26 April 2011

Back from Beijing

Just got back from Beijing yesterday. Went there for a short holiday, climbed the Great Wall, visited the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. =)

I have moderated (ie: accepted) all non-spam comments and these should all come live very shortly.

Not too many interesting acquisitions to talk about these couple of weeks. However, I did get confirmation that the SGD$15 that I received from PayPal is not a scam. See update here.

There has been some recent interesting developments in the process to whiten yellowed Transformers. My tread has been here: Whitening yellowed Transformers with Hydrogen Peroxide.

To all the readers that have emailed me directly asking for HK/SG toy shopping advice while I was away on holidays and had no internet access (can't get internet while climbing the Great Wall!), I apologise for replying late and to some, so late that any insight I had to offer is not going to be any useful. 

I still have much content to post which I hope to be getting round to shortly!

~ HD

19 April 2011

PayPal Private Limited pays me SGD$15 - Is this a PayPal scam?

Today I received SGD$15 from "PayPal Private Limited".

The message it came with said:

"As our way of saying thank you for choosing Paypal as your preferred secured payment provider, kindly note that we have credited SGD15 into your Paypal account as a token of our sincere appreciation. Continue to enjoy the security and ease of payment through Paypal. We look forward to your continued support in 2011!"

Payment type: Instant

That's it. Nothing else. Didn't ask me to send anything. No address, no nothing.

As per usual, there is an 'accept'/ 'reject' option.

Now that I have chosen 'accept' (which is a friggin' mistake), I'm afraid its a scam and somehow someone can get my details by me accepting the money.

Anyway, I have delinked my credit card from PayPal, so all they can get is what little funds is left inside.

I have no idea whether this is a scam and would appreciate any thoughts on this issue. 

PS: I have done some simple Google searches and have seen that PayPal does give cash rebates or cash incentives and sometimes as much as USD$100 to $1000. I'm just not sure why they would do this out of the blue.

* Edit 26 April 2011 *

I would first like to thank my OZ Former buddy Jay for offering to assist me with checking the veracity of the above. Since I received the following email directly from PayPal confirming that the above is not a scam, I didn't need to trouble Jay.

I received the email on 19 April 2011 (less than 24 hours after I filed an enquiry), but did not have time to post it before I has to fly off to Beijing.

This is the email:

Hello [my full name],

[3 paragraphs redacted; I don't want to give scammers a template to draft scam replies]

Upon checking, it might be a rebate from PayPal. It is not a scam. If
you have any further questions regarding your PayPal account, please
feel free to contact us.

[1 paragraph redacted for reason above]

PayPal, an eBay Company

So, that's it. Case closed. PayPal does give people money, out of the blue, so it appears.

16 April 2011

Heroic's (March) Private sale completed

In February to March this year, I offered certain key pieces of my personal Transformer collection for sale to a private list of about 15 die-hard G1 enthusiasts. 

I shipped out the last of the packages today and am very happy. From my perspective, the sale was a great success and I managed to sell key pieces of my collection to close friends, good buddies and key people from forums - I know they are going to good homes.

These are the pieces that have been sold:

  1. C-76: Defensor giftset MIB
  2. C-303: Minelba, complete, unused (which I talked about at the end of this post... here)
  3. C-334: Race Car Patrol MOSC
  4. C-335: Off-Road Patrol MOSC
  5. C-350: Rabbicrater MI(S)B, unused
  6. C-351: Construction Patrol MOSC
  7. C-373: Rescue Patrol (MT-11) MISB
  8. C-374: Battle Patrol (MT-11) MISB
  9. Operation Combiner TF-07: Scorch & Falcon giftset MIB, unused
  10. D-341: Race Track Patrol MOSC
  11. D-360: Metrotitan

There were a number of pieces that would have been sold, but have been veto-ed by E last minute. In other words, I was not allowed to sell them.

I am now working on another list, which consists of pieces that were not taken up during the private sale and also a number of MOSC Henkei pieces which I will be listing on eBay (my spare set of Goodbye Convoy will also go on eBay).

Watch this space.

~ HD

13 April 2011

Exclusive on exclusive or are these just Fables?

Lately, E has not been too busy at work, so I've spent most nights with her and did not really go toy hunting all that much over the last 2 weeks.

Some acquisitions over the last couple of days.

It's just 4 things really, the rest are just backdrops:

  1. Fables volume 15: Rose Red
  2. Madame Xanadu volume 3: Broken House of Cards
  3. eHobby exclusive KISS Players Position multipack MISB - HKD$350
  4. Toy Hobby exclusive Gentei (Henkei) Dark Skyfire MISB - HKD$380

I had no real interest in the exclusive toys this time round, I was actually more interested in the graphic novels (which is a snobbish way of saying 'comics', but who cares). The main reason I grabbed the exclusive toys (and these are by no means current releases), is because (1) I happened across them and (2) they are relatively cheap (for what they are).

I don't especially care for recolours of toys, especially when they do not have a place in canon - the KISS Players and Dark Skyfire are examples of recolours with no place in canon. That is not to say that they are not interesting toys though. 

I am growing to like them more after looking them over a few times.

Close up of KISS Players Position set and Dark Skyfire


Took some shots of my Henkei over the weekend in preparation for an upcoming post, and then took these shots, since they were all so conveniently laid out on my table...

09 April 2011

Transformers Generations 2009, volumes 1, 2 and 3; and Henkei electro-disruptor Mirage, Ghost Starscream and eHobby Skids & Screech

I was not very interested in these at the time of their release. I was in the thick of scooping up remnants of G1 Transformers that I didn't have. Classics 2.0 and their Henkei counterparts, including the art/product books at the time, held little interest to me.

It was no surprise that I complete missed out on these books back then. It was a surprise when I discovered these books recently, when I was furiously trying to locate a copy of Transformers Generations 2010. What are these books?

There are the Transformers Generations 2009 series of product reference pictorial books of Transformers toys released during 2009. There are 3 whooping volumes of material.

What is interesting is that each of the Transformers Generations 2009 volumes entitles a person to order an exclusive figure that can only be obtained through this mail-away offer (ok, this is not exactly true because I know that toy shops, at least in SG and HK, managed to stock these exclusive toys without having to oblige customers to also buy a copy of the relevant volume). Still, it does mean that these exclusives were released in smaller quantities than regular released toys.

  1. Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 1) entitles a person to order a mail-away Henkei "electro disruptor" Mirage (clear version of Henkei Mirage).
  2. Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 2) entitles a person to order a mail-away Henkei Ghost Starscream (clear version of Henkei Starscream).
  3. Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 3) entitles a person to order a mail-away a eHobby style 2-pack Skids and Screech (repaints of the G1 Skids mold in the Transformers 2009 movie colours of Skids and Mudflap).
Transformers Generations 2009 photographed with their mail-away exclusive toys.

Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 1) and Henkei "electro disruptor" Mirage (clear version of Henkei Mirage).

Photo of mail-away exclusive "electro disruptor" Mirage and a copy of Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 1).

Key features (to me) in Transformers Generations 2009 volume 1, include product photos and listings of:

  • MP-08: Grimlock;
  • Henkei C-01 to C-17 (almost the entire Henkei Autobot line up);
  • Henkei D-01 to D-07 (almost the entire Henkei Decepticon line up);
  • exclusive Hekei toys like clear Optimus Prime, Wildrider, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Dirge and Thrust;
  • Transformers Encore-05 to Encore-14 (the earlier Encores were listed in Transformers Generations 2007);
  • a TF Maniax section featuring all the different molds of Optimus Prime through the ages (very very useful for variant minded collectors!); and
  • a section featuring vintage Transformers catalogues.
I did not buy the mail-away exclusive together with the Transformers Generations book, but I bought the Henkei "electro disruptor" Mirage fairly recently. My one fear, as I mentioned to fellow readers Roger and gdmetro in one of my previous posts, is to inadvertently buy a KO version of this toy. I know the KOs are very prevalent and have been floating around in HK for some time. As I have no experience distinguishing a KO from the real deal, I was very apprehensive and cautious when it came to this toy - I will not buy one online and I definitely will not buy one if I'm not 100% sure.

It so happened that my friend who owns a toy shop in HK managed to dig up a piece from his store room. It was casefresh and was leftover stock back in the day when the piece was released. I bought that from him and now have peace of mind at least.

These are some shots of the mail-away offer (the white mail-away coupon is inside the book).

Transformers Generations 2009 mail-away exclusive "electro disruptor" Mirage MOSC.

Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 2) and Henkei Ghost Starscream (clear version of Henkei Starscream).

Photo of mail-away exclusive Henkei Ghost Starscream and a copy of Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 2).

Key features (to me) in Transformers Generations 2009 volume 2, include product photos and listings of:
I did not buy the mail-away exclusive together with the Transformers Generations book. The Henkei Ghost Starscream was a piece that I bought just last week. As with the Electro Disruptor Mirage, my one fear with buying this piece so late after its release are the KO versions that have been floating around.

Again, I was fortunate enough to stumble into a shop who owner just conducted an inventory check and unearthed 2 pieces of the Ghost Starscreams (this is a different shop than the one I bought Electro Disruptor Mirage from). The pieces were still case fresh and in their original wrapping. The seller also gave me 2 complimentary copies of the Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 2) with each piece of Ghost Starscream that I bought (although I'm sure that he must have factored the cost of the books into the toys!).

These are some shots of the mail-away offer (the white mail-away coupon is inside the book).

Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 2) mail-away exclusive Henkei Ghost Starscream MOSC.

Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 3) and eHobby style 2-pack Skids and Screech (repaints of the G1 Skids mold in the Transformers 2009 movie colours of Skids and Mudflap).

Photo of mail-away exclusive eHobby style repaints of Movie-verse Skids and Screech and a copy of Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 3).

Key features (to me) in Transformers Generations 2009 volume 3, include product photos and listings of:
  • Device Label Ravage and Blaster;
  • Transformers Encore-18 and Encore -19 (the final pieces in the Encore line);
  • a TF Maniax section featuring the all the Mini-Cons from the 2003 Transformers Armada line; and
  • a section featuring vintage Transformers catalogues.
I did not buy the mail-away exclusive together with the Transformers Generations book. I bought the Skids and Screech MISB 2-pack just fairly recently. This is an unusual exclusive to have with the book because it was not a repaint or redeco of a Henkei figure, which was all the rage back then. Perhaps because Volume 3 features almost entire characters from the 2009 Transformers live-action movie, the producers decided that the exclusive was to be something that ties in with the movie-verse and G1?

Skids (the greeen toy) is a repaint of G1 Skids into Skids' 2009 live-action movie colours. Screech (the orange toy) is a repaint of Crosscut (which was in turn a December 2002 eHobby reissue based on the G1 Skids mold) in Mudflap's 2009 live-action movie colours. Yeah, its all very confusing. Anything linked to the Michael Bay movie-verse is potentially confusing (and so was Revenge of the Fallen while we are on the topic; no wait, Revenge of the Fallen just didn't even make sense).

Skids bio according to TF Wiki: "When Skids successfully proved the existence of particles able to cross over between dimensions, he put his discovery to work for the forces of good, coating his armor in these "Dimension Slide" particles and endowing himself with the power to move between realities, as well as a snazzy new green paintjob. In this quest to examine anomalies within the multiverse, Skids found he could summon other versions of himself from different dimensions to aid him, but for unknown reasons, one of these alternate versions wound up trapped in Skids's home dimension, unable to return to his own world. Named "Screech" (presumably to save all the Autobots a headache), this alternate Skids teamed up with his counterpart, and together, the pair worked as "Quantum Operatives" policing the multiverse while searching for a way to get Screech home.

Hot on the trail of one such multiversal anomaly, Skids and Screech pursued Starscream's ghost across the multiverse to a parallel dimension where he was causing trouble. While the two dimension-hoppers kept the ghost busy with wordplay and pop culture references, the Mirage of that world used his illusion casting powers to scare Starscream into fleeing the dimension by projecting an illusion of his greatest fear: Galvatron!"

Screech bio according to TF Wiki: "Screech is a version of Skids from an alternate universe, unwittingly pulled into another timeline by the Skids of that world. Together, they fight crime!

Mostly, Screech hopes one day that he can find his way back to his home dimension. Until then, he changed his name and paired up with his "brother" Skids as Quantum Operatives, scouring the multiverse for anomalies. Screech constantly tries to keep their mood up with jokes and quips.

The Quantam Phase Attack Specialist is well-equipped for his job, having covered himself with a Dimension Slide coating. He also carries a substance accelerator pistol and a Quantum Shield. The doors on his back allow him to glide through the air."

Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 3) mail-away exclusive Skids and Screech set MISB.

05 April 2011

Acquisitions and Transformer United market watch update

After being tardy for almost 10 days, I finally found some time to pick up my Transformers United Wave 4 from my trusty seller at YMT. I swiped a number of other things while I was in the area too.

Picked up the following:

  • UN-19: Wheeljack;
  • UN-20: Rumble & Frenzy;
  • UN-21: Scourge;
  • UN-22: Laser Optimus Prime;
  • Transformers United Japanese exclusive Fracas and Haywire (sealed in polybag; this is my second set);
  • Autobot and Decepticons faction symbols (official Takara release);
  • Hasbro HK exclusive velvet pouch and metal plate that came exclusively with MP-1B: Black Convoy (I didn't buy the MP though, just the specials);
  • 02 x Henkei clear Starscream (know this is the real deal because its cash fresh from a seller's left-over forgotten stock)
  • 02 x Transformers Generations 2009: volume 2 book (came free with clear Henkei Starscream); and
  • 02 x G&C gum collection book (this is a Mandarake exclusive that can only be bought in Japan and showcases all TF toys that was released with food/candy/sweets/etc).


Transformers United market watch

The spike in Transformers United Wave 4 prices came as no surprise to me. In fact, it's almost a certainty nowadays. The piece that increased the least in price is Laser Optimus Prime (approx HKD$200 from a RRP of HKD$170). United Scourge and Wheeljack are now around the HKD$250 to $280 region. Rumble and Frenzy is the piece that has seen the biggest jump in price since release - from a RRP of approximately HKD$270 to $300, it's now commanding prices of at least HKD$499 and in a few instances HKD$789! That is more than a 100% increase in the span of 10 days since release. 

"This is not Sparta", but like the holy man said, "this is maddness!"

While at the shops, I managed to speak with a number of sellers who were connected with the manufacturers and factories in China (ie: the manufacturers of Transformers toys). I was told a few interesting things:

  • The supply of Generations Warpaths are unlikely to increase. That means that once its sold out now, don't expect to see a repeat run or don't expect to see it appearing on pegs again once the initial batch is sold out. The good news is that production of Warpaths (and perhaps other Generations figures that have sold well), will begin again roughly around September this year. So later in year, we are likely to see these figures on shelves again. The key is patience, unless you want to pay HKD$200 to $250 for a deluxe figure, which I won't.
  • I have it on good authority that Transformers United Wave 1 will be reissued. Yes, reissued. That is UN-01 to UN-10 will ALL be reissued. When? Within the next month, so I am told. How do I know? Because some shop owners have been invited to pre-order these. If true (but don't hold me to it), that means wise-collectors should stop paying after-market prices for the harder to find Wave 1 figures like Cybertronian Soundwave, Optimus Prime and Megatron.
Here is a recap of what Transformers United Wave 1 consists of:
  1. UN-01: Cybertronian Optimus Prime
  2. UN-02: Cybertronian Bumblebee
  3. UN-03: Cybertronian Cliffjumper
  4. UN-04: Cybertronian Megatron
  5. UN-05: Cybertronian Soundwave
  6. UN-06: Earth mode Optimus Prime (the shitty version, not the Henkei Convoy version)
  7. UN-07: Bumblebee (Earth mode)
  8. UN-08: Drift
  9. UN-09: Megatron ("Voyager" size, recolour of Henkei Megatron)
  10. UN-10: Straxus
Personally, I'm not very excited about Wave 1 except that I may grab Drift and Straxus just so I can tell myself I have the Japanese release (not that these are terribly different from the US releases in the first place).

04 April 2011

Update to "How to tell if your Goodbye Megatron giftset is genuine/ original?" post

During a toy hunt trip with OZ Former Ultra Magnus tonight, I browsed a copy of Transformers Generations 2009 (vol 1) that has been translated into Chinese.

From there, I managed to figure out what the text below said and have made some new discoveries about the version of Starscream that came with the Goodbye Megatron giftset.

I came home, took out my Goodbye Megatron giftset and inspected my Starscream. It all matches and due to that, changes my original opinion on this piece.

03 April 2011

Masterforce C-303: Minelba loose complete, sells for US$762.00 on eBay

I have been watching this one with a little bit of interest over the past month. It was listed by this seller called "The Toy Vault", which in my mind is a slightly snobbish US based toy shop seller (I won't go into the details, but then its just my view).

The seller has on auction a 1988 Transformers Masterforce C-303: Minelba/ Minerva loose and complete for sale. These are immediately apparent from the photos:

  • it has no paperworks (ie: no instructions, no sticker sheet, no catalogue);
  • none of its stickers are applied save for the 1 factory applied sticker on the car's bonnet (red cross sticker);
  • the front half in car mode appears to be slightly yellowed. It's a little hard to tell from the photos because the seller used a blue background, but the colour difference can be seen from the shot of the robot mode where the arms are different in colour from the body (see mirrored picture below).
I was very interested in how this auction will turn out because Minelba is one of those few rare Transformers that hardly ever sees a listing on eBay and if it does, the listing always mysteriously ends early. This listing was no exception. The seller has listed it at least 3 times before he/she let the auction run its entire course. The first time was with a BIN of US$900; then a BIN of US$880; and the third time it was listed with a starting price of $9.99, but the listing was cancelled a few days in.

The listing that just ended is the forth listing (by my count) of this same auction. This is a link to the listing (note: might not work if accessed more than a month from the date of this post or when eBay deletes it).

It ended at the price of US$762.00. A very impressive price for a loose piece of toy that does not come with paperworks, no sticker sheet and is slightly yellowing.

This is the final auction page:

This is the seller's photo of Minelba in car mode. I can sort of see yellow along the entire top of the car (not sure if my eyes are playing tricks on me).

This is the seller's photo of Minelba in robot mode. The arms look yellow compared to the rest of the body (not sure if my eyes are playing tricks on me).

Now, if that can go for US$762, I wonder how much this one will go for? Heehee...

02 April 2011

Classics - Henkei - Generations - United photos

One of my current hot favourites.

I have just updated my permanent links above (under the banner) with loads of picture of my Classics-Henkei-Generations-United collection. 

Well, the collection consists most of Henkei and United figures actually (I mostly cannot be bothered with the US released Classics or Generations unless its a mold that was not released on Japan).

Here are some preview shots.

Transformers Classics / Generations / Henkei / United - 1984, 1985 Decepticons

Transformers Classics / Generations / Henkei / United - 2010 Decepticons

For a lot more photos, check out the permanent link entitled "My Classics/ Henkei/ Generations/ United collection" or simply click on the link here.


Edit of 3 April 2011

Prompted by gdmetro, I include some Wheeljack pictures below. The Wheeljack is from the Generations line by Hasbro and was not in the "1984 Autobots" scene above because it was not released at the time I took the picture. By the time Wheeljack made it back to the Ark, Prime had already sent all the other Autobots out to battle... leaving only the science and medical team...

... and Wheeljack with his statue at the Mechanical Institute of Technology ("MIT" in short), honoring him for his contributions to Autobot science and in particular the development of the 'immobilizer technology'.


Edit of 9 April 2011

In Roger's comments discussing the Sideswipe mold, I was suddenly reminded that I have omitted to post pics of one of the best exclusive Classics/ Henkei releases out there - Punch/ Counterpuch!

Here are some teaser pics. More pics have been updated into the main featured post "My Classics/ Henkei/ Generations/ United Collection".

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