30 March 2012

TFCC "empty box" Over-Run has been replaced

Remember the TFCC Over-Run (aka Runabout) debacle from a about 10 days ago?

The one where FunPub mailed me 4 Over-Runs, but 1 box was completely empty? I called them and told them about it and they promised to mail out another one to me.

Well, I'm glad to report that they did indeed mail out another one to me and that I received it on Friday last week (23 March 2012). Looking at the dates, I'm impressed that they actually got the toy to me in about a week only, which is very fast and shows that if they wanted to, can actually ship items quickly.

Kudos and thanks to Karen at FunPub!

~ HD

29 March 2012

Another milestone reached... finally...

On Monday this week, a job lot of Transformers reached me from a buddy from the UK.

He is the only 'professional seller' that I have trust in and that I consistently have bought from over the years. His eBay store can be seen in the following link and its stocked all year round with G1 Transformers - Sector-17 Trading Post (eBay useID "specimen-17")

The milestone is not the job lot, the milestone is this particular figure that I have been hunting for years and years. In fact, it is not even the particular figure, it is actually the little gun of that particular figure that I have been hunting for years and years - Doubleheader. Surprising? Yes, I would have thought so. Of all the rare and hard to find figures that I have amassed over the years, it is surprisingly this non-discreet regular release USA figure whose small gun has eluded me for so long.

This is in fact my fourth Doubleheader and therefore my fourth attempt at completing him. In my first attempt, I only acquired the shell and helmet; the second attempt I acquired a 'complete' figure who turned out to be missing the small gun and an arm of the inner robot (got partial refund); the third attempt I acquired yet another 'complete' figure who turned out to be missing, yet again, his small gun; and finally in this fourth attempt I got his entire complete figure. What a journey.

28 March 2012

HK Market Watch - Dinoking boxes MIB, C-311: Grand Maximus MISB, D-318: King Poseidon MIB, C-131: Raiden MIB

Wanted to go yesterday to meet one of the shop owners for a chat, but was just too tired. I ended up playing with my MP-10 for an hour, very good play value and value for money.

So I went to the toy shops today, just some of them, because it was already late and people were starting to close up. Was not really expecting anything, but then, there was some surprisingly exciting stuff!

The now classic display

Dinoforce in individual boxes, mostly C8+, complete and stickers applied. Woot!

Close up of the C-27: Brave Maximus and C-311: Grand Maximus MISB

26 March 2012

Sunday acquisitions - MP-10 MISB and Robot Heroes "invisibility" Mirage

Yesterday (Sunday), was a very nice day. 

Had brunch at Langham Hotel with E and 3 friends. Walked under the sunny weather (a rare occurrence) from TST to Mong Kok for toy shopping. Really nothing much of much interest. Had tea with E at Langham Place (dunno whether related to hotel). Went home for dinner. Watched The Hunger Games in the cinema, an excellent movie.

During the Mong Kok / Yau Ma Tei forage, I managed to pick up a Robot Heroes clear Mirage (E likes transparent toys!) and also MP-10 MISB, which I have been resisting for the longest time and which E bought for me.

Despite my initial reservations, I'm quite excited about MP-10 and as with all my Transformers (whether new of vintage), I look forward to transforming him without the use of the instructions - it's very fun. I highly recommend.

Obligatory photo...

25 March 2012

Marvel Avengers life-sized "CosBabies" at Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

I walked past these yesterday and took a pic of them. Pretty nifty life-sized figurines of the 3 'main' Avengers in the upcoming movie - Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.

The Avengers was something that I have been reading since young and due to all the movies that is 'leading up to' this one, I'm really looking forward to it, even though in my mind the Avengers still has a long way to go before coming close to the class, stature and iconic status of the Justice League.

Fingers crossed that Joss 'Buffy' Whedon does not mess this movie up, fingers crossed.

~ HD

24 March 2012

Obscure Transformers' Website is such a delight

I've actually come across this site some years ago, read it on and off and then sort of forgotten about it (sorry). Over the past few days, I rediscovered it and have been reading whole segments of it without pause.

It is a very well researched site, jam packed with obscure information, things that I've seen but not fully appreciated. Above all, it is witty and on more than one occasion made me laugh out.

What's this site I'm talking about?

It's The Obscure Transformers Website, written by 2 persons whose handles are Jhiaxus and Monzo, not their real names, I'd wager.

Head over and have a look. I'll wait. In fact go read it now and come back to my site tomorrow, I don't mind. The site is awesome.

(banner on right is mirrored from their site).


You're back? Did you like it?

Here are some of my favourites...

22 March 2012

Cybertron Con 2012 at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore

This year, the inaugural Cybertron Con 2012 was held in my home country from 11 to 14 March 2012 - Singapore. For perhaps the first time ever, an event of Transformers toy collecting significance has been held in Asia.

I unfortunately could not attend, but saw it vicariously through the eyes of my buddy ET (not the extraterrestrial, but his initials, you know who you are). I won't talk too much about it because I haven't been there, but if you'd like to read about it, there is plenty written in the links below:

Ok, that's the boring stuff out of the way, 'nuff said.

How about a slew of beautiful pictures taken by ET, which I would like to share here?

20 March 2012

Takara 2010 Special - Predaking

This is my third Predaking set. The first is the Takara Japanese boxed set from my childhood back in 1986; the second is the 2004 reissue Predaking; and this, the third.

Rather than leave it MISB like the 2004 reissue, I decided that I should open this set up. Secretly, I really wanted to experience the fun of applying the stickers, especially the 'eye' stickers that only this set has.

Here is the combined form with stickers applied.

Man, this is a really nice piece with perhaps 1 notable flaw - the arms of Predaking are too heavy and causes it to sag slightly. Perhaps the Japs had the right idea when they released their 1986 Predacons without die-cast metal parts.

This is a shot at 7am in the morning, yeah, pretty dark, but his colours go well with Black Zarak in the background.

18 March 2012

Shmax-ing is a verb

Close to 3 months ago, I (re)discovered Shmax.com, a wonderful Transformers resource for documenting one's Transformers collection. Seriously, check it out, I'll wait - www.shmax.com.

With Shmax, I no longer have to count on my (so far) trusty spreadsheet to keep a record of when I've purchased what and at what price. With Shmax, I can update my collection online and have fun doing it, unlike my spreadsheet which I just loathe to open cos its so troublesome (to open a spreadsheet on iMac).

Need more convincing? How about hearing what Arkvander has to say about it, here. I'll wait.

Everyday, I update more and more of my spreadsheet's info onto Shmax, bit by bit, incrementally. But man, is this draining. I've been doing this for about 2 weeks now, on and off, and I still have approximately 10 more spreadsheet pages, at font 8, to go....duh.

At the end of today's updating, Shmax says that I have 898 Transformers and that I am "ranked" #105 on Shmax.

Certainly, that's approximate, but I really don't care to count how many Transformers I have or what my 'rank' is, but rather am more interested to record which ones I have, when I bought it and how much I have paid for each one.

Oh, and another interesting tidbit: according to Shmax, my "most valuable figure" is C-108: Artfire which is valued (by them) at USD$3,195 for a MIB specimen. Whoa. The second most valuable figure is TF-04: Guard City which is valued (by them) at USD$1,499.99.

Ok, back to the grind...

~ HD

17 March 2012

Predacon Rampage has been christened... Bobby!

Sometime around Chinese New Year this year, I decided to finally cave and buy the "2010 Special" Predaking giftset.

I usually try to buy something that has 'auspicious' colours such as strong reds or warm colours. The 2010 Predaking, being coloured in mostly reds, oranges and gold, suits the bill very fine.

About a week ago, I decided to open this monster. (Sorry Kuma-Nin, I know how sacrilegious that must sound to you, who wants to keep your 2010 Predaking sealed, but I have no qualms about opening MISB Transformers, heh).

A few days ago, I decided to entirely sticker Predaking up. Inevitably drawing more dissent and feelings of outrage from 'unused' collectors.

After I was done stickering, I randomly handed Rampage to E

"For you to transform (from robot to animal)", I said.

E transformed Rampage. 

She looked it over after she was done. Then tilted Rampage's animal head and said... "bobby".

I was like, "what?" and E said "he's a bobby".

Ok, so Rampage is christened Bobby forever more.

Another shot of "bobby"? Sure!

15 March 2012

TFCC Over-Run (aka Runabout) debacle

I wanted to give them a chance to prove that I have been hearing over the years were nerd-rage type exaggerated discontent. I was hoping the nay-sayers would be proven wrong about TFCC (Transformers Collectors' Club; aka FunPub).

However, this latest debacle was the straw that broke the camel's back, and, after 2 days of deliberation, I decided to say something about it in an objective manner (as much as I am able).

The debacle is this: I tried to order Over-Run from the TFCC website (after their servers crashed and came back online) and couldn't do it. Tried a few times. Then 2 days ago, I received 4 boxes of Over-Runs of which 3 were fine and there was 1 empty box.

Yes, one box was completely empty. Devoid of contents. Nada. Zilch.

That's pretty slack, really.

Then the lead up to this boiled to the surface and I thought I should really record this somewhere.

Joining TFCC
In mid Jan 2012, I decided to join TFCC to obtain the exclusive Runamuck figure. This was too good a homage for me to miss.

Tried to register a number of times and just could not get confirmation. Called FunPub in the US from HK 2 times to get it sorted.

BotCon Box Set
In late Jan 2012, I tried to purchase the BotCon box set. Went through the same exercise as above. As before, transactions appeared to have gone through, but there was no email confirmation and my CC was never charged, which again meant that the transaction did not go through.

Again, I had to call the US from HK (and Singapore) on 3-4 occasions where they tried to bill me unsuccessfully on my HSBC, then AMEX, then E's HSBC card. All the transactions couldn't go through (on CCs that are perfectly fine to use and far from overdrawn). On hindsight, it was probably a grievous mistake to provide details of 3 of the family's credit cards!

Few days later, bing!, the transaction went through, I don't know how.

This above recounted here 'live' on the OZ Formers Boards.

Ordering Over-Run
Tried to order Over-Run in early Feb 2012.

First, their servers completely crashes. As reported and documented here (OTCA), here (TFW2005) and here (Seibertron).

After they are up again, I experienced more of the same as recounted above. Again, I had to call the US from HK another 2-3 times to sort out the order (which was not sorted).

In a panic, I asked a friend in Australia and another friend in the US to help me order Over-Run. They kindly agreed and I am very touched. Such was my dismally low confidence in FunPub that I needed to hedge my bets to have peace of mind that if something else goes wrong with either one's order, I might still end up with at least 1 Over-Run.

Like I said above, in the end, these came.... ?

Credit Card Fraud
So after all that, I finally secured my Runamuck, Runabout and BotCon set and all's well with the world, yes? No, not really.

In mid Feb 2012, I got a call from my bank to inform me that 2 fraudulent transactions have been made on my CC and they would like to confirm whether I have made them.

These were the transactions:

[1] "Strawberry.net" - USD$417
[2] "Merchandise" - USD$589

What in the world are those. Nope, I didn't make them.

I talked about it here. And for a more holistic account of how many other people has had their CCs hacked and defrauded after purchasing from FunPub, see here.

Bank has to cancel my CC and reissue a new one and we all know how much of a hassle that is (to eg redirect payments, renew standing instructions, put it on file with eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, etc, etc).

I subsequently found out that every-single-person that I personally know and who has ordered something from TFCC this year has had their CCs hacked or defrauded, some with items as colourful as 'Barnes and Noble purchase'.


All the above is almost too much excitement for me and right now, I have decided to jump on the boat with all the other collectors who will not renew their membership next year... 

... unless TFCC comes up with exclusive that are as kick-ass as this year's. I know, I'm a bitch for punishment, yeah?

10 March 2012

Tweaked the look

I've had this blog template since 2007 and it was based on what Google now calls "classic templates", another word for 'outdated templates'. 

Over the years, I have edited the HTML of the template ever so slightly, bit by bit and incrementally and have no doubt messed up something somewhere - I'm almost completely hapless when it comes to computer programming (even simple HTML).

Today, I came up with the brilliant idea of 'fixing' these issues (some illusory) once and for all and so have resorted to using a spanking new template called 'Simple'. 

Ta-da, this is the look now.

Not very different you say? Good.

That's exactly the effect I was hoping for.


Yeah, so am I. So, I'm going to stick to Transformer collecting and my day job and leave the computer programming to people way more intelligent than me.

~ HD

02 x Transformers Victory C-326: Galaxy Shuttle MIB

Not really much to say about these 2 that I haven't already said. More a post documenting E's 2 Galaxy Shuttles. 

The one on the left is this one here and the one on the right is bought on New Year's day this year.


~ HD

08 March 2012

Transformers Generations Deluxe Lucky Draw Prize - God Primus MISB (善神)

I sort of knew about this figure when Transformers Generations Deluxe was released in 2004, sort of.

But it never really hit me until I saw this figure in real life, in Japan in January 2008. It just hit me that the TF: Generations lucky draw God Primus figure is a very, very accurate repaint of Rodimus Prime into Primus, Lord of the Light Gods in the now vintage Marvel UK Transformers Universe. I mean check out the picture on the right, yeah, that's Primus, and the God Primus toy looks very like that.

On further research, I found out that Simon Furman, while writing that particular issue, Marvel UK Transformers #150, specifically instructed the artist to draw Primus in Rodimus Prime's likeness, further adding weight to the God Primus figure being repainted from the Rodimus Prime toy mold.

Also, the Legacy of Unicron arc during the classic Marvel UK run, was one of my favourite arcs (aside from Space Pirates and Time Wars), giving me further incentive to really go seek out this rare figure.

The God Primus lucky draw figure is limited to 100 pieces worldwide, so I didn't rate my chances of finding it very high. That plus the fact that when I was staring at it in 2008, I couldn't really afford to pay more than $500 for it, which is cheap, even back then.

Over the years, I have been on the hunt for this figure on and off and it was not until I went to Osaka in May of 2011 that I had a real shot at it. I saw the piece on my final day in Osaka. It was expensive I thought. Do I really want it at that price, I thought some more. It's a lot to pay for a toy.


... it is MISB; it is one of the few, in fact the only, lucky piece that I've ever wanted; I had just the right amount of Yen leftover to pay for it; and (this one nudged me over the line), it's tag has the date of my wedding with E on it!

I later found out that the date was actually the date the store got the piece in, how delightfully poetic!

Then I bought it.

This is the only Transformers lucky draw piece that I have and from the looks of it, the only lucky draw piece I will ever get. I'm simply not interested in straight out gold chromed lucky draw pieces. That's just dumb. I don't need to create a plastic army of golden lagoon figures worth their weight in real gold.

So here it is, the front of the box.

The tag showing its a Transformers: Generations Deluxe exclusive and given out on the 20th anniversary year of the Transformers franchise.

Close up of the name and function, which roughly translates as 'god of benvolence' (function): Primus (name).

Primus' bio. I wonder what it says. Okay, I found a translation online (don't know whether accurate):
"Primus was first featured in the UK Marvel comics as the universe's god of good. In an epic battle with the evil entity Unicron, Primus was able to contain Unicron into a planet, but he also paid the price by becoming a planet himself which became Cybertron where Transformers were "born". Primus created the Transformers to become warriors that one day could fight Unicron if he awakes. 
In 2005, Hot Rod who came in contact with the Matrix containing the essence of Primus, was reformatted by his power and became Rodimus Prime. The reformat and upgrade also altered his look to resemble that of Primus, some say that perhaps Primus was reborn through Rodimus Prime."
Wow, that's quite a reverse-retcon to explain why Rodimus Prime looks like Primus!

The MISB-ness of a white box. How boring.

The other side of MISB-ness. Yawn.

Now, we're talking... seeing some gold there.

Primus is stuck in alternate mode...

Full shot of the box with 'book-cover' open and showing God Primus in vehicle mode.

Another shot.

Unfortunately, I have not got around to opening this piece, but I can promise you I inevitably will - as I will open all my MISB Transformers regardless of whether they are vintage or highly valuable or not.

I'm sad that without opening it, I cannot really show why this piece is special among the plethora of 'gold chromed' TF lucky draw pieces - not all of it is gold chrome, it has shades of other colours!

This is the shot I took back in 2008 in a Kinokuniya in Japan, which shows that other than gold chrome, there are shades of other coloured chrome.

Fortunately for me (and us), the folks at Transformers at the Moon has detailed pictures of the God Primus figure out of its package and shown in its full glory. Check out the God Primus gallery at TFTM here.

I love this shot showing God Primus' face. It's properly coloured, with blue eyes (!), not like the other high on value low on effort lucky draw figures (photo is courtesy of TFTM.com)


~ HD

06 March 2012

C-108: Artfire x 03 - MISB, MIB complete and loose

Just thought I would put some pictures of these up for posterity's sake since I might no longer own all 3 of them...

Left to right: C-108: Artfire MISB, C-108: Artfire MIB, complete, C-108: Artfire loose (comes only with Nightstick, not pictured).

Shot showing contents of the MIB Artfire

MISB Artfire and MIB Artfire (right)

04 March 2012

Transformers Encore 21: Soundblaster and Encore 22: Twincast compared (reviewed) with vintage D-101: Soundblaster and C-116: Twincast

I bought Transformers Encore 21: Soundblaster and Encore 22: Twincast early this week, say about Tuesday. Was too busy to do anything about them until yesterday (photo taking) and today (posting).

As expected, these sold like hotcakes and had Ultra Magnus not reserved them at one of our frequent shops for me, I would have missed out entirely. These are not very enticing to me, to be honest, because I already own both vintage versions (D-101 and C-116), the TFC version of Soundblaster and the eHobby version of Twincast.

Takara, however, understood the psychology of the OCD type collector like me and (strategically) released each of these with new cassette recolours - which was the main and only reason I bought these Encore releases. Can't pass up another variation of cassettes, I love these things.

So how do these stack up against these vintage counterparts?

On holding them in hand, my preliminary thoughts were these - man, the quality looks crap even though I was just looking at them through the clear plastic window. Why crap? Well, plastic quality looks cheap (yea, plastic can look cheap, go figure); sticker placement was off (eg: the 'Scorponok weaknesses' sticker on Nightstalker is pasted slanted on the 3 pieces of Encore 22 that I inspected); tampographed 'stickers' look crap and slanted (I remember the time when these were cool, think TFC reissue Starscream, Sunstorm, etc, but then not for Encore 21 and 22).

Anyways, those were my initial bias. Let's get to the photographic comparisons.

First, an establishment shot of D-101: Soundblaster with Encore 21: Soundblaster and C-116: Twincast and Encore 22: Twincast. One of the obvious differences is of course the cassette(s) that each came with. The vintage release only came with 1 cassette each, which the Encore release came with 2 (repainted) cassettes each. Since the cassettes are all different anyways, there is really not much point in 'comparing' them.

D-101: Soundblaster (comes with Buzzsaw) side by side with Encore 21: Soundblaster (comes with Enemy and Wingthing). One question that popped into my mind - why is the Encore's box about 20% longer than the vintage release? What could be at the portion underneath the box art? A lot of air no doubt!

The key box differences that is worthwhile to compare is probably the box art. Here they are side by side.  Aside from the overlaid cassette box art, can you spot the differences between the 2? No? Okay, vintage Soundblaster has golden/ yellow eyes while Encore Soundblaster has red eyes! Now, what did I say about Decepticons having red eyes...

Close up of the D-101: Soundblaster's box art

Close up of Encore 21: Soundblaster's box art. I know, right? Red eyes!
I think Enemy and Wingthing's colours are a little strange. They look almost like someone took Rumble and Ratbat's existing box art and then played with the hue/saturation function to come with the box art rather than actually re-colouring them from scratch. Also, vintage Soundblaster's box art appears to be more 'fine' in detail compared with Encore Soundblaster.

Now, let's take a look inside.
D-101: Soundblaster. Very sweet vintage type insert. Classy too. Missiles on sprue.

Encore 21: Soundblaster looks like that. Main difference is of course the plastic insert compared with the vintage's styrofoam insert. Now, we also see that the portion behind the box art is almost completely air and done just to make the box 'appear' bigger. In terms of the toys, the key differences are the stickers (stickered for the vintage version and tampographed for the Encore release) and also the presence of the large Decepticon symbol on the Encore version. The vintage version has no Decepticon symbol on its chest but only a tiny rub-sign on one shoulder.

Now, onto C-116: Twincast and Encore 22: Twincast

C-116: Twincast (comes with Steeljaw) side by side with Encore 22: Twincast (comes with Stripes and Nightstalker). Same question comes to mind - why is the Encore's box about 20% longer than the vintage release? What could be at the portion underneath the box art? A lot of air no doubt!

Similar with the Soundblaster situation, the key box difference lies with the box art. 
Aside from the overlaid cassette box art, can you spot the differences between the 2? No? Okay, vintage Twincast has golden/ yellow eyes and Encore Twincast has blue eyes! Now, what did I say about Autobots having blue eyes... 
Also, the entire face of Encore Twincast is coloured differently, to better match his anime colouration in the 1987 Headmasters series. Kudos to Takara for doing these!

Close up of C-116: Twincast's box art

Close up of Encore 22: Twincast's box art. Here you can see the recoloured face more clearly. I like the recoloured box art of Nightstalker and Stripes better than that of Enemy and Wingthing. Same comment as Soundblaster in that the vintage box art appears to be more 'fine' in detail compared with Encore release.

Now, let's take a look inside.
C-116: Twincast. Very sweet vintage type insert. Classy too.

Encore 22: Twincast looks like that. Main difference is of course the plastic insert compared with the vintage's styrofoam insert. Now, we also see that the portion behind the box art is almost completely air and done just to make the box 'appear' bigger. In terms of the toys, the key differences are the stickers (stickered for the vintage version and tampographed for the Encore release) and also the presence of the large Autobot symbol on the Encore version. The vintage version has a large Autobot symbol on its  shoulder, but not the chest, presumably to distinguish it from C-38: Broadblast.

The location of the Autobot symbol on the vintage Twincast (this is a sticker).

Another key difference is that Encore Twincast lacks all the 'electronic' detail on its chest door portion, probably because of the presence of the Autobot logo. Here is what is missing...

Vintage C-116: Twincast paperworks.

I got 2 sets of paperworks for my Encore Twincast - 1 packet with only 2 bio cards and another package with 3 bio cards. Guess, they do QC these stuff after all?

A final shot to show both Encore 21 and 22 with their contents.


Related posts

Last 30 days' TOP TEN Popular Posts