Comics Creators

The Toy Thread


I like the Optimal Optimus one’s robot mode, and I’m a sucker for the hoverboard. Hunn-Grr’s probably going to spend a lot of time in robot or torso mode if I do get him.


Also, it looks like Optimus Primal is going to have the evolution gimmick going. The Series 1 style bot turns into the long spaceship/surfboard, and combines with the Transmetal style monkeybot to make the Optimal Optimus form.


Went on a trip to the LCS today and my daughter developed a massive fascination for Funko Pops. I said she could have one and she spent about half an hour going through the various shelves of them to make sure she’d seen everything she wanted.

After narrowing her choice down to a few (including some nice Teen Titans Go! ones), we ended up getting a couple of the mini keyrings.

But I have a feeling I haven’t heard the last of these things.


Oh man. Someone posted on Facebook photos from Power Con (a He-Man convention running this weekend) of a booth selling concept art from loads of toylines, including a tonne of Visionaries concept art, mainly of unreleased figures.

I’d kill to get some of those (not literally… well, maybe literally), even if only to get a better idea of what the unreleased figures were meant to be - those totem descriptions on the back of the cards are tantalisingly too low res to read!

I shot an email off to the company running the booth, but I suspect the Mapes brothers will manage to hoover it all up, as usual.


Who are the Mapes Brothers?

Have you got a link as I’d like to pass this on to a Big Jayce collector I know.


Their sister was a housekeeper in the Atredies house on Arrakis.


The Mapes brothers run Transformers @ The Moon and TheVisionaries .Net (and are involved with TFNation). Visionaries fandom is pretty small and they dominate by buying up pretty much everything that’s rare and unusual and then letting bits out in (heavily watermarked) drips and drabs on their site.

They’ve got prototypes pieces for various figures, pretty much every piece of production material for the cartoon (model sheets, scripts, recording tapes), loads of Earl Norem original art pieces (to the point they said they found one mislaid behind the stairs, having forgotten all about it, which seems unthinkable for art of that quality) and original art pages from the comics (and have said they want to get a complete issue in original art, which seems incredibly selfish to me - I’ve never even seen a page available).
They saw this stuff posted on Facebook and indicated they’re wanting to buy it all, which I suspect they’ll manage. And yes, this is largely envy talking, but whenever I find out something about Visionaries (usually through hard graft on the internet), I tell people or throw it on the wiki I do, they largely seem to hoard information.

The dealer is Planet X Toys. They’ve got a website but none of the stuff from the booth seems to be listed there. They’re on Facebook too.


Here’s another shot of some more Jayce stuff, Mark.


Have no clue what the impact of this might be, except a glut of unbought toys at many levels.


Walmart and Amazon have been destroying them for years.

I remember when TRU used to have huge standalone buildings that put everything else to shame. I think back in the 90s is when they started downsizing their stores.

Bankruptcy has been a long time coming.


Not to crow about a company going out of business, but TRU rarelt do themselves any favours. They consistently get exclusive products and then give them fantasy land pricing (£80 for MP Bumblebee for instance, £100+ for that pack of Optimus and Megatron repaints). For years now they have terrible availability of products, and are content to let old stock fester for years (those Robot Heroes pvc figure packs were taking up 1/3 of TF shelfspace about three years after release still). They never seem to have demo machines for games consoles set up and running any more - even if there’s a console there, it’s usually not turned on and running.


The toy business seems particularly brutal.

Between short-packed action figures (You want a Chewbacca? Well, you’ll have to order four peg-warming gonk driods for each Chewie!) and being unable to stock things people actually want to buy (NES Classic), the whole thing just seems like a rigged game.

And the eBay flippers pick the stores clean in minutes, so folks will stop even going in to look for something when they know they won’t be able to find it.

When I go into Toys R Us looking for something like a certain Star Wars Black 6" figure, all they have in the Star Wars section are about forty Finns and Zuvios that have been pegwarming for the past eighteen months, and a bunch of crap like Micromachines and Air Hogs that, apparently, nobody wants because they just sit on the shelves untouched, it doesn’t surprise me that tney’re struggling.

I don’t know how much of it is TRU’s fault, but the toy industry just seems like a rigged game.


I’ve seen the same things in my local TRU, but I don’t know if it’s an industry wide problem. A Smyth’s toys opened near me a couple of years back now and despite being half the size of my local TRU, it’s always much better stocked with good product availability and rarely stuck with peg-warmers*. But I’ve seen the Entertainer have similar problems to TRU, usually from over-pricing products.
(As an example, a deluxe Transformer is now about £18.99 RRP. Smyths will have them at that, but often discount. TRU has them at that price solidly, the Entertainer has put them up to £23 and is always several waves behind).

*Smyths is quite weird though because despite being in there and buying things dozens of times, I’ve never gone through the normal check-outs. They always have you use the customer service desk and I’ve no idea why.


I have wonderful memories of letting my kids wander the aisles of the local Toys R Us and letting them choose a toy. I can’t imagine that my grandchildren will have a similar experience choosing a toy from the Amazon website. This TRU bankruptcy sucks.


Wow. I wonder what will happen to the Time Square location. No FAO Schwarz and now no Toys R Us? That just seems crazy.


Didn’t the Times Square TRU close down a year or more ago?


Fuck! I didn’t know that. It must have closed down not long after we went a couple years ago.

What is there now? That’s a huge space especially if it’s empty in prime real estate.

Edit: It looks like they reopened it last month but just through the holidays.


It’s time for another roundup of Lorcan’s transformer purchases

I got a stupidly cheap Generations Nightbeat while grabbing a few bits from Big Bad Toy Store recently. I’d not gotten an interation of the mold before and it’s OK I guess. I can see why people talked about the mold degrading quickly - there’s a lot of loose joints, and the legs don’t line up properly in car mode, but there’s a fair bit to like here too - the weapons look cool in their combined mode, really nice head sculpt, and I quite like the colours. Though the art for the pack-in comic suggests that he was going to be a RtS Jazz redeco originally, and that would have been killer. Still, cheaper than my original plan to buy Chromedome or Getaway, repaint, and use the Nightbeat head from Legends Rewind.

Also in the bought cheap from BBTS category is Titans Return Bumblebee, who’s a surprisingly decent figure. Fun little car mode, a transformation that’s sorta fiddly to line up but looks great when you’re done, and a nicely poseable robot mode too. I liked it so much I went out and bought ChaseRoadburn at full price!

The last BBTS purchase was Titans Return Brainstorm. I wasn’t willing to pay local grey market prices for the legends one, he wasn’t making it to retail here, so sod it. And yeah, he’s a Blurr redeco, but he works a lot better than he should. I only wish there was a bit of tooling to allow the nosecone/shield to attach to the back with the guns pointing upwards to properly mimic the MTMTE design.

GetBreakaway is Chromedome’s body and guns, and a different head. So the good is that the base toy is really cool, and I don’t think the complaints of the lack of paint aps are necessarily valid - but there’s no paint for the eyes? Eh, I’m totes going to break out the blue paint for that one.

Hot Rod is another good not great. Decent robot mode, decent car mode, but less than the sum of his parts, I think. If I’d known about PotP Rodimus before buying him, I might have passed, or gotten the Targetmaster one.

Triggerhappy is another highlight figure from the line. Gorgeous fighter mode, incredible robot mode, the colours are fantastic. My only regret is not knowing about the Targetmaster version was coming from Japan, otherwise I would have gotten him instead (and have Misfire and Slugslinger on pre-order from HLJ)

DoublecrossTwinferno is another fun one. Could be a bit more poseable in either mode, could have a smoother transform, but he looks cool, I like the weapons (better than the Japanese Targetmaster), and his head being a Battle Beast is cool.

Topspin is another line highlight. He looks amazing, with a lovely bulk to the figure that’s deceptive for a Deluxe. The way the legs collapse for the transformation is awesome, and as a fan of the Wreckers since childhood I’m very happy for a chance to finish the set off, speaking of which…

Broadside is, as standard for Titans Return triple-changers two good modes - robot and ship - and one naff one - aircraft. Though there’s a less shit fan-made aircraft mode, still not official. The robot mode has a really nice bulk to it that fits into the contemporary portrayal of the character in the comics, and there’s some nice detail touches. But there’s a lot of silver foil stickers providing detail for the desk in ship mode that are peeling on mine already. I might get reprolabels or just paint the plastic…


So apparently Double Cross has also been remoulded to make Grotusque, but it’s a HTS exclusive that might end up at TRU. He comes with a Battle Beast Headmaster too, and also Scorponock’s head for some reason.


I saw that, I might pick him up if he shows up on HLJ or if I get the itch to pick up some bits I missed from the US.