Monday, June 2nd 2008 10:17am CDT
Categories: Digital Media News
Posted by: First Gen
Starscream, The Daily Mail, BBC News
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In what could be some of the most ridiculous news reported here on Seibertron.com, in two separate instances, in two separate countries, HASBRO's TRANSFORMERS and GI JOE franchises have apparently wreaked havoc in airports.
The UK's Daily Mail
reports that a man was held from boarding a plane at London's Heathrow Airport because he was wearing a shirt which depicted Autobot Leader Optimus Prime holding a gun.
Taken from the Daily Mail:
Brad Jayakody, 30, from London, said he was stopped from passing through security at Heathrow's Terminal 5 after his Transformers T-shirt was deemed 'offensive.'
Mr Jayakody said the first guard started joking with him about the Transformers character depicted on his French Connection T-shirt.
'"Then he explains that since Megatron is holding a gun, I'm not allowed to fly,' he said.
Now obviously this guy is innocent. For one, he can't even recognize Optimus Prime on his own shirt. And secondly, its a TSHIRT with a TRANSFORMER on it!
Before you Americans poke fun, get a load of this one.
reports that a woman was denied entry into Los Angeles, CA's LAX Airport for having a GI Joe Figure in her carry on baggage.
Taken from BBC News:
A doll caused a security alert at an American airport because its two-inch plastic gun was considered a dangerous weapon.
Judy Powell, 55, from Walton on the Hill, Surrey, bought the GI Joe toy in Las Vegas and packed it in her hand luggage.
But security staff at Los Angeles International Airport refused to let Mrs Powell on board the plane with the replica rifle.
A Real American Death Threat?
Mrs Powell said: "I was simply stunned when I realised they were serious.
"Security examined the toy as if it was going to shoot them and looked at the rifle.
"I was really angry to start with because of the absurdity of the situation.
"But then I saw the funny side of it and thought this was simple lunacy."
Lunacy, Mrs. Powell, does not begin to explain it.
So let this be a lesson to all you Seibertronian's out there, before you board a plane think first "What would the TSA do?"
To view the complete article on Denying Prime, click here
To view the complete article on NO JOE!!!, click here
Monday, May 12th 2008 1:01pm CDT
Categories: Site Articles
Posted by: Counterpunch
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Considering a career in Mini-Con hunting? Here's the low-down:
It started interestingly enough with Armada Starscream. Now, I had just gotten back into collecting and decided that I was in need of a Starscream, any Starscream to fill that gap in my “collection” (read: 3 figures and a KO). Off I went to Wal-Mart at 10PM with my then new girlfriend and out I came with Armada Starscream. Sure, he was different, more red than grey, but I liked the noises it made and the face sculpt was pretty cool too. I knew, like, nothing at the time.
Now, not that night, but the one after that, I was about to throw away the packaging for Starscream (I had decided that I did not feel guilty over the $20 purchase and would keep the toy) and at the last moment noticed the other little figure in the package: Swindle.
Now, I hated Micromasters back in the day. This little robot leftover of a Mini-Con wasn’t winning me over either. I can remember just how close I was to pitching him out with the package right there and then. I didn’t do it though, hell, I might need the little thing if and when I sold Starscream on eBay…
That was about 5 or 6 years ago. I have literally, hundreds of Mini-Cons now. I’m going to give you a small look at a small world where only the bravest (dumbest?) collectors tread: Mini-Con hunting.
That ain’t all…I got tired of putting them out.
Mini-Cons have seen three styles of release in the US. You can find them packed in with Armada toys (and a few other select figures from other lines), in team based three packs, and in rival based two packs from the Cybertron Series. If you are looking for entry level Mini-Con collecting, this is the place to start. Prices remain low, there is an abundance of the toys, and there isn’t a whole lot of competing collectors.
I’m not going to cover in depth the Mini-Cons that came packaged with other figures. There is really no mystery there and with the exception of Energon Ultra Magnus, you’ll not have any problems finding them. On to the Armada three packs…
Several varieties of team packs were released over the life of the Armada line. For almost every pack, there was a later recolor (usually an improved or homage based paint scheme). The initial releases saw the Star Saber team, the SkyBoom Shield team, and the Street Action team. All of these were prominently featured in the cartoon. Also, each of these had a combining gimmick forming in order, a sword, a shield, and a gestalt.
Other teams to follow included the Adventure Team (off road based vehicles), Street Speed Team (Super Articulated w/ car alt modes), and the Sea Assault Team (Adorable lil boats that don’t really float). We also saw the Requiem Blaster Team, a set of three space based figures who combine to form a gun:
All of these were neat, sure. The ones that combined were a pretty cool gimmick, no doubt. Then, they went and made TargetMaster Mini-Cons. This was the turning point for me. The damnable Emergency team did me in. They are three emergency rescue type vehicles that have a third weapon mode. Each of the three turned into a kind of cannon or blaster. They were literally too cool. Correspondingly, the Air Assault Team had a similar gimmick of third-mode weaponry; however, they turned to melee weapons. Or in Gunbarrel’s case, a bad-ass machine gun:
Here is Overload stocked up with Mini-Con weaponry:
After these guys I started to buy up any and all Mini-Cons that were being released because I really enjoyed the idea of them acting as weaponry or as something similar to the G1 ‘Master’ process. Happily, all of the Armada releases, even the repaints are in plentiful supply. With the genuinely low prices these fetch, it becomes a very easy goal to collect them all.
Post Armada has seen small and limited releases of further Mini-Cons. Hasbro was actually unprepared for their popularity. Energon saw only two official releases that were not part of a larger figure set. Universe had a few scattered here and there between figures (most of which are actually quite excellent). Then Cybertron and Classics brought the lil guys back around in full force.
Cybertron saw releases in three formats: standard 3 packs, 2 figure battle packs, and standard pack-ins. The standard 3 packs were all new molds, even the street team saw remolds making them new again.
Four waves of somewhat unloved 2 figure battle packs were released. Wave 1 and 2 were over-produced and product was everywhere (and in some places still is…). With the exception of a cool recolor of the Land Military team, the first two waves were kind of lack luster. Wave three saw those wonderful little Emergency Team Mini-Cons return in addition to a repaint of the Energon Saber, affectionately known by some as the “Sun Saber”.
Wave 4…is an obstacle to new Mini-Con collectors and a good test of patience and dedication. Wave 4 saw a very limited distribution in the US. Many stores saw either 1 or zero case assortments for Wave 4. These 6 Mini-Cons, 3 for the Energon Street Action Team and 3 for the Decepticon Space Team are perhaps the most difficult to located US release Mini-Cons. I have seen the Blastback and Sureshock 2-pack go for upwards of $60 on eBay and it’s a topic which I have regularly argued with other collectors. Not only do you have to be on the lookout for this set, but you have to be on watch for the right price.
The other set released in Cybertron took me by surprise for its current worth. Wal-Mart released a variation of the SkyBoom Shield Team in inverse colors to the Road Rage team. Each one was packaged with a deluxe sized figure during a holiday season. These damn things were on clearance for months…Now the individual Deluxe + Mini-Cons fetch 25-40 a piece on eBay. So, if you’re dedicated…be ready with your wallet.
All that being said, we’re kind of at the end of US release of Mini-Cons... Sure, there are the Classics Mini-Cons and this and that repaint I did not mention, but you get the general idea. A complete collection of these guys is entirely possible. Hell, you might be able to attach the whole lot of them to the figures you purchase along the way. More power to you.
Of course, that’s the Blue Pill way out. The rabbit hole goes much deeper (read: More expensive
Turn back now, I mean, you’re probably too faint of heart to bother with the following information.
I hope you don’t have an addictive personality if you plan to keep reading…
The awful truth: Japanese Mini-Cons are more expensive than many illegal drugs if measured by the ounce.
We’ll break this info slowly here. I’ll try to make it digestible.
Remember all those ever so neat-o Armada repaints of Mini-Cons? What if there were yet another set of repaints with mostly uniform color schemes and tended towards those dark cohesive color arrangements we love?
Welcome to X-Dimension. For almost every released Mini-Con set, there is a corresponding X-Dimension set. These Japanese only releases were more color coordinated than the US releases and generally did quite attractive things with their designs. For instance, the Air Assault Team is entirely in black with white detailing. The Star Saber has been redone in red, orange, and white creating a “Fire Saber”.
Top Right: Fire Saber
The anime accurate Tidal Wave from Micron Legends saw his appropriately colored Sea Assault Team released in X-Dimension:
Middle: Sea Assault Tidal Wave Type
X-Dimension repaints are not truly difficult to find, nor are they wallet busters. Most of the sets can be found for $15-20 either on BBTS or eBay when they pop up. Some of them command more. The Fire Saber is typically about $30-50 and the Blue Skyboom Shield can hit around $25-35. These are all great additions and are quite interesting variations to add to your collection. Of course,…X-Dimension Street Action Team only comes with the DX Magna Convoy Gift Set. So, I could really say that that one set will cost you about $250 give or take, but hey, you get a free Magna Convoy with it. Score! (and proceed to explain this, only to be subsequently dumped by your significant other…)
X-Dimension repaints are nice…but apparently all the cool kids are into the infamous Micron Booster figures. Micron Booster you say, what’s that? Imagine the joy of opening up a $5 blind packed box to get your random prize Mini-Con. Look, there are only 12 figures per release…How much fun (and anxiety…) will it be to hunt down a set?
Fortunately…it’s not as bad as it sounds.
Micron Booster 1 had all figures distributed equally, one per case. Even the “Chase” figure was made in equal numbers. See it here:
You will likely have to buy a set out of Asia at this point. Expect to pay about $60-100 for a sealed box. Happily though you’ll get the entire set in there in one purchase. Even better, you will receive the Incredible Ice Saber. Don’t fight the Fire Saber without one!
Micron Booster 2 (There are 4 of these…well, technically 5 because there was actually a Booster #0. That’s trivia for ya!) was the first to include a true chase figure.
Sorry for the poor image…
This is the Booster with reinforcements to the Targetmaster figures. All new Emergency and Air Attack Mini-Cons are introduced along with fantastic recolors of Armada Skywarp’s Mini-Con. The chase figure was approximately 1 per 2 boxes, but you were otherwise guaranteed to get the other 11 figures out of a box. You can routinely find the entire MB2 set minus the chase figure for $35-45. The chase figure holds steady at around $35 alone…
Micron Booster #3 was where the going gets tough. Each box is random. You have little chance of completing a set out of one box. First, the variant figure, Bug General is packed at about 1 per 3 boxes. Now the other problem stems from when this set was released. During Cybertron we got repaints/remolds of older figures: Blurr, Runamuck, Buzzsaw, and Longrack. Now, these toys are all produced on a mold where all of their pieces exist together in harmony. Only problem being that even though all of those toys were produced
with Mini-Cons on the sprues (Mini-Cons that match their paint schemes and are totally rad…), they were not released or packaged with the general release of those toys…
So, Takara crammed them all into MB3 and the fans rejoiced…kind of. So, on the upside, we get those long lost Mini-Cons, on the downside, those Mini-Cons are over packed into MB3. I got 3 of the Motorcycle for Runamuck alone in my first box of them. Whatever. Look at them, they are cool…
Oh yea…the Dead End Mini-Con from Unicron was in there too, so ya know…if you feel like finding 27 or so of him…(You’d be the coolest person ever. I would want your autograph.)
Micron Booster 4: Classics the leftovers…
There it is…::Yawn…:: Takara was pretty damn lazy here. Some of the repaints are so minor it is infuriating. Also, there are two chase figures because…ok, I paid $31 for the clear police car down there (shipped!). I warned you this wouldn’t be easy.
At any rate, MB4 is still pretty cheap. $40 -50 will get you a box shipped. Oh, and they’re Maximals and Predacons. Megatron (purple dino) is finally in scale with Classics Prime. Recreate all your favorite face shooting action in vivid detail!
You still with me? I know, some of you are shaking your heads at the stupid Mini-Con repaints and the absurd prices…That’s cool. Let’s make it worse!
Japan has a rich and wonderful tradition of harassing women on trains, high suicide rates, rampant teenage STDs (I’m really messing with some folks idealistic versions of Anime-land ne?) and making collectors do retarded things for toys.
This brings me to store exclusives.
Imagine this. Toys R Us has a special promotion. The first 10 people to buy $X amount of TF toys on a certain date gets one of 10 promotional Mini-Cons.
Say “Hi” to Skyglide!
Or how about this! Let’s have three different stores across Japan each have a different Mini-Con. All released at the same time and part of a special set! (Happens on multiple occasions and sets…) These 3 piece sets usually go for around $100. I’m sure someone with connections to Japan will say, “Ney…I got them for cheaper…Ney!” Whatever. So if you suspect someone might call you gaijin sometime, expect to pay.
Other fun “Run around Japan!” Exclusives include this guy:
In the worst case of obsessive chase madness I present the Space Destruction Team:
Each one of these came blind packed with Armada Optimus Prime (the big one) in Japan. Imagine the fun of opening a minimum of three Primes to find them! Price: $300 minimum
Let’s go on to the last series of vicious OCD beatings for today: Linkage Microns.
How about this, let’s take 12 very important characters to a series, package them 1 at a time with an overpriced DvD, and release them only to the Japanese Market! Smile, they’re only about $45 a piece this time. Linkage, is a story of the behind the scenes aspects of the Armada story. It is the glue which fixes all the questions or unexplained portions of the show.
Volume 1 of the DvD set is kind enough to provide the 3 main characters:
Each release after that is one Micron per DvD. You can figure it all out from there.
Like I said in the beginning of this, “Catching them all” isn’t as easy as it might sound. There are many varied and odd aspects of collecting in our hobby. Even if you aren’t up for the big dance of finding, buying, and continuing the search for Mini-Cons, hopefully you can appreciate the vast variety and incredible dedication it takes to venture out on this path.
Some folks collect Primes, some like Starscream, others feel the need to press races of smaller robots into servitude to wage intergalactic war.
Whatever floats your boat, ya know?