Saturday, 31 March 2012

Last items for March

Nothing toy related, but these arrived from

Transformers Prime CD (music from the cartoon)
Transformers Prime DVD (complete season 1)
IDW ongoing Volume 6
Classic GIJoe reprint Vol 13 (only 2 left to go and I can start reading them all)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Transformers Competition Prize Pack contents

As I posted up last week, I won a daily prize pack in the current Transformers competition in Australia.
Now that I have picked it up from the post office, this is what I got:

Two Leader-sized toys - Bumblebee & Sentinel Prime
Two Deluxe-sized toys - Thundercracker & Armor Topspin
A Revving Robot toy - Optimus
PS3 Game
Big Tin with books inside
Various other books

It's a pity that these items are so old (Hasbro clearing out stock that retailers no longer wanted), that I already own anything of interest/value in all of that.
The only things I don't already have are the various books and the backpack.  I'll keep the big tin (with the Autobot Logo on the top), and maybe some of the books, but the rest will end up being given away.
As disappointing as the contents were for me, it was still nice to have won something.  The quoted retail value was the most I've ever won before, but the actual value to me ends up being about $50.
Now, if I won the grand prize, then I'd be REALLY happy...

M&Ms new Coconut flavour - very nice

These came out in America two years ago, and I was hooked on them while over there for a couple weeks. (actually, M&Ms come in a few extra flavours over there - peanut butter, pretzel, premium mint, premium trio)

My favourite flavour was Almond, and last year, we finally had it released in Australia... which is probably a bad thing for my health. :p
So having the Coconut flavour appear here last month, means I have even more "American" candy to desensitise myself to before my annual trip to the Transformers Convention there.  (I go nuts over the junk food over there that isn't available here)

So here are the two newest additions to the Australian M&Ms family.

You have to at least try the Almond ones, as they are like Scorched Almonds with a candy shell. And while you're there, try a pack of the Coconut ones as well.

Smiths Chips exposed - and reviewed

Last week Smiths Chips and Red Rock Deli Chips released 9 new snackfood varieties between them, so naturally I had to test them out.
However, during the process of reviewing them, I started to see that something wasn't right... something was suspicious behind the launch of these products between two Brands within the same company, and it would take this journalist of 16 years, some investigative digging to uncover the truth.
A truth that Smiths Chips probably doesn't want consumers to know about.... in that they've made sure the general public do not realise that Red Rock Chips belongs to the American-owned Smiths Chips/PepsiCo company.  By doing that, they can make it look like three different companies are fighting over the Corn-Chips and Slow-Cooked Chips market, when in reality it is just two, with one company willing to compete against itself just to take market share from their only rival (Kettle in the Slow-Cooked Chips category, CCs in the Corn Chips category).

And I wouldn't have noticed this if I hadn't recently done a short article on the history of Smiths Chips in Australia (how it, and some of our Australian Brands, has changed hands over the years), because listed under Smiths Chips Brands on this wiki page is Red Rock Deli.
The reason why I wouldn't have even known about this without looking at that link? - neither website acknowledges the other.  Smiths Chips doesn't include Red Rock as one of its many snackfood Brands, while Red Rock doesn't say anywhere that it is a part of Smiths Chips, or even owned by the parent company, PepsiCo (you can see on that link, PepsiCo owns both, but Red Rock doesn't want anyone to know about it on their website or their packaging).
So even the Red Rock Chips packaging has no mention of Smiths or PepsiCo... except the master carton of their Variety Pack, which clearly states that Red Rock is made by Smiths Chips.  So one was left on, possibly by accident.
So Red Rock can say that they are Australian made, but hide the fact that they are American owned... or that they are part of Smiths Chips (or at the very least, partnered with Smiths Chips under the PepsiCo banner).

Just to be sure, I rang up the Customer Service phone number for Red Rock Deli, to ask if they were indeed part of Smiths Chips, or at least, owned by Pepsico.  The nice lady on the other end of the line said that they were, and that she was surprised that their website and packaging has no mention of it.  She was even surprised that there was nothing mentioned on the Smiths Chips website, as she was sure that they were part of the same company.
Just to be sure, I rang up Smiths Chips Customer Service, and asked "Is Red Rock Deli Chip a part of Smiths Chips?", with the answer being "yes".

So now it was verified by the source that Smiths and Red Rock are part of the same company, I could then look into working out why they were competing with themselves with Corn Chips and Slow-Cooked chips.

Basically, before last week:
- Red Rock Deli produced (mostly) slow-cooked potato chips.
- Smith's Chips produced "Doritos", which were (mostly) corn chips.

That meant that the Smiths Chips Snackfood /PepsiCo umbrella of brands, they already had an established range of corn chips by one of their major brands (Doritos), and slow-cooked chips by another of their major brands (Red Rock).
However, from the nine new items launched last week, five of them are Smiths Extra Crunchy (Slow-Cooked potato chips), while four of them are Red Rock Deli Corn Chips.

It made me ask, why would each of these major Smiths brands need to produce what they already have an established Brand producing?

Then I realised that their main rivals (Kettle Chips & CCs) have recently been growing momentum in their respective fields, with new flavours to each, and being Australian-owned.  It can be a valuable marketing tool to claim "Aussie Owned", and would be why Red Rock Deli won't declare itself as being American owned on its packaging or website.
So, the only way to regain their market share in those two areas is to create a "three cornered" contest/approach. They could have easily added the new Corn Chips flavours to their Doritos Brand, and the new Slow-Cooked flavours to their Red Rock Brand, but now they can fool the consumer into thinking they have three different Company/Brands to choose from... or at the very least, capitalise on the "random grab/purchase" of whatever is available.
So when people see three brands of Slow-Cooked chips, of comparable pricing and quality, it looks like three different companies, when in fact the 5 new Smiths varieties should have just been 5 new Red Rock varieties. And as you'll see in the review below, the 5 specific flavours were chosen for a reason - specifically targeting Kettle flavours, not Red Rock flavours.

Okay, enough of the exposé... onto the fun part - the taste testing.

Smith's Extra Crunchy

Those who are from the UK will be thinking these look familiar... and that's because Smiths are copying the packaging of Walkers Chips in the UK, who have their own "Extra Crunchy" range (including a Flamed Grilled Steak flavour too).  But don't think they are stealing a competitor's packaging, because Walkers are owned by Pepsico, like Smiths are. (on a side note, Walkers even have a logo similar to Lays (which is Pepsico's American chip brand)).

Not only have Smiths copy Walker's packaging style and one of their flavours (Steak), but in the photo above you can see that Smiths have copied Kettle Chips with the other 4 of their 5 flavours.
So nothing is unique about this range.
Could they be any lazier?
It's almost like they aren't trying to bring Australia anything new. They just want to compete with Kettle Chips by giving us five copied flavours.
It's almost defeatist when you're seen to just be copying your competition... especially when you've failed to bring even one NEW product from it all. Then again, maybe Smiths are upset with CCs copying their Doritos colours and flavours, and are taking it out on Kettle instead.

The five flavours...

Simply Salted
Standard plain flavour that tastes exactly like the two existing plain varieties from Kettle and Red Rock. 2.5/5

Salt & Vinegar
Another standard flavour, that is salty and vinegary... nothing special here. 2.5/5

Not too hot, and sweeter than Kettle's version. 2/5

Honey Glazed Ham
A very bacony taste to it, but not much honey to it. Another flavour that tastes very similar to Kettle's version 3/5

Flame Grilled Steak
Now this is the only unique flavour of the five... it's just a shame that Smiths had to cheat by copying their sister-company's flavour in the UK.   This flavour is quite nice, as it tastes like a well done steak. I am very impressed with this flavour being so "real", but there isn't anything in the ingredients to give a beef taste, so must be an artificial flavour additive. (a lot of snack foods have the word "flavours" listed as an ingredient, without saying what it actually is - for all we know it could be cyanide... as they seem to be allowed to disguise chemicals as "flavours" without being obligated to let us consumers know what we are really eating) 4/5

(since doing this review, I have done a comparison taste-test between the three Brands (Kettle, Red Rock, Smiths Extra Crunchy) to see how each compares, and will post that up later)

Red Rock Deli
Notice the black dots on these Corn Chips.  Those are poppy seeds, giving these a unique texture and visual appearance. Kinda makes them more "gourmet". It probably adds to the flavour as well, but can't really tell with the flavourings.

Fire Roasted Red Chilli & Lime
A flavour already done by Kettle Chips, this one is much the same - strong with both chilli and lime. Too strong actually. 2/5

Trio of Cheeses
My favourite of the four, but VERY salty for a cheese flavour. The three cheeses are meant to be Parmesan, Mature Cheddar and Feta.  The first two are very strong flavoured cheeses, so the third one is kinda moot if it is a mild one. I would have given this a 5 if it weren't so damn salty. 3.5/5

Jalepeno Pepper & Mature Chedder
Despite having Chilli and Jalepeno flavour ingredients in this one, it is not as hot as the Chilli & Lime flavour. Can barely taste the cheese flavour. 2.5/5

Sea Salt
Just tastes like ordinary plain corn chips, which I find boring without flavouring or a dip. 2/5

As you can see, "gourmet" Corn Chips can work under the Red Rock banner, but would make more sense under the Doritos banner, and would build up a more diverse, dominant Corn Chip Brand here (so is probably a good thing for the Aussie-owned CCs that Red Rock are doing these instead).
As for the Slow-Cooked chips though, there was no need for it to be done under the Smiths banner. These were never designed to conflict with anything by Red Rock, so should have been packaged that way. But I guess Red Rock are so diverse with all their many flavours, several more would have been lost, or impacted on the quantity sold of each existing & new flavour.
Not sure if I'll buy any of these again though.
The Steak flavour was my favourite, but in the end it was a bit too strong with the flavour.  Same with the Cheese Trio flavour, as it is was the nicest flavour of the Corn Chips, but way too salty to eat too many of.

Kettle used to have the best of the "gourmet" flavours (Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream), but since they stopped making it about 2 years ago, my current favourite is now Red Rock's Dijon Mustard & Honey. Which is very addictive.
When Red Rock first came on the market to compete with the existing Kettle Chips, it took them a couple years to get the Chips cooked right (they started out with a crispy, almost like a crunchy prawn-cracker, texture), but now that they have copied the Kettle style of crunchiness, they have been able to replicate it again with their new Smiths Extra Crunchy... because all three were virtually identical (that review is coming soon).
Here's a sneak peak:

You know, I remember when chips flavours were just Plain, Chicken, BBQ and Salt&Vinegar... now look at the variety of weird and unusual flavours out there.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Australian Transformers Competition - and I won something

Started March 5th was one of those rare occasions that Australian fans have a Hasbro-run competition for Transformers... with 2 major prizes (to Universal Studios in America), and 56 daily prize-packs (of various toys and merchandise).
With the daily prize draws starting before there was any notice of the competition, people who entered early would have a good chance of winning... so I guess it shouldn't surprise me to be contacted to say that one of my 10 entries (a week after it started) was drawn as a daily winner.
With a value of about $516 (high end Australian retail price, so probably worth half that in America), that's like the biggest value prize I've ever won. (the last best prize was a mystery flight that was about $150-200)

So I verified my details, and was told that it's on its way...

The prize pack appears to have items that I already have, or don't really want... but I'm still kinda excited though, as it is like a surprise Christmas present, and maybe something will be included that I do want.

I'll try to check the post office Monday to see if it has arrived, as it wasn't here yet on Saturday.

Australian wildlife Jerky

Ever eaten Kangaroo, Emu or Crocodile?

Kangaroo is easy to buy at the grocery store (Woolies have stocked it for years), and I vaguely recall trying Emu and Crocodile from a restaurant in Darwin (when I was up there a couple years ago). But when I saw at the airport, in the Australia Way store (they have a store in each of the major airports here), Jerky (cured meat) for those three animals, I was morbidly curious as to how they tasted... in a cured form.
On my way down to Melbourne at the beginning of this month for the Annual Toy & Hobby Trade Fair, I checked the AW store in Sydney, and they only had Kangaroo & Crocodile. Then when I arrived in Melbourne I checked their store, and they had the third.
The Kangaroo was $8, the Emu was $13, while the Crocodile was $18.
That's for just 50grams too!
That equates to $360 per kilo for the Crocodile Jerky!!!

Okay, while you digest that little financial fact, here's a photo.

I didn't open them until I returned home to Brisbane.
The Kangaroo had a strong, gamey/roadkill taste... similar to the fresh Kangaroo meat from Woolies.
The Emu was salty at first, but was saturated with spices, so could have been any type of meat.
And the Crocodile must have been a salt-water croc, as it smelt like crustacean, and had a bit of a seafood taste to it.
All three of them are packed with herbs, spices and flavour enhancers, making this more of a novelty than an actual sampling/tasting of the actual animals/meats.
Not recommended at that price, unless you want to be able to say you tried "exotic" Australian meats. If it were easier to find a butcher that sells, or could sell those meats, it might be better to try the real thing instead, even if it cost a little more.
Like I said above, these are just a novelty... more for the international tourists I think.

Pizza Hut Signature Pizzas

I'm a huge fan of the Pizza Capers "gourmet styled" pizza... as they have toppings big enough you can chew. So when Pizza Hut started advertising a gourmet range of their own, that looked quite nice on TV, it was on the agenda to try out.
I kinda figured that they would have 3 or 4 different ones... but when went to a nearby outlet, they had 14!!!

Okay, so I'm not going to buy 14 expensive ($15) pizzas to try out, so I picked 4 that were as different as possible - a beef one, one with chicken, one with seafood, and a spicy one (because it had the fancy looking Corn Chips in the middle on the commercial).

Steakhouse - which was really nice with all the chunky chewable beef bits and BBQ sauce. 4/5

Surf & Turf - also very nice, with the big beef chunks and prawns. 4/5

Italian Chicken - again, the chunks of meat give the sort of texture that pizzas should have. 3/5

Mexicana - more show than substance. Not significantly different to normal spicy/Mexican pizzas. The fancy thing about this one is having about a dozen corn chips in the middle, and a tub of guacamole to add to the pizza or chips later. 3/5

I'd love to try all of the different Signature pizzas, but can't afford the cost (not just talking about the dollar cost either... think about all the calories 14 pizzas would give one person). But if you can afford to try one or two, these ones looked to be the better ones, and didn't disappoint.
I still rate Pizza Capers as the best Pizza franchise in this country, but now Pizza Hut joins Eagle Boys (for their desert pizzas) as recommended options, leaving Dominos a very distant fourth.

For a good look at the full range, check out the menu on the Pizza Hut website.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

KFC Kebabs

The latest feature item from KFC is the Kebab.
It didn't look very fancy, as it appeared to be created by ingredients already on hand... like an over-sized Sweet Chilli Twister.  Looking closer though, it has tabouli and humus added, for a more "Greek" styled flavour.

So I bought a couple yesterday to try out. Packed with so many flavours, I'm not sure what "flavour" it is trying to be.
The packaging had three options on it (Original, Special, Spicy), but they only had the one available - Original.
They could have even did this Kebab concept with a few different flavour options - Traditional (Greek styled tabouli & humus sauce), Sweet Chilli (which they used anyway, combined with the Greek style of ingredients), or Barbecue (a standard flavour of some of their burgers).

These are the kebabs with a Tower burger (one of my favourite burgers of theirs, for having a hash brown included, for more variety with textures and tastes).

So as mentioned above, they kebab is a combination of flavours, making it "messy" with each flavour competing for dominance.
The tabouli is a strong flavour (because of the parsley), so needed a strong sauce to go with it.  Unfortunately, the sauce they included is Sweet Chilli... an equally strong, bitey flavour.
Now, keep in mind that you have chicken in this thing, which is supposed to be the central ingredient... but with two dominant, competing flavours overpowering the subtle flavour of chicken, this KFC kebab probably could have left out the chicken or even had some cheap-cut chicken (as this is being marketed as using premium free-range chicken), and still end up having the same taste and texture. (yes, the same texture - look at the photo, at the big lump of flat-bread folded up in the middle, that's bigger than the chicken... remove the chicken and you still have a big chewy filling)
Basically, what's the point of making the product more expensive with a "fancy" ingredient, it they smother it.  They'd make the product more appealing with cheaper chicken, as a cheaper kebab price would make it sell more than a free-range kebab would.

Nice, and recommended if you can stand parsley flavour, as the tabouli isn't everyone's cup of tea.
And best to get it as part of a large meal, to make it better value than just getting the kebab on its own.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Transformers Prime Soundwave is soooo small

The TFPrime First Edition toys that were "redone" in the regular series, have all been noticeably smaller (Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Optimus), so when I got Soundwave, it just looked really small in robot mode. I wanted to see just how much smaller this Deluxe class was now getting...

I grabbed a few recent figures that were a size-class smaller, and put Soundwave in the middle.
 From left - 2 PowerCore Combiner figures (priced here at about AU$20 with a Minicon), Soundwave (priced at about AU$25-30), and two Human Alliance figures (priced here at about AU$20 with a human figurine).
The figure has about the same amount of plastic mass as the other four, but is good 30-50% more expensive here (and in America, as their retail prices of those other four were about US$10 compared to Soundwave at US$12).
It just makes it that much more difficult to buy locally, when you take into account the exchange rate, and the shrinking size of the toys.  We are paying more for less, and the only way to counteract it now is importing from America, for half the price.

While on the topic of shrinking toys, I took these pics of Bumblebee at the same time (to show that they are different designs, but the size difference became more interesting).
In car mode (Regular version on the left, First Edition on the right - using the NYCC redeco)
Underneath you can see the differences a lot more easily.
And in robot mode, the quickest way to tell which version of Bumblebee you are looking at (online or in person) are the doors - the First Edition version has hinged windows that fold down... the regular edition has fixed windows.

Eagle Boys Desert Pizzas

I love pizza, and I love sweet stuff... so you can imagine that a combination of the two would be right up my alley.
The two major pizza franchises (Pizza Hut & Dominos) have had the occasional desert pizza, as limited edition concepts, but Eagle Boys is the franchise that has them (three) as permanent fixtures on their menu.
And recently they've had a fourth one as a limited edition pizza I think, as it is a fancy one, and wasn't there a couple months ago when I was last there.
The regular ones are:
Apple Crumble
Triple Chocolate
Strawberry (and white chocolate?)

The fancy one is a Strawberry, chocolate & profiterole.

Each of the regular ones are about a quarter of the size of a regular pizza, while the fancy one is about a third.

About a week ago, I went to get one of each of the regular ones at the Springwood outlet, but they told me that they were out of the Apple Crumble one (one of the two I liked). So I decided to try the fancy one with the other two regular ones they did have.

A photo of the three...

Strawberry Choc, Strawberry Profiterol, Triple Choc.

Apple Crumble
From the last time I got it, this was one of the better ones, as it was pretty much like normal Apple Crumble - sweet, crumbly, and chewy (from the pizza base, instead of pastry base of a normal apple crumble desert).
Very recommended. 4/5

Triple Chocolate
I love the way the different types of chocolate on this, take on different textures when hot. There's crunchy, liquidy, and fudgey textures, on a chewy pizza base. Very messy though, and looks messy too, but well worth adding to a pizza order for desert. 4/5

Strawberry (and white chocolate?)
I won't be a good judge when it comes to strawberries as I don't like their texture. It's why I wouldn't have bought the fancy one in addition to this one if they had the Apple one available.  Unfortunately, the oven-baked strawberries end up being a hot mushy/slimy mess, which is an even worse texture to "chew" on.  I tried one and ended up picking off the rest. It left a nice strawberry flavour, which was good, but I couldn't eat this pizza with whole strawberries on it. 2/5
If it had a good strawberry jam on the pizza instead of the whole strawberries, this would be very recommended.

Strawberry, chocolate & profiterole.
Not wanting to repeat myself, but the strawberries were picked off, to leave the flavour, without having to eat the hot, slimy fruit itself.  The profiteroles were cream filled, and take on a nice soft texture when hot, unlike their "fresh" room-temperature state. I liked this one without the strawberries, but have to mark it down because of how it is in its full form.
Again, if they had a good quality strawberry (or even a mixed berry) jam/conserve, this would be so much nicer, and easier to sell to the demographic that eats (processed) pizza over fresh fruit. 2/5

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Disney Mickey Mouse Transformers update

When I completed the set of Mickey Mouse Transformers last month with the newest two that were released, I took a photo of them all in "robot" mode...

Since that time, I've had the chance to transform them all into truck mode, to show how they all look together...
Some odd colours there.  I think the first "Optimus" coloured truck looks best, as the others are more for the Mickey Mode.

Vegemite Cheesybite - strange name, tasty stuff

I rarely eat Vegemite (for those who aren't Australian or don't know what Vegemite is - it is a black sandwich spread, derived from vegetables, and is very salty and strong in flavour)... but have been loving this new mild versions - called Cheesybite.

Getting past it's short-lived regrettable original name (iSnack 2.0 - yeah, how stupidly lame was that), the spread itself is meant to be a milder form of Vegemite, by being blended with cream-cheese. I think it just should have been called "Vegemite mild" with the original being subtitled "bold" or "full flavour"... just to keep the uniform Vegemite branding.
So name aside, I just love having this refrigerated, so that it is cold and firm, and just eating it with a spoon (it is that mild and creamy).
Try it out. Probably on a piece of bread first... but it is definitely a good way of getting people used to the taste of Vegemite, without being put off by the full strength of the original.
(and those Vegemite chips last year were a really bad idea)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

First March Transformers

So I caved and bought some TF Prime toys domestically... despite saying that I wouldn't. Or at least, thinking that I wouldn't, as it is so much cheaper to import from America now (thanks to the exchange rate, and American toy companies not passing on the savings).
Anyway, Target had a 20% off sale this week, making the Legion figures $5.60 (compared to the US$5 price in America - which means this would be cheaper than importing them).

So the Target store near me had them, and I bought them up (along with some TFs Easter items).
And out of packaging, next to some Movie Legions for size comparison.
I like the look of the Vehicon and Cliffjumper figures in vehicle mode.
Arcee and Cliffjumper have creative transformations, while the other three have fairly standard transformations like Movie Bumblebee.
Ratchet feels a bit cheap, and as you can see above, is noticeably small.
The weapons are cheap and spoil the toys. They are ugly coloured, bendy, and weapons aren't unique to each figure. They recycle them, and since they are the same colours, you can mix them up easily.

I like the idea of being able to have the entire cast in this smaller, more fun, format... even if they are a bit simplistic, they pull off both modes well enough to be able to play out the events of the cartoon (or play with friends) without having to spend half an hour transforming the toys.
And so far, Soundwave seems to be the only cartoon character from the first season to not yet have a Legion or Commander class figure announced.
For those not planning to buy all of these, I recommend Vehicon and Cliffjumper.

I also picked up from the post office the other day, the two Collector Club toys - Drift and Over-Run/Runabout.
 Drift is pretty ordinary, and didn't come with the big gun (it was said to have Blurr's guns, but I don't remember them saying that it was only 2 of Blurr's guns).
Over-Run is nice, but will be better when Runamuck is released in a few months time.

Coke Zero Vanilla on clearance - stock up!

Thanks to my friend Darren in Sydney... or more accurately, his mum... I found out that the limited edition 1.5 litre Coca Cola Zero Vanilla flavour is on clearance at Coles (probably at the end of its run and Coles are just wanting to offload the remaining stock).
The regular price of the 1.5 litre bottles are about $2.90 (which is really expensive, so I'd never buy it at full price), so imagine my surprise to hear that it was being discounted to $1 a bottle. At about 65% off, the price per litre was actually less than generic brand soft drinks.
So while Darren was was clearing out some stores in Sydney, I was spending a few days in Melbourne for the Annual Toy & Hobby Trade show... leaving me eagerly wanting to return home to find these and buy up big.
After all, I saw this mountain in a Melbourne store... I figured that there should still be some back home in Brisbane.
I bought 6 bottles for my 3 days in Melbourne... and three days later, as soon as I landed at home, I headed straight to the Coles near my house.
Sure enough, they had about 50 bottles left.
A quick price-check to make sure that they were $1 each, and grabbing a trolley... this was the result, 42 bottles later...
I just have to finish them off within a couple months though, as they have a "best before" date of 6th of May... so might start tasting funny after that.

I recommend trying this out before they disappear, as we don't get much variety with cola soft drinks in this country... unlike in America, which have cherry, vanilla, lemon, lime... and probably some other varieties as well.
And the good thing is, this version of Vanilla cola is sugar-free, so you don't have to feel as guilty about consuming heaps of calories.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Full-scale griffin Action Figure - mint in packaging

Visiting the Annual Australian Toyfair Trade-show in Melbourne this week, I had to bug someone to take this photo, but ended up being worth it...

Brings to life the concept in that Simpsons Halloween episode, in which the Comic Book Store guy is a super-villian called "The Collector"... abducting sci-fi celebrities dressed as their characters, and sealing them into toy packaging for his own collection.

So... any bids? I'm almost in mint condition, with only some slight wear around the edges... :p

Saturday, 3 March 2012

My poor Beast Wars Rampage

Recently I was taking some photos of my toys, and I had to clean up some dust off them as I got them out.
All well and good, as a clean toy is better than a dirty one... right?
Not so it seems. As I got to my Transmetal Rampage, I gave a quick wipe over the "shoulders" with the soft cloth I was using, and to my horror, all the red shiny plating was rubbing right off like it was butter.

Not sure what's happened here, but perhaps the high humidity and dust has weakened the bonding of the vacuum plating. But it has only seemed to have affected the red colouring layer. There is still a silver layer on the plastic... weird, and annoying, as it means I now have to get a new one.
So be careful people with your transmetal toys... as there is obviously something happening here that could affect other people's toys.

The mighty Rampage... not so mighty any more.
So sad. :(

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Unplanned purchase

Went out yesterday to buy a new battery for my notebook computer, and came home with a whole new notebook computer instead. (shrug)

My current one is about 3 or 4 years old now, bought about this time of year for my travels to Toyfair and BotCon... so needed to upgrade.
With Windows 7 and Intel i7, for only $900*, this should cover me for another 3 to 4 years.

*the old one was about $1500 when I bought it, so it feels good to get something more powerful for a lot less... and the guy in the store knocked off $100, bringing it down to the same price of the i5 version sitting next to it. Free upgrade... very nice. :)