Saturday, June 27, 2015

Transformers Hard Hero Cold Cast Porcelain Busts

These are the Hard Hero Cold Cast Busts.
Yes, i'm being poisoned again…They look really cool, true representation of the G1 anime.
Saw these at a friend's place, fell in love with the statues…but due to space constraints, i went for only Starscream at first. But after getting the starscream, i had to get the rest…right now i have 5 but not stopping…i WILL get the rest, Optimus Prime, Megatron, Jazz, Wheeljack, Cyclonus etc.
The prices varies a lot and can come really cheap but the shipping can be crazy as these busts weigh really solid.
Each busts is individually numbered and there are 500 pieces for each character.
I would really recommend these for G1 fans...


Me Grimlock!




There are other statues/busts from other brands (e.g Diamond Select etc) but i think the Hard Hero version beats them all.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Transformers Vintage Japanese Headmaster heads…and SHUFFLER FINALLY!

Mid last year, i managed to acquire these Japanese Headmasters through my good friend.
But there were only 5 MIB headmasters missing the rare shuffler.
Price-wise for Shuffler, it is sometimes said that the price of shuffler can exceed the price of the other 5 headmasters combined!
Nevertheless, here they are…in MIB goodness.

Lione…i've done a review and comparison to the KO Lione. (Here)
The lion transforms into...
quite a nice face/head…i think Lione is the most good looking of the lot.





For the next few months to close to a year, i have been trying to find Shuffler. Going through TF groups and ebay, Yahoo Japan….and another important factor is that there are the KOs out there, which makes the search even more difficult. Found a couple of MIB Shufflers on YHJ but the prices are just crazy! went way about how much i paid for the 5 MIB heads. Just can't bring myself to throw big numbers for much a small figure. (But it would be different if they are the White Japanese Headamster heads, which are even more difficult to find)
Guess my patience eventfully paid off and i managed to find a loose piece. and at a really good price. The next thing is its authenticity…pretty straight forward for these heads, stamping = original; no stamping = KO.
So, now…..The Elusive SHUFFLER!!!

Another happy day for a collector….

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Transformers Vintage Targetmaster C-108 Artfire

Managed to snag this exclusive piece while i was having a vacation in Europe.
For some reason, Europe is hopeless for vintages…not only, even for the newer toys like combiner wars, you don't see much in Europe. Whatever happened to the GiGs and European versions?
Or is the problem with me that i do not know where to search? Doesn't mater now.
Managed to get it shipped so that it's waiting for me when i get home…
And it's a beauty.
Unused and complete. Slight yellowing but very very very difficult to find a pristine bone-white piece now, similar to Minerva.
Still puzzling to me why this has become so rare and sought-after. Just a recolor of Inferno, add in a target master and this is the result…just puzzling.
But i'm just happy to be able to get Artfire so let's enjoy this piece for now…

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dino Cassettes C-121 Gurafi/Graphy & C-122 Noizu/Noise KO comparison (Part 2)

Part 2 of the C-121 Gurafi & C-122 Noizu comparison
Now for C-122 Noizu/Noise….

Frony of the box: Top = Original; Bottom = KO
Artwork on the original, the tail should be seen, not just the tip of the tail.
The toes should be hidden behind the yellow title box. If you can see the toes on the right leg, it's a KO.

Side of the box: Front = Original; Back = KO
The artwork and on the side flap and the back of the box, as well as the top of the box, is the same as Gurafi…Arm of Decible should not go into the front of the box.

Back of box: Left = KO; Right = Original

Top of the box: Top = Original; Bottom = KO

Instruction sheet...

The instruction sheet is significantly lower in quality…you have to be blind to miss it.

Bio card: Left = KO; Right = Original
the differences are quite similar to Gurafi…here, the bio card is smaller on the KO. Original, should be near credit card size.

Inserts: Left = KO; Right = Original
Original insert shold have a square compartment for it's accessories and no grooves to "hold" the cassette.

Weapons: Left = KO; Right = Original
The interior of the weapon: you can see the dark base color for this piece. For the original, the chrome is even all round. Similarly, tis is not a sure fire way to identify KOs.

Both have the Takara'87 stamping.

Cassette: Front = Original; Back = KO
Lack of details in the head of the KO. i used this to identify KOs. There should be a line around the eyes and another line round the mouth of the original.

Cassette: Top = Original; Bottom = KO
Again, a significant lack of details on the KO.

Decible: Left = KO; Right = Original
The back of KO Decible cannot stay in place, tends to "lean" backwards, resulting in the instability of Decible, causing it to fall backwards....I had to help by holding onto the feet so that it will not topple over. The legs are loose, wanting to do Van Damme splits.

This is the catalog that came along with each cassette. Don't know if it should due there but since it inside…i'll just accept it!

Hope the comparison helps and will help someone out there in acquiring a set of these rare cassettes. The originals, really are a sight to behold and when you play and handle it, you will know that no KO will ever come close. My opinion is that i will never get a KO to "replace" a vintage piece.
The reason(s) why i would get an KO:
1) To find out how the KO look and what are the indications of a KO.
2) For customizing. (thoughts really been a long time since i last worked on a custom)

Now….Bring on C-123 Dairu & C-124 Zauru!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dino Cassettes C-121 Gurafi/Graphy & C-122 Noizu/Noise KO comparison (Part 1)

After prolonged period of searching and hunting, managed to snag for myself the first half of the rare and elusive Dino Cassettes, C-121 Gurafi and C-122 Noizu.

Way before this, i got a set of the KO dino cassettes, for research purposes, wanting to make sure that i do not get a KO piece of the price of an original. I need to know the difference, not only the box, but the toy and inserts as well. I want an 100% original collector piece. As they say, to know your enemy well, is half the battle won.
Some research on the net and great help my my friend HD, (who has all 4 original Dino cassettes), i managed to memorize by heart some differences. So now, after scoring these 2 pieces, i'm showing those differences that one can judge straight by looking at one. No reviews on the original toy itself (well, maybe some praise for the original along the way) as a very good review done by my good friend on C-121 here and C-122 here.

First up: C-121 Gurafi/Graphy (Top = Original, Bottom = KO)
1) Wings must reach the edge of the box
2) The white japanese words at the bottom must be aligned to the right, not nearer to the centre.

There are other differences, but you can't differentiate unless you have an original on hand to compare. i will just name these 2, they are sufficient enough to judge the piece if its a KO.

Side of the box: Front = Original; Back = KO
1) Arm of Decible extends to the front of the box for the KO. On the original, the picture fits nicely on the side flap. This is the same for Noizu as well.

Back of the box: Left = KO; Right = Original
1) The artwork of Decible for the KO touches the edge of the box. For the original, the artwork is well within the white background.

Top of the box: Top = Original; Bottom = KO
Picture of Gurafi covers the top of the box, edge to edge.  i.e the wings touch the top edge and the feet touches the bottom edge. On th KO, the picture is not touching the edges at all. If you noticed, the angle of the photo then is different as well..

Bio Card: Left = KO; Right = Original
Significant difference in size of the Bio card. It should be almost the size of the box itself, near to credit card size. For the KO, about the size of the cassette.

Instructions: Left = Original; Right = KO

 Left = KO; Right = Original (apologies for standardizing the photo order!)
Instruction sheets are clearly identifiable, with the KO version having very pixelated pictures. It appears that the KO makers do not have an original piece to achieve a high definition scan. It looks like the instruction sheet was printed out from a picture downloaded from the net. It looks very unprofessional, even for a KO.

Inserts: Left = Original; Right = KO
The compartment for the accessories should be square. On the KO, both are rectangle, almost identical in size. Also there should not be grooves to "hold" onto the cassettes in the compartment.

Weapons: Top = KO; Bottom = Original
 The weapons are almost identical, very difficult to judge just by looing at the chrome. Look at the insides where chrome paint can't be applied. It seems that on the original, the base plastic is red and it's black for the KO. This is also noticed for Noizu. Not sure if this can be used to 100% judge an original.

Cassettes: Left = KO; Right = Original
 Rivets are bigger on the original. on either side.

Level of details are significantly lacking on the KO.

Cassettes: Front = Original; Back = KO
There should be a groove on the forehead of the dinosaur.

 Left = KO; Right = Original
Lack of details on the dinosaur head for the KO as shown in blue circle.

The KO piece has the Takara'87 Stamping as well. So we can't judge it by stamping, though there are some difference in the font used, no way to verify without an original.

All these being said, when you handle the KO piece, you will know the difference. Loose joints, not so easy to click in parts etc. The handling feel is totally different, this is unlike the KO Japanese Headmasters. But fortunately, the KO headmasters do not have the Takara stamping which makes it very easy to identify. (KO headmaster Lione comparison here)

But unless you have the opportunity to inspect at point of transaction/purchase, you have to base on the pictures provided. Very often the not, we make our purchases online, via forums, Facebook groups, ebay etc. You have to ask for actual photos of the item and not photos from the forums, other collectors etc. Push the seller to provide, you are paying premium for such stuffs anyway and we would rather be safe than sorry. Opportunities will come, i'd rather pass on a rare item (but unsure if it's original) then to jump into it without verification.

Next: C-122 Noizu comparison.