Wednesday, October 28, 2015

SD-Effin' Insane!

Like most people, I have little of experience with SuperDimensional Fortresses made out of paper. There is of course the one in my collection I call Fort Cardboardimus Maximus-the super big five foot long cardboard toybox from Play Make that is long out of print. But that one is hardly a true hardcore Japanese papercraft experience. However, if you do a search on eBay right now for 'SDF-1 Papercraft' you will find the book 'SDF-1 Macross Thorough Dissection' which is a collection of SDF-1 related art and concept designs, plus an interview with Macross visual designer Kazutaka Miyatake. What makes this book extraordinary in the world of origami space fortresses is that the last roughly 19 pages contain multiple templates on cardstock you can cut out to build an authentic Japanese papercraft model of the SDF-1! Yes, you can build your own TV version transformable SDF-1 that stands 50 centimeters (about 20 inches) tall and do it for about 40 bucks. I was very excited about it after seeing how great the finished product looks, but then I bought the book and holy hell is this thing an insanely complex undertaking!


I thought assembling this would be only slightly more complex than constructing the giant cardboard one I had, but then I saw what I was up against. By my estimation there are 19 pages filled with dozens upon dozens of paper patterns that have to be cut out (there are no perforations) and then folded and assembled. It doesn't sound too bad until you realize how intricate and tiny many of the pieces are. Some of them have tabs that are barely over 2 millimeters wide. Yes, MILLIMETERS. There's easily hundreds of part patterns with over a thousand tiny little tabs you have to cut out, fold, and glue together make this thing. I estimate it'd take 48 hours of work, several exacto knives, and all the sight I have left in my failing eyeballs to put one of these together. This isn't just a Cubie or simple origami swan-this thing is a master class in spacepapercraft. It would almost be easier and less time consuming to wait for an actual derelict alien spaceship to crash in my backyard and rebuild that than put this thing together.


I am so intimidated by it right now that I don't know if I am going to put mine together. I don't even know if I'm mentally and physically capable of doing it. And of course since I project my shortcomings upon the entirety of mankind, I figure there can't be many of these actually getting assembled on planet earth. Or at least the lazy part where I live. It's just too overwhelming. At 1/2400 scale it's actually bigger than most SDF-1 toys toys and model kits produced over the years! It's the Mount Everest of papercraft spaceships. So far the only pictures I've seen of an assembled one are the promo photos on retailer websites and the pictures in the book. Could there be only two in the world? Seeing how complicated it is I am surprised that many exist. I'm surprised ANY exist. Right now I feel like Supreme Commander Bodolza seeing humans kiss for the first time. What magic powers do people in Japan possess that allow them to design and assemble such incredible masterpieces, such amazing feats of paper engineering? Is it hard for them, too, or is their culture so used to this that second graders in Japan put together stuff like this in their sleep? AND WHAT THE HELL DOES DECULTURE MEAN ANYWAYS?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Roboplastic Factory! PART ONE: Fairy Metal Godmother

Do you believe in the Robotech Fairy? After something pretty Robotechtastical happened to me at the antique store yesterday I'm believing pretty hard. The only explanation I can come up with is that there is a kind, magical metal elf with a pointy fairy hat, colorful fairy wings, a silver fairy wand and giant tank treads for legs who spreads happiness and joy. Usually when I'm Goodwill hunting or yard sailing or dumpster diving or however else I'm looking for old toy robots I rarely ever see anything from the 80s Robotech line. So as an inside-my-head-joke I invented the Robotech Fairy. Whenever I see Robotechs out in the wild I think, 'Hey it looks like the Robotech Fairy was here'. (I also believe in the existence of other mythical creatures like chupacabras, interdimensional time travellers and people who read my blog.)


To appreciate what the Robotech Fairy is up against you have to understand what I call the Cullen Curse. I am not talking about people obsessed with collecting Optimus Primes (which I guess would also apply), but this is another phenomena I have observed relating Peter Cullen to how hard it is to find Robotechs on the cheap. I've noticed a lack of Peter Cullen in the voice cast of an 80s cartoon-as is the case with Robotech-translates into a lack of that show's toys in antique stores and garage sales 30 years later. This is known in my head as the Cullen Curse*. This is why life is miserable if you're into toy robot lines that are not Transformers**.

*Not to be confused with The Sunbow Connection, which is the conspiracy linking the prolifertion of toy robots war cartoons to Peter Cullen's ability to make car payments in 1985.
**It could also be argued that Cullen's portrayal of Optimus Prime nowadays is making life miserable for Transformers fans, too.


Despite the difficulty I've had in finding boxed Battloids and MOSC Minmays I think there is a patron saint of lost causes like Robotech collecting and that magical being is the Robotech Fairy. I believe in her like I believe in Lynn Minmay and the Great Pumpkin. Kind of like a thrift shop Santa Claus, Robotech Fairy leaves highly coveted, super sought after 1980s Robotech model kits at antique stores 30 years later so that unemployed fortysomethings like me can find them and pay dirt cheap prices. That actual truth is probably that old men who've hoarded toy robots all their lives are finally dying off and their families are dumping their collections of toy roboticals at the nearest junk shop where I end up buying the stuff. But I like the 'magical fairy godmother with tank treads' angle. It helps keep me in denial about scary truths like my own inevitable death, the age of things that qualify as antiques nowadays, and the actual desirability of Robotech models.


When by some Christmas miracle I do come across anything Robotech, the occasion is so momentous that just the idea that it occurred almost overshadows whatever it was I found. So imagine my amazement at the antique store yesterday
when I saw not some loose broken figures or robot party plates, but a giant colossal 29 inch wide, 12 inch tall Robotech model kit from around 1985 for $25.99! It was just sitting there on the shelf amongst all the Jar Jars and Captain Plasmas. I started freaking out because these things were like holy grails that last time I checked. So I whipped out my phone to do some secondary market price researching and the first thing I found was a auction for two of these Robotech Factory sets. Both of them sold in one lot earlier this June for 56 bucks. Based on that auction on my phone and the tag on the box in front of me I figured they're pretty common now and 25 bucks is about the going price. But to me this was still a mega find. I think it's the largest boxed Robotech kit Revell ever released. It's like over 400 pieces and a huge two foot wide diorama when completed. The Robotech Fairy didn't just visit this store, she backed up her U-Haul and dumped a giant robot junkyard on that shelf!


I am sure that in the next ten thousand posts I will share all the intimate details of Robotech Factory. For now I am just stunned that I found one here in the heart of nowhere, the Tatooine of the toy robot scene, the North Pole of the deep south, the place the locals call Middle Georgia. I also wonder about the previous owner and his decision to move on from collecting robot models. Is he dead? Did he just decide to let go of his robots? Did the Robotech Fairy kill him for his stuff? Whatever happened I am grateful that at least part of his collection has found its way into mine. When the time comes I know a lot of people would rather do unspeakably selfish and horrific things to their robots like have a bonfire or throw them all in the trash or sell them on ebay. But this man chose to do the honorable thing and pass it on to some junk dealer at the antique store so that I could get it cheap. You too should think of the disposition of your Robotechs after you die and make the selfless decision to leave them to others. Please think of the joy your Robotechs can give and then mark the little square on your driver license identifying you as a Robotech donor. It is so important!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Last Transformers I Will Ever Buy-Masterpiece Bluestreak and Takara Legends LG-10 Arcee

I've had a great run collecting Transformers but it's time to move on. After much contemplation, I've decided I want to finish off my collection with two pieces so memorable, so truly special that they will be worthy of the honor of being my very last Transformers. They will be figures that when I look at them on the shelf I will cry because they embody the emotional significance of the end of my Transformers journey. They will remind me forevermore of how wonderful my life was made over the past 31 years by Hasbro's special recipie of little robotic puzzle people made from plastic and metal and rubber. They will be the capstones of my Transformers collection and my rite of passage into a true manhood where I collect only old Macross models from Bandai. And so I have decided Masterpiece Bluestreak and Takara Arcee will be the absolutely very last Transformers I ever buy.


Can there be any greater milestones in the history of Transformers collecting than the release of these two never before produced holy grails? For thirty years the appearance of a Diaclone blue hooded Fairlady in the 1984 Hasbro pack in catalog has haunted collectors who never found one in Transformers packaging. For almost as long collectors have wanted a figure of the Princess Leia of The Transformers The Movie-Arcee. Now finally after all these decades I get to own figures of these mythical legends of Transformers collecting. There can be no better ending to my Transformers story than owning these unicorns, these previously thought impossible fantasies. I'm as sure that I'm done with Transformers as I am certain that that no better versions of Bluestreak or Arcee will ever be made. So that is why, with great pride and humility, I have decided Masterpiece Bluestreak and Takara Legends LG-10 Arcee are the very last Transformers I will ever buy.

Friday, August 28, 2015


It's the 85th episode of the Roboplastic Podcastalypse! Well, no, it's actually episode 123 of TransMissions Podcast but I'm all over it and it's pretty much the same thing!

BONUS! Also check out the 22 minute video segment recorded during this episode featuring me NOT wearing a cardboard robot costume (for once).

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Brite My Litest Hour II: Electric Boogatrons

eBay auction pic
Last time on Brite My Litest Hour part I, I wrote about how I found an old Lite Brite at the thrift store and it inspired me to break out my old Transformers Lite Brite sheets. I then gained a new appreciation for both the work that the original Lite Brite designers put into making the patterns and the free child labor provided by my son who plugged all the pegs into the torturous Lite Brite screen so I could get pictures of the finished products. Then I found I'd hit a wall! It turns out I didn't have all the patterns from the Transformer set! I'd bought mine used years ago as part of some other lot of stuff and I never checked the contents. It turns out I was missing half of the twelve Transformer designs. This sucked because I didn't want to spend any more money on buying a brand new unopened pack, which runs in the neighborhood of 50 bucks on eBay. What could I do? Where could I go? Well it tuned out that eBay would be the answer to my problem, but not in the way I expected.

Enlarged and color inverted photoInsecticon: Bombshell

As I was browsing through the auctions for Transformer Lite Brite patterns I noticed that some people were selling opened packs or packs that were missing some sheets and they'd take pictures of the contents they had. Well nowadays everyone has super high resolution cameras and nobody bothers to rescale their pictures like we used to do 10 years ago to ease the load on bandwidth. Consequently you can blow up most eBay item pictures and get really fine detail out of them. Once I realized this it was just a matter of time before I found pictures of most of the missing patterns I needed in a decent enough resolution that I could make out their necessary peg colors and placements. Then I'd crop and invert the photo to make out the pattern better and use it as a guide for recreating the pattern on a fresh blank sheet of Lite Brite paper. It was a lot of work but they came out pretty good!

Autobot: SkidsAutobot: Skyfire

There are a couple of downsides to literally getting Lite Brite patterns off of eBay. First it is really tricky to translate the picture to the appropriate Lite Brite screen resolution. I decided not to try printing the photos out at 1:1 scale because even subtle shifts in perspective were enough to throw the whole picture out of whack with the peg board. So I had to draw a grid over the photo and number the rows so I could best guess where each peg went. I made some mistakes and it took a lot of time but I think I nailed them for the most part. The other problem is that you are at the mercy of whatever random choices eBay sellers make when deciding what patterns to take pictures of. Consequently as of when I write this I am still missing one Snarl pattern. But beggars can't be choosers and I am basically getting patterns for free so I can't complain.

Dinobot: SlagDinobot: Swoop

It was through this method of pulling patterns off eBay auctions that I recreated two of my absolute favorite Lite Brite patterns-Swoop and Slag. These things are beautiful because they use just about every peg in the base set to create stunning 3/4 angle views of these robots in their dino modes. I don't know if the same artist worked on all the Lite Brite Transformer patterns but whoever did these was inspired compared to the Skids and Skyfire patterns. Skids is almost unrecognizable and Skyfire looks like he's holding a vibrator. I'm very sure I nailed those so I don't know what's going on with them. But the Dinobots are gorgeous. Swoop and Slag are easily the nicest of the whole set, followed by 'Bombshell Blasts Away' and then the Snarl picture I am missing. They never made patterns for Grimlock and Sludge so the team remains incomplete but what we did get was pretty awesome.


I think if I were in charge of the Lite Brite Transformer patterns I would have made a few different character choices. I would've tried to include Optimus and maybe Bumblebee instead of doing multiples of the same guys like Bombshell and Snarl. As the line went on it would have been nice to see patterns based on the Movie characters. Hot Rod opening the Matrix almost begs to be done in Lite Brite. The combining special teams would have been fun to see since they were made of multicolored limbs that would very much have lent themselves to Lite Brite interpretations. They could even have done Lite Brite versions of iconic Transformers comic book covers. On a wider scale I would have liked to see other non-Hasbro lines like GoBots, Robo Force, and even Robotech get Lite Brite treatment. I guess at this point there's nothing stopping me from doing my own!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

'85 Tokyo Toy Show Guide PART 1: GodJesus versus DevilRobot

I have long maintained that while I hold a bachelor's degree in Fundamentals of American Roboplasticological Toynology, my knowledge of actual Japanese toy robots is sorely lacking. So I was overjoyed to score the '85 TOKYO TOY SHOW Guide To The Leading Toy '85~'86 even though I have no idea what it is and I can't even read Japanese. But this being the 30th anniversary of 1985 I thought a look through a book with a bunch of old Japanese toys would be a nice celebration of the anniversary. It is actually a 200 page catalog full of puppies, cars, guns, dolls, and kiddy electronics, but unless those puppies, cars, dolls, guns, and electronics turned into robots you won't see them here in my robot themed highlights collection. So follow along as I go alphabetically by manufacturer through this catalog, pointing out the most interesting (to me) toys in a virtual trip through some of the best stuff to come out of Japan during one of the greatest years in toy robots history-1985!

バンダイ [BANDAI]

ロボテック リトルウオーカー
[Robotic Little Rocker(?)]

Is that a Walkman with legs? I think this marvelous looking thing is called the 'Robotic Little Rocker' but I could be wrong. It's a fantastic little contraption that looks like it might have lights and sounds and maybe it can move but I don't know exactly how. I find its design captivating with its 'Zoids meets home electronics' style.

ピコピコテン と ゴッドヅーザス
[Pico Pico 10 and God Jesus]

Like Pico Pico 10, a lot of the robots in these pages have been lost to obscurity but God Jesus the fortune telling robot is an internet superstar. You can see a video showing how he nods or shakes his head when you clap, making him a sort of high tech interactive Magic 8 Ball. For most people the novelty of the robot's name and crucifix staff is enough to generate some lulz and call it a day, but I enjoyed this deeper explanation of how GodJesus fits into Japanese culture for those that are curious how something like this isn't actually a sign of the Roboplastic Apocalypse. Since this is a Bandai toy robot after all, it is not surprising that GodJesus is actually a piece of tie-in merchandise from a three episode cartoon called God-Jesus and the Cyberama Seven. So the next time you are in a debate over whether GodJesus exists and the origins of creation, remind people that the question is not who made GodJesus, but who made BANDAI.

チビコン ロボ コング [ChibiCon(?) RoboKong]

I'm not sure of my translation 'ChibiCon' or if it applies to all three of the above remote control robots, but that black one named RoboKong at the far right is awesome looking. Maybe the ChibiCons are the two dorky looking guys on the left? There's definitely some stereotypical Japanese goofiness going on in the head designs of the other two, but when they do scary and powerful like RoboKong they get that right, too. Seeing the brutish RoboKong makes me wish this was the direction Robo Force would have gone with in its post 1985 future. RoboKong actually did get included in the Machine Robo line in Europe as evidenced by the Robo Machine catalogs at Counter-X. RoboKong is what I imagine K.I.T.T. would turn into if it could transform. (And if K.I.T.T. was a monster truck from hell.)

トキマツリーズ [Tokima series watches]

While Takara was selling their blocky Robot Time Machines, Bandai was staying in the robot watch race with their lesser known (to me anyways) and curvier line of Tokima watch robos. The base model is pictured at the far upper left, the Alarm Tokima is in the center, and the AquaBoy model is on the far right. Popy/Bandai had been putting these out since 1983 so this catalog isn't all stuff that debuted in 1985. It's an interesting line with a rich history that just had a 30th anniversary limited relaunch in 2014. To learn more about the watches in the Tokima series, check out Which Watch Today's Tokima article.

DX 超合金 チェンジマン
[DX Chogokin Changeman]

[Power Bazooka Set]

ビッグスケール シヤトルベース
[Big Scale ShuttlBase]

At left are Chogokin DX Changeman and some of the associated hardware from the show it came from. The problem I have with a lot of sentai show mecha is that the vehicles are obviously dismembered giant robot body parts only superficially disguised with wings, propellers, and tank treads. Then to apeal to kids they're decked out in awfully bright rainbow colors. I can forgive all that if the combined robot form is good but Change Robo from Changeman actually ends up looking more bland than its component vehicles. Judging from the show's intro, Dengeki Sentai Changeman is like Power Rangers if Power Rangers were elite paramilitary commandos instead of teenagers with attitude. The only thing I really like here is the Big Scale ShuttlBase. Definitely check out this BSS review in Portugese because you will fall in love with the toy if you're like me and have a thing for beefy roided out space shuttle dollhouses.

バイクロツサー DX 超合金 ブレイザーカノン ヤット
[Byclosser DX Chogokin Blazer Cannon Set]

The ridiculous looking guy holding a motorcycle on his arm in the picture below left is a toy from Kyodai Ken Byclosser, a short lived obscure Japanese show about two dudes and their high tech motorcycle. "Kyodai Ken" translates into "Brother Fist"so this may be the first instance ever of the term 'brofist', although clips from the show are so rare that I cannot determine if any brofisting actually happened in it. What I can determine is that at some point when the going gets tough, the two bros suit up in their Power Ranger armor and then one bro hops on the brotorcycle and proceeds to jump it and land ON TOP OF the other bro's right shoulder! The bike then assumes its Blazer Cannon mode and they broblast the shit out of stuff using the bike as a sort of brozooka. Someone at Bandai must have thought this concept was toyetic genius gold so they made a Chogokin out of it. After GodJesus and this, I wonder if there's anything left so sacred or stupid that Bandai won't make a toy out of.

DX ポピニカ ガービン
[DX Popinica Garbin]
DX 超合金 ダイレオン
[DX Chogokin Daileon]

Blazing Broblasters aside, for the most part Bandai would get things right and the other two toys above right are pure robotastic awesome. That big multiwheeled monstrosity is the Popinica PC-54 Juspion Tank Garbin and the robot is DX Chogokin Battle Giant Daileon, both of which are from Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion. The Garbin splits apart into a jet and a drill tank, and Daileon transforms into an awesome spaceship. Of course Juspion was a show, and Wikipedia says Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion translates to 'Special Megabeast Investigator' Juspion. I think that sounds badass in an X-Files kind of way. I imagine the show's about a special agent Megabeast Investigator trying to uncover the truth about megabeasts. Since he pilots a giant tank and killer robot, he investigations predictably go really really bad and he finds out that the Megabeast truth is they hurt you a lot.

DX 超合金 ダンクーガ
DX Chogokin Dancouga
DX 超合金 Ζガンダム マーク II
DX Chogokin Zeta Gundam Mark II
DX 超合金 ビスマルク
DX Chogokin Bismark

I don't know much about Japanese toy robots but even I can recognize Dancougar, Zeta Gundam, and the Bismark. These guys are pretty much superstars due to their popular cartoons that made the toys look a lot better than they do in real life. For whatever reason people still love these guys even though their feet are kind of big. Honestly I find all three of these robots lacking in execution with some great ideas but some pretty lame transforms. I think they were all a bit conceptually ahead of their time and thankfully Bandai has redone Dancouga and ZGundam with much better engineering (and nicer feet) in the years since. Nobody has the guts to tell robot Clint Eastwood he needs an update, though.

Machine Robo Series
Battle Armor 5
Battle Base Robo

We finish off Bandai with Machine Robo-my absolute favorite line of theirs (sorry GodJesus). The push here is on Battle Armor 5 and the Battle Base Robo, which from the wording makes it sound like they intended it to be a robot itself although they don't call it that on the box. Or maybe they meant to call it Robo Battle Base. Whatever the case, this is a really cool GoBot collector case/playset that transformed and did all sorts of cool stuff. I wonder why they didn't just release the Tonka Guardian Headquaters and Thruster in in Japan. I can see cues from those reflected in the design here, as it looks like it combines Thruster's spaceship alt mode with the multi level garage/cafeteria theme of the Guardian Headquarters. We did get the Battle Armor 5 released here as the GoBot Power Suit, although it never looked quite as good in the Hana Barbera cartoon as it did in the promotional Japanese animation. I guess the GoBots are always greener on the other side of the ocean.

エポック ロボフアイター [Epoch Robo Fighter]

I have never seen an angrier looking toy in my life than Epoch's Robot Fighter (above lower right). That thing looks like a remote control mohawked terror whose sole purpose is to kick the asses of all your other toys. It makes those Sherman tanks above it look like cute little ducks by comparison. I guess this robot was made for kids who were too lazy to break their own toys so they needed another one to do it for them. When I was a kid I used to imagine all my other toys would welcome any new ones I brought home and they'd all hang out and be nice to each other. If I ever brought this one home I think all my other toys would develop anxiety issues from living with Robot Fighter's evil angry face. If I had Robot Fighter as a kid I wouldn't be afraid of ghosts or under the bed monsters or anything. Hell if I had one NOW I wouldn't be afraid of anything.

学研 ロボゴロン [Gakken Robogoron]

There were three Robogoron-Caterpilas, Volzos, and Tagolas. Now be amazed:

カワダ スーパーアドベンチャー [Kawada Super Adventure]

I love it when I find out an unknown to me toyline exists and then there's someoone on the internet who's an obsessed collector of it and has all the bases and everything. This is the case with the Super Adventure Space series, which was part of the Diablock line and was launched in 1983. With badass robots like the Gun Baron and other awesome sets, Super Adventure sounds like it would have been right up my alley as a kid. The dark colored space sets with names like Dragon Fleet and Space Crawler look super awesome.

マルカ マヅックロボ [Maruka Magic Robo]

ドクロロボット [Dokuro Robot] and デビルロボット [Devil Robot] are a skull and Dracula head that turn into robots! What more could you want out of life? Well Collection DX has a nice series of reviews of these and other Maruka transforming toy heads including Frankenstein and...a gorilla?


Tune in next time for part 2 of the Tokyo Toy Show Guide where I go over more toy robots and some toy guns and even toy robots that turn into toy guns! Yes we still have the rest of the alphabet to go and that includes at least a couple of Japanese toymakers you may know that begin with 'T'. If you thought GodJesus was awesome, wait till you see the Japanese toy debut of one robot that's come back from the dead more than a couple of times already!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fine Scale Combaticonner-The Destrong Issue

I remember being in a total state of paralyzing culture shock when I first arrived in South Korea in 1998. Everything was so different from any place I had ever been to before. The language was different, the alphabet was different, the 31 flavors of ice cream at their Baskin Robins were different, and they even got different toys in their Burger King Kid Meals. But then the most shocking difference of all was the best-they had different Transformers! To be a toy robot loving kid growing up in South Korea must have been totally awesome. They played fast and loose with copyrights and trademarks and their toy industry worked hard at producing some really crazy knockoff toys. Best of all, lots of robot toys from their wacky version of the 80s were still on the shelves at little mom and pop toy shops all over the country. It was like a bizarro toyland untouched by scalpers, a lost paradise of classic toy robot bootlegs preserved in time. One of my favorite discoveries from there is a set that stands out in my mind as one of the finest examples of bootleggery from the country that did it best. It's something I call the Destrong Combat robot 2 pack model kit (mostly because I can't read Hangul to find out its real name).


South Korean toy bootleggers really loved their Destrog Combat Robots, which was their name for what were officially called Combaticons in english speaking Trasnformer markets and Combatrons in Japan. Bootlegs of this team of five transforming military themed vehicles could be found in multiple colors, packaging styles and giftset combinations in South Korea. Usually the large missile trailer robot was packaged separately and the other four members were split up into two packs. All of the examples I saw were oversized compared to their official Takara/Hasbro versions by a factor of 1.5 to 2x as big. One of my favorite South Korean bootleg Combaticon items is a two pack containing the M-1 Abrams Tank and Jeep robots that's unlike any other giftset I've ever seen even there. What makes this set weird is that the robot toys are completely unassembled and the parts are mounted on plastic trees! It's like a model kit where the parts are not meant to be glued, but instead screwed together and all the necessary metal screws, fasteners, rods, and pins are included. There are even assembly blueprints showing how to assemble the toys from their component parts. It's like playing the home version of exploited toy robot factory worker!


The plastic bags call them models but that's really just semantics. These are really toys with their parts still sprued that you have to cut out and assemble yourself. There were official G1 Transformer releases that contained parts on sprues but those were mostly accessories like Optimus Prime's fists, Wheeljack's wings, various missiles from most of the boxed toys from 1984 and '85. Early versions of the Seacons came with their black weapons and accessories still on a small parts tree, but that was the greatest amount of sprued parts G1 ever saw. No official release shipped with the entire robot unassembled in model kit style. Every other bootleg Destrong Combat Robot 2 pack I found contained toys that were completely assembled. I do not know if any other Korean Combaticons came in this format as this was the only set of its kind I ever found.


So just what are these things? Can we infer from their existence that this is how the actual parts from the official versions are molded? Not exactly. A comparison of these parts against the official versions reveals that they are not just upsized versions of the exact same molds. These larger Korean toys are different molds entirely. The best example of this is in examining the two versions of Brawl's twin sonic cannon. The Korean version has an upper and lower part of the main cannon assembly whereas the official Takara version is one hollow piece. There are a great number of similarities with where the sprue detachment points are on both versions, but even those differ slightly. The smaller offical version has some sprue marks that the larger Korean version does not, and the dimensions of many details differ so that the larger pieces are definitely not just upsized versions of the smaller ones. Larger questions arises then-just why did the Koreans go through all the trouble to create extra parts and remold so much of these toys? Wouldn't it just have been easier to do same scale copies? Just what are these upsized G1 Combaticons? I have never been able to get these questions answered and I don't know that I ever will.


During my short time in Korea I was not able to get any first hand accounts of what it was like growing up as a toy robots fan there in the 80s. I didn't know enough Korean to talk to the shop owners and the bilingual Koreans I did know were not the right age group nor did they have any interest in toy collecting. But I had scratched the surface of what was to me an unknown market of fascinating toy robots. Before 1998 I never knew there were any Transformers bootleg or otherwise in Korea so finding them there was a complete shock. I can only speculate what it must have been like when these toys originally came out and what all was released. I imagine the Korea as I knew it from almost 20 years ago doesn't exist anymore but I wouldn't mind going back. Sometimes I wonder if there's still some tiny, hole-in-the-wall toy shop in a small Korean city off the beaten path with a giant wall of toy robots models just waiting for me to find some answers.

Minibox 3 Column Blogger Template by James William at 2600 Degrees

Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.