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Everything posted by Maz

  1. I often find myself wondering who to feature next on these collector interviews, and I have been asked to try and move away from museum-style G1 collections to add more variety. Where possible I have done this, but requests are met at different times and often the choice of who to go with any given month is made for me by circumstance. This month however, and especially after reading his most heartfelt, genuine, wise and engaging interview, it baffles me how Matt “Matty” Dennett has not yet been featured. Writer for G1 Journey and a member of the TFW staff, Matt as a person is every bit as heartfelt, genuine, wise and engaging as his interview. He also has a stunning collection for a so-called newcomer! Collector Interview 33 – Matt Dennett | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  2. Seriously? A fourth Unique Toys/DX9 3rd party figure article in 6 weeks? Don’t blame me, blame what must currently be the most prolific 3rd party company on the scene. Not even a month has passed since the second UT Ordin combiner limb “Alberich” hit online stores and their stock of 3rd member “Fenrir” is already on its way. O-03 Fenrir is of course modern day IP theft speak for “Sinnertwin”, the two-headed Terrorcon that helped form Abominus. The name “Fenrir” makes reference to the giant wolf creature (with very much one head) from Nordic mythology, staying consistent with the naming theme employed thus far with Troll and Alberich. Extra-Ordin-ary (Part 3) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  3. My full review of Guttur is now up: Square One: GigaPower HQ03 Guttur - Production Sample Review All the best Maz
  4. This may be Part 2 of the Unique Toys Ordin (Abominus) story, but we’re going back to the first figure released by UT as part of this combiner team. O-01 Troll – who is the modern 3rd party interpretation of the Terrorcon Blot – signalled a significant rise in quality for UT and a wider acceptance that they were on the path to considerably improving their product and output. In fact, the first images of Troll were so impressive that before UT were linked to it, many thought it was an MMC figure, or at least designed by those responsible for the Feralcons. Nearly three figures into the Ordin combiner, and having already reviewed O-02 Alberich, let’s see what this Nordic-named monster has to offer. Extra-Ordin-ary (Part 2) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  5. We love Transformers, that’s why upcoming product and a new year’s reveals are scrutinised, criticised or celebrated to the degree that they are. It’s impossible to compare the reaction fans and collectors – or I suppose even casual consumers – have towards new offerings by Hasbro today to how people felt about the second main wave of Transformers advertised for 1985. Imagine how wonderful that first year of 1984 was at the time (well you don’t have to, a lot of you were there). This week we’ll pretend it’s late 1984 and the 1985 catalogue of Hasbro Transformers have just been shown to an enthusiastic fan and a ‘knowledgeable’ cynic who are discussing the upcoming range. For the purposes of this article, let’s just lump Jetfire, the Dinobots and Insecticons etc firmly into 1985. Internet nitpickery hasn’t been invented yet! Many kind thanks to Paul Hitchens of The Spacebridge for the idea and inspiration this week. 1985 | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  6. You just know that if Takara Tomy did Masterpiece Mirage, they’d put out a clear repaint as well. We’ve already had a clear blue BotCon attendee exclusive Classics Mirage, a Takara Tomy Binaltech BT-18 Rijie translucent release through e-Hobby and an all clear Henkei Mirage/Rijie, so Unique DX9 Toys’ decision to repaint D03i Invisible in clear blue should not come as a surprise to anyone. The “Phantom” version is limited to 1000 pieces and follows hot on the heels of their standard Invisible release. Even Less Visible | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  7. First there were Transformers. Official Transformers. I liked those. Then there were 3rd Party figures based on Transformers. I ignored those for the most part, before FT Quakewave was forced upon me. Prior to that, one design caught my eye and I always looked at the galleries and teasers despite standing firm against the unofficial onslaught of Not-Transformers product. That design was the original Mastermind Creations (MMC) Reformatted R-01 Terminus Hexatron, the first unofficial Sixshot. Having been a lover of Sixshot and Greatshot for over a decade (never even knew about it as a child), the dynamism of Hexatron captured my attention. Every scene has its landmarks, and Terminus Hexatron is a landmark figure in the world of 3rd party Transformers. Supernova and Shadow Emissary editions, together with add-on parts aside, Hexatron is reborn. This is MMC’s Reformatted R-01C Terminus Hexatron Continuum, and it is phenomenal. Continuum Hexatron – The Perfect Upgrade | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  8. There are no shortage of 3rd Party Transformers-inspired combiners around for collectors to choose from. There are multiple projects - completed and ongoing - covering Predaking, Computron, Bruticus, Menasor, Defensor, Devastator and now Hasbro has entered the fray with Combiner Wars offering an alternative (yet classic) concept, value for money and simplicity with trusted quality over high end collector's items. Not to mention being able to officially badge it as Transformers, Superion or Menasor. So, in order for a 3rd party combiner to stand out now, it has to be unique. So how appropriate it is that Unique Toys are currently the only company tackling the Terrorcons and the monster combiner Abominus. Alberich - Not Just A Great Arm | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  9. 2014 has been an incredible year for Transformers collectors, even moreso than 2013 was. This year saw the completion of MMC’s first 3rd party combiner “Feral Rex”, who most people would argue dominated the 3rd Party Predaking wars, as well as the start of the 3rd Party Dinobot Wars where FansProject, FansToys, ToyWorld and others raced to release their interpretations of the beloved robotic dinosaurs. As for official product, we got a new toy line to accompany the 4th live action movie Age of Extinction, more superb Generations figures including Arcee, Jetfire, Rhinox, Brainstorm and Whirl and towards the end of 2014 the Masterpiece line from Takara Tomy really kicked into gear with home runs like Wheeljack and Bumblebee, while Hasbro got their versions of MP Prowl and Sunstorm out, as well as a reissue of Grimlock – but stole a good deal of headlines by introducing the first wave of Combiner Wars and Robots In Disguise figures. There were other astoundingly good offerings from official and unofficial sources like MakeToys Quantron, Perfect Effect Warden, Transformers Cloud Rodimus and the like. What I want to stress above all, is that this article will cover my personal top 5 purchases of the year…and that will NOT be limited to new toys, but old figures as well that I only just purchased. I began a project whereby I wanted to collect all the vintage and reissued 1/55 scale Macross Valkyries, I uncovered and purchased nearly every vintage bootleg Spanish minibot known and previously undocumented, I rediscovered the Human Alliance and ROTF lines, TFPrime was a flavour I sampled this year and I went back to re-purchase and complete virtually all of TF Animated. Vintage G1 also got a look in as I finally re-added a wonderful G1 Jetfire to my collection, as well as a 1992 Turbomaster Rotorstorm that opened my eyes up to latter era G1 figures. So let’s be clear, this is definitely not a “Top 5 toys of 2014″ list, just the top 5 toys I came in to possession of this year that left the biggest positive mark. Top 5 Purchases of 2014 | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  10. Immo de Maar is a collector in the strictest sense of the word. Everything that is added to his display and falls into his ownership is for the purpose of the collection, the completion of a sub-section or the overall tapestry. His approach to toy buying is an exercise in strict focus and parameters, leading to huge satisfaction and enjoyment in the big picture. He does not understand the appeal of newer lines, or even reissues, and no doubt some of his opinions will jar with a lot of readers, but he already knows that. What he has created is what I imagine my collection would have looked like had I never branched out from vintage and had so many sell-offs. For myself, and many collectors, it will be a window into a world almost unimaginable for any collector starting out today. Collector Interview 32 - Immo de Maar | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  11. This is exactly where we left things last week on Part 1. The factory sealed vintage Transformers Generation 1 Aerialbot Fireflight had been photo-analysed, admired, had a potential grading result predicted by a number of experienced collectors and then promptly sent off to the Action Figure Authority (AFA) for grading as part of an experiment. Fireflight has since returned, cased and graded, and this week I’ll be taking you through the minutiae of the grading process and analysing the result to the best of my ability. Making The Grade (Part 2) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  12. These days, invariably, you will find good condition factory sealed vintage Generation 1 Transformers preserved, immortalised, imprisoned, desecrated (delete as appropriate) in an acrylic display case, with a grade attached. The AFA – or Action Figure Authority – grade toys like Transformers be they factory sealed, opened and unused or even loose. Everyone has an opinion on this, from not keeping toys sealed at all to downright hatred of the AFA and the culture behind grading Transformers, specifically the ‘authority’ part and the implication that the AFA are experts. The other side of the coin is that collectors use the grading process to confirm what they already knew about the quality of their specimen, and are after preservation of the toys only. It’s really not as black and white as we may think. Making The Grade - Part 1 | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  13. Mirage and controversy are never far apart. Whether it was sneaking off during battle to board the Decepticon ship while invisible, or pretending to be a Decepticon spy stealing energon cubes, he’s made people question his nature. DX9 – formerly/currently Unique Toys – have delivered us a Masterpiece-scaled figure that is heavily influenced by G1 Mirage called “Invisible”, and whether or not this thing can be considered a Masterpiece or not has been the subject of a great deal of discussion and disagreement, nothing new for Mirage. Individual, Indefinable, Invisible | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  14. Part 2 - OTS-03 Backland Last week we got halfway to proving that BadCube make good toys with a favourable review of Old Timer Series 02 “Brawny”. This week we examine Brawny’s co-release, OTS-03 “Backland”, the third in BadCube/Cubex’s take on the Generation 1 minibots. Backland is of course supposed to be the series 3 minibot Outback – who was a remould of the G1 Brawn. It’s no coincidence that these two were released together, and while it’s no surprise that Brawny has proved the more popular of the two, there’s an emerging school of thought that Backland may actually be the better figure. BadCube, Good Toys? (Part 2 – Backland) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  15. Get me an interview, now. That’s what I said to my friend when he shared a picture of Michael Kingcaid’s Transformers collection with me a week before Michael himself shared photos with the Internet. I then received numerous emails and Facebook tags to get in touch with the owner of this amazing collection and collar him for an interview. Luckily, by that stage I had established contact with this highly creative, long-time enthusiast and he was thrilled to be able to share his passion and achievement through a Source Interview. Inspiration in words and visuals alike, by popular demand, we give you Michael Kingcaid! Collector Interview 31 – Michael Kingcaid | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  16. Part 1 - OTS02 Brawny Transformers are popular, minibots are popular, Masterpiece is popular. Takara Tomy have just put the elements of that formula together and created Masterpiece Bumblebee, but not before a bunch of 3rd party companies had a stab at it first. One of those companies was Cubex, their interpretation of Masterpiece Huffer, called “Old Timer Series 01 Huff”. I felt Huff was Masterpiece worthy in design but not execution, and honestly had it not flaked I would still have it because it hit all the right aesthetic notes. Cubex have re-branded themselves as BadCube and continued the Old Timer Series of MP-style minibots, starting with OTS-02 Brawny and OTS-03 Backland, Not-Brawn and Not-Outback respectively. BadCube, Good Toys? (Part 1 – Brawny) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  17. Just very recently I read a great blog post by Dave Barry (Gangu Stars) on a new phenomenon called ‘digital collecting’, a practice whereby toy enthusiasts strictly collect images of toys they desire instead of physically owning them. Now while most of us want to be able to touch and transform the items in our collections, some amass photographs (of others’ toys) and call that their collection. Whether I understand it or not, I was reminded of just how much Transformers imagery we must all have on various storage devices, some of it ancient. Remind Me | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  18. It’s been over three years now that we’ve been producing articles and collector interviews for the TFSource Blog, and just as with the previous two years, we thought it might be interesting for our readers to see what the top 5 most visited and read articles have been over the last 12 to 14 months. One thing the results have shown us are that our readership and reach have grown, and thanks for that must go not just to our staff but also to the collectors and enthusiasts whose contributions have helped make the blog something worthwhile to visit and keep up to date with. The majority of interest seems to come out of articles where collectors are given a voice to either express their preferences, habits and obstacles, or to show off their collections, modest and expansive alike. 3rd Party products have also ranked highly on the list of popular articles which is to be expected after a bumper year of releases and announcements by a seemingly growing list of protagonists. Here, then, are the top 5 most read Source Blog posts of our third year. Best of 2013 / 2014 – Three Years Of Source Articles | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  19. If for whatever reason you lost all of your Transformers collection tomorrow, what figure would you buy back first? That excellent question was asked by Alex Kirk at a UK Transformers meet recently and created some fascinating discussion and introspective analysis. After the initial wave of “Nothing, I’d be free!” responses, everyone who was asked the question gave some very interesting answers. I’ve expanded Alex’s question to include the first three toys one would buy back, for whatever purpose that might be: rebuilding, three and done, nostalgia or a blank slate with the benefit of experience. If You Lost It All… (Part 1) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  20. Not-Powered Convoy is a wholly accurate description of KFC’s D.A.I. Commander stack repaint of the earlier ”Citizen Stack”, KFC’s attempt at a Masterpiece Ultra Magnus. That’s not to say this isn’t a great figure that’s fit for a purpose, however the question is whether or not it actually fulfils any of the purposes it was designed for, that is, a Masterpiece Ultra Magnus or a Masterpiece Diaclone Powered Convoy. With my personal area of interest and specialism being Diaclone for over a decade, and having owned more than five Diaclone Powered Convoys, I can hopefully provide perspective on how this figure appeals to me and whether it’s successful on any level compared to something Takara Tomy would produce for MP-22′s potential Powered Convoy repaint. D.A.I. Stack – Not Powered Convoy | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  21. FansToys have created a problem for themselves, their first 3rd Party offering Quakewave was almost universally acknowledged as one of the best 3rd Party products ever to hit the Transformers collector market. After that, their decision to tackle Masterpiece-style Dinobots, or “Iron Dibots” led to their version of Dinobot Slag, FT-04 Scoria, and certainly I believed it to be every bit as good as Quakewave although well-documented issues with looseness and some QC niggles cast some doubt over their ability to maintain their mantle as the top 3rd Party guys in town. FansToys’s next offering, FT-05 Soar (Not Swoop), is absolutely key in helping the company to re-establish themselves as the go-to guys for filling Masterpiece-sized gaps in the official line-up. Available in both Diaclone/cartoon blue and toy/comic red, we’ve got a test shot of the blue version for review. FansToys FT-05 Soar (Blue) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  22. Dan Ghile is a UK Transformers fan, artist and collector who has inspired me this year. Meeting and spending time in real life with collectors like Dan, Richard Irvine-Brown, Sid Beckett, as well as oldies like Morgan Evans, Paul Hitchens and many other fine UK fans has opened my eyes to just what a wealth of passion, knowledge, history and diversity exists right on my doorstep in London and the UK. I’ve not enjoyed being a part of the TF community more than I have in the past year as a result of the company, contributions and friendship of these collectors. What this interview will demonstrate is that you don’t have to be a well known collector with a legendary collection or history of acknowledged fandom contributions to be able to offer the kind of wisdom, unbridled passion and deep factual knowledge that Dan exhibits in any conversation about Transformers, the type that is infectious and can influence others positively. Collector Interview 29 – Dan Ghile | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  23. If Transformers Animated wasn’t subject enough to the varying opinions within the collecting community, for those who have surrendered their hearts to it there are plenty of wildly differing views on what ranks as the best and worst aspects of the line and concept in general. Last week I offered up my choices for best Animated legends, activator, deluxe and voyager class toy, knowing full well I’d struggle to find anyone in complete agreement. I think this week’s categories of best ‘main line’ repaint/remould, best leader, and best Japanese market release are going to be even more controversial – or just plain unpopular. I certainly expected to find this a lot easier… TF Animated – The Verdict (Part 2) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  24. Before I go any further, a disclaimer. The content of this article series is purely my opinion, not stated as right, wrong, nor as representative of the general feeling within the collecting community. In fact I doubt I’d find even one collector who would agree with all my choices. With that out of the way, here’s my verdict on Transformers Animated’s top toys in the Legends, Activators, Deluxe, Voyager and Leader classes, as well as best series episode, best transformation, best repaint and original concept feature. In the last few months I finally watched the episodes I had missed first time around and collected every toy mould released within the aforementioned classes, including pretty much every repaint and a number of bootlegs so I hope that qualifies to me to pass some sort of judgement. Here are my results! TF Animated – The Verdict (Part 1) | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
  25. Why repaints and remoulds? Why can’t every Transformers toy be a completely new mould and something brand new to enjoy and explore? We all know the answer to that already. The money involved in creating fresh toy sculpts – the engineering, tooling and design required to birth just one new Transformers toy – is such that the company responsible counters that by ensuring they get the most out of that mould by way of repaints and re-moulds/re-tools. The more the merrier. But that’s not the question we’re asking this week, the question is, what makes us buy them? Why Repaints? | Source Blog <- CLICK TO READ All the best Maz
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