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Auto Assembly to feature worlds largest Lucky Draw Collection

Transformers News: Auto Assembly to feature worlds largest Lucky Draw Collection
Date: Tuesday, April 28th 2009 10:34am CDT
Categories: Toy News, Event News
Posted by: First Gen | Credit(s): Auto Assembly

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Views: 7,344

An update from our friends across the pond has come in regarding the upcoming event Auto Assembly 2009. Here's what they had to share with us:

Each year, Auto Assembly has seen a display of rare "Lucky Draw" Transformers from the vast collection owned by Steven and David Mapes, webmasters at Transformers At The Moon which has attracted a great deal of attention at each convention. Now, as part of our celebrations for the 25th Anniversary year, Transformers At The Moon will be doing something rather special for their display at Auto Assembly 2009...

This year they will be bringing their ENTIRE collection of Lucky Draw toys to the convention to form their display, which will feature well over 40 toys showcased. This will be the largest single display of these toys - and other rare items - ever collected in one place and many of these have never been seen at Auto Assembly before. This will be your only opportunity to see so many of these rarities in one place and there will be so many that the display is having to be split over the weekend so to see them all you will need to be at the convention for the whole weekend!

There will be well over �£60,000 worth of toys on display and this is a unique opportunity for die-hard collectors everywhere to see these toys. For more information, and details on some of the highlights of the display, visit the page on the Auto Assembly website here: ... isplay.htm or visit their website at

You can also find a provisional programme for the convention on the Auto Assembly website, along with details on many other activities taking place over the weekend. For full details on Auto Assembly 2009 and to book your tickets, visit the website at

Simon and Sven
Auto Assembly

Auto Assembly 2009 is a non-profit making convention for fans of Transformers and is being held on 15th - 16th August 2009 at the Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre, Birmingham, England.

This is certain to be a big treat for Transformers Fans. If any of you Seibertronians are planning to attend Auto Assembly, let us know by sharing it here.

ROTF FAB Desert Bumblebee Revealed

Transformers News: ROTF FAB Desert Bumblebee Revealed
Date: Tuesday, April 28th 2009 9:43am CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, Toy News, Auctions
Posted by: Nekoman | Credit(s): Taobao

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Views: 35,260

An auction on Taobao would give us our first look at an upcoming Desert Camouflaged redeco of Fast Action Battlers Bumblebee, likely for release in the Transformers Revenge of The Fallen toy line. To view the auction for yourself, please click here.

ROTF FAB Desert Bumblebee Revealed

ROTF FAB Desert Bumblebee Revealed

ROTF FAB Desert Bumblebee Revealed

TAW God Sword at Robot Kingdom

Transformers News: TAW God Sword at Robot Kingdom
Date: Tuesday, April 28th 2009 9:41am CDT
Category: Toy News
Posted by: Mkall | Credit(s): Narc

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Views: 8,106

Narc has found preorder links for the TAW God sword, based off of the ultimate blade in Car Robots/Robots in Disguise, this bladecomes in three variants,

Each one is available for $44.90

Re: TAW God Sword at Robot Kingdom
Re: TAW God Sword at Robot Kingdom
Re: TAW God Sword at Robot Kingdom

In-package images of ROTF Mixmaster

Transformers News: In-package images of ROTF Mixmaster
Date: Tuesday, April 28th 2009 9:06am CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, Toy News
Posted by: Nekoman | Credit(s):

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Views: 21,290

Yizhi521 of has posted our first look at Transformers Revenge of The Fallen Mixmaster in-package. To view the images and his bio, click here.

Resident chemist and explosives expert for the elite among the Decepticons, Mixmaster has spent his entire life learning all there is to know about chemical interaction. He can make thousands of poisons, explosives and deadly gasses from materials around him. The other Decepticons rely on him to fashion powerful warheads for their missiles, and dangerous venoms in which to coat their blades.

In-package images of ROTF Mixmaster

In-package images of ROTF Mixmaster Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProject - Pictures Included

Transformers News: Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProject - Pictures Included
Date: Saturday, April 25th 2009 10:21pm CDT
Categories: Toy News, Rumors, Collectables, Interviews
Posted by: Down_Shift | Credit(s): FansProject

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TFCon 09 - Today I was fortunate enough to have a personal interview with a representative from the good folks at Fans Project. We talked a little about how they got their start, how they do what they do, and what they have planned for the future.

Down_Shift - First off, let me thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us today. It will mean a lot to not only fans of but all fans of your work. So far everything you've done as a company has been very well received. It must feel very good to know that what your doing is going over so well.

FansProject - It does feel very good.

D_S - My first question is how does it feel to be at a Hasbro endorsed event knowing that your product is being sold as the convention exclusive?

FP - We don't put much thought about it, we buy Hasbro toys just like everyone else. We love everything Transformers and are pleased to be a part of it.

D_S - How did you start FansProject? What made it come together?

FP - You know as a kid we all wanted to make our toys better? We did and still do. A small group of customizers found one another on the Internet and started talking. Soon we decided to try the CJ Upgrade kit to see how it would go.

D_S - Where is FansProject situated?

FP - Our manufacturing facilities are located in mainland China. Our team members are all over the world and communicate our ideas through the Internet to one another. We occasionally meet in person though. That's a lot of fun.

D_S - I bet it is. You're literally living the dream. Now we know this plays into a big part of your lives but is this a full-time job for all of you or is this more a labor of love? Maybe it's both?

FP - We do Fansproject work as a hobby, not as a business. We all have full time jobs, and work on FansProject projects in our spare time.

D_S - How many people are on the FansProject staff?

FP - There's about 6 or 7 members on the actual design team.

D_S - How does it feel to have pioneered the field of 3rd-party customs?

FP - To be honest, it doesn't really matter to us that we were the first in the field. It would not have mattered if we were #10. We do this because we enjoy it, not because it's groundbreaking.

D_S - What's the decision process behind what you decide to make? I know I'd be all over the place. Too many wants and not enough time. heh.

FP - We do what we enjoy making. Of course we do enjoy pleasing the fans in the process and accept all suggestions. We evaluate all options based on the economics and logistics of production before we fully commit. We release images of our progress only when we are sure as we are sure that's the way we want to go.

D_S - So how much of the money made from the sale of a figure goes directly into producing future projects?

FP - Most of the money we make goes back into upcoming projects. This is our hobby after all so most of our money goes into future product designing and manufacturing costs. When we first did the CJ kit we lost money making it. But it got us out there. However we do buy lots of new figures for "product research". It's a business expense. Ha ha ha.

D_S - I would love to be able to write off my hobby. It's the perfect crime. If you could, please describe some of the future projects that we have been treated to today.

FP - G3 Trailer: The "stealth mode" is a recent idea and almost a money losing feature that we are adding to the trailer. It uses a reflective mirror-like substance that's not glass that is used to hide the trailer and also fits neatly inside. This way we have an answer to "where did the trailer go?" Has taken 2 years just to get to the stage we are at now. Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje

- Protector: This stands a little shorter than City Commander, to be in scale with the rest of the line. If all goes well, it could see release by the end of year, however we will not announce certain release dates until mass production begins. Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje

- Defender: This will be our first stand alone figure. It is around the same height as a Deluxe figure and is a "three changer". Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje

- Collector: Second Stand alone figure. Collects "junk". Take a guess. More on this figure later. Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje

- Warbot/???: Will be a "three changer" as well. Not two seperate vehicle modes. Big. Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje

- GlacialBot: An Ice Aged themed combiner team that is very classic in design. We wanted to keep the retro flavor and taste that we grew up loving. Made of 5 figures so far. Mammoth, Deer, Sabertooth Tiger, Bear, & Rhino. These modes may change. Designing a Gestalt from the ground up is challenging work, but we think we have pulled it off with success. Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje

- Superion Maximus Limbs Set: Each limb is meant to fit in with the plane mode. For example a hand converts to a bomb door when the robot is in plane mode. Accessories attach to plane modes for additional firepower. Exclusive - Sit Down Interview With FansProje

- Pharohbot: Lots of design sketches. May want to take it in another direction. We may release sketches one day to see if there is enough fan reaction to make it feasible.

D_S - I noticed that in the Powered Commander comic there are no words spoken. Just a dramatic sequence of events. Is there a specific reason for that?

FP - No time to come up with one actually, but and it and the art style turned out very well actually. Much like a Manga. We think it turned out very well.

D_S - Have there been any legal issues between FansProjects and Hasbro/Takara?

FP - No, we are making money off of it, but we're not in it for profit, and all profits go back into manufacturing. It`s a hobby and I think that's for the best. We haven't had any conversations with them at all, positive or negative, and that`s just fine with us.

D_S - What are your thoughts on iGear's City Commander upgrade package; an add-on to your add-on?

FP - We don't mind at all, there isn`t any right or wrong in this hobby. Of course we prefer that if there is a kit for our products, we'd like it to be of good quality.

D_S - So the 4th party KOs of your CJ kits don't bother you?

FP - Again, we don't look at the whole thing like a business, it hasn't hurt our feelings. Even Hasbro has knock offs you know.

D_S - With the appearance of some competition, how has that affected your strategies?

FP - It hasn`t; we do this for our enjoyment and the enjoyment of collectors. It doesn`t matter who else is out there.

D_S - How often do you expect to release new characters and products?

FP - We would prefer something new is released every 3-4 months, but we won't be willing to release something if we don't believe it meets our specifications. We are fans too, we wouldn't want something that doesn't meet our expectations.

D_S - After seeing the previews today I'm really excited about your upcoming projects. Would you be able to give us a release order?

FP - We will be releasing what is ready, whenever it is ready. Right now there isn't really a specific order. Although progress on the Superion limbs is coming along nicely. We have a very tentative release of sometime in June.

D_S - How long does it take for a character to go from concept to shipping the final product?

FP - It has taken a long time, longer than fans think. We've been working on the G3 Trailer for 2 years now and had the first prototype of City Commander just as the CJ Upgrade package was released.

D_S - Do you have any plans to do kits outside of the Transformers line?

FP - Not at this time. We have too many ideas right now that are related to the Transformers lines.

D_S - Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us and share your experiences with us. Is there anything you'd like to say to the fans?

FP - We would like to thank everyone very much for the support. We hear lots of requests for what we should make, but at the same time we're doing what we love which means we have our say too. We never want to go against the fan's wishes but at the same time it all boils down to what we want to do. Thank you very much for the support!

New Information From TFCon Panels.

Transformers News: New Information From TFCon Panels.
Date: Saturday, April 25th 2009 8:54pm CDT
Categories: Cartoon News, Toy News, Event News, Company News
Posted by: Down_Shift | Credit(s): TFCon

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Views: 52,804

First on the chopping block this year was Derrick J Wyatt, the Art Director and Lead Character Designer for Transformers Animated. Here are just a few things that we got out of it.

- Hasbro to comment on Animated season 4 and it's cancellation "at another convention"

- Derrick really wanted to do a Shattered Glass episode if only to have Fanzone say "This is why I love MACHINES!"

- Grandus will be in an episode, if only for a moment.

- Liked the idea of more Dinobots in later season, but didn't know what to do with "two Snarls"

- I asked if they had ever considered Downshift or any of the Omnibots for the Elite Guard. For some reason Derrick never once considered the Omnibots for Elite Guard members. Oh well, I suppose I can dream.

Next up was to bat was Dan Gilvezan, the unmistakable voice of Generation 1 Bumblebee. Not to mention Hot Spot, Outback, Snapdragon and a slew of others.

If anything was learned at this panel, it's that Dan has a sense of humor a mile wide. He was very comfortable in front of his fans and was very humble and grateful that he has touched so many over the last 25 years. He had many stories to tell, most of which were about Frank Welker screwing with the sound techs and Wally Burr boot camp stories.

He was very interactive with the fans, even getting up from behind the podium to come down and goof around with the fans.

One thing that really stands out to me and clearly the crowd was when Dan said he would love to get together with the remaining cast members and do a 90 minute special. We want that too Dan, we really really want that too!

Last but not least was the Hasbro Product Preview Panel. We were shown the official images of the first wave of figures and they're approximate street dates.

- Movie Preview Figures: May 15th.

- Wave one Scout, Deluxe, Voyager, and Leader are due out May 30th. Right on par with Botcon (and my birthday;))

- Vehicle only Devastator Gift Set will be released in late fall. Will consist of the following.

- Scavenger - Leader Class

- Mixmaster - Ultra

- Longhaul and Scrapper - Voyagers

- Hightower and Rampage - Deluxes.

- Store Exclusives - Released approximately the same week as the movie

- Autobot Whirl and Decepticon Bludgeon (Toys R' Us)

- Skywarp and Ramjet (Walmart)

- Non-movie combiners Superion and Bruticus (Zellers/Target)

- Teletoon Retro to start airing G1 season 1 starting May 18th @ 8:00 PM. Airing first 48 episodes during 24 marathon on June 13th.

Rumor: New FansProject kit previewed - Springer??

Transformers News: Rumor:  New FansProject kit previewed - Springer??
Date: Friday, April 24th 2009 9:51pm CDT
Categories: Toy News, Rumors
Posted by: Mkall | Credit(s): Mkall

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Views: 20,828

With the TFCon Powered Commander Exclusive out, I have taken pictures of the back cover, which shows sketches of two new characters. The first is the known Protector Armor upgrade for Classics Rodimus, the other figure appears to be based on Springer, but is it an upgrade kit or a complete figure?

Time will tell.
Roumer:  New FansProject kit previewed - Springer??
Roumer:  New FansProject kit previewed - Springer??
Roumer:  New FansProject kit previewed - Springer??

TakaraTomy Summer Exhibition Toy Images

Transformers News: TakaraTomy Summer Exhibition Toy Images
Date: Friday, April 24th 2009 8:48pm CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, Toy News, Event News
Posted by: Tigertrack | Credit(s): Robot Watch

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Views: 18,446

Robot Watch- Coverage from the TakaraTomy Summer Exhibition is online at RobotWatch.

A number of Transformers toys were on display including the Alternity lines newest offerings, Megatron, and Black Convoy, as well as, TakaraTomy Revenge of the Fallen Movie Product including the Robo-Q toys, Transformers Crossovers (Marvel and Star Wars and more. Also on display were GI JOE: Rise of Cobra toys, and some Star Wars toys.

You can see the translated page here, and the original page here.

Check out the images of the Alternity toys below.

New Toy Images-  Alternity Megatron, Black Alternity Convoy,

New Toy Images-  Alternity Megatron, Black Alternity Convoy,

Submit HASBRO 2009 Q + A Round 2 Questions Here By May 4th

Transformers News: Submit HASBRO 2009 Q + A Round 2 Questions Here By May 4th
Date: Friday, April 24th 2009 8:26pm CDT
Categories: Site News, Toy News, Company News
Posted by: Tigertrack | Credit(s): HASBRO, Inc.

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Views: 11,798

HASBRO- It is once again that time. Time to let HASBRO know what the community at is thinking about Transformers brand toys direction.

So now is your chance to sound off and let your thoughts and questions be heard.

The staff here will review the questions next weekend and choose 3 to be submitted to HASBRO on Monday, May 4th.

So what are you waiting for, ask your pressing questions NOW!

Site Article: 2009 - The Year of the Collector

Transformers News: Site Article:  2009 - The Year of the Collector
Date: Thursday, April 23rd 2009 3:10pm CDT
Categories: Toy News, Site Articles, Collector's Club News
Posted by: Mkall | Credit(s): Mkall

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Views: 114,715

Well, it's nearing the end of April and already several collectors are looking to stretch their funds out as long as they can. The Universe line has ended with the release of Darkwind and Countdown and the Animated line is teetering between ending, delayed, or strung out depending on who you listen to. The ROTF Movie airs in just over 2 months and that line will be in full swing in one month.

But who cares about that stuff eh? Sure there are lovers and haters of those lines, but that ain't the thread topic is it? No my friends, this my friends isn't the year of the movie figs, not even the year of the 25th anniversary; this is the year of the collector.

What is a collector? By definition a collector is someone who gathers and hordes related items; in this case Transformers. It doesn't matter if you have 5, 50 or 500 Transformers; you my friend are a collector. Of course those with 500 might be more interested in reading this article than those with 5, but why not read it anyways to see how addicted some of us are? Then you can look at you wallet and be thankful.

A few days into the year; info started coming out about the bread and butter exclusives to a collector; a set that is always creative and well thought out, even though the theme or individual figures might not appeal: and that would be the Botcon set of 2009. "For one young Autobot..." is said and rumors and theories started flying. Not one Seibertronian theorized Kup and the Autobot Elite Guard, although as time went on the Wreckers were mentioned thanks to a lovely red herring by FunPub. Now the Wings of Honor set is public knowledge, and some of the secret attendee figures are known. On top of Landshark, Flak and G1-homages Kup, Thunderclash and Scourge, we'll be seeing Banzai-Tron, Skyquake and Leozack as well as a figure referenced in a previous year: Razorclaw. There are still more to see of course. Elita-1 was featured in a previous year as well and is rumored to appear this year. To receive a set of figures, the collector must preorder them from Fun Publications, at a cost of no less than $360, $295 if you belong to the Transformers Collector’s Club. You can expect the price of the attendee-only souvenir figures to run about $230. Of course if you can’t make this price, then expect to pay twice the price on secondary markets, even more for individual figures. Definitely not meant for your 5 year old kid is it? Oh the costs of being a collector.
2009: The Year of the Collector
Soaring on the wings of exclusivity

The next staple exclusives appear at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), happening this year July 22-26. Two years ago we saw Alternators Nemesis Prime and Rodimus and last year gave us Universe Nemesis Prime, all wonderfully done. These figures are certainly not as rare as Botcon, nor as pricey. On the secondary market SDCC Universe Nemesis Prime goes for about $50 if you can find a good deal. This year Hasbro appears to be taking a different tactic towards their exclusives. They’ll be offering up G1 Soundwave with Ravage, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw and Ratbat. This’ll be the first time that Ratbat and Buzzsaw have been re-released in the US since the 80s (KO’s not included), of course most have been released in Japan in one form or another. Ratbat will be appearing there as part of one of the Encore sets alongside other not-seen-in-a-long-time cassette figures. The other SDCC exclusive will be Mighty Muggs Optimus Prime, this time in a metallic finish, giving it a die-cast sheen. Whether or not these exclusives get snatched up or not is yet to be seen, as many diehard collectors already have at least one Soundwave and the reception to the Mighty Muggs line is luke-warm. It seems odd that Hasbro isn’t offering something to collectors that would fit in with one of the modern lines, but perhaps that just hasn’t been announced yet.
2009: The Year of the Collector
"Buy me, I'm shiny."

I mentioned the Collector's Club already, so what is it? Boiled down to the bare bones they the Country Club of the Transformers fandom. Members pay a fee in exchange for a free yearly figure (Heatwave this year), 6 issues of the Collector's club magazine full of sneak peaks and interviews and membership discounts on several exclusive figures. In 2007 it was Astrotrain and Airazor, 2008 saw Nightbeat and the Seacons. Expect to hear about the 2009 exclusives at Botcon in May. What will they be? Several people are guessing tie-ins to Shattered Glass or other previous Botcon sets, or they could be something new all together. One thing's for sure when dealing with The Club; expect the unexpected.
2009: The Year of the Collector
Join us, you'll love it here

So what’s next on our exclusive hunt? How about looking somewhere not typically known for exclusives? Let’s look north of the border into Canada and TFCon. It was last year that FansProject and their City Commander upgrade kit took the Transformers world by storm, and showed everyone that 3rd party groups can contribute quality additions to any collector’s shelf. Needless to say it sold out quickly, as did the Shadow Commander set released for the aforementioned SDCC Nemesis Prime. But now a third commander joins the team: Powered Commander. A trailer for Classics Optimus Prime, this set will transform him into a gargantuan warrior clad in his original Diaclone colors. Also included with this set will be custom made energon cube carrying case and shoulder rockets, something missing from both previous sets. Sound cool? You bet it is, and to get it you must be attending TFCon and pay $150 CDN per trailer! That’s about $121 USD for those of you south of the border. On ebay, there are already preorders up for this guy if you’re willing to shell out $250 in US dollars. That’s one heck of a mark-up. Also one must act fast and hold on tightly, because there are only 500 of these guys and they’re over 50% sold out.
2009: The Year of the Collector
"Blink and you'll miss me"

Speaking about City Commander, this seems to be a good time to bring up the second theme of the year: third party kits. As I mentioned before, FansProject proved there was a market here, first with their Cliffjumper kit, then with their City/Shadow Commander set. So, what’s now available? Let’s take a look:
--TFClub is releasing a set of weapons and accessories to attach to Universe figures. These include shoulder missiles, an “invisibility box” for Mirage, a ladder for Inferno and the first ever Autoscout mini-cassette. $45 for the set
--BTS Toy has just released their trailer sets, one for Classics Optimus Prime and one for Universe Nemesis Prime. These trailers include a Roller drone and a couple hand-held weapons for those Transformers not fortunate enough to have one. $60 each.
--iGear has stormed the market with not one, but FOUR different sets all in various stages of production. Their flagship project is their own Autoscoute cassette tape. Also in the works is an accessory kit for MP Grimlock and a fully functional trailer for Masterpiece Prime that appears to be similar to the one released with MP-04. Not happy with your City Commander set? Want missiles or a new head? iGear’s coming out with that too, with a sword, greathammer and Wreckers flag to boot. $15 for the Grimlock set and $20 for Autoscout
--Nato-bot has also just released their upgrade kit for Universe Roadbuster, which includes an assault rifle, shoulder cannon and a new head (some assembly required). There have been mold issues on this set, which has delayed its release to many collectors, however expect that to be fixed shortly. $31 for the full set or $15 for the head and rifle or $18 for the cannon. Also featured is an axe for Animated Optimus Prime, which is in the early stages of production. has produced a set for the Animated enthusiasts, containing stasis cuffs, an Allspark, Ratchet's magnetic weapons and a replica of Sari's allspark key. That set goes for $20 on BBTS.
--Mastermind Creations is taking things one step further with making their own figure based off IDW's Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime.
--And let’s not forget about FansProject. The pioneer in this field isn’t backing down from all the new-found competition. Their next project is a G1-style trailer for Optimus Prime, which includes several anime-accurate weapons for Universe characters and a roller drone. A preorder has shown up for $80. Also they have hinted at a Rodimus Prime upgrade for Classics Rodimus, dubbed the Protector Armor, many going to TFCon expect to see more on this piece while there. What ever happened to the other Universe accessories such as Classics Matrix and hand-held Megatron gun? Can’t say for sure but don’t expect them to drop those ideas.
2009: The Year of the Collector
eeenie meenie miney moe...

With North America covered, and all of the extra kits that have collectors researching 2nd or 3rd mortgages, let’s take a look at the country where everything cute, awesome and perverted comes from: Japan.

Japan holds an interesting spot in the Transformer Collecting game, because to us North Americans and Europeans; everything they make is collectable. Henkei has more detailed paint apps, Transformers Alternity, a sequel to the Binaltech/Alternators line is many collectors wet dream and Masterpiece Grimlock won’t see US release in its current form due to toy laws. Not to mention there are several lines that Hasbro won’t even consider bringing in, such as Disney Label, Music Label and the recently-announced Device Label. I’m going to only focus on the true exclusives though, but best of luck getting everything else!

The year stated off with images of a Lucky Draw Henkei Galvatron figure, all shiny and golden. For many collectors the lucky draw figures represent the pinnacle of a collection, even more so than prototype figures. Alas, even for many collectors who consider themselves diehard, Lucky Draws are out of reach unless one really wants to spend anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000, yikes!
2009: The Year of the Collector
"Hello, you'll never own me."

The fist exclusives of the year were released just this month. Henkei (Or Gentei if you prefer) Thrust and Dirge found their way on to the shelves of many collectors, re-igniting the old fashioned Botcon exclusivity debate. However these figures have custom wings and different paint schemes than their ’07 counterparts, thus keeping the debate on a low simmer. Still if one wants these figures expect to pay upward of $90-150 each, up to and over $200 if you want both.
2009: The Year of the Collector
2009: The Year of the Collector
Making Botcon obsolete since 2008, or did we???

Transformer Generations volume 1 and 2 have been announced, with volume 1 already on the market. While only available in Japan (and hence only in Japanese) these books outline the detailed history of TFs from their Diaclone era all the way up to their Alternity incarnations. While the books may be a good read, it’s the figures that interest most collectors. Fill out the card at the back of the book, add about $45 USD-worth of yen and in about 4 months you’ll receive your very own Classics Mirage, in transparent plastic. When volume 2 is released you can do the same and receive a transparent Classics Starscream. Sounds cool! Oh, yeah did I mention you must be a Japanese resident to qualify? Sucks doesn’t it? Not to worry though, BigBadToyStore and certain other retailers have come through, and for $90 USD each you’ll have Mirage and Starscream on your shelves once they’re released. If you want the books too, that’ll be about $30 extra.
2009: The Year of the Collector
Who knew clear plastic was so expensive?

A recent stunt (or marketing technique) by the Ganbo store allowed interested parties to apply for a special credit card. Along with that credit card, comes along a free Minicon. Naturally there are two Minicons, and thus one would need to order both credit cards to get both Minicons. Also once again, this is only available to Japanese citizens. No one ever said it’d be easy collecting overseas merchandise. Once again though BigBadToyStore has come through on this, and you can preorder both minicons for $50 per pair. Many minicon collectors actually call that a good deal.
2009: The Year of the Collector
Yeah, we're THAT good

And the final exclusive known to see a 2009 release is based off of Universe Cyclonus; which has been recognized as the best mold coming out of the Universe line, this time in the styling of Technobot Strafe. In order to get this figure through normal means, one must buy it using the special credit card obtained with the Minicons mentioned previously (meaning that you must live in Japan, don’t you love how everything ties together?) BigBadToyStore and Robotkingdom both have this guy up for preorder ($110 and $90 respectively). Needless to say it’s a pricey figure, but what can you do if you’re not a Japanese citizen?
2009: The Year of the Collector
"Go on, try and deny my awesomeness!"

So I’ve listed every exclusive figure that’s been released or announced for release in 2009. Do you want to know how much you’ll spend if you purchase one of every figure here, excluding the Lucky Draw and some fan kits?

You sure?

Ok, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

$1492 USD

$1492 is a lot of money, and that’s not including shipping fees and the prices for some of the third party upgrades and add-ons because they aren’t priced out yet. Also not included are the thousands that many collectors spend on Japanese mass released figures, such as the Masterpice, Alternity and Label lines, or for that matter ROTF, Animated, and Universe lines. Each figure may not seem like a lot, but MP Grimlock, Henkei Hound, Cyclonus and Red Alert, and Alternity Prime(s) and Megatron(s), there goes at least $400!

Let’s also remember that this is April, the year isn’t even half over yet. Who knows what else we’ll see with the onslaught of Revenge of The Fallen line? Who knows what 2010 will bring? I don’t know, but after this year many collectors will need a second job to break even.

All of these exclusives are well and good, but one must ask the question: how will we pay for all of these? If you've just emerged from your Fortress of Solitude, then allow me to fill you in on one critical bulletin: We're in a global recession! The cost of oil is going up, which directly affects the two main aspects of our hobby, and thus the bottom line: figure creation and shipping. Petroleum products are used to make the plastics we hold in our hands, and power the engines that get these figures from the factories in Asia to our hands in North America and Europe. Not only that, but the spending power of many collectors has decreased, shoving many of these figures just beyond our reach. So how are companies still earning a profit off of these if we can't buy them?

Simple; collectors, diehard collectors have a tendency to pay far more money than they should for a piece of nicely painted plastic. If 50% of the collectors would pay $60 for a figure, then 40% will pay $80. That's a 20% decrease in collectors for sure, but that's a 25% price increase per figure. If the company scales back manufacturing slightly, they save a fortune and make a fortune. They win, while making it seem that we collectors win.

Sneaky, ain't it?

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #159 - Imperfect Specks
Twincast / Podcast #159:
"Imperfect Specks"
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Posted: Saturday, November 12th, 2016
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