26 February 2011

Transformers United Wave 3 and more

Thought I could not do this today. However, it turns out that E had to go back to the office for emergency conference calls, at 12pm and 4pm. I suddenly had time to wander around and decided to take up OZ Former member Ultra Magnus' offer to hit the stores at Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok.

Before I met him, I tried my hand at searching the Sham Sui Po area for toys and toy shops, but that was an epic fail because I decided, for this time, I shall go without any addresses and just 'try my luck'. Can't make it too easy on myself huh. Didn't find a single toy shop (other than those silly flea market type shops selling all KOs). Like I said, epic fail.

Before I met Ultra Magnus, I managed to pick with 2 MOSC Zone Micromaster sets and an official Takara faction symbol sticker sheet from 2002.

C-334 and C-335 MOSC (cards is about C7.5 to C8)

Takara faction symbol sticker sheet. I don't know where this comes from, but it will come in useful for stickering up my City Commander, Protector, Valkyrie, etc.

Takara stamp. Dated 2002.

Met Ultra Magnus at around 5.45pm and we just went around the shops, talking as we went, browsing madly, etc. We managed to spot a good few things and even a rare Henkei Red Alert MOSC. I recommended that Ultra Magnus get a few pieces of toys - Henkei Red Alert and Music Label Blaster. At the prices they were going for, those were good buys, which he did buy. I do hope he likes it. While we went on a rampage of stores, Ultra Magnus went on a rampage buying spree. He bought a lot (a lot more than me at least).

At around 8pm, we went back to our favourite shop 221 at Yau Ma Tei, where we waited to pluck Wave 3 of United off the hands of the shop owner right out of the packing cartons, fresh off the delivery truck. There were close to 15 people there before us, all packed into the tiny shop like sardines, all vying for a set of United Wave 3. It was mad! We waited for close to 20 minutes before we got a shop (but it felt like we waited an hour). This was a great Wave. I got a set (Perceptor, Blurr, Kup and Wreck Gar) and a spare Wreck Gar. 

We also got 2 exclusive Targetmasters complimentary when we bought a set - Fracas and Haywire. This shop owner is really generous. Other shops only gave one of Fracas or Haywire for a set; some shops gave none. Way I see it, that is approximately US$100 in value that we got free (since BBTS is selling the 3 exclusive Targetmasters for US$149.90).

Here is the haul...

... Fracas (left), Haywire (right).

While we were queuing up, we noticed that most people either did not buy Kup or did not buy Wreck Gar. Very strange, because if I were to make a choice, I would not buy Blurr, since it is so similarly coloured like its Generations counterpart. We were curious, so asked them why - the common answer was 'the Generations version of Kup/Wreck Gar' looks better'. 'Really?' Rare is the case when a US release looked better than the Takara one. 'Kup, is too shiny in United to be a veteran Autobot', another guy added. 

Now, I am faced with a dilemma - do I open Generations Kup or United Kup to welcome into my Classic-verse?

25 February 2011

Goodbye Convoy and Goodbye Henkei

 Yesterday, I wandered around and stumbled upon a FansProject G3 trailer for a pretty decent price. So I got it (together with my third Generations Scourge).

I opened the G3 set today (very exciting!) and played with it on my table, where my Goodbye Convoy set (obtained from Japan) was sitting. *light bulb* Maybe I could put the Henkei versions of Optimus Prime, Mirage and Red Alert next to their G1 counterparts - with the G3 trailer, my Henkei Prime was 'complete'.

Why not?

So I did.

G1 Goodbye Convoy

Henkei "Goodbye Convoy"

Red Alerts and Mirages

'Goodbye, sir', he said. 'And goodbye to you too', he replied.

23 February 2011

Tokyo/Hokkaido Trip - The Acquisitions Tally

In usual fashion, this is a consolidated view of all my Japan Trip acquisitions.

Below is a photo of all my Transformers acquisitions during my February Tokyo/ Hokkaido/ Niseko trip, from 7 Feb to 14 Feb 2011. I must say that the sheer amount beats what I got from Japan last year, but the quality and rarity of pieces from last year will likely win out over this year's acquisitions.

(note the 2 C-350: Rabbicraters were not bought from Japan)

Acquisitions (in order acquired):

  • TV Artbook #69 (featuring Masterforce)
  • C-341: Greasepit MISB
  • C-342: Airwave MIB, unused toys, stickers and paperworks
  • C-343: Hot House MIB, unused toys, stickers and paperworks
  • C-344: Iron Works MISB
  • Kondansha Pocket Book #53 (featuring series 1 to 3 TFs)
  • Kondansha Pocket Book #57 (featuring Masterforce)
  • Victory: The movie animated comic
  • Victory: Character book
  • C-327 promotional poster
  • C-360 promotional poster
  • Vintage Transformers "03 - Megatron" t-shirt MISB
  • C-47: Grapple MIB, very minty and unused
  • C-83: Sandstorm MIB, C9.5, untouched, unused, complete paperworks, unapplied sticker sheet
  • eHobby recoloured Ravage and Laserbeak MISB
  • Headmasters poker cards, unused and still attached as one piece. This is something I have never seen before and the quality is great.
  • My second Goodbye Convoy giftset (this set does not have the styro insert but is 100% complete with C9.5 toys and complete paperworks, very impressive. Unfortunately, it does not have the poster, but I am still very stoked about acquiring this set because it completes my Goodbye sets!
  • C-319: Landcross giftset, unused, complete paperworks

Close up pictures:

See you next year Japan (or maybe later this year, who knows?)

19 February 2011

Some happy "Goodbye" shots

I had an hour or so in between coming home from walking around Causeway Bay and my firm's Annual Dinner today. I took out my Goodbye set to fiddle with. Really, its been so long since I have sat down and actually played with some of my G1 toys.

The feeling was great. It was like getting re-aquainted with an old friend, a very good old friend.

After 20 or so minutes of play, I thought maybe I should snap some pics.

That'd be nice. So, that's what I did.

Here are some pictures of my old friends...

18 February 2011

C-76: Defensor giftset and Operation Combiner TF-07

It's been a busy week acquisitions-wise. I find that I can't catch my breath. It's been almost a-Transformer-a-day!

Today, I went down to YMT again the grab C-76: Defensor giftset for a buddy over in NewYork. This is such a nice set that I am almost considering to keep for myself! 

I also bought a minty near MISB, unused Operation Combiner TF-07 giftset. Very nice box.

17 February 2011

Car Robots No.3 (Diaclone) white police car Sunstreaker

I saw this at a shop on Monday. I knew it was one of the rarer (or rarest) Diaclone pre-Transformers, right next to a blue Bluestreak or a 'Malboor' Wheeljack - a Car Robots No. 3: White police car Sunstreaker.

This one I saw was bone white, with tight joints and overall minty with the exception of the 2 white stickers on the arms being slightly yellowed and some light sticker wear for some stickers. It also came with a box that was in decent condition (I have seen far too many banged up Diaclone boxes that is not worth the paper its printed on).

I was hesitant at first because I did not know how much this usually goes for. I know its rare, but I don't know how rare (ie: the value it commands). So I went 'reserved' it with the shop and went on forums to try and find out. I was told that last one to come up at auction in quite a while ended at US$550, and it was yellowed in many portions. I was to understand that auction gauge was correct, an MIB Car Robot No.3 Sunstreaker would be in the region of US$500, or more if its white.

I was offered a pretty good price for this one. Today, I went back to the shop after work and grabbed it.

I took it out to transform.

After transforming the white Sunstreaker, I can say for certain that either due to mold degradation or some other factor, none of the Transformer versions Sunstreakers felt and transformed quite as well as this Diaclone one (I used to own a Sunstreaker when I was a kid back in 1984. I also have many Sunstreakers since I started collecting again in 1999). For this Sunstreaker, the joints and interfaces were all just right, precise and fits neatly, even that troublesome back flap that just comes loose and wayward for almost all the Transformers Sunstreakers I have come across, snaps right into place.

If a person wanted a well engineered and manufactured Sunstreaker, clearly this is the version to go for (alternatively, the red Diaclone Sunstreaker would also be as good I suspect).

Other than the corner crease, the box is in pretty good nick.

Top of the box, showing a transformation sequence which no doubt inspired G1 box designers.

Bottom of the box - this is a "Countach LP5005, Patrol Car Type".

Back of the box showing other car robots which are destined to become Ironhide, Trailbreaker and Ratchet.

White Sunstreaker with "Goodbye" versions of Optimus Prime and Megatron

Updates, updates!

In recent times, I have updated the site less than I would have liked to. There are many reasons for this - still acclimatizing to HK, getting used to work here, been out a little too much, a few too many sessions of mahjong, many visiting friends and relatives to entertain (who would have guessed that HK is such a popular destination for people to visit), overdose of toy shopping, and most recently went to Japan for holidays.

Over the next few days, I will be updating this space on all the fun things I did in Japan and all the cool Transformer related things I got this time round. These posts will be in respect of the actual date they happened and so might pre-date this post.

Today, I am catching up updates of my early February acquisitions.

See below!

~ HD

15 February 2011

Not one, but 2... Rabbicraters

I returned from Japan yesterday. 

Today, I called up my friendly Yau Ma Tei toy shop owner for a chat to see if he has found anything I wanted from his sourcing or if he has reserved anything for me. He answered, and said yes - 'there is this rare thing, its a boxed video tape with a vinyl mat'. 'Comes with a blue car?' I enquired. 'Yes', he answered.

Holy!*!*! It's Rabbicrater! While not extremely rare (in my mind) because I have been offered it a number of times, it is still one of the harder to locate items in the twilight years of G1, and extremely hard to find with the video tape and the vinyl mat. It is also difficult to program a search for "Rabbicrater" on eBay. The results keep returning "Rabbi" (as in Jewish holy man) something, making it tough to search online for this guy - eg: "Rabbi Carter" or some sort of derivation is usually returned with a search.

'What's the condition?' I probed. 'It's sealed lah. Up to your standards,' shop-owner replied. 'Okay, see you tonight,' I said, overjoyed.

Went down to the shop and found that he held not 1 but 2 Rabbicraters MISB for me. Okay, I won't refuse.

Grabbed and raaaaannnnnn.....

Note to self: As it turns out, the Rabbicraters are not MISB, but both of them are unused - as in the video tape and Rabbicrater itself are still sealed, but the tape at the side of the boxes have dried and fallen off and so technically, they are not MISB.

13 February 2011

Postcards from Niseko

Hello from Niseko, Hokkaido! E and myself up on the Niseko mountains at 8pm at night in the -10 degree celsius temperature, still skiing!

11 February 2011

Japan Day 5 - Hokkaido and Sapporo (part 2)

This was an unexpected discovery. From a flyer got from Mandarake in Nakano, we discovered that there was also a Mandarake in Sapporo (which is where we were going for the Snow Festival). Turns out the Mandarake at Sapporo was about 10 minute walk from the Snow Festival Grounds.

So we went! (E is the best!)

This Mandarake is stacked to the rafters with vintage TFs with many a highlight. I will go through a few of them below...

The glorious vintage G1 Transformers shelf at Mandarake Sapporo... WOW!

Landcross, Liokaiser, Bruticus and Dinoking giftsets

Close up. On closer inspection, the Dinoking box was extremely ripped up on the left side, and so not as good priced as I thought initially.

The rare stuff - VSY, VSZ, Goodbye Convoy and 2 sets of Goodbye Megatron

VSY and VSZ. Interesting that Mandarake is offering an installment plan for interested buyers of VSZ - priced at 58,000 yen.

The Goodbye sets. Springer MIB was tempting until I checked it out and found that it included no paperworks whatsoever. Hmm... pass.

Really expensive Black Zarak and Overlord

Misc things on the bottom shelves, including a pre-Transformers Browning.

This one is interesting. It actually looks like Grandus but is easily 2.5 times the size of Grandus and is manufactured by Ban Dai. I wonder what gives and what's the story behind it.

Saw this tucked in the corner - very minty and complete C-114: Fortress Maximus at 84,000 yen which is a very very good price for this guy. On the basis of its size and because I already have it, E said a firm "no". Hahaha... as well. Leaving it for the next lucky guy who sees this.

Today's Acquisitions

  • My second Goodbye Convoy giftset (this set does not have the styro insert but is 100% complete with C9.5 toys and complete paperworks, very impressive. Unfortunately, it does not have the poster, but I am still very stoked about acquiring this set because it completes my Goodbye sets!
  • C-319: Landcross giftset, unused, complete paperworks

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