Wednesday, August 8, 2018

X-Transbots Stax (2014)

Today happens to be my birthday. I can be a hard person to buy presents for (not that I expect many at my age). People know that I love Transformers, for example, but fear buying me any Transformers toys out of a (very reasonable!) fear that I will already have gotten that toy for myself. On at least a couple of occasions (including birthdays and Christmas), my brother has managed to circumvent this problem by getting me a third-party toy. He knows that, while I really don't object to third-party toys as some fans do, I tend not to follow them all that closely, increasing the odds that a purchase will not be one that I've already made for myself. Stax was one such gift.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Race Mini-Con Team (2002)

The Armada line's focus on Mini-Cons was, by some measures, a step backward for the Transformers franchise. Larger figures that had been getting increasingly complicated had to be made simpler to accommodate the special features and gimmicks the Mini-Cons would unlock. This was by no means a bad thing, as it returned a "fun factor" to the toys, making them more accessible to children (the target audience, after all!), and as a result, Armada was considered very successful.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Air Defense Mini-Con Team (2002)

While the addition of various gimmicks to the central theme of "Robots in Disguise" was by no means new to the Transformers franchise by the time the Armada line came into being, Armada could be argued to be one of the first times that a play gimmick (that is, a gimmick featured around something the toys could do, as opposed to something the toys resembled, as with the Beast era) became a central theme than an entire line would be built around. In the case of Armada, this central theme was the introduction of the Mini-Con.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ultra Magnus vs Skywarp: Battle for Autobot City (2007)

When the "Classics" line came out at the end 2006, it was pretty immediately popular with long-time fans, who had been largely starved for new toys of "Generation One" characters at that point. Although the line was fairly short-lived, intentionally making way for the line of toys created for the first live-action Transformers film in the summer of 2007, "Classics" gave fans about a half-year to focus on the characters they remembered and loved from their childhoods. It also gave Hasbro a chance to do a few repaint homages to offer to stores as exclusive sets. The "Battle for Autobot City" set, featuring Ultra Magnus and Skywarp, was exclusive to Target in the US. Both of the toys in this set are repaints, and in fact both molds have already been featured multiple times on this blog, so I'll just direct folks to the original uses of the molds, Optimus Prime for Ultra Magnus and Starscream for Skywarp, and simply direct readers to the search engine at the top of the page if interested in tracking down the others.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Legends Blurr (2016)

In recent years, the teams at both Hasbro and Takara have made a concerted effort to release new Transformers toys that homage toys and characters from the early days of the franchise (especially what we now call "Generation One"). This has led to a revisitation of gimmicks not seen in widespread use since the 1980s. The recent Titans Return line (and its counterpart Legends toys in Japan) revisits the classic "Headmasters" gimmick in a major way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Reflections on Superman's 80th Birthday

Odds are, you know these words by heart:

Faster than a speeding bullet!
More powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

In case you haven't heard, Superman's celebrating a birthday this year. The character first appeared in Action Comics #1, which had a cover date of June 1938, and which was probably actually released early in May (thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics for this information, which also gives evidence that the April 18th date cited by some is not correct). Whatever one considers the "actual" birthday, I figure that now's a pretty good time to celebrate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

HasCon 2017 Exclusive Optimus Prime Converting Power Bank

Longtime readers of this blog will be well-familiar with the fact that Fun Publications, the company that ran BotCon for the last decade-plus of its existence, lost the license to run official Transformers conventions after BotCon 2016, when Hasbro decided that they wanted to consolidate their licenses and run fan conventions on their own. The result was the first HasCon in September 2017, more of a trade show or exposition than a convention in the traditional sense, but at any rate devoted to all of Hasbro's properties, not just Transformers. That said, the fact that Transformers is one of Hasbro's most lucrative brands ensured that, when exclusives for HasCon were being planned, there'd be at least one Transformers exclusive in the mix.
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