25 October 2009

Masterforce C309 Godbomber - a whirlwind adventure

It was the year 2000.

At the time, I've more or less just (re)commenced collecting Transformers again. Naturally, I was particularly interested in the G1 figures that I missed out of, a decade or so before. These were ones that I really wanted but never got around to being given them.

Powermaster Optimus Prime was item #6 on the list of figures I really wanted but missed out on. It was such a relief to have Prime back after he'd died in the 1986 Transformers: The Movie. I was on the search for a Powermaster Optimus Prime back in 2000. Roaming around The Cannery at Clarke Quay, a place that in coming years will surely be remembered as the Singapore toy capital in the 'good old days', I met with many old secondary school friends who were to my surprise also interested in buying back the Transformers they missed out on. I gathered that this may be a common trait among boys. Heh.

Knowing that I am searching for Powermaster Optimus Prime, my friend DY told me one Sunday morning, "Hey, you know that there is an add on trailer to Powermaster Optimus Prime right?"

"What?!? You sure?"

"Yeah. It's called Godbomber, a Japanese exclusive back in 1988. It's one of the holy grails of Transformer collecting. It's so rare that very little people have actually seen it before."

If there is something like that, I'd surely want to acquire it to make my Powermaster Optimus Prime 'complete', I thought. The problem is, I've never, ever, seen or heard this before and had no idea where to look. I scoured eBay, but, as with rare items, no one seemed to be selling Godbombers for months and months.

In the intervening time, WT, another friend had kindly given to me, the entirety of his Transformers collection that fortuitously for me consisted of Powermaster Optimus Prime and Sixshot, both complete. All that was left to do is to find the fabled Godbomber.

On another Sunday months later, there was a Transformers toy 'exhibition' at Exclesior Hotel. I attended with DY and he pointed out to me "There it is. Powermaster Optimus Prime, known as Ginraii in Japan, combined with Godbomber to form God Ginraii."

*jaw drops*.

It exists.

I was blown away.

"Ah, there's my Dolly Parton." the owner of that piece, now one of the few Singaporean PowerSellers on eBay said. He must have been comparing the large chest of God Ginraii with Dolly's chesty chest, I suppose.

I-have-to-have-Godbomber. There's no two ways about it.

The next month or two was spent extensively researching Godbomber. What parts it comes with. Where was it released. Which is the best place to have a chance of finding it.

No luck.

I was also told on good authority that Godbomber was a limited release even back in 1988, and that it was limited to 2000 pieces, released on Japan only. There were supposed to be markings on the Godbomber box that said so. I don't know whether this was or is true since I have no way of verifying it. But I was experiencing great difficulty in locating a Godbomber.

On a random day, I was flipping through a Japanese pocket book that I been given as a present by a primary school classmate. This was a book that I'd paged through time upon time, for countless times. This time however, I noticed something I didn't before. There he was in the picture. Godbomber together with Ginraii and then on their left, a picture of their combined form God Ginraii.

Ironically, Godbomber was a character that I should have known since 1988. This is that picture in the pocket book - I experienced subtle deja-vu and an epiphany at the same time.

Their combined tractor-trailer form is so awesome and like no Prime I've ever seen before that I had renewed vigour in searching for a Godbomber. I would find such a Godbomber from this guy in Hong Kong.

SGD$450 was what he wanted for it. I-was-still-in-University-at-that-time. That-is-a-lot-of-money.

But he was offering an MIB Godbomber for sale! The first I'd ever ever come across in my life. Man, what a mess I was. I knew I had to part with some of my present Transformers in order to raise the cash, but I would have to part with many Transformers to make up SGD$450.

I did the only thing I could. Remember the Overlord I bought for $4 from a University charity fair? Yes, this one here.

I sold that Overlord for SGD$450 to finance my C309 Godbomber MIB.

This is my C309 Godbomber MIB.

Box front

Back of box

Contents, complete with all parts and paperworks

Close up of Godbomber

A while later (could be months or a year I can't remember), Takara saw fit to reissue the C310 God Ginraii giftset en-masse, drastically hammering the price of any existing Godbomber to smithereens. Now every one and his dog is able to acquire a fresh minty Godbomber reissue. To make matters worse, there were some many reissue C310 God Ginraiis in Asia that its price went from SGD$160 on first release to SGD$70 after 6 months, and there were still heaps floating around.

Such was life.

I am still extremely happy with my C309 Godbomber nonetheless. It is a vintage piece in its individual box (which I prefer to giftsets), near-mint, and, if the legends were true, one of 2000 that was released on 1988. If for nothing more, I would still hold it close to heart for the whirlwind adventure it led me on, from discovering it exists, all the way to me acquiring it.

~ HD

24 October 2009

Massive Weekend Update part 4 - My Pretenders are here!

I managed to purchase all six 1988 Autobot Pretenders from a very nice US lady seller. They are all complete. They are all in near-mint condition (bar some minor unavoidable paint scuffing), and has near-perfect stickers with very few instances of peeling.

I am just happy I was able to acquire all six of these guys complete and in one lot rather than have to individually hunt them down. Additionally, I have it on good authority that Sky High and Splashdown are particularly tricky to find complete and in good condition - was great that they are part of this lot.

So, I'm going to say it again, my-pretenders-are-here! Hurrah!

Pretender shells of Landmine, Cloudburst, Waverider, Groundbreaker, Sky High and Splashdown

Pretenders Landmine, Cloudburst, Waverider, Groundbreaker, Sky High and Splashdown

Pretender shells of Landmine, Cloudburst, Waverider, Groundbreaker, Sky High and Splashdown

*Sunday edit* Gratuitious shot of the full complement of 1987 Autobot Headmasters Hardhead, Chromedome, Brainstorm and Highbrow; half a complement of the Decepticon Headmasters Snapdragon, Apeface and Mindwipe and two random Targetmasters - Cyclonus and Pointblank (his friends Crosshairs and Sureshot are actually protecting Lego on the shelf above).

Massive Weekend part 3 - Targetmaster Slugslinger

I acquired Targetmaster Slugslinger together with his two other Targetmaster brothers Triggerhappy and Misfire, and also his enemies Chromedome and Hardhead, all Mint in Box.

I really like this guy, but like all the 'new mold' (as Dlin and Tietjens calls them) Targetmasters of 1987, he seems like such a dork and to have sub-par intelligence and limited combat usefulness.

I like Slugslinger because he is a rare double-nosed jet and we don't see many Transformers that actually transform into that. Like his colour scheme. And adore the box art. Simply stunning.

Targetmaster Slugslinger for you...

Stunning BoxArt. The toy also looks like it taking up much of the space of the box, rather than appear to be 'swimming' in a massive box like some other Transformers back in the day.

Notice the slight bulge of the box because Slugslinger and his plastic bubble insert is actually almost too big for this box size, but I guess Hasbro still packed him in this box for consistency because it was the 'standard' box size for the the 1987 Decepticon Targetmasters.

Almost looks MISB, eh?

Caliburst in his plastic prison

Very near C10 Slugslinger with near perfect stickers.

Used sticker sheet and all paperworks and promotional material that originally came with Slugslinger. Notice the catalogue is rectangular in shape and not folded into a square like the catalogues that were packaged with smaller Transformers back in the day.

Decepticon symbol!

Massive Weekend Update part 2 - Pretender Cloudburst MIB

I recently acquired Cloudburst MIB, at the same time, and from the same seller whom I purchased my MIB Targetmaster Cyclonus from.

I bought Cloudburst by-the-by, just as something more to buy from this seller so that Targetmaster Cyclonus won't be shipped alone and also to amortise shipping cost from England. On hindsight, it was actually a pretty good move because this Cloudburst cost AU$50, shipped to Australia.

While it is no criticism to this toy, which I think is one of the nicer 1988 Pretenders, I was actually not that interested to acquired Cloudburst. I can't put a finger on why. But maybe its because he was the only Pretender my brother and I had back in the late 80s and because its articulation was so revolutionary among Transformers of the time, we played that toy to its death. Perhaps I'm less interested in obtaining him because unlike the other Pretenders which I never had, it no longer held any mystery for me.

Still, I'm glad I bought this MIB Cloudburst. It is in such great condition and definitely a lot nicer in condition than my childhood Cloudburst.

Minty condition MIB Cloudburst

The bottom corner here appears to be slightly damaged. There is a price tag which says £9.99.

Love this back of box BoxArt. Perhaps the nicest back of box art from 1984 to the end of G1. At the time, I remembered how elated I was to see from this BoxArt Powermaster Optimus Prime! After two years, which was really toy for a kid and in terms of toys, Optimus Prime is back and he's no loner dead!

Nice Cloudburst and his insert tray.

Massive Weekend part 1 - D330, Gaihawk

It is Saturday morning.

The lady of house is still asleep.

I am going to do a massive update.

This is the first.

Behold, Liokaiser member D330 Gaihawk.

I don't know, I don't have much to say about Gaihawk except that he may be my least favourite among the Liokaiser members. I'm not sure whether its his near/off pink colour, his name (seriously, not very original), he similarity with Hellbat (who is much cooler) in terms of transformation, or just the overall impression I get of him.

Be that as it may, he still forms the right arm of Liokaiser and his importance to this sextet of Decepticon warriors cannot be denied (unless Cobra is resurrected, maybe).

Front of box - As with the rest of the Transformers in the Victory era, the box art is simply stunning.

The individual boxed Brestforce members features bottom of the box art unlike earlier year Transformers which features a representation shot of the toy on the bottom of the box.

Flawless glossy box without creases, dents or rips, from this side.

Flawless glossy box but there is a slight dent to in on the bottom and top right side of the box as seen here.

Top of box - Unlike earlier year Transformer boxes which featured transformation sequences of the toy, the box tops of the Brestforce members show instead photos of the toys featuring the 'brest-former' function that is unique to this sub-group (with the exception of Deszaras of course).

Back of box

Back of box - unfortunately, the flap, especially the right hand side, is a little creased and damaged.

Gaihawk's bio card is not included in the paperworks packet but is actually one of the inner flaps of the box. Notice that he is actually called "Guyhawk" on his bio card, while today, he is better known to the world at large as "Gaihawk".

The other side of his bio-card is actually another flap of the box. I suspect that the printing on each flap were meant to be printed on respective sides of a card, but Takara for obvious reasons cannot do that (ie: print on both sides of the same box flap), so they did the next best thing which is giving us the characters' picture on one flap and then the bio on the other flap.

The contents of C-330, Gaihawk. The instructions, unapplied sticker sheet and all the original catalogues and promotional material that came with Gaihawk are still sealed in the bag.

Minty Gaihawk toy and Eagle 'brest'.


Detailed pictures and commentary on individual Liokaiser memebers:

11 October 2009

Targetmaster Cyclonus MIB

I didn't think I was going to get this guy. As it stands, I already have one too many Cyclonus'. Why would I want another one? It's hard to say why or how it happened. After more than a year of self imposed hiatus in terms of Transformers collecting, I began with a bang and acquired the three 1987 Decepticon Targetmasters MIB - Misfire, Triggerhappy and Slugslinger, together with all the 1987 Autobot Headmasters & Targetmasters - Chromedome MIB, Hardhead MIB, Highbrow, Brainstorm, Crosshairs, Sureshot and Pointblank MIB.

I was looking for the junior Targetmasters on eBay when I chanced upon a MIB Targetmaster Cyclonus auction by a seller from the UK. Quite refreshingly, the price is not as outrageous as most of the US eBay auctions nowadays are. I watched it. I told myself I would bid if it were reasonable.

As is quite often the case, the box art appealed a lot to me and at the same time my fondness for Cyclonus took ahold of me. I am really fond of Cyclonus since 1986 because I thought (and still think) that he is the reformatted Skywarp, my favourite Decepticon Seeker. And I thought it'd be neat to also have a Targetmaster Cyclonus together with the Japanese Box Cyclonus (pictured below) and 2 US boxed Cyclonus' (pictured below and in storage) I have.

I went ahead and bid. I was delighted to win the auction at 46 pounds (equivalent to US$73.34; AU$100, inclusive of shipping). It was a steal I thought.

I'm very happy to now have plethora of Cyclonus' - two 1986 MIB Cyclonus', a Japanese box D-70 Cyclonus and also a 1987 Targetmaster Cyclonus, which is the feature of this post. Yah!

D-70 Cyclonus

Two USA boxed Cyclonus' on the top left hand corner of the storage container

Below are pictures of my happy acquisition - Targetmaster Cyclonus. It does not come with its instructions or bubble insert, but I'm more than happy with it given the price I paid.

I'd say the condition is as follows:
Box - C7.5 (but no flap crease!)
Toy - C9.0
Stickers - C7.5

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