We're excited to launch a new feature this week, called "Why, Transformers?" - or "WhyTF?" for catchier branding purposes. This new video series features Eric Crownover (aka EricCrowbar) joining Chris (aka ExVee) to discuss a question each week around a topic of interest. For the first episode, Chris and Eric talk about why we believe there were once going to be as many as four Titans Return box sets, and why we ultimately only got two - even though those two that came out look to have performed significantly better than the Combiner Wars sets. Click through to watch the episode right now!
Two weeks ago we brought you news of Toys R Us looking at options to address debts coming due at the start of the new year. Today we have a followup, as Bloomberg reports the retailer is planning to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This sounds alarming, but is not an automatic death sentence, and this act could allow the toy store to continue operations for several years - ideally enough to get out from under its debts. Reportedly some suppliers had pre-emptively reduced shipments to Toys R Us, but at last word, Hasbro was maintaining normal business, so Transformers availability should continue as usual for the time being. Click through for a link to the original article.
Toys R Us Under $400 Million Debt Examining Potential Relief Options Including Bankruptcy Protection
While this is not a matter specifically relevant to Transformers, the future of one of the major toy retailers will undoubtedly have echos in our neck of the woods. CNBC is reporting that Toys R Us has engaged legal counsel to help find a solution to help address its current debt load, said to be around $400 million. Bankruptcy protection is noted among the options that are possible in this scenario, though no course of action has been decided so far. Find out more below!
Via ICv2, we've learned that IDW, publisher of Transformers comics, among a wide range of licensed Hasbro properties, is reporting a loss of $1.8 million, which is being described as a serious drop from the same time last year where the end of quarter showed a profit level of $81,000. From the article, no specific area seems to be put under scrutiny for leading to the current outcome, with many factors of circumstance cited as potential contributors. For our particular corner of IDW, we probably wouldn't expect to see major shakeups in the Hasbro-verse just yet, but a continued decline might lead to re-examining the current directions in various areas.
As a person with no conventional artistic skills, one of the ways I like to express myself from time to time is by digitally recoloring photos of toys to be other things - Photoshopping! What-If Wednesday is a new occasional feature where I'll share my "what if?" recolors, either inspired by my own ideas, or sometimes from other source media. Our first What-If Wednesday takes on the Headmaster Bludgeon concept seen in the Magna Convoy comic this week, which we get only a limited view of. How might it look and work as a toy? Keep reading and find out!
Earlier this week, Vanderbilt University published an article summarizing the results of a research project undertaken recently. The researchers were studying facial recognition, specifically the ability of people to recognize someone else's face. Challenging the common conclusion that capability in this is based on gender, the researchers brought in some special tools: Transformers. The essential theory being that the childhood associations of facial feature and structure - such as one might get from their toys - inform processing in later life. Find out more below!
I would like to think that all of us can point to at least one example of how the Transformers toy line, shows or comics have improved our lives. Whether it has been through the happiness of meeting like-minded enthusiasts or the ownership of excellent toys, the enjoyment of well-written comics or admiration of tremendous artwork, surely we can all point to some aspect of the brand and hobby which brings us happiness. I would like to think if you’re reading this, it’s because of a choice you have made to give part of your time to the hobby.
A head sculpt can make or break a figure. Some of the nicest overall Transformers figures I have are occasionally let down by a weak head sculpt that is either too vague in its features, unrepresentative of the character it is supposed to be or just plain unpleasant. On the other hand, certain figures of an average nature can be elevated by a superb head sculpt which scores highly on the aforementioned criteria and exudes charm and character. This week I asked a few of my esteemed Transformers collecting peers to contribute their favourite official Transformers head sculpt across any era or sub-line, and explain why they chose it above the rest.
With the final issue of Transformers vs GI Joe out in shops this week (and our review of that issue can be found right here), Newsarama spent some time chatting with the book's main writer, artist, colorist, and as we've liked to joke, probably bookbinder and papermaker as well, Tom Scioli. It's a whopper of an interview touching on a great deal of subjects spinning out of the initial subject of issue #13 of Transformers vs GI Joe. We've included some brief excerpts, so click through to read that and find a link to the original article!
It took me a while to develop trust with IDW's Transformers titles. After all, Transformers hadn't had the most consistent run of quality in its first six or so years. But it turned out that the splitting of the Transformers ongoing in to two new books at the start of 2012 resulted in not only two titles that brought a strong game to their debuts, but were able to maintain that level of quality month after month. They made me a fan of the Transformers comics. And now, more than four years later, I fear this era is about to see its end.
Unique Toys and their alter ego DX9 are developing a solid reputation for getting triplechanging transforming characters right for the most part. While they don’t always nail all modes, chances are you’ll get a very high quality, enjoyable figure which displays beautifully in at least 2 modes out of 3. Their Provider, Chigurh and Gewalt are all superb figures that we have reviewed here and thoroughly enjoyed. Now they’ve taken a shot at one of the heroic variety, with Y-03 Sworder representing the 1986 triplechanger hero whose orange, yellow and black colours have become his identity.
DX9 have developed a reputation for producing very good-looking, high quality and enjoyable Masterpiece-scale transforming figures that bring them more fans with every subsequent release. Having grabbed attention with their Invisible car robot figure as first to market at MP scale, they followed it up with the brilliant Chigurh, exceptional Carry and popular Tyrant.
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