Thursday, August 25, 2016

Third Time's The Charm: Rebuilding My Microman Collection. (Microman Micronauts)

About four years ago I decided I was going to try to collect Microman toys again. I built and sold two collections by this point, and since a few years had past I was kinda missing having the little guys around. Sure, I kept a few bits each time I sold a collection off, but I'm a toy addict, a "few" of anything isn't going to do it for me. And this time around I felt I needed to really go after a few of the items that I really wanted but just never got a chance to own. I cam up with a loose list of things I wanted, and then left things open for any additional items that came about.
Microman タカラ ミクロマン Rolling Thunder Japan Takara vintage robots Interchangeables CosmoBot
Much to my surprise I was able to check something off the list almost immediately. Now before I go further, I have to remind folks that I am a notoriously low price buyer. A bargain hunter. Cheapskate if you want. So while I can probably find almost any item on any of my want lists within weeks, I would likely not pay the asking price on 97% of the pieces. I had just started up watching Ebay again and saw a Inter-Changeables Cosmobot got for $170. This being a toy on my list I was a bit shocked at that price. Researching it a bit I could see that another (in used/incomplete condition) had sold just a bit higher, and even loose parts were selling at fairly high prices. I wouldn't say I had too much time to dwell on it before a listing for a MIB unused Cosomobot out of Canada showed up. Knowing that 2 had sold in the past 6 weeks I wasn't expecting the final price to be $60. Add in just another $17 for shipping and I felt that I got a hell of a deal.

I would end up getting some carded Inter-Changeables figures and a few loose Mego Micronauts I had wanted before moving on to Microman. This is where I really wanted to head, because the bulk of what I had sold before was Microman toys.
Microman タカラ ミクロマン Walther Uncle Cassettes Browning Micro Change series Japan Takara vintage robots Micronauts
If I listed all the prices I paid for some of my Microman stuff from the 90's, I think some collectors would absolutely shit themselves. But those days are gone, replaced by...well...they've been replaced, let's just leave it there. I think my main goal right off the bat wasn't vintage, or Takara re-issues. I wanted to get back all the Microman 21 toys. These hold special meaning to me, but I'll delve into that some other time.
Microman 21 ミクロマン Romandoh reissues Micro Change series Saram vintage robots Micronauts
Microman 21 ミクロマン Romandoh reissues Micro Change series Saram vintage robots MicronautsMicroman 21 ミクロマン Romandoh reissues Stealth vintage robots Micronauts
Some of the Microman 21 items I was purchasing for the 3rd time. However,I was getting them at the lowest price I had ever paid, so the foolish feeling of buying something I had sold before was diminished a great deal. And the M21 stuff is just really cool, so having it back on my desk to play with was awesome. I still need a few pieces, but I'll get them. Except maybe the talking Command Watch I had, I don't see that very often.
Microman タカラ ミクロマン Rolling Thunder Japan Takara vintage robots
I did do some vintage shopping as well. The 2 big items I had always wanted but never owned were the Rescue Base and Rolling Thunder vehicle. I picked up Rescue Base at a great deal, and a loose incomplete Rolling Thunder at an even better deal. Sadly, what made it incomplete was that it was missing it's magnets. Those magnets are incredibly important for this toy. Luckily I had some space Micro parts that another collector needed and he had the magnets I needed for this set! Not a month or so later I found a can't pass up deal on a boxed Rolling Thunder. Crazy. While I continue to look for items on my list, at prices I wish to pay, there are things I'm going to stop collecting.
タカラ ミクロマン クラブ 70's action figures Japanese Robots Microman Micronautsタカラ ミクロマン 森藤よしひろ 70's action figures Japanese Robots Microman Micronauts
Henshin Cyborg 1999 70's action figures Japanese Robots Microman Micronauts タカラ ミクロマン
I don't think I'm going to continue to search out/collect vintage media for Microman, or related toys. Competition is tough, and as each year passes the prices just get higher. With some folks on the net posting similar stuff as I, it dawns on me that we may be competing for the same stuff at auction. It's just counter-productive. If I'm the one to do it, or someone else, it's getting out there and that's the important thing. Well, okay, I can't deny that when people do it in a half-assed way it does bug me, that's my problem. Anyhow, with new toys possibly on the horizon I may need extra funds to keep up. Maybe. I need to be shown it's worth my time and money first.
Hasbro Micronauts hasbrotoyshop damaged item bad service
Because if I'm not going to buy the new releases coming out, my vintage checklist is getting checked off, and I'm abandoning old media, then I suppose I could focus on the impossible.
So seriously, how much would it cost to have TakaraTomy make me some GanguStars exclusive Micros? :)



1984 70's action figures Japanese Robots Microman Micronauts タカラ ミクロマン 森藤よしひろ

Monday, August 22, 2016

That Point Where The Reality Of Your Life Meets Your Titans Return Wantlist. (Transformers)

Earlier this week I wrote about how much I like this latest series of Transformers, Titans Return. And then a bit about it's Japanese TakaraTomy counter-part, Transformers Legends. Looking at the product listings and the promo pics has been getting me excited for a few weeks now. But it's only now after posting about it that I have to really start to let reality set in and come to grips with the idea that I'm not going to be able to get some..probably most of this stuff.

My toy/hobby budget is insanely restricted. And with an heavy interest in the Fisher-Price Imaginext line, and a continued strong interest in Robolinks there's not much space left over for high priced Transformers items. Especially when you see price tags of $50 to $150! This is where I've found myself for about the last 8 years, picking apart toy lines and making hard and pretty concrete choices on what to buy and what to skip.
Transformers Titans Return Titan Masters Hasbro Takara トランスフォーマーレジェンズ ハードヘッド ハイブロウTransformers Titans Return Titan Masters Hasbro Chromedome Weirdwolf Apeface Takara トランスフォーマーレジェンズ ウィアードウルフ クロームドーム
For most toy lines, like say G.I.Joe, if I like the item I see on the peg I'll buy it. If I don't like it, there's no secondary option to think over. For Transformers there's always the Takara option.  And with Titans Return that adds a lot of extra options. Most of them expensive, but so cool and tempting. I've even thought about getting some of what I wanted ad selling off the included bits I don't care about. But who wants to buy headless TF bodies second hand? Maybe I could find a buyer, but I'd not make much back, and likely not enough to allow me to make the purchase in the first place.
Transformers Titans Return Titan Masters Hasbro Weirdwolf Apeface Takara トランスフォーマーレジェンズ ウィアードウルフ e-HOBBY コンボバット エイプXアームズ
Some of the color variation options will be easy to narrow down. Just how many of each mold do you really need before enough is too much? And especially when you are not only taking into account retail releases on two continents, but also special limited editions and exclusives. As much as I love the look of the E-Hobby ConvoBat release, $90+ is a lot of regular Hasbro released items I could buy. But dammit that little Ape x Arms is cool looking.
Transformers Titans Return Soundwave Blaster Twincast トランスフォーマーレジェンズ サウンドウェーブ Hasbro Takara
I've started making a list already. I've already chosen to drop the Hasbro version of Blaster and add the Hasbro Soundwave to my list. What needs to be decided on next is if I'm willing to pay an upgrade for the superior looking Legends Soundwave. Or does the Legends Broadcast with it's properly colored Twincast Headmaster bump both Soundwaves from my list?




1984 action figures hasbro robots Takara 2017 Transformers タカラ トランスフォーマー

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Still Some Surprises For Imaginext In 2016! Watch Yourself On The Streets Of Gotham!! (Imaginext)

Earlier today I was reading another toy collecting forum where collectors were unhappy that the company that produces the toy they buy was not updating them both quick enough and with a level of consistency to what was coming soon. I couldn't help but think to myself that they should just sit back and enjoy the surprise. I feel collectors need to let go, slide back into a state where you were a kid walking into a toy store and seeing new things on the shelves for the first time. It's a fascinating experience, even as an adult. I know we all get wrapped up in the media frenzy of new release info, but we can't let it consume us, or even control us. Some things are out of our hands. If new toy info comes out months, weeks even days ahead of the toy's release, then awesome. If it doesn't, well...that's not a terrible thing.

This past February/March Imaginext collectors were shocked and very pleasantly surprised to find Batgirl (and a new sculpt Flash) being released. Within a 2 week period the first image was shown on Kmart order page and the toy appeared at a Kohl's store. Many fans didn't even see the Kmart listing and only discovered the toy by shopping at Kohl's. Batgirl being maybe one of the top 5 characters most often requested was an amazing surprise. Five months later and people are still talking about the figure, many still looking for her. It's small periods of true excitement that keeps things so fresh and fun within Imaginext collecting. And Fisher-Price has done it again here in the closing end of 2016.

About 2-3 weeks ago someone posted a photo of some new basic figure packs they had found at a Walmart store. Two of these were previously seen as exclusives at other store, and two were new original re-colors. This was the first reported sightings of a new subset of the Imaginext DC Super Friends toy line, the Streets of Gotham!
Streets of Gotham Catwoman Joker Harley Quinn Walmart Batman Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Comics Super Friends アメコミ バットマン
These have been found only at Walmart stores so far. There's nothing on the package to indicate whether or not they will be exclusive to the store or available elsewhere/overseas. The line is made of of  8 sets, 7 of which are shown above (Cyborg not pictured). The general theme here is a mash up of Batman, Death Race with a little Mad Max for flavor. It's pretty crazy original for a series of Imaginext DC toys. The toy have been filtering into Walmart stores as they do their Fall resets. And sadly it's been slow going. I've only been able to find a few of the toys so far, and passed on the 2 re-packaged exclusives (Robin ATV & Joker Cycle).

Catwoman & Cycle
Streets of Gotham Catwoman & Cycle Walmart Batman Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Comics Super Friends アメコミ バットマン
This is a new re-color of the immensely popular basic Catwoman figure. At first glance of the internet posting of this toy it looked like just a black outfitted Catwoman without sleeves and a purple colored panther bike. A lot of folks were considering this an easy pass. In store (and later in this post) you'll see that's not the case, so I quickly grabbed one.

Cyborg & Saw Buggy
Streets of Gotham Cyborg & Saw Buggy Walmart Batman Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Comics Super Friends アメコミ バットマン
I like to think I'm familiar with most recent Imaginext releases, but the base of this vehicle has me at a loss. It may be newly designed for this line, but it feels more like a design that was rejected or recycled from a canceled theme (like the vehicles released with Robin and Joker). The vehicle does fit Cyborg quite well though. The vehicle features pop out saw arms, and a saw disk catapult. This is a basic size vehicle, so expect to find it for about $13-$15.

Two-Face & SUV
Streets of Gotham Two-Face & SUV Walmart Batman Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Comics Super Friends アメコミ バットマン
Aside from the Joker & Harley Battle Vehicle this is the toy I wanted most. This thing absolutely captures Two-Face's personality. If these toy were in fact designed for another purpose, then that's just all the more amazing. This basic sized toy features a shooting Immobilizer Claw, room for a figure in the drivers seat as well as in the rear gunners area, and has a great two tone color scheme that you have to have on anything related to Mr. Harvey Dent.
Streets of Gotham Catwoman & Cycle Walmart Batman Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Comics Super Friends アメコミ バットマンStreets of Gotham Two-Face & SUV Walmart Batman Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Comics Super Friends アメコミ バットマン
As I mentioned before, the Catwoman figure is more than just a sleeveless variant. Her outfit is actually brownish-grey, not black! Plus she kinda looks like a badass without the sleeves. The Two-Face is created from the same mold as the new blind bag Two-face, but sports a unique color design for this release.

I'll keep checking back at Walmart stores int he area, because I really really want the Joker/Harley set, the Batman & ATV as well as the Gotham City Tower. Very cool surprise line up, and super excited to find toys just show up unannounced. Just like when I was 6.




batman action figures Fisher-Price imaginext dc comics super heroes アメコミ バットマン

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Transformers Story Of Legends, Titans, Mini's & Micro's. Mainly Legends. (Transformers)

Continuing on from where I left off in my last post, and actually updating a previous statement on the search for Titans Returns toys. I can now say I have finally found and bought wave 1 of the Titan Masters toys. Ran into a Target after work and able to pick up Nightbeat, Loudmouth and Crashbash. The other Target in my city happened to have the last and maybe IMHO best toy in the assortment, Horri-Bull. So my collection has officially started.

After writing my previous post I got to thinking about what it was about this series that really stuck with me. It's certainly not the first Transformers series to feature smaller bots, or even the Headmasters theme (obviously). When I think back to a toy line like Micromasters, I remember that I thought of them more of a Micro Machines knock-off, which they were in a sense. I had a few Micro Machines, my brothers tons more, and I really liked them. When Hasbro began to slid into a dark era of playing catch up/idea piggybacking/creative bankruptcy in the late 80's I was still a Transformers fan. But when Micromasters hit it just didn't do anything for me. I didn't like them at all. In time, and as an adult collector I have grown to appreciate and really love the Micromasters toys. Not so for the other big sub-series of micro Transformers.

Mini-Cons, in their original form from the Unicron Trilogy era left me looking for more. More fun toys, more fun concept, just more what what I found these toys to be lacking. It's not for lack of trying them out. I have bought quite a few toys from this era of Transformers, most were sold off, a few given away. Sitting here, I'm hard pressed to think of any others I've kept outside of the TFU Whirl set. That toy being a Transformers Rotorstorm re-color that just happened to include 2 Mini-Cons. I had friends who loved the Mini-Con range, but it just never held my interest. At this point, which is about 5 years longer than it took me to warm up to the Micromasters, I still don't think very much of the Mini-Con concept. But in what may be surprising given the similarities involved with all the smaller Transformers toys, Titans Return has a hold of me at go!
Transformers Titans Return Blurr Shockwave Hasbro Takara トランスフォーマーレジェンズ ショックウェーブ ブラー
I'm seriously contemplating how far in this hole I'm willing to go. The prices of the Hasbro Titans Return toys are split, and I can see me picking up quite a few of the Masters and DX sized toys. Anything Leader Class and higher is going to need some real consideration. So when it comes to TakaraTomy's Transformers Legends line I get a bit worried. I love their version of Blurr, which I think outshines the Hasbro one. But the TT Shockwave, a slight reworking of the Hasbro Combiner Wars Shockwave doesn't quite do it for me. But...he comes with a uniquely colored Titan Master figure! Dammit! With the TakaraTomy figures coming in at up to 3 times the cost of similar Hasbro versions I just don't know right now if I can do it, can I really buy any of them?
Transformers Titans Return DX Hardhead ChromeDome トランスフォーマーレジェンズ ハードヘッド クロームドーム ハイブロウ ブレインストーム Hasbro Takara Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe Weirdwolf トランスフォーマーレジェンズ スカル ウィアードウルフ ワイプ Hasbro Takara
TakaraTomy will be selling the various DX sized toys I can buy for $15 with the usual added paint apps and highlights Japan normally sees. But as you can see by the circle highlights, these toys will each include a bonus Titan Master vehicle which will double as a Target Master weapon for the figures! And of course...the Titan Master vehicle will feature an exclusive color design to match the toy it comes with. Grrr.
Transformers Titans Return DX Hardhead ChromeDome トランスフォーマーレジェンズ ハードヘッド クロームドーム ハイブロウ ブレインストーム Hasbro Takara Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe Weirdwolf トランスフォーマーレジェンズ スカル ウィアードウルフ ワイプ Hasbro Takara
This is where I begin to move into a dangerous realm of collecting. I really like the looks of these toys. I couldn't give a damn about the changes made to the DX sized toys  these come with, I only want the smaller add-n Titan master vehicles. But how can I justify paying $45-$60 each for such a small part of the toy. Even if I tried to resell the main figure I'd likely be out a good chunk of cash. And these are just the basic level toys. What about anything larger? And of course pricier!
Transformers Titans Return Soundwave トランスフォーマーレジェンズ サウンドウェーブ Hasbro Takara Transformers Titans Return Soundwave トランスフォーマーレジェンズ サウンドウェーブ Hasbro Takara
I mentioned in my last post that I may have to choose the best option when it comes to toys sharing a mold/design. So in the case of Blaster and Soundwave, I'm already heavily leaning toward Soundwave, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I also favor the TakaraTomy versions over Hasbro's. To have the TakaraTomy version shipped to me in the States I'd be looking at over double the cost of the Hasbro Soundwave. With that being the case I could have both Soundwave and Blaster for the cost of importing just Soundwave. This is the kind of thing I feel I need a structured plan for. If I don't take time to think it out, I could easily blow a lot of money impulsively.

More on all of this Legends talk later.



1984 action figures hasbro robots Takara 2017 Transformers タカラ トランスフォーマー

Monday, August 15, 2016

Transformers go from "Horrible" to "Terrible" in 2016!

I have not been a big fan of all things Transformers in the past 10-15 years. I wouldn't even think to call myself a casual fan of the product Hasbro has put out. I can maybe fit the amount of Hasbro Transformers items I've picked up since the debut of Transformers Armada into a pretty easily carried box. Looking around I see that my biggest investment in Hasbro Transformers toys has been in their Kre-O releases. Which I suppose is because of my love of LEGO and the fact that Kre-O is a knock off/copycat of it. So the release of a Transformers retail toy line coming out in 2016 that has me quite excited is a bit of a shock. But so far I'm keeping my head level about it.

I picked up just one toy from the Transformers Combiner Wars series. Sure there were a few others I kind of wanted, but costs just kinda kept me from pulling the trigger on them. When word of the follow up to CW, Titans Return, was going to revolve around Headmasters I wasn't pretty ho-hum about just another recycled concept from the 80's. Boring. And yes, it is in fact centered around Headmasters, and yes it is just a recycled concept from the 80's, and...ok it does involve mainly recreations of toys from the 80's, but it's also kind of different. This series of toys could easily be a line of piloted mecha had Hasbro released them outside of the Transformers umbrella. The toys feature the Headmasters robots, and they can ride in the main robot's cockpits and such like the vintage toys, but now Hasbro has added on smaller vehicles, bases and really amped up the play value of the Headmasters concept. The smaller robots technically don't even have to transform into heads to be useful any more. For someone like me who loved toys like Air Raiders, Starcom, and M.A.S.K. where small figures ere just part of a much larger play environment, Titans Return is a very welcome addition to the Transformers brand.
Transformers Titans Return Master Nightbeat wave 1 Horri Bull terri Bull Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボットTransformers Titans Return Master Siren Loudmouth wave 1 Crashbash Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット
Transformers Titans Return Master Nightbeat wave 1 Horri Bull terri Bull Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボットTransformers Titans Return Master Siren Loudmouth wave 1 Crashbash Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット
The smallest assortment of releases, the Titan Masters are probably the biggest lure for me in the Titans Return series. They has a good bit of play value, they're super cute, and they are some of the cheapest Transformers we've had in a era where toys can price out at $100+ at retail easily. These little $5-$6 packs come with 1 Headmaster head/Robo and a small vehicle/animal for the robot to ride. Most of the names are off, but you should know these guys if you grew up in the original Headmasters toys. Nightbat is the same, and Terri-Bull is just a slightly alter Horri-Bull. There's some hope among fans of certain characters that these guys will get proper bodies later on down the road, but I kind of like them as they are here. And as much as I like this wave, it's the 2nd wave that has me super excited.
Transformers Titans Return Master Apeface wave 2 Clobber Grimlock Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボットTransformers Titans Return Master Brawn wave 2 Skytread Flywheels Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット
Transformers Titans Return Master Apeface wave 2 Clobber Grimlock Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット
 The crazy thing about this wave is that only one of these guys was originally a Headmaster toy. Apeface was one of my favorite Headmasters, and just one of my favorite Transformers as a kid. I never liked his ape mode, but the jet mode was fantastic. SO it's funny that while I like this new Titan Mater jet mode, it's the ape mode that has me hooked. The other 3 Masters in this wave feature Headmaster likenesses of Brawn, Grimlock and the DuoCon Flywheels. A pretty eclectic mix for Headmaster status.

These smaller Titan Master's is definitely where I'd like to start with this new line, but I have not had much luck in finding them. I even tried Hasbro Toy Shop who are of course sold out. I know they will hit en mass due to the coming holiday season, so I just need to be patient. But with allocation and distribution being such an issue for years, I need to jump on them as soon as I see them because too many times I have passed and never seen an item again in stores.

Where I'll stop collecting the Titans Return series is still up in the air. Just these smaller Masters, or maybe DX or two? The Leader class? I doubt Fort Max will fit in my budget. Some of these larger toys really are quite cool looking, and a few are almost must haves.
Transformers Titans Return HeadMaster DX Skullsmasher Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボットTransformers Titans Return HeadMaster DX Highbrow Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット
Sullsmasher (Skullcruncher) and Highbrow are two of the DX sized toys I think I'd like to pick up. I never had Skullcruncher as a kid, and this looks like a cool re-make. Highbrow was a toy I loved and this new version looks to represent the vintage one pretty well. The DX level is about as far as I've gone in the past few years. In Titans Return there's a Leader Class toy I don't know if I can pass up. I guess there's maybe two actually.
Transformers Titans Return HeadMaster Leader Class Blaster Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボットTransformers Titans Return HeadMaster Leader Class Soundwave Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット
I love Soundwave and Blaster, two classic characters that I doubt I would ever get sick off. Just as robots these two toys could be great fun. But....each has a third base mode for use with the Headmaster robots! Amazing addition to the series that brings in added use of the other toys in the series. Do I need both seeing as they are essentially the same mold? No, but we'll see what happens. There's another whole issue on my mind concerning these two that I will get into later in another post. For now there's just one more thing to talk about...

Fortress Maximus!
Transformers Titans Return HeadMaster Fortress Maximus SDCC not cheap Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボットTransformers Titans Return HeadMaster Fortress Maximus SDCC not cheap Hasbro Japanese Robots Takara トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット
This is just probably not going to happen. As much as I like this thing, I don;t have the cash for it, and I certainly don't have the space. And then there's also the issue of which version would I buy? I like the SDCC one but it tacks on another chunk of cash I already don't have for the regular one. This is a toy best left for future garage sale finds as it stands now. Much cooler than the Metroplex base toy it's derived from, but just too far out of the budget restraints I have.




action figures hasbro Japanese Robots Takara Transformers トランスフォーマー タカラ トミー ローボット