Sunday, October 11, 2009

The dead shall rise....

So, to keep with the whole creepy/Halloween theme, I'm bringing some posts back from the grave. These are from my Myspace page (which I pretty much never use now) when I first thought of making a transformers blog in late summer 2007 (shortly after the first Transformers movie came out).

I'll post them in chronological order, beginning with this one:


Plastic Crack

This link will take you to a blog I look at every now and again. It is a blog mostly dedicated to the fine hobby of Transformer collecting, and while it's not the best of internet literature, it offers a pretty fun view of the hobby, with plenty of self-deprecation to go around. I decided to do my own take on blogging my time as a transformer fan. Amusingly, one of my favorite aspects is how nice Plastic Crack looks.This blog, being on MyTrailerPark, er, I mean MySpace, will never look that nice. But that's ok. I think that blog's title sums up my feelings/problems with transformers pretty nicely.

I'll start with a brief introduction to how transformers are a part of my life:

I was born in 1983, not long into the Decade of Hate. Hasbro, a large toy company, decided to market a range of convertible Japanese robot toys under the collective title Transformers the next year, 1984. As such, the early (and arguably most famous) Transformer characters, toys, and episodes debuted when I was still too little to be doing much of anything. Lucky for me (or unlucky, depending on my mood and current checking account balance), two things happened:

1) The family who babysat me had a son, Andy, who is roughly 5 years older than me. Thus, we was more "of age" when the first few years of Transformers were available, and he had acquired quite a few. When he got to the point when he didn't care for them, I got ALL OF THEM. It was awesome! I still have quite a few of those, including the 1984 Transformers "collector's cases" that he had kept them in.

2) Even though no one outside of the Transformer "fandom" remembers most of them, Hasbro continued to make new toys and characters as part of the original Transformer line, not stopping until 1991. (Later, in late '92/'93, they revived the brand with the "Generation 2" line. AND THEN NEVER STOPPED MAKING THEM. This is a major source of my problem.) Thus, even though I missed out on a lot of the "classic" characters like Megatron, Jazz, and Soundwave, there were still plenty of toys around for my family to buy me for years to come.

Ok, enter: 1996. Hasbro's Generation 2 line had fizzled out, to my dissapointment. However, they debuted their next series, Beast Wars. Seeing them for the first time in stores was interesting. The only one I ever bought was Waspinator, who would turn out to be my last Transformer for a long time.

Now enter 2003. I'm a freshman in college and I don't live with my parents anymore and I have a job, so, A) I have disposable income and B) I can spend it where, when, and on what I want. I, for some unexplicable and damnable reason, decide that I should get myself a Transformer. You know, the whole 80s nostalgia thing was in full swing, it was a college town where being an overly youthful idiot wasn't seen as a bad thing, etc. So, I look transformers up on the internet and find that the current line is called Transformers: Armada. I notice that there is a new toy of Starscream, and since I remembered him from the original 1986 movie and love airplanes (that's what he transforms into! Yay!), I resolve to find him. My good friend Dave helped me on this very first of my many toy hunts. Why was it a "hunt", you say? Well, any given transformer in any given toyline is released at a certain point in that line's existence. Thus, toys released at the beginning of the line are often repalced later by new toys. This is what was beginning to happen with Starscream. Starscream was a $20 figure (or "Maxcon", as they were called during the Armada line) that was one of the first toys released for Armada. Since Armada began late summer 2002, and I was looking for him in early 2003, it wasn't as easy to find as I thought. Dave and I scoured Athens, even braving the supreme depression of entering the then-going-out-of-business West Side Kmart. With nothing to show, I finally found it at the east side Walmart (still a good source for TFs, especially clearanced store exclusives!). And thus began my long descent into the dark world of sin and nastiness that is.....ADULTHOOD TOY COLLECTING. Note that I did not say "adult toy collecting". There's a very important distinction there.

So, with that mess out of the way, we'll get to the current part. First, let's get oyu up to speed:

This is a pretty big year for Transformers. As most know, the first live-action Transformer movie was released this summer, putting Transformers in the spotlight. But, as a TF fan, I'm usually more focused on the toys. The movie was a lot of fun, but the toys are where it's at. So, what's going on with Transformer toys in 2007?

Well, there are (barely) 4 different toylines this year that feature actual transforming toys, as opposed to the static stuff that always accompanies a big summer movie. They are:
1) Transformers: Classics (only one release, Masterpiece Starscream, is left)
2) Transformers (the core movie toys, Target exlcusive repaints, Fast Action Battlers, and Real Gear Robots. The real meat of 2007.)
3) Titaniums (the 6" versions. These are near-impossible to find, and the line is being canceled after a few more releases).
4) Alternators (which was recently completed with the SDCC exclusive Rodimus)

Ok, but what's actually available now? Well, glad you asked. Realistically, pretty much just the Real Gears, which turn into gadgets. They're awesome, but they don't seem to move off the shelves. Theoretically, there's all kind of movie figures available. Most are "Deluxe" toys, which are $10 and make up the bulk of the movie line. Then there are a few "Voyagers" (WTH? I know, right?) that are $20 and bigger and more complicated. Then there are the "Leader" toys at $40, which are pretty awesome versions of Optimus Prime and Megatron (and soon, Brawl the tank). Just now hitting the shelves is the "Ultimate" class, which only includes the 2009 Camaro version of Bumblebee. He takes ~$90 from your wallet, but don't worry, he'll be clearanced to ~$30 by November. You can also get more simplifed toys of most of the characters in the form of Fast Action Battlers, simpler and more play-oriented $10 toys. Finally, Target also has $8 (dollar more than normal) exlcusive repaints of "scout" class figures from two (relatively) recent lines, Energon and Cybertron. Oh yeah, and the Real Gears. But I guess I mentioned them.They're pretty great.

So, what of these have I gotten lately that I really enjoy? Well, I was pretty excited about Deluxe 2009 Bumblebee (the 2009 refers to the Camaro model year) and Deluxe Arcee. Arcee is good, if mainly an upsized version of Energon basic Arcee. The matte black paint sections look good, and the crossbow weapon is a lot of fun. Bumblebee is awesome, one of the best $10 transformers in years. He's complicated in that there's a lot of stuff that moves around, but it's not a difficult transformation nor is it time consuming. Plus, he has a weapon that looks like his arm cannon from the movie. He's a very impressive figure, certianly more impressive for the price than the expensive Ultimate Bumblebee seems to be. Ironhide, a $20 movie toy, was also fairly recently acquired and has a similar level of detail and complexity to Bumblebee, though due to his overall design and color scheme he's not as stand out "Look at me, I'm awesome!" as our smaller, yellow friend is.

So, what am I looking forward to for the near future of Transformers?
1. Masterpiece Starscream, Classics edition - this Western release/repaint of the Japanese MP-03 Starscream mold is something I've been wanting since they first showed the poorly-colored original. To top it off, Hasbro is releasing it in Classics-style packaging (as I predicted!) and it comes out next month...right in time for my birthday. He'll also make a great "housewarming" TF for my and my family's new abode, although I'm sure he'll be relegated to the basement in short order.

2. Alternators Rodimus - aka "Hot Rod" to me. This fella's on order from ebay, and is kind of exciting for me. See, he was one of Hasbro's exclusives for the 2007 SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) about 2 weeks ago, along with Titanium Series Menasor. He'll be my first convention exclusive, and it doesn't help that I'm starting to amass a Hot Rod/Rodimus collection.

3. Movie Dropkick - nothing overtly special. Actually, he's kinda trashy, as he's a low riding pick-up with graphics splattered all over which happen to form a HUGE Decepticon symbol. Just another nice, versatile deluxe. Also, he's a pick-up (with an actual hollow bed), a car type severely underrepresented in Transformers toylines.

4. Old toys - Huh? I know, this section was for forthcoming stuff...but really, since I'm spending the weekdays at my parents' for now, I've begun digging out various Transformers from past lines and really enjoying them. Most of them aren't really that old - the oldest one I've dug up as yet is from the 2001 Robots in Disguise toyline, others are from last year - but some of them have been in storage for a very long time or were previously written off for an ebay sales list that never materialized (thank god). It's just nice to go back and appreciate the stuff that's come before. I'm very much looking forward to having space to display them in at the new house.

That's everything for now. Don't expect regular updates, if you are actually reading this.

No comments: