29 March 2011

Heavy hittin' acquisitions over the weekend

I'm still in shock. 

So, I'm not going to say too much other than I picked these up over the weekend from my usual rock-solid G1 shop in YMT (Henkeis from somewhere else). All of these he kept exclusively for me, so was never displayed on the store front although the stock has been there for a week.

Ok, will let the pictures do that talking...

27 March 2011

How to tell if your Goodbye Megatron giftset is genuine/original?

Continued from the previous post here - Japanese Exclusive, 1986 vintage, Goodbye Megatron giftset.

*updated 3 April 2011*

Over the years, there have been much discussion and sometimes debate over this issue - How do you tell if a Goodbye Megatron giftset is genuine/original? Before we embark on the answers to this question, I'd like to briefly summarise what exactly the Goodbye Megatron giftset is.

This is the Goodbye Megatron giftset:

It was released by Takara in 1986, during the cinematic run of Transformers: The Movie ("TFTM"; this is the animated one from 1986, not to be confused with the 2007/ 2009/ 2011 Transformers live-action movies directed by Michael Bay), to 'commemorate' the death of Megatron in TFTM. This giftset was released by Takara exclusively for the Japanese market and not released in countries outside of Japan. Hence, its rarity. Together with the Goodbye Convoy giftset (which commemorated the death of Optimus Prime in TFTM), the Goodbye Megatron giftset is one of the twin crowning gems in any serious collectors of early year Transformers from '84-'86 years.

The giftset consists of 2 figures: Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons up untill his death in TFTM, and Starscream, Megatron's treacherous lieutenant who betrayed him in TFTM. This is how the inside of the Goodbye Megatron set looks:

Now, back to the main question of "How do you tell if a Goodbye Megatron giftset is genuine/original?"

"Well, if the toys are produced by Hasbro or Takara, are date stamped as such, and they are not KOs, then it'd be genuine", a casual collector may say. Sounds right?

Yes and no. Yes the toys may be genuine because they are produced by Takara/Hasbro, but also no, because they may not be those that originally came with the Goodbye Megatron giftset. The latter is the key aspect that collectors of this very expensive set is likely to be predominantly concerned with.

This 'originality' issue arises because the Goodbye Megatron giftset consists of 2 figures (Megatron and Starscream), both of which has seen a number of vintage releases and have also been reissued by either Takara or Hasbro numerous times since the early 2000s (for example, the following reissues on their surface and from appearances are near to exact dead-ringers with the figures from the Goodbye Megatron giftset: (1) "Megaplex Megatron" reissued by eHobby/Takara December 2002; (2) "22 - Starscream" released by Takara in July 2001; (3) Starscream reissued by Hasbro in February 2003; (4) "TFC-09: Starscream" reissued by Takara in June 2003; and (5) "Encore Starscream" reissued by Takara in August 2007). This means that a person with an incomplete Goodbye Megatron giftset could substitute parts and/or the entire figure/s, that are actually reissues, into the box and attempt to sell off the set as 'mint and complete' to an unsuspecting and ill-informed collector.

Seeing that this set is already worth USD$400+ in 1999 (according to Alvarez) and I have seen it Japan in February 2011 going for as much as ¥69,000 (approx USD$850), there is a lot of incentive for unscrupulous sellers to peddle off seemingly complete and mint Goodbye Megatron giftsets by inserting reissues in place of either missing figures or missing parts.

The issue with reissues
The key issue with reissues is of course that reissues are toys that are reproduced to look like the originals (albeit by the same company and copyright owner of the original toys). Reissues are not counterfeit toys, they are not knock-offs, but they are just not the original toys that came with the Goodbye Megatron set. Oh, and they are worth a lot less. One can buy a reissue Megatron for USD$60-70 and a reissue Starscream for USD$25-35.

If an unscrupulous seller puts reissues in place of the originals in a Goodbye Megatron giftset, an unaware collector would in essence by paying approximately USD$745, just for the pleasure of the box and the styrofoam insert!!! (assuming Goodbye Megatron giftset costs USD$850, then minus USD$70 and minus USD$35 = USD$745)

Should you be concerned?

Again, yes and no. If you bought your Goodbye Megatron set before the year 2000, then you can be fairly certain (although not 100%; see below), that the figures in the set are those that it originally came packaged with. However, if you bought your Goodbye Megatron set after the year 2000, then there could be genuine concerns regarding the originality of the figures.

Figure 1 - Starscream
I would like to talk about Starscream. I initially thought that Starscream was a simple issue to dispense with. On further research (pursuant to my update on 3 April 2011), I have revised my opinion. Starscream is actually quite complex as well. What strikes me as strange though, is that there is no separate listing for the Goodbye version of Starscream on Fred's Variants page, which is the holy bible for distingishing between Transformer variants. Until Fred updates his page, I guess the below might be as good as it gets (with the disclaimer that I'm nowhere near as good as Fred!).

First, this is a photo of the Goodbye version of Starscream.

These are the Starscream releases that we are interested to distinguish between:
  1. the "first" version of Starscream, released in a USA box in 1984, also called the pre-rub version ("Pre-rub Starscream");
  2. the "second" version of Starscream, released in a USA box in late 1984 and throughout 1985, also called the rub-sign version (let's call it the "1985 Starscream" because all versions subsequent to this one comes with rub-signs); 
  3. the Japanese box rub-sign version released in 1985, also known as the Japanese box "D-22: Starscream" (accordingly to Transformers Generations 2009, this version is identical to the second version Starscreams, so I'll also call this "1985 Starscream"). 
  4. the "third" version of Starscream is the one that came with the Goodbye Megatron giftset in 1986 ("Goodbye version Starscream"); and 
  5. any reissue releases of Starscreams since 1999 ("reissue Starscreams").
I recently translated the below write up about Starscream from Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 2), which lists all different variants of Starscream in very great detail.

This is what the text above says (far as I can tell): "The construction of the Goodbye version Starscream is based on the 1985 Starscream, but once again the fist holes for the Goodbye version Starscream has been amended to match the Pre-rub Starscream - they are rounded. Other than that, to prevent wear and tear during play, the pin that connects the body with the plane nosecone has been made thicker (and with additional molded reinforcement). [text not relevant to our discussion]. While the 'third version' of Starscream was initially released with the Goodbye Megatron giftset, all subsequent releases of Starscream are based on this version."

I will run through the above with descriptions and pictures below.

Let's deal with the easiest issue first - reissue Starscreams versus the Starscreams in bullet points (1) - (4). Simply put, all reissue Starscreams up to this point is made in China, but all the vintage ones were made in Japan.  A reissue Starscream's date stamp will say "Hasbro 1980, 1983; (some Japanese words); and Takara Co. Ltd 1980, 1983; CHINA". A reissue Starscream's date stamp would not say "JAPAN" anywhere.

The issue that remains is how to distinguish between the Starscreams in bullet points (1), (2+3) and (4).

[A] Date Stamp
  • Pre-rub Starscream - will not have the word "Hasbro" anywhere in its date stamp.
  • 1985 Starscream and Goodbye version Starscream - there will have a date stamp at the side of its left leg that says "Hasbro 1980, 1983; (some Japanese words); and Takara Co. Ltd 1980, 1983; JAPAN". According to Transformers Generations 2009 (vol 1), the fonts between the 1985 Starscream and Goodbye version Starscream are different. I really cannot tell, but just compare with the photo below of a Goodbye version Starscream.

[B] Nosecone reinforcement at collarbone/shoulder area
  • Pre-rub Starscream - no reinforcement (compare pictures below).
  • 1985 Starscream - no reinforcement (compare pictures below).
  • Goodbye version Starscream - has reinforcement (compare pictures below).
This is a photo from Transformers Generations 2009 (vol 1) showing a 1985 Starscream, which is similar to a Pre-rub Starscream in this respect - there is no reinforcement at the collarbone/ shoulder area.

This is a photo of the Goodbye version Starscream - the sliver sword is pointing at the reinforcement for the collarbone/ shoulder area.

[C] Fist holes

The 'fist holes' are found at the back of the fist (ie: I'm not talking about the peg holes in fists for holding guns, seeker fists do not have these anyway).
  • Pre-rub Starscream - round fist holes.
  • 1985 Starscream - square fist holes.
  • Goodbye version Starscream - round fist holes, which according to Transformers Generations 2009 (vol 1) are identical to a Pre-rub Starscream's.

[D] Missiles

This I'm not 100% certain. My suspicions are that since the Goodbye version of Starscream is the 'final' release of Starscream (at the time), it was sort of a 'premium' version. So premium that all the missiles did not come on sprues (or a 'tree' as some would have it). Instead the missiles all came either beautifully pre-cut or right out of molds that did not involve sprues.

I suspect the above is true because my Goodbye version Starscream's missiles comes so clean of any trace that they could have been cut from a sprue that I think it is how they were originally released. Like I said, I'm not 100% sure. But look at the pictures and judge for yourself.

(I should also mention that the short missiles have the number "11" stamped into them).

[E] Tailfins

Again, I have no idea whether these would be different, but I have seen enough Starscreams to know that tailfin molding could be different. I include the following pictures for reference in case you need to ID them.

[F] Red colouration

Another possible way to tell the difference between Starscream versions is the red colouration of the body. However, this is very subtle and is very difficult to compare using photos. Anyway, I have provided a Goodbye Megatron Starscream body shot for comparison, but I doubt it would help much.

So that's Starscream. Now onto Megatron!

Figure 2 - Megatron
Then, we get to the gem in this set - Megatron.

Megatron is easier. There are a few tell-tale signs that when used collectively, can aid in distinguishing the Goodbye Megatron from other Megatrons. 

[1] Firstly, the Goodbye Megatron is grey, not chrome-silver like all the other vintage releases and reissues of Megatron. We are most interested in distinguishing between the following releases of Megatron, all of which are grey: 
  1. the 1985 Japanese exclusve D-16: Megatron ("D-16");
  2. the 1985 Japanese exclusive VSX giftset ("VSX Megatron");
  3. the 1986 Japanese exclusive Goodbye Megatron giftset ("Goodbye Megatron"); and
  4. the 2002 eHobby reissue "Megaplex" Megatron ("Megaplex"). 
These above are the 3 figures you want to distinguish your Goodbye Megatron from.

[2] The other side of the Megatron gun should say the below. 
  • D-16 and VSX Megatron = should say the same thing
  • Megaplex Megatron = would have different date stamps (ie: the year should be different) and should say "China" instead of "Japan" 

[3] Goodbye Megatron comes with an attachment piece for the Scope/ Fusion Cannon as below. 
  • D-16 release =  does not have this attachment but will have the screw hole on side of the gun to accommodate this attachment (probably because it was molded from the pre-Transformers MC-13: U.N.C.L.E. version of "Megatron")
  • VSX and Megaplex releases = identical to the photo below

[4] Bottom of the handle (or back of Goodbye Megatron's feet), should look like the picture below. 
  • D-16 Megatron = looks the same as the pic below
  • All other releases of Megatron, including including pre-Transformers, vintage and reissues = will have molding for the attachment of a butt stock. 

[5] Insides of the legs and arms of Megatron. 
  • Goodbye Megatron = red insides
  • D-16 Megatron = blue insides
  • VSX Megatron = blue insides
  • Megaplex Megatron = blue insides
  • All other releases of Megatron, including pre-Transformers, vintage and reissues = red insides

Notes: The very common misconception is that since the box art of Goodbye Megatron shows blue insides, the Goodbye Megatron toy must also have blue insides - this-is-incorrect. Goodbye Megatron = red insides. This has been confirmed by collectors on TFW such as Puffmarko who has owned a Goodbye Megatron since time immemorial (ok, I kid, but these guys have owned this set since way way before the reissues). See discussion here.

[6] One side of the Megatron gun should say "M.C. 12.13". I believe that the D-16, VSX Megatron and releases say the same thing, but I cannot be sure whether the Megaplex release is identical.

[7] This is how the pin on Goodbye Megatron's left arm looks. I'm told that there are differences, but I am not aware of how to distinguish them.

[8] This is how the head of Goodbye Megatron. I'm told that there are differences in terms of the paint for the eye colour, but again, I am not aware of how to distinguish them.

There is no one single best way to tell if your Megatron is the "Goodbye" version of Megatron, but through a combination of the above identifying techniques, a collector should be able to distinguish between a Goodbye Megatron and the other 3 key figures it is likely to be mixed up with. However, that is not to say that a person owning a few Megatrons, including the above 3 figures cannot mix and match the parts to assemble a "Goodbye Megatron" that fits all the criteria above.

Therefore, in addition to checking all the above, it'd be sensible for a collector to also check for signs of tampering (not an easy thing to do, I know). With the above in mind, my one recommendation is this - if you are about to sink a significant amount of money into a Goodbye Megatron giftset, you should at the very least afford yourself the opportunity to physically inspect the set and satisfy yourself as to all the above. If you are buying from overseas and cannot physically inspect the set and all its contents, the risk of you getting a 'cobbled' together set consisting of a mix and match of parts and a possibly cobbled together Megatron, increases exponentially.

Extra - Paperworks
If you require your Goodbye Megatron giftset to, in what is commonly known in some collecting circles, be 101% complete, these are the paperworks that it should come with:
  1. Destron Heroes Poster (perhaps the single most important thing in a Goodbye Megatron giftset and the one thing is most commonly missing is this poster, which features art of all Japanese released Decepticons from the year 1984 to 1986).
  2. Goodbye set coupon (this is exclusive to the Goodbye Megatron and Goodbye Convoy giftsets and also an item that is commonly missing).
  3. "16 - Megatron" instruction and sticker sheets (this is similar to the instruction sheet that came with the 1984/85 release of 16 - Megatron).
  4. "22 - Starscream" instruction and sticker sheets (this is similar to the instruction sheet that came with the 1984/85 release of 22 - Starscream).
  5. Tech Spec decoder.
  6. S.T.A.R.S. and other mail-away order catalogue.
  7. Transformers 1986 catalogue.
  8. White postcard (no idea what this is but all Japanese released Transformers has this).
Photo showing paperworks items 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Photo showing paperworks items 2, 7 and 8

Photo showing a close up of the "Goodbye" coupon

Ensure that the little piece of styrofoam on your Goodbye Megatron giftset is not broken off. Like the USA boxed Megatron, the little piece of styro at the top is the first to go for callous collectors handling this gem.

I hope the above helps. 

If you know any of the above to be erroneous, please, please, do contact me as quickly as you can so that I can fix it.

Many thanks!

~ HD

26 March 2011

Transformers United Wave 4 is here!

Just got a call last night to inform me that Transformers United Wave 4 will hit HK today.

United Wave 4 consists of Wheeljack, Scourge, Rumble & Frenzy pack and Optimus Prime (G2). I don't really want want G2 Prime, but am just getting it as a whole set nonetheless. Support my local seller who has been so good to me.

I wonder if its going to be as crazy as the previous Wave.

Will update again tonight. Now, I just need my weekend pancakes...

~ HD

22 March 2011

Link to Unreal Books

Heroic Decepticon.com is now linked to Unreal Books - by link, I mean a 'link' in internet/webpage terms rather than a partnership or other legal-ly type arrangement; ie: heroic decepticon is on Unreal Books' link list.

Unreal Books is a good resource not just for books, but for very Transformers focused cells, prints, art, sketches and commissions. There are even dedicated sections for "Limited Edition Prints" and to "Order you own commissions".

It is certainly worthwhile checking this treasure-trove out. You might just find the unexpected Transformer goodie. Bah-weep-ga-na-wee-ni-ni-bong!

I have also inserted a permanent link to Unreal Books on the right hand sidebar under the "The Spacebridge" links sections.

~ HD

18 March 2011

Off to Singapore for the weekend!

Boarding a plane in an hour. 

Heroic Decepticon is going back home for the weekend.

I am excited to be catching up with some local collectors who are also on TFW 2005.

Let's see what surprises this trip turns up in terms of Transformers!

~ HD

Featured on Transformers Characters.net

A bit ago, the webmaster of Transformers Characters.net approached me and talked about doing a feature of this site on his site.

I thought it would be a great idea, since we all share a passion for them robots-in-disguise. What's not to like? So, I quickly said 'yes'. For the feature, the webmaster selected a number of photos from my site, shrunk them to thumbnails and showed them by-way-of-introduction to the pieces that I have.

I like the selection of photos. Quite unbeknownst to him (or perhaps he knows!), the photos represent a good spread and are representative of key points in time of my collection, chronologically that is. For example, some shots were from the really early days, as early as 1987! Some from my collection 'renaissance' days in the 1999 to 2002 period in Singapore; then the Australia period and so on.

I can tell also, that the webmaster is passionate about the early G1 years because not all the photos selected were of the 'coveted rare Japanese exclusive' toys. I particularly appreciated the selection of (1) the photo of the Stunticons lined up against the Teletraan-1 background; (2) the shot of the Decepticon Triple Changers with their boxes in the background (I went to such great lengths to find a MIB Octane to complete this trio!); and (3) the shot of the six 'standard size' Autobot Pretenders. These are not rare, but certainly close to heart.

Then, there were other shots.

Well, don't just take my word for it, head over to Transformers Characters.net and check it out the post for yourself now - Featured Transformers Collection: Heroic Decepticon’s US & Japanese G1 Collection.

13 March 2011

Transformers, 1987, D-98: Sixshot MIB

He's been called many things in his time - "The Decepticon Six-changer", "S.T.A.G." (ie: Solo Transformer Assault Group), the "Decepticon Ninja Warrior", a "Phase-Sixer", "a Living Weapon" and "Guardian", (that's six things!) - his name is Sixshot.

Sixshot was released as part of USA Series 4 and Japanese Transformers: Headmasters, in 1987. Out of all the 'masters' like Headmasters or Targetmasters and 'Scramble City' teams or other releases with a defined sub-group, Sixshot was unique - he was just an odd one out toy with no other members in his sub-group ("Six-changer") and no Autobot counterpart until Quickswitch came along in 1988. Sixshot's counterpart in Japan is Sixknight from the 1988 Transformers Masterforce series. Unlike a good number of US released figures post 1987, Sixshot was still Sixshot in Japanese continuity and did not receive a recolour and did not become a 'different' character.

Among the 1987 line up, Sixshot also subtly unique because he is one of the very few toys of that year to have chrome. Before 1987, almost every Transformer figure had some part that was chromed. In 1987, figures which had chrome were far and few between, Sixshot was one of them. Other figures that had chrome included Hot Rod (chrome engine block), Mindwipe (chrome circles on arms), Overkill & Slugfest (chrome weapons), Scorponok (chrome leg pads) and Weirdwolf & Skullcruncher (very minor chrome on largely unchromed parts).

Back in the G1 days, Sixshot was a relatively minor character in US Season 4 and then in Transformers: Headmasters. Yeah, he was pretty badass and even killed Ultra Magnus in Headmasters, but he really did not come into the limelight until the Furman-verse early days of the IDW Transformers comics.

In the Transformers: Devastation arc, we begin to see just how seriously the Autobots (and Decepticons) have to take Sixshot. In Last Stand of the Wreckers, we see that he is one of 3 Decepticons that are so powerful, they are only to be unleashed in 'Phase Six', the final stage of Megatron's 'Six-Stage Infiltration Protocol'.

I love the Sixshot characterisation in the IDW comics. Here are some of my favourite Sixshot lines.

"I am Sixshot. I was made to destroy. Controlled carnage and detached devastation define my existence." - Transformers Spotlight: Sixshot

"Just point me and pull the trigger..." - Sixshot to Megatron in Transformers: Devastation #1

"You don't get it, do you? I could do this all day. It's what I was built for. It's all I was built for." - Sixshot to Optimus Prime, while he was taking on almost the entire crew of Autobots from the Ark-19 (Transformers: Devastation #4)

And, this is my all time favourite Sixshot quote from Transformers: Devastation #4:

"Much as I applaud your efforts to do me harm... I should point out that my armature was forged from metals drawn from the compacted subatomic matter of a collapsed star... and my power core is a self-regenerating dark matter fission cell, hermatically sealed. Oh, and I'm very fast... and very strong..." - Sixshot to the Autobot crew of the Ark-19 while he was kicking them to kingdom come.

It is no wonder then, that the prices for Sixshot toys, even the reissues, sky-rocketed following the release of IDW's Transformers: Devastation. The eBay prices for Sixshots are in the region of US$200 to $250 nowadays and oddly, the reissues are thereabout the same in terms of price. While US boxed Sixshots are not very rare (just quite expensive), the Japanese release of Sixshot is a tad rarer. This release was exactly the release I acquired on 4 March 2011.

Here are pictures of this very minty and largely untouched piece, sure to be among one of the gems in my collection.

D-98: Sixshot MIB
Box = C7.5 to C8 (some light wear)
Toy = C9.5 (appears to never have been transformed)
Paperworks = complete, stickers unapplied

Decepticon Ninja Warrior

Takara, 1987, Made in Japan

Top and bottom of box

Back of box

Tech Specs. This is one of the key differences between a reissue Sixshot box and a vintage Sixshot box - the reissue does not have tech specs.

Sixshot is worth 4 Robot Points...

... and used to cost ¥3980 (which was a lot of money back in 1987, being approximately SGD$100)

Sixshot out of box (the other thing the reissue Sixshot didn't have was of course the styrofoam tray)

Close up of paperworks

Unused sticker sheet

Unused/unopened instructions

Bio card

Untouched (and probably never before transformed) Sixshot in snowy white styrofoam tray

10 March 2011

Hong Kong Market Watch - Mong Kok and YMT

I had to head to Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok today to pass some toys to my friend. Ended up walking around and had Beard Papa too. That was refreshing.

Richmond Centre is all out of Generations Wave 7. None left. Not even the HKD$268/300 Generations Wheeljacks. Amazing. There are one or 2 random pieces, but really nothing to call home about.

CTMA Building, what can I say. This place was the rage back then, but really as good as useless for TFs nowadays. It's full of those 'capsule' type shops each with random articles of things for sale inside. Boring, really, from a Transformers perspective.

Sino Centre - oh gosh, I just realised that I plain missed walking into this place today. Heh. What the hell.

Inn's Point, currently the hot favourite place for toy hunting. Best selection of shops by far. There were some Henkeis in this capsule shop there, prices are not really attractive though - Henkei Starscream (HKD$560), Henkei Hot Rod (HKD$1680!) and a few other not really noteworthy Henkeis. 

What was note-worthy here, today, is a shop on the first floor - selling complete sets of Generations Wave 7. Yes, the Generations Wave 7... at HKD$550 for the entire set. Whoa, cavemen discovering fire all over again. It's interesting to note that the shop was willing to sell pieces separately, but it will cost more. A separate Wheeljack costs HKD$268; Thundercracker HKD$198; Kup HKD$148; and Scourge HKD$148. Might as well just buy the whole wave for HKD$550 I say. Anyway, that was interesting at least.

On the second floor, there was a shop that was flooded with Henkeis. Yup, flooded. Far as I could tell, there were the following Henkeis - Hound, Sideswipe, Prowl, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Ramjet, Dirge, Thrust. Guy also has the entire set of MOSC Classics 2.0 for sale. Very impressive.

That's today.

Time to play with my Henkeis now...

09 March 2011

If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing (Part 3) - Henkei-s

Ok, this happened yesterday night. 

Like a caveman discovering fire, I discovered that this shop that was only 2 minutes away from where I lived, has a stash of Henkeis, case-fresh-Henkeis.

I walk past this place every other day when I come back from work. After a few trips into the shop in the past months, I decided that there was nothing in there that I am interested in. Walked in with E on the Sunday that just passed and 'lo and behold, there was a stash of Henkeis there - at least 5-6 different characters from the early Henkei days, all case fresh, MOSC, untouched (and obviously unloved since no one bought them).

The real kicker? The shop was giving a 20% discount for purchases over HKD$500 and 30% discount for purchases over HKD$1000. 

For the fun of it, I went back yesterday and bought out all-the-Henkeis-the-shop-had, all. And got the full 30% discount on each piece too.

If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

08 March 2011

Hong Kong Market Watch - Transformers United and Generations Wave 7

The state of the toy market here is just crazy. Crazy in terms of price but also crazy vibrant.

Example 1:
2 weeks ago, Transformers United Wave 3 was released - Perceptor, Kup, Blurr and Wreck Gar. There were at least 15 people waiting at the store before the stock arrived. When the stock arrived, they each stood there for the next 30 minutes trying to find that 'perfect' piece. It was selling for HKD$700 for the set, comes with 2 Jap exclusive Targetmasters (ie: HKD$175/pc).

At another shop not 5 minutes away, one set was selling for HKD$800, comes with 1 free Jap exclusive Targetmaster (ie: HKD$200/pc). 

A week later (meaning last week), each piece of this Wave was selling for HKD$230. Also Blurr and Wreck Gar could no longer be found even if one wanted to pay for it.

This week, the only pieces that I see from this Wave is Kup and its going for something close to HKD$250-280. United Jazz and Tracks, from the previous Wave are have already breached the HKD$300 mark. 

So in 2 weeks, the price has approximately jumped from HKD$175 to HKD$250, an almost 60% increase. And one cannot even find these if they wanted to. 

Crazy huh?

Example 2:
Thursday: Transformers Generations Wave 7 (Wheeljack, Thundercracker, Scourge and Kup) was released last Thursday (more or less). HobbyBase was selling each set for HKD$499, a pretty reasonable price, at approximately HKD$120 per piece.

Friday: On the very next day, the shops at Richmond Centre were selling a set for HKD$650. Want to just buy Thundercracker? Sure, that's HKD$168. Want to just buy Wheeljack? Sure, that's HKD$188. Otherwise, this Wave was more of less sold out in the YMT, Mong Kok and Wan Chai area.

Saturday: This was a slightly better day, managed to secure a few Wheeljacks and Thundercrackers from the Causeway Bay TRU at 'retail price', soon to be an anachronism in the Hong Kong of today.

Tuesday (today): Walked around the entire Wan Chai area (ie about 10 shops). Again, no Generations Wave 7 for retail price. Wheeljacks for HKD$300 and Thundercracker for HKD$199. 

So in less than a week, the price for Thundercracker has approximately jumped from HKD$120 to HKD$199 - a 65.8% increase, in 5 days! For Wheeljack, the price has gone from HKD$120 to HKD$300 - a 150% increase, in 5 days!!!

Like the guy in 300 said "This is madness!"

07 March 2011

Generations Wheeljack is an exceptional toy

I got my Generations Wheeljack on the Friday that just past. Then on Saturday, I bought another 2 more because it is such an impressive toy.

I initially didn't expect it to be so impressive because: 
  • this is a Hasbro release and in recent years, the Hasbro releases were usually inferior to the Takara releases;
  • this is supposed to be white and Hasbro usually makes them in an unattractive shade of white (take Reveal the Shield Jazz for example); and
  • Wheeljack is based on the Tracks mold, which I found okay, but not impressive, certainly not exceptional.
I opened Wheeljack on Saturday and was blown away literally.

It is a great toy in itself, but the parts of the design that were tributes to G1 were unmistakable. While similar with the Tracks mold, it was not exactly alike - there are molding and engineering differences, for example for the lower legs.

What's so exceptional about Generations Wheeljack? 
  • For once, Hasbro didn't screw up the colour scheme. The colours are pretty spot on with G1 Wheeljack and the white is actually a snowy type white instead of the dirty off white, of say, Reveal the Shield Jazz.
  • Head-sculpt is spot on with G1 Wheeljack. One way that Takara may improve this for the United release is to give him blue eyes using blue plastic light-piping and extend the blue plastic to his head side fins (since these glow blue when Wheeljack talks). Don't really mind the greyish colour of the Hasbro release because it just appears like Wheeljack is not talking.
  • While the mold is similar with Tracks, you can actually transform Wheeljack to look like his G1 counterpart - remolded wings to look like G1 Wheeljack, wheels on the arms can be turned sideways to more accurately mirror G1 (for Tracks, the wheels can be made to face front to mirror his G1 transformation, brilliant design here), bonnet of car is covering Wheeljack's lower legs in robot mode, just like his G1 Transformation. This design, just works and works so well for Tracks and Wheeljack).
  • The car body kit, especially the body kit for the front of the car, is very reminiscent of G1 Wheeljack's Lancia Stratos Turbo vehicle mode.
  • The missile launcher which is the 'gun' for Tracks can actually be mounted on Wheeljack's shoulder and its spot on with his "magnetic inducer" from G1 continuity (see the Desertion of the Dinobots espisode).
  • Hasbro also outdid themselves with all the fine touches - for example, the part of Wheeljack's wings which are formed by the car doors is painted silver, like the wing extension, so they look like contiguous wings. This is unlike United Tracks which did not have paint applications on the inside part of the door and looks like he just has a very short white wings (being just the white wing extensions) instead of a long wings that connects all the way to his back.
Wheeljack in car mode - the paint apps are stunning, for a Hasbro release.

Wheeljack in robot mode

Wheeljack compared with his Hard Hero bust which I regard as one of the most G1 accurate sculpts of Wheeljack (actually, Hard Hero busts are very G1 accurate across all the characters they released).

Wheeljack joins the Autobots!

Wheeljack as part of the Autobot Medical and Science team, with Autobot leader Optimus Prime.

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