Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Love Your Twin Particle Beam Cannons

Powermaster Optimus Prime was the best birth control I could have ever asked for in 1988. I was 14 that year and in eighth grade and just about to get on with being an adult when PMOP hit the shelves. That toy is most responsible for me staying a toy robot nerd into my late teens. That toy was the best argument against growing up I had ever known.

My tenth grade english teacher said all men remember the first pair of boobs they've ever seen. I don't but I can still remember the day I saw Powermaster Optimus Prime for the first time on the shelves at the Toys R Us back home in El Paso. It was totally shocking. I didn't have internets as a kid so new waves of Transformers would totally blindside me, and this was the biggest shock of all. I couldn't believe they brought back Optimus Prime. Plus that airbrushed battle scene on the back of the box was stunning and it made him look awesome. But probably the craziest thing about this toy was the way the cab transformed, which was 180 degress different from the original Prime. It was amazing! The robot had a more cartoony look to it but the cab still remained rather realistic! Outstanding! Even at 14 I could always appreciate a good transform.

I treated my original '84 Prime like total crap and by early 1985 it was destroyed. I broke off one of the legs at the hip and I dissassembled the head on purpose to follow along with the comic where Shockwave beheaded him. The head went back on easy enough but the leg could not be reattached even with my advanced repair techniques which involved copious amounts of super glue and clay. It didn't matter because all his other joints were so loose and floppy that it could hardly stay in any mode. Oh, and I broke both smokestacks off. When the movie came along in '86 and he 'died' I found his death scene appropriate and complimentary to all the crap I had put my figure through.

So two years later he's back. What a great opportunity for a second chance. This time I would not molest my Optimus Prime. This time I would take care of him, I swore. I thanked the gods at Hasbro for giving me a shot at redemption. Unfortunately he retailed at the unattainable (to me) $30 price point. I so badly wanted that toy that I almost got a job, but when my birthday came I got the money and didn't have to. Kick ass!

So I got the new Prime and this time I kept the box and all the little accessories and treated it like gold. I had a cousin who was a couple years older than me and he was very gentle with toys unlike myself and I lent him PMOP. I was so dead set on taking care of it that I didn't even want to put the stickers on. He begged me to let him do it. Since he was better at applying stickers than I was I let him. I remember the phone call when he told me he had applied the stickers and it was a definite improvement. He even gave me a percentage number like 90% or some made up figure like that. We were both ecstatic toy robot nerds. The highlight of my infatuation with this toy was when I wrote a letter to the Transformers comic and they printed it in the same issue that they debuted the Powermaster Optimus Prime character. He was all over the cover in a furious all guns blazing fighting stance. Kick ass! I have like 8 copies of that issue.

Unfortunately the cartoon was pretty dead by then and Powermaster Optimus Prime never got animated beyond small spots in commercials for various TF toys that year and a commercial for issue 42 of the comic book, which used the same animations from the toy spots. However, in the mid nineties, UHF channel 44 XHIJ out of Juarez, Mexico played spanish dubs of the Japanese Transformer cartoons series Headmasters, Masterforce, and Victory. Masterforce was the Japanese cartoon that featured the PMOP toy but as it was released in Japan as a character that was not Prime. I didn't care, I just had a hard on for the toy and it was absolutely awesome that this cartoon featured it. Then in a mindblowing turn of events anotherr character came out in the cartoon that could combine with the PMOP toy. So thanks to spanish television I didn't get laid in the 90's, either.

In 1998 I got stationed in South Korea for a year and I took my PMOP with me. I lived on a small Army installation and met a drunk Army guy who loved PMOP just as much as I did. I also ordered a Godbomber from Tony Preto's Tempting Toys that year and I paid like $250 for it. Once the rereleased God Ginrai/PMOP in the early 2000's I was buying Godbombers off of YahooJapan for $50. Crazy! South Korea was also the mecca for PMOP bootlegs. They made versions of the cab that came with flat bed trailers and one even had a dump truck bed! I was in heaven. It's a miracle I ever met my wife.

I've got like a billion stories about this toy but let's get down to the ads. The "20% off entire stock of Transformers" ad is from Target and it was run November 27th of 1988. The "converts from trailer cab to robot in seconds" ad is from my favorite South Dakota hardware store, Motive Parts and Supply. It ran November 23rd of '88. The last ad, which speaks oh so true when it says "kids will play for hours with their Transformer friend" is a ShopKo ad from December 17th of 1988.

I have never loved any toy more than this one. I have almost never loved anything else in the world more than this toy. It marked for me the beginning of adulthood, which is when I started taking care of my crap instead of breaking it all. That more than anything defines maturity to me.


naladahc said...

Have you ever seen the custom parts that BBTS was selling to make God Ginrai look more like his anime self?

I love his anime look but the toy always lacked something.

That's why I love the 3 PVC versions!!!

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Honestly I wasn't very excited about the kit because I'm not all that crazy about the idea of adding a ton of accessories to achieve a certain look. I loved how the toys were able to combine on their own merits and make God Ginri without too much 'cheating'.

It's like if I were to make custom add-on Bumblebee parts so he looks like the cartoon model in robot mode, but why? If we were talking custom anime style GBP armor for 1/55 Bandai Valkyries I would probably be more accepting.

I do remember that kit when it came out and it looks like they still have them and for a lot cheaper than they first did.

Now I don't mean to knock the work because I know how tough it is to sculpt parts from scratch, but I think the best route to take would be a total redesign of the individual robots like they did for Victory Saber in RobotMasters. At the very least I would have rather seen a resculpted Godbomber toy.


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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.