Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Heinlad

I figured for the sake of it I'd take a few shots of one my favourite Transformers toys of all time. Heinlad is one of the most unusual toys from my personal collection and is culturally unique to the Japanese market he was released unto.




Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Poor Laslo



Not much love for Laslo the pigman here. Although any fans of the character have a good army building oppurtunity with this Toys R Us bargain bin offer.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Another Man's Junk(ers)!



Broken toys can have a new lease of life by donation of parts towards the restoration of other figures.

A broken figure can also contribute towards a custom project and creativity.

If you have broken toys. Don't throw them away. For these 'junkers' could prove useful to another.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

REVIEW: Breakaway, (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)

Joining the Autobots from the skies is Top-Gun flyboy Breakaway. Breakaway is part of the first wave of movie sequel toys and appears as a playable character in Activision’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video game. The character name was also used for a chocolate biscuit brand in the 80’s, which I often had in my packed lunch for school.

Back on topic…

Breakaway moonlights as a desert camo-coloured military jet with cybergliphics marked on the wings and tail. The jet looks sleek, and compact; and it holds together well. The jet can also be folded out into a Veritech style gerwalk mode, but it is not an official conversion.

Breakaway is easily comparable with different generations of jet-based transformers toys in the way this figure is designed and how it transforms. The robot form however is a slightly different take on a ‘jetformer’, although different concepts from past moulds are given a nod to, almost like a bricolage as it were.


In robot mode Breakaway most notably has his robot head exposed from within the cockpit of the jet. The window hatch can be lifted up to reveal the robot face or can remain down like a protective screen. The robot face itself is almost like a mixture of flying goggles and an oxygen mask both adding to the jetfighter theme of this figure. As an extra feature, Breakaway has a narrow Gatling gun over his forearm, much like a G1 seeker weapon. The Gatling gun can rotate via the Mech Alive gimmick but isn’t anything special. On the walking side of things Breakaway’s feet boast a set of 4 toes on each. Rather than the ‘norm’ of having square or triangular feet, Breakaway shows that Transformers can have toes too, especially since they have had fingers in most designs.

Like with other past jetformers, the craft wings also double up for use in robot mode. For Breakaway, his wings and tail make up a small hang-glider like formation on his back.

A slight downside on this toy for me is the colour scheme. The primary desert storm shade is fine but the chav blue and wasabi green in places don’t blend in at all. In fact, they insultingly clash towards a well designed toy mould. This toy did not adopt a G2 Aerialbot scheme, but this is still unforgiveable.

On the brighter side, there is said to be a darker variant of the toy available as well as upcoming Thrust and Dirge repaints. If like me you don’t like the Breakaway mould with wasabi on the side, there are other fruity flavours on the horizon.

Overall, Breakaway is a decent figure with a different innovative approach to a robot mode. Got to love those toes! The choices of secondary and tertiary colours are indeed bad, but they don’t entirely ruin what is a fun and novel figure.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

REVIEW: Rampage, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

One of the outstanding disguise themes the Revenge of the Fallen movie and toyline both offer is that of the Constructicons. Or rather construction vehicle themed Transformers under the Bayformer design. These so-called Constructicon toys are packaged as normal Decepticons without the additional fanfare to say they are a special unit.

Alongside Demolishor, the other construction vehicle to crop up in the first wave of movie sequel toys is Rampage.

Rampage in toy form is a warm-yellow bulldozer and somewhat flung from his coloured red movie appearance. Resemblance good or not, Rampage is actually very cool. Much like his unicycle-like comrade Demolishor this Transformer has a different take on a robot mode.

Escaping from the traditional norms of a humanoid robot form for a Transformer, Rampage has four legs. With this approach and proportion, Rampage could possibly be some kind of centaur or maybe an Andelite (ref: Animorphs). What also stands out on Rampage are his bulldozer treads which drape down each arm like extra-long coat sleeves. These ‘coat sleeves’ both mark for a pair of deadly whip like combat weapons. The toy based on Rampage’s Beast Wars namesake also has a rubber treads from claws feature, but was never used like this. It would seem that with the Revenge of the Fallen toyline most weapons are already attached to the Transformer robot (i.e Sideswipe, Breakaway etc) and Rampage with his ambidextrous tread whips is no exception.

The bulldozer mode is tough and sturdy the way it should be. This vehicle form is also detailed and moulded well to attention. There’s nothing more to comment on apart from this mode doing its job looking like a bulldozer and a well made one at that. The bulldozer parts all play their part in making up the deadly robot mode when folded out into robot form.

Rampage with his four legs can be difficult to stand. This is because the legs are thin and hoof like. Sometimes either of the two front legs don’t stay stood up properly making this figure feel slightly table like. This is one of the traits of this toy that requires a bit of patience.

So what, this version of Rampage isn’t a gestalt limb? This building site badboy also has a third mode in his arsenal. This additional mode is a jackhammer drill and possibly scale wise useable with bigger figures to handle, since it won’t stand alone. Unlike the bulldozer form, the jackhammer looks less like an Earth-based power tool and more like a Vehicon hover mode. Having both alien and Earth based alt modes, is something that hasn’t been done before with the Triple Changers concept as far as I am aware.

In conclusion, Rampage may not be movie accurate in appearance but is a decent enough construction vehicle Transformer with a little extra wow factor and originality. Rampage’s different quirks make him quite novel and outstanding compared to most deluxe sized figures. All round this is a fun toy to own if you can tolerate its occasional baby deer like standing problems. One figure not to be missed.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

REVIEW: Autobot Wheelie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

A renowned name in Transformers lore, Wheelie was originally depicted as an attention seeking Dennis Mitchell type character of the later Generation 1 era. In the new live action backdrop Wheelie’s namesake is a small little blue Minicon like robot. Wheelie is a spy because of his obvious size and with that objective his Earth alt mode is a remote control Monster Truck, ideal for hiding in garages and households. This new version of Wheelie seeks acceptance whether it is with the right or wrong crowd, but it makes for an interesting story arc where the little guy proves how useful he can be.

In unique irony this toy has the vehicle mode of a toy. Alongside the Ice-Cream van twins and Ejector the toaster from Revenge of the Fallen, this is probably another first for Transformers disguises.

As a robot, Wheelie resembles something from Robotix crossed with bits of Wall-E and Short Circuit’s Johnny 5. The wheeled legs, big eyes and rectangular head make for an amusing design that isn’t taken too seriously. I guess the concept with Wheelies design was to draw themes from Johnny 5 and Wall E and size him down as an underdog or potential runt of the litter.

Like with the toy rendition of Scorponok, Wheelie is represented in a scale compared to other figures much larger than he should be. In a good way it means that the quality of the toy can have more attention paid to it. Given the fragile issues with some Scout-class toys (ref: my reviews of Scalpel and Dead End) Wheelie is definitely best off as a Deluxe figure.

In packaging, Wheelie is already in robot form. The robot mode is supported by what I could best describe as dual kickstands based around the inner ankles. These kickstands help Wheelie with standing as both his robot feet are basically Bigfoot truck tyres. Wheelies arms are both thin and lengthy like that of Johnny Five with two long articulated fingers and a thumb. This is a nice touch to a Transformers toy considering a majority of figures possess the traditional square hands design with a peghole. Wheelie has freedom of movement with his hands which can be used to grip around other objects, and it kind of makes up for the omission of a weapon.

Probably, the only gripe I have about Wheelie is the weak colour scheme. The blue shades are fine, but I think the grey parts the arms, neck and other pieces are coloured in could have been more chrome like to give this toy more depth. Apart from the eyes and insignias, Wheelie has a basic palette of three colours and that’s it! Limited colour shades don’t do Bayformer-based designs enough justice in my opinion. Perhaps a possible later premium edition of this toy will rectify this.

The most outstanding gimmick on Wheelie is the changeable insignia on his chest, which puts across his character as a bit of a double agent depending which way the wind blows. Both the Autobot and Decepticon insignias are coloured in traditional red and purple rather than grey or black. The gimmick is a workable change from Mech Alive or leg humping action (see movie).


Another distinctive feature is the movable eye plates that make up the shape of Wheelie’s head. These plates can pose either up or down to make the toy look all the more expressive, much like the character in the film.

Wheelie in truck mode is just plain cute. The arms and everything else tuck in tidily and snap into place to make up a compact playable toy truck. The truck doesn’t do anything else except for be a toy truck of a toy truck (no missiles, gimmicks etc) and it serves purpose just being that.

In conclusion:
Wheelie is a character toy that will likely go down well with younger Transfans, anyone with toolbox space or in general those who found his movie appearance funny. Like with Skids and Mudflap, Wheelie seems to be an acquired character taste. The limited colour palette is but a small gripe, but design wise this movie character has adapted to toy form quite well. This toy could have been a whole lot worse, but it scrapes by into OK territory just fine.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Black Firearm Repaints

I bought some toy guns from a local car-boot sale. These were intended as props for an upcoming independant (well a Son of Rambow quality) film production.

I had some Chaos Black Warhammer spray left and gave these a going over.



Friday, 5 June 2009

REVIEW: Scalpel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

The Decepticons have never had a proper equivalent to Ratchet in Transformers lore. Sure, there have been some brainy and creative Decepticons but never an individual character that suits the theme of a surgeon. Tarantulas maybe?

Along comes this new character Scalpel, a character from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen which has filled this gap.

Unlike Ratchet, this evil medic changes into a surgeon microscope rather than a themed vehicle. This marks for some interesting appeal in toy form, as there are a low ratio of appliance based Transformers. Real Gear is back! (sort of).

What also adds to Scalpel’s originality is his robot form – A 6 legged bug like creature with the posture of the Modulok toy from Masters of the Universe. Revenge of the Fallen has not only introduced newer alt-mode concepts but a different approach to robot modes too. Scalpel is a good example of this.

With his bug-like appearance, Scalpel is probably the smallest in toy form and on-screen of the Decepticons.

Scalpel’s character: He’s a clever little robot who collects data and lots of it! Easily a 10 for Intelligence on the Tech Specs scale, although lacking in re-assembling skills. Scalpel is known to take things apart and put them back together with a few things missing. “Decepticons prefer to suffer in silence rather than allow Scalpel to work on them”.

At first, Scalpel will greet the consumer in robot mode as that is how all the scout class figures are packaged. This unfortunately meets with the primary problem with this figure early on as all 6 insect-like legs are very brittle and can snap easily. Not only are the legs very fragile, they also prevent Scalpel from standing properly in the way the illustration shows on the back of the packaging. That also introduces a bit of a trading standards issue if I cared enough. The flaw with the legs lets this figure down a great deal as transforming into alt-mode requires very careful handling.

Scalpels other features in robot mode are not so bad. The robot head and face are quite amusing with its goggle-eyes and a cute antenna. The robot arms are very tiny and equally thin as the upper legs, but a lot tougher! The upper torso on Scalpel has some cool purple coloured circuit-board markings that add a bit of depth into the design.

On the plus-side, Scalpel’s alt mode is amusing and more compact. Fold up the legs inside as well as the tiny arms etc and you have an amusing microscope. Of course you have to guess how this toy transforms as the scout-class figures are not equipped with instructions. (That’s part of the fun though). The microscope is articulated well and is kind of like the iconic Pixar desk lamp. Escaping from the unstable robot mode is rewarding.

Doctor Scalpel is a fun, gimmicky and original concept to a Transformers design. Sadly the toy has majorly tripped up and stumbled by its fragile parts. Definitely a purchase for collectors rather than kids, and one for displaying only!




Saturday, 21 March 2009

REVIEW: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Dead End










This Decepticon looks Fast as a car and Furious as a robot. Altogether - an all-round nasty Stunticon namesake for the Autobots to contend with.

Dead End here is part of a new scout class of movie style Transformers featuring what looks to be characters that may not appear in the motion picture. Going by past Movie toys, Dead End could be suggestively connected with the film like other non-cast member toys before him.

Transformation from car to robot and vice versa requires careful handling and patience as there are small parts that can break off easily (such as the front bonnet). Like a lot of smaller Transformer toys before, this figure has a lever like hinge on its back which pulls the roof or equivalent over the head in alt mode. This feature is like the G2 Cyberjets and small wave 1 Beast Wars, but Dead End is no way a ‘Shellformer’ like these are since other parts on him are less static and need further transforming.

The street racing car alt mode is a solid red & black, curvaceous sports car - much like the old early-90s Aquaspeeder toy Deluge. The car pushes along nicely as it should, and the doors each have a decorative orange tribal flame to make Dead End look more like a bad-boy racer. The hub caps also have tribal like markings too. Road rage could indeed take to the living room carpet in style.

What is most striking about the robot mode is the amount of movement in the joints. Even the robot head which looks ‘Thanagarian’ has a moveable beak like mouth and a bottom set of sharp teeth. The legs on Dead End have 6 articulation points, whilst the arms are ball jointed on the shoulders, elbows and wrists. The robot hands are each sculpted as an open set of clawing fingers (although a little fragile) rather than a set of block fists. There is a peg-hole in each palm maybe for an optional weapon, even though Dead End is unarmed.

This is a fantastic figure with attention to detail and lots of articulation for a Transformer its size. However, Dead End is let down by being a little fragile in places and needs delicacy when transforming. This toy is more for displaying rather than playing, especially where the robot mode is concerned. A Scout-sized spectacle!

- Hero Ken Flatt

Friday, 6 March 2009

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cerebros Bootleg 1997

Another Knockoff showcase for today. This is a bootlegged Cerebros my missus picked up at Botcon 1997. Not sure if the rest of the Fort Max set was made into a knockoff though. All that's here is just the Cerebros head.


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

DR WHO: Time Squad, Out in the UK

Heya. I just picked up some of the newly released Dr Who: Time Squad on a shopping trip to ASDA. I grabbed the 2-packs of Sontaran VS The Doctor and Slitheen & Weeping Angel. So far, I've only opened one of these packs.

These Mini figures are great!

Here's some photos: