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Journal Archives from July 2010
Playthings Magazine - Game Over

The very last thing I need to start doing is adding my junk mail to the Preserve - there's certainly enough of it around here! This letter, though, seems pretty important to the toy industry that we all enjoy, and I've not seen it mentioned elsewhere so I figured I'd do my solemn duty.

Playthings Magazine, founded in 1903, is the number one U.S. trade magazine covering the toy industry (1). Or, rather, "was" the leading magazine. It figures that just 6 months after I finally subscribe to this magazine for the first time, now that I'm getting more into the professional side of this industry, the forces that are driving newspapers and magazines out of business have turned their terrible laser on this famous and important publication. I'll let the following letter speak for itself:

For a few months now I've been watching eBay for back issues of this publication, and the prices have been recently climbing. Already, getting a back issue from the 80s typically sets you back $30 or more, and the farther back you go the higher the prices seem to get - and very rarely do issues come up at all! This news will almost certainly drive those prices up higher. I hope that the hard working people behind this publication can find a place for their work in the new 'consolidated' magazine, or someplace else in the industry. So, thanks to Playthings Magazine for 107 good years.
Posted by charlie on July 31st 2010, 04:43 PM
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Flash Force 2000 - Flash Fighter Maz

"Here's how easy it is for kids to have a blast!"

One of the favorite forgotten lines around the Preserve is Flash Force 2000 by Matchbox. Hailing from 1984 (the greatest year!) there wasn't a long life to this line, but it did have cap guns so that puts it way ahead of the safety-crazed toys of modern times! Maybe two years ago I managed to pick up really clean carded examples of the six single small vehicles from the line, and have finally caught enough of a break in the 'new product' cycle to properly turn attention back to these vintage wonders.

Today let's take a look at one of the good guys, one of the 'Flash Fighters' - Maz!

These vehicles were packaged with a 'launcher' and a fair number (48) of little blasting caps to get the action moving. Also excellent was the inclusion of a mini comic book - 'Rumble at Rampage Rock'! Looks like the little raised area in the packaging that originally held said caps didn't totally work over time, as they are starting to swim their way around and about. The cars are metal, thank you Matchbox, and have a small trapdoor on the floor-facing side where you load a cap. Colliding with the bumper causes a flash, a bang, and that classic smoke smell!

Unfortunately the packaging for this line follows the path of many budget-conscious products both then and now (I'm looking at you, Jazwares A-Team!) - where the individual 'figures' don't really have much to distinguish them packaging-wise, like unique features and certainly not a bio. At least Murdock and BA have different bar codes, but the same can't be said for these cars - as a store I have to wonder how you would do inventory control? I guess you just get a case, and sell through, and get another one. Or, in the case of lines like this, get a case, never sell them, and then get Transformers instead. Per that notion of limited sales of this product originally, this was the first complete carded set of vehicles I've seen, up until then or since! Click the image above for some more close-ups of Maz, and look to have the bad guys posted soon.

Oh, and in case you were wondering:
CONTENTS OF CAPS: These caps contain less than 0.20 grains per cap. The pyrotechnical content is as follows: potassium chlorate, red phosphorus, manganese dioxide, magnesium oxide, sand, glue.

Posted by charlie on July 30th 2010, 06:20 AM
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Transformers Generation 1 - Bluestreak

There sure has been a lot of new product announced over the last week and change - Hasbro and Mattel have assured us that some real wallet-busting times are ahead. In the spirit of all that, I am redoubling my efforts to enjoy what the Preserve already has, and what better way to do that than to continue the journey through Transformers: Generation 1. Today let's take a look at Bluestreak!

Always a confusing figure as a kid, given that he embodied the small-print warning of character decos being subject to change, not to mention the change rendering his name somewhat off unless taken as an expression and not a color. The checklist, and heck, the box and the character art, all showed him with the blue highlights of the original Takara version, but we ended up with a nice silver Datsun 280ZX. He is, of course, still a fantastic figure! The version I picture seems to be from the 1985 release (based only on the 1985 catalog, though he has no rub sign and the catalog is oversized so I'm thinking the two don't match up), but he was one of the originals to be included in the 1984 launch set. Click the image above for more shots of this classic Autobot!

Posted by charlie on July 29th 2010, 06:55 AM
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Ghostbusters - Peter Venkman

It took a while, but at last there is a complete set of Ghostbusters in the 6" scale. Seeing as the Egon/Slimer set was released at the 2009 SDCC, and Peck was thrown in for good measure a few months ago, it required no small amount of patience to wait until June of this year for Venkman to finally appear. And then, of course, it is 'slimed Venkman', complete with ugly little spud #2, but Mattel assured us all that they have some commitment to this line with Club Ecto-1, so we'll be getting a few more versions and repaints of all characters in 2011, I can tell you.

Yes, that's right - June 2010. I'm a little behind on some coverage, but at last the gallery is up to date. Not a moment too soon, either, since the 12" Winston (making complete the 12" collection) as well as 'lab coat' Ray, (outfit from the "we're ready to believe you" ad) both come out on August 16th. Mattel knows how to stack up the product, but like a trained seal we'll be there, flippers slapping, excitedly clicking refresh on as their servers buckle under the weight of 1000 non-club-Eternia fans vying desperately for Whiplash.

Posted by charlie on July 28th 2010, 06:24 AM
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Comics Related - Alan Moore and his New Project

Readers of the Preserve have likely noticed that I've not been providing much in the way of Comic-Con coverage this past week. The reason for that is several fold: all like-minded sites appear to be awash in piles of the same news, I maybe am a little secretly sad that I didn't go, and the convention is so laughably not about comics any longer...I think we should all possibly find other events to support (gasp!)
Well, the New York Times yesterday had a nice piece on what Alan Moore is up to, so I guess this is my comics related news for the week, and far more related than most anything at said Comic-Con! You know you can't resist the beard - click the image to be taken to the Times and catch up with Moore as he transcends death, being only a perspective illusion of the third dimension.

Posted by charlie on July 27th 2010, 07:34 AM
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Transformers Q&A #2 - Extra Question

In our previous Transformers Q&A way back in May, we submitted our two questions and hadn't gotten much in the way of answers, but the Hasbro team asked us to clarify things a little. Then Botcon and Comic Con happened, so everyone was understandably busy! Well, we've just gotten the replies back from our Q&A (better late than never as Cheech would say) and I really appreciate it! The Hasbro Transformers team has sent us an answer to our questions for this round of the official Q&A. Check it out:

Transformers Q&A #2 Extra (2010)

Preserve: What factors go into the decision to distribute the product to different countries, and what proportion of the full line typically ends up being sent to countries that may not end up with every last item in the full set.
Hasbro: Every year we present our full line of product offering to all of our retail partners throughout the world and ultimately, the decision of what our retail partners decide to carry falls on them. Additionally, while we have every intention of releasing every wave of every assortment in every market, it does come down to whether or not there is a sufficient demand within those markets for those figures. Again, this is ultimately a decision that our retail partners need to decide.

Preserve: My favorite Transformers: Animated episode has to be Thrill of the Hunt which brought back the legendary Sue Blu as Arcee in the touching Ratchet wartime flashbacks. It was spectacular that it was recently perfectly captured by the Toys R Us Exclusive wave of those two figures. I'm wondering if the Transformers Brand team has any favorite episodes of that series that they would like to share.
Hasbro: Some of the team's favorite episodes from the past include War Dawn from the Generation One series, Other Visitors from the Beast Wars series, and the popular Armada episode Carnival. As for Animated, one of the most beloved episodes is the two-part series finale End Game. During its production, both the studio and Hasbro believed that End Game could very well be the final episode of the series. So many of the loose ends from the previous seasons were tied up and the escalation of the stories written by Rich Fogel and Marsha Griffin are the most action packed in the entire series.
There's this immense amount of tension built up during both episodes leading into the final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron, while the rest of the Autobots tend to the Lugnut Supreme problem in their own ways. There was so many layers of story telling going on, and each Autobot had their own tasks to accomplish to make everything work out for the better. One of the most moving moments in the entire series also happens during the last episode, where Prowl sacrifices himself to save the city and his friends. I feel like that moment in particular really added a dose of reality to the animation and helped really drive home the difference between Autobots and Decepticons. Additionally, although the episode was written in a way to leave the door open for a potential season four, that never materialized, but the story concepts did! Those concepts are laid out in the AllSpark Almanac Volume II which is available at stores now.

Thanks go to the Hasbro team for their fantastic and thoughtful answers!

Posted by charlie on July 26th 2010, 12:35 PM
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Nasta Reactors - Reactorcycle-RS2

With all of the news and excitement coming out of San Diego over the past week or more, I have been forgetting about new additions I've made to the Preserve nearly as quickly as I have been making them! As such, I very nearly forgot to front-page the very exciting latest addition to the Nasta Reactors collection - that of the Reactorcycle-RS2! Having just recently added the Reactorwinch-RF1 and the Illuminator-RC1, it is indeed exciting to have another gap in this collection filled so quickly.

The 'secondary market' these days is interesting. It's been 21 years since these vehicles were produced, and I have to imagine that for a time it might have been a little easier to find them at yard sales, or the occasional "selling my kid's stuff" event, but even now they seem to pop up once every 2 months, like clockwork. It is illuminating to use this line as a barometer for chaotic events like that - how given the entire country, somehow pieces from this obscure line come up with general consistency. That effect holds across most any collectible...and I suspect there's a doctoral thesis in there someplace! Well, that's enough of all that nonsense - click the image above for more shots and the specs of this fantastic three-wheeler...only 3 more to go!

Posted by charlie on July 26th 2010, 11:01 AM
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Masters of the Universe Classics - Keldor

This past week at the San Diego Comic Con, Mattel released a raft of wonderful news about what we can all look forward to in 2011 for the Masters of the Universe Classics collection. While I figure anyone who cares has probably checked out the coverage by some other sites who were on location, I wanted to take the opportunity to update the Preserve with some far overdue figures. Starting with...Keldor! Little did casual fans know that before old Bone Face started his reign of ineffective terror against He-Man and the people of Eternia, he was Prince Keldor of the House of Miro! Click the image below to learn about his fall, and the chain of events that got the better of him in this hard, complicated life.

Posted by charlie on July 25th 2010, 06:54 PM
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Xtractaurs - Beakbash

A quick update on this hot and muggy Saturday - today let's take a look at the counterpart to my Target Clearance Quikfire purchase - Beakbash the Criorhyncus! This stylish figure from the Pterosaurs clan is sporting a great repaint from the wave 1 Wingstorm figure (apparently with a cool new head!), and brings the special online attack of 'Bomb' to the battlefield! Click the image below for more views of this great addition to the shortlived interactive Xtractaurs line!

Posted by charlie on July 24th 2010, 01:42 PM
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Daryl F. Gates' Police Quest

The Preserve's very own Wounded Ronin has just finished the most scholarly paper ever written on Daryl F. Gates' Police Quest series of games. He takes us from the early beginnings of Police Quest: Open Season up until the streamlined SWAT 3, with discussion of gameplay mechanics, strengths and shortfalls, and the broader societal impact and influences of the work. But don't take my word for it - click the logo above for his full work, which is as long as it is thoughtful!
Posted by charlie on July 23rd 2010, 08:35 AM
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SDCC 2010 and Buying Things

Most people are probably fully aware that the 2010 San Diego Comic Con is in full swing, having executed another over full and successful preview night last night. Also something painfully obvious is that I didn't make it there this year, so I'm reading the great coverage on other sites like everyone else. Since companies now get to release the news and products that they have been carefully saving up for this major yearly event, we will see a real deluge over the next few days. This morning, I popped over to, and was delighted to see Masterpiece Grimlock, in stock, and qualifying for their current free shipping deal. Of course, before I could either buy it or post about it, he's backordered. Well, I guess you can put in an order anyway, and see what happens!

Also of note is that the 2011 subscription plans over at have gone up for sale. Unlike the madness that is the monthly purchase scramble, they handle this particular sale in a much more sane and reasonable way. In particular, anyone can buy as many subscriptions as they want over the next 2 week period. Makes good sense for Mattel, as it helps inform their production numbers for the entire next year. Each subscription is only $20, the rest being billed over the year as figures are shipped. This way, no one should complain about missing out - though rest assured that plenty still will. Best part? They are allowing folks to combine the Ghostbusters and Master of the Universe Classics subscriptions into one giant expensive bundle of awesome, designed to ship together every month and at least save a bit of money. Click the image below to sign up, before you forget!

Posted by charlie on July 22nd 2010, 06:34 AM
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Batman - The Brave and the Bold: Arrow Blast Green Arrow

For the few people out there who are fans of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold line, this figure is likely to be pretty cool to you and is something that has been a mystery since the launch of the line. Featured on the very early packaging cross-sell images found on some figures (such as the back of Sportsmaster), fans and detractors alike wondered allowed where the heck this figure ended up?! Well, I suppose detractors rapidly grew bored and moved on, but fans sure were curious!

Imagine my surprise, then, when listings on line in the past week or two started to hint that maybe Arrow Blast Green Arrow had finally found a home on the new yellow-with-angry-Batman 2010 cardbacks, but still retained the previously expected product code of P1560, nestling him right between Villain Snare (aka 'bear trap) Batman and Exo-Claw Batman. I still have not managed to find this figure in stores, which are rapidly drying up their Brave and Bold selection, but an seller (a growing resource for this sort of thing) was kind enough to list one for maybe $1 over retail. Given the year long saga of the debated existence of this figure, I simply had to add it to the archives. Enjoy finally having some photographic proof that Mattel has made good on their cross-sell promise!

Posted by charlie on July 21st 2010, 10:55 AM
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G.I. Joe Q&A #3 (2010)

GI Joe logo
The Hasbro G.I. Joe team has returned some fantastic answers to our third round of questions for 2010 - we were even fortunate enough to have all three questions answered! Check them out below:

G.I. Joe Q&A #3 (2010)

Preserve: What was the design process that went into the upcoming Pursuit of Cobra Spirt figure? Might that same process give us a new Heavy Duty with a XM214 Minigun and disposable razor?
Hasbro: The designer who worked on Spirit was excited about an opportunity to re-envision this character in a way which would place him in a context which fans and kids of today would identify with. As for the Miniguns and the Razors - we're sorry but we're not catching your meaning.

Preserve: The 1980s are wonderful for a number of reasons, but one of the most compelling was the sheer scale of playsets like the USS Flagg and the Defiant. What sort of different design considerations went into making a toy on that scale at that time that might be different from making a Hiss Tank or Crimson Hydra today? Even differences between deisgning the new Pit playset vs. a Bravo class vehicle would be interesting, but the multi-decade difference would add extra insight to the question.
Hasbro: The designers of today were children in the 1980's - so we don't have first hand experience or knowledge of exactly what went on in that "golden" era. Having spoken with some designers from the mid-80's - we've heard some stories about the creation of the large-scale vehicles. Legend has it that many of the big playsets and vehicles (like the Killer Whale) were actually scratch built scale models made over long periods of time. Those models were then finessed in the model-shop and made into patterns which were used to cast the legendary toys we all know and love. Regarding the gigantic "USS FLAGG" playset, bear in mind that this epic vessel was launched at the very peak of the G.I. Joe phenom in the mid-80's. The 80's was a "big time" - and the kids that loved G.I. Joe loved it enough to buy a gigantic aircraft carrier. Today, the design ethos are still very much the same, but the detail and enthusiasm has to happen at a smaller scale (with the exception of the PIT, which was launched to support the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra movie line). G.I. Joe lives in a different world today, and affordability is often a driving force for a toy - thus bringing the scale of the vehicle down to that of the H.I.S.S. v5 or Crimson Hydra. Wherever possible though - the designers try to infuse as much detail and play value into the toy as possible. It's what we love.

Preserve: Now that Larry Hama is neck deep in G.I. Joe again with a monthly book at IDW, do you expect to work together with him like the good old days? Especially if he starts adding some new characters to his ongoing 155+ storyline.
Hasbro: Of course, we'd love to create a dynamic relationship with Larry. However, right now he's been concentrating on the stories that he's doing for IDW and we've been concentrating on the new figures!

Thanks to the team at Hasbro for their heroic answers!

Posted by charlie on July 20th 2010, 10:42 AM
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Batman - The Brave and the Bold: Batman vs. Scarecrow

While we've been assured that the Action League expression is still going strong in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold line, it does seem pretty tough to find products in the pipeline beyond the current, hard to find wave. This Batman vs. Scarecrow 2-pack is sort of scarce - given that I've only seen it the one time when I picked it up at a New England Target. Much harder to find, apparently, is the Black Lightning vs. Wildcat pack, and I'm not even convinced that Green Lantern vs. Dr. Polaris has seen retail release, though periodically claims to have a seller with one available. Keep your eyes peeled for those rare sets, and click the image below for a few more shots and the amusing back story of this semi-rare mini-pack!

The fear-gas dispensing Scarecrow has a plan to paralyze the city. Batman has a problem with this.

I guess that one was written Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend...though it's actually pretty awesome.

Posted by charlie on July 20th 2010, 07:20 AM
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Xtractaurs - Quikfire

Victim of serial misspelling on my part, Quikfire the Nanotyrannus joins the Xtractaurs collection at the Preserve. This figure, obviously of the Tyrannosaurs Clan, has a rapid Surge attack that will soon be meaningless when the game goes offline. Which makes one wonder - what is the corporate policy for how long these online components are maintained after a line is so clearly retired? Certainly adds a lot of new considerations to the management of a brand - probably to the detriment of being able to just focus on making cool figures! Well, at least they did manage to sneak some excellent dinos in before calling it a day, so click on the image for more shots of this powerful, clearance priced Tyrannosaurus!

Posted by charlie on July 19th 2010, 10:50 AM
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DC Universe Classics - Parademon (Super Powers)

I wanted to sneak in a DC Universe Classics figure on this warm, quiet Sunday. Coming from way back in wave 8, Parademon came in two variations. A recent stop at a Toys R Us provided the Preserve with the Super Powers version of this figure! Continuing the 4Horsemen's relentless quest to recreate the classic Super Powers line in this current format from Mattel, the stunningly sculpted Parademon comes one step closer. Click the image below for more shots of this ferocious looking henchman of Darkseid.

As an interesting side note - this figure follows along the recent trend of Toys R Us slapping a 'TRU Exclusive' sticker on a figure that was totally not an exclusive. Maybe they are the only store to currently have this figure - which I guess is mostly true - but it is confusing, this recent string of not-really-exclusives. Well, I'm glad I finally have some proof of it, so be sure to check out the exclusive sticker while you view the gallery!
Posted by charlie on July 18th 2010, 07:04 PM
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Lego Brickmaster - Set 20016 Star Wars: Mini Imperial Shuttle

It's another odd-numbered month, so it's time for another fantastic bi-monthly Lego Brickmaster set! Today we have set #20016, the Mini Imperial Shuttle. This 70 piece set is ready to delight and entertain those who were wise enough to join the club. Missed this month? Well it's never too late to join up! Click the image below for more pics of the latest entry in this on going club!

Posted by charlie on July 17th 2010, 08:24 PM
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DC Universe Classics - Cyclotron

As I believe I previously whined about, I'm not trying to collect a full set of the DC Universe Classics line any longer. Something about it makes me feel that it has jumped the shark, so to speak - maybe I'm tired of dropping $150+ for a single wave, or maybe it's because I dislike their updated packaging (more likely) but I have been trying to simply pick and choose well-done characters on the rare occasions when I actually see these figures at retail. Collectors, myself most certainly included, are fickle so it's plenty likely that the line can woo me back in the future.

That ponderous lead-in brings us to today's figure, Cyclotron! I had read a nice interview with the designer of this figure, Bill Benecke, over at back in February so had it in mind to snag this figure when it eventually appeared. Well, here it is for all of us to enjoy - click the image for the bio of this super powerful creation, and to see more angles of the figure.

As an additional aside - they really have captured my Preserve-favorite color scheme in this figure and maybe I don't dislike this package all that much afterall...curses, that's how it begins!

Posted by charlie on July 16th 2010, 07:28 AM
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SDCC 2010 - Hasbro Exclusives, Expanded Galleries

I've finished making galleries for the 6 fantastic San Diego Comic Con 2010 show exclusives that the good folks at Hasbro sent my way. Click any of the thumbnails below to go directly to the gallery for that item, or visit the exclusives page to basically see the same list, but with the proper site context.

'That man has the constitution of a vending machine!'

Posted by charlie on July 15th 2010, 10:12 AM
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Matty Announces Club Ecto-1

Ghostbusters I do try to admit when I'm wrong, especially when I'm wrong in a particularly excellent way. Today, I am apparently wrong that Mattel was winding down their Ghostbusters line! All signs pointed to the end of these figures, since no news was released for months, and release dates appeared to slide and shift. But now, as if some unperceived authority has ruled, we not only have ongoing figures but a whole MotUC-esque club! I know, I'm amazed too. Click here for all of the bustin' details!
Posted by charlie on July 15th 2010, 07:04 AM
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San Diego Comic Con 2010 - Hasbro Exclusives

Great Scott, Preserve readers! It seems that our friends at Hasbro have looked favorably upon us all, and have just sent us a crate full of their exciting SDCC 2010 exclusives so that we may all bask in their awesomeness! I'll be hard at work creating individual galleries for each of these pieces starting now, but wanted to post a picture of the show exclusive sets that will make that long line well worth standing in next week!

Posted by charlie on July 14th 2010, 06:33 PM
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Rock Lords - Jewel Lord Sunstone

The Jewel Lords appeared at the very tail end of the third and final series of the Rock Lords line in 1989. Spinning off from the GoBots in 1986, Rock Lords were some of my favorite toys growing up, which is funny since the major industry complaint at the time was the limited play pattern that was evident with a toy that turned into a rock. Well, first of all you should tell that to the guy who became a multi-millionaire for inventing the 'pet rock'! I also always found it useful to make the Rock Lords figures part of a larger setup involving GoBots and, of course, Transformers, since I was and remain pretty equal opportunity.

Jewel Lords are in fact pretty rare, and I have never had any of the three in the Preserve collection, until now! I managed to find and win Sunstone - and he is a very cool piece. He is a good guy, his rock form is Amber, his weapon is a pair of Crystal Scissors, and the Rockasaurs will do his bidding! Of course, I'm relying on the Rock Lords wiki entry for that data, since I'm missing the cardback and weapon for this heroic figure - that's too much to ask for such a rare piece, but I'm still on the lookout. Click here for the page dedicated to Sunstone, and view the video below where I demonstrate his great transformation sequence.

I realized after the fact that I had his legs backwards, such that the screws are facing front - it took the wonderfully complete Rock Lords gallery at for me to notice - thanks Alex Bickmore!
Posted by charlie on July 13th 2010, 07:21 PM
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Transformers: Robot Heroes - Chromia vs. Megatron

At the risk of totally irritating everyone with my current insistence on covering the latest and last Robot Heroes line, I keep that train rolling today with Chromia vs. Megatron. I figure, I bought three, I'll post three.

It's a shame that visionary storysmith Michael Bay decided that girl Transformers have cooties, and therefore avoided any focus on their characters and killed them off as quickly and meaninglessly as possible - at least that's pretty much what I remember through my haze of watching the movie. Then 'the beef' went to Autobot heaven and that pretty much was that. Well, I will always be glad to have lady characters in an action figure toy line, and this is no exception. Click the image below for a few more angles on this set.

Posted by charlie on July 12th 2010, 08:43 PM
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Transformers: Robot Heroes - Sideswipe vs. Sideways

Let's polish off Sunday with an amusing set that must be the product of a late night assortment meeting at the big 'H'. You just know that someone suggested this pairing but didn't actually think it would happen, and that internally it is called the Side Set or something. Anyway, here is Sideswipe vs. Sideways, in Robot Hero scale from the 2009 live action movie. Click the image for a few more shots of these cute little battling bots!

Posted by charlie on July 11th 2010, 08:35 PM
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Transformers: Robot Heroes - Springer vs. Starscream

Having suddenly decided that I want a complete set of Robot Heroes, given the cancellation of the expression, I'm trying to fill in the gaps (ie. I had none of them) from the Revenge of the Fallen line. Let's check out Springer vs. Starscream, a partially colorful 2-pack featuring a fan favorite character that may or may not have actually been in the movie - who knows?! I guess Bay claims that 30 or 40 distinct figures were up on that screen, so I'll just have to take his word for it - imagine all the hard working graphics guys who probably made all of those models, and then had to give them 5 seconds of frantic screen time at best. Well, we can enjoy this set in full peace and quiet - click the image for more shots!

Posted by charlie on July 10th 2010, 08:44 AM
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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Brawn

Also hailing from the 9th wave of Deluxe scale figures in the Revenge of the Fallen toy line, Brawn puts up his indestructible dukes to take on Rampage who we would see in wave 10. Always nice to see some classic G1 names getting applied in the modern day, and they put together a pretty solid looking vehicle mode for ol' Brawn. Click the image below to learn a little more about this tough Autobot.

Posted by charlie on July 9th 2010, 11:19 AM
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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Lockdown

After my freakish compulsion to collect every last mainline piece from the first live action Transformers movie, I finally realized that I didn't like the styling of Genius Auteur Michael Bay's bots really at all. As such, I kept the reigns pulled pretty tightly with the collecting of the new Revenge of the Fallen figures, and other than press photos there are plenty of gaps in my list and in the Preserve collection.

Fast forward to right now, and as usual I am, too little too late, finding some figures that I like. Of course, it helps that things are turning up on clearance, and spotting Lockdown and Brawn on the Target red tag shelf yesterday was just more than I could bear. Additionally, at the recent Toys R Us BOGO event, where Transformers were buy-one-get-one-50%-off, I convinced myself that while I dislike the styling requirements of the characters, I can hardly pass on the last round of a Preserve favorite line - Robot Heroes. In a Q&A some time ago, we learned that Hasbro has no intentions of carrying this expression forward, so the RotF figures are the last we'll see. Being that I was pretty careful to have a nice complete collection of the figures up until now, it seems a shame to leave the list incomplete....right? Of course, further getting my attention is the apparent scarcity of the Robot Heroes from the new movie line already - it figures!

Well, today kicks off a somewhat self-loathing run of recent Transformers RotF purchases; you have probably seen them in the stores, but since I'm adding them to the Preserve archives now, it seems only fair that I own up to it with some front page coverage.

Lockdown will be remembered by many as a supremely cool character from the Transformers Animated cartoon. Yes, he's a pretty bad dude, and his character conceit of bounty hunter and 'upgrade' junkie are well developed, but the real key was that vocal coordinator Sue Blu (Arcee!) scored Lance Henriksen for the job of Lockdown's voice - she deserves an Emmy for that. Click the image below to see Lockdown in his RotF form, in which they were as careful as they could be to honor his Animated likeness. With a few more figures like this in the line, I might have been sold!

Posted by charlie on July 8th 2010, 04:17 PM
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Toy Biz - Lord of the Rings - Grima Wormtongue

Few things are more dangerous than a manipulative voice in a controllable ear, especially when it is the ear of a person of influence or power. So we see in the case of King Théoden of Rohan and his corrupted assistant Grima Wormtongue. The will of Sauron very nearly prevailed through his agent, aging and enfeebling the once great King and clouding his noble judgement. Thank heavens the good guys showed up just in time and sorted it all out! Click the image for more shots of the wretched Grima and to read his miserable bio.

Posted by charlie on July 7th 2010, 07:20 PM
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Toy Biz - Lord of the Rings - Rohirrim Soldier

The fabled Riders of Rohan, this one without his horse, were allies of their Southern neighbor Gondor. Toy Biz made a great Rohirrim Soldier in 2002, and you can click the image below to learn more about it!

Posted by charlie on July 6th 2010, 10:06 PM
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Sporadic Posts

Preserve readers - I apologize for the sporadic posts over this 4th of July holiday weekend. I was well out of Internet range by either laptop or, it turns out, smartphone and had failed to plan ahead accordingly. Back to the regularly scheduled program soon!

Growl Practice

Posted by charlie on July 5th 2010, 10:13 PM
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Toy Biz - Lord of the Rings

Recently four figures from the sprawling Lord of the Rings line by Toy Biz were donated to the Preserve. The danger in this is always that I will find a new line to collect and enjoy, and that impulse is indeed difficult to avoid seeing these great collectables and their ready availability on the eBay. Today check out Saruman in all of his betraying evil glory. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and wizards sure are quick to anger - click the image to learn more!

Posted by charlie on July 3rd 2010, 01:43 PM
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Transformers Universe - Countdown

The matched luggage to Darkwind of the day before last, Countdown was the other Transformers Universe Ultra Class repaint to find an exclusive home on the Toys R Us shelves in April 2009.

Originally finding his way into the Preserve collection in 1989 in the form of a Micromaster Autobot Rocket Base (coming soon), this incarnation sees him as 'a cross between a Russian R-400 Oka mobile ballistic missile launcher and a BTR-90 armoured personnel carrier' according to the guys over at I find that I really do like the Ultra scale, and it also has the sort of chunky, substantial feel of that rocket base from 20 years previous. Click the image for more shots and the bio of this amazing freedom fighting, world liberating bot!

Posted by charlie on July 1st 2010, 07:30 AM
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