. Jazz I picked up at TFN last year, and Starscream just shortly after if I recall correctly. However it's taken me until now to find the time to apply their decals and give them the proper once over, but the best things come to those who wait, as they say. G2 may be silly in many ways, but there's still no denying that the ridiculous nineties-ness of it all has its charm and appeal even today. Seeing these moulds from the very earliest days of Transformers kitted out with neon colour schemes and adorned with over-the-top weaponry is just too much fun! Oh, and it's my first time owning a G2 Starscream, so there's a definite thrill that comes from adding him to my burgeoning Seeker ranks.

With G2 Optimus Prime

With TakaraTomy TFC #9 Starscream & Encore 04 Starscream


Hasbro Platinum Edition Astrotrain & Blitzwing
Wouldn't you know it, but these chaps have also been sitting on the shelf for some time, just waiting for the right play day to arrive! Like a lot of people, I picked them up extremely cheaply - in fact I think my MISB set cost me just a tenner shipped, which is a total bargain for these two wonderful 'bots. So yes, the colour schemes are a little peculiar, but I also think they're really neat. In fact, I'd wholeheartedly welcome more G1 moulds being reissued with bizarre new paint jobs!

I've seen it suggested that Astrotrain is meant to be a homage of Victory's Machtackle, though there's no evidence to firmly back that up from what I can tell. Either way, these two are just a bit of fun, and especially worth the effort at the price they go for. Hard to say no really, isn't it?


DNA Design DK-07 upgrade kit for POTP Predaking
Like many collectors I was eagerly awaiting an upgrade kit for Power of the Primes Predaking. The toy itself is great, but there's no doubt that there were some aspects that you just knew could be bettered by a clever third party company. DNA Design are one of two such providers that I have had good experiences with in the past (with their Legends Fortress Maximus kits, specifically), and their offering does the majority of what I was looking for here. It gives you new hands for the combined mode, larger, more articulated wings, fillers for the abdomen and back sections and, crucially, the sword that was distinctly missing from the official toy release! There's even a set of attachments that can be installed inside the combined mode's arm sections to ensure the ratchet joints are working better than they normally do, which is most welcome! Overall it's a good set and is very easy to install, but unfortunately suffers from a couple of notable QC problems. My copy has a few obvious scuffs and scratches in parts, particularly on the wings, and the hands are annoyingly a little loose in the wrists. Still, there's no denying that it does make Predaking look even more formidable that he already did, and it's definitely a welcome addition overall.

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


KFC KP-17 Great Swordsman upgrade kit for MP-24 Star Saber
Another upgrade kit here, and another item that I have had kicking around for... years, actually, in this case! I first picked this kit up shortly after I received KFC's own Simba, mostly because the joints featured inside MP-24 are notoriously not up-to-snuff, and especially so for the rather impressive Victory Saber combined form. That it's taken me quite so long to install is perhaps a tell of how much I don't enjoy doing this kind of stuff in truth, even if the results are most welcome. In this case it requires unscrewing and reassembling a fair portion of the toy, which wasn't exactly a process I was relishing. Still, he's definitely a lot tighter now - in fact, the hips are too tight if anything! He certainly stands and poses way sturdier than ever before, and feels how he should have done right out of the box. Oh, and that longer blade for his sword is a nice addition too!


Wei Jiang Soarer
As an alternative to the DNA Design upgrade kit above, I also had the chance to check out this curious specimen this month! Wei Jiang are notorious for upgrading and usually upscaling various official toys into something rather exciting, though it seems they've gone a slightly different route with their Power of the Primes knock off. Firstly, it's not a simple "OSKO", but it does feature a lot of new parts that do make it ever-so-slightly larger overall, most notable in bird and arm modes. In fact, the more you look at it in comparison to the official toy, the more the differences become apparent. Perhaps the most welcome changes are the way in which the gaps in the legs and arms have been cleverly filled in, not to mention how much tighter the joints are overall, immediately making this release seem more premium than the official version. They've also redesigned elements such as the wings and added articulated fingers to the combined mode hand, though these elements are done slightly better on the DNA Design upgrade kit, in my opinion. Overall, I don't think there's enough going on here that makes this a necessary upgrade if you're already happy with your official toy, but if you're undecided about which to get then there's no doubt this version offers some tempting updates to the mould.

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

With Hasbro POTP Divebomb (left)


Mastermind Creations R-34 Cylindrus
Here's another toy that crossed my path this month, giving me a chance to take a few photos in the process! Whilst not my normal kind of thing, there's no denying that this is a great design, with two cracking modes and a surprisingly simple transformation in between. So I confess... I never did read the More Than Meets the Eye comic! I know, I know... I absolutely have it on my reading list for another day, and in fairness was all lined up to give it a go some time back before we had a child, and then life kinda took over and... yeah, no excuse. Anyway, despite not being overly familiar with the fiction, this is still a design I can get on board with, and no doubt a very fun toy to boot!

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


Of course, there was one toy this month that both literally and figuratively towered above the competition...

Fans Hobby MB-08 Double Evil
Woah, mama. If there's one thing I can say for Fans Hobby, it's that they don't do things by halves! The absolute size of this chap is the first thing to get your head around; it's one big hulking chunk of robot! The second thing is just how much play value and attention-to-detail they've managed to cram into one toy. Seriously, there's a lot of love poured into this thing that tells you they really wanted to put out an awesome finished product. Everything including that smooth-as-butter transformation, the working tank treads, the small missiles in places you wouldn't even anticipate them, the way every accessory has a storage place at all times, the compartments in the tank for the radar dishes, the way the Godmasters can pilot their respective vehicle modes, the way the engines can actually activate hidden features on the robot mode, the way the gun transforms... it's just epic stuff all round.

Honestly I could gush on about how wicked Double Evil is all damn day. He arrived at the very beginning of February and it's been difficult for me to put him down since. That's an ode to just how much play value can be ringed out of this epic toy. It helps massively that the transformation is just too easy and super intuitive. In fact when I took it round to a friend's house mid-month, he had absolutely no trouble in moving it between modes without instructions. Then there's the fact that each subsequent mode is just gargantuanly impressive in its own right... well, it's a lot to take in.

Is there a bad thing to say about this guy? Well, the price is a bit of a kick in the proverbials, it's fair to say. But what you get for that chunk of change is an absolutely awesome 'bot with some amazing features and a veritable ton of fun, so it's your call. I couldn't be happier with him myself, with Fans Hobby yet again showing that they are top tier third party material.

With Gigantic Action Black Zarak

With FansToys Sovereign

With FansToys Hydra

With Fans Hobby Power Baser


Couple of vintage reviews this month, and one big gallery!


The biggest thing on the horizon for me now is Masterpiece Beast Wars Megatron, but sadly that won't be released until the very end of March so definitely won't make it to me in time for my next monthly round-up. Still, I do have one pretty exciting thing on the way that should be here in time...


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

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  1. Wow - What an update. So much gorgeous photography. Thank you Sixo!

  2. Damn! I'm not feeling so bad about pre-ordering MP-20+ now (although I can say confidently I would have preferred the first expression, if it were still available).

    1. He's really lovely in hand, hope you're enjoying him!

  3. The Atmos figures aren't based on "new design[s] of Nike Atmos trainers". They're retro. The Duck Hunter design, for example, was released in 2013, while the Viotech design goes back to 2003.

    1. Ah gotcha - thank you for the correction. I'll make an amend! :)