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Living and Dying in Wal-Mart (Because eBay isn’t fast enough)

Transformers News: Living and Dying in Wal-Mart  (Because eBay isn’t fast enough)
Date: Friday, August 3rd 2007 5:29pm CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Site News, Toy News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): Counterpunch

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Views: 43,851

It has been awhile since our last site article. Our own Counterpunch has posted an insightful article in the toys forum that we thought everyone would enjoy. With out further delay here is Counterpunch's article:


NOTE:
This is an article I wrote, it is themed as a conversation or argument even. Hopefully it sparks some discussion and helps some of the new guys out as they get into the hobby. For those interested, this kind of article may become a regular thing.


Punch: This one’s about the market folks or more specifically the current market for Transformers collecting. We’re going to look at a few trends, traps, and realities of what may be the most stable and profitable (read: Expensive) toy collecting fandom.

Counterpunch: Any discussion of this issue would be completely off base if we did not first separate the market into two distinct and equally treacherous branches: G1 and everything else.

Punch: Agreed. However, in saying ‘everything else’ we aren’t meaning to degrade or somehow put off the non-G1 toys. It’s simply that the realities of the G1 market merit their own side discussion.

Counterpunch: There are basics to all manner of Transformers collecting that we are going to first and foremost agree on. There are three cardinal rules where if we and more importantly you can’t accept, you should just quit reading right now.

The Rules:
1. Pay to play. Don’t kid yourself, ever. Pound for pound, collecting Transformers is about banking money and understanding that you are going to pay early, often, and in considerable sums.

2. Prices do not ‘go down’. Unlike StarWars or other collectable where technology consistently improves and the toys are actually better than they were 20+ years ago; Transformers only becomes different. Sure, articulation improves, but essentially, a car is still going to unfold into a robot. Even the oldest Transformers toys are no where near as time dated as the 1990’s Star Wars stuff. So, Transformers fans never have to ‘upgrade’ a character. Where as a 1990’s Luke Skywalker is a retarded hunk of plastic compared with an SA version.

Punch: and third:

3. Quantities are limited. As for some of the mass-produced figures like Classics Starscream or Energon Tidalwave…where are they? Shouldn’t these be on the shelf when we want them? Why am I literally battling Wal-Mart to find Cybertron Wingsaber? The popularity of Transformer combined with you, me, kids, and sweaty fan-boi #7 really ensures that toys do not linger on the shelves. (Though Energon Ironhide is a note worthy exception. ‘F’ that toy, right?)

Counterpunch: So we’re in agreement then?

Punch: Most certainly. I think we should dive right into the vintage market and address this issue up front. This of course means tackling the big issue, the elephant in the room per se.

Counterpunch: The movie?

Punch: The movie and its relevance to the vintage market is very, very important. What we’re seeing is not even a gradual assault on the formerly stable vintage market. We’re seeing a bump in prices which approaches 30% in most areas. The movie has awakened hordes of former fans who now want a piece of the action. They are older (about 25-30), have jobs, and are willing to drop some cash to reclaim their childhood.

Counterpunch: I agree with you that the movie is the driving factor here. I am not entirely sure it is purely Gen-Xers that are fueling this though. Sellers are doing their part as well. Looking through eBay of late reveals that many vintage figures are simply placed online with considerably higher BuyItNow prices than they were drawing even a year ago. The marketplace is taking advantage of the movie fervor by upping the cost of entry into the collecting game.

Punch: I will concede that even the dealer room of BotCon this year was very difficult to find a deal of any kind in.

Counterpunch: And I can concede that there really are more people out there to snatch up any deals that do lend themselves to the market at any given time.

Punch: At any rate, the vintage market is a tough sea to navigate properly. Remember when the reissues were announced and everyone thought that the values of those reissued toys would crash?

Counterpunch: Indeed and it never played out that way at all.

Punch: Exactly, this all goes to support my demand side for this discussion. The demand from the growing fan-base is enough to support even several rounds of reissues.

Counterpunch: Touché good sir. You are indeed a scholar and a gentleman. All things considered, the vintage market remains a solid investment. It follows the 3 rules perfectly. Prices are prohibitive, even in the best situation you aren’t going to find ‘deals’ which means the market is steady and people recognize the worth of the toys they have.

Punch: Right, and to further this, Prices do not go down. We already mentioned the reissue, issue. The market is varied enough (incorporating both ‘true’ vintage, read: originals, and character vintage, where the figure, not the date, is important).

Counterpunch: And lastly, quantities are limited and more limited every year. G1 figures break and degrade into uselessness more so every year. If you don’t believe this, go out and try to hunt down a good condition Vroom. If that proves too difficult, go with Jetfire. Approaching 25 years in age for most of these toys means they are becoming real antiques.

Punch: So we move on now to the Post-G1 era. This will encompass everything from G2 through Classics (Beast Wars/Machines, RiD, Armada, Energon, Cybertron, you name it)

Counterpunch: If you had asked me about the value of these toys a year ago, two years ago, I would have pointed to the wasteland known as eBay as proof that these toys just do not have or hold value.

Punch: Now in retrospect, that would make you an ass.

Counterpunch: Indeed it would.

Punch: Something has happened to this side of the market and no one can really point to a time or event that was the catalyst. Even the movie can’t really claim credit for this one.

Counterpunch: I first notices the trend at Christmas a year or so ago when several people were commenting that they were having trouble finding Cybertron Leobreaker on eBay for a reasonable price. My disbelief was considerable especially since the toy had been so absurdly plentiful not long before.

Punch: Before we continue, be assured that there is an argument about to develop in this discussion, we’re not all sunshine and lollipops on this issue at all.

Counterpunch: Right, but we have to agree that there are many, many figures that have been released over the past few years which are now seeing close to 100% increases in their value on the secondary market. Noteworthy mentions include the aforementioned Leobreaker- $50, Brave Maximus $250-$350, Classics Starscream- $25, Armada Starscream $40+?, Energon Omega Sentinel- $65-100, BW Rattrap (75$ F’ing dollars for a basic?!?), Alternator Camshaft, Swerve, Decepticharge, Mirage…- More $$ than they should be…. and so forth.

Punch: That we do. I’ve seen Universe Tankor and Obsidian sell for upwards of $35-40 on eBay. Those are horrible toys people and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Counterpunch: So, we’re left with a choice; to pay now, or to pay later. Many collectors have taken up the mantra: If I find it, I buy it. I subscribe whole-heartedly to this concept. It’s much better to pay retail on sight than it is to suck it up and pay (grudgingly) 2-3x the MSRP on eBay.

Punch: On the other and potentially more intelligent hand, I can not remember a line in recent history that has NOT gone to clearance at sometime or another. Maybe there are 3-5 figures in a given line that will perform very well on eBay and the secondary market. That leaves 30-40 figures that will not increase instantly. The real incentive and smart, practical move for any collector (or completionist) is to wait out these deals. What you will save over time, should be considerably more than the premium you may or may not pay on those hard to find figures.

Counterpunch: As compelling an argument as that is, it ignores our firmly established Rule #1: Pay to Play. For that matter, it basically ignores Rule #2 as well. If prices will not go down, they can really only go up.

Punch: You should realize that those rules apply to the long-term for collecting. It’s taken Energon up until now to see those realized values for the toys. In the short term, playing the retail market to its fullest can help keep the frugal collector afloat. Keeping with Energon, there were a lot of people who were able to acquire the majority of the line after the Christmas season it ended and all on clearance prices.

Counterpunch: That’s a great single instance you pointed out there. It did not happen in Armada, Cybertron, or Classics. For that matter, good luck finding Titaniums or Alternators from the first wave or two 3-4 months after release (which people never did). Mass market lines have the potential to provide excellent clearance prices under the right circumstances, all I am cautioning people on, is that in no way should you make a strategy of that when looking to acquire a line or even a specifically popular figure, otherwise, you end up paying $40 for Energon Tidalwave like an ass (of which the author of this article is guilty, but would like to redeem himself by saying that he bought Alternator Swerve on sight just because he’d ‘probably never see it again’)

Punch: Fair enough, since you were able to concede the G1 analysis to me, I can let this one go to you. Despite all the ranting and venomous assaults on the quality and design of the new age of Transformers toys, they have been undeniably popular. While I can’t understand exactly just who out there is buying these things, they are leaving the shelves.

In Conclusion:

We either pound the pavement, in search of these toys as they hit, or we fume on eBay in vain attempts to not fund ‘scalpers’ as we try to get the best deal on the latest figure. The ‘wave’ release system has gone a long way to almost demanding our presence in stores to hunt down the latest figures. Recent trends have shown that the cost of not being up to date on what is available and when will literally cost us in the long run. On the other hand, there is a whole lot of satisfaction in buying a $20 figure, only to see it approaching 40-60 dollars on eBay in a year or so.

The vintage G1 market is and has always been a bed rock of collecting. In almost no instance will your investment in these toys, over time, see you at a loss. It’s a hard market to deal in, because condition, completeness, and availability are all demons that will haunt you as you collect. Prices are rising for these toys for a variety of reasons and kind of like the housing boom, these reasons will most certainly cause a permanent increase in value no matter how much we’d still like to find affordable G1 Wheeljacks at $60 (Try the $100-120 range for a nice C9 version…)

Good luck to you in your hunting endeavors. Just know that whatever figure you are looking for in Wal-Mart, I’m there snatching up before you at the butt-crack of dawn and when you get sniped for that G1 figure you really wanted on eBay, well, check back with Rule #1.

We’re out.

Review of Movie Leader Class Brawl

Transformers News: Review of Movie Leader Class Brawl
Date: Wednesday, August 1st 2007 11:58am CDT
Categories: Reviews, Site Articles, Site News, Toy News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): megatroptimus

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Views: 37,738

Our own megatroptimus has just received Transformers Movie Leader Class Brawl and has decided to share a review of the figure. Now megatroptimus' review is only part of the excitement to come. Seibertron is putting something special together for latter this week! Until then enjoy megatroptimus' review:


Just got it this morning. I'll review as I play with it...

ROBOT MODE

Pretty big, like the other leader class toys. About the same size as Megatron, but more bulky. Detailing is great all over (although nowhere near as good as that custom we have recently seen on Ebay - there's only so much Hasbro can do for that price!). Gimmick are pretty cool : slide a lever forward on the right forearm to extend the cannons. On the left forearm, slide back the black plate to move the claws forward. Pushing down on the upper chest assembly will trigger lights and sounds (shoulder cannons + main cannon). The shoulder cannons light up green, the main cannon red. You hear a sequence of 3 different sounds (various cannon sounds) with lights flashing. Pretty cool. You can also activate the lights and sounds by pushing on the main cannon (it activates sounds #1, similar to the one found on Armada Megatron). Poseability is pretty good : head, shoulders (full range), upper arms, bicep swivel, elbows, poseable claws (all 3 fingers), hips, knee swivel, knees, feet and toes to some extent. Nice use of click joints too. Lower back leg kibble gets a bit in the way during extreme poses, but I don't think it's that bad. You get him to take very dynamic poses.

TRANSFORMATION

Holy crap, that wasn't easy! It requires a lot of manipulation to get from robot mode to tank mode. Automorph gimmick hides the head as push down the upper chest assembly. Arms cannons end up being stored in the lower legs through hinges and tracks and sides of the tank are spring loaded (as are the 2 cow catchers). The most difficult part was to fit the arms flush against the body to close the sides of the tank. Took a bit of massaging, but I guess it'll become easier after a few transformations. Moving the main cannon into place is also a challenge : you have to hold a spring-loaded panel on the side of the turret while you open a second one and move it over the main cannon while you swing it into place. Hard to explain, you'll see when you get it.

TANK MODE

Pretty much the size of G2 Megatron. Big and heavy! Turrets move independantly, main cannon moves up and down (at last!). You can activate the sounds and lights by pushing on the main cannon or by rotating the upper turret (the left side triggers a different side than the right). The tank rolls on 5 little wheels. There's even another twin cannon located on top of the 2nd turret. Brawl is armed to the teeth! Again, a lot of mechanical detailing all over. Too bad it gets a bit lost in the green. Also, the plastic feels a bit soft. Thick but soft.

Overall, it's an awesome figure and it has everything I'm looking for in a quality Transformer : size, complexity, electronics, gimmicks. DLX Brawl can burn in hell, Leader Brawl is immensely better. Is this the best movie figure? I don't think so, but it's quite close.

Overview of the features :

-lights (green for auxiliairy guns, red for main gun)
-sounds (3 different ones)
-automorph : head/chest, arm cannons, upper turret (minor)
-spring loaded cow catchers
-spring loaded tank tracks (front portion only)
-spring loaded turret panel

Let's talk about how easy it is play DVDs from anywhere in the world

Transformers News: Let's talk about how easy it is play DVDs from anywhere in the world
Date: Sunday, July 29th 2007 9:56pm CDT
Categories: Cartoon News, Site Articles
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 33,545

I want to help you guys watch Transformers DVDs no matter where in the world they are released. I see many of you who express their frustration about foreign releases of Transformers DVDs that we don't have available here in the States yet. Well, there's really no reason for it since there's an army of inexpensive DVD players available just down the street from you that can easily be modified to play DVDs from anywhere in the world. All it takes is a little research on the Internet to find out which DVD players can be modified that are currently available at Best Buy, Target, Walmart or whatever major retail store is near you.

Keep in mind that the cheaper the DVD player, the easier it is to "hack". Obviously, you don't want a complete piece of crap, but if you stick to some brands that you recognize such as Phillips, you should be all set. The higher end DVD players are far more difficult to hack (or altogether impossible) so I would stay away from the Pioneers, Sonys and Toshibas for example.

Australia's Region 4? Not a problem! UK's PAL format? Never worry about it again. UK's Region 2? Region what?!?! I've been enjoying DVDs from all over the world for the past 2 years. I own all of Metrodome's Headmaster, Masterforce, Victory and RiD sets, Metrodome's "Transformers Movie Reconstructed", as well as all of Madman's incredibly flawless Beast Wars sets, their very awesome G1 boxset and their version of the animated movie. For those of you who don't know, Metrodome is based out of the UK and Madman is based out of Australia.

I'm also able to play DVDs from China or Japan flawlessly. I'm able to easily just pop-in DVD extras that come with my Japanese Transformers right into my primary DVD player and watch whatever I want. Heck, I can even download videos from the Internet, burn them directly to a DVD-R as their native format (i.e. AVI, MPEG, etc) and watch the actual raw videos on my home TV without ever havign to convert the video to a DVD format.

Without further ado, here is a message I had posted on these forums before the big forum crash in January. I had the foresight to save this message on the Metrodome forums a while back so thanks to that, I'm able to repost my message here on Seibertron.com. One of our latest sponsors is none other than our friends at Madman. I promised I'd help share how you guys can watch these DVDs on your players at home regardless of where you live in the world. You should be just as exceited about a DVD set from Madman as you are from a company here in the States or whatever country you live in. Yeah, it's a little expensive to import the DVDs but it's most definitely worth it. It certainly beats the alternative of not owning sets like Headmasters (which Madman will be releasing later this year) or RiD.

If you have any questions, please let me know. I'll do my best to help you find a region free DVD player so that you can enjoy watching these Transformers DVDs from other countries while Sony figures out what they're doing with the license here in America.

Ryan in 2005 wrote:
Hey guys,

Once Metrodome announced the upcoming Headmasters DVD set, I started doing some research into figuring out a standard way to play foreign DVDs. I've been anxiously awaiting a Headmasters DVD set that's not as expensive as the Japanese version for quite some time so I can assure all of you that I wasn't going to let a little thing like Region 2 or PAL video stop me from figuring out a way to play the Metrodome DVDs here in the States (NTSC video, Region 1). While it was great news that Metrodome was going to release the Movie and Headmasters as Region 0 (just like the Robots in Disguise RiD videos were released unbeknownst to many fans), but that would only allow most of us American fans the ability to watch the DVDs on our computer. I wanted to watch the DVDs on my television with my sound system dammit!

So I talked to a few of my friends at work who are from Poland. A few of them started pointing me toward the DVD player that is sold locally at Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City or Amazon.com. This DVD player can EASILY be hacked to play any region AND it automatically converts PAL formatted videos to NTSC. PLUS IT'S CHEAP and comes with tons of other features that have totally changed my DVD experience. I highly recommend this DVD player:

Philips DVP642 DivX-Certified Progressive-Scan DVD Player

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000204SWE/ref=pd_sxp_f/002-0964654-9456061?v=glance&s=electronics

http://www.google.com/products?q=phillips+DVP642

Quote:
1. Turn on the player.
2. Open the tray.
3. Press the following sequence on the remote: 7 8 9 OK 0
4. The number 0 will appear on the lower left side of your screen.
5. Your player is now region free! Put in a DVD and enjoy! :)


NOTE: The 0 in the sequence above represents the region code. 0 = region free. If you want to change your player to just a specific region code, replace the 0 with the region number you want.

The hack should be perfectly safe, but USE IT ON YOUR OWN RISK!

It plays my RiD DVDs from the UK perfectly as well as my various Takara DVDs that came with my Robot Masters figures and TFC-9 Starscream. I can't say enough great things about this DVD player.

And no, I do not work for Phillips. I'm just trying to spread some information about this DVD player out to the community so that you guys can get your DVD player before the Headmasters set is released.

Apparently the cheaper the DVD Player, the easier it is to region hack and to find a player that will convert from PAL to NTSC. I bought one that was a little more expensive with a brand that I recognized even though several of my friends recommended the Cyberhome DVD players. However, I read so many bad reviews about the Cyberhome DVD player that it didn't matter that it was only $40 or less ... I wanted a player that would last and look decent.

New Photos and Review of Target Exclusive Movie Air Raid

Transformers News: New Photos and Review of Target Exclusive Movie Air Raid
Date: Wednesday, July 25th 2007 1:05am CDT
Categories: Movie News, Reviews, Site Articles, Site News, Toy News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): kleh

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Views: 47,755

Our own kleh has received a Transformers Movie Target Exclusive Air Raid figure before it has hit stores. Kleh has been kind enough to share a review and photos of the figure. Here is what kleh posted:

Air Raid Target Scout Review




Vehicle Mode:
Pretty sweet-looking Marine-style jet if you ask me. Looks like he’s ready to roam the jungle and battle the intercepting Dreadwing. Not sure why he has jungle-camo if he can’t even fly low enough. Alt mode is filled with lots of jungle green (obviously), some black on the cockpit/pixels, some yellowish brown pixels, gray on his cannons/thrusters/vents, and some red accents on each wing. There are two Autobot emblems; one on each wing as well as a new Sector-7 logo smack dabbed in the middle of his alt mode. A well deserved A for vehicle mode.









Robot Mode:
More gray than expected. His arms, legs, and feet are comprised with gray as well as his robot mode face. Red eyes on an Autobot is definitely strange. But it looks very intimidating. His robot mode head reminds me of Megatron for some odd reason.

Moving on. There is mostly forest green on the shell of his robot mode head, arm-wings, chest, and lower legs. Once again, there are two Autobot emblems visible on his arm-wings as well as the Sector-7 logo on his lower abdomen. Not as attractive-looking as the alt mode. This mode receives a B- from me.









Transformation:
It has the same transformation as the Energon and Movie Skyblast.

Automorph:
Energon characters have Automorph?! I know it’s true though. It’s very simple. But to work his automorph technology, just turn the knob-like thing on the upper part of the jet after you have moved all the pieces out of the way. The face then turns inward for robot mode while the cockpit is folded off in the back.

Weapons:
He comes with an Energon sword and an Energon crystal that snaps into his chest. Both repainted black. Nothing new I know. Wonder why they still included it? O well more weapons.



Overall:
This is a pretty nice figure. The digital camouflage is very nice. It’s not the best but it could be a lot worse. I, personally, like it. I like Air Raid from G2 but this figure just personifies him as an actual movie character. Instead of calling him Skyblast 2, Hasbro decided to make him a whole different character (which is better). I know it’s just a redeco Energon/Movie Skyblast figure but the camo made it look all that better. This little guy earns an 8.5/10 for me. I definitely recommend him if you’re a completist. Even if you’re not, give the guy a chance anyway if you don’t like him that is. Recommended!!


On the (Dutch) Red Carpet Transformers Premiere

Transformers News: On the (Dutch) Red Carpet Transformers Premiere
Date: Saturday, July 7th 2007 9:36am CDT
Categories: Event News, Movie News, Site Articles
Posted by: Raymond T.

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Views: 33,904

The following is my, Raymond T.'s, account of June 25th, when I was invited to attend the dutch red carpet premiere of the Transformers Movie.

June 25th I was invited to the Dutch red carpet premiere to the Transformers movie. This is my account of that day. I will try my best not to give away any spoilers.

I was not alone for the premiere of the movie I had waited the longest time for. Me and a couple of my friends were there by invitation of Hasbro themselves. Earlier this month, on June 10th, me and four of my buddies put together a Transformers convention in IJsselstein, The Netherlands called Transformations. We worked closely together with Hasbro, to try and make this the best convention to date. I am proud to say that we did just that. Our target was set at 80 people, and predicted that there would be about 130 to 150 people attending. Not counting ourselves, the crew or people we had as our guests, we had 216 visitors! And beyond expectation most of the people decided to stay until the end.

As thank you for making this Transformers convention (for Dutch standards) a huge hit, the Transformations Team (consisting of Jasper, Hans, Godert (www.trypticon.nl), Rein and myself) was invited to be part of the official glamour premiere of Michael Bay's Transformers movie. The movie which we had fully tried to promote at our convention, where we had posters, flyers, standees and the trailer showing. In addition to the invite, Jasper was asked to be part of a small item about the Transformers movie for a Dutch TV news program called '4 in het land', where he showed his collection and was filmed to walk over the, rather short, red carpet, with Godert.

The day which I had been waiting for since the first teaser one year ago. The day that I had been waiting for since first reporting the rumor and later confirming the report of the production of the movie, right here on www.Seibertron.com/news. And waiting for the day, since first joining the Don Murphy board (and being one of the first to register on the now popular message board) back in June of 2003. The day I had been dreaming of ever since I first saw Optimus Prime plummet towards Earth in the final part of the pilot three-parter back in the mid 80's. The Day was finally here, on June 25th 2007, in my hometown of Amsterdam.

But there seemed to be a little snag for me. I only got the invite two days in advance, and I was told to be there at 19:00, but I work until 20:00! Since I couldn't contact my boss, I would have to ask permission from the people I work with on the day. And wouldn't you know it. Of any day that things could go wrong, this was the day that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. But after a short discussion, I was allowed to leave work earlier. The ATM at the library refused to make contact and completely broke down not much later. Internet failed. Paperwork seemed to stack up. And of course every Jack and Jill blew up that they couldn't use the facilities. One would try to pick fights, while the other would get upset with you because you can not be bribed. (If the internet is out, it will stay out no matter how much dough you want to put down.). But as hectic the day seemed to be and how violent some people seem to react, I was all smiles! I think I've never looked as much on my watch as during my work hours that day.

FINALLY! After seeing the minutes pass for the last couple of hours, it was finally time to get rid of Raymond the surveillance officer (yes at the library), and hello Raymond T. Transformers TransFanatic! Gone was my ponytail and bland blue shirt, and down came my hair and illuminous Decepticon T-shirt. Heart pumping, thoughts racing, the last countdown was about to start. As fast as the train could take my to my waiting friends, I tried my hardest to stay calm and not bug everyone in the cart with me with the glowing Decepticon logo on my chest.


Finally, I was at Pathe Arena. My personal grieve with the complex I was forced to set aside. The complex is one of two may be three places in Amsterdam you can have a glamour premiere, but this one has always been my least favorite. The building is all glass, its cold in its design,... To me as a movies fan the place really doesn't speak to me. Outside there is a square with a few shops and nothing else. Across from it is a concrete block of a flat building. And half of the surrounding are still under construction. It is big and spacious, but it’s also cold and empty. Not really my choice of locations for what I think could be the event of the year.


But as I enter the building, I am greeted with the familiar posters and other promotional works for the Transformers movie. I'm walking into the building with my Decepticon logo blinking, so needless to say that my friends quickly found me. The PR woman soon comes and greets us to explain what will be happening. The camera crew is already there for Jasper to see him take the big steps towards the screening room where the flickers on the screen will spark our imaginations and will silence the doubts we may have. We are directed to the outside to the very short red carpet. There two young ladies are walking up and down the path with the Optimus Prime voice changer helmets on. Chalk versions...


Jasper and the news crew do their thing, and I see him and Godert walk towards the end of the carpet and past the big poster construction of the movie. The crew flicks off the recording and are done for now. My cue to walk over the red carpet. It can't be more then 8 or 10 meters, so it doesn't really feel real. As a fan of movie (and if possible making movies). Something simple as "walking over the red carpet" means something for me. But it doesn't quite cut it when it’s litterly over in only a few steps. But with no complaints, I walk through the door to the inside of the complex. There we are greeted by two more Optimus Prime ladies, and are asked to follow a representative to the theater.


I quickly becomes clear that for the screening two theaters have been reserved. The big one, and a smaller one. On one hand you are sad to learn that you are not in the big screen room, where all the Dutch celebs will be seated. Having worked for TV shows in the past there were a few celebrities I knew from the past and haven't seen in a while, who I know that know me. So it would have been fun to see the movie with them and maybe catch up a bit. On the other hand, I have been told that people often keep talking during the movie at the screenings of premieres. Most celebs are really there to show their faces for the photographers and show the world that they still live. And often it is these types of things that some ever get to see each other again. So with that in mind I was glad to be at the smaller screening.


After the Optimus Prime ladies introduced the movie and wished us much viewing pleasure, silence was set. The lights dimmed. I could swear I could hear the hearts pounding of my friends next to me. The familiar voice of Optimus Prime booms through the darkened room. Then there it finally is, TRANSFORMERS! No build up to a story. You're swept into it from the very start. The suspense is building with what I know has to be Blackout. As the story starts to play out, I know this is what I have been waiting for after four years of posting on the Don Murphy board and posting all the updates in the news for that same amount of time. The first battle between the humans and this previously unknown Decepticon Transformer starts. And I already know it has been worth the wait, especially after realizing that the movie has not even been playing 15 minutes!


Yes. At points there are moments that the fanboy in me wants to speak up while watching the movie. Since when is Sparkplug named Ron, when we know his first name is William!? Optimus Prime would never say that! "He leaked his Lubricant!" LOL! But I am not just a fan of those robots in disguise. I am a fan of movies too. And for the first time, the two came together in an almost perfect blend. Rather then one long story that drags on and on, movie appears more like it is cut up and then strung together, which does give a nice fast pace to the movie. The story is not as worked out as I had hoped, but the visuals more than make up for that. Although sector seven is as hokey as its internet version, most of the rest of the movie just runs smoothly from beginning to end. There is a good balance between the serious and the less serious. As a fan of movies, I was completely entertained. One of the guys there went into the movie saying. "I am sure this is just a big budget poor man's Go-Bots movie. But I am here with friends, so who cares?" After the movie, the same guy was saying that this movie was definitely in his top 10 list of his all-time favorite movies". I had high hopes for the movie, and those hopes were definitely met.


When the movie ended and the credits rolled, people started to applaud! I've been to many movies, but it is not too often people applaud the screen after it is over! The little group we were discussed the movie as the credits rolled on, until military men dressed like certain scenes in the movie, came to collect us and lead us to the after party that was held across from the complex. There we had the chance to mingle with other people who saw the movie as well as some of the (Dutch) celebrities that had remained. I talked with some of the other fans, and overall everyone seemed to have enjoyed the movie a lot. The party lasted until midnight, and then the reality set in that the day was now really over.


It is still hard to believe that it was three years ago that I was in a heated chat with Don Murphy himself on his board why I think the Dinobots, or at least Grimlock, should have been in this movie. I still have not changed my mind. But I have always been in support for this movie, and the end result of it makes me proud that I was. Yes, we could go on and on about the designs, but for this movie it does work. And that I never doubted. Thank you for the experience to all involved in making this movie, from Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy, to the writers, to the designers, to the clean up crew... Everyone, for making this happen. Thanks for The Energon Pub on Seibertron.com and the DM Board for keeping the movie alive for the last four years. And thanks to Hasbro for giving a handful of fans the chance to experience something great as being something amazing!


Next stop TRANSFORMERS II: The Call Of Destiny!

Welcome to your planet. Welcome to Seibertron.com. Welcome to our 7th year!

Transformers News: Welcome to your planet. Welcome to Seibertron.com. Welcome to our 7th year!
Date: Tuesday, June 26th 2007 9:06am CDT
Categories: Event News, Site Articles, Site News
Posted by: Seibertron

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Views: 18,354

We came. We changed. We conquered. Or, at least I hope so.

Most of you seem very thrilled with the all new layout for Seibertron.com. This new design has been a work in progress since February. My good friend, staff member and fellow Chicagoan, Paul (aka Starscream), suggested to me that he could come up with a pretty kick ass design for the site (Paul is a professional graphic artist in the music industry). Four months later, after much discussion, instructions and plain out hard work on both of our behalves (probably around 100 hours total), we can now enjoy a slick, cool looking design just in time for ... Seibertron.com's 7 year anniversary on June 26th???

You thought I was going to say "... just in time for BotCon and the release of a little movie we've all been losing sleep over.", didn't you? When I heard last fall that BotCon was going to be moved to the week of June 24th, I was thrilled that they had planned an entire convention right around the time of Seibertron.com's 7 year anniversary, not to mention that many of us around the world would get to see the movie this week. This is the first time that I'll get to celebrate the site's anniversary with so many other Seibertronians. How very exciting indeed.

As I mentioned above, my buddy Paul had worked very hard on this design. He presented a very challenging design which challenged my programming and HTML layout and design skills immensely. I loved every frustrating moment of it. Paul accomplished exactly what I had hoped he would: break the mold, my friend, break the mold. Aside from aesthetics, Seibertron.com has more or less used the same front page design for almost 6 years. While the current design definitely has some resemblances, it is most definitely different than any of the designs I had been creating and/or "borrowing" since 2001. Paul, I owe you some beers at BotCon my friend.

I had originally sought out to write a very long winded message but I think I've pretty much said everything that needs to be said. BotCon is this week. Many of us get to see the movie this week. The new design launches on Seibertron.com. Today is the site's 7 year anniversary. If there was ever a time to celebrate being a fan of the legendary Transformers .... this is most certainly that week.

Thank you for all of your support guys. It's been an incredible past 7 years ... here's to the next 7!

Enjoy the moment my friends! This time is ours.

Your friendly neighborhood website slinging webmaster,
Ryan

Transformers Movie Press Kit Contest

Transformers News: Transformers Movie Press Kit Contest
Date: Friday, June 8th 2007 11:40pm CDT
Categories: Collectables, Event News, Movie News, Site Articles
Posted by: Stormrider | Credit(s): Shoot for the Edit, nelson_michaelbay_com, mangatron

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Views: 13,926

Shoot for the Edit has posted a new contest. Enter and you’ll have a chance to win to Transformers Press Kit.

So, what do you have to do to win this? SImple. Answer the following two (2) questions:

1. Who is your favorite Transformer
2. And why is it your favorite Transformer

E-mail your name, address, and answers to: contest@michaelbay.com



Here are the contest rules:

• You must live in one of the following countries: US, UK, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, & Switzerland.

• You will have to pay for shipping and insurance through Paypal.com. You have 24 hours to pay once you are contacted (if you do not respond, your prize is void).

• The winner will be announced on this blog (Shoot for the Edit). You will be contacted with shipping and insurance rates info. If you are the winner and can't pay, the prize will be given to another contestant.

•There are no returns, refunds and/or cash exchanges.

•The contest ends on Friday, June 15, 2007.

Click here to see the original contest page.

Review of Glu’s Mobile Phone Transformers Game

Transformers News: Review of Glu’s Mobile Phone Transformers Game
Date: Tuesday, June 5th 2007 9:46pm CDT
Categories: Company News, Game News, Movie News, Reviews, Site Articles, Site News
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): Hotrod

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Views: 40,223

Review of Glu’s Mobile Phone Transformers Game

The folks at Glu were kind enough to let me have check out their Transformers game based on the upcoming movie for cell phones. I must say I was very impressed with what Glu put together.

The game play is not overly complicated and can be learned rather quickly. Game play makes use of most of the key pad. However, there are not many difficult button combinations. Some people will need to use both hands while playing, while most will only need to use one.

When the game starts you are contacted by Bumblebee and given your mission. You will play your way through the games as the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. The goal is to rescue your fellow Autobots. Though out the game you will remain in contact with Bumblebee. When you reach certain areas marked by a blue bubble you will be able to contact him. Bumblebee gives advice on how to use your control, and how to advance. At times it is very important to listen to the little bot. These bubbles are not as numerous as you advance in the game.

The game is an action packed plat former. As Prime you must, punch, jump, blast, and transform your way through each level. You have to master all of Prime’s skills to get by as you advance. None of the jumps are overly difficult, though you some require more skill than others. The enemies in the game are not pushovers, but they are not very difficult to defeat. The combination of enemies and jumps add to the challenge of the game with out being overly frustrating.

After beating the first level you will be brought to a map screen. From this point you will be able to choose different paths. Though the game play is repetitive it does not feel like it at. Each stage is set up with a different set of jumps and back ground. Once you start playing you will not want to stop.

The graphics for the game are awesome for a cell phone game. They remind me of a Nintendo game with better graphics. The nostalgia adds to the fun in my opinion. I use to love those old SNSES games and this game helps bring back those memories. I could play the game for hours.

I would suggest giving Glu’s Transformers game a try. Tough the graphics are not XBOX 360 or Playstation 3 quality for a cell phone game the graphics are great. Glu’s Transformers game is very enjoyable and can help pass time.

You can try the game out by clicking here.

TF:TM Ultimate Edition DVD Review

Transformers News: TF:TM Ultimate Edition DVD Review
Date: Monday, June 4th 2007 9:19pm CDT
Categories: Cartoon News, Movie News, Reviews, Site Articles
Posted by: Hotrod | Credit(s): Chris McFeely

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Views: 99,473

Our own Chris McFeely has stopped by. He has posted a review of Metrodome's THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE – ULTIMATE EDITION DVD. Here is his review:

THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE – ULTIMATE EDITION
Dir: Nelson Shin
Cert: PG
Starring: Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, Eric Idle, Orson Welles, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker

FEATURE


Yeah. It’s the movie. You know it, I know it. That’s not what we’re here for. Let’s move on.

VIDEO


THIS is what we’re here for.

This is Metrodome’s second shot at properly releasing the movie – leaving aside cheapie budget versions that have nothing about them worth speaking of, their previous effort was “Transformers: The Movie – Reconstructed,” which aimed to show every millimetre of footage that was animated by peeling aside the edges of the screen to reveal it. This resulted in a rather misjudged “curtained” image which was fine for widescreen-television owners, but shafted those with regular-size sets. Additionally, the image was taken from the original negative, but was inadvertently converted to NTSC before being converted to PAL, resulting in a badly interlaced image. The colour balance of the thing was all over the place, and the picture was very soft – I recall speaking fairly well of it when it came out, but time has opened my eyes to its flaws.

This “Ultimate Edition” of the film takes it cue from Sony’s 20th Anniversary release last year, which featured a newly-remastered widescreen version of the film, to replicate its original theatrical presentation. This time, Metrodome have succeeded in making a PAL transfer directly from the negative, resulting in smooth video (which, due to PAL speedup, runs a few minutes faster than viewers will be used to, and while the faster speed is not noticeable to my eyes or ears, the quality it brings with it is) that is sharper in Sony’s, with colours that I would describe as... “cooler,” but for the most part, more “correct” to my eyes. Most notably, of course, Hot Rod is no longer the bubblegum-pink of Sony’s version.

All I can do is echo the sentiments of all the other professional reviews that have compared the two, and say that this is the best that the movie has ever looked on DVD.

AUDIO

The audio for the Reconstructed DVD was also a bodge-job, thanks to Magno Sound, who were responsible for adding all those extra noises to the series DVD boxsets (from both Rhino and Metrodome), and did it again for the movie – on both the 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks. For the Ultimate Edition, the Reconstructed audio was dissected with a fine-toothed comb, and while not every sound could be removed (otherwise it, uh, wouldn’t be 5.1), the most offensive, inappropriate offenders have been ganked the hell out of there. This includes, but is not limited to, those insufferable, overbearing “sizzling whipcracks” that were all over the place in the series, and the pop-gun banging of Prime’s gun. It’s still not QUITE perfect, mind you, because the levels seem not to have been modified following the removal of these sounds – consequently, the actual sound of Prime’s gun is very low.

There is, however, a completely unmolested 2.0 track to enjoy, with nary an extra zip or zap in sight. That’s how I’ll be watching it!

PACKAGING AND PACK-INS

The movie is available in both a single-disc and a two-disc version.

The single disc is packaged in a standard DVD case, with a rather artsy cover image that’s a paintbrushed version of the image of Optimus Prime that Andrew Wildman drew for the Season 1 box set. This version – I don’t have it, so I’m not 100% on this – does not have any extra features beyond the remastered picture and the two audio tracks. It is simply labelled as a “special edition.”

The two-disc set is the “Ultimate Edition.” It consists of a metal case, decorated with the above-mentioned illustration, which opens to reveal a standard DVD case with a different sleeve, bearing the original UK movie poster artwork. This is awesome. It’s nothing against Don Figueroa, but when I look at the Sony set, or the Australian release that he also provided a cover for, it just looks *wrong* to me to have this stylized, modern artwork appearing on the cover of a release of a twenty-year-old film. I’ve always preferred the use of the original poster artwork, be it US or UK, for releases of the movie, and this tin-and-case combo balances new and classic art in just the right way to keep me merry.

Depending on where you buy the two-disc set, there could be one of several different bonuses in store for you when you open the case. Buying it from Play.Com will net you a set of three postcards commemorating the different movie artwork – one displays the US poster, the second the UK poster, and the third the Ultimate Edition cover art. Snag it from HMV, and you’ll find that the sleeve is reversible, with the US artwork on the other side. Pick it up from Virgin, and there’s a set of art cards waiting for you, displaying various images from the film. Woolworths and Toys R US include posters with their versions, but I’ve not seen these, so I don’t know what they’re of.

The set comes with a sixteen-page booklet written by me (I assume this isn’t included with the single-disc version). It serves as an overview of the movie and the DVD, beginning with a personal introduction, then a discussion of the remastering of the video and audio, and a four page “essay” on the making of the movie, discussing the production, writing, animation, actors, soundtrack and distribution. After this, there’s a section on where the movie falls in the chronology of the series, summarising each of the seasons, ending with an explanation of what Scramble City is (it’s included as an extra feature), and thanks from me and Metrodome to various good chaps. In general, as with the commentary discussed below, my aim with the booklet was to put the information across in a clear and descriptive manner and without “familiarity,” if you know what I mean, so that newbies and nostalgics inspired to buy by the live-action movie can read it and understand it without being baffled by terminology or the tendency to take certain things as read, as hardcore fans do, while at the same time, discussing topics and trivia that not even regular online contributors may be aware of.

I also wrote a large selection of actor biographies/filmographies, but there wasn’t room in the booklet for them. I’m told they might appear on the website – www.transformersdvd.com – at some point.

MENUS

After the copyright stuff at the start of the disc, the traditional Metrodome logo has been replaced with a Transformers logo, rendered like the live-action movie logo, as if it were tarnished metal (the same effect is employed on the DVD cover), which then “transforms”, like the logo in the LAM trailer, into the word “Metrodome.” This is cute. I like it. :)

The menus themselves are fairly simply affairs with clips of the movie running in the centre, and a lot of geometric shapes for buttons that are not *entirely* intuitive. They’re not stunningly attractive, but they are functional, and while not as intricate or impressive and Sony’s shifting design, I’ll take actual footage of the movie over Sony’s use of purse-grabbing Dreamwave art for reasons very similar to those discussed above over the cover.

EXTRAS


The meat and potatoes of it all.

DISC 1

This disc includes a feature-length audio commentary by me. It’s a pretty breathless experience, as I just had *so* much stuff laid out in my notes in front of me that I didn’t have time to let up anywhere. No slight against those that participated in the Sony commentary track, but I felt that it fell into the trap I discussed above – the tendency to be very “familiar”, talking not just about the movie, but Transformers as a whole, as if all the listeners are automatically informed about all of it, and will know what “Diaclone” is, and other such things that are not the province of Joe Public, with the presence of multiple commentators preventing them from dwelling on any one topic long enough to get really specific about it. I go out of my way to begin the whole affair by summarising the creation of the Transformers toyline, going through G.I. Joe, Henshin Cyborg, Microman, Diaclone and MicroChange, so that viewers will understand what I’m talking about when I refer to them, and I always make sure to clarify what characters I’m talking about by saying something like “Dirge, the blue cone-headed jet,” given how few of them are actually named in the film. It’s a very concentrated effort to make the commentary open to everyone, to not confuse those who aren’t as informed as fans on message boards, but at the same time, to include lots of obscure facts, trivia and anecdotes that will ensure that even informed fans get something out of it.

At least, uh, I hope. /: )

Next on the list is a familiar feature from the Reconstructed list of extras – a compare-and-contrast of the differences between the US and UK versions, offering clips of the opening, closing and Spike’s expletive. Twelve TV spots for the movie follow (in contrast to Sony’s eight), alongside the US theatrical trailer and the Japanese “trade trailer” with Diaclone Magnus. Both Sony and Metrodome include the “final title check” and “cinex check” reels, the former featuring the Superman-style flying text cast credits, and the latter featuring several animation effects, including a “clean open” version of Laserbeak’s approach to Cybertron, without text.

After that, there are a selection of character biographies – these appeared previously on the Reconstructed disc, and actually come from the Australian release, but whereas Reconstructed just literally cropped the screens of text and pasted them in, background and all, this version reproduces the text with a new design. Profiles included are for Arcee, Blurr, Hot Rod, Kup, Springer, Ultra Magnus, Brawn, Ironhide, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Windcharger, Cyclonus, Galvatron, Scourge, Bombshell, Kickback, Megatron, Shrapnel, Skywarp, Starscream, Thundercracker and Unicron. The presence of so many unimportant characters, only included to give a sort of “book of the dead” side to the profiles, is sort of bothersome when characters like Wreck-Gar, Grimlock and Perceptor go unmentioned, as is the sweeping statement that Skywarp unequivocally became Cyclonus, or the *ridiculous* notion that one of Galvatron’s weaknesses is a “reliance on Unicron,” but overall, they’re as nice as they ever were.

The final extra on this disc is a rather nifty little trailer that Metrodome created to promote this DVD release.

DISC 2

As I haven’t mentioned it before, this would be a good time to point out that this disc features the original, fullscreen version of the film. It is an unremastered version, the same version included on those budget releases you can pick up for £2 in any store, hence it is entirely unremarkable – kinda dark, but watchable anyway, and certainly nicer looking that the fullscreen version on the Sony disc, where the colours are all *over* the place. What is notable is that is it the UK version of the film, with the opening text crawl, no swear and Caroli’s closing narration, thereby making both versions of the movie available in one set. Nice!

After this, the disc includes a 25-minute interview featurette with story consultant Flint Dille, then a 20-minute video of Peter Cullen’s Q&A session from… I don’t know what convention this is from, I’m afraid, but the video comes courtesy of Evantainment.Com. Both men talk about their history in the industry and their involvement in Transformers, coming across as likeable blokes, with Cullen getting emotional in a few spots.

The next feature is Scramble City, the big draw of which is that – unlike Sony’s version – it contains the original Japanese audio and subtitles, as well as a new commentary from me. The subs, it must be said, are “hard” subs, permanently on-screen, which cannot be turned off – I believe this is a rip of that bootleg that goes about. The subs are functional, conveying the action and intent decently, and thankfully, were already translated into English terminology, talkin’ about Optimus Prime, Autobots, Decepticons, etc, rather than Convoy, Cybertrons and Destrons. I don’t think they use an apostrophe correctly in all 30 minutes, though. VERY disappointingly, however, something has gone horribly wrong with the video. The individual disc I received of the episode during production of the DVD was of the same sort of quality as the version included on Sony’s – however, somewhere between that disc and the final release, the video has become washed out and greenish throughout, looking like a bad VHS dump. I mean, yeeeeah, audio and subs, but… what *happened*? I’m playing detective on this one right now…

Next on the list is the “Alternative and Deleted Footage” also seen on Sony’s disc – a lot of stunningly unremarkable footage that is either missing some luminous effects or small overlays, or not immediately distinguishable from the finished affair, and then the sole second or two of ACTUAL deleted footage that has been uncovered. This has no audio, so I provide some colour commentary, as Paul Hitchens did on the Sony disc... there is not a lot to say, so I try to spice it up by talking about how the luminous effects are created and such things.

The first theatrical trailer for the live-action movie is also included here, as opposed to the Mars Rover teaser on the Sony disc. After that, the animated storyboards feature on the Sony disc, courtesy of Paul Hitchens, put in an appearance here, with storyboard stills of Hot Rod and Daniel’s fishing sequence, the Decepticon attack on Autobot City and Optimus Prime and Megatron’s battle set to the audio of the finished sequences, as well as one “deleted scene,” when Magnus, Tracks, Sideswipe and Red Alert attack Devastator, and Red buys it. Also featured on the disc are the original movie script (the ACTUAL original script, featuring all the wacky stuff that didn’t get into the finished movie, not the transcript included on Reconstructed), and the “5.1 breakdown” I made singling out all the added noises from the Reconstructed audio. Beware of snideness!

OVERALL

The disc offers a superior video presentation to Sony’s, so that is a major plus to it. Beyond that, it really comes down to a battle of the extra features, and what is present and what is not. Metrodome’s version lacks some extras that Sony has, due to the dissolution of Sony BGM making their acquisition challenging, but features some of their own unique extras which Sony did not have. For starters, the Flint Dille, Nelson Shin and Susan Blu commentary is absent, as are the collection of featurettes with that trio, Jay Bacal and Tom Griffin – however, Dille was the only real reason to listen to the commentary, and he covers the same basic stuff in his interview (unique to Metrodome’s version), while the inclusion of a Peter Cullen segment is a worthy substitute for any featurette, given his complete absence from the Sony disc (also, I’m not afraid to mention that I culled a bunch of stuff out of the featurettes for use in the commentary, so a chunk of what was talked about in there is already covered on the set in some way). Sony also included some toy commercials and a gallery of production art that are not here, but Metrodome features the original script, more TV spots, audio and subs for Scramble City and two different versions of the movie. I don’t really think that any one selection of extras is particular better than the other – Sony has some good things Metrodome don’t, Metrodome has some good things Sony don’t. This one’s a judgement call for all y’all out there, but if you’re basing it on the video, then Metrodome wins.

Seibertron.com Interview With Anne Bryant

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interview With Anne Bryant
Date: Thursday, May 24th 2007 10:59pm CDT
Categories: Interviews, People News, Site Articles
Posted by: Air Commander Starscream | Credit(s): Hotrod

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Views: 15,193

Our very own Hotrod has recently had the chance to interview Anne Bryant, who was the composer to the original Transformers Theme song.

Some fans may not know who Anne Bryant is, however, they should. Bryant is the composer of original Transformers theme song. Just about every Transformers fan knows every word to the original theme song. There have been a few imitations of the theme over the years, including the Transformers Cybertron opening, but none of them have been able to replace the original. Bryant had been out of the spotlight for some time working on her Masterclick program until news of her lawsuit against Sunbow and BMI for money owed made news.

Unfortunately many fans forgot who Anne Bryant was until news of her lawsuit against Sunbow and BMI for money she is owed made news.


To read Hotrod's interview please click here. And don't forget to check out even more interviews here.

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