Tags: classics

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Inaugural blow-out!

Shortpacked!: Smoosh?

Hey, remember Barack Obama? You know, that guy? I'm sure you've heard of him! You must have! His face is everywhere! Have you seen a Time or Newsweek in the past twenty-four months? He's that black dude on the cover every week. Every week! Well, tomorrow, he's President. Of the United States, even!

I got a proposition for you. Instead of going all "ha ha ha ha hooray" in my comic, like a good obnoxious liberal, how about a deal? For the duration of Tuesday, from midnight to midnight, the (inaugural!) first year of subscription-only Joyce & Walky! is a mere $10. That's August 2005 through July 2006! Usually it's $24, at $2 per month! But tomorrow, and only tomorrow, I'll send you the first year for just ten bucks. Now that's change we can believe in! (You know, the kind that is fleeting. See, despite all this "hope" talk I am clinging to my cynicism like a motherfucker.) So if you've never started on Joyce and Walky!, now's a good time!









Meanwhile, check out my crappy picture! It is just some Autobot Cars arranged on the shelf of my desk. And because everything after the Animated Movie is like totally G2 or something, Hot Rod is not included.

I was about to say, "Hey, after we get Ratchet, we're probably done with the 1984/1985 Autobot Cars this go-round," but then I remembered we're getting at least a Henkei Red Alert, if not also a Hasbro one. (They haven't announced a domestic Red Alert, but I'd be surprised if we didn't eventually get one.) And Inferno's still out there to be had!

So now I'm wondering why I bothered with the photo. It's not anywhere near complete. Hrmph.

That's right, my OCD encompasses photography as well.

Today's Transformers Wiki link: TransTech Obama Optimus Prime
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I got your legs!

Shortpacked!: The last panel amuses me too much.

So this is Smokescreen. (The primary-colored guy in front.) I have to say, I never cared much for the character, nor his deco. But he's the third of the guys who share his mold, and it's hard to get the first two and but resist the last guy. Completing the "set" is what collectors do!

Plus, hey, he ships with Dinobot, and so buying him as well helps justify the shipping costs from Big Bad Toy Store.

Due to how the Prowl/Silverstreak toy's plastic colors break down, it doesn't seem possible to get his arms to be the same colors as the original Smokescreen's without a lot of paint. Instead of being blue and black, he has red and blue. Meh! It's actually kind of interesting, and I like the differently-colored arms. Besides, again, who cares about Smokescreen?

Though his car deco does kind of disappoint. I would hope, in the year 2009, that Smokescreen would have updated his racing deco just a little. Instead, he has the same "38" in plain font inside plain white boxes that he had in 1985. Well! That's, uh, quaint. And even those don't look quite right. The "38"s really, really need to fill up more of the white box they're in. It's just bad visual design. Again again, it's just Smokescreen, so I can live with it.

To be honest, I was more interested in him for a more disingenuous reason. I wanted his gray thighs. I wanted his gray thighs for Prowl. I may have mentioned in my review for Prowl that I really wished he had the gray on him the original toy did, and that he looked really plain without it. Well, huzzah! Smokescreen has those parts in gray. And Smokescreen's parts were originally white anyway! Win-win!

Well, in theory.

In practice, it's not so easy. In a perfect world, I could have swapped all of Smokescreen's gray parts for Prowl's corresponding parts. The thighs do easily pop off, so that's that. The launchers also pop off, but not at the exact point I'd prefer they do. So Prowl has some blue on his launchers, but that's not very visible, and I can easily paint the blue into flat black later anyway.

It's those damn shoulders! There's the Bad kind of rivet holding them in place. The kind that you can't hammer through (as if I can manage that anyway) because it ends inside the shoulder. Now, I've been told I can try to remove the rivet by heating up the head of it and then trying to yank it out then. I am not so sure I want to do that.

I, uh, may just leave the shoulders mismatched. No big deal in Prowl's case. They look a little out of place on Smokescreen though, now that they're the only gray left.

Maybe I'll paint them flat black, too.
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Greatest Batman villain: Lord Death Man

Shortpacked!: She warn't kidding.

So I received my Legends-class Beachcomber (the blue guy) from HasbroToyShop today, which was bittersweet. See, I added him onto an order for Inferno, thinking I might as well, since I was already paying for shipping. I could wait for Beachcomber. But apparently I couldn't! Hasbro shipped him by himself, leaving Inferno behind and me with pointless extra postage paid. Great.

Beachcomber himself is a pretty standard toy. There's a "dramatic head reveal," Hasbro's current thing-they-like, in the transformation process, but otherwise he's not an interesting figure. But he looks a lot like Beachcomber, even if the renowned pacifist is the only dude in the assortment who has a gun. Even more inappropriate is that despite being the only dude with a gun, his firepower rating on his Tech Specs is only a 1! Hrm. Maybe should have thought about that a bit more, Hasbro.

(Maybe it's a 1 because he chooses to not use it?)

But what's most fun about him is putting a little scale display together with him, the other Legends-class Mini Vehicles, BotCon Huffer, and Powerglide. They're...reasonably to scale, even if Bumblebee should be noticeably smaller. Close enough for government work!

And let's, uh, pretend Cliffjumper isn't around, 'cuz he'd totally mess this up. As would Warpath, the tank, in the next Legends assortment.

Well, if you're that big on scale, you probably shouldn't be into Transformers anyway.

Transformers Wiki link of the day: Ramulus
Today's sponsor: The Weenie Wing Commander, the greatest invention of our time.
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That's a lotta Bees!

Shortpacked!: Who will be the first to fall?

Today's sponsor: College Roomies from Hell!!!, webcomic by my longtime pal Maritza Campos. It is not about angsty bunny noir. It is much weirder.

I realized, after two recent acquisitions, that I have four different Legends-class Bumblebee figures. What the hell, dude! How did this happen?

Let's see. I bought the Movie version because it was the first Movie toy I found, while hiking through downtown San Francisco during a Maggie visit. And then I sharpied the hell out of him, as you can probably tell. He was a lot yellower when I bought him.

And then there's the Classics version which I bought because it's a redeco of a Hot Shot mold. I only saw one in town when they were released, and I think Ron got it. I had to buy this thing off eBay about a year later at a horrible markup. Stupid secondary-market! ...stupid completism...

A few days ago I bought the Animated version because I needed a baby Jesus for my Transformers Animated-themed Nativity.

The Universe version was bought a night or so back, same time as Brawn. Beachcomber was there, too, but the Walmart computers had marked him as "do not sell," and the cashier lady would not break any rules for me. ...neither Walmart lady. I tried at another store as well. Man, Columbus Walmart cashiers must be paid well enough to care.

But anyway. That's my Bumblebees.

OH! Hey, remember my headless Skywarp that I sent back and had a replacement shipped to me, but it came to Columbus and then was shipped to Philadelphia where it sat for two weeks? GUESS WHAT! I got a notice from HasbroToyShop today saying that they have received my returned Skywarp and are refunding me my money! What the hell? What in the fucking hell? WHAT IS GOING ON?

They may receive a phone call. I mean, really, I was going to return it anyway, but I really want to know what the hell is freakin' going on.

Transformers Wiki link of the day: Animated Hot Shot
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No, not the vampire.

Shortpacked!: Sorry, no art of that last bit. For now.

The Protectobots were among my first Transformers. My mom was trying to wean me off Sesame Street at the ripe age of 6, so whenever I'd mention Bert and Ernie I'd get a Protectobot. Sweet deal! As soon as I was hooked on Transformers, the ample supply of new dudes severely dampened.

Unfortunately, she never weaned me off of Transformers.

So I have a special part in my heart for Blades and his kin. I learned to especially love Blades once he got a moment to shine on his own in the first issue of the Generation 2 comic. See, he's not a nice guy. In fact, he's kind of an asshole. A bloodthirsty, violent asshole. I imagine he gets along with the other rescue vehicles that comprise the Protectobots pretty, uh, nicely. Yeah.

I was more than willing to put down the cash required for the 5-pack set of Legends-class dudes that he's in, because he's Blades. He's redecoed from the Legends-class version of the Voyager-class Evac toy, which you may recall was recently redecoed as Springer. The Voyager-class toy has ALSO been released as Blades, and is still currently available, but I don't like it much. From what I've heard, it wasn't originally supposed to be Blades, just a possible redeco for the ol' Movie line, but when it got moved into Universe, "Blades" was an acceptable thing to call it. And so while it's red and white, it's missing some key Blades-esque attributes, such as having a white head and torso with a blue face. (The blue face is Important.) But the tiny Legends-class version has all of these things I require, and Blades is okay to me if he's small, so the tiny Legends-class version I shall have.

I was surprised and disappointed to learn this toy doesn't have arm articulation. I should have been able to figure that out, really, from looking into the unopened package, but d'oh well. He does have balljointed elbows, but it's a very shallow joint, and they only really work for what they're intended - a rotational joint used during transformation. (Ironically, the original Blades toy had shoulder joints and nothing else.) Otherwise, he's a fun little guy. The transformation is simplified from the larger version, yet still quite complex for a Legends-class toy.

The colors are also very striking. The combination of slightly-orange red, almost-cream white, and the bright blue is pretty attractive. The head is Blades-y enough, too. He looks like Blades, which is really all I ask for. Too bad about the arms.

Blades' fellow Legends-class exclusives are, I believe, the last thing to be released as "Classics Series." They've been replaced by "Generation 1 Series" from here on out, best I can tell, as the Universe line moves into its "25th Anniversary" era. There's virtually no real difference, unless you're way more Nazi than I am about categorizing your stuff.

Transformers Wiki link of the day: Blackarachnia
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SPECIAL TEAMS!

Shortpacked!: Oh, he is so so hot.

Remember Robin's penultimate-panel spiel from Monday's comic? Well, it's been drawn. Weremole, do you realize you've unwittingly done "The Razor's Edge" fanart? Argh! Jokes aside, it's terrific art, even though I called for a waitress outfit, not a maid...

While at a Target tonight, Graham and I found the Target-exclusive Transformers motherload. I had found the comic book versus packs last week, which I've talked about for the past few days, but they are a virtual drop in the bucket compared to what Transformers product Target's expected to get just before Thanksgiving.

Let's see...
Roadbuster vs Dirge
Springer vs Ratbat
Stealth Lockdown + Legends-class guys
Rescue Ratchet + Legends-class guys
Optimus Prime vs Bonecrusher Screen Battles set
Megatron vs Jazz Screen Battles set
"Aerial Rivals" Legends-class 5-pack
"Special Team Leaders" Legends-class 5-pack

Oh, and they had that $65 G.I. Joe huge-ass battle set and the 25th Anniversary Optimus Prime reissue. Yikes!

Pictured on the left are the toys included in the "Special Team Leaders" Legends-class 5-pack. They're Graham's, since I didn't pick up this set, and he let me take a few pictures before he went home. Special Teams are a UK-originated name for all the groups of five that transformed into a bigger robot, and this set represents their leaders. Y'know, the torsos. None of them are new molds, of course, so they're all redecoes of old Cybertron-era Legends-class toys. (Legends are the $5-ish scale.)

Let's see, we've got:

Hot Zone (blue/red Optimus Prime)
Scattorshot (white/red Vector Prime)
Silverbolt (white/black Thundercracker)
Razorclaw (black/yellow Leobreaker)
Hun-Gurrr (gray/purple Scourge)

And man, are they a pretty set. They seem to have a bit more paint than Legends-class toys usually have. And by "seem" I mean "totally do." I covet Razorclaw so much, but they're bound to make a bigger, better version of him now that they've retooled the bigger version of this toy to have a Razorclaw-y head. That's just a Razorclaw waiting to happen. And I've always loved Hot "Zone" Spot. But I can't justify it. Oh well, hey, no law against lookin', though, am I right?

To the right is a picture of tiny Silverbolt next to big new-mold Silverbolt. Graham thought that'd be interesting. Hope you agree!

Transformers Wiki link of the day: Denebian Stalker
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He's Han Solo!

Shortpacked!: Just when you think that you're in control, just when you think that you've got a hold--

Look, it's Springer #2! For lack of car/helicopter Triple Changers to redeco easily into Springer, now we've got a toy for each vehicle mode. Springer, a redeco of Cybertron Evac, is one half of a comic-book 2-pack set that's exclusive to Target. Springer and his box buddy, Ratbat, were supposed to come packaged with an issue of The War Within: The Dark Ages, but Hasbro's totally competent packaging dudes swapped comics between this set and the other.

So instead Springer/Ratbat comes with parts 5 and 6 of Target:2006. Oh, if I had the facepalms to spare.

(The contents of this comic were originally produced for a young British audience back in 1986, who could deal with the word "damn" in their children's comics. In the version included with these American toys for American children, though, thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, we now have stuff like Scourge proclaiming "Darn their eyes!")

Compared to the Springer we got a year ago for BotCon 2007, Universe Springer is much more faithful to his original colors. It's certainly nice to see that old green, gray, and specifically that distinctive pale yellow all mushed together again. (Man, I love that yellow.) There's also a chalky blue painted on his chest details, a color that reminds me of old 4-color Marvel Comics light blue. This is to replicate his "War Within"-body chest, which is where the helicopter cockpit went. Weirdest vestigial chest-window ever, eh?

I have to admit, though, faithful as this new Springer is, I prefer the BotCon Springer deco. Mind, that toy's deco has never really reminded me much of Springer himself at all, but it had prettiness to compensate. It's got lots of value contrast, something Universe Springer does not. On the other hand, BotCon Springer has a decided lack of yellow. I love Universe Springer's yellow.

This set wasn't bought for Springer, though. I had to get the Ratbat. Springer's just along for the ride.

As Ratbat and Springer come with (or were supposed to come with) a War Within comic that featured them, their box designates them "War Within Series." So while Ratbat will undoubtedly make it back to my Classics/Universe shelves, he and Springer really belong with all those War Within-based Titanium Series toys. Springer, a Voyager-class toy, has the distinction of being the tallest dude in the bunch. He doesn't stick out quite as much as I feared he would, but he is the hulk of the group. That, and he transforms into an unmistakably Earth-style helicopter, which is kind of a bummer on the whole "pre-Earth" theme of War Within.

He's an excellent toy, though, so if you don't have BotCon Springer and need a Springer, he's a good Springer to have.

These toys have a sorta-street date of later this month, but some Target employees may grab you some out of the back anyway. That's how I got mine. The DPCI number is 087-06-2062, if you want to try at it yourself.

Transformers Wiki link of the day: "The Razor's Edge"
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Look out, Galvatron.

Shortpacked!: That stuff smells good enough to eat!

"City Commander" is an unofficial trailer/armor add-on for Hasbro's Classics Ultra Magnus toy. It's a fan project, which should be apparent by the name of the folks who put this impressive product together: FansProject. They were also responsible for the Classics Cliffjumper add-on set that gave him a new head, weaponry, and vehicle mode customizations. I own that one, too, thanks to a helpful friend, though that first attempt wasn't nearly as ambitious or as good-quality as City Commander. Their Cliffjumper parts felt rough to the touch, as they were probably resin, and I was a little uneasy that City Commander would be the same.

I am happy to report that it is not, as City Commander is made of sturdy, shiny plastic. (Though it does have some texture.) Do be careful about the corners and edges, though. I'm used to converting these toys as fast as my little hands will allow, and the edges are sharper than real Hasbro product. You won't cut anything, at least not with realistically moderate handling, but the corners may cause your hands to ache a bit. The important thing is, it's sturdy.

One of the best things about City Commander is its instruction manual. It's presented in the form of a comic book, albeit one that pretends it's not a Transformers product. The Transformers cast is viewed through a psuedo-Egyptian lens, with robots who look like Jazz, Wheeljack, and Ironhide fighting against the evil "Pharaoh-tron" in the name of their god "Ra-mus." All but Ironhide are brutally slaughtered by this tyrant before the arrival of the toy in question. His subsequent transformation sequence is presented step-by-step, page-by-page as the instructions, and the combined form battles his opponent. "Your justice is flawed!" he trumpets, Japanesily.

Glorious.

Indeed, as you can probably guess from the photos, City Commander is a partsformer, meaning the trailer comes apart into pieces and you connect those pieces onto the base robot, rather than keeping the whole deal together throughout. As a result, it doesn't keep up the tradition of most Transformers toys, but anything other than snap-on armor pieces would have immobilized the poseability of the combined form.

Perhaps more cheatsy is that 40% of the vehicle mode is left over, and this chunk becomes his weapon. It doesn't look much like a weapon, as it's obviously a chunk of left-over trailer, but it does have missiles molded onto the front and a handle. It can either be slung mostly over the shoulder (as seen in the second photo) or reconfigure to look more like a gun, with the handle in back. However, Magnus's arms aren't tough enough to hold up that kind of weight, so I prefer the over-the-shoulder configuration.

If the bigger-than-himself weaponry ain't your cup of tea, he can wield Magnus's guns as well. While he's not carrying them, they can stow by pegging into the backs of his shoulders. There are also peg-holes on either side of his shoulder which the original Generation 1 Ultra Magnus missile-launchers can fit into. That's thoughtful!

In vehicle mode, you can see just how excellent the color-matching is. The blue FansProject used on City Commander is a perfect match for Classics Magnus's blue. I've noticed that in photos the truck/trailer combination looks a little "chibi." That doesn't really hold in person. It's not the longest trailer in the world, but it feels long enough.

FansProject also provides a sticker sheet with various choices of license plate designs. There's a panel on one of City Commander's boots for you to apply it to, and the face of the panel can rotate back into the leg in case you want it hidden in either mode. (Or if you want to apply two stickers and switch between them as desired.)

One of the other best things, after the instructions, is that this design isn't just a carbon-copy of the original Ultra Magnus design. It takes some liberties, and because of this it fits in much better with the Classics aesthetic, plus the Classics Magnus toy itself. That alone impresses me.

City Commander is scarce to come by these days, but preorders for its black repaint counterpart (meant for Comic-Con's Nemesis Prime) have recently been made available at online stores. The set is roughly $80, which is pricey, but you get more than what you pay for if you take its very limited run into account. The quality of City Commander puts most fan projects to shame.

FansProjects, if you see this, three words: Powermaster Prime armor.

Transformers Wiki link of the day: Cindy Newell
Not Amused

The newt play the flute/ The carp play the harp/ The plaice play the bass/ And they soundin' sharp

Piranacon is not a fun thing. He really just wants to fall apart and fall over and generally make your day suck. The individual guys are way more fun. On the other hand, Piranacon is vibrant and colorful. I dig that.

Graham got his Seacon set the other day, and he's decided not to put Overbite into arm mode, because we're pretty sure that shoving the fist in there is what ruined the peghole for all other combinations. Maybe, maybe not, but why chance it? I'm gonna get some clear nail polish or superglue or something and tighten up that peghole so I don't have to peg Overbite's gun back in all the time.

Or I'll shove him into the back of my Classics/Universe display and forget the whole thing.

Another thing to watch out for is Skalor. He's "supposed" to be a leg, but when he is, he's the greatest source of Piranacon's instability, other than the whole "naturally lurching forward" bit. Because Piranacon does lurch forward, he puts weight on Skalor, who has a loose mid-body transformation joint, and it's where the combined robot buckles. For the photo on the left, I propped Piranacon up slightly with a Justice League Unlimited stand. Appropriate, no? Without it, he's not staying up.

Also, Devastator's could totally kick his ass. Soundwave probably could, too. The ol' G1 combiners ain't so big, really. Oh well. At least it's canonical.

If you've got the set, keeping everyone in beast modes is definitely the way to go. That's where all the fun is. Unless, like me, shelf space is a premium. It works out that way, too, because he can be propped up by the other toys. *facepalm*

Transformers Wiki link of the day: Laserbeak