Christmas Tree 2017

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I forgot to post these. This year the Autobots from the loose Transformers reviews plus the Mini-Con Assault Team helped decorate.

I just need to figure out what I’m doing with this area after Christmas. Do I put that comic stack back there until I can get the next phase of the comic organizing project done or put something else there and leave the comics where they are until said phase occurs.

Other Transformers in the display:

I didn’t have room to add the Decepticons reviewed.

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Transformers Report: Cybertron Brakedown

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Megatron races Override

Megatron races Override (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for the last of loose ones that were in this pile, and just in time to set up my Transformers for the annual Christmas display. This one also comes from the Transformers Cybertron line.

Velocitron, the Speed Planet, is a culture that revolves around racing. Even the monster truck is built for speed. They love to race around all day, and the leader is chose by who wins the race. It also feels like all the Autobots have that annoying gimmick that Hardtop had, where the key unlocks a weapon that’s part of something they carry, but it’s worse because without the Cyber Key in use it’s just some box they’re carrying or some other bonus part rather than popping a new weapon out of their structure like the Decepticons. Except for Hot Shot but his Cyber Key power is just two fins that help with aerodynamics or something. Of all the Cyber Key gimmicks the Speed Planet Autobots have the weakest.

And that holds true for Brakedown, the wise old racer who trains the excitable young Clocker and first befriends the Autobot envoy. His toy is…kind of mixed. I’ve kind of gone back and forth whether or not I want to keep this one but I have come to a decision. First we need to give him a proper examination.

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Transformers Report: Cybertron Brimstone

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Brimstone (Transformers)

Brimstone (Transformers) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Transformers Cyberton’s story, four colony ships carrying the “Cyber Planet Keys”, each needed to unlock the power of Primus, had lost contact long before the war. Each planet represents a different culture. The Speed Planet (Velocitron) was fond of racing. The Giant Planet (Gigantion) is all about building. The Jungle Planet (Animatron according to the Transformers wiki but that’s the first I’ve heard it called that) took on beast forms and personalities. Another ship was headed for Earth in the pre-human days but ended up crashing.

Hailing from the Jungle Planet, Brimstone is one of Scourge’s lackeys. I don’t know how a robot on an alien planet turns into a pteranodon but that goes for all the beast modes resembling Earth animals. Brimstone and the rest of Scourge’s group would later join the Decepticon cause. Now you know his story, let’s look at his toy.

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Transformers Report: Cybertron Hardtop

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Principal cast from Transformers: Cybertron.

Principal cast from Transformers: Cybertron. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During my time collecting Transformers I had this thing about collecting all show characters and whatever I thought was cool. However, I started collecting around late Beast Wars, when only a handful of toys were getting characters. Now the whole line gets represented while some of the show figures I didn’t care for. So it dropped to whatever I thought looked cool unless I was really into the character…which led to the Bumblebee Shelf of course. This started around the time of the “Unicron Trilogy”.

Hardtop is a Decepticon from the tail end of that group of Transformers line, Transformers Cybertron (known as Galaxy Force in Japan). The gimmick of this line was that each Transformer could call upon a “Cyber Key” to enhance their form, a semi-return to the Mini-Cons, only instead of Powerlinking to a fellow Transformer or Mini-Con you had this giant key shoved in your back to get an extra set of missile launchers or something. From a story perspective I found it kind of weak but from a play perspective the gimmicks worked better but Mini-Cons were more fun since they did something when not connected to a larger Transformers, as opposed to the Keys that sat there waiting to get lost. Luckily any key could unlock the gimmick.

There were five planets involved: Cybertron, Earth, and three Cybertronian colonies we’ll meet in later reviews. Hardtop is from Earth, and he has the Earth Cyber Key. There was also a code in the Hasbro series (not seen in Takara’s Japanese run) on the keys that would unlock bonus bios on Hasbro’s Transformers site, but you can only read those in fan site now. The question is how does he fair as a toy?

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Transformers Report: Power Core Combiners Searchlight & Backwind

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I’ve noted in the past that I like Combiners. I blame that on growing up with Voltron and Mighty Orbots (anyone remember that show?) as well as seeing the Combiners in the original Transformers cartoon. So you’d think a line of Combiners would get me excited. It really depends on how good the Combiners are. The most recent line, Combiner Wars, was hit or miss with me depending on the figure. Some “cores” ended up with odd proportions in torso mode and the combination is usually clean but not always. There are still some groups I really want though.

But this is not the first time there has been a combination gimmick line. Energon had a two-robot combination feature among the Autobots, but I’m referring to Power Core Combiners, a line in which the “core” led not a group of other Transformers to combine with but non-robot mode drones that would “automorph” into the arms or legs (depending on the drone) to form a larger version of the core. That’s not really what I’m looking for in a Combiner team. I like having five or more robots that combine into one and have their own alternate modes. If you want to know more about them, this episode of Plastic Addict explains the many flaws this line had.

One of the gimmicks was having a core released not with the drones but a Mini-Con partner. And we all know my love of Mini-Cons by now. The team I picked up was the Autobot Searchlight and Mini-Con Backwind. While the duo have been released as part of store promotional sets these toys come from their stand-alone two-pack since I never owned any of the drones or other “Commanders” from the series. This is my lone appearance from Power Core Combiners. So how does this team-up work out?

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Transformers Report: Animated Jazz

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Transformers Animated is rather different from other Transformers shows. It’s probably the most light and cartoonish of the shows right down to the art style. It’s a sharp contrast to the Michael Bay films that started coming out around this time, but it still managed to bring about good characters while the Autobots took a more superhero role than the traditional defending army or current “police officer” approach. The heroes weren’t trained soldiers but a simple work crew in over their heads and trying to survive on Earth. It’s really a good show and worth checking out.

One of the later characters was the Animated version of Jazz, working not with Optimus Prime but with Ultra Magnus, this version not too sure about humans due to Cybertronians in general having a xenophobic fear of organic beings. Jazz, however, grew to see the humans as just as worth as any Transformer, and the only one of that group to respect them. It’s why I like him, but his cool persona and ninja styling helped. It was around this time that my FIRST hospital stay came about, due to inflammation and where I first learned what Crohn’s Disease was. So a friend on the Transformers newsgroup sent me a bunch of Transformers to make me feel better, and it sure helped. I couldn’t buy my usual “pity Transformer”, which in hindsight is part of the reason my collection is too big today. But where does Animated’s Jazz fit into that?

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Transformers Report: Classics Rodimus (aka Hot Rod)

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I never cared for Rodiums Prime. I won’t go into the details. This isn’t my storytelling review site, but the short version is that Hot Rod was a more interesting character before being given the Matrix Of Leadership, at least to me. So I’m always happy to see Hot Rod being given a new toy, even if Hasbro didn’t have access to the Hot Rod name and had to call him Rodimus, sans Prime. (Toy name trademarks are an odd discussion. As I write this Hasbro is suing Mattel and DC because their DC Super Hero Girls line includes a figure named Bumblebee, even though that was the name of a DC Universe superhero long before the Transformers woke up from their 4,000,000 year dirt nap in 1984.)

So when they released a Hot Rod figure in their Transformers Classics line, I had to pick one up. Cut to 2017 and the question is how do I feel about it now?

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Transformer Report: Transformers Classics Prowl

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Prowl discussing my clutter issues.

Transformers Universe Classics 2.0 Extra Cheese With A Soda…look, it’s the next release of Transformers Classics from the Optimus Prime I reviewed last week. All I know is it isn’t Reveal The Shield and that Hasbro gets confusing with the subline names at times. It’s G1 Prowl with an updated vehicle mode. That’s the important part here.

I feel sorry for Prowl. On the TV show he was part of Optimus’ command team. In the Budiansky-written G1 comics from Marvel he was the logical thinker and strategist, even leading the team for a time in Optimus’ absence. And then Simon Furman came along. If you read my other website, BW Media Spotlight, you know I have a questionable history with Furman’s Transformers stories. Some were really good, some were good in concept but not in execution, and some were just not very good at all, or at least not to my personal taste…and not very good at all. His Prowl was kind of a jerk, stuck to the rules, thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room when Furman’s pet character Grimlock always out thinks him, and IDW added in a willingness to do horrible things to protect the Autobots and Cybertron thinking it has to be the right thing. I grew up with a better Prowl when he didn’t have much of a personality.

I mean, the first toy’s tech spec catchphrase is ““Logic is the ultimate weapon.” Why is he not Shockwave’s arch rival? Being about logic is one of the universal personality traits of Shockwave!

So I picked up the updated version when it came out. How well does it hold up?

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Transformers Report: Classics Optimus Prime

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Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transformers Classics was an attempt to bring the classic “G1” character into the modern age with updated versions of their classic alternate modes. For example, you’ve probably seen Bumblebee’s Classics form sitting on the Bumblebee shelf in the past. Instead of his classic VW Beetle form he got a more updated compact car mode, mainly due to Volkswagen not wanting to be tied to war toys. Others were given a modern model of the vehicle they were originally based on. To grab names at random, if a car had been a 1980s Ford Taurus or something, this would be a 2008 Taurus. Note that I don’t know if they even made the Ford Taurus in the 1980s. I’m just giving a hypothetical example here.

One of those toys was an update of…naturally, the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime. (And yes, they did have a Megatron but thanks to modern restrictions on toy guns they made him more like a Nerf weapon than his traditional handgun.) Originally a red flat-nosed semi, Michael Bay gave him a long-nose blue semi with flames because he thought it looked cool. But what does a proper Optimus Prime update look like?

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Dusting Day

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All together now!

Technically another quick project. After last week’s review of Alternity Bumblebee I went to prep the Bumblebee Shelf (I still really want to paint this thing yellow with some black trim) and noticed it was rather dusty. So this week I dusted it prior to resetting the Shelf to bring in the new Bumblebee. (This is an old picture. He’s not there.) And since I dusted that I thought I would dust my whole bedroom, because it needed it. It’s sad how much dust was on the Zoids alone. I think I did dust since last year’s hospital stays but it still built up. I also know I dusted in the studio during an earlier organizing project but it could use a light dusting as well.

It also reminds me how badly I need to go through my old Transformers, since I have so many stacked in boxes that (a) I can’t reach part of my non-Bumblebee shelves and get to stuff even to dust them, and (b) what’s the sense of collecting things if they’re going to stay in a plastic tub where nobody will see them because the spot you’d set them up to pose is cluttered but you can’t do anything about it? Even the Bumblebee Shelf is starting to get crowded and there are a few Bumblebees I’d still like to get, like Masterpiece and something representing the current incarnation of Robots In Disguise. Plus there’s a version for Titans Return that looks pretty cool and they didn’t make him a “Titanmaster” (formerly Headmaster, of which not every character has to be–no love for Targetmasters?) which makes him even better for this line.

I did manage to sell off my Marvel Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comics and learned a few things about PayPal, like there are fees, as well as double-checking the price of comics. They could go for a lot more than I sold them for, but there were various reasons why I took the hit and I’m not sorry. Unless he ends up selling them himself, but it’s still a lesson learned when it comes to my other comics to not just look at price guide sites and see what they’re actually going for. An important lesson although with my luck the other comics I’m getting rid of won’t be worth as much as those. I have that kind of luck.

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