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Denyer's review: Transformers Collection 2007

Transformers Collection 2007
(Dengeki Hobby Books / MediaWorks)

Photobooks seem particularly popular in Japan, where living space is at a premium and people might collect them as a necessary substitute rather than because they can't find/afford or don't care to own a complete run of toys. This one is aimed at current lines, is about a centimetre thick, and includes:

- Japanese releases of the movie toys (pages 8-40)
- Kiss Play (pages 44-50)
- Binaltech, Binaltech Asterisk, Alternators and Masterpiece (pages 54-67)
- Miscellaneous: Beast Wars, Music Label, Sports Label, Encore, Hybrid Style, Micron, Tomy Direct items, Revoltech, etc. (pages 76-85)

The book opens with a Dreamwave splash image, brief intro and a page of chronology for 1985-2005 illustrated with leader boxart. I can't read Japanese, but that's not exactly essential.

Movie toys make up the first half of the book, with nicely posed large photos and inset highlights of things like Automorph features. Unfortunately the actual repro isn't as good as it could be -- whilst the borders are fine, reds in the photos are often washed out, dark images seem to have had too strong a contrast adjustment applied, and some images are grainy or have subtle colour bleed... it's probable they've been saved as JPEGs at some point before compilation, rather than lossless quality images being used throughout the publishing process.

The Kiss Play section isn't particularly tasteless, the BT section goes up to 18 (clear Mirage), Alternators up to Rumble and cat Ravage, and Masterpiece up to Skywarp. In all of the sections, comparison pics and occasional wireframe diagrams are used appropriately -- but there are further minor niggles with image resolution and some of the images used don't seem to be print-quality.

After the photos are a few pages adding an interview with someone who seems to be a designer, some wireframe diagrams of THS Convoy and what look to be original retail prices and dates of release for the items chronicled.

The RRP on the back is 2800 yen, currently about thirteen quid or twenty-six dollars. I was quite happy to nab this off eBay (vaguely and somewhat inaccurately described by the seller) for a little under seven quid including delivery. Given the variable quality, I wouldn't suggest paying much more than twenty for it.

If the Classics toys float your boat, it may be worth waiting a year or so and seeing if an updated version gets released to incorporate the upcoming Japanese release of those figures.

Quality: 7 - Well laid out and comprehensive, just some issues with image reproduction. Depends how fussy you are... but this is a photobook, after all.
Durability: 8 - Fairly robust shiny paperback cover, pages are slightly perforated near the inside edge to avoid stressing the binding glue.
Fun: 6 - Fairly average as far as "toy photo porn" goes.
Price: 7 - Worth the price of two or three magazines, certainly.
Overall: 7 - Interesting to leaf through, especially for someone who hasn't paid a great deal of attention to the movie toy line. Easy to keep dust-free.
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