Saturday, 23 February 2013

Review: FansProject Assaulter

I have a love/hate relationship with FansProject (FP). They make incredibly high quality toys, with big chunks of metal, but they also make their not-Transformers stupidly complicated to change from one mode to the other. The not-Insecticons I can just about manage, the trailers take a bit of fiddling about with the pieces before I can get them to fit, but to get not-Springer into all his 3 modes it's instructions every time.

Assaulter is the latest release from FP. Whereas Steelcore, the previous release in the Warbot line, was an all-new character, Assaulter follows the Defender mould and is honestlynotatallbasedonanexisitingHasbrocharacter. In this case, Broadside.

I'd never heard of Broadside before Assaulter was announced - or so I thought. Turns out he's one of the Wreckers and thus I probably had read about him in Transformers comics, but I'd never taken much notice of him. Since I have zero nostalgic tie to him, I can openly declare that his 80s toy was pretty terrible - turning from robot to aircraft carrier to an apparently aircraft carrier-sized plane. Ah, mass-shifting, it lets you get away with anything.

So how does Assaulter fare?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Review: Toyworld Grind Rod

I had 3 favourite Transformer toys when I was little. I don't know why they were my favourites - they certainly weren't my favourite comic or cartoon characters - but I had a special attachment to this trio. The first was Topspin. Yes, the folding in half transformer. As I said, no idea why, but I loved him. The next I don't even know the name of. I do know that he fell apart and I lost all the pieces except the head, part of the body and one arm. I think I took pity on him because of his extreme injuries.

The final one was Rollbar. His transformation was slightly more complicated than Topspin's, but only really involved him going from lying down to standing up. He didn't even have legs, just his car wheels. Maybe it was the pull-back action, I don't know, but he was great. We had many happy years together.

And then my wife and son lost him in the park.

That was the last time I left my wife in charge of anything remotely important.

Thankfully, the Throttlebots aren't particularly loved by anyone else and it was relatively easy (and cheap) to pick up a new one from ebay. Sometimes I even forget, for a brief moment, that he isn't my Rollbar.

Hell, I'm tearing up just thinking about my Rollbar's fate.

It seems I'm not the only one who loved Rollbar, however, as the people at Toyworld have released a not-version of him. They've even given him an amusing name in the hope that everyone else will fall in love with him: Grind Rod.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Opinion: Castle Grayskull 2013 box art vote

Firstly, a quick apology for the lack of updates in 2013. I actually have written a bunch of reviews, but they're all lacking photos since writing can be done anywhere and photo-taking requires having a block of free time at home, which with one thing and another I simply haven't had.

But now onto the entry proper.

Last Novemeber(?) Mattel announced they would be producing a new Castle Grayskull for their Masters of the Universe Classics line. It went up for pre-order, with nothing more in the way of detail available other than a bunch of design sketches. If you ordered at this stage you were entitled to a number of perks, including a lower price, a free poster, and the chance to vote for who you wanted to see on the box art.

Last weekend, at New York Toy Fair, Mattel revealed the prototype Grayskull, put it back on pre-sale for an increased price, and opened up the voting for the box art characters.

There are over 320 characters to choose from and each pre-orderer gets to pick 10 (ideally 5 heroes and 5 villains). I think it's obvious that He-Man and Skeletor are going to romp home with the majority of the votes, and Hordak and She-Ra are very probable too. Also likely are a lot of the '8-back' characters such as Trapjaw and Man-at-Arms.

Looking closely at the list there in addition to the 'obvious' characters there are people that the fans are slightly dubious that Mattel even have the rights for. Julie and Kevin from the movie are on there, for example. Would Mattel be allowed to stick Courteney Cox's face on the box?

So who did I vote for? Well...

1-3. Extendar, Dragstor & Stinkor.
My favourite MOTU characters. I wanted to add Sy-Klone too, but I'd already reached my limit so, sadly, he had to be dropped. I could tell you why these are my favourite characters, but, hey, I can write a whole blog post on its own about that.

4-5. Julie & Kevin.
Yep, I voted to get Tom Paris and Courteney Cox on the box. Why? BECAUSE IT'D BE FUNNY! My assumption is that Mattel don't have the rights to their likeness and their inclusion on the list is because they think they'll never win the vote, but you never know...

6-8. Alcon, Gepple, Meldoc
aka The really annoying scientists from New Adventures who everyone hates...except me. Everyone is really mean about these guys and no one wants to see them made as Classics figures. I never found them that annoying. I didn't love them, but - like Snarf or Srcappy-Doo - I never hated them the way everyone else seems to. Couldn't remember what their names were (other than 'NA Scientists') so I had to resort to Wikipedia. I wanted to vote for Krex as well, but I couldn't find him on the list.

9. Illumina.
As one who frequents on a regular basis, I felt I had to vote for her. She never made any appearance in MOTU-lore beyond the promotional image below.

Um. Yeah, so despite me placing the vote about 10min ago, I can't for the life of me remember who the last one was. I definitely did vote for 10 because the website told me I had to remove one (hence no Sy-Klone) but as to who it was... I know I did consider Smash-Blade He-Man for the Funny (his over-production was partly responsible for killing the 200x He-Man line) and Glimmer because she's pretty (it's the pink hair), but now only Mattel knows for sure.

Overall, yes, I will hold my hands up and say that I just voted for who'd be funniest. In part because being funny is its own reward, and in part to counter what will likely be a landslide victory for the big guns.

The list in full...