Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Transformers 3rd Party: Impossible Toys - Requiem TS-06 (Tetra Squadron)

One of the early 3rd party companies on the unofficial Transformers scene, Impossible Toys had a very hit and miss record with the fans. While they were responsible for some very nice vinyl Quintesson figures, their transformable figures weren't always met with open arms. Towards the end of Impossible Toys' run they released the Tetra Squadron, the Decepticon seekers in their Cybertronian forms. Being a fan of Dirge, I tracked down his Requiem TS-06 release at TFCon a few years ago. I've been sitting on these pictures for sometime, but I'm glad to finally get around to this post.

The overall presentation of the packaging is very nice. The box has a Generation 1 feel with the checkerboard background and the art. The quality of the packaging however leaves a lot to be desired as the box feels as if it was assembled using photo paper. It's very thin, easily damaged and could warp and not hold it's shape if you don't store the box carefully. It is supported with a little cardboard tray inside, but it could have been better. The back of the box does give you a good bio of the character, which is a nice touch.

On the side of the box you'll find a write up about the Tetra Squadron. I believe there is a typo in their motto however, "No one flies were we do, except for the dead." Just doesn't sound right.

Courtesy of Transformers Wiki

If feel that the designers at Impossible Toys did a pretty good job at capturing their animated likeness and transforming it into physical form. The cockpit canopy on the toy is larger, however I think that was done more for the look in robot mode. The lasers attached underneath the wings are removable. For a more authentic look my guess is you would leave those off.

The back of the jet isn't lacking detail either. From the single engine thruster to the intricate detail molded into the plastic. 

Transformation from jet to robot is a little rough, partly because of the jet's outer "shell". You can see from below how the robot parts aren't really hidden. The chest, arms and legs are all easily seen.

One thing that always bothered me in the animated show was how both the Autobots and Decepticons in robot mode still looked their Earth counterparts, however their alternate vehicle modes looked drastically different. 

In keeping with these theme, Requiem retains much of his Earth robot form, minus the large bombs his G1 toy came with. Overall it has a good look, however the quality of the plastic Impossible Toys used was really light and thin and I always worried I was going to stress the plastic or worse, break something. 

The figure has a decent amount of articulation, but the large wings can hinder the poseability. Points of articulation exist at the shoulder, elbow, hip and thigh.

Somehow the designers did work in his original cone head look. The size of the cone is much smaller than his G1 toy, combine that with his new sculpted face and I love the overall look.

If you like kibble then you'll love the Tetra Squadron! I seriously don't know what anyone else could have done with these pieces. If you add lines and hinges to make it fold up and compact down, then you sacrifice the clean look in vehicle mode. If you leave it all just hanging on the back of the figure then it hinders articulation and the overall look.

While the figure isn't a perfect masterpiece by far, it does give fans a version of the Decepticon seekers that surprisingly no one else has attempted thus far. These figures did hit clearance with most online retailers at one point. If you want one now you'll have to rely on the secondary market where they generally sell for even less than their clearance price...if you can find them. The original trio (Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker) are harder to find.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Transformers Generations: Megatron & Chop Shop

As part of Hasbro's "Thrilling 30" celebration of the Transformers Brand in 2014, several Legend sized two packs were released under the Generations banner. On the Decepticon front, Megatron was paired with the unusual choice of the Insecticon Chop Shop.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger view

I have always enjoyed this scale of Transformers so I was already on board, but the inclusion of Chop Shop really caught my attention. While the Deluxe Insecticon toys from the G1 era were never high on my list, I've always held an affinity for Chop Shop. Perhaps its because it was the only Deluxe Insecticon toy I owned growing up. None the less this new, smaller version of the character had to be mine.

Megatron himself is a retool/redeco of the Autobot Warparth. While the mold is OK, it does tend to fit Megatron better than Warpath. The tank barrel does sit on the side of the arm similar to Megatron's original fusion cannon, but its a little too thin for my taste. I also don't care for the different gray colors used. The lower half of the tank / legs are more of a silver gray, while the tanks turret / robot's thighs and legs are molded in a different shade of gray plastic. Then the armored bits on the arms have been painted a light gray. The colors don't mesh very well, especially in tank mode. His robot mode is passable with a new head sculpt. These colors issues were fixed with the Japanese Takara Tomy release.

My reason for buying this toy is this little guy. Chop Shop is a little bigger than your average Mini-Con figure. His arms and beetle mandibles are movable, but due to his transformation that is about the extent of his articulation.

The sculpting on this figure is great. I particularly love his head sculpt as it is a dead ringer for the G1 toy. The colors are spot on and he retains a good bit of his G1 likeness, minus the gray peg found on his chest.

This version of Chop Shop is basically a quadruple changer if you will. In addition to his two standard modes, he can also transform into armor for Megatron in his tank mode as well as a Targetmaster-esque weapon. Or does he form a shield?

Starscream was released in the same series and packaged with a new version of Beast Wars Waspinator. Fitting that Hasbro would give the fans a new Starscream to go with a new Megatron. The added smaller figures were just a bonus.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Masters of the Universe (200X): Snake Armor He-Man

I was never a huge fan of Masters of the Universe mainly because when it was popular, I was still fairly young. However I always liked the majority of the characters and watched the animated show growing up.

Flash forward to the Mike Young Productions animated show and I was hooked. Perhaps it was the art style or the animation itself, but I was much more interested in He-Man, the Masters of the Universe along with Skeletor and his evil minions. It didn't take long for me to find that Mattel had released figures based on this new animated show. I began driving all over town to various Target and Walmart stores looking for the figures.

By the time the Snake Men figures were released I was in full stride in my MOTU collecting. I was growing tired however of all the re-hashed versions of He-Man and Skeletor that seemed to be included in every wave. However there was one version of He-Man that I was all too happy to purchase, Snake Armor He-Man.


The legendary Four Horsemen were at the helm of creating these figures and their sculpting of this figure in particular was fantastic. I love how the armor goes up one leg, covers his abdomen and then covers his arm, complete with the oversized should plate. He looks like a gladiator of sorts that is ready to do battle against any form of evil willing to rear it's ugly head. Attached to his armored arm is a guard that contains a retractable claw. 

Now the included Power sword's size may seem like an overkill at first. I was in that camp at first, however once I got my hands on the actual toy I started to have fun with the massive sword. Surprisingly, the sword can be sheathed on He-Man's back. The sword has some weight to it so be mindful of how you pose the legs and feet as the added sword does make the figure a little top heavy.

The Power sword does open up to reveal a green missile which contains the Snake Men logo. This missile can fire from the sword, but from my memory the missile never traveled very far. Other than the oversized blade, the sword's hilt looks very similar to the regular Power sword included with the first release of He-Man.

I can understand why there may be some MOTU fans that just don't care for this figure, but me personally I think it's an awesome variation of the He-Man character. Yes, the sword is too big for the figure and it makes it hard to display your figure with him wielding his weapon, but if you look past that there are plenty of other features of the figure to enjoy.

Sadly this figure commands big money on the secondary market these days. I'm not sure if the initial release was limited or if it just didn't sell well because it was released towards the end of the 200X's life. Either way it's a great figure and if you can find it for a decent price and are a fan of this series you oughta grab it up. I will mention that the Classics series finally recognized the 200X series and released a version of Snake Armor He-Man in a two pack along with King Hsss. I'm not a fan of the new look myself, but at least you have that option.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: Charlotte Mini-Con 2018 Haul (part 2)

If you stopped by the blog yesterday then you would've seen the first part of my Charlotte Mini-Con haul from this past weekend. One of the things I noticed with this show is that there were more "modern" comics in the $.50 boxes than I normally see. I assume this is because dealers over ordered on certain titles. Sucks for them, hooray for me! Because of this, I grabbed several books that I may not have messed with before.

This is the only copy of Super-Villain Team-Up that I own. It's a series that I've often thought about picking up, but rarely do I find issues in the boxes I comb through. I paid $1 for this book. Overall it's in pretty good condition for it's age.

A-Force is one of those titles that I picked up 1) because they were $.50 each and 2) because I found all but two of the issues. This is the 2nd volume of the title. It started as a Secret Wars mini-series, one that I didn't buy/read. I sat down this morning before I jumped into my work and I worked the Civil War II issues into my stack of books I'm currently reading. Yes, I'm that far behind on my reading...I'm about half way through reading CW II and most of the accompanying issues.

I'm glad I did sit down to read the pre-CW issues of A-Force as I greatly enjoyed the story and the art. I hate that I'm missing two issues, but I went ahead and read #1-7. I'm a big fan of Captain Marvel and I've enjoyed reading She-Hulk in the past. Good stuff.

I got back into the Avengers stuff last summer after finding all but one issue of the Avengers Standoff story at HeroesCon. This has led me back to reading more Avengers related titles, especially after looking over what's happening currently in the Avengers family of titles. Since I'm still behind in my reading, it was fun finding a few books I needed to fill holes. It'll make my reading that much more enjoyable once I get to these titles now that I have the majority of the issues.

I read the first volume of Uncanny Avengers for awhile and I enjoyed seeing mutant characters interact with long time Avengers. I picked up the Secret Empire crossover issues of Uncanny Avengers and shortly after I started finding back issues for cheap. I figured if I go back to at least issue #15 and fill in the holes that should make for a fun read.

I have to be honest. Secret Empire got me back into reading Captain America. I really hadn't read a Cap title since he was "killed" in the first Civil War event. When I heard what they were doing with him, I was intrigued. In a way it reminded me of what they did w/ Peter Parker and Doctor Octopus in Superior Spider-Man, a series that I LOVED. I was able to piece together all of the issues off the rack from various comic shops until I got caught up with the current issue at that time. 

Of course this means I didn't have any of Sam's Captain America title. I still don't have many, so I was glad to find these. All but the Steranko variant were found in the $.50 boxes. Flipping through a few of these issues I saw that the former New Warriors character, Rage, played a part in the story with the AmeriCops. His appearance alone made me want to read this title.

I found all but this one issue of Captain Marvel's title that crossed over w/ CW II at a comic show last fall, so the timing of finding issue 10 was pretty perfect. I've already got it qued to read as I'm getting close to finishing this event.

My brother has asked me on more than one occassion as to why I wasn't buying/reading Champions. I love Humberto Ramo's art and I'm already reading Nova and Spider-Man (Miles Morales). It makes sense that I should. I was tempted to pick up the Champions issues that crossed over w/ Avengers, but there is only so much money to go around. Having found several issues for $.50 however now has me looking to fill in the holes.

I found the first 7 issues of Contest of Champions last fall, but the last issue was nowhere to be found. I was glad to find #8...now I just gotta find where I put the other 7 so I can sit down and read them!

I can't get enough of the 80's/90's stuff from Marvel. The Siege of Darkness story I first learned about through the old Marvel Universe trading cards. I've slowly been picking up the various issues of this storyline and I just happened to find this issue of Marvel Comics Presents.

Speaking of 90's Marvel, I found the last 3 issues I lacked to complete Nightwatch's title. Very happy about these 3!

Amazing X-Men is a title I never would have thought to look for. I'm not a huge fan of the mutant titles, but I grabbed these solely because Firestar was part of the team/story. I guess you could say I have a soft spot for former New Warriors characters.

The only non-Marvel books of my haul (well technically I guess you could say these are Marvel titles) was Rune. My first exposure to Malibu Comics came with an issue of Godwheel #0 packaged inside Wizard magazine. As I learned more about the characters I became more intrigued and started to pick up select issues, mainly of UltraForce and Rune. Being a fan of Marvel's cosmic books, it was fun seeing the Infinity Stones, Adam Warlock and other Marvel characters interacting with the Ultraverse characters. It's a shame that Marvel really can't do anything with these characters these days.

Well, that wraps it up! I was surprised at just how much I found. I didn't expect to find so many books from recent years, but I'm glad I did as I have begun to expand my reading horizons a little bit more lately. Had I had more time, more money and my back and hip not been bothering me, I'm sure I could have brought more home with me. That's OK though, time for me to get back to reading and gearing up for the next local show in the spring.