Thursday, February 19, 2009

ToyFair 2009, New York City, NY

My drive and ride into New York were uneventful, which is a good thing. The Hasbro staff were very accommodating to everyone in attendance. It was interesting to see all the sites represented from to and others.

Inside the theater, we were treated to a slide-show of the upcoming toys for G.I. Joe, Marvel, Star Wars, and of course, Transformers. Universe started with Smokescreen and Dinobot, which are already in stores. Hot Shot and Jolt look awesome and definitely worth a look. The Voyager class will get Inferno, a simply amazing fire truck.

Transformers Animated line will get Arcee, which caused quite a stir in the theater. Her robot mode looks just like she looks in the series and her vehicle mode looks a lot like her G1 self. Also in Animated is a repainted Soundwave with Ratbat guitar. Ratbat changes from the guitar to a huge bat with wings that spread completely across Soundwave's vehicle mode. Also, Wreck Gar was confirmed.

In the Movie line, Devastator was quite impressive. The only problem is that the individual pieces do not transform into their own robot mode. The Deluxe and Voyager Constructicons do not merge to form Devastator. By the looks of Demolishor and Rampage, which I doubt are their real names, it would be impossible to design the Constructicons to transform and form Devastator.

Instead of Real Gear, the scout class for the second movie will get brand new molds like Dead End and Dirt Boss. In the Deluxe realm, everything was spectacular. Sideswipe as the future Corvette is awesome. I'm not sure who Breakaway is, but he has a nice F-16 mode. Soundwave has a satellite mode and a mode that reminds me of Megahead Megatron from Beast Machines. The brothers Skids and Mudflap are great, having one huge hand opposite from the other. Bumblebee gets a new mold. In the Voyager class, Starscream and Ironhide get new molds. Starscream has a new feature that when you move his head parts of his chest move. Many toys in the Movie line are supposed to get this new technology, but no others were confirmed. Leader class Optimus Prime also gets a new mold. His truck mold looks clean, with hardly any transformation lines and his robot mode looks even closer to the movie than his first toy. He also has two retractable blades.

There will be three Human Alliance sets, with a human and a Transformer sold together. The only one mentioned was Bumblebee with Sam. Bumblebee has Alternator like transformation with a smooth gloss finish. Sam can sit inside as well as the other humans in the line. There's places on Bumblebee for Sam to sit and "help" like behind his shoulders.

The movie line also gets RPM's, 1/64th scale cars with the robot mode pictured on the bottom. Characters from both movies will be featured. A Devastator attack track will also be offered. This is the same scale as Hot Wheels in case you were wondering. View the complete gallery below. Human Alliance Bumblebee was my favorite, what's yours?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New York Comic-Con Review

The New York Comic-Con is hardly the place for Transformers news. I don’t know why, but there always seems to be very little information about the Transformers world, which is odd because if you wear a Transformers themed T-Shirt, you are bound to get noticed and commented. I made the most of it by picking up a Transformers: Titanium Comic-Con exclusive Menasor as well as buying an entire box of Micron Booster set 4 where I managed to get every figure with the exception of Detectus. That said, the last day of the convention, Sunday the 8th, was the day for TransFans.

At 1:45 pm, IDW held a panel discussing Transformers and G.I. Joe called “Declassified and Rolling Out” where editors, writers and artists came together to discuss the future of Transformers and G.I. Joe comics. They debuted some up-and-coming Spotlights (Jazz, Metroplex, and Drift) as well as showing us the cover art for the final issues of All Hail Megatron and Maximum Dinobots. I asked a question about if there were any plans to further flush out the Beast Era; there aren’t. I asked another question about the series Transformers: The 13, they didn’t have anything to say about it other than it will be exciting and they don’t know when it is actually going to be coming out. And that’s about the highlight there. Sadly, there wasn’t much as the panel was much more focused on G.I. Joe.

I was feeling a bit down because supposedly Bob Budiansky (the original writer of the Marvel Transformers G1 comics) was present at the convention, and I would have loved to have met him and had him sign something, but I never saw anything about him.

So, I considered leaving about an hour and a half early due to the inactivity but then I happened to see a sign saying we could get autographs by Neil Kaplan (the voice of RiD Optimus Prime and Ro-Tor)! He saw me coming and started talking to me even before I got up to his table simply because of my shirt.

Mr. Kaplan was there promoting his new Graphic Novel called “I, of the Wolf” by doing free signings of the Convention Exclusive Preview chapter 1 titled “Friend’s and Monsters”. He was also doing signings of photos of him and a nice pic of RiD Optimus Prime.

We got to talking and we ended up chatting until the convention closed. He even called up Steve Blum (voice of Darkscream, and the playable characters from the Transformers Movie DS games) but got his answering machine. During Mr. Kaplan’s ongoing conversation with me, though, Mr. Blum CALLED US BACK and agreed to speak to me and a friend of mine for a good while over the phone. Mr. Kaplan and I talked a lot about voice acting and Transformers (things like his original audition for X-Brawn that landed him the role of Optimus Prime, people’s concerns about the voice of Hawkmon portraying OP, etc…) And with that, the convention closed. It was certainly the best way to end an otherwise uneventful convention for Transformers Fans!

You can see some pics of Mr. Kaplan here, here and here. You can see Mr. Kaplan calling Steve Blum here and here. And finally, a video of Mr. Kaplan leading into his Optimus Prime voice.