Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Report from SDCC 2018 Interview with John Warden for the Allspark

A bit of a change of pace this time. As many of you know, The Allspark, one of the main Transformers news sites and message boards, has had some server problems these past few months, and one sad result is that their archives prior to the beginning of this month have been lost, including a Hasbro Preview Breakfast at SDCC 2018 that I went to on their behalf, which included an interview with then-Transformers design manager John Warden. With the permission of admins from The Allspark, I was able to reconstruct much of the report of that event with the help of archive.org (which caught a snapshot of the page as it was back when The Allspark still had it live) and Google Photos, which still houses the actual photos I took at the time. Here is that reconstruction (note that, although I've made certain changes for the sake of clarity, I have not corrected information we later learned with greater accuracy).

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Not Your Father's Autobot - Episode #7 - Transformers: Generation 2 issue #7

For this episode of Not Your Father's Autobot, we're discussing Transformers: Generation 2 issue #7, cover dated May, 1994. This issue can be found reprinted via the Transformers: Rage in Heaven paperback, which may be purchased via Amazon. Listeners may also wish to try to find a copy of either the collected paperback or the issue itself via eBay (purchases through these links do not support the podcast in any way). 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Bulletbike (1995)

While the period of Transformers history we now consider the Generation 2 line (even though the actual words "Generation 2" had already been dropped by this time, at least in the United States) was ending in this country, there were a few toys released in other parts of the world that never made it here at all. Perhaps most well-known among these are the Power Masters. Power Masters (not to be confused with the "Powermasters" of 1988, which included the first update of Optimus Prime since the original, as well as Joyride) were essentially similar to the Throttlebots, in that they were fairly simple toys with pull-back motors. The main difference in the Power Master gimmick was that you couldn't just let go of the toy after pulling it backward and expect it to shoot forward. Instead, you had to insert one of its weapons into a slot on the toy (which was the same in both robot and vehicle mode), which acted as a key to unlock the mechanism that held the motor in place. Only then would the toy roll forward.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2001) - Team Bullet Train/Rail Racer

On September 8th, the dub of the Japanese Car Robots cartoon, called Robots in Disguise here in the United States, will celebrate its 20th anniversary. It's become a pretty obscure corner of the Transformers franchise for several reasons. One is that another cartoon has since been identified with the "Robots in Disguise" name (to say nothing of the fact that those words have been part of the franchise as a whole since its very beginning). Another, far more awkward, reason is that the cartoon hasn't been seen in the US since its original airing, and has never been made available on domestic video release (although it can be purchased via releases intended for other countries, and even played on some domestic players... although region-coding means that this option isn't available everyone1). Nonetheless, the 2001 Robots in Disguise line has its fans, in large part for its unique take on the Transformers saga, as well as for having significant historic value as the very first cartoon not to be set within the original (now called "Generation 1") continuity family, a situation that has now become much more the norm for new toylines and cartoons (recent versions on Netflix notwithstanding).2

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Not Your Father's Autobot - Episode #6 - Transformers: Generation 2 issue #6

For this episode of Not Your Father's Autobot, we're discussing Transformers: Generation 2 issue #6, cover dated April, 1994. This issue can be found reprinted via the Transformers: Dark Designs paperback, which may be purchased via Amazon. Listeners may also wish to try to find a copy of either the collected paperback or the issue itself via eBay (purchases through these links do not support the podcast in any way). 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Road Rocket (1995)

As the Generation 2 toyline moved into its third (and final, as it turned out) year, Hasbro began to quietly drop not only the "Generation 2" banner from the Transformers logo, but even the Autobot and Decepticon faction symbols from the toys themselves. While the toys were still all sold as belonging to one or the other factions, if you were to pick up a loose toy without its packaging or instructions, you could easily be forgiven for not knowing whether the character was a "good guy" or a "bad guy." That said, the color schemes will often give the astute collector a clue. In the case of Road Rocket, if you decided that the red color scheme suggested the likelihood that the character was an Autobot, you would be correct.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Transformers: The Movie - Studio Series 86 Hot Rod (2021)

In just a couple of weeks, on August 8th, the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie will be celebrating its 35th anniversary. Having already celebrated the 25th anniversary and the 30th anniversary with reflections, I'm not sure how much new there is to say about the movie itself (at least, not within the limited amount of space I allow myself on this simple blog!), but a series of toys released this year as part of the Studio Series subline (previously dedicated exclusively to the live-action movies, and thus essentially ignored by me) gives me an opportunity to celebrate the occasion with a reflection on the main character (IMHO) of the movie: Hot Rod (who of course later became Rodimus Prime, the new leader of the Autobots... until Optimus Prime came back from the inconvenience of being dead...).

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