Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Q-Transformers Snoopy (2015)

While Transformers fans in the United States have seen the franchise crossover with the occasional outside franchise, including some Marvel superheroes, as well as the Star Wars figures of a few years ago, such crossovers are a bit more common in Japan. We've already seen examples of this with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, but Japan's crossovers have been by no means limited to Disney characters, as the Q-Transformers line demonstrates.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Glacialord/The Glacialbots (2013)

As more and more collectors of Transformers and other transforming robot toys enter into adulthood, a vibrant third-party market has arisen to provide a wider variety of product than Hasbro and/or TakaraTomy have been able to provide on their own. While it is true that some of these products play fast and loose with international intellectual property laws, there are nonetheless quite a few third-party products out there that, while clearly intended to appeal to fans of Transformers toys, are nonetheless very much their own thing: homages without actually violating anyone's trademarks and/or copyrights. Glacialord, a combiner released by a company called FansProject, was especially ambitious in this regard.

Friday, March 3, 2017

BotCon 2012 Shattered Glass Turbo Tracks

One of the struggles that the minds behind BotCon had to face every year was coming up with new and interesting concepts for their exclusive toys that would encourage fans to come to the convention and buy the toys. Some years were clear winners in this regard, while others didn't do so well. When the "Shattered Glass" concept was introduced at BotCon 2008, pre-convention orders of the box set of exclusive toys were so high that the set sold out. Indeed, that set was the second-fastest set to sell out in BotCon's more than 20-year history, with the record for the fastest set to sell out going to the Animated Stunticon set of BotCon 2011, which sold out in a mere 7 days! Riding the hype of both Shattered Glass and the previous year's record, Fun Publications thus hoped to recapture some of that interest with the "Invasion!" set of BotCon 2012.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Grapple (1985/2004 Reissue)

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, or if you're otherwise simply well-versed in Transformers history, then you already know that pretty much all of the toys that were a part of the Transformers line when it began back in the 1980's reused molds from other toylines, most notably Diaclone in Japan. This was true for the first couple of years of the franchise's history. Moreover, many of these molds were used multiple times to create different Transformers characters. Thus far, Grapple is no exception, having seen a previous life (with a few changes) as Diaclone toy #20, the "Truck Crane."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Robots in Disguise Ratbat and Sandsting (2016)

Ratbat and Sandsting ArtMini-Cons are (perhaps paradoxically) big again.

The concept, first introduced in 2002 with the beginning of the Armada franchise, became a major addition to the Transformers mythos for a few years, but fell into only intermittent use in the years after the so-called "Unicron Trilogy" (of which Armada was the first part) ended. They have returned in the past couple of years as a significant feature of the 2015 Robots in Disguise line (Henceforth abbreviated as RiD. This line is still current, but I mention the year it started to set it apart from the original Robots in Disguise line of 2001).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Transformers Collectors' Club Skyfall (2005)

As 2016 draws to a close, so does the tenure of Fun Publications' stewardship of the Official Transformers Collectors' Club. Although a few pre-ordered toys remain to be sent to club members in the next month or so, the club officially ends on December 31st. In recognition of this passing, let's go back to the year 2005 (one that has long had significance in Transformers lore) and have a look at the very first Fun Publications Transformer exclusive: Skyfall.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BotCon 2014 Dread Pirate Crew

Dread Pirate Crew ArtBack before BotCon 2014 started, I reviewed the original Pounce and Wingspan, and shared my thoughts about the then-rumored remakes of the Decepticon clones as BotCon exclusives. Long story short, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. As it turned out, we did get exactly the toys that were rumored (full disclosure: while I try to be careful to continue to treat rumors as rumors until toys are officially revealed, Transformers fans have gotten pretty good at figuring out which rumors are reliable and which ones aren't over the years), but the characterization given to the toys turned out to be something of a surprise.
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