Transformers: The Cybertronian Enquirer 09/15/07

Opening Salvo

Here we are again lots of fun for all. Have a big rumor on a possible MAJOR TF crossover so saddle up Magna Stampede and lets ride out; it’s time to Transform!

Toys: What I got, what they got, and some news too

First a big thank you to the powers that be here at Inside Pulse. They’ve restored the Figures section in the public forum. What’s nice is that some of the older posts are there to so you new readers can catch up on the good times back when the fWo was in full power. A ton of stuff waiting at BBTS that I need to pay for ASAP, never expected EVERYTHING to come at once. Lets get on with the news.

The exclusive Swerve figure available from Chevrolet dealers is not only a Chinese exclusive but according to a few auctions on Ebay also features a yellow variant. It is unclear at this time if the yellow variant is a different character or is just a custom paint job.

Earlier this week a rumor surfaced about a Terminator/Transformer cross over. Some fans began to speculate about plot points and such. One of my favorites had to do with Skynet being based off of Cybertronian technology, and the Autobots not being sure if they should help the humans believing this to be part of the natural cycle of evolution. Sadly. Chris Rydal of IDW said that there were no plans for a TF/Terminator cross over and believed the rumor got started due to Simon Furman writing both books. I for one would love to see this happen at some point or even an Aliens or Predator cross over. I’ve always wondered how the citizens of Cybertron would interact with other non-human life forms.

Well it can now be confirmed that Transformers will be on DVD and HD/DVD October 16th. The UK will se its release a few days later. It has not been confirmed if the release will include the extra footage being put in the IMAX release. Yes that’s right, at least five minutes will be added to the total run time of the movie for IMAX. I’m a bit disappointed that the DVD isn’t going to include a history of the Transformers or any mention of the controversy that surrounded the early stages of the film.

Speaking of the movie it has now moved up to #21 on the all time moneymakers list. It is believed that with the revenue made from the IMAX release that it will break the top twenty. Universal Pictures Russia will be releasing the film over there so that’s another market that will add to the overall revenue of the picture.

While Hasbro has been doing well with the Transformers brand Tomy is struggling in Japan. Remember how the later waves of Galaxy Force figures were heavily delayed due to the earlier waves not selling well for Takara. Well the now merged Tomy entity still cannot stand up to the Gundam Juggernaut known as Bandai. This is due in large part to the shrinking youth demographic; Japanese couples aren’t having children. To try and turn a profit Tomy is planning on marketing some of their older brands like Transformers to the adult collector market. The new Encore line is a step in that direction. Perhaps this means that we will see more additions to the MP line?

The wave after wave of movie figure repaints continues with the addition of four battle scene sets. Basically it’s repainted Transformers with miniature figurines. Combine that with the soon to be released battle damaged voyager Prime and the number of Prime repaints goes up to 600 billion while the number of Bumblebee repaints clocks in at a staggering 850 trillion. I could be exaggerating those numbers though.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Transformer Fan: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

At some point in time we’ve all griped about the up pricing of online retailers. I think it’s safe to say as a whole we don’t mind paying a few dollars more to ensure we get the item we want. When one truly thinks about the work involved getting a Japanese TRU exclusive the few dollars extra is more than justified. Lately though with the boom from the Transformers movie, online pricing has become more about scalping than courtesy.
It was brought to my attention recently by a reader whom I shall refer to as Mr. T, that a Transformer fan site had noticed a few new members who floated around the sightings section of their board. Upon query it was revealed that these posters were scalpers who were looking for word on when new stock of TF movie figures were released. Mr. T mentioned one heated exchange between a board member and one of the scalpers he met in a store while the gentleman was buying no less that 8 of the concept Bumblebee figures. The board then found itself in a dilemma over whether or not to continue posting sightings of new toys. This led me to Ebay where I noticed a marked increase of listings with multiple items available; Bumblebees, Megatrons, and other rare movie figures. Going by my rough estimates I came to the conclusion that most of these sellers bought all of the figures that were on the shelf at one time.
A wise man once said, “It’s not the kill, it’s the thrill of the chase.” Part of the joy of the hobby is the thrill of the hunt. Going from store to store looking for that one figure that you need. Most collectors will tell you that they buy two of each figure; one to open one to keep MIB. At the most I have heard of some collectors buying three figures; one to keep MIB, one to display in robot mode, and the other to display in vehicle mode. One thing that I have found stated universally is that above all you make sure the kids are taken care of. That can me a lot of things to a lot of different people but to me it basically means you don’t buy all of one figure. I find it appalling that these scalpers who aren’t fans and have all but admitted such, are going in and clearing out stores before the rest of us, parents included, have a chance to go hunting.
Mr. T gave me a great idea on how to combat these scalpers. When you see a person with five or more of the same figure in their cart and they obviously don’t look like a parent, just calmly go up to them and ask them in a rather loud voice so the parents in the immediate area can hear, “Didn’t I see you on Dateline NBC last night?” Stay by the cart after they run from the store to distribute the figures to the happy children who now look upon you as some sort of folk hero.
Some stores started implementing procedures during the last holiday season and further back to deter these scalpers although one can assume that wasn’t their intention. Target in particular comes to mind, they put signs on the racks of SW figures informing the public as a whole but collectors directly that under no circumstances could a sales associate retrieve an item from the back and all figures were first come, first serve. Later the policy was revised to include a strict limit on store exclusives and short packed items. This basically translated in yours truly being able to see a Target exclusive final battle General Grivious up close. I wish that other stores would implement these policies and Target expand theirs to the Transformers. Perhaps even the toy makers themselves need to get in on the deal; if they can make an issue over MP Megatron they can make an issue over a guy selling 12 of a $9.99 figure for $50 a pop. Equal chance for all I say.

Surfing The Space Bridges

Do you see scalping becoming more of a problem as time progresses now with Transformers increased popularity? How would you like to see, or would you like to see mass retailers and toy makers deal with the problem?

The World Around Transformers

Well it looks like Toby Maguire has his heart set on making a Robotech movie and playing Rick Hunter himself. Most fans are crying foul but I can actually see the kid pulling it off.

Today there is a pang of sorrow in my heart as we end our look at the YF-19 from Macross Plus.

Transforming to robot mode is a lot easier than transforming to Gerwalk mode although it did pose its own challenges.

One problem that is universal to all Yamato Macross figures are their overly small pegs. In the picture above a part of the fuselage is supposed to peg into the tip of the nose cone. Well the peg was so small it never fit securely and it had the habit to pop out along with the leg armor falling off. quite often while I was taking the photos.

The one problem mentioned above aside the figure is quite sturdy and I felt more at ease with the YF-19 than any other large scale Macross Valkyrie. One thing I do like is the built in shield on his arm.

If you already own the 1/72 scale YF-19 then you know how much better this version is by leaps and bounds. For those of you still on the fence go for it; you can still find this bad boy with the Foldbooster as a set, can’t go wrong there.

Sixty-Second Review

Transformers: Titanium
War Within Megatron
MSRP:$19.99 and up on Ebay
Out now but good luck finding him

First off I don’t know what I was thinking last week giving The Fallen an 8.5. I must’ve blocked out from my memory the bent gun barrels and lose joints on the fold out part that forms his tank treads. He is a cool figure but definitely not worth an 8.5.

War Within Megatron is an interesting figure. He was designed for the Dreamwave series The War Within and then released for the Titanium line. At first I wasn’t a big fan due to all the times during the G1 cartoon we saw flashbacks to Cybertron and saw Megatron as his G1 bot, in fact all of the G1 Transformers had the same bot mode on Cybertron; it was their vehicle modes that were different. This of course got thrown out the window in the comics and thus we were treated for completely new forms for some of the classic Transformers. A Cybertronian battle tank isn’t that far off the mark for our favorite Decepticon leader due to him being some form of a tank since G2 and well, they couldn’t make a 6” Walther P98 now could they?

I was surprised by the relative ease that it took to remove Megs from his packaging. Of course easy for a Titanium is astronomically difficult for a normal toy. Right away I noticed a proportion issue between his shoulders and lower arm. To the untrained eye this could be almost unnoticeable but to us fans it sticks out like a sore thumb. The lack of rubber is refreshing since that means his guns aren’t lopsided coming out of the box.

Megatron features articulated arms, forearms, wrists, legs, knees, torso, and head. This makes a full range of poses possible, which is far to often not the case with most Titaniums. Megatron features two forward firing cannons on his back. The one over his left shoulder can be swung forward over the shoulder and features a ball joint so it can be turned. Now the instructions show his main cannon can be pegged to his arm but that bends the peg out of place and could, over time, cause stress on it. Instead I have Megs hold it like a handgun. For his shield I like to turn his left hand palm down so he can hold it in a more traditional manner.

Much has been made about Megatrons’ rather simple transformation to his tank mode. On the surface it does look like the transformation process involves just laying Megatron flat, but on closer inspection it is a bit more involved. I noticed while folding his arms up into his shoulders that there was either a stress mark or missing paint on his right forearm, again a casual fan wouldn’t notice but something like this is enough to drive a die-hard fan up the wall. The pegs on his legs don’t really hold them together until they’re telescoped into the hips. His tank mode rolls rather freely on a flat surface, which has to be a first for a 6” Titanium.

Now comes the hard part; what score to give Megatron. He is a good figure, for a Titanium, which means he falls short compared to main line figures. The two imperfections I mentioned aren’t that noticeable to a layman, but in my opinion are inexcusable for a $20 toy to have. With that said I can now add another figure to my must own Titanium list. On Elohim’s Energon ranking scale I give War Within Megatron 7 cubes. Hopefully yours is as good as mine.

Parting Shots

Miss a week come back with this. Man I feel like Chris Hyatte some times. See you all next week.

The King of the Fanboys,

Charles

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