Saturday, September 17, 2016

One Less Tool Of The Trade: Goodbye To My First Digital Camera!

This is a bit of an indulgence, so please bear with me. It's not really toy related, but not exactly unrelated to toys. My first digital camera stopped working this week. It's been acting up for a few months now, but took it's last few photos and closed it's lens for good a few days ago. I've had this camera for 16 years, and it's seen two other cameras die before it was his time. This camera had been all around the U.S. with me, even relocating to California for a time. It traveled to Canada with me, and to Japan a few times. It took thousands of photos for me and until this year never failed me once.
When I bought this Sony Cyber-shot camera I was the first among my friends and family to have one. It took pretty powerful pics, with it's amazing "2.1. Mega Pixels" of resolution. And no kidding aside, still took great Macro pics even as little as two weeks ago. The camera has been a real work horse, and quite versatile even though cameras on the market now completely dwarf it in the specs area. Being something I've used possibly 3 or 4 days of each week for the past 16 years I figured a little write-up and picture posting was the least I could do.
ボットコンジャパン BotCon lucky draw Beast Wars Transformers  ビーストウォーズ コンボイ キャンペーン トランスフォーマー リジ
 I've owned 4 different digital cameras, and this Sony really even puts my Canon DSLR to shame when it comes to Macro. This Sony could even accept lens attachments for various effects like a fish-eye or wide angle. There were several manual operations built n that later DSLR's would all incorporate but most point and shoot models lack. As I was looking for old pics I also took a second to look this camera up again, because I'm seriously thinking about buying another. Even though it's 16 years old, it's just that reliable and efficient for my needs.
Diaclone ミクロマン 変身サイボーグ 合体戦士ブロックマン アーマー マシンロボ 600シリーズ 新幹線 トランスフォーマー ウルトラマグナス G.I.ジョー Microman Gobots
I'll be posting full sized pics on Facebook & Twitter and adding in short snippets about them and when they were taken.



G.I.Joe Transformers Sony DSC camera トランスフォーマー Microman BotCon マシンロボ Gobots

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Transformers Titans Return Astrotrain & Alpha Trion Join My Collection!

Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion トランスフォーマー アルファトライオン タイタンズリターン Hasbro Takara
My small, but very loved collection of Transformers Titan's Return toys grew just a little yesterday when I found Astrotrain and Alpha Trion at a Meijer store. Both these toys were original set to "wait and see" because I wasn't sure about picking them up. I have a finite budget for toys, so I have been trying to decide the better direction for each Titans Return/TF Legends figure to go in.

Titans Return Astrotrain
Transformers Titans Return Astrotrain トランスフォーマー アストロトレイン タイタンズリターン Hasbro Takara
Transformers Titans Return Astrotrain トランスフォーマー アストロトレイン タイタンズリターン Hasbro TakaraTransformers Titans Return Astrotrain トランスフォーマー アストロトレイン タイタンズリターン Hasbro Takara
Until TakaraTomy showed their Astrotrain I didn't know if the Hasbro one would be better or not. And "better" is a matter of choice and will differ greatly. I like the look of Hasbro's which goes in the direction of the G1 toy. And with no known alterations or added accessories to the TakaraTomy one, it was a simple choice. Got $5 off the cost with a coupon as well.

The robot mode is great. The vehicle modes are kinda meh, but I'm in my 40's, let's not kid ourselves and say I'm doing anything more than standing him on a shelf or desktop. Love the head sculpt, and the Titan Master overall. The Darkmoon name needs some work, but I can deal with it. Will be nice too see if a Blitzwing does materialize to pair up with this Astrotrain.

Titans Return Alpha Trion
Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion トランスフォーマー アルファトライオン タイタンズリターン Hasbro Takara
Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion トランスフォーマー アルファトライオン タイタンズリターン Hasbro TakaraTransformers Titans Return Alpha Trion トランスフォーマー アルファトライオン タイタンズリターン Hasbro Takara
This toy I wasn't sure of in any form be it Hasbro or Japanese import. In hand at the store it won me over enough to buy it. Once open it won me over completely...or almost completely. It's still a has a very Beast Wars vibe to it. Maybe more Beast Wars Second. But it's Alpha Trion and I've never actually owned any incarnation of the character, not even the cheap SCF figure.

The Titan Master head likeness is amazing.The robot mode of the Master is cool, but like Astrotrain's Darkmoon, the name Autobot Sovereign doesn't do much for me. But man is the sword accessory an awesome addition. Love the clear plastic use here. Overall, in the same vain as Astrotrain the Alpha Trion robot mode if the best looking one. Although if I had to pick, I might say Alpha Trion's Wolf/Lion mode may be the best of the 4 alt mode options between the 2 toys.
Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion トランスフォーマー アルファトライオン タイタンズリターン Hasbro Takara



Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion トランスフォーマー アルファトライオン タイタンズリターン Hasbro Takara

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Where Am I Going To Put All This? (Machine Robo Gobots Kre-O)

I have to imagine this idea is shared by just about every collector out there, that though of just where the hell is all this stuff you've accumulated going to fit in your house? Sure there's some collectors who may elect to put it in an off-site storage. Some folks may even be pretty well off to afford large areas of their home solely for their collectibles. I think maybe the more modest income earners (read: poor people) like myself may be worse off when it comes to how well they can really show off their beloved toys. I haven't been able to have a dedicated display case/shelf/area since I moved from my last home in 2012.

A few months back things just got absolutely out of hand. Towers of toys blocking my closet, blocking my window, covering the entirety of my drawing table and photo area. Toys pretty much filling all but a narrow pathway in my room. Much of this stuff things I no longer want, but sadly not selling online either. I had a few options, and I wasn't taking anything off the table. I could throw stuff out, unbox things, give some items away, and maybe move a few more things into the "sell" pile that would actually sell. I basically did all of this. And I also bought some new storage containers to make better use of the space I have.
A stop at Michael's allowed me to get a good assortment of cases on sale that I could experiment with. I was able to grab a few larger totes at Target, which to my delight were also on sale. Without having the proper measurements for what I wanted to store in hand (which I advise to make things easier than I did them), I had to test the fit  of various things to see what worked. Sometimes these storage cases protect their contents better than they save space.
Machine Robo Gobots マシンロボ CG Robo Machines Bandai Tonka rare
Machine Robo Gobots マシンロボ CG Robo Machines Bandai Tonka rareMachine Robo Gobots マシンロボ CG Robo Machines Bandai Tonka rare
One tote fit all of my Bandai CG Robo toys perfectly. Was super happy to see that. But when I took my Gobots collection, which I'm sorry to say has been stored for years in old comic long boxes, I had mixed results. The Gobots and Robo Machines that had flatter, less protruding bodies fit well in the slim scrap booking cases I picked up. Any figure that that had a plastic bubble that rose off the card more than an inch and a half did not fit. I was luckily able to protect and store all my Gobots Tank figures, which are the most important to me anyhow. The rest will have to sit in the comic boxes until I find a better solution.
Marvel Hero Mashers Star Wars Transformers トランスフォーマー Hasbro action figures Collectibles G.I.Joe Hasbro Kre-O kreon action figures Collectibles g.i.joe
Seeking out new and more streamlined methods of storing things is great. Just eliminating excess bits maybe works even better. When it comes to certain toy lines, I just don't need the packing any longer. Hasbro's Hero Mashers toys came to mind immediately. I have them all opened anyhow, and the boxes don't really have a need to be saved so I unboxed the whole lot of them and got rid of the packages. The toys take up 1/3 of the space they previously did. Another HUGE space saver was eliminating the boxes for my Kre-O G.I.Joe collection. The package for these toys was an enormous waste of space. The idea that a bigger box, even being lightly filled, would justify a large price tag is not a new marketing ploy. And even though the boxes of these toys are neat, I just don't need them. What took two large totes and a small box to store now all fits into just the same small box. A great savings of space which was quickly taken up by my ever expanding Imaginext collection. A toy line I also recently decided will have all toys removed from packages and stored loose. It just makes more sense.
I also took the time to edit down my book collection. I guess that's the nice way of saying I ripped apart most of my books and kept only the pages I felt were useful. All the rest of the stuff was filtered into a "sell" pile and a "trash" pile. Books take up a giant portion of my space. And the boxed books get heavy as hell to deal with. With a possible move coming next year, this was an easy answer to the issue.

All in all, I understand that throwing things out and destroying books goes against what a lot of collectors believe, but sometimes the methods of collecting we choose are just not sustainable. Whether it be in regards to storing what we buy like I've shown here, or the amounts of money we blow on stuff. Heck, even the time we spend amassing things should be looked at every now and then. Collecting is good on many levels, but can slide into a dangerous place pretty quick. Have fun, stay alert, and happy hunting!



action figures Collectibles g.i.joe Machine Robo Gobots Transformers トランスフォーマー マシンロボ CG Robo

Friday, September 9, 2016

How Far Down The Road Do I Kick This Can? (Machine Robo Diaclone Gobots)

I think about random things a lot. I think, I consider, I contemplate, I dwell. Yeah, I dwell, maybe the best way to put it. I dwell over the past, over regrets, over the bad, the good. This is going to be the first of maybe a trio of posts based around toy collecting and maybe not any particular toy or series proper. I may sneak in an odd toy find post in the next 3 days, but not completely sure just yet. I did pick up a few things here and there so there is material.
Bandai Blockman Diaclone Japanese Robots Gobots Machine Robo imaginext Robolinks Takara vintage toys ダイアクロン タカラ マシンロボ 合体戦士ブロックマン
A few weeks back I was mindlessly skimming Ebay auctions when I found a seller who had listed a set of photo copied animation model sheets. I know they're copies because I bought the same sheets years ago. The quality isn't great, and the price seems a bit much for basic copies, but they are still selling. I thought about how I could offer the same material, with an additional 75% content, with a splash of color at about the same price. Oh, and in a book format, not just loose pages.

After a few days I started breaking out the old folder files full of stuff. I began to scan large chunks or material here and there and really started to get excited about the project. A week and a half in and I began to feel the doubts creeping in. Would anybody want this? Should I waste my time? What if if I can't surpass the quality of like items? Should I really be starting another project when I have so many that never seem to get finished? This last thought more than any of the others is the one that stayed with me. And boy did it stay with me.

I've mentioned before that this year marked 20 years of my trying to make contributions to the net. It was nearly 16 years ago that I decided that maybe a print option would be better. Or at least more fun to create. Using what tools I had, which was mostly the copy machines at Kinkos I printed up various fanzines and mock-ups to larger fan guides (that never went farther than one-offs). Very few of these fanzines made there way into collectors hands. I passed a few out here and there at toy shows, let attendees flip through my fan guide mock-ups at BotCon. The input I received from folks was always super positive. I just didn't finish any thing I planned.
Bandai Japanese Robots Gobots Machine Robo vintage toys マシンロボ
Bandai Japanese Robots Gobots Machine Robo vintage toys マシンロボBandai Japanese Robots Gobots Machine Robo vintage toys マシンロボ
Sitting here the other day I read a post by a buddy telling someone to check out my site for Robolinks info. Sadly, my site has little of that, even though months back I proposed a guide to buying the toys to be made and listed on this blog. Never finished it. I see people constantly asking around for lists of all the Imaginext DC toys. I had started a visual guide for those to reside here at this blog. Never finished. Even after the first book and Japanese toy ads doing fairly poorly, I was going to look into maybe just doing a PDF version of volume 2. That project completely stalled and is now stranded in a ditch on the side of the road. Diaclone guide, never completed. Machine Robo & Gobots guides, never finished.

I have a long standing trend of starting but never finishing projects. And I came up with all sorts of reasons to cover myself over the years. The time isn't right. I don't have enough of the source material. I can't decide on the best method. Nobody cares about this stuff. Somebody already did something like this. All just excuses, all pretty feeble. I've had one concept cooking in the back that I've been playing with for just over a year now. And I think it can put to rest any questions I have about the direction I've wanted to go.
Bandai Blockman Diaclone Japanese Robots Gobots Machine Robo imaginext Robolinks Takara vintage toys ダイアクロン タカラ マシンロボ 合体戦士ブロックマン
I want to do a newspaper of sorts. A journal about all things toys and collecting. I'd have several themes per issue to keep things interesting. I'd also break up some projects that just seem too overwhelming for me to handle at one time. It would also mean that some projects I felt were too lacking in material for their own offering will now see the light of day. The downside, and I always seem to see a downside, is that I would be asking people to pay money for something again. At least if I offer this in the format I hope to. That's not an easy thing to ask. Especially not to collector's who would rather buy toys. I'd agree, many items I'm the same way. Of course, before I get too far ahead of myself, I need to at least get the first issue done and see what the process involves. I don't want to make too many promises I have to later break.



Bandai Blockman Diaclone Japanese Robots Gobots Machine Robo imaginext Robolinks Takara vintage toys ダイアクロン タカラ マシンロボ 合体戦士ブロックマン

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sometimes It's The Little Things That Matter. (Transformers)

Transformers Titans Return wave 2 Titan Master Clobber Grimlock Skytread Brawn Takara トランスフォーマー レジェンズTransformers Titans Return wave 2 Titan Master Apeface Takara トランスフォーマー レジェンズ
This past week I found the Transformers Titans Return wave 2 Titan Master toys. Pretty excited for these since it was Apeface that I wanted most out of all 8 Titan Masters released so far in waves 1 and 2. He does not disappoint. This of course only makes my decisions to buy/not buy the Japanese Legends versions of this mold all that much harder. Ah...the excruciating, agonizing problems of the collector.
Transformers Titans Return wave 2 Titan Master Clobber Grimlock Skytread Brawn Takara トランスフォーマー レジェンズ
The week before last I was just getting the wave 1 Titan Masters, and playing around with them a bit. Love them. I am seeing some lack of interest in these little guys, in some sense I can understand. Most of the complaints center around the idea of buying a figure that transforms into a head for which Hasbro hasn't issued a proper/corresponding body for. But, and this is where I differ, the Headmasters are fun on their own as figures. Set aside that they are Headmasters and the little buggers really work well in the would of Titans Return. I almost picked up the Hasbro TR Powermaster Optimus Prime just because I wanted a base for my Tian Masters. A $45 buy on a  whim just to have a fort for my $5 purchases. Of course my senses kicked on and I passed. If I'm buying that toy, I would go TakaraTomy instead.
Transformers Kre-O Combiner Robots Mega Pack at Dollar General トランスフォーマー クレオTransformers Kre-O Combiner Robots Mega Pack at Dollar General トランスフォーマー クレオ
As luck would have it I managed to finally find the Transformers Kre-O Combiner Robots Mega Pack at Dollar General. The set being a combiners re-pack made up of the previously single boxed Superion, Menasor and Bruticus sets. Been trying to locate one in store for some time. At just $12, this is an amazing deal. Each of these single sets retailed at $10-$12, so it's like you're buying 1 and getting 2 free! Since I missed out on these when they first ht stores, I'd love to see another set with some of the remaining G1 combiners like Defensor, Devastator and Piranacon.
Transformers Kre-O Combiner Menasor トランスフォーマー クレオ
The clear combiner winner in the set for me is Menasor. The single figures most closely resemble their G1 looks, and the combined mode is nice too. I think maybe the Bruticus combined mode is better, but I don't like the single Kreon designs as much. Superion is kind of a wash. Combined mode is only ok, and single designs are ho-hum. My two favorite Kreons out of the set are...
hasbro Kre-O Combiners Combaticon Onslaught Transformers トランスフォーマー クレオhasbro Kre-O Combiners Stunticon Breakdown Transformers トランスフォーマー クレオ
...the Combaticon Onslaught and Stunticon Breakdown .Breakdown being the best figure of the whole lot. This leads me back to the Titan Masters. While Apeface was the definitive stand out in wave 2, wave 1 bought a bit a surprise. When I bought wave 1 it was Terri-Bull that I was most anxious to break open and play with. After opening all 4 toys, it was actually Loudmouth that walked, or rather road away as the winner.
Transformers Titans Return wave 1 Titan Master Loudmouth Takara トランスフォーマー レジェンズ



hasbro Kre-O Combiners Japanese Robots Takara Transformers トランスフォーマー クレオ