Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(further page collection)

So here's some other pages I got from Mr. Shearer at C2E2 from what is one of my favorite issues of the series. It's a big action blockbuster that I thought I'd hate because the story pages were purposely out of order (which I usually question, or accuse, as an admission that the story itself must not have been that interesting in the first place and they try to make it interesting by putting it out of order) and a lot of it is about Rewind & Chromedome's relationship...but the best part is of course the bits between Cyclonus and his unlikely tag-along roommate Tailgate. After the jump!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I got another comics page! And some randomness, like me clearing out a few TFs.

NOTE! MINOR COMIC BOOK RELATED SPOILERS AHEAD! Er, BELOW! Whatever, just read the post. There will be a jump, so strap yourself in.

Latest acquisition. Penciled by Alex Milne, inked by
Brian Shearer, written by John Roberts,
published by IDW.
CHECK IT OUT! I got another page from More Than Meets The Eye from Brian Shearer. I was fortunate to meet him at C2E2 and he was selling his pages from various IDW books he worked on, including both G1 Transformers titles (Robots In Disguise and More Than Meets The Eye). You may have seen a comics page with some new dialogue inserted in; that page is from Robots In Disguise. I really dug that page as it features Sideswipe and Arcee (and some whazzizwhozziz characters like Bumblebee and Starscream or whoever), in a moment when they fight back against the Decepticons (after I thought Sideswipe to be dead! nooooo!). I saw it in Brian's portfolio and I snapped it up immediately. But Brian wasn't done taking my money, as he had also inked half of MTMTE #12, which also featured a few of my favorite sequences in the comic's run, between Cyclonus and Tailgate. And lo and behold, he had THOSE pages, reasonably priced as well! (Pages I picked up? Not part of the linked preview, sorry.) They were sweet, sad, and funny moments in a comic about robots fighting each other, and whooptie do for me, I have them.

So yeah, MTMTE #18, the 2nd issue in a multipart epic which starts off with the most epic Transformers character EVER, SWERVE! I realized that hey, I have no pages from this series with Swerve in them. I mean, I'm lucky to have any at all, but still, why not any with the true hero of both comic series?

Well, this page has Swerve, armed & dangerous. The weapon is hilarious as is the last panel of the page. Please read the preview. I dropped Brian a line to see if he had this page lying around. He did. I sold some comic books (not MTMTE) as well as some action figures (non-Transformers!) to get the funds. The page arrived last week and I took a pic with my phone (and lightened up the brightness & contrast when I got home).

Brian's a great guy and is working on a few projects of his own. Please check out his site and see what other pages he has for sale on eBay.

My interest in the hobby has shifted from completing the G1 line, pre-animated movie, or getting every version of certain favorite characters. I've been reducing my collection to fit in a manageable space and checking out interesting things like the graphics from G1 boxes to, say, getting original pages from a comic book or cels from the G1 cartoon**. I managed to find "The Ark" book that was published by IDW, and maybe I'll review that soon. If you like the artists from these comics series, the prices for these pages aren't off the scale compared to pages from mainstream artists who work on DC and Marvel or have their own properties they are publishing or are having published. In any case, pages are one of a kind (or two, as these are just Brian's inks over a reproduction of Milne's blue pencils), make great art, and buying them directly from the artist helps them immensely. These were a deal (trust me, my budget for both the comics and TF hobby are nonexistent these days, I had to let go of a few things in the collection for this and some of the other recent acquisitions) so if you're interested in this part of the hobby, it's not out of your reach. I mean, people are spending $80+ on Masterpiece Acid Storm, right? Why not buy a page instead?

RANDOM THOUGHTS after the jump!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Knockoff alert! Insecticon wannabe ROBO-BUGS

I stopped by my favorite toy store QUAKE in Chicago and saw these on his pegboards:

Insecticons? More like Insecti-CRAP.
Three of the four Robo-Bugs (according to the back of the card, at the end of this post) by Tek Toys.

I am finding virtually no information about this toy line. My pal Tim happened to be in the store and said that he had some of these, and these were from the 80's, so I guess these were one of the many Transformers imitators of back in the day. They're also seemingly original designs, as opposed to the Deluxe Insecticons that weren't featured in the cartoon most likely because they were not made by Takara/Tomy at the time. Or at least, I don't think these are bootlegs/KO's of the Deluxe Insecticons because THERE'S NO WAY IN HECK I'M BUYING THESE AND HAVING THEM IN MY HOME. 

Now, I did find something called, and remember that I don't work in marketing, ROBO-KATS. There's some information here claiming that Tek Toys specializes in themed TF KO's but there's no reference to Robo-Bugs. Further search finds THIS page, listing a few more KO's, including Robo-Dinos, again by Tek Toys. But no mention of Robo-Bugs (though there are Robo-INVADERS, which are described as bugs). AM I THE FIRST TO SHOWCASE ROBOBUGS? DO I NEED TO BUY THESE? THESE TACKY CHEAP INSECTICON WANNABES?

No. But if you do have more information, including any links, please share and I'll update this post or do a new post. If you worked for Tek Toys, I'd love for you to fly me out to San Francisco and we'll talk for a half hour and then I'll spend the rest of the weekend exploring the town on my own. (What?)

Generations IDW tribute ORION PAX

Though I'm not disappointed by Trailbreaker(cutter), the smaller size (that's the consensus) of his Generations figure compared to previous Generations/Classics lead me to decide to skip out on the remainder of the incoming figures (with a few exceptions like Hoist and Skids). There might be a trend in using less plastic or maybe just an overhaul in all upcoming designs that relies on shell-formers, fake wheels, and flimsy appendages, perhaps to reconcile these designs to something closer to the movie figures (to the point where Gen. Trailbreaker could be retooled into a new movie figure with ease and match the other figures? I'm speculating wildly.). I think it's also because many of these characters have already had Deluxe sized Classics released, so I can skip out on another Bumblebee (which looks like meh, or worse) or Megatron (which actually looks okay, but I like the FOC tank better). I already have several Classics Bumblebees and passed on having several different Starscreams and Megatrons.
Orion Pax, part of this wave of IDW inspired/designed figures, is TECHNICALLY a different character. Prior to becoming Optimus Prime, Orion was a dockworker in the G1 and in the IDW comics series he was some kind of police officer or something. He's still a red and blue truck, but more of a retro themed pickup truck. He's not a bad looking figure and the transformation is pretty good too. His axe is reminiscent of  the one he has in Fall Of Cybertron, his gun a G1 cartoon homage (is this the closest to his G1 cartoon?).

His head is TINY. Maybe it appears tiny in scale due to his tiny figure which should still be larger than the other deluxe figures. My figure's head happened to be stuck, or at least very hard to push down in position, the point where his face actually POPPED OFF in my figures. His head is on a swivel joint, and not a ball joint, and his face just slides off. Unlike other bots, his face and back of head aren't screwed together. So when his face pops off, you get this:

Creepy Baby Clear-Head. Better trademark that character name, Hasbro.
At the very least, if I don't like this figure, I can paint this weird clear head and have a NEW figure.

Like Trailbreaker, his stats on the back of his card seem off. Even the guy not yet reconstructed into Optimus Prime should have strength above "3." The figure comes with a comic (a reprint of an IDW one-shot from earlier this year) and the Orion Pax here seems to handle himself well in battle, with plenty of firepower (1 on the card) and takes a beating and survives pretty well (endurance at 4 on the card). Orion Pax wasn't Steve Rogers prior to the Super Soldier serum. In every G1 version, he's a pretty bulky and tough character. So who is putting these stats together?

Don't answer. I'll be back soon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

silly pages, and some random Generations thoughts.

Quick thoughts:
-got a better look at Generations (IDW) Bumblebee, in package. Nope, not buying it. Just looks like a Flimsybot (tm). Anyone else: thoughts?
-got a look at Megatron stealth bomber from the same wave. Hmmm, I like the previous Deluxe figure from (WFC?) better.
-...general consensus? Trail(breaker)cutter is too small. He should be classics Hound sized. His vehicle is smaller than classics Hound. I think it's just a design decision going forward with future figures, in that the FOC Deluxes also seemed a bit smaller. Less plastic? More space saving features? Well, he's still a pretty solid figure. ANYWAY, here's another silly dialogue replacement page.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Late night incoherent silliness.

It's late. I am still trying to organize things after the move. Maybe I'll have more Robots With Coffee pics soon. In the meantime...did I mention it was late?

Friday, August 2, 2013

but WAIT! Trailcutter's tech specs! Oh noes!

G1 spec #s are represented by the glowing white dots, themselves forcefields to protect what's left
of Trailbreaker's self-esteem.

Okay, apologies to Hasbro, but I gotta point this out. Above is the tech spec from the Generations Trailbreaker, primarily the yellow line. I added the white dots because I thought something was amiss when I glanced at it. Mainly: this is one average Autobot. There is nothing special about him. All his stats range from 5 to 7.

So? Well, Trailbreaker has a forcefield, which in nearly every version of the G1 TF stories (cartoon, comics) has saved Autobot trunks time after time. See Megatron's Master Plan, when the Autobots were sent to the SUN, their ship blew up, and who kept them functional? Trailbreaker's forcefield, which I imagine was reason to give his endurance a "10" on his G1 stats. Did someone think, "well, his force field is a power, so his endurance doesn't come from his actual robot mode. Knock that down a few notches."

A superpower like a forcefield that protects your pals from an exploding ship a few miles away from the sun's devastating heat is weighed by his lack of speed, fuel consumption, and resulting insecurity. Maybe I am reading too much into these things (I am), but the Generations tech spec suggests a troop builder figure more than a specialist. And that's what makes the Autobots special: most of them aren't brave warriors (unless they're every damn Autobot in the movie universe, but whatever), they're architects and maintenance crews and theoreticians forced into battle and using their powers, despite their weaknesses, to overcome the Decepticon tyranny. They have strengths and failings. Bumblebee was a little guy who thought he had the most to prove, never a bad ass warrior who blows everything up at a moment's notice. Trailbreaker isn't an anonymous troop. He's a low key guy with self-image issues who has saved Autobot time after time with his one trick (see MTMTE).

Okay, rant over. I got the G1 #s, in white dots on the above spec, from Botch The Crab's site. That's the real reason for this post, go there and check things out. Fun.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lucked out: found Trailcutter. I mean Trailbreaker. Well, whatever. Found 'im.

It's none of your business but I'll tell you anyway: I was buying toilet paper at Target and thought to look at the action figures. On a whim. This particular target seems way behind other chain stores of any kind to get figures. Well, kaPOW, I see the 30th anniversary Generations comic book tie in of...BUMBLEBEE! You know, the IDW "ongoing" run by Mike Costa where Bumblebee is elected leader of the Autobots and gets some body work done, giving him his adorable Bumblebee face on top of a bitchin' Camaro. (And if you don't know the Dead Milkmen, stop RIGHT NOW and get on Spotify or whatever else and start listening.) Anyway, the figure itself looked a little cheap. I pushed it aside to look at the figure hidden behind it... Trailbreaker!

Though it's super duper nice to have figure designs inspired by the recent IDW comics, I'm on a budget, and I have had enough Bumblebee figures. And I have a feeling that since it's Bumblebee, this figure will end up in another wave whether we want him or not. Trailbreaker, well, I know plenty of people excited over it and Hoist (myself, documented on this blog, duh). So I snatched him up.
He's sturdier than the recent FOC figures, which I had hoped for. There's some things you should watch out for while transforming or even posing him.

-His front wheels; his shoulder part is attached directly to the "inside" of the wheel, which is stationary. Be very careful turning it into place.
-Same thing with the shoulder ball joint connected to his arm. It feels like I'm twisting the plastic when moving his arm.
-His chest is held down to his torso with a tab. It might be the part that loosens the quickest, and then his upper body will swing backwards, like the G1 seeker jet cockpits/heads in robot mode.

I don't care for the shield bit. What the hey, I'm not too thrilled with his car mode either.

But otherwise, I do dig this figure as far as a Classics tribute to Trailbreaker goes. I was worried he'd be too much like FOC Sideswipe, what with the head (Barely) popping out of the chest and the arms locking into place. This is a pretty good Classics figure.