Michael Bay and Akiva Goldsman working together to expand Transformers film universe

Hrmm.

I’m a diehard 80s kid, and an even more diehard toy fan. In actuality, the Transformers films, if done correctly, should fall right in my sweet spot.

I’ll argue that the first film was actually pretty fun. I enjoyed it thoroughly in 2007 when I was lucky enough to see the premier with some great friends at Botcon that year. But they’ve gone consistently downhill since then, which is almost unfathomable because Revenge of the Fallen was absolutely horrific, and somehow, some way, Age of Extinction ended up being worse. I think it broke some laws of physics somewhere.

So when Deadline reports that Michael Bay and Akiva Goldsman are putting their heads together to expand the Transformers cinematic universe into more developed sequels and spin offs, I can only say..

Hrrm.

So far, one might argue, Bay has failed to produce a single coherent Transformers film. Now, somehow he’s expected to help develop multiples at once? Yeah, let’s see how that works out for them.

And I know the question tingling on everyone’s tongue… could this, at some point, wrap into the G.I. Joe film universe somehow?

Honestly, I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t seem like it, but if Hasbro is investing time and money into further building upon their film world, one would think A Real American Hero might benefit from some of that attention.

Guess we’ll see…

Check out the full article on Deadline.com

Op-Grimlock.

Boss Fight Studio reveals 2015 G.I. Joe Convention Plans

Over on the Boss Fight Studio Facebook Page, the folks from BFS talk a bit about what to expect at their booth at the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention in Springfield, IL…and it sounds like there will be some exciting stuff to look forward to.

According to Boss Fight Studio, we’ll be seeing Virtuvian HACKS and Marauder Task Force figures on display (not for purchase), the first images of some upcoming Eagle Force product (Kickstarter incoming), and… for the first time ever… the Skeleton!

Check out the update below, and over on Facebook.

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PHEW!! Joe Con is right around the corner! Boss Fight is honored once again to have served as the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club weapon of choice in bringing new characters and sculpts to the modern era. Working with the Club’s concepts and ideas, BFS was happy to help bring five figures to the 2015 line up. The Club/BFS team worked on all the builds and designs together to bring you the best figures possible. Tiger Force Stalker, General Mayhem, Iron Anvil, & Metal Head from the exclusive Convention Set and Arctic Dr. Mindbender from the Club Membership exclusive.

So if your asking yourself “What am I doing April 9th – 12th?” The answer is that you’re coming to Joe Con in Springfield Illinois! Amongst the celebration of all things GI Joe…we’ll be there talking about toy design and showing off our upcoming Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. line. Come see the Marauder Task Force figures (From Marauder “Gun-Runners”), Original Sculpts, V-H.A.C.K.S. series 2, and the debut of Eagle Force! We’ll also be doing sketches and selling T-Shirts and Buttons.

Also for the first time ever…

Meet.
The.
SKELETON!!!

Transformers: Combiner Wars Quickslinger and Brake Neck Uncovered!

Yesterday I had excitedly posted about Hasbro’s tease for upcoming Combiner Wars figures Quickslinger and Brake Neck, otherwise known as Slingshot and Wildrider.

Well, shortly after that post, the reveals came via Facebook, and via official images (which I saw first on BWTF.com).

Indeed these two additions to the Combiner Wars armada are pretty fantastic, and make me even itchier for my Wave 2 Stunticons. As I mentioned yesterday, I have great fondness for these two particular gestalt teams…I love getting such an inspired and well crafted update.

Check out those images below.

So you think your Superion and Menasor are complete? Think again…

I know there aren’t many folks out there who already have the Wave 2 Stunticons, but even if you do, your Menasor will not be complete until Hasbro releases one more figure…  and for you Autobot fans who think they have a complete Superion with a helicopter as one of the limbs?  Not so fast my friends..

Yesterday, rumors broke at TFW2005 that price listings for two Combiner Wars figures appeared… Quickslinger and Brake Neck.  Now for folks like me who aren’t real in tune with the Transformers world yet, those names are meaningless.  But folks who know their Transformers stuff know that Quickslinger has been a replacement name for Slingshot and Brake Neck a substitute for Wildrider.

That’s right, those two missing members of your Aerialbots and Stunticons gestalts are confirmed to be coming soon from Hasbro!  Along with the rumored price list, the Transformers Facebook Page posted the following image:

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And by the sounds of it, they’re prepared to reveal more of those two characters.

Normally I’m not especially emotionally invested in specific Transformer characters, but Slingshot was the first Aerialbot I ever owned, and his absence on Superion has been missed.  I’m really happy to see it won’t be missed for much longer.

MattyCollector 200x Subscription GO!

Wow, how times have changed… I remember every single year rolling my eyes at those MattyCollector updates…at the thermometer gradually strolling upwards as the subscription period neared completion, thinking about what chumps Mattel was and the folks who hung on their every word.

Well, call me a chump.

I can’t quite explain it, but over the past 16 months, I’ve been captured by the MOTUC net and I was exceptionally excited to see the 200x Sub succeed, so I’ve been following along the whole way. To see it victorious today made me really, really happy.

These figures aren’t nostaliga triggering classics… they’re just a selection of amazing, bad ass looking action figures, and that’s enough to sell me. They’ll be perfect for anyone’s collection whether you’re a Masters of the Universe purist or a 200x afficianado. I’m glad to see the sub succeed, and I can’t wait to get my first figure in the mail.

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Transformers: Combiner Wars Blackjack

Yeah, I don’t even know who the heck Blackjack is (hint – it’s this guy), but once I started building Menasor I decided he looked incomplete enough that I needed to finish him off… so dammit Hasbro your “Combiner Wars” strategy just hooked me in.

Blackjack is a Legends scale Decepticon, a scale that doesn’t normally appeal to me, as I prefer to stick with Deluxe and above. In this case, though, I took the plunge, and I was exceptionally surprised by how much I love this toy.

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He looks really good in car mode, and even though he’ll be a little smaller than his Stunticon brothers he still blends in pretty well. His transformation is quick and easy, and the figure is really poseable, a fact that is a deal breaker to me with Transformers. One of the reasons I never really dove in head first to Transformers as a kid was that the stupid robots could barely move. I don’t have to worry about that these days (at least not much).

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Ball joints are prevalent everywhere on this figure, and he looks really great in all the various poses.  Shoulders are ball joints, hips are ball joints, neck is a ball joint, his flexibility is remarkable, and fun for a small guy like this.  There are great knee and elbow joints as well, only adding to his poseability.

But I got this toy for pretty much a singular purpose… he had to fit that vacant chest cavity on Menasor, and unfortunately he very nearly fails to do that single task. Because of the way the legs click together, that second hole is loose enough that Blackjack doesn’t stay real well where I want him to stay. Thanks to the immortal advice of my friend (and former Hasbro designer) Matt, I took some thin paper and filled the holes, then pressed Blackjack down onto the pegs, and he stays much better that way. Better enough that I’m happy with the way Menasor looks (even though he does basically just look like a full car is strapped to his chest) and don’t feel like Blackjack is going to come springing off at a moment’s notice.

I bought Blackjack for a very specific reason, and even though that reason needed a little encouragement, I found myself pretty happy with the figure over all. Both modes are a lot of fun, straight forward transformation, and just a great looking toy to boot.

Transformers: Combiner Wars Motormaster

I go through phases when it comes to my love affair with Transformers, and typically those phases follow along the track of a particular animated series. This started in the 90s with Beast Wars, then resumed with Transformers: Animated, then Transformers: Prime.

Interestingly, however, is that while I am once again aggressively buying retail Transformers, it’s not because of Robots in Disguise now, it’s because of Combiner Wars. No, there’s no cartoon to draw me into that universe, but I’ve always loved Combiners, and yes, I know Hasbro has done plenty of them in the past, but they’ve always seemed somewhat hacked together and an afterthought. I thought that maybe, just maybe, an entire line devoted to the combiner concept might get some of the ideas right.

Oh yeah. They did.

I hesitated to pick up Skydive a couple of weeks ago, using a gift card left over from Christmas, and I was immediately hooked. It was a great figure with a pretty basic transformation that functioned really well in both modes. Considering Superion was one of the only combiners I actually owned every piece of in my childhood, this was a no-brainer.

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But I just couldn’t leave Drag Strip on the pegs, and so once I got Drag Strip, I knew I’d get all the Stunticons, too, which was okay, because everyone knows that a Superion needs a Menasor. It’s just how it’s done.

I haven’t gotten my hands on any limbs beyond Drag Strip yet, but I picked up a Motormaster from Amazon and I have to say, he’s pretty awesome. I still use Classics Optimus Prime as my default Prime, so I felt no need to pick up the new Combiner Wars version. As such, Motormaster is a brand new experience for me, and even though he doesn’t very strongly resemble the full semi truck of the old days, he’s a great, fun toy nonetheless. He has his familiar new head, and just the right amount of scattered tooling changes to make him feel new, even if you have Optimus. Like the other Combiner Wars figures, his transformation isn’t overly complex, a fact that I love. I don’t want to have to have an engineering degree just to play with my toys.

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I love this figure in truck form and in robot form, and even though I only have one of his limbs, he looks good so far in Menasor torso mode, too.

Now, one thing I didn’t realize is that Menasor would look horrifically incomplete without Blackjack, leaving a large cavity in his chest, which didn’t look entirely right to me. But that will be the subject of a different review.

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I don’t always buy Transformers, so when I do, it’s because Hasbro is doing something right…normally it’s the aesthetics of the animation models that hook me, but this time it’s straight up awesome looking toys that did it, and I’m glad for it.

Menasor looks woefully incomplete and Motormaster stands somewhat alone at the moment, so I’ll be eagerly anticipating the other Stunticons to arrive.

Eagle Force Returns promises reveals at JoeCon

As we near summer, I get more and more excited about the upcoming Eagle Force and Captain Action Kickstarter, and each review from the Eagle Force Returns folks gets me even more amped up.

Over on their Facebook page, they’ve posted a really nice mock up of a postcard in the theme of the vintage cardback, and have also promised a pair of reveals at JoeCon 2015!

Two characters on the back of this cardback postcard are blurred out, Stryker, Jr and Fireball.

Back in the day, Fireball was a member of RIOT (though I believe in the midst of production his name was changed to Beta Man), and Stryker was a sharpshooter.  Going by the name “Stryker, Jr” it sounds like he may have an heir who is following in his footsteps.  Here are some original concepts for those two characters, from the always resourceful MegoMuseum.  The large card art for Stryker courtesy of Amazon.com.

 

Definitely some interesting source material there.  Check out the card backs below to see some great new concept artwork for Captain Eagle as well as the blurred out cardback for the reveals at JoeCon (once again, courtesy of the Eagle Force Returns Facebook Page):

Now, it would seem to me that they’re definitely using the second Fireball concept above as their source for whatever new designs they’re doing.  A short while ago they posted the following image on their  Facebook page as well, which you may recognize as the mask that is flipped up on top of Fireball’s head above:

Eagle-Force-Returns-Fireball-Mask

So some fun stuff to see for sure. Not only do we know Hasbro will be in attendance to reveal new product, but we should be hearing some Eagle Force news as well. Make sure you stay tuned here, too, as we’re going to post the What’s on Joe Mind interview with Bill and Craig from Fresh Monkey Fiction and Zica Toys, who will be revealing some terrific information about this upcoming Kickstarter!

Also keep watching EagleForceReturns.com and Eagle Force Returns on Facebook for more news and information.

Masters of the Universe Classics King Hiss

Like Snake Armor He-Man himself, this updated version of the Snake Men leader, King Hiss became a physical representation of the lurking evil in Eternia throughout the sinister second season of the 200x animated series.

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I’m uninitiated enough with Masters of the Universe that I was relatively unfamiliar with King Hiss as a character until I had seen him on the 200x animated series around ten years ago. Because of this, that was how I identified with the character, as the ancient king of snake people, almost Egyptian in nature, with broad shoulders, a long, angular face, and vicious clawed feet. I didn’t have any real attachment to the vintage version, so I skipped right over it, even as it was pretty readily accessible on the MattyCollector store.

But when I saw the two pack, I knew I wanted it. This was the King Hiss that I was familiar with, and even if this particular version of the figure couldn’t morph into a body of snakes, this was still the one I wanted.

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Once I got him in hand, I was not disappointed. Mattel uses a soft armor over his torso to bulk him up and give him the unique texture of his snakified skin, with a fantastic combination of greens for the uniform and pale, scaley flesh for his exposed skin. This looks like a horrid mutation of a man, a thin peel of skin just barely covering the slithering serpents underneath, which is an almost flawless representation of how he was portrayed in the MYP animated series. The uniform is spot on, right down to his sculpted bare feet with elongated claw toenails. The gold metallic headress and bracers are a very nice contrast to the green base color and red cloth around his waist, and I find myself really enjoying the way the colors all play off of each other.

The sculpting takes the animated look and transfers it to plastic exceptionally well, all the while maintaining that squat, familiar Masters of the Universe aesthetic. It’s pretty amazing.

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King Hiss comes with the shield and snake staff (but no alternate snake body) and looks just as threatening and imposing as he did in the animated series. A great foil for He-Man, and part of a great representation of the 200x series in a single two pack. As we stand on the precipice of the first full blown 200x mini subscription, it seems appropriate that this two-pack kicks off the spring buying season.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Art Book – Pre-Order it now!

I was vaguely interested in this book even before I was re-captivated by Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line.  But now, that I’m even more into the great history of MOTU, yeah, this is a no brainer.

Check out the trailer for the art book below, and pre-order your copy on Amazon for a late April release.  This looks fantastic.