Well if each column had a theme then this weeks theme would be Rock â€˜n Roll. I’ve got a review of the TF Animated movie soundtrack and a big 60-second review of Music Label Soundwave. Tease your hair and pull on the leather; it’s time to Transform!
Toys: What I got, what they got, and some news too
Before we begin Alessandro has a new review up that he sneaked out before he went on vacation. I actually had a chuckle when he mentioned that he ordered the new Japanese mini-cons. His new review can be found here.
I haven’t bought anything new on the TF front but that shouldn’t be a surprise since the 6â€ Titanium’s have all but disappeared; Ebay is going to be my best friend soon. I’ve been focusing on the 25th anniversary Joes and must say they’re nice, but the jury is still out on whether or not they’re better than the original 3 and Â¾ figures. On with the news!
Remember all the hoops we have to jump through to get Japanese exclusives in America? Ya know, paying mark ups and all? Well I finally thought that the Japanese would finally feel that loving-warm-burn trying to get an anime accurate MP Starscream. (A little aside here it turns out that MP-03 is something of a shelf warmer overseas, I guess the experiment failed.) Well I was wrong; Anime Starscream is going to see an official release overseas as a US exclusive. Now in my opinion they should dig a moat around the shelves with Anime Starscream and fill it with Piranhas, make â€˜em work a little ya know?
Besides Starscream the Japanese will be also getting a TRU Japan exclusive Worlds Smallest Transformer Bumblebee. The next few months will be really nice for Japanese Transformer fans with all the in store exclusives they’ll be getting.
Movie Prime has seen several repaints so it should be no surprise that Megatron will be getting a few. There are images floating around of a metallic Voyager class Megatron and the big news is that it doesn’t have the molded ice on it. For those of you collecting the figures this should be good news.
For those of you who missed on Music Label Soundwave the first time don’t fret since there will be a second production run set to hit shelves in November. This time though the white color version is being scrapped in favor of an all black edition. Rumors are starting up that this black version will be called Soundblaster and feature some sort of modified tape deck.
You can file this news bit in the â€œSo Geeky it’s cool file.â€ A life long Transformer fan designed a Transforming Optimus Prime shell for his computer. You have to see it for yourself and those pictures can be found here.
One of the great mysteries of Bot-Con, besides how to pleasure a woman, was the name of Alpha Trion’s Mini-Con. Well loose sleep no more his name has been revealed and it is a nod to the glorious decade known as the 80’s: Beta Maxx. I like it; it’s catchy with a sly nod to TF history.
For those of you who missed out on SDCC Rodimus Ebay is now your only hope. Hasbro Toy Shop has removed the listing for him. They’ve also removed the listings for all of the SDCC exclusives except Stan Lee and She Hulk.
Japan gets Nike shoes that transform into robots; we get actual sneakers that are done in colors of various Transformers. Now these don’t match the colors of Sports Label Convoy and Megatron but are closer to their original G1 counterparts. Autobots, Transform and run out! Ha, I kill me.
Soundwave is going to appear on an upcoming episode of Robot Chicken. This guy gets around more than some of my never were Ex’s. I think he has actually set some sort of record for a Transformer in a non-Transformer cartoon. I’m sure somebody out there keeps records of things like that and will be able to tell me for sure.
In a recent issue of Toyfare Masterpiece Convoy was voted the best toy ever made. In other news the Earth is round and the sun is yellow.
The new movie continues to make money hand over fist moving it to #26 on the all time grossing list. The rumored release date for the DVD is sometime in November or early December. I’m thinking now I should make a movie, or even better how about my own reality show? Charles I’mnotgivingyoumylastname is 28 and single. How about Chuck of Love? Man I’m a hit waiting to happen.
Finally there will be a new Transformers movie game released for Hasbro’s Net Jet. The concept is cool; it’s a game controller that you plug into your computers USB port and then various Buss keys unlock different games. Something tells me this toy breaks down in a week.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Transformer Fan: Transformers The Movie 20th anniversary soundtrack
OK I’m going to say this now; I’m a fan of hair metal and truly value it as an art. When I first heard the soundtrack I thought it rocked and 20 years later I still do. Just a few general comments before we begin; if you have the original CD release of the soundtrack then you will notice a marked improvement in sound quality due to the re-mastering. The entire soundtrack including the bonus tracks are not in order; this takes away big time from the flow of the album. Whenever an artist isn’t mentioned Vince DiCola wrote the track.
1. The Touch- Arguably the song that Stan Bush is best known for. It has become the unofficial theme of the Transformers and is still popular with old and new fans alike today.
2. Instruments of Destruction- Come on admit it. When you heard this song by N.R.G. and saw the Decepticons fly out of the Autobot shuttle, you got a shiver down you back that this is freaking cool. Straight ahead riff rocker that finally gave the Decepticons some bite.
3. Death of Optimus Prime- The first instrumental piece of the album. One thing I’ve noticed about this track over the years is how DiCola was able to create a sense of hope for what was, at the time, the Autobots darkest hour; or so they thought.
4. Dare- Believe it or not I prefer this track to The Touch. For me it tends to be a bit more uplifting and inspirational. I’ve always viewed Stan Bush’s second contribution to the album to be Hot-Rods’ unofficial theme.
5. Nothin’s Gonna Stand In Our Way- If I remember correctly this song pops up somewhere in the middle of the movie and it fits well. Mid tempo rocker that has a nice guitar solo. Here’s a bit of trivia for all you music buffs out there; Spectre General is actually mid level hair band Kick Axe.
6. The Transformers (Theme)- This song flat out rocks. The double bass drum work sends shivers down my spine. Lion really turns what in essence is a toy jingle inside out while maintaining the core melody. I don’t remember the full story but briefly before they recorded this track some of the members of Lion were involved with Geoff Downes of Asia in some sort of side project that never took off.
7. Escape- An interesting keyboard piece that really shows off DiColas’ Keith Emerson influence. Listen closely to get all of its little nuances.
8. Hunger- This track works off the same kind of grove that â€œNothin’s Gonna Stand In Our Wayâ€ had, not surprising since both tracks are done by the same artist. The intro riff reminds me of â€œBalls to the Wallâ€ by Accept. Good stuff all around.
9. Autobot/Decepticon Battle- This definitely should’ve been placed further up on the track listing. Listening to it you get the sense that there is a big fight going on with heavy losses on both sides.
10. Dare to be Stupid- Back in the early 80’s Weird Al owned the novelty music market. Everything this guy touched turned to gold. This was what he called a â€œPeriod Pieceâ€ based on the Devo sound. Perfect track for the Junkions.
11. Unicron Medley- The first of the bonus tracks. Not bad but I would’ve liked to have seen it mixed in with the rest of the tracks. I think this track shows how important DiColas’ music was to the movie as it’s hard to imagine Unicron without hearing some of this music in your head.
12. Moon Base 2- Shuttle Launch- Wow this is a reach. To be honest if the name didn’t basically give away what scene this was from I wouldn’t remember it from the movie. Solid keyboard work though.
13. Megatron Must Be Stopped (Pts. 1 and 2)- Quick what scene is this from in the movie? Close your eyes and you can still see the 1 on 1 fight that we waited two years for. Almost as big as Hogan/Andre.
14. The Transformers (Theme) (alternate version)- Rumor has it that Stan Bush was first offered the chance to do the main theme for the movie. Apparently he decided to stick with the lyrics as is instead of going a more original route like Lion. For some reason the track sounds under produced and doesn’t share the same sound quality as the rest of the album. I really hope to hear Stan sing Lions’ arrangement of the theme because I feel he could knock it out of the park.
Surfing The Space Bridges
OK guys real simple for this week. What’s your favorite track of the animated movie soundtrack album?
The World Around Transformers
Today I thought we would take another look at the under appreciated Toynami 1-100 line of Robotech fighters. Today we have Rick Hunters VF-1J.
Several improvements have been made for wave 2 of the 1-100 fighters, also referred to as the J wave, most noticeably in the joint where the knee connects to the upper leg. To me the biggest improvement is doesn’t have anything to do with the figure but with the stand. Anyone who ever used the stand to display one of the Veritech fighters from Wave 1 already knows about the cheap rubber used to make the cup for the ball joint. Well with these newer figures the cup is made with a much stronger plastic and can hold up to any type of pose you can think of. To be honest I find the new joint a bit too tight and after using the stand once I didn’t feel comfortable to use it again.
Like all the fighters in the Robotech/Macross universe the only real difference between them are the heads so when buying multiple versions you’re really buying them more for the characters rather than the individual fighters. With that said the detail that Toynami can pack into a 1-100 scale is quite good, far better than the Banepresto 1-100 scale fighters that came out a few years ago. If you like your variable fighters with fast packs I would hold off buying these guys until it is clearer if and when Toynami plans on releasing the expansion sets.
When I first heard about Takara making a fully transformable Soundwave that is a working MP3 player I was surprised that over the course of 20 years they haven’t done something like this before; also after all these years I was going to get an MP3 player. Soundwave comes packaged in the now familiar window box that has graced the Commemorative reissues on both sides of the Atlantic as well as the whole of Yamatos’ Macross line. Soundwave comes with 3 sets of replacement hands as well as his traditional weapons and a set of ear buds. Unlike the original toy his weapons are molded for this release and don’t convert into batteries or something more compact. If you’re like everyone and their mother you got the Spark Blue version of Soundwave, not to ignore the die-hard Ipod fans they made a white version to go along with the Convoy Ipod speaker trailer.
Transformation follows the classic toy with a few new enhancements for improved articulation. The legs now have a full range of motion including knee joints in both legs that can move both forward and back. The arms don’t swivel out from behind; instead they are on a belt and slide up to be level with the chest. His hands are on a ball joint thus giving him a full range of wrist movement. Finally the head is also on a ball joint connected to a springing mechanism that allows the head to pop up from the chest when a panel is slid into position.
This is by far the best Soundwave figure ever made since G1. Not too many people remember that Soundwave was fairly articulated compared to the other G1 bots, well this guy blows him out of the water. His molded trigger hands can hold his gun perfectly and the other replacement set allows you to pull off some of the classic poses of Soundwave pressing the various buttons on his chest. Best of all he fits in perfectly with the Classics line, I for one am hoping that Hasbro brings over a version of this guy without the electronics for Classics 2.0. On Elohims’ Energon ranking scale I give Music Label Soundwave a â€¦ wha? What’s that? Oh, how does he sound? Well to be honest I haven’t had a chance to test that part out yet but I assure you as soon as I do, you’ll definitely know. Where was I? Ah yes, I give Soundwave a that’s right a perfect 10; get this guy ASAP.
Well that’s all for this week. Tune in next time for some more transforming fun.
The King of the Fanboys,