Wednesday, 1 May 2019

MONTH IN REVIEW: April 2019



So we're over four months into the year already, and I'm certainly trying to keep the momentum going with the regular blog update! In fact this month I think I must've been bitten by the photography bug, as I've well-and-truly overdone it in terms of the sheer numbers of pics I've stuffed into this article... but perhaps that just says how much I've enjoyed some of the toys that have come my way, eh? Read on and you'll see just how much!

As mentioned in previous months, I've also struck up a bit of a relationship with the wonderful chaps at showzstore.com, 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.
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NEW REVEALS THIS MONTH
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!

Transformers x Ghostbuster MP-10G Optimus Prime Ecto-35 edition


We'd known that this toy was coming for some time, although it was due to make its official debut at SDCC during the summer. However, thanks to Autobase Aichi we were gifted with some sneaky preview pics of the toy in hand, revealing its striking new deco'! I have to say I was definitely reserving judgment on this one, as the whole premise of a Ghostbuster-themed MP-10 repaint sounded at least a little hokey to me, but boy it does look good. It's also great to see that it comes with a trailer, as well as several new accessories including a remoulded Roller to resemble a ghost trap! That's pretty neat.


So, yes, I'm quite excited. Another MP-10 variant for the collection, I guess! If nothing else though, it's also made me kinda want to track down the oversized Korean variant of G2 Optimus Prime that was released back in the nineties; the resemblance is almost... spooky!



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ADDED TO THE COLLECTION THIS MONTH
OK, let's crack on and see what's been added to the collection this month...


TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-10 ASL Convoy Atmos Safari Lebron Ver.
This toy was revealed out of nowhere only a couple of months ago, but immediately caught my intrigue. Yes, we've had numerous MP-10 repaints by now, and yes, we all know that some of you think it's ridiculous - you don't need to point it out again. There are those of us who actually enjoy collecting toys like this, and for my money this guy's a beaut'! That knock-out orange colour scheme is really something in hand, and it's nicely offset with some lovely touches such as the animal print, branded logos and non-symmetrically-coloured lights. And hey, it's not like it's a new thing that Convoys are blinged out with corporate branding, is it?


"Lebronvoy" was actually a relative effort to track down, of course, having only been offered for sale in Japanese shops and immediately scalped for big bucks on the aftermarket. Fortunately I managed to find a decently-priced listing and patiently waited for him to arrive. Unfortunately mine has a bit of a defect in that it was missing a wing mirror straight out of the box, and even an on-line appeal to TakaraTomy themselves yielded no fruit in trying to address the issue. I did get a nice response from a fellow collector who it seems will be able to help though!


So minor issues aside, I'm suitably pleased with this release. It'll be exciting to see the other Atmos Convoys added to the ranks too!







With TakaraTomy Masterpiece Sunstorm


With Masterpiece MP-711 Convoy, MP-10B Black Convoy, MP-10 Convoy, G1 e-HOBBY "Shining" Magnus, G1 Ultra Magnus, G1 Jafcon Convoy, Chronicle Convoy

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Planet X PX-C01 Ismenios
If you read last month's entry, you'll know that I was eyeing up the G1-esque upgrade kit that Planet X had unveiled at TFCon recently, which made this guy more than tempting enough for me to consider picking up. Well, guess what? Decision made.


OK, so the upgrade kit isn't out yet, but that doesn't mean Ismenios isn't still a fun toy even with his more IDW stylings (which some people will no doubt prefer!). Both modes are solid as anything and the conversion between the two is pretty simple and certainly non-offensive, so that's always a bonus. He's not perfect by any means, but there is enough fun stuff going on here to keep me interested overall, and I've found myself fiddling with him quite a bit over the last month or so. I'm definitely missing those G1-style wings and no doubt I wish he was bigger so that he could better stand-up to the likes of Masterpiece Star Saber, but overall I think Planet X have done a really nice job with this one.

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









With FansToys Sovereign

With Masterpiece Star Saber



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Hasbro G2 Sideswipe & Inferno (1993/4)
Regular readers will know that I have also been on a bit of a G2 kick of late. After I picked up G2 Optimus Prime last year, there've been a few other bits that have come my way since, including recent acquisitions of Jazz and Starscream. Well, after a couple of cheap listings popped up it was time to add Sideswipe and Inferno to that list!


G2 Sideswipe has always been a want of mine, to be fair. I love his colour scheme and of course have strong memories of his (brief) portrayal in the Generation 2 Marvel comic from the time. Despite owning the Masterpiece version of this character, it was definitely a thrill to finally pick up the vintage original in all its glory!


Inferno was a bit of a curiosity of mine too! I'm incredibly familiar with the G1 version, so it was intriguing to finally be able to compare its latter-day alternative in hand. I knew that they would be very similar, with the G2 water pistol the only really notable difference, but it was surprising to see how apparent the lighter shade of red is in hand, especially as it barely registers in photos. He's also got remoulded hands to remove the spring mechanism, and sports his own name in typical G2-style branding. Overall, a really nice purchase and a great way to flesh out the burgeoning G2 ranks.







With Takara e-HOBBY "New Year" Lambor

Also with e-HOBBY Tigertrack & "New Year" Red Alert

With G2 Optimus Prime

With Takara Collector's Edition Inferno



With G2 Jazz





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Hasbro G1 Pretender Beast Catilla (1988)
It was only last month that I showcased the lovely new Chainclaw that I'd picked up, but now Catilla is here to join him! I was pretty excited about this one as I did actually have Catilla as a kid, so there's a definite nostalgic appeal for me. That aside though he's also a great-looking toy, with a handsome robot mode and a significantly-less-dubious beast mode than Chainclaw's. It's a thrill to finally have all four Beast Pretenders added to the collection, although I think this guy might remain my favourite of the lot.



With G1 Chainclaw




With G1 Chainclaw


With G1 Carnivac

Also with G1 Snarler

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KO Victory C-326 Galaxy Shuttle
I've been steadily picking up toys from the G1 Victory line for a while now, but I'm reaching the point where the ones left are looking rather pricey indeed... including stuff like Galaxy Shuttle. Whilst it's not my normal mode of operating, I can't say that it hasn't made this rather infamous KO look all the more tempting, particularly as it's a seemingly perfect recreation of the original toy! So I finally bit the bullet and decided to pick up both this and the Masterforce Browning KO below. Sue me.


As it turns out, this guy is an absolute delight. There's no denying it's a robot mode for the ages, with a supremely G1-esque headsculpt, but both the shuttle and base modes are tons of fun too. So it might be wrong, but it feels so very right.











With the WST Dinobots

With G1 Road Caesar & Landcross

With TFC Perceptor


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KO Masterforce D-308 Browning
As I mentioned above, this was the second KO of an established G1 toy that I picked up this month. Like Galaxy Shuttle, Browning is known for commanding absolutely absurd prices on the aftermarket, so until such a time that a suitable option presents itself to me this will do quite nicely. The toy itself is lots of fun, and definitely gives the likes of Megatron a run for his money as the superior G1 gunformer. The detailing is superb, the transformation is simple but creative, and the robot mode oozes personality (no doubt helped along by the fact that Browning is uniquely a 1:1 scale character, appearing as small as a real gun in the cartoon). Wonderful.




With Chronicle Megatron


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X-Transbots MX-XIV G2 Flipout
I've spent a fair few pages of this blog highlighting my enjoyment of the X-Transbots Stunticons so far, and we're only two members of the team down at this point! Well, the G2 versions are proving to be just as fun, with Crackup and now Flipout recreated faithfully in their bright nineties colour schemes. The fact that the vintage team were never properly released in these colours makes them that much more delightful. I can't wait to see them all assembled!


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




With Maketoys Maestro

With X-Transbots G2 Crackup

With Masterpiece G2 Lambor



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Takara Encore 08 Meister
So, this has been a bit of a saga. I originally bought an Encore Meister (or Jazz to you and me) around the middle of last year, for what seemed like a really great price considering how marked up they can be. Sadly, the seller in that case completely misrepresented the condition of the toy in question, and instead of a new, sealed item I received a very worn and very dirty copy. Cue much back and forth as the seller was initially unwilling to offer a refund and definitely did not see that it was his responsibility to pay for return shipping... anyway, long story short the item was returned and I was not left out of pocket (though definitely out of patience by the end). Fast forward to now and I finally decided that it was time to give this purchase another go. However, I wasn't content with just leaving my reissue Jazz sporting the "Meister" labels that feature in place of the classic vintage "Martini" emblems, and so decided to do a bit of an upgrade job.


It wasn't difficult, but did involve removing the tampos from the doors and replacing them with repro stickers instead (along with a few other repros in place of the Encore versions). End result? A pristine vintage-style Jazz, which is exactly what I wanted. I'm super pleased with how it turned out!





With Chronicle Convoy

With G2 Jazz

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Hasbro G1 Targetmasters Landfill & Spinister (1988)
It was only in February that I wrote-up about having added Quickmix and Quake to my collection, and now here I am with another cross-faction duo of junior Targetmasters! In truth I have had Landfill for a couple of months already, but have only just found the time to apply his decals. Spinister is a new arrival though, and one that I've been looking forward to picking up for some time. Just Needlenose to go now, and then I'll have the complete set... sadly, it's proving difficult to find one in suitably minty condition, but I can be patient!




With G1 Scoop & Landfill










With G1 Quake

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Hasbro G1 Action Master Krok (1990)
Whilst I'm fully aware that Action Masters aren't everyone's bag, I'm also struck by just how much engagement and support they receive whenever I post photos of them on social media! I think the designs themselves are very cool and creative, despite the toys not transforming, and Krok is no exception. Although hardly a major character, I often remember this guy as being one of Bludgeon's henchmen toward the end of the G1 comic, and so it's a thrill to add him to the ranks. And yes, I'm going to be adding more Action Masters soon, I just know it...




With G1 Gutcruncher

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Newage H6 Mini King Kong
This little guy came my way courtesy of Show.Z Store, and he proved to be absolutely tons of fun! First, he's cute as a button. Second, he's surprisingly intricate and articulated, and does a bang-up job at representing Cosmos as we know him from the cartoon. In fact he's so tiny and adorable that I found myself quite enamoured with him, not to mention thinking that this could've been a really great scale to go with for a kind-of smaller Masterpiece-style line-up. Think of all the space you'd save, if nothing else!

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



With FansToys Terminus Giganticus

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Wei Jiang Iron Rhino
The third Power of the Primes Predacon knock-off is here, and this time it's Headstrong's turn for the treatment. As we've already ascertained, these guys are not exactly oversized versions of the official toys, though they do sport a number of moulding changes. In this case the "upgrades" are significantly less obvious than they were on both Divebomb and Rampage, with the covered leg sections being the most noticeable improvement here. There are a few steps back too though, with the face being an obvious one. Despite the official toy having a crisp visage, the Wei Jiang toy is very nondescript and lacks any sort of definition in the features. I will also say that I'm starting to feel like they could have gone further with overhauling the original designs. Most people complained about the cumbersome combiner legs sticking off the back of both Tantrum and Headstrong, so it's surprising to see them recreated completely as is here. Still, if you're in for the rest of this set you're unlikely to be disappointed too much here, as it's a solid addition to the team.

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





With Power of the Primes Headstrong

With G2 Jazz

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TOY OF THE MONTH
Now onto my favourite new toy this month, and man has this thing stolen the show!


TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-43 Beast Wars Megatron
I love Beast Wars. There's no exaggeration for me in saying that it's up there with G1 for me in terms of absolutely classic Transformers series, having captured and kept my interest for a good portion of my teenage years. The Masterpiece Beast Wars line has already proven to be capable of putting out some of the hottest toys around (again, no exaggeration), and so it was with almost feverish excitement that I awaited Megatron's arrival. And to say he didn't disappoint is definitely not an exaggeration!


Everything about this toy screams the on-screen character to me. BOTH headsculpts are just perfect, and the whole package is loaded with so many features and gimmicks that it will keep you entertained for ages. I look at the toy and I can hear David Kaye's voice very clearly in my head! There have of course been numerous reports of damage occurring to the crotch section on some copies, but fortunately I don't appear to have had a problem thus far (touch wood). My expectations may have been sky high, but it's fair to say that Megatron has just about met them I think, and there's certainly no way he wasn't going to be toy of the month for me. I can't wait for the rest of the cast to be realised!

Now enjoy a veritable onslaught of pics...
















With Masterpiece MP-36 Megatron


With Masterpiece Optimus Primal




With TakaraTomy Legends LGEX Waspinator

With Masterpiece Dinobot










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STUFF FOR NEXT MONTH
I mentioned last month that I had a Maketoys G2 Starscream on the way, which is finally arriving in time for May's write-up! Otherwise, you may recall I mentioned more Action Masters...



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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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