You’re probably wondering what the hell that title is all about. Well, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ve probably noticed that I’m really, really into a lot of different things. Now, I know that many fans that are really into [insert fandom here] are also into many other things. However, I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, the one and only Fred of FredsWorkshop.com, and he commented on what a wide variety of things I’m really, really into and I said, “that’s me, I’m a nerd of all trades.” After thinking about it a while, I’m going to be making some changes to the main page of my blog at some point and the new name will be “Nerd of All Trades.” But, since I haven’t had time to do that yet, it’s not all that relevant at the moment.
So, moving on, I’ve got a few things this week.
1. Movie Reviews: Fair Game, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Mechanic, Rango, Sanctum, Cowboys and Aliens, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Conan.
2. Awesome Marvel Movie News
3. 25th Anniversary of Transformers: The Movie
4. Dark of the Moon Toy List Update
5. Toy Reviews: Botcon 2011 Toys, SDCC Transformers Prime: Optimus Prime, SDCC TF:DotM Ultimate Optimus Prime, SDCC GI Joe Skystriker Starscream, BAPE Convoy (Optimus Prime), and Japanese Exclusive Jetwing Optimus Prime.
6. Transformers Artifact of the Week
7. Hasbro’s Bonehead Move of the Week (Could be a recurring topic if Hasbro keeps doing stupid things.)
8. Upcoming Books…Yes…Books!
So, without further ado…
1. Movie Reviews
I’ve seen a number of movies recently on cable and DVD as well as a few new ones. I’m not going to go into too much detail on any of these.
Fair Game – It was okay. I’m glad I didn’t bother seeing it in theaters.
The Lincoln Lawyer – I really enjoyed it. I’m not a big Matthew McConaughey fan, but he was great in this movie. I heard recently that ABC(?) is working on making this into a series. Not sure if they have cast anyone to play the lead in the series, but I’m looking forward to it.
The Mechanic – I really like Jason Stratham’s movies, but this one just didn’t do it for me.
Rango – It was nowhere near as good as How To Train Your Dragon or The Tale of Desperaux, but it was funny.
Sanctum – A big disappointment. I just couldn’t get into it. I had no real reason to care about any of the characters, and it just wasn’t that interesting.
Cowboys and Aliens – I really like Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, but I wasn’t sure about Craig playing a cowboy. I thought the accent might be bad, but it wasn’t, and the story was really interesting and well told. Well worth seeing while it’s still in theaters.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – This one was amazing. I loved it. Without getting into spoilers, they did an amazing job with the story and set up the sequel perfectly. Stay through the credits, it’s VERY important. This is the first time I’ve seen Tom Felton in any movie other than the Harry Potter movies. He was great, and his American accent wasn’t bad. What I find funny is that in Harry Potter he played a character that enjoys exercising his superiority over those he considers inferior using a wand. He essentially plays the same character in Planet of the Apes. Type casting?
Conan – Okay, let’s look at this movie for what it is. It’s an extremely violent, bloody, and action packed story of a warrior’s quest for vengeance against the man who murdered his father. If you go in expecting that, you’ll love it. Just don’t get the idea it’s anything deeper than that. Very enjoyable for what it is. The end could have had a bit more action to it.
2. Awesome Marvel Movie News
This news was from about two weeks ago, but I haven’t heard anything new. Marvel Studios announced dates for two additional movies for summer 2014 joining Amazing Spider-Man 2 previously announced by Sony, however they have not announced what movies they will be. Avengers 2 seems a likely option, but what the other is, no one knows for sure. It’s probably not an X film as that would be announced by Fox (I would assume), and Thor 2 and Iron Man 3 are coming out in 2013, so they’re out. A third Ghost Rider would be announced by Columbia, and Cage’s wouldn’t commit so far in advance. Incredible Hulk 2 would seem a likely candidate, but perhaps they’re going to delve into something new? Only time will tell.
Speaking of Ghost Rider, the Trailer for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance came out this week. I am a huge Nicholas Cage fan, and I’m really looking forward to this. The trailer was great. Can’t wait for this one next year.
3. 25th Anniversary of Transformers: The Movie
I really wanted to get this one posted two weeks ago, but I didn’t get to it. On August 8th, 1986, one of my favorite movies of all time premiered, and this month we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie. If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know how much this movie means to meI love this movie, and couldn’t let the anniversary pass without (at least belatedly) mentioning it. Optimus Prime will live forever. Till all are one!
4. Dark of the Moon Toy List Update
When Dark of the Moon toys were coming out, it became obvious to me that all the sites that used to maintain such wonderful Transformers toy lists weren’t bothering to do it anymore. So, I started keeping a list beginning with Dark of the Moon and going forward. My Previous blog post about Dark of the Moon toys has gotten quite a few hits, so I thought I would mention it. I am keeping the list on FredsWorkshop.com, which I maintain for my friend Fred. The toy list is on the menu towards the bottom on the left.
5. Toy Reviews
Botcon Toys: I know this is way overdue, but I wanted to say a few words about the Botcon 2011 exclusive toys. Overall this is the worst year for Botcon toys ever, period. Let’s start with the box set.
The Stunticons weren’t bad toys accept for Lockdown that just looks out of place with the others, I just didn’t like the concept. I realize that some of the people working on these toys actually worked on Transformers Animated, but let’s be honest. It wasn’t that great. Some TFA toys were really good, but most were just average. The cartoon was the best part of the series. Doing the Con almost completely with Animated toys was a big mistake in my opinion, and is likely why they had all three souvenir toy sets left over to put on the web site, recently. Of course, they sold out in minutes, but the reality is they didn’t sell out because they were overpriced and not very good. Also, they missed a wonderful opportunity, but I’ll get to that later.
Fisitron, the attendee free exclusive was just stupid. It’s a lousy mold, and while I understand they couldn’t call it Ironfist and where they name Fisitron comes from, it’s just not worth it.
Sideswipe was okay, I like the Rodimus mold, but if they wanted to do a G2 Sideswipe, they should have used the Universe mold. If not for the obvious blunder of not using that mold, I’d like it better. Not a bad toy, just a badly missed opportunity to do something that would have been truly awesome.
Toxitron…first off, this is one of the dumbest names ever. Now, I realize this toys pays homage to the never released G2 Laser Optimus Prime repaint of the same name. The key here is, NEVER RELEASED. Even Hasbro realized the name was crap and scrapped it. It’s not like the G2 toys that we all wanted but weren’t released because the line was canceled. Now, had Toxitron been released, this one might not bother me so much (the dumb name aside), but they paid homage to a toy that no one ever really cared about, and it wasn’t even a good one! Hell, if they really wanted to use that mold, why not just paint him white and call him Ultra Magnus? That would have at least been a toy worth making. They could have even done orange and made him Huffer. I would have loved that! As it is, it’s just blah.
The Autorooper 3-pack really pisses me off. As I recall, the three packs from 2009 (Sweeps) and 2010 (Sharkticons) were around $45-$55 per set. I might not have those numbers exact. That’s not bad for three identical toys with different tech specs. Autorooper 3-Packs were $89 and they didn’t even have unique tech specs. The toy, the same mold as Fisitron, was total garbage as I mentioned earlier. Then to get price gouged on it absolutely sucks. This is a perfect example of the complete failure of Master Collector to comprehend that their cookie cutter ‘it works for GI Joe so it works for Transformers’ approach just doesn’t work. There are very few Transformers where it really makes sense to do troop builders, and while there might be one or two other than the Sweeps and the Sharkticons, this certainly wasn’t one of them. Yeah, I know, it was in the cartoon, but that doesn’t mean it was a good idea. After all, Wheelie was in the cartoon.
Action Master Thundercracker was clearly the best toy of the bunch. I wasn’t thrilled with it when I first heard about it. The logic of making an Action Master that isn’t an Action Master makes little sense, but I really like that G2 (even though it came out before G2) color scheme, and the mold is great. Best Botcon 2011 toy by a lot.
As far as Galvatron goes, I love that mold. Cybertron Evac is such a great toy, and they did a nice job making him Galvatron. A friend pointed out that he should have had more paint apps on his chest, and he’s right. He just looks too plain looking. They should have put some more paint on him, but even still it’s the second best toy.
Here’s where they really missed the boat. Why not give us some of the toys we were supposed to get and didn’t? How about Wingblade Optimus Prime, Hydro Drive Bumblebee, Blackout, Golfire Grimlock, and all the other repaints we were supposed to get. How about a Wreck-Gar with a new head as a Junkion? I could go on, but really, why bother?
San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives: It really annoys me that Hasbro has been doing great toys for Comic-Con, but doesn’t make them available at Botcon. When people go to the TRANSFORMERS convention, you should give them TRANSFORMERS exclusives aimed at them. I’ll bet 70% of the ones sold at Comic-Con get put on Ebay. I wish Hasbro would figure that out and give the fans that actually care a chance to buy them at Botcon before they quadruple in price. Sure, some will still end up on ebay, but at least all the fans who go to Botcon will get to buy them without paying ridiculous prices. In any case, now that I have these in hand, I wanted to give you my thoughts.
Transformers: Prime Optimus Prime: The packaging on this is great. It came in a box with two flaps on the front held closed by a cool magnet. The internal packaging becomes a matrix of leadership that you can wear around your neck. VERY AWESOME! The toy itself is pretty cool. I haven’t watched any episodes of TF: Prime yet, so I don’t know how it looks compared to the cartoon, but I like it and can’t wait for the general release of Prime toys later this year.
Dark of the Moon Ultimate Optimus Prime: In a previous blog I talked about how the whole “world premier” thing was a complete and total fail. The toy though is incredible, and this version’s main difference is the packaging. The toy comes two to a case. Inside, each toy is in it’s own thick cardboard carton (taped closed) with Optimus Prime’s flames on the sides. Very nice and also necessary. (I’ll come to why shortly.) Inside that box, the toy is packaged in a box inside a red and blue cardboard sleeve with Optimus Prime pictured on it. Very nice, but also very flimsy, that’s very thin cardboard, so it’s a good thing it was packed in the heavier outer box or these things would get mangled. Inside the cardboard sleeve, Optimus is packaged in vehicle mode with all but the back end of the trailer visible. When I first saw this, it took me a minute to figure out how to open it, but the back end of the box has a flap that is closed with magnets. Once you open that, you can slide out Optimus. It’s nice because he can be completely removed and put back in the box and the only tape you had to cut is on the outer carton that you wouldn’t display it in anyway. Hasbro put a lot of thought into the package and I give them all the credit in the world for that. The toy itself is identical to the mass release accept for a sheet of stickers. Here’s where Hasbro blew it. They had an AWESOME idea to include G1 style stickers for the sides of the trailer. They only problem? The sides of the trailer aren’t smooth. It’s not awful, but they should have die-cut the sticker to leave holes for the molded plastic rivets. Collectors who like to customize toys might want to sand down these rivets (as they have no affect on transformation and won’t even be visible beneath the stcker). That would be a good idea, but I don’t do stuff like that. In the end, it’s well worth it, but as they seem to often do, Hasbro came within inches of a masterpiece, and then messed it up.
GI Joe Skystriker Starscream: This is very nice. I really like it. My only complaint is all the damn little stickers GI Joe toys are notorious for, but that goes with the territory. It would have been nice if they had included a pistol for Cobra Commander for the holster on his leg, as the Megatron gun accessory won’t fit in it. I just wish the missiles wouldn’t fall off if you look at them funny. I don’t recall having that problem on my Skystriker when I was a kid.
That’s it for the SDCC toys. There was one other item, the Nerf blaster in Optimus Prime colors with his picture one the side. A nice item, but nothing all that special.
BAPE Convoy (Optimus Prime): Okay, if you have no idea what this is, it’s a G1 Optimus Prime with the robot done in green and dark green and the trailer in camouflage. It was a store exclusive to a Japanese clothing store chain called “A Bathing Ape.” (Don’t ask me, I don’t have the first clue.) It is apparently REALLY limited. I preordered one online only to get an e-mail saying they couldn’t fill preorders since it was far more limited than anyone thought it would be. It cost me $300 on Ebay.
For you variant seekers, BAPE Prime is essentially the same mold as Encore Prime with one exception. The trailer hitch is hollowed out (see picture below). It took me a while, but I finally figured out why they did this. There is an upcoming series of toys in Japan called Transformers Chronicles. They have announced two 2-packs, Optimus Prime and Megatron, each containing G1 and Dark of the Moon versions of the same character. The Optimus Prime set comes with a Dark of the Moon style trailer that can be used both on the deluxe (Wal-Mart Exclusive in the USA) DotM Optimus Prime and the G1 Optimus Prime. The connector on the cab of the G1 Prime is male and the connector on the trailer is female. However the connector is female on the deluxe toy so the trailer will be male. In order for that trailer with a male connector to connect to G1 Prime (there are so many jokes here), they hollowed out the connector so it can connect with either trailer. So, they used the converted mold for the Chronicles Optimus Prime for the BAPE Optimus. Yes, this means the new Optimus Prime is a hermaphrodite. (Come on, if I didn’t say it, someone else would have.) It will be interesting to see if future versions of G1 Prime will include this mold change or not.
Japanese Exclusive Jetwing Optimus Prime: Hasbro should be ashamed of not releasing this toy in the USA. The toy is based on the Japanese Revenge of The Fallen Leader Class “Buster” Optimus Prime. The “Buster” version came with fuel tanks that became a laser rifle as well as a remolded face with a show accurate mouth. This version does not have the remolded head, but does have the fuel tank weapons. It also has a new backpack with wings and enormous laser cannons. I’m not sure how accurate this is to his flight pack in Dark of the Moon, but who cares? It’s awesome looking. The wings and guns become a sort of trailer without wheels, sitting directly on the truck bed. It looks just amazing. I’m not sure what this toy would retail for if it were released here. I initially thought it might be more than Ultimate Prime, but maybe not. In any case, I get the feeling it won’t ever happen. It’s pricey, but I highly recommend this toy.
6. TF Artifact of the Week
Here we have a 2007 Transformers Lunchables Ham & American Stacker. For the record, it’s just an empty box. I didn’t try to preserve the food. (Which doesn’t mean I didn’t try to think of a way to preserve it intact…) I’m still not sure I managed to find all these things, but you can see all the ones I did find and 7000+ other items at TFMuseum.com.
7. Hasbro’s Bonehead Move of the Week
Well, Hasbro is at it again doing stupid things. I was at Toys R Us last week and found they had finally got in the new Transformers Rescue Bots. I had already picked up most of them, but they had Bumblebee’s Garage, which I hadn’t seen before. I wasn’t too happy when I got to the register and was told it was coming up that they couldn’t sell it before 9/20/11. I knew it was a mistake. They did a little checking for me and the hold was placed by Hasbro. Since they know me there (I’m in at least twice a week and used to work there a long time ago) one of the employees was nice enough to do some checking and find that it was available on the web site, the hold was only coming up in store as if to add idiocy to stupidity. She ordered it for me online with free shipping, and it wasn’t like it was something I can’t wait a few days for, but still it annoys me. How could they have done this? There is no street date on Rescue Bots. This is just another instance of Hasbro screwing up.
UPDATE 8/23/11: The Rescue Bots Bumblebee’s Garage is now available on Hasbro Toy Shop and scheduled to ship within 2-4 days. Well done, Hasbro.
8. Upcoming Books…Yes…Books
I know I don’t talk about book much, accept for Harry Potter of course. I don’t really like to read anything but comic books, but I do listen to audio books, I just try not to listen to very many of them. I always get way to into books, and then when they are over, I’m depressed for days. With movies, I can just watch them again, but finding time to listen to a 12 hour audio book isn’t so easy.
In addition to Harry Potter, in the last couple of years I’ve listened to the Percy Jackson books, The Hunger Games books, The first two books in The Kane Chronicles, the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series, and all of John Green’s books, An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I don’t go looking for more books to read, but one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter has a new book coming out, and unlike her other books, this one seems like something I’m going to like. (For the record I’m sure her other books are great, they just don’t seem like something I’d enjoy reading, so I haven’t read them.) Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star looks like it will be amazing. I’ll let you look it up online for a complete description, but it’s a supernatural tale involving modern day crimes reminiscent of the Jack the Ripper murders. It comes out on September 29th. I’ll review it after I’ve listened to the audio book.
There are some other upcoming books I’m looking forward to. The second book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan, The Son of Neptune comes out on October 4th. (I can’t wait!) John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars comes out on January 10th, and the third (and final?) book in the Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan comes out this spring.
So, since I’m going to be changing the name of my blog, I thought I should have a unique signoff for these blogs, something better than “Thanks for reading!” So, I’m going to try to come up with something unique in the coming weeks. Let me know if any of them don’t suck.
I am The Nerd of All Trades, until next time.
(God, that did suck, I’ll have to work on it.)