30 October 2013

Charticon exclusives - Custom Tech Specs - G1, Movie, Headmasters, Masterforce, Victory and MTMTE

On 12 October 2013, I received a surprise package from a buddy collector friend. It was a good surprise for a weekend and I talked about the contents of the package in my post here.

These were the contents.

For this post, I want to focus on some particular items in the package – the Charticon exclusive custom Tech Specs!

Look at these wonderful slices of (neo) history

Before going any further, I would like to say that these look and feel just right – they are excellent representations of Tech Specs and have an unmistakably G1-esque feel to them.

Meticulously designed and laid out to be reminiscent of G1 Tech Specs.

These were created by Arkvander for the purposes of Charticon and he has written extensively about them here. They were used as sort of 'door gifts' that were blind packed and then later offered up for sale.

27 October 2013

Custom SCFs - Hate-plague infected Ultra Magnus and Cyclonus

On 12 October 2013, I received a surprise package from a buddy collector friend. It was a good surprise for a weekend and I talked about the contents of the package in my post here.

These were the contents.

For this post, I want to focus on 2 particular items in the package – the custom Ultra Magnus and Cyclonus SCF figures.

laddies in red

Oh, you probably were going to ask why they are all red. Yes, that. There is an excellent reason – these figures are meant to reflect the events in the G1 episodes “The Return of Optimus Prime”, a 2-parter. In that episode, some puny humans discovered a type of spore, that causes a hate-plague if it infects robots. Humans are unaffected. Once infected, the Transformer turns complete glowy-red and can on-infect other Transformers by touch. During the course of the 2 episodes, more and more Transformers were infected and among them, you guessed it, Ultra Magnus and Cyclonus were infected.

24 October 2013

Make Toys MT-03: Hyper Novae (aka Nova Prime)

I was writing about this and thinking - what a different topic this is from the posts of the past couple of weeks. There has recently been so much to write about - G1 (as always), Japanese G1 (as always), comics (MTMTE), convention stuff (Charticon) and others.

Today's Transformer collector is spoilt for choice, and a very busy person it seems!

This is about a Third Party Product ("3PP"). I don't intend to go chapter and verse into what these are because they should be quite familiar even to the average collector.

MT-03 in brown mailer protective box

I recently (meaning when it was first released) acquired the MakeToys MT-03: Hypernovae, aka Nova Prime. Like FansProject and MMC, MakeToys is Third Party company whose releases are now synonymous with quality, great design and just pure awesomeness. The one downside is that their products are expensive.

MT-03 set me back close to USD$175. I consider that pretty steep for an unofficial product.

This is the very first release of MT-03 and therefore, it comes with exclusive clear orange parts and silver stickers.

Here, I have taken it out of the brown mailer box -
  • bottom: actual MT-03: Hyper Novae box. I like the design. White background, grid pattern, lots of Japanese words!
  • middle: Hyper Novae in "tanker" mode in his insert. The silver sticker sheet in front is supposedly exclusive to the first release.
  • top: paperworks packet and first release exclusive orange parts. These requires cutting out model kit style and some assembly.

21 October 2013

Transformers 1985 G1 Jetfire, Masushiro version, unused

This was something I acquired almost 2 months back in July, but I have procrastinated and have not posted further about it till now.

This is the "Matsushiro" variant of Jetfire, one of the sort of obscure G1 variants like Diaclone blue Fairlady Z (aka 'blue' Bluestreak), Diaclone blue chest SwoopCanadian red face Slag, blue-ear Cyclonus, painted-top Scourge and metal chest Springer, that I wish to obtain.

It is, considered a fairly significant variant to me.

I got this piece unused and in very minty condition from an eBay seller.

19 October 2013

IDW's More Than Meets the Eye #22

I feel like I am 15 years old again - waiting with great anticipation for a new issue of IDW's More Than Meets the Eye, like how back in the 90s I waited for new issues of Jim Lee's and Chris Claremont's 'Uncanny X-Men' (then later 'X-Men') or Todd McFarlane's 'Spider-Man', then 'Spawn' or Ghost Rider.


This happened on 16 October 2013.

Maz messaged me to say MTMTE was going to hit the comic shops that day. I went straight to my local comic shop in the evening and grabbed a copy of MTMTE #22. It's that exciting. It cannot wait. Seriously.

Went home after entertaining some friends.
Took a shower.
Brewed a cup of tea.
Laid out my 'bots - Rewind, Tailgate, Swerve and Skids (which is an Encore, who cares. He forgets, I forget).
Sat on my comfy leather chair.

Started reading MTMTE #22.

Read it all the way through. Pausing only in the middle to whip out my copy of Transformers: Generations to have a look at the Thunderclash toy.

Blown away. Again.

Like I said, I feel like I am 15 again.

James Roberts made me feel young. James is awesome.

~ HD


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16 October 2013

Charticon 2013 exclusive - Get Right Robot's Landshark MISB

A couple of days ago, I received a surprise package from a buddy collector friend. It was a good surprise for a weekend and I talked about the contents of the package in my post here.

These were the contents.

For this post, I want to focus on a particular item in the package - the Get Right Robot Charticon exclusive Landshark.

What is Charticon you might ask? It is an unofficial Transformers themed convention organised by fans, for fans. It took place in Charlotte, NC, USA from 9 to 11 August 2013. The next Charticon, as I understand it, will take place sometime in 2015. I am looking forward to it!

So now, on to Landshark. This is the description and intent behind this figure from the Charticon site "Our friends over at Get Right Robot have let us know they will be offering an exclusive figure of their own at Charticon: LANDSHARK! Landshark will come with a brand new head and new custom weapons not to mention an awesome paint job! These awesome Gnaw homages will only be available in very limited quantities at the show and will not be sold online. "

The moment I saw promotional shots of this guy, I knew rightaway that I had to get it, somehow.

14 October 2013

The complete Takara Transformers - Operation Combination giftsets (1992), aka 合体大作戦

It's taken me awhile to get these together. The key reason that that at or around 2009, I decided that I didn't really need to complete Operation Combination as all vintage pieces - I settled for the reissue six-combiner robots.

It was at that time that I sold off Sixbuilder, Sixturbo and Sixtrain to an Australian collector. I also sold off TF-07 to him. Thus, there were holes on my Operation Combination collection that one could drive a truck through.

Recently, as part of a 30+ pieces Japanese Transformers lot, I re-acquired that final pieces to once again complete my vintage run of Operation Combination - I re-acquired TF-01: Sixbuilder (#1 of 35), TF-06 (#3 of 35) and TF-07 (#4 of 35).

So here it is, the complete Operation Combination run of TF-01 to TF-10, all MIB and all unused.

What follows are shots of my placing the 10 pieces in a variety of ways, to fully showcase them. For the benefit of the reader, this is what Operation Combination consists of:
  • TF-01: Sixbuilder giftset
  • TF-02: Sixwing giftset
  • TF-03: Sixturbo giftset
  • TF-04: Guard City giftset (Defensor repaint)
  • TF-05: Sixtrain giftset (Sixliner repaint)
  • TF-06: Spin Road vs. Dark Jet
  • TF-07: Fire Road vs. Shadow Jet
  • TF-08: Checker Road vs. Moon Jet
  • TF-09: Mach Road vs. Flare Jet
  • TF-10: Battle Gaia giftset (Bruticus repaint)

While writing this I realised one thing - all 10 pieces of the Operation Combination line are giftsets! That is right, this final year of Generation One Japanese Transformers consists entirely of giftsets! How strange, but also how nice.

12 October 2013

Just received! Charticon exclusives from Arkvander - Landshark and custom tech specs plus bonus(?)

This year, I really wanted to go to Charticon, the inaugural unofficial Transformers convention in Charlotte, USA, organised by some of the nicest and bestest collectors around, including Arkvander and Flywheels.

Due to work (both E and myself), we could not go. However, there were just lots of goodies to be had there, exclusives, customs and other things.

Long story short, I requested Arkvander to help me pick up a small number of items, if he had the time. Very graciously, he did. And he's sent them to me and I received them today.

I will talk about each of these items in due course but would like to mention here that the biggest surprise and delight was actually receiving these 2 custom SCF figures - hate spore coated Ultra Magnus and Cyclonus!

10 October 2013

Takara Transformers SCFs - ACT 5 Chase figures - Alloy coated Convoy with Matrix and Ghost of Starscream

Previous post - Takara Transformers SCFs - ACT 4 Chase figures - Final Fire Guts attack Ginrai and metallic Grimlock

It's been some time since my previous SCF post - the last SCF post was in May this year, a good 5 months ago.

Something posted by a good buddy, Arkvander, finally made me get off my behind to post more about SCFs - here, Arkvander talks about 2 of his custom SCF figures and also photographs them with the chase alloy coated Convoy, which is the subject of this post. Some coincidence?


Previously, I have talked about the chase figures for ACT 1, ACT 2, ACT 3 and ACT 4.

So far, except perhaps for the ACT 4 chase figures, each ACTs' chase figures have been highly desirable, special and has an undeniable place in Transformers lore, mythos and history.

For ACT 5 of the Takara's SCF line, the 2 chase figures are:
  1. Alloy coated Convoy with Matrix; and
  2. Ghost of Starscream
- Alloy coated Convoy with Matrix -

Cartoon incarnation - looking good in silver Prime!

08 October 2013

MTMTE is a masterpiece, but what about other IDW Transformers titles?

I just cannot get enough of IDW's MTMTE (More Than Meets the Eye) title.

Over the weekend, I pulled Volume 1 of the TPB from my shelf and began re-reading it, again, for perhaps the 6th to 7th time, if not more.

Saturday brunch with E - Lobster Brioche with curly fries and MTMTE volume 1. Does-not-get-any-better. Thank you James Roberts.

I have previously talked about MTMTE being the best thing for TF comics since sliced bread, that by any other name, it would still be just as magnificent. However, I have not said too much about other titles and why MTMTE is so much better - after all, things do not stand alone and can only be 'better' or 'worse' relative to other things and in its appropriate context.

Here, I will discuss my thoughts on prior and present IDW Transformers titles. Except for life-action-movie related titles, I have read them all. It is my belief that having read them all, I'm in a (relatively suitable) position to compare them. I will make an effort to be objective, but tastes and all are pretty subjective matters so I may not succeed in being objective.

A full collection of all IDW's Transformers titles in TPB form (I do not have TPBs that reprints either Dreamwave's or Marvel / Marvel UK's materials however)

I won't go into the background of what led to MTMTE and it inter-relation with other IDW titles (if any). If you want to read into the development background, check out either TF Wiki or The Gassy Autobot's blog here and here.

So here we go, after the jump, my thoughts on the other IDW Transformers series'... [spoiler alert]

06 October 2013

Gone a few rounds with the DJD... my second D-309: Black Shadow

A week or so ago, i was walking around the toy shops and stopped by a shop that I typically do not stop at - because they don't really sell Transformers or TF related stuff.

One (ahem 2?) of Megatron's Phase-Sixers

Was looking around and in one cabinet, at the very bottom level and all the way to the back, I saw a Black Shadow pretender shell. I quite surprised myself because the cabinet was not even lit.

I quickly enquired about the piece. At first the shop owner said that if there is no price tag, then its not for sale and for display only. I was like 'no, no, its just that black piece; it looks in bad condition but I am "mildly" interested....'. He took it out, looked it over and said, 'yeah, ok, I'll sell it. But there are no parts or weapons at all. You sure you want it?'.

05 October 2013

E's Hot Toys Catwoman and Ravage

E is a Ann Hathaway fan.

When she saw Dark Knight Rises and Ann Hathaway as Catwoman, she decided she wanted this Hot Toys Catwoman figure. She pre-ordered it almost a year ago at Hot Toys' HK flagship store and only got the figure relatively recently.

This is E's first Hot Toys figure and only our second ever 1/6th scale figure - the only other 1/6th scale figure we have is Batman, The Dark Knight version. As you can see, it deserves a shelf all on its own.

A few days ago, E was playing around with the figure and decided that Catwoman needed to be surrounded by kitties. The closest kitties at hand were.... some Ravage figures.

Robot Heroes Ravage and Catwoman.

03 October 2013

MTMTE by any other name would still be the greatest Transformers comic series, ever

After 21 issues of this stella series published by IDW, I felt it was time for me to get off the couch and write something about it. Well, actually it's that and the inspiration I got from The Gassy Autobot, that made me write this.

What is MTMTE? 

It stands for 'More Than Meets The Eye' and is a comic series written by (the now great) James Roberts, illustrated by (the marvelous) Alex Milne, inked by (the super) Brian Shearer and coloured by (the bad boy) Josh Burcham.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. 

Here are 18 of them - my preferred covers for MTMTE #1 to #18.

It's probably very difficult to describe how great a series MTMTE is without going into spoilers and details about plot points, dialogue and the legendary writing quality. 

I could say that it is the 'best thing since sliced bread', but that wouldn't really help much either. So, here are 2 simple enough illustrations from my perspective at least...

One - I often pick it up to re-read almost immediately after finishing an issue (or a TPB). In the span of a week, I would have re-read that issue 4-5 times, including re-reading a number of randomly picked previous issues.

Two - Near about volume 3 of the TPB, I decided that this series was so good, I had to go out there an buy all the individual issues - to better experience it in its original form.

Now, the 2 points above might appear insignificant to many, however, for me, they were huge. I have been reading comics since even before 1984 and have read a lot of DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Valiant, Image, other indie comic series over the last 30+ years. Among all of these, there has not even been a handful of incidents where I would immediately pick up and re-read an issue I have just finished. Typically, I would only pick up something to re-read after a month or 2, or, never going back to re-read stuff. For a number of previous TF series' like All Hail Megatron or Transformers (ongoing), I was inclined to just throw the TPB into the bin and never see it again (such was my frustration). To this day, I have never re-read or even flicked through any of 'All Hail Megatron' or Transformers (ongoing), except for ongoing #22 and #23, which were written by Roberts. To want to re-read MTMTE immediately, is epic for me.

My Transformers Trade Paper Bags

In respect of point 2 - I have nearly 5000 comics by 1994 and back then have decided to stop buying individual issues in favour of the cheaper and more easy to store Trade Paper Bag reprints. So, yes, it has been close to 20 years that I have not bought individual issues for any comic series. The only exceptions where I bought individual issues are - some of the early Dreamwave ones (who didn't buy these, if anything for novelty at the time), Spotlight: Optimus Prime, Spotlight: Sideswipe, Batman #608 to #619 (Hush storyline), Superman: Unchained #1 and... the MTMTE series. Therefore, also pretty epic that I'm buying the MTMTE individual issues.

So, if you have not read MTMTE, do yourself a favour, go out there grab the issues (or TPBs) and read it. 

I can't say that it will change your life, but I assure you that even if an iota of you are a TF fan, it will certainly brighten your day, bring you joy and make you come back for more. All hail Roberts (and Milne), I say!


PS: If you don't like MTMTE after reading it, I will buy you a donut for your efforts.

Next - I give my thoughts about other IDW titles (series'), both past and present, relative to MTMTE in "MTMTE is a masterpiece, but what about other IDW Transformers titles?"

01 October 2013

Takara Masterpiece MP-17: Prowl (pictorial) review

So as I mentioned yesterday that I got MP-17: Prowl and that I will transform him during breakfast today.

Well, I did. In fact, I felt like I was 10 years old again, because I got out of bed earlier than usual and could not get back to sleep, too excited at the prospect of playing with Prowl.

Japanese box 09 - Prowl MIB; USA boxed pre-rub Prowl MIB, unused; and MP-17: Prowl MIB

What else is there to say other than that its another wonderful figure to the already stella MP line. There is very little not to like about the figure - it's a work of art.

The car mode, is spot on in terms of its styling and scale, continuing from the strong precedent set by the Lamborghini molds (MP-Sideswipe, Red Alert, Tigertrack).

After transforming MP-Prowl, I proceeded to take a number of gratuitous photos... haha. Here they are...

In the photos are various Prowl incarnations: (1) rub-sign Prowl MIB (no insert); (2) Japanese box 09 - Prowl MIB; (3) USA boxed pre-rub Prowl MIB, unused; and (4) MP-17: Prowl MIB

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