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Journal Archives from November 2010
 
Lego Brickmaster - Set #20018, Star Wars Imperial AT-AT

I'm a little confused about the exact status of the Lego Brickmaster club. Several months ago I brought you the sad news that the club - one of the best values in the toy industry I felt - was coming to an end. Lego, class act as always, provided months of advance warning, and is fulfilling the remaining months of service for existing members, but has stopped taking new orders for the club.

Now, my membership rolls over in March, I think, so maybe I have another set coming to me, but I'm equally suspicious that this newly arrived November / December 2010 set is the last we'll see from this great program. If they really are fulfilling all of the remaining subscriptions to the end, then people who joined this past summer will be receiving some very rare sets indeed next year!

As such, please click the image below for a few more shots of this set, and enjoy the historical importance of it all. Yes, it's unassembled...maybe some day...maybe some day it will all come together.



Posted by charlie on November 30th 2010, 01:55 AM
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DC Universe Classics - Gold (Wave 14)

I'm a fan of the Metal Men, and how Mattel has been working them into their parallel ongoing lines a bit over the last year or so. We got several in the Batman: Brave and the Bold line, and have now had Iron and Gold in the DC Universe Classics - good job! Click the image below to learn more about this malleable super hero.



Posted by charlie on November 29th 2010, 08:57 AM
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DC Universe Classics - Tyr (Wave 14)

Tyr comes from a planet-sized mobile warship with a culture devoted to combat. He is also sporting a most excellent mohawk! Seems the Horsemen got to have some serious hair-related fun in this wave as well as wave 15. Reading the bio of this figure reminds me that I need to start looking into the War Planets line, at least in terms of cataloging if not outright collecting. There may not be room in the basement for everything, but that's the beauty of all this Internet, there's room for everything!



Posted by charlie on November 27th 2010, 05:57 PM
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DC Universe Classics - Todd Rice (Wave 14)

The romp through wave 14 of the DC Universe Classics continues with the excitingly named Todd Rice! If anything more than the 'DANGER NOT FOR KIDS' stickers was required to point out that this is not a kid-oriented line, this figure should do it! I think it would take an especially focused and dedicated young toy enthusiast to beg Mom and Dad for the Todd Rice action figure - good call on that exclusive Walmart! Well, I was happy to get him to feature on the Preserve, so click the image below to learn more about the evil, shadow-powered offspring of Green Lantern Alan Scott, and the super-criminal, Thorn!



Posted by charlie on November 26th 2010, 06:57 PM
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing the readers of the Preserve and their families a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!



Posted by charlie on November 25th 2010, 10:34 AM
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DC Universe Classics - Kamandi (Wave 14 Walmart Exclusive)

Well, we've been talking about the pseudo-KMart-exclusive figures from wave 15 of the DC Universe Classics line, so let's step back a notch and look at the figures from the Walmart exclusive wave 14! Mattel and Walmart have classically had distribution problems with these exclusive waves, and this one is proving to be no exception, with reports of scarcity coming in from all over the country. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a full set of these figures recently, and they have all been added to the Preserve.

Let's check out Kamandi - figure 1 from this line, coming with the upper torso of the build-a-figure Ultra-Humanite. Armed with a pistol and his apocalyptic jean shorts, the Last Boy on Earth is ready to be a part of your collection - if you can find him! Click the image for his full bio and more shots of this hard to find new figure.



Posted by charlie on November 24th 2010, 10:45 AM
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DC Universe Classics - OMAC

I'll continue through the KMart "exclusive" wave 15 figures from the DC Universe Classics line, today featuring OMAC. This guy - well this guy is pretty hilarious looking, and should perhaps be added to a '80s display with Mr. T as his ill-chosen stunt double. For Billy Blank, going from an unsuspecting stock boy to the muscular, be-mohawked One Man Army Corps must have been quite the shock! Click the image below for more pics, and the full bio of this distinctive new addition to the line.



Posted by charlie on November 23rd 2010, 08:55 AM
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Battle Force 5 - Buster Tank 1:24 ?

I wanted to feature the other 'large' vehicle from the Battle Force 5 line today, the Buster Tank with Sherman Cortez! I do like how they gave the name 'Sherman' to one of the Cortez brothers, but I perhaps don't know enough about military history to determine if 'Spinner' - his brother on the show - is another tank reference. This large vehicle is another great vintage-feeling piece, at least it seems that way to me now that I've convinced myself to really pay attention to this line. Click the image below for more shots, and for the bio of Sherman and his tank!


Much like the Saber vehicle that I featured a few days ago, I'm not sure if I can call this a 1:24 scale or if it should be something like 1:18 scale, but at least it can be grouped with the other large vehicle in this set.

Posted by charlie on November 22nd 2010, 12:02 PM
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DC Universe Classics - the KMarting

Mattel had announced some strange partnership with KMart stores for wave 15 of their popular DC Universe Classics line, in which KMart would get the figures several weeks early, and offer them at a tremendous discount of over 50% off standard retail. This all sounded like a great plan, except for the fact that KMart has some trouble getting their act together these days, and I certainly never saw a sign of these figures, either in my small upstate town or the much more active wilds of New Jersey during the recent Horror-Thon...of course after 24 hours of Jason and the electro-bugs, I can't be entirely clear on what I was seeing anylonger.

But, recently, what should my wondering eyes behold but the tail-end of some figures from this line! Ok, sure, out of the entire set it's clear that I got the three least popular ones, and they were no longer 50% off (though still less than Walmart, in some strange hybrid pricing move) but it was still fun to find them randomly on a hunt - as it always is.

Here, then, we have Jemm from wave 15 - he has a forehead gem which tells the future, which is cool, but I think he would be better still with some pink '80s hair and rocking out with the Holograms! Well, don't let that stop you from clicking the image below, and reading the bio of this latest figure to join the ever-expanding ranks of this popular line.



Posted by charlie on November 20th 2010, 08:06 PM
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Battle Force 5 - Saber with Vert Wheeler 1:24

I continue to really enjoy the Battle Force 5 line, and it's a shame that after watching it from the corner of my eye for almost 2 years now, I'm only just now catching on to how cool it is. Well, I guess it does make for a more exciting hunt! One of the sets that is, at least, not yet entirely impossible to find is the 'large' Saber vehicle with the Vert Wheeler figure - sort of the Matt Trakker equivalent in that universe. I did watch a few minutes of the show on youtube the other day, and was delighted by the intro, and the one bit of team interaction that I saw shows Vert as the charismatic leader you would hope for. Here is the set, and of course you can click the image for more shots, and the bio (yay!) of Vert.


I call this 'large' because I'm still a little puzzled by the need that Mattel has to release things in a variety of different scales - sort of like the flood of confusion that was the Speed Racer line - and am not 100% clear on how to categorize this set. I want to call this Saber vehicle the 1:24 scale, to match other vehicles that are carded instead of boxed, since they are supposed to be smaller based on the animation of the show. However, the eBay has also shown me that there is a carded Saber vehicle, smaller than this one! That makes me want to follow toywiz.com's lead and call it 1:18th scale, but who knows!

The confusion really kicks in for me when you realize that all of those mentioned above include figures, that appear to be the same size! Well, I suppose we can chalk up the failure of yet another promising line to various mis-steps along the way, and can at least be thankful that it got as far as it did. Click the image below for more shots of this excellent, classic-feeling vehicle!

Posted by charlie on November 19th 2010, 07:57 AM
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Transformers - Hunt for the Decepticons: Tomahawk

More and more lately, it seems that Hasbro is making an effort to release related figures grouped into their respective waves. I think this is fun, and helps to cross-sell products that are likely to be sitting on the pegs together at the same time, so makes good business sense as well! This may have been going on for decades, but I guess it's just one of many things to which I don't always pay close attention.

So, we'll follow Hasbro's lead and today feature Tomahawk from wave 3 of the Hunt for the Decepticons line!


The Autobot balance to the skill and fury of Terradive - he may not be fast but he's wily, and high powered! Granted Terradive doesn't have a particularly low intelligence score, but maybe he will fall for the same trap several times out of his sheer frenzy for combat. This vehicle is another solid new addition to the line, and we can take great encouragement from the zero-kibble, aviator-shaded, even smiling, face that Tomahawk is sporting. Keep up the good non-movie work guys!


Collector Note: No extra stickers on the packaging for this figure, unlike Terradive!

Posted by charlie on November 18th 2010, 08:13 AM
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Transformers - Hunt for the Decepticons: Terradive

We're finally starting to see some figures from waves greater than 2 around here, and it is a welcome sight indeed! In keeping with the foreknowledge that we all have that the confusing and disparate lines of 2010 Transformers will soon be merged, in some fashion, allowing them to not follow the 'movie aesthetic' so closely, we can delight in already seeing that wise choice in today's figure - Terradive!


While he's still a little 'kibble-y' in proud live-action movie tradition, something about the figure seems more rooted in the design choices of years gone by - perhaps the team within Hasbro who consistently produces things that I like was finally assigned to this line, to guide the merging, nay the Gestalt, of them all into one super line of awesome. 2011 should prove to be a great year for classic fans, and we can just hope to squeak out as much solid product before the specter of movie 3 looms above the exploding horizon.

Collector Note: I am always irrationally excited about post-production stickers that have been applied to a retail toy in order to correct some sort of labeling mis-step. Well, Terradive has two! One can be seen in the image just above...yeah, that's almost the right color tan. Be sure to check it out in the full gallery!

Posted by charlie on November 17th 2010, 08:23 AM
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Battle Force 5 by Mattel

Back in 2009 at Toy Fair I saw a product on the Mattel tour that really caught my attention - Battle Force 5. It seemed to be channeling M.A.S.K. and Vor-Tech with the fun, action-filled vehicles and well-developed drivers. There was back story, technology, and a cartoon and video game to back it all up! Sadly when they finally arrived in stores I didn't make the commitment to the line, and admit to being a little confused and turned off originally by the repetition of the 5 or 6 core figures across several different scales (1:64, 1:43, 1:24... oh my!)

Being late to the party will likely go down in history as my super power, though, so of course now that they are filtering out of stores and prices on eBay are spiking, I'm suddenly interested in cataloging this line here at the Preserve. Well, the effort has started and now you can go learn about this line that you maybe missed as well! Click the big logo below to see the few figures that have joined the archives thus far, and learn more about the characters in their vintage-feeling glory...all with modern twists of course!



Posted by charlie on November 16th 2010, 08:39 AM
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Xtractaurs - Twinstrike

Let's bookend the weekend with Xtractaurs, making a nice horror-thon sandwich with digital dinosaur bread. This post is exciting because it completes the collection of released figures in this line, as far as I know, here at the Preserve. Twinstrike rings in at figure #3430 (out of 15 total figures), and contrary to the incorrect photo in the Amazon.com listing, is actually a Yingshanosaurus with an array of great spines on it's bright and colorful back. Click the image for more pictures, and be sure to visit the gallery to see it all filled out! (Well, except for the unreleased placeholders that I've got on there for historical record)


This character has the special attack of 'Backfire' - where you receive 1/2 of the damage inflicted back upon yourself! Don't mess with that spiny hide, and if possible steel this guy's DNA to power up your own fighting dino.

Thanks to Mattel for making this fun, if short lived line, and for the West Coast eBay citizens for helping me to complete the collection here at the Preserve!

Posted by charlie on November 15th 2010, 08:27 AM
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Exhumed Films - 24 Hour Horror-Thon Part IV - WRAPUP

Well I'm about 12 days late with it, as usual, but I'm finally getting around to typing up the post mortem (heh) of the massive 24 hour movie event from my scrawled-in-the-dark notes! Click the image below to check out the full article with all of the movies and hints, as well as a few more pictures from the event!



Posted by charlie on November 13th 2010, 02:35 AM
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Xtractaurs - Trance

Let us finish up the week strong, as we all get to sail into the weekend, with a rare one from a recently departed line. Now, I don't have the sort of meticulously collected, carefully curated breadth and depth of rarity that, say, doctorkent does, but for the few lines I really follow it is fun to try to learn and collect as much about them as possible.

Enter Trance, the Pentaceratops, from the much-discussed Xtractaurs line by Mattel! Ringing in as figure number 29 in a line that appears to have stopped dead at 30, it's likely that Trance didn't find distribution much further than the cities surrounding the port where the slow boat from China docked.


I have only seen this guy come up for auction a few times, and finally decided to pull the trigger on a recent eBay auction. As expected, the seller listed their location as Los Angeles - the West Coast always gets stuff first! This is the next to last figure that I need to complete this line in the Preserve archives, and the final one should be on the way! Of course, amazon.com claimed to have an 'Armorus' figure at one point...who knows!

Posted by charlie on November 12th 2010, 01:19 AM
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Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Action League Singles

While making my increasingly-unproductive rounds of the local stores last night, I had the good fortune and fun of stumbling upon something from the Batman: The Brave and the Bold line that I had never seen before! At the local Big Lots, they have just put out a handful of single-carded Action League figures - two Batmen and a Plastic Man. I never did see the original set of five single figures in stores, so it was nice to make this discovery, especially at the tail end of the line (as I keep predicting...). At $2.80 each, I most certainly picked up a set of the three, and they are already added to the Preserve! Check out the set of them in the image below, and click it for a larger view. Happy hunting!



Posted by charlie on November 11th 2010, 08:31 AM
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Warcraft - Red Shirt Guy Sings

Say what you want about Warcraft, I think it's great when people can find that level of passion and interest in any hobby or pastime - which I guess sort of goes without saying after one look at the Preserve. I myself would probably play more if I had more hours in the day, and if my other hobbies weren't so all consuming. Alas my level 46 character will likely never reach the nose-bleed inducing heights of 80, or whatever the new expansion is going to allow.

If you try to either look for or to avoid Warcraft news, chances are that you've seen the saga of 'Red Shirt Guy' over the past several weeks - a very focused and dedicated gamer who took the actual game developers to school on a fine point about the characters in their own gaming world at the recent Blizzcon gathering. He became an instant sensation, and has proven to handle his sudden celebrity with more grace than many would have likely guessed. Strangely, my wife is pretty sure that she sat next to him on a recent train ride to Washington DC. And, you know you've really made it in Internet land when an Autotune song is made from your video, and today ToplessRobot.com showed me exactly that - observe:



The game's creators were sufficiently impressed and humbled that they have immortalized RSG with a new character, "Wildhammer Fact Checker", which I hope makes this guy supremely happy. One reason I jumped the hurdle from just enjoying the video to posting it was actually a comment that one of the TR.com readers made, that lept from the screen like an arrow in a sea of otherwise mundane prattle:

"...He's like a lil kid lost in the wood, with all his knowledge,
facing the incompetence of his gods."


I really like that, and wanted to share it - thank you, unnamed commenter, thank you. You've made my day.

Posted by charlie on November 10th 2010, 10:09 AM
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Transformers: Hunt for the Decepticons - Tracker Hound

What was that I was saying a few days ago about liking the Legends scale of figures? Yeah, it keeps going today with the new Legends Tracker Hound from the Hunt for the Decepticons line by Hasbro. This little figure does a great job of channeling the G1 inspiration from oh so many years ago, and does it in 1/3 of the size and complexity. While the Legends class started out as little more than glorified Happy Meal toys, I think you have to admit that they have improved in design and complexity over the several years since they were first added to the lines. Click the image below for a few more shots of this still-hard-to-find figure!


Also note the name prefix usage which is not 'Autobot' or 'Decepticon' - a practice we're seeing more and more. Sure, we've been told that it is often a copyright-necessity to have 'Rescue Ratchet' instead of just 'Ratchet', but coming soon is the return of the rubsign and the 'Reveal the Shield' line, which is hoping to infuse a modicum of mystery to the 'bots alignments, so gone are the easy clues in the names!
Posted by charlie on November 9th 2010, 09:39 AM
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Transformers - Power Core Combiners: Destructicons

In the mood for a little amusing wordplay? Then look no further than the new Power Core Combiners 5-Pack of the Destructicons! Something about destroying rather than constructing seems to fit better with the Decepticon methodology, so it's fitting that this new gestalt comes with that handle. It is from wave 2 of the PCC line that we get Mudslinger and his four scout companions - Heavy Hauler, Dune Buggy, Armored Truck, Armored Junker - for lack of better names. These sets continue to intrigue new and long-time fans of the brand, and are definitely worth a look; you should be able to find this one on store shelves now!


Mudslinger is a man of action - lies do not become him.

Posted by charlie on November 8th 2010, 08:43 AM
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TYCO Toys and their 1997 Catalog

In 1926 a company was created by John Tyler and his family in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, known as Mantua Metal Products. As early as the 1930s, they started to produce scale model trains and made a name for themselves in the hobbiest market. Then there was The War. Like many talented and patriotic companies, they pitched into the war effort and produced precision measuring and mapping equipment for the Army and Navy. Not losing sight of their core competancy, however, they switched back to trains and more peaceful pursuits when the war reached its end. In the 1950 the name TYCO was formed out of, logically enough, TYler COmpany, and they continued to produce racing and slot car sets and became more mass-market and consumer oriented as the country rocketed up to and through the 1980s.

In 1993 they purchased Matchbox to further solidify their dominance over the quality metal car market, and also managed to support thriving pre-school and 'girl toy' lines along with their more often thought of car-based success. As so often happens with market pressures being what they are, Mattel purchased TYCO on March 27, 1997.

Recently I was lucky enough to pick up a few TYCO catalogs from the '90s, as they were past their apex most would say, but still releasing some cool stuff. These catalogs look to have come right from the archives of someone on the front lines of the business - a retailer doing their research and working to make ends meet. The catalogs each are in the three-ring binder, complete with price list inserts, and even a schedule of when TV shows that support the products would air!

Today I wanted to feature their 1997 catalog, which as you can see from my very short corporate bio above, was their last year of independent operation. Click the image below for pictures of the pages in this book, which weighs in at only 53 pages - a long slide even from their 1993 catalog that I will feature soon.



Posted by charlie on November 6th 2010, 12:55 AM
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Tron Legacy - Clu's Deluxe Light Cycle

More Tron? More Tron! The Deluxe Light Cycle with the yellow highlights, driven by Clu, is definitely one of the rare pieces so far in the Tron Legacy line. More interesting still is the crazy multi-national and small-print nature of the package, as well as the blatant error on the box top that indicates the cycle belongs to Sam Flynn and not Clu.


It will be interesting to see if this line sticks around long enough for this package error to be fixed, or for a US package that actually matches the Sam Flynn cycle to come out, or if these become more widely available. In the meantime, enjoy this somewhat rare item here at the Preserve, and consider picking up a copy for yourself if you happen to see it in stores!

Posted by charlie on November 5th 2010, 07:59 AM
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Tron Legacy - Toys R Us Diecast Hero 3-Pack

At the risk of boring anyone, I really like how the Tron Legacy vibrant blue colors look on the front page here at the Preserve, so I've got to feature the other Toys R Us Diecast three pack today. The compliment to their Villain Pack is, as one would expect, the Hero Pack! Click the image below for a few more angles of this beautiful looking repack set.



Posted by charlie on November 4th 2010, 07:03 AM
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Mezco Toyz - Nohell Living Dead Doll Variant - with Stocking!
Mezco Toyz - Nohell Living Dead Doll
Press Release: Mezco Toyz sends word of the new limited edition Nohell doll from the popular Living Dead Dolls line. Just in time for Christmas, she's dressed for the season and comes with a festive black stocking, perfect for coal, or bat heads, or delicious candy canes. Click the link to learn how you can make one of the 666 pieces in this run, yours!  Read More
Posted by charlie on November 3rd 2010, 11:19 AM
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Tron Legacy - Toys R Us Exclusive Diecast 3-Packs

Ok, I waited long enough that all of the recent deluge of Tron related posts have filtered their way off of the homepage here at the Preserve, so it's time to clutter it back up again! Toys R Us showed some love to the new Tron Legacy line, though probably the least amount of love you can have, with their new diecast 3-Packs. Don't get me wrong, I think they look fantastic, and the diecast vehicles are super cool, but they are basically repacks of the single-carded vehicle sets, with a catchy 'hero' and 'villain' tag applied to the two sets.


Now, maybe I'm missing the subtle variation on these, and I should have looked more carefully before firing this post off from the hip as I always do. Either way, it's still nice to see this line getting such wide distribution and support, and you should check out these sets when next you find yourself in a TRU, if only to marvel at how the Recognizer is just straining against the slightly-too-small plastic bubble. What a solid, weighty and excellent collectible it is!

Posted by charlie on November 3rd 2010, 08:52 AM
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Transformers - Hunt for the Decepticons: Duststorm

Perhaps it stems from my increasing inability to actually Transform the products that are coming out of the depths of Hasbro these days, but I find that I'm gravitating ever closer to the Scout and even Legends class figures in the ongoing lines. These two expressions seem to be the closest kindred spirits to the G1 line which was, is, and forever will be my favorite.

As such, it's frustrating that new waves of Scout figures have been hard to find here in my small town, and the same can be said for Legends, with the release waves still clogging pegs for the most part. Happy day, then, that the recent trip to the Philadelphia / New Jersey area for the Horror-Thon allowed for visits to a great number of very large, very busy stores! The result? Well, today let's take a look at Duststorm, a Legends class Decepticon from wave 3 of the Hunt for the Decepticons line.


One thing makes me sad about the Legends and it's the lack of a fully developed bio on the card backs, but we do get stats, which is very nearly as good! This flier has pretty decent strength and intelligence, but perhaps more surprising is the high rank! From what I understand, this character was part of a gestalt team in the Energon plotline, and he seems to have quickly risen through the ranks for his new incarnation. Click the image above for a few more packaged shots and the rest of the stats of this new Legends class figure!

Posted by charlie on November 2nd 2010, 07:12 AM
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Transformers Q&A #4 - October 2010 Edition

The Hasbro Transformers team has sent us answers to our questions for this round of the official Q&A. Check it out:

Transformers Q&A #4 (2010)

Preserve: Sometimes a figure who was classically of a smaller scale, say the lovable Powerglide, gets the up-scale treatment, in that case into the Ultra class version that we all recently had the good fortune to add to our collections. What is the process like for the design team - how do they approach the work of which details of the figure to expand upon, and what areas to focus on with a much more detailed and expressive figure size?
Hasbro: When it comes to adding detail to new or re-imagined designs, our team usually takes inspiration from real-life mechanical detailing of the alt-mode and then extrapolating what it would look like from there.

Additionally, as we look at past characters like the minibots, we find it a bit odd that in the grand scheme of things a fighter jet would only convert into a robot about 15 feet tall. Now-a-days we still aren't perfect with the robot to vehicle scale, but making Powerglide on a larger scale seemed like a perfect opportunity for the team.


Preserve: The second wave of Transformers: Generations figures features two supreme tough-bots, Megatron and Darkmount. From Darkmount's bio we see that he's gritty enough to give even Megatron pause! What consideration went into designing such an evil double-header of a wave? If I were an Autobot I'd be sufficiently intimidated by this wave #2 of the excellent Generations line!
Hasbro: Much of our thought around this was based on the fact that we had released Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Drift in the first wave. Of course Optimus Prime and Bumblebee needed to battle against Megatron, but for us - since we were introducing Drift - we wanted to have another comic book character that had never been released before. We had to make sure that he was evil enough to fill that space. So, you get a wave of Megatron and Darkmount, two of the best villains that we can offer.




Thanks to the team for the great answers!


Posted by charlie on November 1st 2010, 08:59 AM
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Post Halloween, and Now the Holidays

Well, we made it through another Halloween, the Preserve has taken off its costume, the 24-hour horror-thon was a resounding success, and things are back to normal around here. I'll post a wrap-up about the fun movie event soon, and we'll continue our gallivant through the Preserve archives...aka our regularly scheduled program!


Posted by charlie on November 1st 2010, 01:54 AM
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