Tags: universe


Ed, Edd, and Eddie!

Shortpacked!: Oooh, dramatic irony! 

So these Sweeps are pretty popular, huh?

Yeah, they sold out fast.  I can see why, though.  They made a relatively small number of them (1000 sets of 3), and were able to sell them for an amazing price ($49).  That's about $16 per deluxe-toy-with-new-head!  Since Deluxes these days are roughly $13, that is seriously a great deal for a limited exclusive.

And it was only possible because they made so damn many of them.  Sure, there were only 1000 sets, but since there were three per set, that's 3000 Sweeps total!  That apparently knocked their manufacturing price down. 

Transformers fans are obviously okay with "army-builders," so long as they're previously-existing ones. 

The three Sweeps are just different enough from Scourge to be worth it, but not so different that they don't look like Sweeps.  In the original cartoon, which is basically the only place the Sweeps appeared, visually, they were just additional Scourges.  So if you're going to make a Sweep toy, you can't get too far off from Scourge himself, but you still have to make them distinguishable enough to make it worth your while.  And so Scourge's blue became teal and his red became yellow. 

The real surprise of the set, for me, was that each of the three Sweeps came with their own individualized bio card.  These guys are "Sweep Two," "Sweep Six," and "Sweep Seven."   Like the Starscream clones in Transformers Animated, each Sweep respresents an aspect of Scourge's personality.  Two is Scourge's brutality, Six is his arrogance, and Seven is his intelligence.  The geekiest thing about this arrangement is that the Sweeps were identified by number in the scripts for the original cartoon.  So Sweep Six and Sweep Seven actually have some established history.  Ah-heh.  

At some point I stopped thinking of these guys as "Sideways with a Scourge head," and started thinking of these guys as actual Scourges.  I'm not sure why that is.  Maybe it was the addition of the Sweeps, I dunno.  This body is pretty distinctive!  It worked for Sideways, it really really worked for Ratbat, but I never really thought it worked for Scourge.  It's not capey enough, though you can cheat it by arranging his wing blades creatively.  And it's not flying-boaty enough, either!  I still think Energon Sharkticon would have made a better one.  Regardless, this incarnation as Scourge has wrestled its way into my brain as a Scourge and not Sideways-with-Scourge's head.  I guess that's for the best, since I paid for this dang thing.

Man, his head's tiny.  Yikes!

too!, Frenzy wants to read

Sandstorm really needs some stickers.

Shortpacked!: Re-read the entire series with this in mind, and it's kind of illuminating.

Yesterday I showed off some of my Beast Era Wreckers with their new shiny Wreckers faction logo stickers.  Here's some of the G1 guys!  I do have three Infernos and two other Springers somewhere, but this smattering of Wreckers should satisfy for now. 

That's right, I put a Wreckers symbol on the only Springer toy who was never a Wrecker.  I defy you, Classics fiction!  *shakes fist*

Small note: Man, the stickers on my Jumpstarters are just barely staying on.  Touch them, and the whole sticker just flakes off in one piece.  Hooray for superglue.  These guys are so old!

SO HEY!  This is the last time I'll be mentioning that I'm gong to be in Hamilton, Ontario, this weekend for the G.I. Joe Canadian Convention.  Because, you know, we're leaving some time tomorrow.  I will most likely be mentioning the convention after this weekend, but not in the context of how I'm going there.  See, I'll have gone. 

It will have been over. 

The big Transformers Revenge of the Fallen trailer is up!  Not the teaser, not the other teaser, but the big-ass real trailer!  Explosion-saturated footage galore!  Check it out over at Yahoo!Movies.

I am the Bots master.

Shortpacked!: What?  Learning?!  What is this?

I'm opening up my top leaderboard ad space to Project Wonderful bids.  Have at it!

Figgered I'd take my empty review days as an opportunity to photograph some shelves.  This forces me to actually reassemble them!  And, you know, pick up the loose odds and ends that belong to these shelves but were scattered around the house.

Maggie will be appreciative, I'm sure.

This is the Autobot shelf for my Universe/Classics/25th Anniversary stuff.  Cliffjumper's not here 'cuz he's over with the Shattered Glass Decepticons, but otherwise this is a more-than-complete assemblage of non-Mini-Con dudes. 
That's right, more-than-complete!  Supra-complete!  For example, I continue to "cheat" my three girl-bikes in the center there as Firestar, Moonracer, and Chromia.  And there's Movie Breakaway posing as Getaway, but that's who he was supposed to be originally anyway, so I don't feel too bad.  And oh no!  That Ultra Magnus armor isn't official!

Hey, did you know that Bumblebee wasn't actually rebuilt into Goldbug, but that his upgrade was some sort of clay-like outer skin that can quickly shatter off him like broken pottery when he crashes into something?   Well, me neither!

Can you dig it?

Shortpacked!: Hahaha, you thought we'd cut to one-shots this week, didn't you?

I noted in my Henkei! Dinobot write-up that he works pretty well, color-wise, with BotCon 2006's pre-Beast Dinobot toy.  I will amend, after actually comparing them under good lighting, that none of their colors are perfect matches, but they still both have the same feel. 

Have a photo of 'em together.  Why?  'Cuz I didn't feel like talking about Animated Dirge today.  Besides, we're entering that Transformers toy drought that pretty much lasts from here until BotCon, when the Revenge of the Fallen toys debut.  Might as well hold on to Dirge for a day or two!

Today I managed to complete (to the best of my knowledge) Optimus Prime's Marvel Comics section, or at least the Generation 1 portion of it.  That was a lot of writing!  It took about a week.  The section just by itself is too big to be its own page, and when you go to edit, it gives you a warning about its enormous size.  

Optimus Prime was in a lot of stuff. 

Of course, it could be worse.

We're all going to die anyway. Might as well help everyone along.

Shortpacked!: Damn it feels good to be a gangsta. 

Man, it was rough getting these guys to photograph in their correct colors.  Had to break out the gray backdrop.  Damn you, cyan!

Darkwind (previously "Darkwing," before trademark problems) is the hetero-life partner of Dreadwind.  Dreadwind was a BotCon exclusive back in 2007, and it hurt a little to get him but not his buddy. 

Well, hot dog!  Joe Kyde, our lord and master Hasbro deco dude, made us one from Universe Silverbolt.  Basically as soon as Silverbolt came out, people started digi-decoing Silverbolt as Darkwing, mostly because he's such an awesome fit.  To get this toy here in reality-world is amazing.

Which is saying something, 'cuz man, remember when I totally panned Universe Silverbolt?  Yeah, this toy is a bore.  You can transform him in about three seconds, and that's from a robot with a plane on his back to a plane with a robot on its underside.  And yet I hunted down this motherfucker like the last frosted cupcake ever.  And I like him!  A lot!  It even cost $5 more!  It just goes to prove that no matter how terrible I think a toy is, it can be redeemed by being a character that I really like.

What's he like?  Well, his buddy Dreadwind is sort of passively depressed.  He mopes so hard that it catches on, like a sinkhole of sadness.  But Darkwing himself, he's depressed too, but he wants to damn well make sure everyone else is just as depressed as he is.  He'll do anything in his power to ruin your day.  They make a good team.

Darkwing does look sort of plain, color-wise, but it's sure not for lack of paint.  Most of the obvious paint is on the tops of his wings, which don't show up in robot mode.  His ration of robot mode paint is used for stuff like making his forearms the "proper" colors.  I mean it, his entire forearms are just dunked in paint so they're blue instead of gray.  The colors, lay-out, variety of colors, and all are 100% true to the original toy.  Unfortunately, that does make him look kind of bland in robot mode.  He feels like he needs some detailing.

The original Dreadwind and Darkwing combined into a single jet mode that looked like their two jets smashed together.  You can try to make these two toys to do the same thing, but it won't be very stable.  I tried a number of configurations, but wasn't pleased enough with any of them to take any pictures.  But if you find a good combo, let us know!

Sit on my face and tell me that you love me.

Shortpacked!@TNI: So much for post-9/11 thinking!
Shortpacked!: Oh, that's right.  This store has customers!

Another reminder for all you Canadian dudes: I'm going to be in Hamilton, Ontario, for the Canadian G.I. Joe Convention That's on Saturday, May 2, which is about three weeks from now.  I'll be bringing books with me to sell at a table!  Like a selling person!  I will also provide sketches.

My buddy Cholma got me some awesome Transformers last week.  The recent "Encore" reissues of the original Ratchet and Ironhide had been sitting idle in my Amazon wish list for quite a while, and so I was happy when last Monday morning they were in shipping boxes on my porch.  Woo!

I do have an original, vintage Ratchet, but he's not in the best shape.  He never had all of his accessories, since he was second-hand, and his paint and chrome were chipped.  But this one's brand-spanking new!  He's immaculate, even.  I'm not used to seeing this toy being so bright a white. 

Ratchet and Ironhide's mold was the dark horse of the original 1984 lineup.  All of the toys that year were cobbled together from unrelated Japanese toylines, and most of them were from Diaclone, which was about realistic vehicles that transformed into piloted mechs.  Ratchet's mold was part of that line, and you can really, really tell.  He doesn't have a head, he has a seat!  Transformers tried to fix this with, uh, a sticker.  The sticker goes on the seat.  Yeah, his head's a sticker.  

So when his toy was reissued a year or two back, Japan's all "well we can't have that" and so went with the cheapest fix they could find.  There's a punch-out chest-and-head printed into the inside flap of his cardboard box.  You shove that behind his windshield, and BAM!  Awkward-lookin' dude.  Woof!  It "fixes" the head, but it creates a new problem with the location of the shoulders! 

Well, that's certainly a curiosity.  Aaaaand the cardboard head goes back in the box.  Yeah, I'll stick with the ol' sticker head.  It's doofy, but ...  okay, "doofy" is a justification in itself.


Shortpacked!: Robin, that's not a punishment.  For anyone.

Man, the differences in the Dinobots' browns sure is a lot more apparent in my photography.  In real life, maybe it's just the lighting, but they don't seem that different. 


Here's your damn Henkei! Henkei! Dinobot!  He's definitely the "good guy" colors versus the domestic version's "bad guy" colors.  Instead of a desaturated, almost gray brown, he's a deep chocolatey brown, with copperish gold instead of amber and blue instead of purple.  If you've got a BotCon 2006 Dinobot around, he's pretty much those colors exactly, but with tan stripes instead of gold.  It's the tan stripes that are probably the biggest deco difference between the two.  Universe Dinobot had a few obligatory amber stripes on his dino head and dino legs, but Henkei! Dinobot has tan stripes all the heck over.  (I do wish he also had them on his robot arms.  Since his shoulderpads are also unpainted, I wonder if those are unpaintable plastic...)

Despite all the tan stripes, I think my favorite deco difference between the two is the red slathered across the inside of his faux-rotate blade.  I'm something of a rotate blade fetishest, so that particular attention to detail pushes the right buttons.  

Henkei! toys require something to be chromed, and so they went with the blade of his sword, which is pretty appropriate.  His sword on the cartoon was shiny as hell!  (Well, okay, about half of everything on Beast Wars was shiny as hell.  It was 1996.)  I'm very thankful they didn't decide to also chrome his noggin as they did on Henkei! Cheetor.  That would have looked pretty tacky.  Though the chromed sword is accurate and looks nice, it does have the misfortune of calling attention to how stubby its tip is.  The stubbiness is, of course, required by law, considering it's a projectile, but things are what they are.

It's really hard to be objective about his colors.  Do I prefer the brown, gold, and blue because it's objectively better, or because I've been programmed to think that's what Dinobot looks like?  There's nothing technically wrong with Hasbro's desaturated, enpurpled take, and it's certainly more villainous.  But, man, that blue face and the blue joints, that just tickles my soul.

A small part of me wants to get another one and "finish" the job.  You know, add some tan stripes to his robot arms, some gold to his shoulder pads, and silver to his rigid grill structure.  But, eh.  That's another imported toy I'd have to buy, and for, honestly, minimal change.  Besides, if I know my Dinobots, they'll be redecoing this toy over and over until the end of time, towards an imaginary vanishing point of perfection that will never be achieved.  It is the way of things.


Shortpacked!:  I'd reword that, Leslie.

You know, I thought this whole current Shortpacked! storyline was sort of playfully absurd, but then the French had to go and ruin it by making it feasible.  I was Tweeted this link this morning!  Oh, France.

Well played, Frenchies.  I'll just have to up my game, take this up a notch, and make it all pointlessly erotic!  France would never duplicate that!

The same time that Reprolabels put up their Wreckers symbols, they also offered an "upgrade" set for Universe Ravage and Hound.  Their new stickers for Ravage were intended to make him look more like a cassette tape in alt-mode, but they don't, really.  The alt-mode has a few too many gaps in it for that level of suspension of disbelief.

But it did make his jaguar mode look pretty cool!  I love Transformers that look like they turn into their altmode, and so this totally helped the Ravage toy, which basically looks like a mechanical jaguar and nothing else.  And so I added the Hound/Ravage upgrade set to my order.  

(That's right!  You all thought you were getting Henkei! Dinobot today!  Ha ha!  Suckers!)

Just Ravage's half of the sticker sheet was pretty extensive.  The labels are transparent but with deco, so you'll still see the the original plastic showing through.  I'm glad, because there is some molded detail under there.  I was able to keep some of it by running my fingernail along the grooves.  

The original Ravage had cassette detailing on one side, and the other side was sculpted up like a mechanical jaguar.  Part of his transformation was ignoring one side or the other!  But that's sort of impossible with Universe Ravage, due to the way he transforms, so it's extra nice that when he's in cassette tape mode, he's detailed on both sides.  

The stickers that are intended for Hound were to me an afterthought.  I applied the tiny ones for his dashboard, the stickers for the halves of his license plate... and then I decided, what the hell, I'll do the whole thing.  I'm bored!  And so I did.  I'm sort of ambivalent about it. 

I do like the gold stickers that detail his chest and the rear of his vehicle mode.  They remind me of the original toy's yellow stripes, but they're different and more elaborate.  There's also gold stickers to wrap around the yellow stripes on his forearms so that he matches himself better.  

But as I said, that's all just secondary.  I was into this sticker set for the Ravage. 

Hot Shot, part deux

Shortpacked!: Some like it hot.

If you remember my review of Universe Hot Shot, I had a few negative things to say about him, despite my unconditional love of all things Hot Shot.  Here's a list:

1) Absurd transformation complexity makes David angry
2) Backpack kibble pieces try to occupy same space at same time
3) Crotch halves won't peg securely together
4) Fistholes are not standard size, so won't hold weapons with 5mm pegs

Some of these problems were solved or blunted with Henkei! Henkei! Hot Rod, Japan's version of the toy.  For starters, their version's crotch pegs together!  And stays!  For more than a split second!  It may just be a plastic tolerance issue, or I got a bum Universe toy, but regardless I'm thankful.

Secondly, he's got weapons now.  This makes his inability to hold standard Transformer weapons somewhat less frustrating, plus the retooling that came with the weapons helps with the backpack problem just a little tiny bit.  The addition of guns isn't the only thing new on the toy.  Holes for the missile launchers to poke out the back in vehicle mode were added, which means his backpack kibble has gaps in it right where the two pieces most like to intersect.  It doesn't solve the problem entirely, but it does help.  The two halves of backpack kibble no longer try to take up all the same space.  Just most of it.  

(He of course still has the spoiler halves on his shoulders, which still restrict his articulation there.  I really wish the engineers  had moved those to the kibble or something.)

The guns also make me feel less bad about the kibble.  They peg underneath in car mode, and so you can sort of see why they made some of the decisions they did.  In order to accommodate those missile launchers, compromises had to be made, and so we ended up with Kibbles McGee here.  Then the American version budgeted out those missile launchers and so he was left with those problems for no practical gain.  D'oh.

Still, the Takara version isn't superior in every way.  I vastly prefer the American colors, with its dark blue forearms and trim.  Takara replaced the blue with a more anime-accurate gray, which kind of makes the color scheme more stale, in my opinion.  In my mind, Hot Shot is yellow, red, and dark blue.

Also, they replaced the JaAM license plate with one that displays his Japanese name, Hot Rod, instead.  That is very unfortunate.