At this point I own about, oh, 85-90% of all US-released G1 Transformers. Of the remaining 10-15%, there's about 5 or 6 that I really want. Then there are the ones that I'm willing to get if they're not too expensive: grabbing a Triggerbot for $2, or taking Groundpounder off someone's hands for a single buck. Then there are the ones that, through some combination of expense, rarity and lack of interest, I will probably never, ever get. Case in point! The two latest improved entries in the Archive:
These are thoughts that occur to me when I think of when I think of ROADBUSTER, the 1985 Autobot Ground Assault Commander.
In case you haven't heard, the book is out: Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging, by Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster, an officially licensed hardcover release of pretty much all the G1 and G2 Transformers package art. If you're reading this, if you're on this site, you are likely a fan of said art. You may be wondering what I think of the book. Allow me to share!
This book has a lot of art. If you can think of it, it's probably in there. From unused prototype art to promotional battle scenes, this volume is chock-full. Of course, the vast majority of fans (including myself) will focus on the first half of the book dealing with the earliest and most familiar Bots and Cons, but all the material is worth perusing. With the exception of Jetfire (no doubt omitted for legal, Robotech-related reasons), I cannot immediately discern any figure that's been excluded.
After our aborted attempt to buy a house back in 2009, Dollface and I settled very comfortably back into enjoying our fabulous apartment. Spacious, stylish, comfortable and centrally located in one of the coolest sections of Portland, there was very little not to love about the place. However, after several years of rent increases, I was becoming increasingly aware that renting builds no equity and is essentially throwing money away. Additionally we were fed up with having a landlord and upstairs/downstairs neighbors to consider. It was time to start searching again.
Turns out that on our first and only day of touring various available houses, after about ten unsuitable locations we happened to find a house that felt about as close to perfect as we were going to get. To make a long story short, in a whirlwind 2 months we negotiated, inspected, repaired, bought the place, painted and moved in. It's now six weeks later and, having finally resolved all the top home-making priorities and settled in, I feel I can now break my blogging and social media silence to reflect on the whole experience.
Some months ago, Camson Tran brought to my attention a Japanese variant I was missing. It turns out that the art for Road King -- the Japanese release of the Autobot Powermaster Slapdash -- is different in the, um, chest area. (Hey! My eyes are up here!) Whereas Slapdash is wearing his "yellow engine" halter top, Road King has his Powermaster engine protecting his modesty. Those crazy Japanese. So I emailed heroic_decepticon, who forwarded along a scan from his friend ZFEAKYE (pronounced "huh?") of The Cave Collection, which I promptly passed along to Ginraii, who took time out of his busy schedule doing CGI for the Transformers movies to edit it. And NOW, FINALLY, BEHOLD! (Road King left, Slapdash right.) Thanks, everybody!
Are you wondering what else has been going on in Botch's Transformers-Filled Life...?
My lovely wife Heather, aka Dollface, has long been an enabler of my Transformers addiction, supporting my purchases, lending an ear when I babble about them, helping me dust and clean them, and more. I've long wanted her to do a guest-post here, offering a spouse's-eye view on the topic. After all, she's a writer! For instance, she recently started a horror movie review site, Movies In The Dark. Unbelievably, despite having watched nearly 700 horror movies, she'd never seen Transformers: The Movie, the bone-chilling 1986 animated feature. Eager to correct this oversight, and unwilling to pass up such an elegant synergistic opportunity, I happily present to you Dollface's sensational review...
When Adam and I started dating back in 1999 I thought he was the coolest guy I'd ever met. He was handsome, intelligent, funny, and he was a fucking rock star. And then he introduced me to his Transformers collection. At first I didn't know what to make of it. Sure, I grew up in the '80s and was aware that Transformers existed. But when I went to the toy store I was in the Barbie aisle. When I bought comic books at the drug store I was reaching for Archie. And when I was watching cartoons my channel was fixed to Scooby-Doo. I didn't have brothers and what male cousins I did have were playing with He-Man. I myself owned the Crystal Castle. Transformers were just that "boy's show" that I had to channel surf through to get to Duck Tales.
Not in my wildest imagination would I have anticipated that when I grew up and started dating boys (ewww, yuck!) that I would eventually meet one who, as an adult, collected these transforming robots. But there I stood, 21 years old in Astoria, Queens, in some boy's bedroom staring at a bookcase full of Transformers and thinking to myself, "huh."
Yet another piece of original TF box art has popped up on eBay! It's strange how years went by without any surfacing, and now this is the fourth one in as many months. The latest is Gutcruncher, one of the Decepticon Action Masters. The auction in question misidentifies him as Roadbuster, but hey, they tried. Unlike the other sellers who were listing obscure Micromaster character art at starting prices of $850 or $3000 -- hilarious! -- the seller of Gutcruncher's art has taken a more realistic tack by starting the auction at $0.99. I'm eager to see where it ends up! Shall we make guesses in the comments? I'm going to go with $65.
Gutcruncher actually cropped up a number of times in Transformers comic books over the last several years. Will this increase his popularity? Probably not.
My good friend periL75 just landed the Transformers score of a lifetime. Diligently checking Craigslist every morning, noon and night, he was the first to respond to an ad placed by an older couple who had several boxes of vintage Transformers for sale. For only $500, my friend took home a near-complete G1 collection:
One doesn't go to Japan without hoping to pick up some great loot -- especially if one is a Transformers collector and a fan of a great many Japanese things. I went with some hopes (particularly Transformers-wise), but I was also looking to be surprised. I'm happy to say that I met both expectations. Let's start with a surprise.
The first toy I actually bought was in a 7-Eleven: a Candroid. What is a Candroid? Well, they're so uniquely Japanese, it's no surprise that neither you nor I had ever heard of them. They are apparently a small sub-line belonging to a larger franchise called Kamen Rider OOO. I don't really know anything about the Kamen Rider, but I know that he can summon the "Ride Vendor," a motorcycle that transforms into a vending machine. You insert special "coins" into the vending machine and out pops a Candroid:
Nearly a week into my Tokyo visit and I'd familiarized myself with the subway enough to visit most all the vintage toy stores I could find. Being able to navigate the city confidently on my own, to get a feel for the vibe of this foreign metropolis, was always my first priority. That done, it was time to start doing the tourist thing! I've got some pictures included below, but you can view my full modest Japan photo gallery on Flickr.
I started off by visiting the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which takes the visitor on a chronological journey through the history of the city from its origins in the feudal era as a fishing village (when it was called "Edo") up to its modern incarnation as the capital of Japan. It took me over two hours to get through, but then I read most every placard there was to read. Highlights for me included the origin of woodblock printing and the elaborate miniatures.