Wednesday, 6 September 2017

REVIEW: DX9 D11 Richthofen



I've mentioned it a couple of times before, but growing up in the UK I wasn't familiar with the entirety of the G1 cartoon. I had a handful of episodes on VHS tapes, which were of course played on repeat and so became well worn, but much loved. Consequently, the episodes featured have an enduring place in my memory and remain some of my very favourites to this day, and the characters contained within have all made a rather lasting impression too. So, if I told you that some of my favourite adventures were Dinobot Island and the absolute classic The Girl Who Loved Powerglide, it will probably give you some insight into how much I adore the arrogant sky jock that this figure represents. Yep, it's POWERGERRRLIIYYDE!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

REVIEW: Fans Hobby Master Builder MB-05 Flypro



INTRODUCTION
If I haven't yet made it abundantly clear during my reviews of Fans Hobby's previous figures, I'm immensely impressed with their work-to-date. Four figures in and we don't have a duff one among them. Instead, the company is quickly carving out a well-earned reputation for solid, interesting and above all FUN figures. Not to mention that they're picking some interesting characters, which helps to make their output feel a world away from the factory line of Springers that is currently domineering the third party scene elsewhere. So it is with great anticipation that we come to the final release in their not-Monsterbot trilogy, Flypro. Will he measure up to the bar that they have set for themselves, or is this their first misstep? The answer may not surprise you, but it's still a fun journey to get there!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

REVIEW: X-Transbots MM-IX Klaatu



INTRODUCTION
It wasn’t so long ago that I sat down and wrote up my thoughts on another not-MP Cosmos homage, and so it should perhaps come as relatively little surprise that a competitor follows right around the corner; it seems to be our perpetual fate to be gifted waves of the same character one after the other, to the point where you expect that another might be just around the corner. Still, despite enjoying Toyworld’s Spaceracer for the most part, I did definitely feel that he left enough on the table for someone else to have a crack and even improve on him (you can read the full review here). Step forward X-Transbots with their attempt, Klaatu, named after a character from the classic sci-fi film, The Day the Earth Stood Still (or the somewhat less classic 2008 Keanu Reeves remake, if you really must).

Thursday, 10 August 2017

REVIEW: FansToys FT-20 Terminus Giganticus



INTRODUCTION
Where to begin with this one, eh? There are certain releases that can only be considered "event" figures, and I'm sure you'll agree that the idea of a Masterpiece-inspired Omega Supreme definitely qualifies for that honour. I mean, seriously - it's ridiculous when you think about it, isn't it? The size of the thing by itself is seemingly crazy, and for the longest time it seemed like such a release would always be merely a pipe dream for MP collectors. But what's this? We now have not one, but two third party offerings on the horizon representing that very character. First out of the gate is of course FansToys Terminus Giganticus, with DX9's Gabriel soon to follow. What a time to be a collector!

Monday, 7 August 2017

REVIEW: Unique Toys M-01 Archimonde & M-02 Ghaz'ranka



INTRODUCTION
Masterpiece combiners. There're two words that are a hugely exciting prospect for a large majority of collectors, and yet remain one of the few untapped areas of the first few years of G1 Transformers. Sure, we’ve had plenty of third party combiner teams, but precious few that have adequately scratched the itch for those of us looking for an accurate representation of the original cartoon designs. Seemingly though, that's about to end, with several companies now throwing their hat in the ring to bring us their take on various versions of several teams. And as with most things 3P, it's all about to happen at once, with two versions of both the Combaticons and the Stunticons already revealed and on the way. I'm sure there will be more to follow.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

REVIEW: Toyworld TW-M07 Spaceracer



I'm still a Toyworld newbie. In fact, this is only the second figure of theirs that I have even held in hand, having reviewed a test shot of Primorion a little while back. I found that release to be somewhat promising if ultimately a little lacking - not quite enough to convince me that it deserved a definitive place in my collection. Since then it's taken me a little while to give the company another go, if only because I've yet to feel enough temptation for any individual release to bite. So what convinced me this time? Well, the first and most obvious reason was that they put out a character that still currently has not been released by any other official or third party producer in a Masterpiece-style. The second reason is that I thought he looked pretty good!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-11ND Dirge



It was only in my last review that I stated the case for the defence of repaints, and attempted to show that they're more than mere cynical cash-grabs, attempting to somehow take advantage of unwitting collectors. Of course, it would only be fair to consider all sides of this argument, and it would be difficult not to at least ponder the last few releases of the Masterpiece Coneheads as supporting any potential case for the prosecution. That's not to completely write them off, of course, but it's fair to say that Ramjet and Thrust have not exactly been universally acclaimed.

Monday, 19 June 2017

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-37 Artfire



Repaints, eh? Who needs them. I mean, it was only very recently that I typed up my thoughts on this figure's mould-mate, MP-35 Grapple (read it here), and even then I'd already done a bit of a write-up on his predecessor, MP-33 Inferno at the start of the year (and read that here). So why do we need another version of this design? Is it just TakaraTomy "milking" the mould for all its worth, in a cynical cash-grab attempt to extract as much money as possible from its gullible fans? I mean, just how much enjoyment can there be in a figure that we've essentially received twice already in the last twelve months? Eh? EH?! Well, as it turns out, there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye... in fact, in the hypothetical case against repaints, I would submit Artfire, and indeed all three versions of this design thus far as watertight evidence for the defence. Let me put it another way; if the repaints we're receiving are this good, then there's really not a lot to complain about!

Friday, 16 June 2017

REVIEW: ACE Collectables ACE-03 Trident



INTRODUCTION
ACE Collectables is still a new and fledgling company, although one already with a bit of notoriety under their belt. For one thing, they were the very first (and as of today still only) third party producer to put out a Masterpiece-styled Cliffjumper (or Hubcap for that matter) with their debut release, ACE-01 Tumbler, potentially plugging a rather gaping hole in a number of collections. Unfortunately that release turned out to be met with a rather lukewarm response, to put it politely, and it was sadly not enough for many fans to be convinced to jump on board.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

REVIEW: KFC E.A.V.I. METAL Phase Nine: A Kingorilla



INTRODUCTION
Keith's Fantasy Club continue to be a subject of much discussion in the third party world of Transformers collecting. I don't think any other 3P producer has confounded people as much when it comes to knowing what to expect from each of their releases, whether it's well-received prototypes undergoing undesired changes prior to release, perplexing decisions made on final colour schemes, or a still-present concern from some corners over consistency and quality of final product. Perhaps the one thing that you can say with some certainty is that they're consistently inconsistent. Thought to be fair, that belies the fact that when they want to be they're more than capable of putting out great figures, and they've no doubt been on a mostly upward swing throughout their E.A.V.I. METAL line.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

REVIEW: Fans Hobby MB-04 Gunfighter II



INTRODUCTION
Regular readers of this blog might have come across some of the previous reviews I have done of Fans Hobby’s figures. Though still a new and fledgling company, they’ve made quite the impact so far, and are already building up a reputation for solid, interesting and fun releases. So, naturally I jumped at the chance to check out their latest offering, Gunfighter II, which is of course a repaint of their first figure, Archenemy. Except putting it like that really doesn’t do Gunfighter any justice at all, as we shall find out!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-35 Grapple



I admit that I often shrug in disbelief a little when I read on-line talk of the TakaraTomy Masterpiece line being in decline. I myself have been a Masterpiece collector since the line's inception in 2003, and as much as my enjoyment has been maintained throughout this time, I do also believe that in many ways we have never had it as good as now. Perhaps it's because I feel that I'm personally enjoying all current facets of the line to their full potential, whether it's Diaclone repaints or new Beast Wars moulds, where some collectors instead pick and choose their poison. However, I am also struck by the current general quality of the line overall (issues with dodgy chrome and floppy Coneheads aside), not to mention the increased frequency of releases! Last year alone gave us beloved G1 characters Shockwave, Ironhide, Ratchet, Hot Rod, Inferno and a second stab at Red Alert, and whilst I know that not all of those releases won absolutely everyone over, I find myself impressed by what I consider to be an astounding hit rate. All of those figures ended up on my "best of 2016" list bar one, and Shockwave's exclusion was more to do with the level of quality elsewhere rather than anything wrong with that figure; I still thought they nailed him too, ultimately.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-11NT Thrust



With Masterpiece Dirge about to land, that means our so-called Conehead trio will finally be complete. Imagine that; a complete set of Masterpiece Coneheads. I remember when such a thing seemed like the stuff of pure fantasy, with many collectors, including myself, turning to the likes of the Igear third party versions to fill spots on our Decepticon roster. So, with such a remarkable landmark on the horizon, it occurred to me that I had never actually made any time to put down a few words on the second release of the three, Thrust. Well, time to correct that, I think.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

REVIEW: Fans Hobby Master Builder MB-03 Feilong



It was only a little over a month ago that I published my review for Fans Hobby's last figure, the rather wonderful (and ridiculously-monikered) Megatooth, which you can still read here. Hot on his heels, I now have my hands on Feilong, his Monsterbot comrade and Fans Hobby's third figure overall to date. If you've also read my review of their debut figure, Archenemy, you'll know that I've been quite impressed with their output thus far, so of course I've been really looking forward to seeing how Feilong turns out. Despite only being two releases in, the company have already shown that they can put out interesting and well-made figures, and I like the direction that they're taking with focussing on more unusual characters, too. So far, so positive.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

REVIEW: TakaraTomy Masterpiece MP-34 Cheetor



When the Beast Wars line first began some twenty years ago, many G1 fans were in uproar. The idea of Transformers that converted into flesh-and-fur-covered animal modes instead of jets and cars was simply too much of a departure for some, although of course the new direction would eventually prove to be the franchise’s saviour, spurring the way for vehicular alt' modes to eventually return to prominence. Two decades later and Beast Wars retains a much-deserved fan base of its own, although arguably it has also better established itself with more of a mainstream audience over time, becoming a more accepted part of Transformers lore with each passing year. That's not to say that there aren't some ardent detractors still out there though, as was clearly evidenced when it was revealed that the main TakaraTomy Masterpiece line, previously a love letter almost solely to those in the G1 (and G2) community, was going to start producing the occasional Beast Wars character. Suddenly the on-line arguments of two decades prior where brought to prominence once more.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

REVIEW: KFC E.A.V.I. METAL Phase Seven: A Ditka (pt2)



Regular readers of this blog will know that this is not the first test shot of KFC's Ditka that I have reviewed. In fact the previous test shot was only about two months ago, which perhaps makes it all the more surprising just how different the two of them are, as we shall see! Still, what I plan to do here is more of an update and comparison between the two, rather than another full, flat-out review, as despite some changes it's still fundamentally the same figure.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

REVIEW: Maketoys MTRM-06 Contact Shot



With the possible exception of their recent release of Downbeat, there's no doubt in my mind that Maketoys Headmaster efforts have been some of the unparalleled highlights of their RE:Master line thus far. Iron Will and especially Cupola are both fantastic figures, with the latter being cemented as one of my personal favourite third party Transformers of all time. So naturally I was very much looking forward to Contact Shot, their first addition of a Targetmaster to the line-up, even if it does come in the place of a much-desired Brainstorm or Highbrow homage.

Friday, 17 March 2017

REVIEW: Fans Hobby Master Builder MB-02 Megatooth



Despite being a fledgling company, third party newcomer Fans Hobby have certainly made quite the initial impression. I've already put down my thoughts on their first effort, Archenemy, which has generally been met with a warm reception, and now already we are taking a look at their sophomore figure. In fact, Megatooth dropped at the same time as Archenemy, although he's definitely not been overshadowed!