Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Figures, collectables, customs and collecting.
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Clay
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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Clay » Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:01 am

Warcry wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:38 pm
And then Beast Machines happened, and that was even weirder and I guess a step too far for most fans' tastes.
What kills me, absolutely kills me, is that the Transtech designs were even weirder, but because those were never made, some people are quite vocal about wanting them. If you ask them if they like the live action designs, those same people say no and that they hate those designs. The irony is that some of them like Megatron are generally (head concepts and alt mode) the same thing, if you replace curves with angles.

People just want what they can't have, I guess.

(also, we're apparently the first site that pops up on a search for the transtech concepts gallery. neat!)
A decade or so ago I tried to talk myself into buying a BotCon Windrazor, but even though this is one of my favourite figures from the era I had a really hard time stomaching the asking price for a toy I already owned twice over. I bet the asking price has tripled since then, too!
I went and checked on ebay out of curiosity and, while certainly not cheap, Windrazor really isn't that bad considering both the age and rarity ($200-$250 for sealed, carded figures). Didn't turn up any listings for completely loose figures, which I imagine would be less. Beast Wars Metals Jaguar/Ravage trades for about the same despite there probably being more of them, for comparison.

Of course at that price, if you got a carded one you'd be best to leave it sealed and hung on the wall as a kind of trophy or showpiece, but then you wouldn't get to play with it. :|

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Skyquake87 » Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:00 pm

I'd love Universe Silverbolt and the Ramulus repaint (Longhorn?). Silverbolt is an awesome awesome toy (and I like the character too). I did find too many of the Fuzors fell into the ugly-weird end of things. Airhammer and Noctorro spring instantly to mind. The mix of beasts wasn't successful in all cases. My absolute favourite is Injector. I love that thing so much. It's not subtle, bright, colourful and daft looking. Absolute joy to behold and makes me smile everytime.

..Windrazor is a bit too bland. White plastic really kills off the detailing, doesn't it?

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:20 pm

Beast Wars II Cyberbeasts!

https://imgur.com/a/Tr1LjVR

Took me the longest time to get these together. Not quite as mental as the Transmetal 2 Beast Wars figures, but I like the mish-mash of cybernetic parts with beasty-flesh. Really nice paint apps on all four of them too.

I do find Max-B and Thrustor's weapons are a bit much, mind. They swamp the robot modes!

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Warcry » Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:11 am

The Easter Bunny delivered junk food to some houses over the weekend. A Stampy brought ours.

Image

Clay wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:01 am
What kills me, absolutely kills me, is that the Transtech designs were even weirder, but because those were never made, some people are quite vocal about wanting them.
I've always thought the Transtech designs looked completely unappealing, honestly. But who knows? In the plastic they might have been cooler than on paper.

I really don't think we missed too much, though.

Clay wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:01 am
Of course at that price, if you got a carded one you'd be best to leave it sealed and hung on the wall as a kind of trophy or showpiece, but then you wouldn't get to play with it. :|
I think part of the reason why Windrazor hasn't reached the same stratosphere as the other exclusives of that era is exactly that -- you can either play with it or you can have a collector's item but not both. I think all the other BW-era exclusives were either in baggies or boxed, so they don't present collectors with the same "if you play with me you're setting half your investment on fire" paradox.

But even then, he's going for probably eight times what both Silverbolts cost me combined and (as Skyquake alludes to) he's really the weakest of the three.

Skyquake87 wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:00 pm
I'd love Universe Silverbolt and the Ramulus repaint (Longhorn?).
Longhorn is the bomb. The mix of colours works better than it has any right to, though I do kind of wish the reddish-brown that it shares with Beast Machines Longhorn was just a hair more prominent. Mine has seen better days sadly, but I suppose that's what happens when a toy is old enough to vote and has had a place on the shelf for that entire time.

I really like the Ramulus mold. I'd buy it five times over if they'd given it that many decos.

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Skyquake87 wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:00 pm
Silverbolt is an awesome awesome toy (and I like the character too). I did find too many of the Fuzors fell into the ugly-weird end of things. Airhammer and Noctorro spring instantly to mind. The mix of beasts wasn't successful in all cases. My absolute favourite is Injector. I love that thing so much. It's not subtle, bright, colourful and daft looking. Absolute joy to behold and makes me smile everytime.
I own all the Fuzors now! I should take a group shot. I like them but they're definitely a hit or miss group. Some of them are great and some of them are Noctorro, but I think the biggest disappointments are the ones where they had a great idea but just didn't execute very well. Terragator and Air Hammer in particular, I feel like the beast concepts were great but they just didn't do a very good job of making toys out of them. Which is really too bad because when are we ever going to get a sharkhawk or a turtlegator ever again?

Skyquake87 wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:20 pm
Beast Wars II Cyberbeasts!
I feel like I should like these guys more than I do. I think you deftly point out why I don't...it's hard not to compare them to the even crazier TM2s, and they just can't complete with those insane piles of bling. I also feel like none of the retooling does anything to make the retools any better than the originals. Three of the original molds were very clunky to begin with but the Cyborg versions feel even clunkier.

Dirgegun (is he the wasp?) and Thrustor have wicked cool colours though.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Clay » Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:05 pm

Skyquake87 wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:20 pm
Beast Wars II Cyberbeasts!

https://imgur.com/a/Tr1LjVR

Took me the longest time to get these together. Not quite as mental as the Transmetal 2 Beast Wars figures, but I like the mish-mash of cybernetic parts with beasty-flesh. Really nice paint apps on all four of them too.

I do find Max-B and Thrustor's weapons are a bit much, mind. They swamp the robot modes!
I love my Cyberbeasts! I pieced together a new-in-the-boxes set back in... 2006? Even at that point, Thrustor/l was relatively more rare than the other three. Quick search on ebay shows Dirgegun as the most expensive of the set currently, though.

I too noticed that they're basically Transmetal 2s in design a full year before the actual TM2s. I wonder how much of that was accidental or a coincidence versus how much of it was intentional. I mean, you can easily see the four of them as the kind of internal custom figure work used to pitch new concepts. The Cyberbeasts may have started as that and then were expanded upon for the following year's TM2 theme.

It's a question that'll probably never be answered, but one I'm curious to know all the same.
Warcry wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:11 am
I've always thought the Transtech designs looked completely unappealing, honestly. But who knows? In the plastic they might have been cooler than on paper.

I really don't think we missed too much, though.
I feel the same way about the BW Neo Unicron. I learned about it at about the same time the Armada Unicron was released, and I never could understand the fuss. Like, the one we got in Armada was better, so what's the deal? Well... people just want what they can't have.

You make a good point about Windrazor being in a binary between enjoyment and preservation. Ironically, that may be the very thing that's kept most of them carded and slightly more affordable than stuff like Shockaract. Windrazors might be equally rare, but if 90% of them are still carded, that keeps the overall price of carded Windrazors down because there's so many of them.
I feel like I should like these guys more than I do. I think you deftly point out why I don't...it's hard not to compare them to the even crazier TM2s, and they just can't complete with those insane piles of bling. I also feel like none of the retooling does anything to make the retools any better than the originals. Three of the original molds were very clunky to begin with but the Cyborg versions feel even clunkier.
As I say above, I think they may have started out as internal proof-of-concept customs for what became TM2s. Or, they may have started as their own wacky remolds for retail sale that, upon reflection, they liked and developed into the general 'look' of the TM2s for the following year.

Again, we'll probably never know, but I'd like to. I find it fascinating.

Also, I used to have a Ramulus. Not sure why I got sold him off. I do remember that I bought him carded for basically what the retail price was even six or seven years after the fact, and that even though he was fine while sealed, it didn't take long for the chrome to start flaking.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:07 pm

I think I like the Cyberbeasts because they're a bit fancy and exotic, and because they don't shed chrome like glitter confetti. I love the Transmetal 2 aesthetic, but the only ones I have now are Blackarchnia and Iguanus*. All the others were starting to flake something rotten, so I sold them all on to become someone else's problem :P My Ramulus I remember managed the astonishing feat of losing all his pink colouring to reveal a lovely shade of silver chrome underneath. And then that started falling off.

My Transmetals are all largely fine, Rattrap's tail has curiously flaked, and there's the odd minor chip here and there, but they're in all overall good nick, which is surprising as they've spent much of the last 25 years in a box jumbled together.

In other old toys funtimes, I dug out some curious Live Action Movie G1 redecos I keep forgetting I have:

https://imgur.com/gallery/10RaCva

So, from the Encore era of appalling quality control/ rubbish materials, we have Skids and Screech done up like Skids and Mudflap. I think the story goes is that these are both alternate versions of Skids travelling through time together. Notable for giving the Skids mold his Scooter for the first time. And in lime green too. Nice.

Then you've Ratchet and Ironhide. Ironhide is probably more Diaclone homage, but it does double duty as a movie homage too, which is cool. I'm a huge fan of Fire Emergency vehicle Ratchet, I think he looks brilliant.

I'd have loved to see more LAM themed G1 figures. There's something about seeing these old toys in new colours which I just find instantly appealing.


*Er except for the Universe redecos Frostbite and Reptilion.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Warcry » Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:58 am

Clay wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:05 pm
As I say above, I think they may have started out as internal proof-of-concept customs for what became TM2s. Or, they may have started as their own wacky remolds for retail sale that, upon reflection, they liked and developed into the general 'look' of the TM2s for the following year.

Again, we'll probably never know, but I'd like to. I find it fascinating.
I feel like there wasn't enough time between the two, but it's also possible their release schedules weren't reflective of their development schedules. The Wiki says that the Cyborg Beasts came out at the tail-end of 1998, and since the Transmetal 2s were 1999's subline in the west I'd guess the first wave would have started to trickle out around the same time. Also, I'm not sure how much of today's cooperative relationship between Hasbro and Takara was in place at that point...with the production of Beast Wars being farmed out to Kenner, did they still use Japanese sculptors and engineers for the Western figures? Or was all of that done in-house for four years? And either way, would the Kenner people have even known that the Cyborg Beasts existed?

It's also possible that someone at Takara saw concept art for TM2s at an early stage, fell in love with it and decided to incorporate that style into some of their remolds since it would be a long time until those designs saw release in Japan.

Like you say, it would be really cool to know how the process worked back then.

Clay wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:05 pm
Also, I used to have a Ramulus. Not sure why I got sold him off. I do remember that I bought him carded for basically what the retail price was even six or seven years after the fact, and that even though he was fine while sealed, it didn't take long for the chrome to start flaking.
I feel like whatever process they used to vac-metalicize the figures in the 90s must have been flawed. Tons of early G1 toys had chromed parts and I've never heard about them flaking and falling apart. Toys from other lines, likewise. Beast-era stuff seems to sport uniquely-bad bling. But it also seems to be pretty binary. None of my Transmetals have ever "started" flaking, if you know what I mean. They've either always flaked since the first time I handled them, or they were fine and they still are.

Skyquake87 wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:07 pm
My Ramulus I remember managed the astonishing feat of losing all his pink colouring to reveal a lovely shade of silver chrome underneath. And then that started falling off.
Same happened to my TM2 Prowl. Shed a ton of blue sparkles to reveal the silver undercoat, then started to lose the silver too to reveal bare plastic.
Prowl and Scourge are by far the worst in my collection. I literally cannot move them anywhere without leaving a trail of barely visible coloured dust. My TM Cheetor and TM Tarantulas both have chrome damage too, but in their case it seems more like play wear from the previous owners than self-destructing paint. Most everyone else of mine seems to be in good shape though, minor scraped paint on joints aside.

Skyquake87 wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:07 pm
My Transmetals are all largely fine
I feel like that makes sense. The TM2s have a lot more texture to their molds that creates a lot more little bits that can get dinged up, or little crevices where the paint maybe didn't bond correctly.

Skyquake87 wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:07 pm
In other old toys funtimes, I dug out some curious Live Action Movie G1 redecos I keep forgetting I have:
These toys should not be!

(Actually they're super cool.)


After getting that Command Ravage last week, I decided to take a stroll through my remaining Unicron Trilogy toys. It wasn't a long stroll by any means. Let's start with Armada!

Image

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I was surprised by how little Armada I still have. But then, I don't think I ever had much of it really. I was more into collecting Universe toys, G1 reissues and Alternators at the time. The small Optimus is really cool-looking. I think Armada Optimus might actually be my favourite look for the character. He's just so beefy and powerful-looking! But it's hilarious how we looked at this toy as if it was some sort of super-articulated masterwork back in 2002ish. It has a lot of moving parts but this isn't a poseable figure at all. And not even by modern standards...most Beast Wars toys and even some G2 stuff beats this out. I still love it, though.

Wheeljack is another design with great aesthetics but he's a huge Deluxe with super simple engineering, and the whole thing would be so much better if it was shrunk down to 50% size. I used to have Overload (a G1-tier brick but super charming) and Cyclonus (a cool design hampered by too many gimmicks) as well but not anymore.

(I have several of the Beasts, but I didn't include them in this shot because I honestly don't even think of them as Armada toys most of the time.)

Image

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Energon, though? Energon was a blast! The Deluxe Autobots were uniformly terrible and I think everyone just remembers that and Fat Megazord Prime, but so much of this line was super cool!

With the exception of the long-departed Arcee, all of the Basics I owned were great. Ravage is a standout, one of the best cat molds Hasbro has ever done. Treadshot (the blue/black jet) is also super cool...great colours and great accessories. All the combiner limbs are fun, and I really want to collect more of the Omnicons and Terrorcons.

In the Deluxes, Starscream was a really nice take on the basic Seeker concept and it's really too bad that Hasbro hadn't started repainting him into every Seeker under the sun yet, though I would like to track down the more G1-coloured version one day. But Sharkticon is legitimately one of the coolest toys (not just Transformers either) I've ever handled. The ship mode and its four separate, double-articulated gun mounts is so much fun. The robot mode is very poseable in spite of the HUGE cape and the hidden missile launchers are a really nice touch. The best things about him are probably the colours, though. I also love his sleek head, which I'm only now realizing I managed to block with one of his guns in my picture... The Autobots I owned (Rodimus and Downshift and maybe one other?) were pretty awful though.

I don't have any of the bigger toys from the line anymore, but I have a lot of fond memories of Shockblast (who broke in half at the waist :( ). Wing Saber had a lot of presence too, in spite of being a literal unposeable wall in robot mode. Megatron and Galvatron were always eye-catching but I've never tried to track one down.

And then there's the combiners.

Image

I'm actually surprised I remembered how to do this. It's probably been a decade since I last put this mismash together. It's surprising how little progress they made between this and the Prime Wars combiners. Handfootguns? Check! Limbs that really don't convince at all in limb mode, and start to fall apart if you try to pose them? Check! Terrible balance in combined mode? Check! Team leaders with no weapons? Check! A zillion repaints? Check!

People don't like them as much as CW because they're not the "classic" teams and looks, but I feel like the Energon combiners come out ahead. All else being equal, they at least crammed all those compromises into four Basics and a Deluxe instead of four Deluxes and a Voyager. And honestly, all else isn't equal. These Basics are miles more fun than all but maybe one or two of the CW/POTP limb molds. I raved about Treadshot already. Sky Shadow (the A-10) is super creative too -- I love that his head turns into a gun turret. The copter and flak tank (Stormcloud and Kickback?) are really well-built too, and don't feel like they're weaker at all as robots or vehicles for being able to combine.

Image

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Cybertron is last, and honestly least too. All of these figures feel exactly like Armada Wheeljack did: really cool designs that are twice as big as they should have been (and Starscream here is already like 1/4 the size of the original version of Starscream, which is a shocking thought). The fact that so many Cybertron designs were so successfully downsized to Legends of Cybertron figures without losing any of the essential character of the designs goes to show that Hasbro knew it, too. Override and Universe Springer were the same way. Movie Crankcase was more just "bad". Tank Unicron was just kind of messy. Ironically, the only Cybertron mold I own and actually really like is Universe Ratbat...who I couldn't find for these pictures because I stowed him in a different bin from all the other UT stuff.

Like Energon, a lot of the Scouts from Cybertron look like really cool toys but for whatever reason I didn't buy any of them at the time.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Clay » Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:18 pm

Warcry wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:58 am
Also, I'm not sure how much of today's cooperative relationship between Hasbro and Takara was in place at that point...with the production of Beast Wars being farmed out to Kenner, did they still use Japanese sculptors and engineers for the Western figures? Or was all of that done in-house for four years?
To the best of my knowledge, the only transformers that have ever been released by Hasbro without Takara's help are the 6" Titaniums, the marvel and star wars crossovers, and Energon Grimlock and Swoop.

It took a good twenty minutes to find this, mostly because they reference the Japanese name Cheetas instead of Cheetor, but here's an interview from the 2009 Generations book where Takio Ejima mentions designing both the 1996 and 2008 Cheetors:

https://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/ ... on.223379/
"The Past and The Present"

- Did any of you design both the original and Henkei?

Kunihiro: I would have if I did (Henkei) Hot Rodimus. I regret it.
Ejima: I did both Cheetas. Though I was so busy back then that I hardly remember anything (about original BW Cheetas design). I did not refer to the original or compared the old and new versions side by side.
Yuki: Why didn't you at least loot at them side by side?
Ejima: I should have. The original Cheetas' face is not CG cartoon accurate, so I only referred to the show. I was going for the creation of the show accurate Cheetas.
Yuki: Dinobot was the same. He is such a great character in the show, but the toy was not like him in the show, face and everything. I would have liked him to be a larger size class, bigger than Convoy.
And in the process of trying to drag up that from one tidbit that I read twelve years ago, I came across this gallery from something called Robocon in 2019: https://news.tfw2005.com/2019/06/19/bea ... ore-389949

In it, specifically this pic, you can see what I mean by internal mockup or custom. It's got Cheetor's legs and Inferno's head and arms as placeholders while they're trying to figure out some mechanisms for the arms folding away. When I said earlier that the BW2 Cyberbeasts may have started out as mockups for the Transmetal 2s, this is what I mean.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Clay » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:13 pm

Warcry wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:58 am
Cybertron is last, and honestly least too. All of these figures feel exactly like Armada Wheeljack did: really cool designs that are twice as big as they should have been... The fact that so many Cybertron designs were so successfully downsized to Legends of Cybertron figures without losing any of the essential character of the designs goes to show that Hasbro knew it, too.
I thought I had replied to this a couple of days ago, but there's another dimension you're not considering here: durability. Counter-examples being the current 2021 Cheetor and Blackarachnia basically being as small as they can make those designs without some of the plastic being so thin as to have the durability of a potato chip. The Cybertron toys may seem over-scaled compared to their complexity, but the robustness of the parts in real terms, and not just relative terms, is noteworthy. Missing accessories and planet keys aside, the Cybertron figures that you can find now are generally intact, which I'd largely attribute to their size affording a thickness to their parts.

Plus, they're generally acceptably poseable, and without looking, probably 90% of the molds are new designs without being homages to an existing figure, which is probably the last time that ratio was so high.

Come to think of it, I had several more Cybertron figures than what I currently own (I may have sold some ten+ years ago... not sure why), and now I want them again. :o

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:58 pm

Cybertron was a very chunky line, wasn't it? I do like a fair few of the designs. There's some terrible guff though, Crumplezone, Override, Skywarp, whatever Menasor and Metroplex were supposed to be...

I liked the 'colony' concept of the series, that was a neat, with each planet having its own design style and that. It is probably the last time Transformers felt like proper toys, not the hyper-articulated collector-centric stuff we have now.

Anyway, inspired by Warcry's pictures, I dug out the few Energon toys I have now.

Image

So, yeah the Autobots are a right old mixed bag in this line. Strongarm is great, Towline is more fun than he looks, but is mired with a horrible mix of colours. I don't think I've seen such a poor choice of colours since Machine Wars. Rodimus I really like, but there's no way he's objectively good. He's all massive legs and cluttered arms. He looks very silly. And then, you've got stuff like Landmine, which is a fantastic figure.

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And then the Decepticons, who are all all brilliant. Well, except for Cruellock possibly. He's a bit weak and the auto-morph is rubbish. Scorponok is one of my all time favourite Transformers toys. I love this thing. Three cool modes and the colours...! Great stuff. Divebomb is probably the greatest Scout class toy of all time and Slugslinger is a proper puzzle. So much so, I couldn't get him back to jet mode properly. Yay me. Dreadwing the boat is my latest addition and he's great. Love that he and Sharkticon rocked boat modes and made them look awesome!

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Heinrad » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:06 pm

I'm suddenly afraid to look to hard at my Japanese Beast Wars Ravage. I don't want all of his shiny vac-metal black falling off......

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Denyer » Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:22 am

Yeah, Cybertron was a bit oversized though wouldn't necessarily say double... I've reacquired that Vector Prime and Starscream two pack and might do the same with Armada Wheeljack and Energon Ravage at some point. Seems a bit crazy the only examples of the latter coming out of eBay at the moment are MOC.

Energon Bruticus with the various 3P kits (admittedly replacing virtually the whole damn thing) is a nice piece and remains my preferred version. It's in scale with Quantron too. (Not my photo).

https://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/ ... s.1044691/

Image

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Warcry » Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:17 am

Clay wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:18 pm
To the best of my knowledge, the only transformers that have ever been released by Hasbro without Takara's help are the 6" Titaniums, the marvel and star wars crossovers, and Energon Grimlock and Swoop.

It took a good twenty minutes to find this, mostly because they reference the Japanese name Cheetas instead of Cheetor, but here's an interview from the 2009 Generations book where Takio Ejima mentions designing both the 1996 and 2008 Cheetors:
The reason I asked is because the first-wave BW toys just felt so uncharacteristically...unwieldy, I guess. Enough so that I was wondering if a completely unfamiliar design team had done the whole job, as with the other toys you mentioned above (which were also super clunky). They just don't handle like the product of a company that had been doing it for two decades, but since your article shows that Takara clearly were involved I think we can put that down to a mixture of unfamiliar organic alt-modes and relatively new engineering techniques (ball joints, etc.) that they needed a bit of time to get their heads around.

It's also super interesting to read these interviews with Japanese designers who have been doing basically the same job for 20+ years. It's a huge contrast to the turnover we see at Hasbro, at least with their public-facing folks. But I guess that just underscores the differences in Japanese and Western work culture.
Clay wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:13 pm
I thought I had replied to this a couple of days ago, but there's another dimension you're not considering here: durability. Counter-examples being the current 2021 Cheetor and Blackarachnia basically being as small as they can make those designs without some of the plastic being so thin as to have the durability of a potato chip. The Cybertron toys may seem over-scaled compared to their complexity, but the robustness of the parts in real terms, and not just relative terms, is noteworthy. Missing accessories and planet keys aside, the Cybertron figures that you can find now are generally intact, which I'd largely attribute to their size affording a thickness to their parts.
You're not wrong about the underlined but ironically I think my sister's kids broke all the Cybertron toys I let them take home. :lol:

I do see where you're coming from though, and big toys with simpler engineering are generally studier. The Blackarachnia you mention is absolutely terrifying to handle because everything is too small and delicate, and in fact I'm 99% sure I said "this toy should be 20% bigger" the moment I took it out of the box.

The Cybertron toys look bulletproof by comparison, but I really don't think that justifies the size at all. You could shrink Vector Prime down until he was the size of Hot Shot and he'd still be bulletproof because the design is just that robust. Starscream got shrunk down to a 2-inch LoC figure and the only apparent change is that they took out the elbows that don't even do anything on the Voyager anyway! Hot Shot is simpler than the Basics in Energon, and honestly simpler than most of the Cybertron Scouts appear to be as well. In a lot of cases it really feels like they scaled the toys to how big they wanted the characters to be on the show without thinking too much about packing in extra fun to make the size class feel worth it.

Though maybe it's more that they were just hamstrung a bit by the Cyber Key gimmick. The key ports are huge, they take up a lot of real estate and the internal mechanisms needed to make them do anything takes up even more. Starscream, for example, has a port on his back but the gimmicks it triggers are on his arms. Compare that to a Minicon port, which is usually just a fancy push-button trigger attached to the weapon it fires or deploys. That could just be a case of me just getting a selection of toys that didn't use the gimmick well, but the only one I remember being impressed by was Ratbat. Armada toys give me the same general feeling, but the Armada toys' gimmicks (again, from the ones I've owned) were usually more fun so I'm a lot quicker to forgive when those gimmicks overwhelm the rest of the toy.

(Speaking of Ratbat, have a picture from last summer!)

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Clay wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:13 pm
Plus, they're generally acceptably poseable, and without looking, probably 90% of the molds are new designs without being homages to an existing figure, which is probably the last time that ratio was so high.
That's probably my favourite part of the Unicron Trilogy. Even the toys that were supposed to be references were very flexible about reinventing what they were homaging. You don't even have to look past Optimus to see the creativity on display.
Skyquake87 wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:58 pm
So, yeah the Autobots are a right old mixed bag in this line. Strongarm is great, Towline is more fun than he looks, but is mired with a horrible mix of colours. I don't think I've seen such a poor choice of colours since Machine Wars. Rodimus I really like, but there's no way he's objectively good. He's all massive legs and cluttered arms. He looks very silly. And then, you've got stuff like Landmine, which is a fantastic figure.
I have to admit to loving Energon Rodimus too, even though it is kind of horrible. The truck mode is amazing, and the robot looks great in art, but the actual execution leaves lots to be desired. I'd love for the design to get a do-over with modern engineering but I feel like the chances of that are next to nothing.

Landmine and/or Landquake have always looked super neat to me. Towline is appealing just for the sake of being the only toy that's ever drawn inspiration from the original Ratchet and Ironhide figures.
Skyquake87 wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:58 pm
Scorponok is one of my all time favourite Transformers toys. I love this thing. Three cool modes and the colours...! Great stuff.
I could never afford a Scorponok when he came out. :( I've thought about tracking him down but I've also heard horrible stories about his shoulders exploding. Apparently they fixed that for Dark Scorponok but Dark Scorponok is nowhere near as handsome as the riotous original.
Skyquake87 wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:58 pm
Divebomb is probably the greatest Scout class toy of all time
I could argue that last bit, but I'd rather talk about how much I loved that leg transformation. Folding the wings up into big boots was a genius design choice.
Heinrad wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:06 pm
I'm suddenly afraid to look to hard at my Japanese Beast Wars Ravage. I don't want all of his shiny vac-metal black falling off......
I'd forgotten that you owned that! If his chrome is still in one piece you should take some pictures and show him off.
Denyer wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:22 am
Yeah, Cybertron was a bit oversized though wouldn't necessarily say double... I've reacquired that Vector Prime and Starscream two pack and might do the same with Armada Wheeljack and Energon Ravage at some point. Seems a bit crazy the only examples of the latter coming out of eBay at the moment are MOC.
It might just be a case of people figuring it's not worth selling them, since some of the more common UT figures just aren't worth much. Especially if shipping costs are as high in the UK as they are here. The only loose Battle Ravage I remember stumbling on when I was finding my Command Ravage was being sold for the princely sum of $7...which sounds great until you realize that the shipping is three times what you paid for the toy. Trying to move some of this stuff might look like a losing proposition unless you can do it in bigger lots.
Denyer wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:22 am
Energon Bruticus with the various 3P kits (admittedly replacing virtually the whole damn thing) is a nice piece and remains my preferred version. It's in scale with Quantron too. (Not my photo).
Always thought it was pretty cool that they managed to make toys that looked like Swindle and Blast-Off but also looked like they belonged as part of the Energon line. At the time I thought it was a bit silly to spend so much money and time making Energon Bruticus over into something it was never meant to be, but in retrospect it really is the nicest version of the team that I've seen so far.

I tried to get some more pictures of my favourites from the UT stuff, but I only got one shot in before this happened:

Image

And then it turned out that my epoxy had dried up, so I can't fix it properly right now. Did manage to capture this one beforehand, though.

Image

(I really love Sharkticon.)

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Denyer » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:43 am

Warcry wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:17 am
It might just be a case of people figuring it's not worth selling them, since some of the more common UT figures just aren't worth much. Especially if shipping costs are as high in the UK as they are here. The only loose Battle Ravage I remember stumbling on when I was finding my Command Ravage was being sold for the princely sum of $7...which sounds great until you realize that the shipping is three times what you paid for the toy. Trying to move some of this stuff might look like a losing proposition unless you can do it in bigger lots.
Postage within the UK is still pretty reasonable, and people still list extremely obscure stuff (I haven't sold there in years but eBay's fee structure seems to have switched focus from listing to final value fees, which helps).

I think (as discussed in other threads) that UT has poor line and character recognition compared to other TF series, and that if they do get listed it's more likely to be mixed in with other unlabelled stuff.

Pretty sure that Toy-Fu will have at least a few included in their charity sale stock this summer.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Clay » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:00 pm

Warcry wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:17 am
The reason I asked is because the first-wave BW toys just felt so uncharacteristically...unwieldy, I guess.
Unwieldy is a good word for them. I understand what you mean.

Enough so that I was wondering if a completely unfamiliar design team had done the whole job, as with the other toys you mentioned above (which were also super clunky). They just don't handle like the product of a company that had been doing it for two decades, but since your article shows that Takara clearly were involved I think we can put that down to a mixture of unfamiliar organic alt-modes and relatively new engineering techniques (ball joints, etc.) that they needed a bit of time to get their heads around.
I think it's the same relative difference between the 2007 movie toys and the 2009 movie toys. The first group seem like the designers were struggling with the 'look' while also trying to figure out how to get what part to end up where, whereas by the second series and onward they were pretty much nailing the vibe.
It's also super interesting to read these interviews with Japanese designers who have been doing basically the same job for 20+ years. It's a huge contrast to the turnover we see at Hasbro, at least with their public-facing folks. But I guess that just underscores the differences in Japanese and Western work culture.
Yeah, it's an interesting angle that I hadn't pieced together until a week or so ago when I was chatting with a younger fan wanting to know what the appeal of G1 figures would be. I made the point of looking at the context of the time it was made not unlike how one would view a black and white movie now, and realized even after that the best context to remember that the the guy that designed the G1 Headmaster Autobots is the same guy that designed the ROTF Optimus Prime.

I understand why both Hasbro and Takara don't really note individual designers and use that for external promotion (most of what we know comes from interviews like those in the generations books, I think) as that's not really what transformers are about, but it's a neat context to put things into. Some of these folks have been at this for a long, looong time and have gotten quite good at it.
You're not wrong about the underlined but ironically I think my sister's kids broke all the Cybertron toys I let them take home. :lol:
Broke broke, or broke like parts that are meant to come off and then were subsequently lost?
Though maybe it's more that they were just hamstrung a bit by the Cyber Key gimmick. The key ports are huge, they take up a lot of real estate and the internal mechanisms needed to make them do anything takes up even more.
I hadn't actually thought of that, but you're right. The cyber key gimmicks required quite a bit of 'real estate', and some of the more complicated mechanisms (like the voyager starscream's) would have been more difficult to implement as-is if the figures were smaller.

And yeah, Noisemaze (such a cool name)/Sideways is probably my favorite Cybertron mold. Never had the Ratbat deco, though.
That's probably my favourite part of the Unicron Trilogy. Even the toys that were supposed to be references were very flexible about reinventing what they were homaging. You don't even have to look past Optimus to see the creativity on display.
Yeah, I don't what the long-term implications are for staying so close to 'legacy' designs like they've been doing ever since. For kids, it doesn't really matter since anything current is new to them, but how many times can you sell G1 Red Alert back to people before a chunky Dodge Magnum Robocop looking-fella that shares the name starts to seem like a breath of fresh air?
Warcry wrote:
Heinrad wrote:I'm suddenly afraid to look to hard at my Japanese Beast Wars Ravage. I don't want all of his shiny vac-metal black falling off......
I'd forgotten that you owned that! If his chrome is still in one piece you should take some pictures and show him off.
Mine's doing fine. I had him out a few weeks ago for pictures for that Blackout essay I'm working on. With some exceptions like Rattrap, most the transmetals' chrome seems okay... is the transmetal 2s' that are so prone to flaking.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Heinrad » Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:35 pm

Oh, dear. I'll try to bring Ravage into work at some point and snap some pics. Now my worry is that my MISC TM2 Prowl has shed his metal feathers in the packaging. I'm also kind of afraid to look at my MIBUB TM2 Megatron(while the box hadn't been opened, it did kind of look like it got kicked around when I got it at the store).

It was on sale. Let's hear it for Kay-Bee Toys going under?

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Clay » Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:10 pm

I spent way too long getting this set up.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by ganon578 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:47 pm

I recently went through a major overhaul of my collections, mostly due to space, but also partly due to time to enjoy them. This meant that Transformers were also included, so I forced myself to sort them into 'buckets'. This project was much more difficult than I thought, since it really meant giving up things I have acquired, but it's also had the added effect of not feeling like I need to fill back up that space with new acquisitions. It's also allowed me to look at the figures I still own with more appreciation.

My collection fell into 4 categories:

1) Gifts from family
2) Figures I had as a kid (or updated ones) for nostalgia
3) Awesome figures that I would still like to keep
4) Everything else (i.e. expendable)

The top 3 categories are what I was going to keep. Taking a hard look at what I had, I trimmed my Transformers collection down to about 1/2 to 1/3 of what it was. I have everything on two shelves now (4' x 12") with the exception of CW Trypticon and SS Devastator. Nothing is in boxes or storage anymore. The rest of the collection I have sold off. As difficult as it was, I really enjoy the collection I have. It gives me an easier time to enjoy what's on the shelf, and I've found that I am very picky about my purchases these days.

With this major realignment, I was fiddling with two gems this past weekend: PotP Rodimus Prime and TR Sky Shadow. I'll post some photos of these when I get a chance. Both are chunky and just plain fun. Rodimus is definitely not winning any 'Toy of the Decade' awards, but I took a Saturday trip with my son to a neighboring city to get him, so he holds a special place in my heart. He's fun! Bright(ish) colors, two bots, a space Winnebago mode, a cannon stand mode, and a matrix. Sure, Hot Rod's proportions are a bit off, but that's what SS Hot Rod is for. This one is just easy to pull off the shelf and fiddle with. Sky Shadow is equally great! Boxy, simple to transform, and good articulation. He's a jet, a tank, a jettank, and a city. Add in the cross-play with Headmasters and the little drone ship, and you have a winner!

Either way, the downsizing has brought me a sense of... clarity(?) with my collection.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by zigzagger » Tue May 18, 2021 6:47 am

Beast Machines/Dinobots Magmatron
Magmatron.jpg
Magmatron.jpg (1.33 MiB) Viewed 2894 times

Debated whether this should go in this thread for the sake of continued Beast-era/vintage-y related discussion, or in the New Acquisitions one since this is, well, a new acquisition of mine. But, why am I even stating this since it is pretty dang clear which thread I opted for?

Shut up, don't look at me like that, I just like this thread.

Waited until I spotted one out at a decent-ish price. Mind, you can't hear it, but there's a slight emphasis on the "ish"; I still forked out over 100 bucks for it. Which, to be fair, can be expected when shopping for vintage toys. I think the seller was simply trying of unload their collection, and I got lucky.

Overall, I dig Magmatron. I've wanted this piece for well over a decade to round off my Beast-era collection... thooooough, I do have some quibbles (nope, no buyer's remorse here, no siree).

The good stuff! Some pretty dang impressive sculpting. Oh, and sparkly! This whole time, and I never knew that Magmatron was cast in a metallic, pearlescent plastic. It's so pretty! I was pleasantly surprised.

Earlier in this thread, I categorized Magmatron with the other two Beast Wars combiners--and, finally having him in hand, I've learned that Magmatron is kinda doing his own thing. Not really the same thing, like at all. Being developed exclusively through Takara probably has something to do with that, but Tripredacus and Magnaboss have a more chimera-like, Frankensteined aesthetic. Meaning, it's more obvious that they're made up of individual component parts, and that's entirely the point. Magmatron, however, does not; he's comes together almost seamlessly. Clearly a different design philosophy happening here. The visible dino-parts look more like adornment than kibble belonging to separate component pieces. He's making a fashion statement with his dino-themed fascinator and shawl, and I think it's bloody fantastic!

That codpiece is making a hell of a statement too, but I'll spare you all from discussing it... for now ;) . What I will mention is, holy cow, those thighs! Those legs! Dude did not miss leg day; it's all toned muscle. Kind of weird seeing this level of, erm, definition on a Transformer toy, for sure. And now that I mention it, Magmatron doesn't really look like a Transformer at all! Even by Beast-era standards he's almost too... organic, I want to say...?? The vibe I'm getting, he looks more like a beast/creature that carried over from Kamen Rider or something in the vein, and considering where the design originated from, I can see where that influence might've slipped in from.

As for quibbles: for all the joints Magmatron has, the figure's posability is deceptively limited. I just can't pull off too many dynamic poses with this guy without risking it toppling over. And because his shoulder and upper-thigh joints are so frickin' tight--at least on mine--things have a tendency to disconnect while attempting to make said poses. He can't hold his sword all that well either, which is a shame, as it's a pretty nifty sword! Magmatron certainly has a presence--just look at him--but he's really only able to just kind of stand there.

Secondly, and I knew this coming in, but aside from a few minor gimmicks--like "Landsaur" being able to launch tongue missiles--the separate dinosaur components don't have a whole lot going on, including individual, smaller robots to fiddle around with. The combined Magmatron is clearly the main attraction here, which is great, because I tend to get bored with the individual dinos. I guess what I'm getting at is, while Magmatron looks oh so fabulous and impressive, it's really not something you can just pick up and fidget with while on a Zoom call or whatever. What can I say, Transformers, by design, are meant to be fidgeted with.

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Re: Remembering that our old toys actually exist!

Post by Clay » Sun May 23, 2021 5:18 am

zigzagger wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 6:47 am
Beast Machines/Dinobots Magmatron
Secondly, and I knew this coming in, but aside from a few minor gimmicks--like "Landsaur" being able to launch tongue missiles--the separate dinosaur components don't have a whole lot going on, including individual, smaller robots to fiddle around with. The combined Magmatron is clearly the main attraction here, which is great, because I tend to get bored with the individual dinos. I guess what I'm getting at is, while Magmatron looks oh so fabulous and impressive, it's really not something you can just pick up and fidget with while on a Zoom call or whatever. What can I say, Transformers, by design, are meant to be fidgeted with.
I dunno... when you think of the type of animal Skysaur is, the first play feature you'd think of is flappy-flap, which it can do. Same for Seasaur... the first thing you'd think of is... necky-neck(?), which it can also do... and now that I think of it, Landsaur can do bitey-bite, so he's three for three, really. They've not got a great degree of versatility, but the most basic and foremost features are there.

Funny thing about Magmatron, I think I took mine off the shelf to play around with a couple of years ago, and it was him that gave me the realization that articulation is overrated. I don't mean that in the sense that no attempt at it should be made, but with something like Magmatron, the idea is neat and different enough that it's largely irrelevant to me if his range of motion isn't the most it that it could be.

Anyway, here's BW Metals Jaguar/Ravage. No chrome wear in sight. (This is less of a "look at my toy!" and more of a "look at my pretty, well-lit picture!" post.)

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