Like most kids my age, I grew up reading the delightful Thomas the Tank Engine books by the Rev W V Awdry, and watching the accompanying television series narrated by Ringo Starr about the adventures of the scampish train Thomas and all his friends.
Thomas would have adventures where he had to deliver some cargo, or had to deal with a nasty carriage. But there was always that niggling thought – what if Thomas the Tank Engine had not been developed in rural England? What if it had been created in Japan, and Thomas, Percy and James merged at the end of each episode to form an unstoppable robot engine of destruction to crush their enemies?
Enter SUPER ROBOT TRANSFORMABLE TOMAS › Continue reading
The Universe line is pretty brill,
Each new release gives me a thrill.
Now sit back and have a great time,
As I review these figures in the medium of rhyme.
“Arise Galvatron!” The dark god Unicron cried,
Had had he seen this he may well have sighed.
A purple, fragile work of art,
Touch him and he’ll fall apart.
I’m starting with a controversial title, and I’ll continue it here. Armada has been one of the most unfairly maligned Transformer lines in recent years. It came after the Robots In Disguise line, that was low on gimmicks but big on realism and posability. Armada meanwhile was the opposite and was low on realism and posability but high on the fun factor. And fans hated it.
Yet kids loved it. Huh, toys being made for kids, go figure.
Of course, I’m an adult (or I like to think so) and yet these guys line my shelves. I personally think Armada was one of the most solid Transformer lines to date, really exciting, vibrant and fun. And so I’m going to pick out some of my favourites and hopefully pressure you into thinking the same!
I’ll admit it. Hot Shot is probably the worst of the Armada line easily. He is very flat, his arms are truly atrocious and can only flap up and down weakly, and he is forever staring upwards with a pained, agonizing look on his face › Continue reading
Quite a few people have asked me to write about Actionmasters and make fun of them. They’re an easy target – Transformer who don’t transform! What hilarity could come from this?
Of course, there is only one problem there – I think they’re fantastic.
Okay, so they don’t transform. But they’re not supposed to. You don’t criticise GI Joe toys for not having holograms in their chests, do you? In 1990 Hasbro rolled out a new line of figures to try to reinvigorate the ailing Transformers line. They were the Actionmasters.. The idea was to make cartoon / comic accurate toys (because seriously the original Transformers were brick statues that sometimes looked a bit like they did in the cartoons) who were cheap and easy to collect.
For the price of a really expensive original, you could get a pile of characters like Grimlock, Blaster, Shockwave, and even some new ones too. They even came with transforming weapons / backpacks that were all interchangeable, and there were transforming vehicles. They weren’t supposed to be transforming, they were supposed to be fun, collectable and playable, and they did all that and more!
Sadly the line died in America. But in the UK Transformers never went away and so we got a lot more releases including more waves of Actionmasters, some strange Japanese repaints and other unique molds. Today though I’m going to talk about one of the most awesome Actionmasters – Actionmaster Thundercracker.
Actionmaster Thundercracker is so bizarre it isn’t true. Most of the Actionmasters were attempts to replicate the original cartoon models, but instead of just slapping some blue paint on the Starscream mold, Hasbro seemed to sit down and take some incredible drugs. › Continue reading
We’ve already seen Supernaturals, but what was that other great toyline of the 80’s that needed holograms in order to make them playable? Well, unless you’re blind, you’ll know I’m talking about Visionaries!
There is no doubting that Visionaries toys rocked like Elvis meeting Boulder Hill. Approximately the same scale as GI Joes (not that I had any of those… American Heroes my ass) they weren’t little bricks, but instead had moving knees, elbows, legs, waists and heads. And more importantly their helmets came off and the accessories could get lost easily › Continue reading
As the title indicates, this article is a chance to see items of mine that aren’t Transformers. Actually, that’s a little bit misleading, since most things aren’t Transformers. I could easily fill this page up with pictures of sticks and frogs and say “That’s not a Transformer.” But that would be stupid.
Despite the lure of doing something as stupid as that, I decided to do something sensible. And so I abused my new digital camera that I borrowed for the weekend, running down it’s batteries and reducing it to a pile of smouldering plastic. Still, it was worth it.
Searching about in my attic (Which was insanely hot by the way) I found a lot of transforming things that were not Transformers, be they fakes or just “new original concepts, not at all jumping on the bandwagon.” A lot of these guys were just interesting, so I thought it’d be good to display them. Plus I’ve not seen them anywhere else on the net.
Case 1 – Lion Man
The only thing I know about this toy is that it came from a supermarket, probably ASDA, after a bout of moaning › Continue reading
Like a moth to a flame, I am constantly burnt on the searing, deadly heat of Poundland. Thankfully everything there costs exactly a pound (except for the things that don’t) so I won’t be sacrificing my wallet on the altar of poverty just yet.
I am however addicted to buying hilariously awful knockoff toys. Most of them go straight in the bin after a few minutes of curious fiddling since they break so easily, but its a nice, inexpensive way to broaden your toy-collecting horizons (to include even more plastic crap).
Anyway I have no willpower, so the last time I was near a cheap shop, I wandered in there to see what I could find. Sometimes they have end-of-line quality official goods. But not this time. This time they had more awful knock-off tat!
So lets see what the latest the bargain bins of the UK can offer…
As a kid, I loved Getaway. He had a cool transformation, looked sleek and unique, was a racecar, and a Powermaster. You name it, he had it. So I was rather excited to get this cheap knockoff to relive past victories.
Unfortunately Getaway is probably the worst knockoff I’ve seen › Continue reading
One of the innate mysteries of the universe is not “where is Atlantis” “What is inside a black hole” or “How come all those kids spent all that money on Pokemon cards”. No, it is “Why oh why do grown men spend all their money on toys!”
I don’t know the answer to that, I buy Collectable Action Figures.
The glut of Star Trek figures is one which reached Star Wars proportions. Not happy with a figure of each principle character, the company behind the toys, Playmates, decided that every time a character on screen wore a different item of clothing, that clothing must be represented in plastic form. Tiny, misshapen plastic form. And so I give you the greatest Star Trek figures known to man!
1 – Talosian
Who is the greatest Star Trek villain? Is it Kang the Klingon? Um, Rob the Romulan? Spot the Cat? No, it is the guy with the big head from the original pilot episode The Cage › Continue reading
Skeletor is returning! Cower mortals for from the bizarre techno-fantasy world of Eternia, the comedy Lord of Darkness is packing his lunchbox to bring terror upon the world once more.
Yes, Mattel have decided to launch a new Masters of the Universe line, but one for adult collectors rather than children (and really, what business do children have near toys anyway?). They’re starting with the classics, namely He-Man, Skeletor, and uh, Beast Man and Stratos. Also you can only buy them from their online store at the moment, which honestly doesn’t seem like a winning formula, but then I’m not in the toy business.
So Skeletor is back with a look that’s so old its new. But then again he’s always been keeping up with fashion trends. Lets take a look at Skeletor through the ages and see how the King of Evil was also the King of Cool!
1982 – Original Skeletor
Now, I’ve already received criticism for slamming some of the line’s simpler figures elsewhere on my site, but hear me out. I talk not just with my own voice, but with the voice of the 5 year old little Matty Boy advising me. And whilst I loved the character of Skeletor, the original toy usually stayed in the toy box › Continue reading
There are dark, fiendish creatures which lurk in the annals of Transformer history, forever at the edge of your vision, leaping in and out of sight like little pixies, or tax return forms. They look innocent enough, sure. But once you get under their shell… [shudder]
The original 2 years or so of Transformers were taken straight from Japan. Realistic vehicle modes were built, often using quality die-cast metal. But by the time of the dreaded Throttlebots it was mostly American ingenuity creating these things. Like the above cars – look at the Landrover and it’s lying windscreen – it has no glass, just stickers of a scene. Unlike the other one. Why should the Landrover get special treatment, I don’t know. Perhaps everyone thought he was tough-ass Brawn instead of wussy Rollbar?
But today I shall focus my irrational hatred at the guy on the left – Mr so-called Chase. At first, he looks perfectly innocent – but NO. Look… closer:
PROFILE OF A MORON
It’s Chase, the Throttlebot. The guy with no legs and no arms. He’s just a body › Continue reading