19 November 2012

Pick of the Day - Divide and Conquer once more

"Prime is alone, the three or you can take him!"

(or can they?)

14 October 2012

A mystery solved, for me at least... (C-91: Computron and D-84: Abominus giftsets)

Over the years, I have been hearing on and off that the Japanese D-84: Abominus giftset and the C-91: Computron giftset has a special exclusive poster included in it - one of the reasons why the Japanese release of these relatively easily available toys, which were also widely released in North American and many other parts of the world in English packaging, were so expensive.

I've asked many people "what exactly is the poster that came with these sets and how does it look?"

Among all the TF collectors I asked, including veteran shop owners in HK and SG, no one could tell me what the C-91 or D-84 poster looked like. They could tell me what a Goodbye Convoy or Goodbye Megatron poster looked like, but not the C-91 and D-84 poster(s).

What further frustrated me was that my usual shop in HK kept getting in MISB near C10 sets of C-91 and D-84 and when I peeked inside, there was indeed a larger than normal piece of paper that looked like it is a poster. Obviously, I could not take it out to see because I'd have to cut the tape making the box no longer MISB. At approximately HK$10,000 to 13,000 a pop (US$1290 - $1670), I was absolutely not willing to pay for it to open in order to sate my curiosity. To me, Computron and Abominus are worth no more than US$150 to me, each.

Recently, as I was traversing TFW, I saw a thread where someone was selling his/her D-84: Abominus giftset and voila, there was a photo with its poster shown.

Mystery solved - I believe this is the poster that came with both the C-91 and D-84 giftsets.

(photo was saved more than a month ago and I don't remember who the seller was. Please contact me if its your photo and would like it take down or attributed to you)

The poster pictures and promotes both Computron and Abominus together with suggested Scramble City combinations with Superion, Defensor, Menasor and Bruticus, and appears suitable for either giftset, therefore, I think its reasonably safe to conclude that it also came in the Computron giftset - however, I'm happy to be proven wrong or be pointed in the right direction re the Computron giftset.

That's it, a mystery solved, for me at least...

09 October 2012

Takara Transformers SCFs - ACT 1 Chase figures - Metallic finish Convoy and Megatron

Previous chapter - Takara Transformers SCFs (Super Collectible Figures), a (re)introduction

Like I mentioned in the previous chapter, some of the hardest SCF figures to get are the "Chase" figures that came blind-packed in each ACT. I recalled that when ACT 1 was released, I did not even have any idea what the Chase figures were.

At the time, all the toy action took place at Clarke Quay in Singapore, on Sundays. There I was on the Sunday that SCF ACT 1 was released, back in December 2000. I was so excited about this first ACT because I knew that it contained many of my favourite G1 characters.

I bought a sealed carton from what must have been Hourstore at the time. I ran to the fire stairs with a friend and we started peeling the individual boxes open. First box, no Chase figure... second box, no Chase figure... third box, still no Chase figure...

I proceeded to gleefully open all 12 blind-packed boxes and discovered that I did not get a single Chase figure.

Then I walked around and looked at other shops that did not sell sealed cartons - ie: they opened the cartons and extracted any Chase figures they could find. At one such shop, I saw what the ACT 1 Chase figures were... and I was blown away.

Here they are in their full glory.

02 October 2012

Takara Transformers SCFs (Super Collectible Figures), a (re)introduction

Transformers Super Collectible Figures ("SCFs") were released by Takara toward the end of the year 2000. These small PVC figures that were approximately 3 inches tall, do not transform, but unlike their Decoy predecessors, were posable.

8 out of the 10 waves (called "ACTs") eventually released were G1-centric, with character designs that closely matched the designs seen in the G1 Cartoon and Marvel's Transformers Universe design sheets.

I was immediately attracted to this series and were buying up each ACT as a complete box.

A comprehensive figure listing can be found on Wikipedia here.

My SCF figure display back in 2001 / 2002

Each ACT came in a box of 12 individually blind packed figures. Of the 12, 6 would be coloured figures and the other 6 would be either clear (later pewter) versions of the 6 coloured figures. Selected boxes of 12 figures would randomly include a "Chase" or special figure that was different from the other 12 either in terms of molding or colour. Since all figures were blind packed, the Chase figures for each ACT were difficult to come by. Back in the day, I heard that there was 1 Chase figure per every 10 boxes (of 12 individually blind packed figures) - that's approximately a 1:120 ratio.

Out of all the ACTs I bought, I was only lucky enough to stumble upon one Chase figure - this was for the final G1 ACT8, where I got a blind packed Coronation Starscream with cape. I was ecstatic of course, but it also meant that I did not have a coloured Star Convoy (ie: if you got a Chase, that set would effectively be 'incomplete' and missing another random figure).

SCFs randomly scattered on my table, back in 2001 / 2002 (before the eagle eyed collector gets too excited, the Skywarp there is a custom paint job done by my friend from a SCF Thundercracker and not the Transformers: Generations Lucky Draw Skywarp).

I had not other Chase figures back in the day.

Now, close to 10 years later, I've managed to hunt down a number of SCF Chase figures which I will showcase in subsequent posts. Very excited!

Next: Takara SCF ACT1 Chase figures - metallic Convoy with laser axe and metallic Megatron with flail.

21 September 2012

A tiny acquisition - Japanese S.T.A.R.S. pin / badge

Sadly, it was missing 2 things - (1) the badge and (2) the ID Card.

A buddy from OZ Formers, Mick, was kind enough to help me secure a pin direct from a Japanese lady seller to help with completing my S.T.A.R.S. set.

It was not cheap, but now that I see the beauty, I'd say its worth it.

Here it is:

For completeness, this is the S.T.A.R.S. set:

~ HD

19 September 2012

Latest additions to "My Favourite Blogs" side bar

Like my buddy Mr "Mostly Transformers Redux" Arkvander, I'm always on the look out for Transformer related blogs and reading content. 

When I come across ones that I like or are great for sharing, I will add them to my blogroll, which is the section I call "My Favourite Blogs" on the side bar.

Over the last couple of days, I have added the following:
Pax Cybertron - great site, well taken photos, great reviews of G1 and recent releases. 
Robot Points - featuring Ras and his (very) rare toys and prototypes. 
Transformers Seminarian - who works in a seminary, who writes about Transformers, and other stuff.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to 'up and coming' aka relatively newly formed blog sites, which are also very well done and deserving of the community readership's support!
Optimal Omega's Transformers - passionate articles about his collecting journey and childhood toys. 
A G1 Journey (aka Staying in the Box) - Matt's G1 journey, also extremely passionate and detailed articles with loads of high quality photos of G1 pieces.
So, pop a beer open, kick back, head over to these great resources and enjoy!

~ HD

15 September 2012

Transformers Scramble City Stuntron D-50: Motormaster MIB unused

For some years I have been hearing about the rarity of a D-50: Motormaster. For some years, I have been struggling to understand why it is rare.

I mean, it's just Motormaster. It's 1/5 of Menasor. Most people would not even bother buying it individually without the other 5 Stunticons (or in Japan's case, Stuntrons). What in the world is it then?

The "rarity" of this piece really piqued my interest when such high powered collectors like Puffmarko and HighPrime appear to be looking for this piece. HighPrime has been looking for it on TFW2005, Seibertron and Shmax for sometime. And when a guy with a collection like Puffmarko's appears to be looking for this piece, I stand up and listen.

It is also noteworthy that on the Shmax collector's database, it shows that only 2 people own a D-50: Motormaster (one of them is me). Given, that Shmax is not representative of an item's rarity, that is still very little people owning this piece.

This is what Fred of Fred's Workshop, the ultimate guru of variants, has to say:
"D-50 Motormaster was the hardest of all the original four Scramble City leaders for me to find. It didn't matter if I was looking for a loose one or a sealed one, launcher equipped Motormasters were tremendously scarce... On top of that, a sealed or boxed D-50 is even rarer, and I've talked to dealers at Botcon and other collectors who have stated that Menasor giftsets are more common than sealed/boxed D-50s. And that's saying a lot!"
On my trips to Japan, I've actually seen D-50s, but being sold as a set with the other Stunticons and at stupid prices and not in good condition. So I've ignored those. So, one day, must be about a month ago, I was walking around the toy shops here and my usual shop had a set of unused Stunticons! Yup, they had D-50, D-51, D-52, D-53 and D-54. Obviously selling as a set.

I ordinarily would not be interested. However, work has been so busy at the time, I don't think I've bought much of anything for the month, so I thought, maybe here is a chance to buy something. It'd be a frolic, sure, but Menasor was my favourite childhood combiner and here is a chance to buy it unused and score a rare D-50 at the same time. At the back of my mind, I also know I'd never buy a Menasor giftset because I hate the damn ugly box art.

After chatting with Maz and VF1, I decided to buy the set... ta da!

13 September 2012

Diaclone dino-robo No.5 Swoop vs Transformers G1 regular release Swoop

Today we talk about Swoop. Yes, the Dinobot Swoop.

Here he is...

Cartoon accurate Dinobots

I have also previously compared the Canadian red faced Slag with the regular USA released Slag, just as now I will compare the Diaclone dinosaur robo No.5 Swoop ("Diaclone Swoop") with the regular USA released Swoop ("G1 Swoop").

First, a bird's eye view of the birdies... the eagle eyed should be able to spot some differences already (just ignore my yellow G1 Swoop's beak)

11 September 2012

G1 Transformers Scourge, assortment #1, painted top

I bought this sometime ago.

I bought this from one of my favourite online sellers, the legendary "Sector-17 Trading Post" ran by TF fan extrodinare, Specimen-17 (who also contributed to my Vanguard article).

There isn't that much to say about this piece that I have not already said online over the years, except that I love it and that I've always had a soft spot for Scourge, since young. I don't know why, but something about him just works. Perhaps the colour scheme, perhaps its the alternate mode? It could even be that beard!

Oh, and the fact that he is metamorphosed from the dead remains of Thundercracker really helps too. And then, to add another random fact, I edited his Targetmaster box art for Botch's Box Art Archive too.

And then we get to the toy - "this is such an awesomely pristine piece" was my first though when I got him. What's so special about this piece? Well, it's actually the 'rarer' first assortment release of Scourge that has the painted top, unlike later releases which has a stickered top.

I have one other painted top Scourge, so this piece will join the ranks, but its so awesome, I just might not remove it from its packaging....

09 September 2012

Maz and VF1's Diaclone and Transformers toys for sale

Maz and VF1 are selling some minty and sought after Diaclone / Transformers pieces.

If you are a TFW2005 member, their sales lists can be seen here:
If you are not a TFW2005 member, here is what is potentially up for grabs (if not already gone!).


Maz's sales list

G1 UK Classic Optimus Prime MISB - Production sample (Bought direct from ex-Hasbro head of R and D)

The gold-boxed Classic Optimus Prime was released in the 1991 second wave. It might be hard for you to believe, but this is a staggeringly rare packaging variation these days, especially this English language release which doesn’t even say “Classic” anywhere on it, instead it says “Original”. By that point we would have had Powermaster Optimus Prime so maybe Hasbro felt the need to make it even more clear that this release was based on the vintage G1 Optimus Prime. This is not to be confused with the easier-to-find Spanish version of the gold-boxed Optimus Prime.

Contact Maz here.


VF1's sales list

(1) Diaclone Train Robo set (unused contents)

(2) GiG Powered Convoy instruction sheet

(3) Diaclone Dia-Attacker MIB (comes with 2 fists)

(4) GiG Countach (aka Sideswipe) box only

Contact VF1 here


If either Maz or VF1 cannot be contacted, I can help pass the message along, email me - secrets@HeroicDecepticon.com

08 September 2012

eHobby - Dimension Exploration Researchers MISB (aka eHobby Minibots)

This was one of the eHobby sets I was the least keen on getting, back in the day. I could have bought it on retail, but given the deluge of reissues back then, I just was not interested in another seemingly senseless repaint.

On hindsight, getting this might have really been a good idea, given how much its gone up in price. This set was also one of the few eHobby sets that I do not have and I have been looking on and off for it.

Then I came across a TFW seller who was selling 4000+ pieces of Transformers and decided to get a large amount of items for him for upgrading purposes. He also had this set MISB, so I thought, why not, opportunity buy.

So here they are:

  • Bug Bite (recoloured Bumblebee)
  • Bad Boy (recoloured Powerglide)
  • Treds (recoloured Warpath)
  • Small Foot (recoloured  Gears)
  • Pathfinder (recoloured Cosmos)
  • Road Ranger (recoloured Huffer)


05 September 2012

1987 Headmasters Japanese exclusive dino-cassettes: C-121: Gurafi, C-122: Noizu, C-123: Dairu and D-124: Zauru with D-108: Slugfest and D-109: Overkill

I posted about my D-108: Slugfest and D-109: Overkill acquisitions a few days back. I wanted to lump in images of them with the other dino-cassettes, but I thought, wait a minute, that wouldn't do them justice.

So here we are, a separate post for them - together!

Dramatis personae:
Now, some photos!

D-108: Slugfest and D-109: Overkill with C-121: Gurafi, C-122: Noizu, C-123: Dairu and D-124: Zauru.

02 September 2012

1987 Destron dino-cassettes, D-108: Slugfest MIB and D-109: Overkill MIB, unused

It all started back near the end of December 2011, when I posted about the 4 pieces of 1987 Headmasters exclusive W-cassettes (aka "the dino-cassettes" to many).

To recap, I talked about and reviewed each one in some detail:
... and then I wrote a piece of all of them together, which can be seen here. Even took a gratuitious shot of them with the Autobot and Decepticon communicators for good measure - see below.

This was the money shot.

One comment that came back from fellow collector buddy Arkvander (check out his wonderful blog at "Mostly Transformers Redux"), was this:

"You really need the Japanese releases of Slugfest and Overkill...but not before I get them!"

"Don't temp me, sir. I might just decide to fly to Japan over a weekend and solve this issue, for both of us! =)", I responded.

"YES!", he replied.

I wasn't previously looking for the Japanese Destron "dino-cassettes", after all, these were common enough and had even been reissued. But Arkvander managed to sow a seed in my mind, which sprouted into the determination to also find these 2 cassettes! You devil, you! (by the way, this post is dedicated to you).

01 September 2012

Some unexpected acquisitions - Triggercon, Triggerbots, dino-cassettes

So I saw some auctions in eBay. One of which was for the Japanese Destron Dino-cassettes - Slugfest and Overkill.

I bid on them. But lost because someone kept upping the bids to unrealistic levels.

After 2 to 3 days, the seller who is based on Hong Kong emailed me and said that he has lodged complaints on the winning bidder who bid on more than 1 of his auctions and would not pay. He even gave me the non-paying bidder's name.

So I thought to ask - "do you still have the toys?" (I know, I know, he might have shill bidded them himself and then just ask me straight instead of giving me a second-chance offer; so all this is a sham).

Anyway, I spoke to him over the phone. The guy could hardly speak English, so spoke to him in Canto and he was complaining about how the person didn't pay. So I asked him, how much did he want for the pieces. And he said, "just deduct off the ebay fees from your highest bid and we go from there?"

"That's not too unreasonable I thought"

After a few conversations, I managed to press the price down even further. And he was fine, he said didn't want to talk too much about the price, he's fine. So I met him at a train station after work a few days ago.

And lo and behold, he was a guy I'd seen before. A friend of the shop I frequent. I was comforted that at least, he probably isn't a cheat.

So I paid, and cash-and-carry. Felt really good. Never did get to just walk somewhere and pick up vintage Transformers in places like Sydney.

Triggerbots MOSC - Backstreet, Override, Dogfight.

Triggercons MOSC - Ruckus and Windsweeper.

Will talk more about D-108 and D-109 later!

~ HD

29 August 2012

Pre-Transformers, Diaclone, Dinosaur Robo No.5 aka Swoop MIB, unused - Part 3

Introducing the cartoon accurate Dinobots!

As many collectors and fans would know, the USA releases of the Dinobots were not entirely cartoon accurate in terms of colour scheme. Three out of the five Dinobots had toys with cartoon accurate colour schemes - Grimlock, Sludge and Snarl. These are 'easy' to get.

USA released Slag toys are not cartoon accurate. Oddly, it is the Canadian released Slag (and only some of them at that), that were cartoon accurate with a red face and white upper legs. See here for a comparison between a USA released Slag and the famous 'Canadian Slag'.

Left - Canadian Slag; Right - regular USA released Slag

In a similar vein, USA released Swoop toys are not cartoon accurate either. This is time, it is not a foreign Transformer variant that is cartoon accurate, but the pre-Transformers Diaclone version of Swoop that is cartoon accurate.

Putting a Canadian Slag and a Diaclone Swoop with USA releases of Grimlock, Sludge and Snarl gives us.... cartoon accurate Dinobots!!!

27 August 2012

Pre-Transformers, Diaclone, Dinosaur Robo No.5 aka Swoop MIB, unused - Part 2

Now we take this baby out of it's box and have a look!

Series - Diaclone
Designation - Dinosaur robo No.5
Box = C8.5, near C9
Toy = C9+
Sticker sheet unused (but slightly bent)

Diaclone Swoop in insert, unused sticker sheet and instruction booklet

25 August 2012

Pre-Transformers, Diaclone, Dinosaur Robo No.5 aka Swoop MIB, unused - Part 1

This is long over due.

This was from a deal that Maz helped broker at the end of February '12. I remember when clearly because I had to fly to Beijing and then Shanghai for work for 2 very intense days and it was at around 5am on one of those days that another auction for a piece like this (but not unused) was due to end.

I remember telling Maz before I boarded the plane to China that he needed to be quite certain to get the deal through, otherwise I would be forced to bid on the auction. He then gave me his 101% assurance that the Diaclone Swoop was a done deal if I wanted it. Love the man!

Of course I wanted it. It is want of the last pieces toward cartoon accuracy that I needed.

So what are we talking about? We are talking about pre-Transformers Diaclone dinosaur robo no.5 (I'll call it "Diaclone Swoop" for easy reference). This was the mould that became Swoop and released as a Dinobot in 1985.

For some bizarre and unknowable reason, the USA cartoon's Swoop colours were based entirely on Diaclone Swoop's colour scheme - ie: blue chest, golden beak, golden missiles, etc. In my mind, it is the colour scheme that makes Diaclone Swoop the most desirable pre-Transformer Diaclone dinobot.

Like USA Swoop or Japanese box Swoop, the Diaclone Swoop also happens to be the hardest to find and rarest of the pre-Transformers Diaclone dinobots. For many of the reasons above, it is the crowning jewel in many a collection, the 'holy grail' to many.

To me, it is this piece's near 100% cartoon accurate colour scheme that is so alluring to me.

Here it is. First, photos of the box.

23 August 2012

Project Vanguard Photos - pre-Transformers Diaclone black New Lamborghini Countach LP500S (aka Sideswipe) MIB, unused

How to I write a next post that lives up to the original Project Vanguard (aka diaclone black Countach Sideswipe) post, I asked myself. How to I write a next post that lives up to a post that garnered much attention and generated much discussion, that in the span of 24 hours sky-rocketed into the #1 most read post on my blog in the last 30 days (scroll all the way down to see list)?

It was a tough question. But I chickened out with a simple answer - I'll simply post most photos of this piece!

As they say, 'here we go...!'

BOX - aka the MIB-ness

Product ID number is "461320-0-1500"

22 August 2012

Had to be Henkei!!!

Was looking through my picture archives and thought this was a very cool photo, which I had never posted online before. Well, it's just a lot of Henkei (and United) figures. So it'd depend on personal perspective whether its cool or not.

For more Henkei (and United and Classics figures), see my other post here or just click on the Henkei label here.

18 August 2012

Project Vanguard - pre-Transformers Diaclone black New Lamborghini Countach LP500S (aka Sideswipe) MIB, unused

This post is done in conjunction with and posted at the same time with Maz's post on TF-1.com.

Remember my trip to Osaka / Tokyo at the end of June/ early July this year?

As with my previous trip there, I got something really special from this shop called Hero Gangu in Osaka on my final day there.

Hardcore collectors or even people in the general community would know that this is the same Hero Gangu known for case finds of unused Diaclones and MISB Transformers. I understand that they have in the past (either through Yahoo! Japan or through their own website) auctioned off such rare pieces as a diaclone campaign Jazz, MISB pre-rub G1 Prowl, MISB pre-rub G1 Bluestreak, case fresh Diaclone Ratchet, case fresh diaclone GiG Police Countach, G1 Sunstreaker MISB, G1 Artfire MISB, G1 japanese Swoop MISB, G1 Masterforce Minerva MISB amongst other things (all of which are in the hands of prominent TF or Diaclone collectors now). This was also the shop that had all 4 Japanese exclusive 'dino-cassettes' (before the KOs were released), which was what promoted me to make the trip there in the first place.

The "rare" stuff.

The last time, I was in the shop 30 minutes before I was due to depart for the airport, talked to the owner, and he sold me a case fresh diaclone CarRobot No.18: Marlboor Wheeljack MIB, unused. This is the same Marlboor Wheeljack that is now in a prominent TFW2005 member's collection from a deal we did in June last year.

But I digress.



In June/ July this year, I once again dropped by Hero Gangu, once again around 30 minutes before I'm due to depart for the airport. I bought a Menasor and Defensor decoy on that day and talked to the owner at the counter. I asked him whether he had anything 'special', special like the Marlboor Wheeljack he sold me last year.

The Marlboor from last year.

Once more he went behind the counter (where his inventory is) and came back with something in a Diaclone box. "Very nice. Tonight go on auction", he said as he handed it to me.

12 August 2012

Triple Changer, Japanese Transformers C-83: Sandstorm MIB, unused

I have waited a really long time to post this.

I bought this yonks ago in Japan and just plainly and simply forgot to post about it, how slack of me. Now, I've even forgotten how I acquired this except that its with E and that it was a very very good price for an unused, MIB, complete and near C10 piece. I must have bought it at Mandarake Nakano together with another 4-5 pieces of unused MM bases, I think.

As usual, all paperworks and unused sticker sheet are accounted for.

C-83: Sandstorm MIB

Out of box showing insert and all paperworks it came with - that's a lot of paper.

Yeah, kill more trees, turn the earth to sand...

Close up of the toy. It does not actually look so good without the black window stickers.

Next up, another triple-changer perhaps?

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