Monday, May 01, 2017

Where Eagles Zayre

This weekend was a momentous occasion for me: the anniversary of the April 29, 1984 Zayre circular. It happens to be the earliest retail store ad I've ever found with Transformers mentioned in it, so it's a bit of an historic milestone to me. Its significance lies not just in when it appeared chronologically but also in what it shows. Zayre 4/29 (as I call it) packs a ton of great photo and written elements that continue to be a source of much pondering and contemplation for me. Not the least of these wonderful details is that fantastic Starscream. So to commemorate the 'adniversary' I spent my Sunday finishing a replica of what at first glance looks to be just another Starscream, but that in actuality was more, much more than met the newspaper over 30 years ago.



IN ZAYRE NO ONE CAN SEE YOUR STARSCREAM

I've already covered my initial attempt at recreating the Zayre 4/29 ad and how because of Starscream I fell short of doing a satisfactory job. The main reasons I goofed up were that I didn't pay enough attention to details plus my ad colorization was done in a hurry as I was rushing to include it in a slide presentation for my panel at JoeLanta 2017. Originally I thought I could grab a bunch of my existing toys and digitally photomanipulate them into the ad. Then I noticed the major differences with the Starscream I was using relative to the one in the ad. By the time I realized my Starscream didn't match, it was too late to build a more ad accurate photoshoot model. So just how tremendously different is the Zayre version from my childhood '84 mass release production model? Would those differences make it next to impossible to kitbash an accurate copy? Taking a closer look would prove surprising...



THE DEVIL IN THE DECALS

With the original ad lost to time and only a monochromatic microfilm image to guess what it looked like, I at first thought it would be difficult to dig out much detail. But thankfully the defining quirks of Zayre Starscream are rather huge and obvious even in black and white. The biggest is that the forward extending point of each wing (or 'wingpoint' as coined by Maz at tf-1) running along the fuselage is longer and pointier than that of mass release Starscream wings. Another characteristic is the missing Decepticon sigil on the nosecone, which is a consumer applied label. At first I didn't think much of it, but then I realized I'd seen a long wingpoint/no Decepticon sticker nosecone Starscream before-in the 1984 Transformer pack in catalog! Then the clincher was what appeared to be writing on the jet intake sticker where my production Starscream only had a blank yellow area. I began to realize that making a simple kitbash of this toy as it appeared in the ad would not be easy at all.

SO WHAT IS IT?

To understand what this toy is you have to know the origins of the Starscream toy as a Diaclone Real&Robo Series Jet Machine Robo F-15 High Speed Fighter Type. So they started as Takara Jet Robos then Hasbro sticker manipulated a few of those into Transformers for early promotional photography. It is my conjecture based on my analysis of the ad that the Zayre Starscream is in fact a Japanese Diaclone f-15 Jet Robo with a mix of Diaclone decals and modified/Hasbro applied custom decals on it to make it look like a production Transformer. How Zayre was able to attain this toy makes for interesting speculation but that is beyond the scope of this post. (I do want to address that question in a future article, though.) For now based on my ad analysis I believe the Zayre Starscream has these most obvious defining characteristics:

Instruction shoot Starscream w/ cockpit
sticker and pointy wingpoints

  • Diaclone mold wings with extended wingpoints
  • No Decepticon sticker on the nosecone
  • Diaclone sticker with 'EAGLE' written on it above the jet intakes
  • Solid red stripe and Decepticon sigil on each wing
And based on observations of the original Takara Diaclone Real&Robo Series Jet Machine F-15 Jet Robo High Speed Fighter Type, the Zayre Starscream most likely inherited these less obvious or not as easily discernible characteristics:
  • a hard plastic Diaclone mold nosecone
  • a Diaclone cockpit sticker omitted from production TFs
  • possibly no copyright stamping
  • firing missile launchers

It dawned on me that in order to faithfully reproduce the Zayre Starscream I would need more than just a pair of Diaclone wings and some Decepticon stickers. Because of all the sticker differences I would also need some Diaclone 'EAGLE' jet intake stickers, too. What's neat is that affordable reproduction Diaclone F-15 High Speed Fighter label sheets do exist, however the wings themselves are harder to track down. Plus there is the ethical conundrum of mutilating a rare Diaclone original just to transplant its wings on a lesser, more common toy. Plus plus Diaclones are expensive as hell nowadays and not easy to come across. So I was about to give up right there not so much because I didn't want to desecrate a sacrosanct Diaclone toy, but mostly because I am cheap. But then something wonderful happened-Dairycon!



YOU CAN WIN IF YOU DAIR

While I was at Dairycon 2017 I came upon a dealer who had a rather infamous bootleg jet. It was the Kingdam RoboJet F-15, and because it was knocked off directly from the Diaclone mold it had those elongated wings I needed. But even though it was a bootleg it was in such beautiful and complete shape that I'd feel bad parting it out just to make my Zayre photoshoot Starscream. I asked the dealer if he had a pair of just Kingdam wings lying around and he said no and he couldn't part the jet out just to give me the wings because-and get this-if all he had was the fuselage, it could be passed off as an original Diaclone by unscrupulous individuals! I looked at it and sure as heck, it had everything the Diaclone version had down to the cockpit sticker, 'EAGLE' intakes, and hard nosecone. I never noticed how dead on of a copy that thing was. I may not have had the money or guts to mutilate a legit Diaclone F-15, but now I was aware of a suitable stand in should I ever see one in crappy shape. Lo and behold, just a few days later that's exactly what would pop up in the haven of beat up crappy shape knockoffs-eBay!


CONQUEST IS MADE OF THE AUCTIONS OF ONE'S ENEMIES

Just as I ran out of hope that I'd ever find a reasonably priced parts donor for my photoshoot Starscream project, along came eBay auction 112371069453. For $45 it had no launchers but the nosecone, cockpit, and jet intake stickers were all intact. It appeared dark grey in the auction photos and there really is a dark grey Kingdam variant, but it was actually the light grey version. Notable differences from the Diaclone version are the orange canopy and white vertical stabilizers. In the above left photo the plastic quality is so poor it's mostly transparent in places like the vertical stabilizers. The plastic is a shade of grey that doesn't quite match up with any Starscream I have so a simple wing swap wasn't going to work. Ultimately I'd have to use a majority of the Kingdam parts so the color would be uniform but some bits did have to be replaced...


LONG LIVE THE WING

One major consequence of the inferior quality plastic used in the Kingdam bootleg is that the joints the wings plug into and rotate on are super prone to breakage. These 'wing knuckles' as I call them are also pretty shoddily molded on the Kingdam toy, so even if they weren't broken (as they were on my eBay one) I still had to replace them with the cleaner looking Hasbro parts. I also swapped out the orange canopy with a correct smoke colored Hasbro one. The project ended up being slightly more than the simple decal and wing swap I originally thought it would be, but the results were well worth the work.



KING FOR A DAY

In the end I basically had a Kingdam bootleg with a Hasbro Starscream's vertical stabilizers, wing joints & decals, and canopy. It's a bit of a Frankenstein monster but it does a good job of emulating an historic moment in Transformer promotional photographic history. The next step for me would be going back and doing a more accurate recreation of the Zayre 4/29 ad. For now just having this representation of one of the rarest Transformer specimens in history is good enough for me.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Fred's Robot Convention!



I went on an adventure on April 1st drove to Wisconsin to go to Fred's Robot Convention Rolled out to Cow Palace...for DairyCon
There's a robot con in the land of dairy It's called DairyCon but it's not about cheese When the Hasbro cons are all wack, these dairy boys go to Fond Du Lac
Let's all go to DairyCon Cows and GoBots and your mom wish they were at Dairycon Its moo than meets the eye there-MOO MOO POWER
Dairylanders love jumpstarter racing They like those robots that turn into machines And if you pick the mystery box, you just might get a bunch of broken GoBots
Hello my fellow Macrocranians and robots lovers from Dairyland Welcome to episode 86 of the ROBOPLASTIC PODCASTALYPSE

---> DOWNLOAD IT HERE <---



BUT FIRST THE USUAL ROBOTARDATIONS
F.I.S.H.B.O.T of the episode is this Snaptrap box complete with inner bubble and other inserts that sold for only 47 bucks! Fuck I Should Have Bid On That!



OH HOW IT PAINS ME TO READ THIS AD
K-Mart's September 17, 1986 'World's Greatest Toy Sale' circular was a nice showcase of 1986 action figures. Robots from Transformers The Movie were particularly well represented and the ad even included a rare appearance by a 5784 Decepticon Jets case Starscream. Unfortunately the ad used a very dark colored background that did not contrast well against the dark typeface used for the ad text, so prices and descriptions are hard to make out from the microfilm transfer.




AND NOW-DAIRYCON!

You can see my entire photo album of Dairycon 2017 on Flickr


FRANKatello, The FREDDER, STEVEonardo, and MIKEnorthernangelo

The Cow Palace was nice, big and roomy. It was well lit and smelled great.



$2 ANYTHING box after the beat up Kup was bought.

There was just tons of robot stuff and I put more pics of it all on Flickr


IT'S FULL OF STARterS!




 

The Custom Jumpstarter Rally Race! This round was for modified motorized Transformers including Jumpstarters, Battlechargers, Happy Meal Starscreams or whatever homemade robot the racers brought.




The Unmodified Jumpstarter Rally Race! This footage is from the preliminary and semi final rounds of the most legendary Transformer races in all of Transfandom.



I wanted that Snaptrap box so bad! But what were the chances that my raffle ticket number would be called at the right time?


Turned out they were pretty good!

Four Star wings on a Kingdam body



Mike about to open his fantastic Mystery Box prize


The art show included Jetfire encased in Jell-O and a truck monkey


I liked this guy's fashion sense!


SHOW NOTES OF THE PODCASTALYPSE

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A MAN, A PLAN, A PANEL-BOTLANTA!

The breaking of the 85th seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse is the sound of Larry Hama playing guitar at Toylanta 2017! Yes it's the post TOY/JOE/BOT-lanta episode and it's packed with all sorts of stories about toys, joes, bots, and lantas. Join the Nostrodomatron as he realizes that after this convention, he's a lanta, she's a lanta, and you probably would like to be a lanta, too. How did my very first ever successful awesome wonderful toy robots ad panel go? Did Derek Yaniger finally bring comic pages to a convention? How much for that Zartan crotch in the window? And would I rather ride a strong donkey or hump an old unicorn? Hear these and other horrible revelations in this MAMA WE'RE ALL LANTA NOW edition of the podcastalypse!

DOWNLOAD / DOWNLANTA IT HERE


BUY LIKE YOU FIGHT!

The Combaterwars Combinecons popped up at military bases during the holidays. I noticed the shelf warmers at the nearby Army PX were the flying Combaticons and the shelfwarmers at the Air Force BX were the ground based Combaticons.




THE DESOLATION OF KAYCEE

No trip to Atlanta is complete without a quick swing by the old abandoned Lionel building. This visit ended up a little more exciting than the last time I was here.




REAL TOYLANTEAN HEROES
Marten Jallad (left) Toylanta organizer, Derek Yaniger (center) artist illustrator, and Rob Springer (right) Botlanta track organizer




IMPERIAL CHUTES HAVE ENTERED THE FALLING

The Saturday night parachute drop was as surreal as ever, with 12 inch Joes and other figures plummeting 14 stories to the waiting attendees, elevators, and carpet.




ROB HAS SUMMONED ME HERE FOR A PURPOSE

I got to kickoff BOTLANTA with my overhead projector, showing and telling the Toylanteans about Jetfire mockups, Lionel Playworld, red cab Ultra Magnus, and unused Micromaster card art all from old toy robots newspaper ads.




ONE PAGE IS ALL HIAXUS FOR
FINALLY, after chasing Derek Yaniger all over Florida and Georgia, finally he brought comic pages to a con. I was so happy. I got to man his table while he was in his panel, AND I bought page 27 from G2 #1. I dug it the most, to say the least!




HEARD THE NOISE/ SAW THE TOYS/ GOT SOME CROTCHES
It was a weekend of toylantastic overload that will live forever so long as freedom exists. Legends of panelanta were born, a new convention experience was forged from the united titans of Joe and robot fandoms, and I almost got arrested. Plus I got some crotches for my Snake Eyes and Zartan. What more can a man ask for than Larry Hama guitar solos and a dependable 50 year old overhead projector. We shall remember you, Toylanta 2017, we shall remember.





SHOW NOTES OF THE PODCASTALYPSE


Thursday, March 02, 2017

FAKE IT'S '84 'TILL YOU MAKE IT '84!



The breaking of the 84th seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse is the sound of the clock tick, tick, ticking down the seconds until JOELANTA 2017! Listen 'n fun as the Nostrodomatron rushes to get a bunch of broken toys in beat up boxes all dressed up like it's 1985 again! Thrill 'n anxiety as I prepare for my Joelanta panel that's more than meets the price in hopefully enough time to more than beat the clock! Will I peel the stickers off 33 year old Transformers so they'll look new again? Will I open brand new reissued Transformers so they'll look old again? How tough is it to match the photography of toy ads from 1984? Am I committing time crimes against nostalgia when my ad recolorizations show up in google search results for old store circulars? AND IS THIS THE END OF THE PODCASTALYPSE? ONLY SHIA NO-NO-NO-NO-NOs!

download it here


THE SECRET FORMULA REVEALED



IT TAKES A LOT OF PAYING ATTENTION TO SCREW THINGS UP THIS BADLY

This paragraph was supposed to be a deeply insightful, behind-the-scenes exploration of how I take pictures of toys and turn them into pictures of toys with little prices and Hasbro logos on top of them. And also how I learned that it's pretty hard to take pictures of toy robots as halfassedly as most product photographers did back in 1984, but there's no time! I need to go finish my JoeLanta panel so you can see my naked seeker jets and hear how thirty three year old Dinobot ads confuse me! Or actually I think that's what this episode is about. So listen and find out how getting bitten by radioactive Google search results gave me the proportionate strength and speed of a time travelling K-Mart ad.


OW! OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!



SHOW NOTES OF THE PODCASTALYPSE
Eckerd 12/09/84





LOOK WHAT I DID TO THE LAST UNICORN OF DINOBOTS
 

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.