18 February 2008

Vintage Transformers Victory box art

The Victory Series
Transformers Victory. One of my all time favourite G1 series'.

When young, I was in love with Star Saber, Deathsaurus, Liokaiser and Victory Leo. Over the years, I was more than slightly uncomfortable because I just cannot find 'unobstructed' box art at a suitable resolution of the above characters. This really annoyed me because the Box Art is one of my favourite things about Transformers.

As mentioned previously, my acquisition of a Vintage Transformers: Victory poster might just go a way in alleviating the situation.

Vintage Transformers: Victory poster from Singapore

The Poster
I wasted no time in informing the Grandmaster of TF Box Art, Botch the Crab, about my fortunate acquisition and we have been corresponding about it.

Like I mentioned to Botch, I suspect this poster was made by a Singapore company to promote a Malaysian channel's screening of the Transformers: Victory series in 1990- the very same channel where I watched it when I was a kid!

The words on the poster say 'See the evil Decepticons battle the Autobots and the Forces of Good for control of the Universe. Watch the exciting Transformers V for Victory series on RTM 1, every Sunday 10 am. Don't miss it!'

It is clearly printed or made by a company called Palmyra with a Singapore address but is used with permission from Hasbro: 'Copyright 1990 Hasbro Inc. All rights reserved. Transformers, the logo... all associated names... used with permission.' Be that as it may, I'm not sure why Hasbro would be able to legally give permission for a company to use Takara exclusive characters.

The Botch Connection
While I was over the moon with acquiring the poster, I also know that such a find must be shared with the fandom and there is no better place to do it than through Botch's TF Box Art Archive. I am happy to say that cropped and edited images have been sent to Botch and that the fandom will be able to enjoy high quality, unobstructed box art images of these 6 core Transformers: Victory characters once the Box Art Archive is updated.

Watch for it here at Botch's Transformers Box Art Archive, but in the meantime here's a sneak preview at lower resolution.

Original image on left; cropped and edited image on right.

C-324 Star Saber one of my all time Box Art favourites coming in closely after the Bluestreak box art

C-327 Victory Leo

C-323 Road Caesar; they seem to have spelt his name incorrectly here

C-319 Landcross

D-336 Deathsaurus (also called Deszaras, but I prefer Deathsaurus)
He's called 'Death Sanras' in the poster. This is most likely due to the fact that his name was pronounced this way in Star TV dubs which were shown on RTM 1.

D-335 Liokaiser
Also sometimes called Lio Caesar maybe as an indication that he is Road Caesar's purported 'counterpart'

13 February 2008

The Road to Victory part 03 - The Photos

Previous chapter: The Acquisition

So here they are, photos galore of the best C-328 giftset I've ever come across and possibly the most well preserved one anywhere in the world (or at least I would like to think so).

First off, a size comparison just to get an idea of how really huge the C-328 giftset is.

The Victory Saber giftset is as big as a US boxed Omega Supreme, but about twice as thick as the latter

Comparison with BT-18 and MP-05 (which in itself is already a really large toy)

C-328 Victory Saber giftset front of box with beautiful box art

Top of giftset box

Bottom of giftset box

Back of giftset box.
Sadly, there is no back-of-box art here.

Side of giftset box

Side of giftset box

Opening the giftset
Flap open away from box front unlike most US boxed TFs

C-328 contents and sealed packets of instructions, bio cards and decal sheets

Star Saber & Victory Leo in styrofoam tray

Star Saber close up

Victory Leo close up

Close up of C10 Star Saber blade never removed from styrofoam

Close up of sealed paperworks

And now, gratuitous photos of all the Star Sabers and Victory Leos I own.

Read all The Road to Victory chapters:
Chapter 01- The Victory Battle
Chapter 02- The Acquisition
Chapter 03- The Photos

12 February 2008

The Road to Victory part 02 - The Aquisition

Previous chapter: The Victory Battle

The event dates back 8 years to 2000. The event is my acquisition of the C-328: Victory Saber giftset.

I was on a Hong Kong and Bangkok holiday. Of note, I remember acquiring C-325: Greatshots for SGD$90 in Hong Kong. What was more memorable was what happened in Bangkok.

I went to Maboonkong shopping centre near Siam Square. To my surprise, level 8 was dedicated entirely to collectibles, which would be considered a luxury good in most societies. Imagine this: an entire level dedicated to collectibles that can easily cost more than a month's wages to the average Thai.

It is shocking that such a place could exist, and thrive. I saw the Takara 01: Convoy reissue going for the equivalent of SGD$100.00. It's insane, for this place, but its happening.

At one particular shop, I chanced upon a Takatoku VF-1S with GBP Armor giftset. This was a time before the BanDai (and later Yamato) deluge of Macross reissues and releases so I quickly figured that this would be something of high value. Of the Valkyrie giftsets, the GBP Armor ones are so much rarer than Super Valkyrie ones, which are themselves already very rare.

VF-1S with GBP Armor giftset [this is not my set; image courtesy of Kevin Lam from Macrossworld]

Toys in their styrofoam insert trays [this is not my set; image courtesy of Kevin Lam from Macrossworld]

I quickly asked the seller how much he wanted for the giftset. '$23,000 baht' was his reply. That works out to be roughly SGD$1000. At that time, GBP Armor giftsets command thousands on eBay (in US currency) and a thousand US dollars is roughly SGD$1700 at that time.

I quickly worked this out in my mind and figured that I could make at least SGD$700 by buying and reselling this. I then did the most courageously stupid thing by drawing 23,000baht from a teller machine in the middle of semi-dangerous territory to buy the set.

I bought the set and ran.

Fast forward to Singapore. Sunday. Flea markets at Clarke Quay.

I brought the GBP giftset to sell fully intending to list it on eBay the following Monday if there were no takers. Afterall, my main interest is in Transformers. An acquaintance, LR, was extremely interested in the set but not my asking price of SGD$1,500.

He tried to corner me into a deal: he'll give me an MISB Victory Saber giftset and SGD$400 in exchange for the GBP Armor giftset.

I was skeptical at first but on laying eyes on the Victory Saber giftset, all resistance evaporated. It is a truly MISB specimen except for the cut tape which is unavoidable because the contents must be inspected. The box is easily a C9 to 9.5 without tears, creases or rips, rare for a box that large; the toys are pristine C10, untouched and never transformed; all the paperworks and sticker sheets were still sealed in their individual bags.

It is breathtaking, it is irresistible to any serious Transformer collector much less me because Star Saber used to be one of my favourite characters when young.

The deal was done and that was how I walked off with one of the most well preserved Victory Saber giftsets I've even come across and I venture to say, probably one of the most well preserved sets that can be found in any part of the world today (though I stand ready to be proved wrong).

My Victory Saber giftset

Next: The Photos

Read all The Road to Victory chapters:
Chapter 01- The Victory Battle
Chapter 02- The Acquisition
Chapter 03- The Photos

11 February 2008

SG toy hunt - The Best Of Tally

I sat down thinking to write the second part of 'The Road to Victory'. Paused for a little. Then thought that I should do an SG toy hunt 'best of' tally in the spirit of the HK one first.

So here it is, the Singapore toy hunt 'best of' tally...

Most satisfying moment: When the shop-keeper reneged on his initial decision not to sell me his vintage Transformers: Victory poster. I bought it at a relatively high price, but it is more than worth it.

Vintage Transformers: Victory poster from 1990

Hardest decision made: To buy or not to buy a C9.5 MIB unused Black Zarak. After speaking to friends about this figure's fragility, I decided to pass. Still, at a tag of SGD$2200, its not that hard to resist.

Unexpected find: Marvel Legends 'built-a-figure' Apocalypse, sold in built form. Bought it rightaway since I don't have to buy the 6 or so lousy figures so I could build my own Apocalypse.

Superman vs Apocalypse
These massive figures towers over a height of more than 16 inches each.

Favourite buy: C-327 Victory Leo MIB.

C-327 Victory Leo with instructions and used decal sheet

Worst buy: NA

Best bargain: Incomplete Nightbeat for SGD$3.00

If I could only buy one thing, it would be: the vintage Transformers: Victory poster.

Highlight of the trip: This is a tie between (1) C-327 Victory Leo MIB; and (2) the vintage Transformers: Victory poster.

Hypothetically, if I were to make myself pick the overall highlight acquisition of the my Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore trips, I'd quite unequivocally tell myself it must be the vintage Transformers: Victory poster which contains the beautiful box art of 6 Japanese exclusive Transformers.

I do so love vintage Transformer box art!

08 February 2008

SG toy hunt '08 - The Final Tally

In a few hours, I'm leaving Singapore for Sydney.

While I have not been at all lax, I have also not updated much while in Singapore.

I tell myself, hoping for forgiveness, that there are 3 reasons for this: (1) I was relocating to another place (yah! New home for my Transformers); (2) there was no internet connection at the new place; and (3) there were 'irrepairable' HDD errors on my MacBook (where's your reliability Apple?!?). This all effectively meant - no computer, no internet, no updates.

Be that as it may, no updates doesn't mean no acquisitions.

This is my list of acquisitions (in the order there were acquired):

- Justitoys MP-05 Upgrade set
- KISS Player Autorooper
- Nightbeat (incomplete)
- Bleach the Card Gum (series 03)
- Bleach the Card Gum (series 04)
- Victory Leo (incomplete)
- Star Saber (incomplete)
- SCF Sixshot
- SCF Star Convoy
- MyClone Jazz
- MyClone Sideswipe
- Victory Leo MIB
- Vintage 1989 Victory promotional poster
- Marvel Legends built-a-figure: Apocalypse

I didn't manage day-by-day shots of all acquisitions, much as I'd have wanted to. Ah well, can't win them all...

These are some pictures of the MIB Victory Leo that I managed to snap.

More updates to come...

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