Saturday, April 6, 2013

Life is full of disappointments.

"Something is missing. Or, I am expected to
walk around on my robot genitals."
If you ever read the original The Tick comics by Ben Edlund, you might remember near the end of that (unfinished) run that Arthur would complain about his bad luck, and The Tick would explain it as "Charlie Brown Karma." I pick up lines or phrases like this and they become part of my own personal language. This either becomes part of an accepted way to speak to others raised on pop culture (my band exists because we would use "Everything's Coming Up Milhouse" to describe how we were feeling) or as a sign of some sort of schizophrenia.

So, sometimes, certain aspects of my life can be best described with Charlie Brown Karma. Somewhere something tempts me and I go for it and at the last second Lucy Van Pelt pulls the football away from me and I fall on my back. This is a RIDICULOUS feeling, because in reality someone dropped the ball on their end and it's not my fault at all. Because it has happened MORE than once, and because I ooze Catholic Guilt, I think it's because I WANTED SOMETHING and, because thou shalt not want, I am being punished for wanting something.**

This week was a double dose of anticipation and disappointments.

First up, I bought a few things from Shapeways, a 3d printing site. Clever people create schematics for their items, and Shapeways prints them up. For the fans who are impatient for 3rd party manufacturers not as impatient with Hasbro as they normally are, this is potentially AWESOME, and there's already a variety of products you can get to enhance certain action figures. There's a few things I haven't ordered that would solve a few custom ideas I have, but because I don't have what I consider to be the proper action figures to work with, well, that's why I haven't ordered it.

But I did order three items and blindly; I haven't seen these by any of the die hard local TF base. They took about three weeks to arrive. I was stoked when they did; I was having a bad day at work and this would have totally cheered me up. I could inspect it and then start a-paintin' it when I got home and added to my bizarro TF collection.

I will talk about the full haul, quality & service, later; for now, the one little guy I really wanted to check out? See the photo at the top. Yup, someone created a Targetmaster that TURNS INTO A CHAINSAW. Dudes. DUDES. You would have gotten such a blog entry about the Jackyl Lumberjack song once I painted him, believe me.

This is going to be the best...with joy, I opened up his little bag, and I put his arms on his body and the saw part in place...but, uh, how do the legs fit on? Um, they...don't?

Oh, I see...they forgot the thigh parts. From his torso to his feet, he has no legs.

I was DEVASTATED. I'm serious: this was a bummer. I didn't want to look at the other two items (I did, they were complete). I felt my Charlie Brown Karma kick in: I wanted this, but I don't get it. Shame on me for wanting something, and so badly.

The ziplock-style bag he came in was sealed tight, but I searched the small box he was shipped in and no tiny white legs. My sadness was great, but I figured I should write to Shapeways ASAP and let them know. Maybe they'd believe me? Maybe I can get a refund? Maybe they won't tell me to get lost? I took a pic with my cell phone and emailed it to them right away.

They got back to me a day or so later: if they don't find the parts, they'll ship me a new figure. Woah! Thanks, Shapeways! My anticipation grows again, and when I get the figure, a review. (And you can help me choose what to paint it. I'm thinking something orange and red for the non-chainsaw part of his body.)

The 2nd disappointment was less anticipation and more regret. I sat in at Quake, that toy store where I get a lot of loose figures, and I saw the GT-01 Head & Arms Set from Gear 4 Toys. So the owner sold me one of the two sets (one for G1 Ironhide, the one I got for G1 Ratchet). The concept: it's the top half of a robot body that fits over their G1 counterpart to make it look like the G1 cartoon. The Diaclone version of Ironhide was piloted by a Micronaut-sized figure, and thus Diaclone Ironhide always looked less like a Transformer than a robot piloted by someone, with the seat-sticker seeming to be a last minute substitution for a face.

It took me FOREVER to realize on Ratchet's box art that his robot mode featured with two eyes on his windshield. (Click on the Ratchet image.) That was the original plan, I guess, and how he was featured in the first issue of the Marvel TF comic. Obviously the cartoon had different plans, and some of us kids who got Ratchet for their birthday or xmas did our best to accept Ratchet with the help of our limited imaginations. Though he had a Classics Universe release, the Gear 4 Toys upgrade seemed like a very welcome enhancement for G1 Ratchet & Ironhide.

By the time you get through this caption, he's toppled over.
Note that the name of "Gear 4 Toys" could easily be mistaken for "iGear." Punchline: iGear makes good toys. OUCH. BURN!

That's my review. Maybe I got a bum set. Not helping is that my G1 Ratchet is uncooperatively loose on every limb. See the picture on the right? You won't believe how long it took me to get the piece to fit. The eyes light up, and that's a nice touch, but I'd rather have it FIT, and I think the space where the battery & electronics go to provide the light could have been used to make sure the piece fit over this seat-face. Instead, to make sure he stays on (because the vertically straight sides won't fit around the inclined windshield) you really need to fight with his old arms to hold the piece in place as it tries to pop out. And it has to be perfectly balanced, which is almost impossible if the feet are loose even in the slightest.

I'm a-keepin' it for now because the top part of my G1 Ratchet is broken and I can't sell him on eBay. But I say avoid this and use that money to buy an actual figure you don't have and would like to get. Or donate it to a church or buy some mutual funds. I don't know.

Until next time,

** My actual religious views (non-views!) are none of anyone's business.

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