All posts by John Sorensen

About John Sorensen

Bat-Fan Extraordinaire. Able to leap over plot-holes in a single bound, Likes: punching crime in the face. Dislikes: villainous fiends!

TANGENT COLLECTIONS: TMNT Playmates Wing-nut (1990)

wingnut 1

The last time I held a Playmates Wingnut figure in my hands is back when it was first released around 1990. My TMNT mad mate came over one day and had a bunch of new figures, and Wing-Nut was the one that most captured my attention.

It’s a great figure with some lovely details, a completely mad face and hideous features. Like so many of the other later line figures he is just a weird and wonderful character, so unique and cool.

I love the original Playmates TMNT line, while the figures are nigh-unposeable, they mostly have fixed static poses, the level of detail and passion that went into them is clear. The sculpts have some of the most bizarre and disgusting characters you will find in any toyline ever made.

The paint finish on them is a nice blend between animation and comic art. Many of the the figures are based on one off sketches from comic book artists who were asked to produce more ideas to be made into toys when the Fred Wolf show and Playmates toyline took off to mass unpredictable wild success.

 

So what the hell is Wing-nut anyway?

wingnut or wing nut is a type of nut with two large metal “wings”, one on each side, so it can be easily tightened and loosened by hand without tools. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingnut_(hardware)

Wingnut is a fun character, until you realize his tragic origins.

  1. He is batshit crazy, no joke.
  2. He is a symbiotic species, relying on his mosquito buddy (Screw Loose) to be able to sleep.
  3. He is the LAST survivor of his race, that was wiped out by the evil Warlord Krang, that pink brain who constantly makes fun of Shredder in the cartoon.
  4. He’s not a mutant, but an alien based on a real life Bat. (He seems to be a mix of different bats).
  5. His name is a joke on actual wing-nuts, he has “two metal wings” and is easily “tightened or loosed” (he’s mentally unstable)

fruit bat 1.jpg

Some folks find Bats creepy and disgusting, flying rodents even. Personally I find Bats to be adorable and cute in the real world. While Bats are often horrifying or creepy in fiction, be it the TMNT cartoon or classic horror movies, bats are often associated with alien, other, the moon, night time (they are mostly nocturnal), the unknown and the underworld.

Bats kind of get a bad rap, but really they are as beautiful to me as a Bengal Tiger or African Meerkat. Probably a good place to mention I also write a Batman blog (you’ll find links at the very bottom of the page, way below this post). I like to think of Wingnut as a Fruit-Bat – cos he’s CRAZY! Also because Wingnuts natural senses are all messed up – reminding me again of Fruit Bats – they navigate differently that other types of bats (they have large eyes and rely more on light than sound/echolocation).

There is this underlying theme of environmentalism running through the TMNT toon, brand, Archie comics and other media that some folks find a real turn off, and I get it.

They want to enjoy fantasy media and not be reminded of unsolvable problems, but to me that is part of what makes the TMNT unique and special, is this reminder of the natural world, and the amazing species that live all around us or are extinct because of us.

Nature is full of cute fluffy seals, but also some really weird creepy shit like snakes and reptiles and bats and other cool creatures. Wingnut is gorgeous in my book.

The last time I held a Playmates Wingnut toy in my hands  was when my old TMNT Mad Mate came over to hang out, and brought a bunch of toys with him.

It was the peak of late 80/90s TMNT fever as far as I can recall. The toon, the toys, the live action movie, it was all manna from heaven to my TMNT obsessed younger self, my walls were plastered with ever scrap of TMNT posters, magazine and newspaper clippings, fan art (yes I drew a couple of pics back then, and nothing since) and whatever I could find. It was a an entire wall in my bedroom.

My mate bringing over his new figures was just an ordinary thing, but also it was kind of special in retrospect, as we grew up pretty poor, and the only few toys I had (other than the two my grandfather bought me) were some I saved weeks of pocket money to buy.

To see a figure in the hand of my mate, and then mess around with it, (and not own it for nearly another twenty years) was meaningful in an odd way.

That same mate later on randomly one day invited me over to his place as usual. We had met and hung out and talked/ played with TMNT figures on many occasions, it was the main way we bonded.

But this time as I approached his door, my mate and some other fuckwit from my primary school bombarded me with flour bombs (mini  paper bags hand filled with wheat flour) and after than we never spoke again, and we never visited each others houses again. I have no idea to this day why he did that, I suspect it was the no-good-nik from school who put him up to it, but that he went along with it to this day gives me a painful memory.

Anyway, the toy is great fun and highly recommended. Flour bombs not so much. But I can imagine Wingnut bombarding his enemies with even nastier things. I really dig all the small little details they put into the early TMNT Playmates toys. Check out Wingnut’s back, all sorts of cool little details in there that you don’t notice at first.

Wingnut4.JPG

His little buddy is Screw-Loose, an alien mosquito. He comes as an accessory with Wingnut rather than as a proper figure, but he looks pretty decent despite being in that sickly mustard color.

I don’t know who chose his colors for the cartoon, but he looks pretty silly in slacks and slippers.

Wingnut and Screwloose tmnt.jpg

Over in the Archie Comics, Wing-Nut not only looks cooler, but more like his pulp hero/vigilante inspiration. The gloves and cowl are a common motif of early pulp characters, and his little buddie has the classic superhero sidekick Domino mask ala Robin, The Phantom or The Lone Ranger. 

Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-Adventures Wingnut

Screw-loose also is smaller and has better coloring in my opinion in the Archie comics. Wing-Nut looks more crazy and mean / dangerous than just plain ridiculous in the comic. But I have to admit I really like both his cartoon design and comic book look. His purple gloves in the Archie version are a nice nod to the earliest appearances of Batman who also used to have purple gloves.Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-Adventures-Wingnut Screwloose

Thanks to some scans over at  tmnt-ninjaturtles dot com, we can get a look at the names for his accessories (my cardback is long long gone)

Bat Wings, Bat Gun, Bat Bomb and if you really needed a clue about his inspiration “Utility Bat Belt” is kind of a give away. Wingnuts wings clip on to the back of the figure, which is why the are listed as accessories. It’s not clear what happened to his original organic wings, but I’m guessing it’s something painful and horrible involving Krang. Hey look, he has a “bomb” – I guess my fuckwit of an ex-friend was on to something at least.

Again, thanks to the guys at http://tmnt-ninjaturtles.com/ we can get a look at his profile from the back of his card.  I used to have all my old ones clipped in a big pile somewhere, damned if I know what happened to them.

As cool as the action figure looks, he really comes to this life in this amazing fan art by Phraggle / Nick Bondra over on DeviantART. You can see the pain and loneliess in his eyes – he’s the last of his kind as far as we know. If you dig TMNT and Archie comics or the Fred Wolf era inspired art, you really should check the gallery of his amazing art, it’s spectacular stuff https://phraggle.deviantart.com/gallery/49286074/TMNT

IMAGE CREDITS

*Wingnut and Screwloose animation screen capture from ComicVine

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/wingnut/4005-51349/

*Wingnut and Screwloose comic panels from Mighty Mutanimals#1

*WingNut fan art by Phraggle 

https://phraggle.deviantart.com/gallery/49286074/TMNT

*Wingnut card back scanned images from http://tmnt-ninjaturtles.com/

*Bat-Nose image from http://www.katiesalidas.com/2011/10/can-bats-be-sexy.html

*idiot image from Matt Monroe http://mattmonroeastronaut.com/idiot.html

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3D PRINTED ENERGON CUBES – Courtesy of WA Collector Jason Campey

its good to be the king frenzy rules glow.jpg

One cool item that I’ve really enjoyed adding to my Transformers collection recently is  custom 3D printed Energon Cubes from local West Australian collector and Transformers fan Jason Campey. I bought a handful of the cubes a few months back from Jason, and liked them so much that immediately asked for more when he had them available as Trypticon kept trying to eat the ones I had.

trypticon glows energon1

Fast forward a few months, and I bought a container with 50 purple energon cubes from Jason. But once you have them, what to do with them? They kind of sat around for a week or so.

One bored Saturday, I started mucking about with different piles and shapes to display them in. Then I started treating them like kids wooden blocks, wondering what could I build them into. After making a pyramid, and then a wall, I settled on a legends scaled throne for one of my favorite G1 style rascals

Frenzy throne headmasters decap attack transformers.jpg

I then later bought some Insecticons also from Jason, and looking up reference images, used a still from the cartoon when the insecticons were first introduced.

In the scene, Megatron pays the insecticons with a measly few crumbs of energon cubes – lying to the bugs and keeping the bulk of the hoard for himself and rest of the cons treating the bugs as slave labor like all good industrialists do.

insecticons require more energon
Thundercats font and TRON font – brought to you by ENERGO’S  – Tasty NRG Snacks for the Bug on the Go

The cubes are transluscent, so with a decent light (or a torch) you can see how nicely they light up. I want to get some LED’s to go with my display, but I’m unsure what is suitable, something with multiple LED’s would suit to go under the cubes.

buggalo 1 glow

While I dont have the third CW / TR insecticon yet, the simple act of putting a purple cube in a toy bugs hands brought a surprising amount of delight and joy to my day, as did taking some photos to share online on fan sites like TFW2005.

Here’s a picture below with the Insecticons I already had, with the old school “Deluxe” ones in the back row I got from Jason. These bugs are well hungry, and best kept out of your kitchen.

buggalo 2

The cubes are translucent, and when lit up in the dark have a delightfully eerie glow to them that gives the impression of real energon cubes, which gives me that funny tingling feeling in my spine when I look at them.

buggalo 3

Fortunately now that I have a heap of the cubes, I can keep Trypticon from devouring everything in sight, but he ALWAYS wants more – his appetite is ravenous.

trypticon carbomya energon titans.jpg

The energon throne I made the center of a mini-display with sharkticons and small scale toys, and they all sit under the mighty Trypticon, who has a few cubes in his mouth in a reference to the episode “Thief in the Night” and Trippers knows that only “Carbombya Energon” is best.

Below is my mucking about with energon cubes made into a throne, I put a box underneath to act as a raised platform, because “It’s Good to be the King!”

The cloth thing is a cleaning cloth I used as a placeholder, so as not to see the box logo (a HASBRO Jenga box) in the photo, just to get an idea of how it might look.

rumble fever

I happened to get Whiplash on the same day from the postie as I was mucking about, so after answering the door, added him and Mumm-Ra in there for shits ‘n giggles.

its good to be the king frenzy rules

A close up of the master of mirth and mayhem, some little Kremzeek’s and his sharkticon bodyguards. The whole theme/idea was really mischief maker and rascals. Serial pests if you will, which Sharkticons and Trypticon are in the old Sunbow/Marvel Transformers Cartoon.

Later, I moved the whole kit and caboodle onto my bookshelf. The box is still underneath, I didn’t’ have anything good to cover it with, (kind of wanted red royal looking velvet) so I cut up some of those freebie Combiner Wars comics, wrapping the pages around the box front and top. It has Menasor and some Cons on the pics, but mostly it’s just to disguise the silly Jenga box on the shelf.

michief makers incorporated CONS just want to have fun decpticons

Later I went back and switched the Sharkticons clear blue sword for a red energon axe, and then gave his buddy a red light sabre, to match the red on the Main Man. I also added more Kremzeeks around his throne, and an RID Takara minicon, along with a Titans Return Grape Ape, and the see through CON symbol on top of the chair.

Overall I’m pretty happy with this silly display which reflects my sense of humor and of course shows off the awesome energon cubes courtesy of Jason Campey, who is just a fantastic guy, and it’s always a pleasure to see him, and of course when I do see him I can’t shut up about toys and rave on like a lunatic.

Frenzy rules energon throne.jpg

Zooming out for one final pic, you can see how they all sit under Trypticon, the biggest baddest Dino-Former this side of Cybertron. The below two images I’ve uploaded at a larger resolution, click on them to see them full screen if you are so inclined, there are lots of cool little details to discover.

trippers be con john1.JPG
– click this kick ass image to see full screen –

I themed the display around small size CONS, and things that have sharp teeth claws and jaws, to mirror Trypticon’s feral unpredictable nature. Depending on what angle you look at the display, you can see things hiding in or around Trypticon.

trippers be con john2.JPG
– click this sweet image to see full screen –

I’m always adding little things. Whenever I look at Trypticon chowing down it brings a smile to my face. He’s dangerous, but also a lovably goofy character voiced by the immortal Brad Garrett better known as Raymond’s Brother on Everybody Loves Raymond.

Well, hope you enjoyed this bit of nonsense. Plenty more articles coming along near completion, and I may do some more random pics and mini-essays about various Transformers toys to go with the longer articles to mix things up.

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Appreciating the Unappreciated (or) Me Grimlock Not So Stupid

grimlock not stupid.jpg

Sometimes I read comments online that just bug me in their stupidity or ignorance.

Then I have to take a step back and look at why did that person say such a thing?

And was that person me perhaps? Was I mad at the time, pissed off about something and foaming at the mouth?

Sure. Why not.

Explains a certain amount of dumb comments I’ve written, or read by others, or ones I wrote myself. God damned EMOTIONS!!! ARGRHGGH!

optimus prime g1 toon.jpg

…Then there is the truly stupid, the inexcusable type stuff – best not read or engaged with. Not said with anger, but lacking in any intelligence at all, full of hate / prejudice / malice take your pick. It’s pops up just anywhere and everywhere – including online forums and hobbyist groups.

No problem, walk on by.

No need to engage with that level of stupid.

But then there is another kind of stupid. The kind of human behavior where we refuse to engage with anything new, and only live in the past. The kind of behavior that most of us capable not crazy people display on a regular basis.

I’m all for vintage toys, or enjoying the shit from your youth, nostalgia, whatever. It’s all good.

But I don’t understand folks who can’t appreciate anything new.

menasor_v_computron_by_dan_the_artguy-d8m68gc
“NO NEW STUFF, ONLY THE GREATEST HITS!”

 

“I only like Batman from the 70s”

“I only watch Transformers from them 80’s son, pass me a beer and don’t tell about that new shit”

But there is like a dozen or so Transformers shows over the years.

How in fuck do people know what they “don’t like” if they never try anything new?

Do they really hate ALL of them equally, without having ever watched any of them? What bizarre mind powers are they privy to that give them this kind of omniscience and where can I sign up?

It’s like asking one of my oldest friends to try some new food he have never tried.

Not gonna happen.

He doesn’t like that, and knows somehow even without trying it.

I guess that works. I don’t need to drink gasoline or murder somebody to know that I would not like those things.

i-dont-always-drink-gasoline-but-when-i-do-i-drink-bp.jpg

OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE STUPID

But I think it’s different when it comes to say a TV show, toy, comics etc.

If I don’t try anything new, well then I start to turn into a fossil. Being “against” something on principle is just so damn rigid.

It’s not that there is any need to “keep up with the new”, but if we are so rigid in our hobbies, how are we in other parts of our lives?

I try a lot of new shows, comics, media etc every year, and end up liking far more than if I stuck just to my old interests.

All new animation errors ironhide decepticreep
“God damn malware, I just want my Game of Moans”

I used to be extremely introverted and shy as a kid. Not uncommon for us Nerdbots.

In my twenties, when people would ask me to go somewhere, or meet them “over there”, I’d be like “meh, I like it over here – think I’ll stay home”. Things are comfy, safe and familiar there.

At some point – probably after reading a motivational type book or whatever – I started saying “yes” to doing new things, to things I had never tried before. Like that awful Jim Carrey movie but without the hilarious consequences.

It was extremely uncomfortable for me, mostly due to my anxiety, particularly in social situations and around new people. I take longer than most to acclimatize, to get to that point of relaxed ease instead of freaking the fuck out and having to leave and go home.

I’m sure it has NOTHING to do with being relentlessly bullied as a child. Yup, nothing at all.

I had to REALLY push myself to do new things, and go new places.

kids can be so cruel.jpg

Anyhow, I started doing more and more new things, and while it was uncomfortable as fuck, sometimes I had a good time. Other times I was overly anxious, had a shit time and went home feeling miserable and wondering why I bothered?

But over the years, doing new things evened out – so that I can better pick the things that are good for me in some way (even if they make me a bit uncomfortable) – and avoid the time wasting activities that I really did not enjoy and won’t do again. Or time wasting people and situations that can be quite toxic and not good for my mental health.

The thing is, if I didn’t get out of my rather narrow comfort zone and try a heap of new shit, I would not have the diverse range of hobbies and interests I do now, and I would not have met some really cool people that I connected with.

I apply the same principle to new media, or really anything in life, I make myself try new things and some of it works out, some it don’t. There’s always discomfort, but life is not about avoiding the unpleasant, it’s about experiencing everything.

SHUT THE FUCK UP 80’S KID

I grew up watching (cue announcer dude) “THE TRANSFORMERS” in them 80’s, and I was literally born in 1980.

The old show to me was pure joy.

bring_on_the__80_s__cartoon_bad_guys__by_dan_the_artguy-d97v9xc.jpg

Over the years, whenever the show was in reruns I would watch it – no matter how many times I watched it – I never get bored of that show. It’s a pure kind of love that is just not going to go away. It’s like for that for some other fans too. But I also watch other Transformers shows. And I just don’t get the old fans who hate on anything “not G1”, and whenever a new toy comes out the comments I see most often online are along the lines of “Not G1 enough” from the old fans, and “too much G1” from the newer fans. I hope I never get frozen in time like that, and unable to appreciate things from beyond my own childhood.

The Big Con 32c deleted scene transformers g1 Trypticon.png

It’s fine to like what you like, and develop your own tastes. And as we get older, we do tend to refine and be more selective in our tastes.

But I do get tired of people who dislike things on principle, without even trying out something new. It’s a kind of mental laziness. If you have first hand experience with anything, and whether you like or dislike it, I’m interested to hear your point of view. I don’t care if your view agrees with me or not. The more people with different contrasting points of view I can hear from, the more perspectives I’m able to appreciate and understand in life.

But if you have no experience of something, and insist on how rubbish it is etc – well that just doesn’t interest me. It’s an ignorant opinion. We all have them, but rarely do we own up to it.

homer brain1.jpg

THEM NEWFORMERS ARE RUBBISH

Transformers Animated and Robots in Disguise (2015) are both kiddie looking shows, with an art style meant to entice children. The writing, dialogue and themes are aimed at a younger audience. They look on the surface like something I would not enjoy at all.

But I decided to give them a fair crack. After watching Transformers Prime last year, I was hungry for more TF shows. Watching both Animated and RID at first I was not terribly impressed. But about four or five episodes in, I had gotten to know the main characters, their world and I was hooked – finding surprising depth, good characterization, interesting visual designs and good dialogue in both shows.

Bumblebee_and_Grimlock_2015_RID
GrimStrong_Shipper#55″OMG, did you see the new episode? (O: “

Both shows have well written stories, great voice actors and lashings of humor, like hurt your gut belly laughter – a real surprise for the often humorless american Transformers shows (the humor in the Japanese version of ANY Transformers show is another matter entirely).

If I had gone with my initial ignorant view that the shows looked unappealing, and never watched them – I would have missed two great Transformers shows, not to mention the fun toys from both lines. Things don’t always work out this way of course. Sitting down recently to watch the English version of Transformers Armada was a painful experience.  Fans insist it gets good in the second half of the run, but I insist it’s consistently bland all the way through and criminally boring even in the better episodes. I wish Unicron had just eaten them all at the end. That would have been a pretty metal way to end a kids show. “Sorry little Billy, all your heroes just got eaten alive by the robot devil, thems the breaks, now quit crying – go outside and play with some dirt”.

bulkhead_and_sari_by_sishamon10-d33k35l.jpg

The Transformers Animated toy line is one of the most screen accurate of any Transformers toy line. Partly it was “advances in technology” if you want to believe that bullshit, but in reality it was a rare time at Hasbro where one department actually communicated with another, producing a show and toys with a uniform design, instead of making one (toy or animation model) conform to the other as is standard on most Transformers show. It was a level of co-operation that frankly Hasbro could do with more of, but in all likelihood probably will never be repeated – as far as having such great looking that toys that match their animation models of a uniformly high standard, rather than a conformity of low quality and poor aesthetic that doesn’t match it’s on screen representation.

At first those Animated toys didn’t appeal to me at all – due to the art style. But now that I have picked up a handful of them over the last year – I can say that I genuinely like them, and have decided to collect the entire line. As a lifelong fan of cartoons and comics – to my eyes Transformers Animated just does so many things right that are not obvious to the casual observer until the show is watched to completion.

feeding_to_dinobots_by_j_666.jpg

While the show was uneven at times, the shift away from human villains in Season 1 to Decepticons in Season 2 was a welcome change.

Animated was a show were some people wanted to make it “a superhero” type show in its formula. That’s a fine standard, nothing wrong with it – however the over-emphasis on generic HUMAN super-villains in Season 1, and the under emphasis on the natural villains – the Decepticons- is a silly mistake in my opinion. The build up of Megatron, and focus on each new villain was great and masterfully done. But too many humans, and too few Cons for too long is dangerous territory.

It veers too close to becoming like the #1 thing most hardcore fans hate about the live action movies. The movies are about the human characters, and their journey – with the robots as background characters in their own damn film.

Frankly the idea of giant robots chasing around human sized villains in Animated is just silly. In size and strength alone it’s no contest – leaving the villains to rely on gimmicks and technology. My question is, if the writers / show runners wanted to make a “superhero” show, why not just make that, and not involve the Transformers at all? Despite these issues, Transformers Animated is still a great show.

bulkhead.JPG

The Animated toy line was one of the last of the era of strong robust plastic, amazing transformations and electronic gimmicks (such as voice clips from the show in the leader figures). Leader Bulkhead is an amazing toy.

Rising production costs and other side issues means no mainline mass market Transformers will have that level of build quality again, particularly the stronger grades of plastic that we just don’t see on modern TF toys anymore outside of Masterpiece toys.

thermidoor rid
RID Thermidoor – a great toy overall with typical hollow bits and thin plastic

transformers-explosion BAYHEM WARS fuck off already editions.jpg

Another thing I really did not care for or appreciate over the last ten years is the live action Bayhem Transformers movies.

The plots are confusing and ridiculous with more holes than over ripe Swiss cheese. The characterization is almost non existent – with most robot dialogue being snappy one liners and bits of quotable dialogue, rather than any form of intelligent communication, lacking the rhythms of actual conversations. The humans barely fare any better, with stop start yelling, sound bites or long rambling bits of meaningless exposition.

“I love killing things”

EXPLOSION

“We gotta get that MacGuffin to save the day”

EXPLOSION (follow with lingering creepy close up of lady parts)

-add mysterious wheel of cheese in 3rd act

“Shit we killed everything and saved the day”

roll credits here…or whatever

hound gloves cheese head aoe transformers movie.png

Cullen Prime’s moving speeches/eulogies/movie trailer sales pitches are repeated so often over the five movie they lose any sense of meaning or impact, becoming almost like elevator muzak. It’s just there in the background and to be expected, but you don’t really pay attention to it anymore.

The explosions are many, and some of the visual designs to my eyes are rather ugly. Each film seemingly becomes more savage and faux-adult, less kid friendly (WTF?), and while some characters use the same names, their personalities don’t really match any previous version.

Looking for any depth or meaning to events in the live action Transformers movies is like trying to get cow’s milk out of a Bull. It’s not going to end well.

transformers optimus prime last knight promo art1.jpg

Re-watching all of the Bayhem movies a few months back before Last Knight was released I found more to enjoy overall, rather than loathe. Being hyper-aware of the films many many many many failings, I was able to look past them and focus on the things I liked about the films instead.

I WILL LET YOU DOWN, I WILL MAKE YOU HURT

The animation is world class, the mix of live action and CG gets better with each film, the design team(s) were able to come up with a lot of interesting ideas and concepts for transformers, at least in terms of visual character design. What was left on the design room floor was just as interesting as what made it into the movies.

Wheels on bots feet in bot mode is rather nifty. Arm gun transformations are sweet. There is some Mythology type stuff in there that doesn’t add up to much, buy hey they tried I guess.

The tubby John Goodman voiced Movie Hound is one of favorites from the movies – even if he is just Bulkhead with a beard and gun, and a little Ironhide/Ratchet/Kup personality thrown in for shits and giggles.

I swear I had other good stuff to say about the films, but damned if I can remember any of it just now.

So in summary………. I like robots?

We’re done here until next crime.

optimus_prime___advent_teaser_by_the_gearsmith.jpg

IMAGE CREDITS

 

*Menasor vs Computron and 1980s villains group pic by dan the art guy

https://dan-the-artguy.deviantart.com/gallery/

*Bulkhead and Sari fan art by Sishamon 10

https://sishamon10.deviantart.com/

*Feeding Dinobots TF Animated fan art by Shohji / J_666

https://j-666.deviantart.com/gallery/

*Knight Optimus from official TLK movie promo art

*Optimus Prime Thumbs Up  by The Gearsmith / GrungeWerxShop

https://grungewerxshop.deviantart.com/art/Optimus-Prime-63578017

*Ironhide fan art by Matt / Mttkn14

https://mttkn14.deviantart.com/gallery/

*Optimus Prime screen grab from The Transformers

*Trypticon screen grab from The Transformers

*Grimlock Not Stupid art from Transformers Official Manga

Daily Cartoon! TRANSFORMERS S.3,E.24: “Grimlock’s New Brain”

*Homer Simpson Brain from The Simpsons Wikia

http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Simpsons_Wiki

 

 

The Transformers Fandom – The Greatest Fans on Earth

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The Transformers fandom is filled with a great variety of people from all walks of life.

It’s one of the things I love about connecting with other fans.

It’s also filled with some Grade A Internet Jerks. I don’t mean to be that type of fan, but *sometimes* I am. Part of it is that if I can talk with someone in person, or hell even on something old fashioned like a telephone, people can get the subtlety and nuance of things I may say.

I have a pretty caustic / black sense of humor. So often I’ll say something online and people don’t know I’m joking and get offended or whatever. Emoticons help a little, but it’s a problem that I don’t think is ever going to to away with online communications such as Facebook, Twitter etc.

When you’ve met someone in the “real world”, they tend to understand you better, and then later if you do say some off color remark online, they know you are taking the piss.

Is there a simple solution? Like don’t make any comment ever that might offend, or never make any kind or joke, or don’t communicate with people you don’t really know?

Yeah, that’s a big waste of time in my experience. You can never please all the people all of the time, and really why should ANYONE try and change their personality to suit someone else? It’s a pointless endeavor. How many online things have I been banned from (or removed myself) just for having an opinion on something?

It’s a bit silly. You either get along with people, or you don’t. The folks you become friends with like you fine just how you are, and the ones that want you to change to suit their agenda, are not worth talking to. It’s an unrealistic goal to “get along” with every person you meet in life, and it’s one the most Politically Correct pieces of Bullshit that really irks me, it’s a form of Organised Human Stupidity in my opinion.

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We should be “civil” with one another in any medium, but at the same time, you can’t cramp and distort your personality or who you are to suit some club, job, company or whatever. and that means there are folks you are gonna get along with, and folks you are gonna piss off no matter WHAT you do, or how you do it. It ain’t worth losing sleep over.

If your values don’t match those in the group, job or club you are in, then it’s time to move on. Every human being has their core values, and it’s downright ugly to attempt to make someone conform into something that they are not suited to.

I’ve been in jobs that I ultimately had to leave as the values of the company didn’t suit my own. I’ve been part of social groups, clubs, (toys, yoga, martial arts) whatever both around my hobbies or other interests where at some point I had to politely excuse myself and move on.

We all grow and change. Sometimes our values change, sometimes the groups values change, and it can be hard to “let go”. A social group or club can be like a relationship, you hang on to the good bits, even when things are bad and hope they can get better, like they were in them Golden Days. And it can be hard to have the maturity to know what is good for you when folks are all around you are telling you something different.

There’s a time to fight for what matters to you, and there’s a time to move on to places and people that match how you are NOW, rather than how you were a decade ago.

I can think of some job interviews where I got up and walked out the door, and told them flat out that the companies values did not match my own, and that continuing any further would be a waste of my and the interviewers time.

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Nobody likes that sort of thing, and some will take offense even when it means you are both better off.

Transformers is a funny thing. Like Batman or Dr Who or Trek Or Wars…. it inspires a certain kind of rabid devotion to the brand, the characters, the mythos and lore. A certain kind of passion and sometimes malice or miscommunication seems to happen frequently online. And I feel that part of it is the medium of online communication itself. And sometimes it’s people talking across each other, not actually communicating, but throwing out bits of information and not really connecting with each other.

If the “content creators” or brand holders do something too different and new the old fans will hate it and those that created it. Do the same thing over and over, and it becomes boring and stale and people will lose interest. Keep everything “pure” to the “original” thing and several decades later no new fan has any chance to catch up.

As a fan of many things I often keep to myself, and only voice my REAL opinion on something if someone asks. Despite appearances to the contrary online, I’m a very private person, you won’t see me at any kind of fan convention or things like that. It’s hard to get me out of the house unless it involves going for a nice walk, to the gym, to get food or go shopping for toys. Most of my old friends are in different countries. That used to be my #1 reason to go anywhere, to see mates. But priorities change.

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I’m so mouthy and opinionated that I started doing multiple different blogs on different topics, as a way to satisfy my own curiosity about niche interests like Transformers or Batman or movies or whatever and go deeper than just surface level conversations. I’m always hungry to find out more.

Even then, it’s just my opinion (not fact), and on any given day of the week I might feel a bit different about any particular topic depending on the mood I’m in.

I thought the art style on Transformer Animated and Transformers Prime was horrendously ugly and stupid. Until I watched them all and came to appreciate the genius of those shows. there are still parts of those shows that bug me, but on the whole, I love 90% of what they do.

Rarely do I meet anyone in real life who is interested in the same hobbies etc beyond just “here’s the cool toy of the movie of the thing” and that’s it.

Great, I love the passion. But who made it? Who designed and created it and WHY? What are their values? What are THEIR interests? What else might I enjoy that is similar to this sort of thing? What is the history of the hobby, or the character or the product? etc etc

I’ll finish up this ramble here, as no doubt I have more to say, and will do so in some sort of addendum to this brain fart of a post, but I don’t want you to fall asleep before we get there.

IMAGE CREDITS

Transforming Fan http://geekologie.com/2017/02/transforming-ceiling-fan-with-blades-tha.php

Peace Through Tyranny Album cover from Onslaught Six

https://www.discogs.com/Onslaught-Six-Peace-Through-Tyranny/release/7218044

Marky Mark GTFO image from Transformers: The Last Knight

BOTFAN JOHN’S BOTSMAS EVE WRAP UP 2016 – in August 2017??? Stop smoking that plastic crack son!

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No, I’m not going anywhere – nor am I high on Energon or Plastic Crack.

I wrote this blog in 2016 and never got around to posting it. Then I decided, what the heck, I love reading people’s year end wrap ups about whatever and figured hey, let’s just post it anyway….

And here we are in August 2017 with me talking about 2016…….so instead of the Year in ReviewYear of the Goat or the Year of Convoy Pants Maximus – it’s the Year In Retrospect. Sounds a bit fancy doesn’t it? Or is that just my imagination where I read “Year in retrospect” with a bored yawning upper class British voice.

2016 was the year I dove head first into a bottomless pit of Transformers toys like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin.

Yeah that didn’t really happen, but I did obsessively follow every new release, every announcement, every new toy review and tid bit of news and info on official and third party toys, so it kind felt like I was diving into a giant bin of toys. Or at least a plastic tub stacked in a corner.

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I bought a heap of TF toys this year, and now I am literally surrounded by them in every direction as I type.

I never had any intention to go mad for Transformers this year, in the previous 20 years I’ve owned just a handful of toys. But some little switch got flicked inside me, and all of a sudden Transformer toys and media were my personal crack.

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It’s nothing new. I’m an obsessive person, and I have no control over what holds my attention, the best I can do is redirect from one obsessive thing to another. Batman to Marvel, Marvel to Transformers, Transformers to JG1 Transformers cartoons and then back to Transformers comics or my somewhat neglected Batman Blog. If I’m in a reading mood I’ll read several thousand pages of comics in a week, or binge watch a Transformers TV show in addition to all the normal things like eat/sleep/work/repeat.

In 2016  I read the entire run of Marvel Transformers comics for the first time. The US run, the UK lot and the Regeneration One (IDW) sequel. I read all of Dreamwave, IDW Transformers #V1-4 and more.

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I read IDW’s Robots in Disguise (RID) and More Than Meets The Eye (MTMTE) all the way through….twice. And I loved it all.

The first time around I didn’t care for a lot of those IDW comic stories. The emphasis on deeper more meaningful stories was lost on me, I craved more giant robots beating the shit out of each other.

But second times’s the charm and now I have to say my appreciation for what IDW has done with the brand, lore and stories of Transformers media is REALLY FUCKING COOL.

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If you are too stupid busy robotic  silly to read them, well all I can say is you’re missing out on some the biggest loudest most exciting longest most ambitious long form continuous piece of Transformers stories in existence.

No Transformers show ever ran for more than a few years, (Rescue Bots being the only one to continue past Season 3) and the movies are loosely interconnected one off stories. Really there is nothing else that comes near the length of IDW comics run.

Except for bits of the Marvel US and UK comics stuff, but a lot of that was shoe horned together on the fly. The IDW-verse had some real thought and planning put into it. Hey, some of the world building was shoe-horned in too in IDW, relax about it man. It’s not perfect, there are parts I don’t like for sure, but overall it’s DAMN good and we are spoilt as fans that it even exists at all.

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I’ve seen a lot of different comic companies try and do their own Marvel-Method shared universe world building, and most of them fuck it up. I’m a lifelong Marvel Comics fan in case you didn’t get the hint. But IDW did a great job of tying together Transformers, RID and MTMTE with each other, and all the one shots, mini series and stuff they did. My hat is off to them. That Revolution nonsense I’m not so happy with, but that is the topic of my next post.

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So also in 2016 I watched the Japanese show Transformers: Headmasters for the first time ever, thanks to having constant internet access. I’ve started watching Victory and Masterforce, and I’m up to episode #20 of Brave Exkaiser. I’ve also been enjoying the dazzling Combattler V and other classic super-robot anime that I’ve never had the opportunity to view before. It’s great stuff. I also watched all of Transformers Animated for the first time and made a dent in Robots in Disguise 2015.

Just this last week or so I’ve started watching Transformers Prime, a brilliant award winning show that I’ve been meaning to watch for years, but only now had the time to fully engage with and appreciate.

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TF Prime is a show with real nuance to the characters, and it really rewards those who sit down and watch episodes back to back, pulling off serialised stories in a way that is nearly seamless, and possibly the best that has been done in any Transformers TV show. Beast Wars did a similar thing, the pacing just always felt too slow for me, the CGI was ground breaking for its time, but just looks ugly today. With Transformers Prime I feel like all the experiences and talent that went into Beast Wars and Transformers: More than Meets the Eye really paid off in Transformers Prime.

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I’ve never cared for the art style much of TF Prime, particularly Prime himself with his overly skeletal hips and exploding chest windows that can’t decide where to sit.

But Bulkhead is amazing, as is Ratchet. The character models are gorgeous and these two characters alone make the show worth watching for me, along with Megatron, Break-down and Knock-Out. The stories are well done, the action is brilliant, and the human characters for once don’t annoy me, and are integrated into the show in a pretty seamless way that makes sense. Of course the one who really steals the show is Iago… I mean Starscream.

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Another thing Transformers Prime does is sort of redeem the movie aesthetic (as in live action Bayhem Bayformer movies) for me, the post Bayformer design of Prime and Bumblebee in particular really stands out as incorporating elements of the live action movie designs, in a way that doesn’t give me a headache or make me feel like throwing up from looking at them with their millions of triangular face polygons that make their faces look like evil razoblades from hell.

Of course, now I must start a TF Prime toy collection, but that’s a good problem to have.

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S3 Galvatron joins the search party that is going out to look for….himself

 

In 2016 I bought loads of official brand new retail toys, the Titans Return, a few more Combiner Wars, and picked up old brilliant CHUGS by the boxful thanks to some local collectors in my state, and embraced some truly AMAZING stuff that is coming out like hotcakes from third parties.

My most recent third party efforts have been Unique Toys Allen aka G1 Springer and KFC Simba aka Victory Leo. While mid year, finding a HASBRO Titans Fortress ‘Mazimus on sale here in Australia for below full retail price at the time or release was brilliant, and my toy of the year as far as something that I looked forward to for over six months, and am still in love with. Once you look past how inferior the build quality is compared to the G1 toy, and his damn Leaning-Tower-of-Iacon status that makes him fall over REALLY easily despite having literally giant bot boot bricks for feet….. well all that aside he’s  a GREAT toy and a worth addition to any fans collection. I also briefly owned MMC’s version of Overlord for about a month or two, then traded him for a Generation’s Metroplex.

 

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I’ve gone a bit gonzo for fandom in 2016 and embraced various TF communities and collectives.

I love connecting with other fans, enjoying their amazing art – such as Chris McMasters Venomised Megatron picture below. I also enjoyed buying toys from local sellers in OZ via wonderful facebook groups such as TCCA – Transformers Collectors Club Australia and OTCA / OZFORMERS Forums – many a great deal is to be had. The great thing about buying from collectors, rather than soccer moms over on Gumtree (who also have some amazing do not miss deals, hello Energon Omega Supreme for $40 AUD) is that you know what you are getting, what condition it is in, what bits it is missing, or if its complete etc.

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Megatron-Venom by Chris McMasters https://www.instagram.com/ceedaflicks/

In 2016 I joined the TFW2005 forums in May. It’s been years since I’ve found any online niche hobby site forums that I wanted to be a part of and contribute to, or have the time for.

Many online nerd communities are insular, strange and often hostile. And while it is possible to have that experience at TFW2005, my overall experience so far has been most welcoming, and a number of people whom I have not met in person, but I think of as friends have found me on facebook and other sites, and I’m very grateful to them for their friendship.

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At Big Citybot Burger, we’ve got the Burgers Bots Crave

I also frequent the Australian OTCA / Ozformers forums, and I use the same name “BATFAN007” on all sites, including reddit and Seibertron.

So if you see that name around, it’s most likely me, usually talking a big load of rubbish. I also swear like a sailor and am usually a grumpy mother fucker on the best of days. So I’m not going out of my way to be obnoxious, that’s just how I am in real life even with my family and friends.

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In 2016 I took way to many photos (like it kept filling up the camera memory card) of toys and shared them on IMGUR, Facebook and TFW2005. Seeing other people’s fun photos made me want to take more photos than ever, and it was great fun.

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Well, that does it for now. 2016 for me was an awesome year for collecting Transformers toys and gave me something positive to focus on while other parts of my life have been unbearable and depressingly frustrating.

But never mind that, here’s RID Chubby Paws Grimlock having a panic attack…..

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SHOCKWAVE PROFILE -Resistance is Futile

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NAME: Shockwave

FACTION: Decepticons

QUOTE: “Logic dictates that I Shockwave… am Superior to all forms of life”

Cold, calculating, ruthless, logical.

More concerned with conquering the galaxy than any single planet, Shockwave plays the long game, his machinations taking a millenia to reach fruition, while comrades are none the wiser to his duplicitous nature.

If there is any Decepticon with both the strength and determination of Starscream to rule, and the brains and loyatly to the Decepticon cause of Soundwave, then Shockwave is the one CON who could rule them all.

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Using Megatron as much as being used by Megatron, Shockwave reluctantly performs tasks for the Decepticon cause like an obedient dog, because it is logical, and also serves his purposes.

The best seat of power for Shockwave is as an indispensable aid and chief Scientist to Megatron. Along with Soundwave and Starscream, these three Lieutenants help Megatron keep his merciless grip over the Decepticons and any worlds they choose to enslave.

In a power vacuum, Shockwave would not hesitate to step up and take his rightful place as leader. It is after all, only logical. The greater danger however is not Shockwave’s allegiance, but his curiosity to know the secrets of the universe. Not content to merely rule, Shockwave desires to be a techno-god above all natural forces, in domination of the Universe. He seeks ultimate power, no matter the chaos and destruction it causes to organic and metallic life.

“I am the only logical choice to lead the Decepticons”

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IMAGE CREDITS

All Hail Shockwave by Pinkuh https://pinkuh.deviantart.com/

Shockwave from Transformers Universe published by Marvel Comics

Shockwave Profile by Alex Milne

 

KNOCK OUT PROFILE – The Handsome Devil and Narcissist by Nature

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NAME: Knock Out

FACTION: Decepticons

QUOTE: “A little torture, a little mayhem, CONS just want to have fun”

Narcissistic by nature, Knock Out is only out for Number 1.

Knock-Out has both a sadistic and a playful side, the two of which seem to mix at his leisure. While aligned with the CONS he is not a loyal patriot, and does care about the Decepticon cause so much as being on the winning team.

Like Starscream, Knock-Out is selfish and his methods ultimately serve only himself, but he will fall in line when a Boss Bot like Optimus or Megatron is around to give him an order or a threat.

While Knock-Out’s hobbies include surgery, torture, driving fast and looking at himself frequently in the mirror – he has no sympathy for his patients. A bedside manner that regularly involves torture and interrogation, Knock-Out uses his surgical skills to extract information, or to patch up battle damaged Cons under orders from Megatron.

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Knock-Out enjoys surgery just a little *too* much. He’s a Decepticon that is ultimately selfish and not to be trusted. He’s vain and egotistical  and small minded. He’s a prima donna narcissist more in love with himself and his paint own job, who ultimately cares for nobody, except perhaps his friend Breakdown.

Knock Out’s ability to be two faced or weasel out of something gone wrong he is responsible for is second only to Starscream. In any situation where  something needs cutting, buffing or ironic sarcastic caustic comments, he’s the Con for the job.

“All Surgery and No Torture makes for a Dull Day”

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IMAGE CREDITS

*Knock out by Ai Eye

https://ai-eye.deviantart.com/

* Knock-Out saw hand screen grab from Transformers Prime

*Knock Out by Marker Guru / Alex milne

https://markerguru.deviantart.com/

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