30 June 2011

Thursday night shopping...

Tomorrow is a public holiday here in HK.

Decided to do some shopping after work today. Went to the Causeway Bay comic shops... I needed my dose of Superman/Batman, its been too long.

Managed to pick up some very nice things...

  1. Superman/Batman: Big Noise
  2. Superman/Batman: Worship
  3. Transformers: Vault (slipcase edition)
  4. Diamond Select Juggernaut figure
Man, I just love the Juggernaut design. Liked this guy ever since I read Amazing Spider-Man #229 and #230 when I was young. They knew how to write stories back then.

I think this is more the size that Juggernaut should be. This figure is a lot bigger and taller and heavier than the Marvel Legends Juggernaut that E bought for me (here and here).

Close up shot.

29 June 2011

I am watching Dark of the Moon in 3 hours

Ho hum.

I am watching Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon in 3-D IMAX in 3 hours' time.

That's a mouth full of 3s.

Ho hum.

26 June 2011

HK Market Watch - C-114 and 2 pieces of C-311... Fortress Maximii

I wandered past my usual G1 toy shop today and what a shocker to see what they have in stock.

C-114: Fortress Maximus and 2 pieces of C-311: Grand Maximus, all looking like they are in at least C8  condition and very pristine (on the face of the boxes).

Man, this is crazy.

What is crazier is that the shop owner told me that the 2 pieces of C-311 are meant to be sold as a set, together! 



What's nuttier is that he's asking for only slightly above half of what these gems usually go for on eBay (and I'll bet the ones on eBay are in worse condition than these).

Since I already have multiple pieces of this mold, I wasn't too interested to look inside. But knowing the reputation of this shop, I'd expect that the contents are also top-notch.

There were other things like a MISB individual boxed Abomunis set, vintage Predaking giftset, Goodbye Megatron giftset, 2 sets of C-347, 348, 349 unused (ie: Big Powered), etc, etc.

PS: I know the shop-owner very well and did have permission to snap those pictures. =)

PPS: Before anyone asks, no, I will not pick up a Maximus for you. Reason is, its too large, I don't have space and I have no idea how to ship something this large overseas. Sorry.

25 June 2011

The full story (Part 3) - So rare they ought to be extinct

If you would recall from the previous chapter (link above), the deal for Marlboor Wheeljack was worked out on 28/29 May 2011, with payment made from the buyer to me on 29 May 2011.

I said that I got cash and value out of the deal - the value of course, coming in the form of the blue Bluestreak. 

I actually got more value than that.

Due some silly circumstances, there was actually a ridiculous situation going on in the background - at these crucial few days in time, I actually needed the substantial amount of cash from the Marlboor deal to pay for another deal that I negotiated(!)


  • 19 April 2011 - I thought I was being scammed on PayPal because they suddenly gave me $15 free. I took the precaution of changing my password and delinking the one and only credit card I had on file with them (I don't see why I should have placed more than one credit card with them and put myself at further risk, by the by).
  • 20 May 2011 (Sat) - Travelled to Osaka ad hoc to search for Dino-cassettes.
  • 23 May 2011 (Mon) - This was my last day in Osaka. I used my credit card (same one I delinked from PayPal) for my final raid, buying such delicacies as Marlboor Wheeljack and God Primus.
  • 25 May 2011 (Wed) - Due to the amounts spent in a day, in a foreign country, my bank thought I was being scammed or that there was fraudulent activity going on. So, they called me up and said that they have (unilaterally) cancelled my card and will reissue a new one to me, within a week. Negotiations re Marlboor Wheeljack starts today.
  • 26 May 2011 (Thurs) - Night - after about 2+ days of negotiation, I finally worked out a deal for the 4 dino-cassettes with a UK seller (he was selling on eBay, individually and I had to convince him that it was a good idea to sell to me and to list them in the 1 auction for me to buy-it-now; it wasn't easy, trust me). I needed to pay. The amount is in the thousands of dollars range. I didn't have enough cash in PayPal and needed to draw on my credit card which would ordinarily be fine, but for the fact that in my infinite wisdom I have delinked about a month ago and to add insult to injury was now also cancelled by the bank.
  • 27 May 2011 (Friday) - Because of the how risk adverse I am, I only have one credit card, that's it (so sue me). It's now cancelled and I don't have any other credit card to link it to PayPal. Spent the whole morning in discussions with E and against my preference, she said I should use her credit card(s) to link to PayPal and pay. So, fine, linked her credit cards to PayPal. BUT, PayPal has this verification process where they charge the card and then you verify by keying in the code from the charge. Sounds easy? NO! E had to fly off on that day, late afternoon for an all weekend conference overseas - ie: there is no way for me to get the code from her over the next 2 days once she flies off. The clock was ticking. Somehow, I needed to pay and soon.
  • 28 May 2011 (Sat) - It was now the weekend. Can't even get the bank to help me with the credit card issues. I concluded the Marlboor negotiations deep into the morning today (ie: 4am on Sunday morning). Buyer wanted to pay to secure Marlboor, but I was just too tired to the point of falling asleep on my computer chair. I could not properly generate an invoice for him to pay.
  • 29 May 2011 (Sun) - I am now almost 4 days out from the time I should have paid for the 4 dino-cassettes. I had errands to run and was out of the apartment from morning till about 4pm - ie: no chance to do an invoice for Marlboor Wheeljack. Finally managed to do the invoice in the evening and then cross fingers that the buyer would pay soon because I promised the UK seller that I would pay for the dino-cassettes latest by Monday (and I have great fears that he might just sell them to someone else). Seriously stressful.
  • 30 May 2011 (Mon) - Marlboor buyer paid early in the morning. I then quickly paid for the dino-cassettes and breathed a sign of relieve.
It was a damn circus.

But, like I said, I did get more value out of the Marlboor deal and the buyer's timely payment than just the blue Bluestreak.

While I paid on 30 May, the dino-cassette seller did not manage to ship them out all the way till 4 June 2011. That's a week delay, but that's fine.

He shipped express from UK, so I was told to expect them around 7 June 2011 (Tues). The tracking records did disclose that they have arrived in HK on 7 June, but somehow, they got stuck in customs (for no apparent reason) and did not get delivered to me (at my office).

On 10 June 2011 (Fri), they were still not delivered. I was very concerned. I actually called up HK Post and submitted an email query to check what was happening. This was the first time ever in my 12 years of collecting that I have been this worried about a figure in transit - all of the other times, I won't even bother keying in the tracking number to verify progress. I just took a "it will get here when it gets here" approach.

This was different. I was worried.

Friday, 10 June 2011, still no delivery. 

13 June 2011, Monday morning - I got a call from HK Post to say that they tried to deliver the parcel on Saturday, but there was no one at the office to receive it (office not open on Saturdays), and they will 'try' to deliver it again on that day.

I was just in a tangle by this point.

Fortunately, in mid afternoon, reception called to ask me to sign for the parcel.

Whew. What a roller-coastal ride. It's a very strange set of events. On the one hand, it seemed that the stars favoured me, but on the other hand, there seems to be an equal and opposite force that was working to make things difficult.

So glad that I finally managed to obtain my 4 little holy grails (and really just in the nick of time before the damnable KOs are released, after which I would never dare to buy these for fear of them being KOs.)

Here are some photos.

More photos and write ups of the dino-cassettes to follow of course.

But wait, during Part 2, I said "6 exquisite acquisitions". The dino-cassettes only make up 4. Where are the other 2?

Well, there is going to be a Part 4 to the story....


The "full story" chapters:

17 June 2011

The Decepticon Communicators - D-17: Soundwave MIB and D-101: Soundblaster MIB

I want to fully show these 2 very nice acquisitions for E here, which I sneak-previewed here.

However, this time, I'm going to break with tradition and say as little as possible in favour of letting one of my buddies at OZ Formers do the talking and the describing - which I should say, he always does very well and in wonderful detail on the forums.

D-17: Soundwave & Rumble MIB

D-101: Soundblaster & Buzzsaw MIB

Soundwave and Soundblaster together

Description by Hursticon of OZ Formers:

"Yep... There goes another keyboard.

E is a very lucky woman and the both of you are very lucky to have such incredibly awesome Gems!

For one, the Box-art is in thoroughly pristine condition and reflects the stunning efforts that Hasbro and Takara put into it's packaging some 25+ years ago.
The boxes look to be in splendid condition too as it's great to see that the Techspecs and Robot Points are present but also that there is very minimal to no warping at all and that the plastic of the window hasn't lifted away from the cardboard.

Those foam inserts are in delicious condition too as it looks like there are no scratches, dings, dints, slices or chunks taken out of them, which adds to the truly factory fresh appearance of both packages in their entirety.

It's truly inspiring to see both Soundwave and Soundblaster displayed like that in their foam inserts as I've often wondered what their layout was like and I must say that it looks really cool to see Soundwave complete with all of his intended accessories; Weapon/Batteries, Microphone and Headphones.
As superfluous as they may of been to a Western Market with regards to his Robot Mode - I believe they go quite a long way in creating the proper look, feel and presence that was intended for his Alt mode, as it clearly succeeds in deceiving Spike Witwicky on a number of occasions.

The bots themselves look jaw-droppingly gorgeous, save for an odd faction sticker placement , with both Rumble and Buzzsaw having yummy chrome and sticker conditions but Soundwave and Soundblaster is where all the fun is!

I'd also like to mention how incredibly alike the pair are when looking at them face-on, apart from the colour of the plastics being different, initial glances would suggest that they are exactly the same but upon closer inspection, the subtle differences are more apparent; such as the solidly-molded buttons on Soundblaster and the modified, dual storage tape deck he also has.

It's interesting to see this pair not following the usual trend of having the Battery stickers placed on the legs too, which I know is not where they're supposed to go, and whilst it's unfortunate that a single missile has been clipped from Soundblaster's sprue, I think you've found a highly, highly desirable pair of MIB Decepticons HD."

Thanks Hursti for the very detailed write up cum review!

More photos of the 'cons here...

D-17: Soundwave MIB

D-101: Soundblaster MIB

14 June 2011

The full story (Part 2) - Diaclone CarRobots No.7: Fairlady Z "Bluestreak" blue

In the previous part, I talked about how I went to Osaka (in search of the dinocassettes) and ended up buying a Marlboor Wheeljack MIB back (amongst other things).

When I got back from Osaka, Marlboor was not the thing I was most excited about. Other than seeing E after a few days away, my excitement priority was as follows:

  1. 1985 LP with unobstructed Bluestreak box art
  2. The motherload of vintage "VSL" LaserDiscs with fantastic box art on them
  3. Helping Sebastian find the final pieces to complete his Japanese G1 and G2 collection (man, what a milestone buddy!)
  4. Finally getting getting an MISB sample of the Generations Deluxe lucky draw God Primus figure, which I had been gunning for since 2008
  5. Acquiring D-101: Soundblaster MIB for E
  6. Acquiring Marlboor Wheeljack
It's no insult to Marlboor WJ that he is not the highest rung on the ladder. To be honest, I knew very little about him before chancing upon him, doing some research and then buying him.

Shortly after I returned from Osaka, I showed some of my Osaka loot on Oz Formers (OTCA.com.au) and TFW 2005 and also on this site, as was usual.

Then followed the many responses, PMs and private emails regarding the items, as was usual.

What was not usual though, was the intense interest in Marlboor. I found it odd that so many people (relatively) were asking about this piece. Not only were they asking, they were trying to convince me to sell it to them.

That's kind of odd to me because no TF piece I have acquired, no matter how rare I thought it was has sparked more than a passing interest and 1 to 2 people asking me to sell it. For example, I got about a handful of requests for Black Zarak MIB and Minerva unused. However, none of these other solicitations were persistent.

The requests for Marlboor WJ were persistent. There were emails from 5-6 different people per day, which I thought was intense.

It was an unusual situation, and I hadn't even mentioned that I would sell it. I was intrigued. So intrigued that I went to find out more and was provided with 'rarity validation and information' from pre-Transformer expert Maz, of TF-1 fame.

The opening offers (unsolicited by me) from many potential buyers were equally impressive - many amounted to thousands of dollars, as an opening position.

(out of respect for the offerors and to prevent driving the prices of future Marlboor sales up, I will not disclose the quantum of offers made).

I was quite content to sit it through, consider offers and listen to reasons, but I thought I might keep this piece for awhile before letting it go. However, at no point did I play offerors off against each other - ie: 'someone is offering $XXXX, are you going to offer more?'. I hate that sort of pseudo-bidding.

One potential buyer, whether by fluke or whether by thorough research of my site, offered something that elevated him to the top rung of the ladder of consideration - he said, "how about a (substantial amount in) cash AND a "blue" Bluestreak MIB in exchange for your Marlboor Wheeljack?"

Given my childhood fascination with the blue Bluestreak, this was definitely an offer I stood up to and listened with ears peeled.

Negotiations, if I could call it that, were pretty intense across a Friday, Saturday and Sunday (where quite coincidentally, E was overseas for a conference, meaning I had time on my hands).

By Sunday, the potential buyer and myself have dotted all the "i"s and crossed all the "t"s and sufficiently nutted out the details. The transaction was going ahead.

He paid me. I sent out Marlboor Wheeljack on 30 May 2011. Buyer received it around 2 June 2011 and he sent out the blue Bluestreak on 3 June 2011. 

On 8 June 2011, I received my blue Bluestreak! *I'm in tears of joy*

As with all my collectibles, I let E have a first go at it...


This photo by E...

This photo by me, with the 1985 LP I bought from Osaka as a background

These are photos from the "seller", which I understand are being used in a book somewhere. Very beautifully taken photos.

MIB (a pity that there is a scrap across the box art)

Shot of the styro insert

Contents on display

Blue Bluestreak robot mode - man, this thing is beautiful!

Wow, breath-taking huh? I will have to take some photos of my own soon...

... but wait, it's not over yet, there is a Part 3 - did I ever tell you about my other 6 exquisite acquisitions?


The "full story" chapters:

11 June 2011

Silver(Blue)streak and C-345 + C-346

After recently obtaining a blue Bluestreak, I decided to add to the 'Streak family.

I know there is this shop in Causeway Bay that has a eHobby exclusive chrome silver Silverstreak MISB. It has been there for the longest time. So I headed to the shop with the intention of getting this new addition to the 'Streak family (which I didn't buy in 2002 because there were just too many reissues during that time and I was sick of all the fancy repaints especially after the 'golden lagoon' Jazz was released).

Got the eHobby chrome Silverstreak and to my surprise, I saw other things there that was interesting.

They has the 2 Zone Micromaster bases that were quite rare and difficult to find, MIB, complete, case fresh insides, and unused paperworks package! Wow.

Bought them too.

  1. eHobby Streak (silver plated version) MISB
  2. C-345: Landshaker MIB, unused contents and paperworks
  3. C-346: Sky-Hyper MIB, unused contents and paperworks
Note to BOTCH: I can now supply the Sky-Hyper box art!

07 June 2011

The full story (Part 1) - Diaclone CarRobots No.18: Marlboor (Marlboro) Wheeljack

I'm just expanding on and rounding out the story of my acquisition of the ultra rare Marlboor Wheeljack MIB, unused that I talked about a little here in my daily update from Osaka.

I was very excited on my last day there. There were still lots to get because I miscalculated the time the previous day and did not get the bulk of what I have intended to get from Hero Gangu. I started my day at 10am, went for breakfast and then scouted the route I would walk to the train station after checking out from the hotel and with all loot in hand.

During breakfast, I was planning out what to get. I had about ¥90,000 in cash left and was keen not to have to use my credit card (which is linked to my Australian account). I know that I will have to buy a D-16: Megatron and MT-09 for sure; also knew that I will have to buy all the vintage Laser Discs and Bluestreak LD; and C-308: Doubleclouder MIB.

Not 100% sure whether I will buy the God Primus MISB, D-101: Soundblaster or D-17: Soundwave. The latter 2 will have to depend on its condition.

Either way I sliced it, I would still have to use about ¥75,000 from my credit card, which was no big deal practically, just that I conceptually don't like using it. heh.

All calculations in mind, I started my toy-hunting day at around 12pm, the time when the majority of the shops there open.

I went to Hero Gangu first and spent about an hour there. It was very quiet on a Monday morning and there was hardly a soul in sight. I asked the sales girl about a whole lot of things, all of which she could not answer. I also asked about a few toys that she said "were not for sale".

Chief among these were (1) the Jizai Toys Powerglide; and (2) the CarRobots "Marlboor" Wheeljack.

At about 1-ish, the owner of Hero Gangu came in. It was then that I finalised my purchases. I bought about 3-4 MIB Transformers, some 3rd party products and a whole lot of LDs. The owner was very kind and offered to give me a ¥8,000 discount. This was the first time I've ever gotten a discount from a shop-owner in Japan!

We started chatting about Transformers after I paid. I asked him about the dino-cassettes which were my original mission in Osaka and also about the other 3 pieces of G1 that I needed. He basically said they were hard to find and that he did not have stock.

Then, I pointed to the Marlboor Wheeljack and asked him "is that for sale?"

"Oooh, that's expensive. Very expensive."

"How much?" I asked cheekily.

Rather than answer, he punched the numbers onto a pink calculator with pop up numbers.

"Indeed, it is expensive," I thought to myself.

"Where did you get it from?" I queried.

"It's dead stock from a Takara factory that I got when I started my business. I used to have 13 Fairlady Z (in blue) MIB unused and another 5-7 of this Marlboor Wheeljack MIB, unused. I have sold them all over the past 8 years. This is the last one. It is very rare in terms of pre-Transformer cars."

For the price it's commanding, I'll bet its very rare! In truth, while I have heard about this mythical piece, I had no idea as to its rareness nor was I able to gauge how rare it is relative to other figures.

I know, however, that it is rare enough to warrant a photo. So I asked if I could take a photo and the owner said "sure, welcome, take as many photos as you like".

I snapped this and another shot with the string of numbers on the top of the box (somehow, I thought I needed it, but will not realise how impt they were till I did my research).

Soon, I said "Thank you for your time, very nice talking to you", and left for Entertainment Jungle, where I picked up D-16: Megatron, God Primus MISB and a loose Henkei Ratchet.

I was back in the hotel at about 1.15pm took 45 mins to (re)pack and waterproof all my purchases ready for the trip home.

I couldn't get the Marlboor Wheeljack out of my mind. So I used the hotel's free internet to do some research as to its rarity and possible collectibility. I spent about 25 mins browsing the net and researching this gem. Fortunately, I snapped a picture of the box top because the string of numbers for Marlboor is supposed to be different from the regular Diaclone Wheeljack.

In the end, I satisfied myself as to its rarity. Never one to pass up a rare collectible, I decided to go back and check it out in further detail and if it checks out, to pick it up.

Shop-owner showed me the toy, but said that I cannot touch it! Whoa. Nuts. I'm about to sink that much money in a figure that I'm not allowed to inspect. He said "no touch, if not will yellow". Okay, makes enough sense to me. I was very satisfied with the piece and the mintiness and completeness of the paperworks.

Since pre-Transformers were never sealed with sticky tape, this piece is as good and close to MISB as can be gotten.

I picked it up with about 10 mins to spare before I had to head to the airport, meaning this was my final acquisition in Osaka.

Here are a few more creamy minty pics of his C10-ness...

But wait, there is a Part 2 to this story... (wait for it)...

Other Osaka Chapters

06 June 2011

Heroic's Osaka Transformers toy shopping guide

Ever asked the question - "Where should I go to shop for G1 Transformers if I am in Osaka, Japan?"

Here, I will attempt to give some useful tips in terms of how to do it quickly and effectively, and also at the same time give a taste of what the key G1-centric shops have on their palate.

My one fear of thanking people is that I might inevitably forget to thank someone. In this case, perhaps I'm less at risk than in other situations. First, I must thank E, who provided me with encouragement to go chase the dino-cassettes and also arranged for my flight there and for my hotel. Without her, the trip would not even have happened.

I wish to thank kurdt_the_goat from the OTCA forums for providing me with advice and directions in terms of where to go once I was in Osaka.

I also wish to thank Gage (lives in Fukuoka) who also generously gave me tips and maps and directions. Gage must have emailed me about 3-5 times in the span of 2 days, each time with more information and with each time more detail about where I should go and how I should get to where.

Without the above people, I would not have been able to pen to below for future collectors who are heading to Osaka.


How to get there?
Fly into Kansai Airport. Follow the signs to the trains, which are across an overhead bridge (easy to find). Once there take the Nakai line, platform 2. This goes directly to the Nakai Namba station which is very near Nipponbashi, where Den Den Town is.

Note: The below is the easiest way to Den Den Town that I've found. It may sound confusing, but that is because the area is generally difficult to navigate, even for me (who can read Kanji to a certain extent because I can read Mandarin). If in doubt, I recommend plotting a course using a map.

Namba station is not just one station but a collection of stations with many many different train and/or subway lines running through it. It does get confusing (no joke).

Follow the signs and directions to "Nipponbashi" (colour coded yellow) - just look for signs that say that once you descent into the main station area from the arrival platform. If you found the right exit, you should need to go down an escalator and you would be exiting through the East Exit (東出口), via Takashimaya Shopping Centre.

Once you exit, you will be at a one lane road. Muji and Tower Records is diagonally to the left, but you should turn right. Walk until you come to a 3 way fork in the road. Look for the very large red Taito signboard (Taito has a whole building here, so I think the signboard is there is stay, hopefully). Walk into the road the where the Taito signboard is and continue (the signboard should be on your left).

Reach the end of this road and you will see a beige neo-classical style 6-7 story building diagonally to the right (it's quite unmissable).

Turn right into the road.

You are at the beginning of Den Den Town (which is a long street).

Where to stay?
As described in more detail here, I highly recommend staying at Hotel Hillarys, which is at the start of Den Den Town and just 2 mins walk from the 'neo-classical' building I mentioned above.

A single room (one bed) cost me HKD$740 per night, very reasonable for the facilities and convenience that the hotel affords you - free internet, free drinks (hot, cold, teas, coffees, etc), free loan of bicycles, free bread every morning. The hotel also gives you a voucher for 50% discount off any purchases of food or coffee from Anna Colours cafe which is just downstairs from the hotel. If you don't need all that, there is a 7-11, also right downstairs.

The only downside is that their website only allows bookings in Japanese (I can't read it either). So bookings can only be done though local agents who has contact with the hotel or through any online hotel booking website, which will no doubt charge some sort of fee.

This is their address: 3-4-10, Nippombashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka city.

This is what it looks like from outside:

Where to shop for G1 Transformers?
Note: All directions to shops that I give here are relative to Hotel Hillarys (see above).

I recommend the below shops for G1 vintage Transformers shopping:
  1. Hero Gangu (ヒーロー玩具研究所)
  2. Entertainment Hobby Shop Jungle
  3. Super Position Capsule G-One
  4. Mandarake Grand Chaos (at Shisaibashi, right behind Sun Bowl)
  5. Mandarake Umeda (above Sega World)

Hero Gangu (ヒーロー玩具研究所)

Website: http://www.herogangu.com/ (entirely Japanese only, no English)

Directions: Exit Hotel Hillarys, turn left and walk past Anna Colours Cafe, cross the road and you are there!

This is by far one of the best stocked shops in terms of Transformers, in general, not just vintages. It is arguably even better stocked than Mandarake Akihabara in Tokyo, which is saying a lot.

I've heard many people say that its expensive and the prices are very high. However, I beg to differ. There are some expensive pieces, but if you keep your eyes peeled, there are also some good deals to be had.

Further, the shop owner who stations himself on the second floor, is very knowledgable in G1 Transformers and speaks enough English to properly communicate with me - this is a big plus!

This is a shot of Hero Gangu when I was standing outside Hotel Hillarys.

Close up shot of their shop front

The Henkei/ United/ Classic-verse display cabinet. All of these are not for sale.

As I mentioned, this place stocks TFs from almost every line and every year since G1.

An abundance of Henkeis - See that Henkei Ratchet MOSC? Only 5,000yen.

Another shot. Both aisles are stacked with Transformers.

The G1 MIB glass display cabinet.

Shot from another angle.

A complete MIB collection of the Return of Convoy Micromaster sets and a MISB Victory Saber set.

Another shot.

Close up shot. There is a rare D-50 Motormaster MIB for sale!
I bought the D-101: Soundblaster in this pic.

This is the BotCon, exclusives and lucky draw items glass display case. There are also a lot of diaclones at the bottom shelf.

Another shot of the BotCon, exclusives and lucky draw items glass display case.

Entertainment Jungle

Website: http://jungle-scs.co.jp/index_e.cgi?action=about (there is an English version)

Directions: Exit Hotel Hillarys, turn right, walk past 7-11 and you are there! (less than 1 minute).

This is another G1-centric shop. The staff are friendly and the boss knows his G1 very well. The prices, as I see it, are also pretty steep, but again, there are deals to be had if you keep your eyes peeled. A plus point here is that they have an Italian on staff, who speaks fluent English and Japanese. This makes communication much easier.

All you have to do to say "English? English?" to the staff and they will deploy their Italian secret weapon.

I bought a C-112: Autobot Clones MIB, complete paperworks, C9.5 set here for 8,000 yen, which I consider a steal in the market today.

A shot of the outside of Jungle (see the Hotel Hillarys sign in red? Yes, it's that near!).

A good and ready stock of Henkeis at prices that are better than HK prices.

The G1 glass display cabinet.

Some close up shots. The loose figures are display only and not for sale.

D-311: Black Zarak MIB... man, I shudder to even look at the price (and I didn't!).

Henkei display (also not for sale).

Another shot of the display. I bought the D-16: Megatron for one of my collector buddies.

The more expensive Henkei are stored in the glass display case. There is a loose and complete Blue Bacchus on sale for 63,000 yen. I need this figure, but there is no freakin' way I'm paying that amount for a loose and used figure.

I bought that lucky draw God Primus MISB.

Super Position Capsule G-One 

Website: http://www.spspspsp.com/ (don't think there is an English version)

Directions: Exit Hotel Hillarys, cross the road in front and go diagonally to the right (about 2 mins).

This shop is about 4 stories of collectables. Lots and lots of stuff here. At one point or another, I'm sure it must have had a good inventory of Transformers.

Such was not the case when I was there, but these shops get new stuff in on a weekly basis, so it's definitely worth checking this on out when in Osaka.

This is a shot of the front entrance. The whole building belongs to them.

A shot of their Transformers display case. Not a very impressive inventory this time of year.

Another shot.

Mandarake Grand Chaos (at Shisaibashi)

This one is a little harder to get to from Hotel Hillarys. Check the directions in the link above. It's about a 20-30 minute walk from Hotel Hillarys into Shinsaibashi (the walk is very nice, lots to see and eat on the way, maybe that's why it took me so long to get there!).

When in the vicinity, it's still not easy to spot. But look at the top of the buildings and look for the giant bowling pin - head towards that and you will find Sun Bowl. Mandarake is on the same plot of land and just behind Sun Bowl.

A (not very good) shot of the entrance at night. I was there on my first night to Osaka and exited the store late and it closed. I have to take this shot as I didn't intend to go back.

Their floor guide. 4 floors of collectible goodness.

This is their G1 shelf.

A close up shot. The Micromaster transports are horrendously expensive, so don't ask.

Mandarake Umeda

Directions: Get to Umeda station. Exit the station, walk past Hep Five and then reach Hep Navio - here you should see a multi-fork junction and one of them leads into a 'Centerbangai' or a pedestrian shopping street. Walk into that and keep heading straight and you should find Mandarake on the left. (see link above for map).

This shop was difficult to find, but there really isn't too much here of interest in terms of G1 either. I'm sure its the time of the year and at some other time, it's probably great.

Shot of the front entrance. There are actually 2 entrances, one on each side of "Sega World".

Their G1 display case.
At the bottom left and behind a few boxes, there is a C-353: Big Powered giftset, which I thought was a pretty good deal - C7 toys, C7 box (no major flaws) but no paperworks, for USD$600. I inspected it and thought about it for awhile and decided that C7 just did not cut the mustard and no paperworks would bug me, so I passed.

Another shot.

Some very nice minty MIB Seacons!

Lots of MOSC Go-Bots (who wants these anyway)

Another close up shot.

Other shops of interest

These are some other random shops of interest in the Den Den Town area. I'm not going to give specific directions because these can easily be found by walking along Den Den Town or into the 'back street' that is parallel to it.

Kids Land. Pretty decent 4-5 storey shop with lots of model kits, Tamiya, Tomy and other stuff.

They also have a decent selection of Transformers United.

Ultra Man shop. Sells anything and everything to do with Ultra Man (not really my cup of tea).

Gunpla, just across from Hotel Hillarys. The signboard says it all. 4-5 stories worth.


My Osaka Trip, day-to-day run down and additional articles

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