So it's been all positive feedback to the site redesign! Or maybe the haters just don't want to take time to write. Either way, following on some great suggestions I've done a couple more tweaks, including access to the search in the footer, sticky "Home" and "Archive Home" icons at the top left, and some text edits (Dollface is my proofreader). More importantly, I've finally added in a few submissions that had been on stand-by while I was recoding... as well as some new Botch the Crab art!
Aaron Lockwood sent in the 1984 UK catalog (front + back) which you can naturally find in the Catalogs section.
Shawn MacKay submitted instruction scans for the four European-exclusive characters that were missing them: Clench, Pyro, Lightspeed and Fearswoop. You can check them out and all the other UK instructions on the Tech Specs page.
And Ginraii submitted an improved Metroplex! Because he loves him.
An then there's this...
When the first version of Masterpiece Optimus Prime came out waaaay back in 2003, despite the adulation heaped upon that figure by so many Transformers fans, I wasn't interested. It wasn't that I thought the figure was bad or that upsized, high-quality renditions of classic Transformers wasn't a great idea. It's just that one of the things I enjoy the very most about the Transformers is their diversity. Cars, jets, dinosaurs, tanks, cassettes, spaceships, microscopes, monsters... the sheer variety of forms is part of what originally drew me to them. A standalone Optimus didn't interest me without the promise of future accompaniment. After all, what good is a military leader without soldiers or an enemy to combat? Sure enough, it took 3 years before Starscream, the next Masterpiece figure, was released. Megatron was released the year following, then the next two years were occupied by the obligatory repaints of Starscream into Skywarp and Thundercracker. A Grimlock appeared in 2009, then a disappointing Rodimus Prime in 2011, but 8 years had passed since the initial release and I was not regretting my decision to pass on the thinly-numbered (and expensive!) Masterpiece line.
In the meantime, the Classics line was putting out figures rapidly. Though smaller and arguably less exquisite than their Masterpiece counterparts, they were far more numerous and I was steadily building a large collection of modernized versions of the vintage toys I so loved. I had my armies! What did I need with a few isolated specialty pieces?
But when I learned of an impending Masterpiece Soundwave figure, my love of the character and of his cassette minions made the figure difficult to ignore. Plus, an unofficial Masterpiece-scale Shockwave was being produced by a third party company, and he's pretty much my favorite Transformer ever. The pace and variety of new Masterpiece figures was improving as well: Sideswipe and his remold of Red Alert; Prowl and his remolds of Bluestreak and Smokescreen; impending releases of Wheeljack, Bumblebee and Ultra Magnus. Add to this the fact that revised and improved Masterpiece versions of Optimus Prime and the Decepticon jets had been recently released and it was starting to look like two diverse armies were being built. Two armies I could get behind.
That's the poster I got recently. It's a near-complete print of the 1986 back-of-the-box battle scene, omitting only some of the landscape at the very bottom. It measures 20" x 17" and it is AWESOME. That photograph doesn't do it justice, mostly because photographing anything that's behind a reflective surface is a maddening struggle against glare and reflection.
As enthusiastic for Transformers Back of the Box Art as you might be, frequent contributor Ginraii is even more so. Enthusiastic, that is. Ga-Ga, you might say, if you were one to say "ga-ga." (Probably not.)
Anyway, Ginraii has sent us three improved back-of-the-box battle scenes which he presumably conjures up through alchemy and sinister incantation. These include the American and Japanese 1986 pieces (awesomely featuring Trypticon versus Metroplex) as well as the 1990 Action Master battle art, which itself is much cooler than the Action Masters probably deserved.
You know I love Metroplex. How can anyone not? He's a robot that turns into a city! Sure, "city" may be generous, but still! A city! How bold. He has a semi-permanent address on top of my CD case. I now have all the toys to depict the sprawling metropolitan scene that was shown on his box (each sold separately). I even love hanging out with him when he's all juiced-up on his "Super Strong" Metroplex mode. He's almost like a family pet.
I pleases me greatly that we now have an even more epic and city-sized rendering of him for the Archive. As with all the recently improved scans, this comes from one of the Japanese laserdisc packages. The image was cleaned up by Slim, who is something of a box-art editing knight. Sir Slim the Precise!
For those not in the know, Metroplex is an Autobot city that transforms into a robot. Naturally, he's on the larger side as far as Transformers go. He's always been one of my favorite toys. Imagine! The concept! A whole city (with towers and a helipad and repair bays) rising up to form one monolithic mechanical anthropomorph (with lots and lots of guns)!
But lo, the fun doesn't stop there, no. His original instructions suggest that you can make a "super strong" Metroplex by attaching Aerialbots (sold separately) to his robot mode. Honest:
Now right now, you might be thinking: so fucking what? Well, if that's the case, then you've obviously never put "Super Metroplex" together, because if you did, you'd know he was a really fun guy to hang out with. We listened to Abbey Road and jammed on the acoustic guitar a little...