Saturday, June 27, 2015

Easy Collecting: When Things Just Jump Out At You.

I had a bit of luck in the last 2 weeks getting a few items. Neither of which I actively sought out, they just kind of appeared. The first item is a Takara Blockman set that was put up for sale on Facebook. The going price for these has fluctuated over the last few years, but recent Ebay sales of them have fallen quite a bit. So at $50 shipping included this Blockman C-12 set was priced accordingly. And it was within my small budget. Truth be told, it's the 2nd of these sets I have picked up. A short time back I posted a pic of one I had then just gotten where the box was horribly smashed in during shipping. I tried to fix is using heavy books and wood planks to flatten it out, but the damage was done and I could barely work it back into a proper rectangle.

The new toy still have a bit of a worn box, but it's still structurally intact and not suffering form near as much damage as my other one. So now I have 2 of these sets, which is to say, so what? How can having 2 of the same Blockman sets be a bad thing right?

1984 1985 Takara Blockman Robotech Robolinks 合体戦士ブロックマン1984 1985 Takara Blockman Robotech Robolinks 合体戦士ブロックマン
Newest C-12 acquisition on left, and the C-12 set I got last year on the right.

My other little find came last week on a trip to K Mart for my wife to pickup a small personal grill. While she perused the grilling section I went over to see if they still had a cheap Ultraman DVD I had seen there last year. The DVD section was a mess, and as I was looking through the rack, which consisted of DVDs stacked front to back in no order or category I knocked one off the shelf. Starcom? Really? I had never even seen a Starcom DVD release, and for just $6? This was a super easy buy.

I've been a watching a few episodes and the animation is really good. The stories...not so great. But that is the 80's of course, so it's about what I expected.

1987 アメコミ Starcom DVD coleco スターコム

This last toy comes from a few weeks ago. I was shopping at the grocery store and noticed they had their Marvel Legends on sale for $13, and the selection was limited. I had a choice of Scarlett Witch, Sentry and Captain Marvel. I don't like the Scarlett Witch figure, and haven't a clue about Sentry (being out of comics for years), but I always liked the Captain Marvel characters. So on a whim and because it was a good sale I bought this one. I ended up selling the build a figure parts that were included for $3.50 so that takes my cost down to just under $10. The figure is pretty cool, I like the new female body buck they have been using as of late. The unmasked head that comes on the figure is really too good, not awful, but looks a little off. The masked head alternate piece looks really cool however, so I doubt I will ever swap the heads out again.

アメコミ Hasbro Marvel Legends Captain Marvelアメコミ Hasbro Marvel Legends Captain Marvel

アメコミ Hasbro Marvel Legends Captain Marvelアメコミ Hasbro Marvel Legends Captain Marvel

1985, hasbro, marvel, robotech, アメコミ, Starcom, Robolinks, Blockman, Marvel Legends, 合体戦士ブロックマン, スターコム,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Collector Frustrations Pushing Me Out.

I've been half-assing my collecting these past few years. Or I just feel like it. I've also really dropped off of collecting certain lines. No matter how much stuff I post about, I'm buying much less now than any time in the past 7 years. Part of this is loss of interest, part is finances. One big part, and maybe bigger than the other two is lack of product in my stores.

I was at a Tuesday Morning last week and stumbled upon this guy sitting on the shelve along with a couple Transformers Generations Roadbusters.

Hasbro Takara Transformers Generations Brainstorm トランスフォーマー

I've never seen Brainstorm in the store before this. Not at Target, not at Toys R Us. K Mart barely even has Generations stuff, and I don't really shop at Walmart. Had I seen this toy before, I think I would have grabbed it. I actually really liked these Generations toys they were putting out. I love the Whirl and Roadbuster I have, but the distribution and case packing was absurd. And here I find it, $10 cheaper, but sadly at a time I just had to put in car repairs for the 3rd time in 2 months. Another couple hundred dollars sunk into my car that I could have put towards hobby stuff.

If it's not weird stocking and distribution issues, it's late wave short run problems. I posted last year how much I really the Generation Jetfire toy. I actually really wanted, even after seeing updated pics that had the gaudy chrome and cheapening out/cost cutting hallowed out limbs. The one time I found the toy in a store I was out Christmas shopping and not buying for myself. I should have bought it in retrospect. I never found another in a store.

Hasbro Takara Transformers Generations Jetfire トランスフォーマー

Now I could have bought one online, I could have even imported the Takara version. I really could have, but I'm kinda sick o this situation coming up over and over again. It happened with Hasbro's G.I.Joe 25th Anniversary series and following lines as well as Mattel's DC Universe Classics series. I got tired of the BS jumping throw hoops it took to collect the G.I.Joe stuff, I just gave up. Store exclusives, national and regional, online exclusive, wave after wave of planned releases cancelled. The final nail in the coffin of 25th Joes for me was the Joe Club subscription plans. No thank you. Paying extra just for the privilege of spending my money and over priced poorly executed toys? No, I just wasn't on board for that. I wasn't even super happy about a lot of the stuff Hasbro had in stores, I wasn't going to pay 3 to 4 times as much for worse.

For Mattel, it was  a mix of poor customer service, bad case packs, and what seems to be a push by DC for current versions of figures when fans keep asking for the older ones. Disappointing all around there, but unlike G.I.Joe's 25th stuff, I'm keeping all my DCUC guys. They're just better toys.

Now you'd think I would have learned a lesson form the way toy companies work in these last few years. I haven't. I was at Meijer, which s the only place I even see new Transformers Rescue Bots toys any more and spotted the newest bunch. he Salvage toy really caught my eye. I snapped a pic and sent it to my brother asking if my nephew had it already, sure enough he did. I thought for a moment, maybe I can grab it for myself, it was on sale after all. I figured I'd come back in a day when I got paid, and of course when I went back the next day it was gone. This was a month ago, and I haven't seen it anywhere again. To be honest, I probably won't buy it if I see it again. I guess the moment has passed, and I find this happening a lot. So quite a few toy purchases going unmade due to product not being on hand when I can buy it.

Hasbro Takara TransformersRescue Bots Salvage トランスフォーマー

A few months back I found the 4th wave of Imaginext blind bag figures and lucked out. These as of today still don't have widespread store sightings around the country. And people are freaking out a bit cause now wave 5 has come out. I did the smart thing with wave 4, I grabbed the few figures I really wanted, and then when I went back and looked at other stores they were gone or never sold in the first place. My wife needed a plant sold at Walmart, and so while she picked that out I wandered into the toy section. This is where I found wave 5, and because it was Walmart, I just passed. Knowing hat can happen, I maybe should have picked up at least the 2 figures I really like. so it's on my now if I don't see these again at Meijer or Target.

Imaginext Fisher-Price bling bag wave 5 collection figures

I could work harder to get these toys, but I don't see why I should have to. If companies want to sell items, make more of them. Don't fall back onto a system that will make me work to give you money. I won't do it. I'd rather just stop buying items that I really, if I can be brutally honest, I don't need in the first place.

dc comics G.I.ジョー g.i.joe hasbro Takara super heroes Transformers アメコミ トランスフォーマー imaginext

Friday, June 19, 2015

Takara's Diaclone turn's 35 years old today!

Diaclone Takara Robotbase ロボットベース ダイアクロン 35年

If you were a kid in Japan 35 years ago today waking up and getting ready to go out to the toy store with your parents, you'd have found a very cool toy looking at you from the shelves. Robotbase. Today was the official release from Takara, and although I'm sure some shops had it earlier and others later, it's about as close to a birth date as we'll get for the line.

Happy 35th Diaclone!

I'll be posting a few things over on to celebrate!

Diaclone Takara Robotbase ロボットベース ダイアクロン 35年

Monday, June 15, 2015

G-0001 Takara SocMe Campaign.

Back late last year I tried a little promotion to get people to "Friend" the GanguStars Facebook page, it didn't really work. Lol. :P

Anyhow, as an incentive for every 5 folks to add on, I'd post a little nugget of Takara toys goodness. Diaclone. Microman. Transformers. Most of those images and blurbs of text have been lost in a sea of Facebook nonsense now. So as this blog nears 20,000 visitors I figured I'd drop some of those images in here for preservation. Here's a look at a selection of Transformers images showcasing Takara Transformers prototypes, design sketches, rare comics and promotional art.

1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン

1.) Transformers G1 Cosmos early design sketch. 2.) Early design for what became Transformers Seaspray. 3.) Transformers G1 Ark/Mountain base play set design (Unproduced). Maybe cooler looking seeing it as something unproduced, but may not have really worked as a great toy with all the size classes of the '84-85 G1 Transformers. Features Teletraan 1, computer consoles, cannon bays, and even a Sky Spy gimmick.

1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン

4.) Transformers Punch/Counter-Punch. Here's his robot modes. Quite different than produced. 5.) Transformers 1986 Tailgate (proto colors). This isn't a new image, but you never know who may have missed it. 6.) Transformers Headmasters Hardhead Illustration. So much Transformers art has been re-printed over the years, like the bulk of the Japanese Transformers manga, much of the Marvel comics run, and just recently a good portion of the Transformers package art. But there's still so much great art that is slowly being lost to time. This great piece done by Masayuki Umezawa is exactly one of those lost treasures.

1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン1984, 1985, 1986, Diaclone, hasbro, prototypes, Transformers, タカラ, ダイアクロン, トランスフォーマー, ミクロマン

7.) & 8.) There's a lot more Japanese Transformers comics than just those re-printed a few year ago from TV Magazine. Some are just novelty items given away with toys or candy, others short run gag comics. Here's a look at two of those. 9.) Studio OX Transformers detail design sketch for Galvatron's gun (toy accurate gun actually).

ミクロマン トランスフォーマー ダイアクロン タカラ 1984 1985 1986 Diaclone hasbro prototypes Transformers

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Not The Transformers Toys I Thought I'd Like.

Now I'm not talking about the new movie stuff, nor Animated, or the ACE trilogy, or even Beast Machines. No, I still don't like any of that stuff. Although I will give credit to Animated's very unique animation model design change, which was refreshing. I'm here to say how much I like the Transformers Hero Mashers figures.

hasbro Jetfire Hero Mashers Bulkhead Starscream Transformers トランスフォーマー

One of the things that fans have speculated at killing off the original run of Transformers were the Action Masters series. A line-up of Transformers that didn't transform. Sounds stupid as an adult. Of course it killed the line, the very gimmick that pushed the brand into being a Worldwide phenomenon was gutted from the characters themselves. Problem with all that, I loved the Action Masters and still do to this day. Hero Mashers are no Action Masters. Aside from the fact that neither transform into alt modes proper is about it. But there's still a hell of a lot of charm in the Mashers line, and it's just an fun assortment of toys to fiddle around with.

I originally picked up a Hero Masher Iceman from the Marvel line because it was translucent blue plastic. I love clear toys, and he had a serious Crystar vibe to him. Plus he was a steal at just $5. I had at times attempted to buy others, like a Spider-Man or Iron Man but never quite made it out of the toy aisle with the items in hand. But them I thought maybe my nephew would like the Transformers ones. With a clearance sale going on, coupons and a pretty good selection to choose from I starting out picking up as many as I could at the best possible prices. Not a good plan if I wanted to support the line and see that it continues, but I was buying these for a 3 year old who was already a little finicky about non-transforming Transformers. But truth be told, these were a hit. A really big hit with him. To date I have gotten him all but 2, and if and when I see the new RID ones I might try and grab those as well.

As I was buying these for my nephew I would grab up the odd one or two for myself. I didn't go crazy, I have only four of the figures myself, Soundwave, Stascream, Jetfire and Springer. So far all 4 have impressed me. Seeing as how 3 of them topped out at $1.75 each, I've gotten more than my money's worth. If you see one of these around cheap pick it up for yourself or a kid in your family, they're fun.

Hasbro Hero Mashers Springer Autobot Transformers トランスフォーマーHasbro Hero Mashers Springer Autobot Transformers トランスフォーマー

Hasbro Hero Mashers Springer Autobot Transformers トランスフォーマー

 I've never been a huge fan of Springer, but I have always liked him. I wouldn't have though his figure in any line of Transformers would be my favorite though. He is here. This is what I consider the coolest of the Transformers Hero Masher designs. It doesn't hurt that his colors are so striking.

Hasbro Hero Mashers Starscream Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマーHasbro Hero Mashers Starscream Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマー

Hasbro Hero Mashers Starscream Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマー

My wife pointed out to me that all the Hero Mashers looked extremely pissed off. I'm thinking they're all mad cause they can't transform. All mad in a sense except for Starscream. He wears this maniacal grin like a badge of honor. He is a schemer after all. I was surprised we never got a blue and black re-color as Thundercracker and Skywarp. Then again, nice to see new tools for every new release as well.

Hasbro Hero Mashers Soundwave Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマーHasbro Hero Mashers Soundwave Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマー

Soundwave is one of the DX sized figures, these guys come with a few extra parts to mix it up with. They don't always have extra parts that make sense. The main figure himself is great. Such a great representation of his classic G1 look, shoulder cannon and all. The one little nit-pick thing is that with him being a 2nd series figure, he's got no ankle joint. To save costs Hasbro eliminated this joint with the design of the 2nd series.

Hasbro Hero Mashers Soundwave Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマーHasbro Hero Mashers Soundwave Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマー

Now as to what I said about the weird parts inclusion. Soundwave gets this set of mini laser blasters than can connect to one single weapon. If you ask me, it's more suited to a Dinobot than Soundwave. But maybe that exactly what it is. The whole idea behind the Mashers concept is the interchangeability of them all. What better way to cross sell then to include parts that would fit well with other toys.

Hasbro Hero Mashers Soundwave Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマー

When you see that Soundwave also comes with an extra limb, an arm that belongs to Sideswipe the whole idea of blending parts across figures makes more sense. Optimus prime actually comes with an Ultra Magnus arm! I would love to have gotten a full Ultra Magnus Masher, but doubt that's in the works. As I said though, these are fun toys, the joints are pretty sturdy, and kids can change them out easily, but they still stay pretty tight. And it allows them to make up characters of their own.

Hasbro Hero Mashers Soundwave Springer Starscream Decepticon Transformers トランスフォーマー

hasbro Jetfire Hero Mashers Starscream Transformers トランスフォーマー

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

New Microman Toys Bought 3 Months Ago.

I'm sure there's some collectors out there that can sympathize with me here. Bills both expected and unexpected have been eating up all my hobby funds for the last 6 weeks. Evey time I think I'm getting ahead, I get knocked back 2 steps. So as someone who has no money to spend on new toys right now, it's always fun to have toys you purchased back in March show up at your door. I picked up a few things back in March and they had been sitting in Japan until I absolutely had to have them sent overseas. Lucky I didn't even have to pay shipping as my deposit on hand with the bidding company covered the costs.

Microman Wilder Takara ミクロマン 21 タカラ Japanese Robots Mego Micronauts

 As you can see, it's pretty Microman heavy in contents, in particular Microman 21 series toys. Now a little admission, I've owned all these before. In fact two of these sets I actually already have. But when you buy in lots, you take what you buy. I will likely sell off the bits I don't need.

Microman Wilder Takara ミクロマン 21 タカラ Japanese Robots Mego Micronauts

The real prize of the box. I now have Miroman 21 Wilder at last! For the third time! Yes, this is the third time I've bought this figure. Once got him when he was originally released, then again about 13 years ago, and then for I hope the last time today. He is seriously top 5 in my list of favorite Microman figures. Why I have ever sold him off I don't know. Just stupid. I've been keeping my eye out for one for about 4 years, missing om some that were cheaper, passing on many that were far more expensive. I gt a really good deal, so very happy. I have the vintage Takara Robin and Wayne figures already, but having the repro Romando figures is still cool.

Microman Wilder Takara ミクロマン 21 タカラ Japanese Robots Mego MicronautsMicroman Wilder Takara ミクロマン 21 タカラ Japanese Robots Mego Micronauts

This figure, while now conveniently erased from canon by Takara, is one of the most unique figures ever done. Sure he shares the same Rescue style body that was done to death later on, but as far I recall, he is still the one single Microman figure to ever have clear plastic hands! Add to that the beautiful near neon yellow clear translucent body color, and you have an amazingly cool looking figure. Even cooler if I had taken an extra few second to attach his backpack and rifle.

I can't wait to get out my other camera and get some really good shots of him.

And for those Transformers fans who stuck it out to the end hoping I may have been talking about other Microman toys, here's a little pic for you. As I have been working on projects I keep finding nifty little bits. I found some photo-copied pages from an old Transformers fan art doujinshi I got on my first trip to Japan. This version of a punked out Ironhide also got me. The spiked collar is a nice tough.

Japanese Robots Japan Microman Takara ミクロマン 21 タカラ Mego Micronauts

Friday, June 5, 2015

GanguStars Book Project Update: Final Edits

For the last month or so my blogging time has been taken up by my projects. I've been making final content edits to my initial book project and I seem to have blown right past initial page count hopes, and I feel like any further cuts would hurt the final piece. So costing it out and deciding if a single book or split 2 volumes would be better (probably not). I need this first project to work in order to follow through on subsequent projects. Technically, I'm working on project 1 and 3 right now, so if the first succeeds I will have saved a lot of prep time for project 3.

I hope to have a sample of the finished book requested soon.

As I work on projects, and while I seem to have lost all my hobby funds to bills, a lot of new great stuff has been coming out in stores and online. I hope to get some updates out on that stuff.

Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Hall of Justice
Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Hall of Justice

Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Hall of Justice