1993 Transformers Generation 2 Axelerators and Skyscorchers

1993 Transformers Generation 2 Axelerators and Skyscorchers Review

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from my good friend Video Dracula, whose work you can find on Instagram and Twitter. His writing about Transformers from many eras, and the accompany photographs, are quite stunning and brilliantly formatted. Give him a follow on Instagram if you like this review!)

Review and Photos by Video Dracula

Hi, I’m Dracula! You may remember me from such films as The Monster Squad and Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man. These days I mostly post on Instagram about Transformers. 

So let’s talk about Transformers. Specifically, let’s talk about Transformers: Generation 2, the grungy younger brother of the original Transformers line (which only got its G1 moniker thanks to the titling of the second generation, believe or don’t). Now Mr. The Dragon Fortress and I both grew up around the same time, experiencing a little bit of the 1980s and all of the 1990s. The 90s was a lean time to be a budding Transformers fan. All of the characters I loved from my scavenged comic books and rented VHS tapes were long off the shelves, only accessible via luck of the draw at yard sales and thrift shops. 

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Transformers Repro Accessories

Fun with Transformers Repro Parts (and 6 Russian Funskool GI Joe figures)

Russian Funskool GI Joe

Today we’re keeping it casual at The Dragon Fortress. 

I’ve updated the site with six (6!!) in-depth, dedicated pages for Russian Funskool GI Joe figures. Hopefully you find it useful and enjoyable. 

We’re also taking a look at some amazing Transformers repro accessories a friend made for me. 

Kick back and relax. 

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1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B

1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B Review

1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B

A couple weeks ago, I ran a Twitter poll asking my readers what they’d rather see for my next review– a “weird” Beast Wars toy or a Kenner-style DC toy. The BW figure won. Thanks to all 32 of you who voted. 

When it comes to “weird,” Beast Wars has plenty to choose from. It was a bizarre, high-concept toy line that took a ton of chances and commonly veered into what we might consider “abstract” or “avant-garde,” at least as far as action figures targeted at 7-12 year olds go. In that regard, it’s only rivaled by Hasbro’s Batman Beyond toy line. 

I really wanted to lean into the “weird” aspect, and it doesn’t get much weirder than Takara’s Cyborg Beasts figures. These Japanese exclusives took four deluxe Beast Wars molds (Cybershark, Dinobot, Waspinator, and K-9) and infused their beast modes with crazy robot augmentations. The general weirdness also carried over into robot mode. 

Consider today’s subject, 1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B, who is a cyborg German Shepherd with wolf-colored fur. 

In Mainframe’s Beast Wars cartoon, the characters were robots who combined their mechanical parts with organic parts, resulting in a biomechanical amalgamation that was mostly robot-based. For a cyborg beast, you have the robot augmented with biological animal parts (already kind of a cyborg), and then you add mechanical parts on top of the organic animal parts. So you’re basically left with a double cyborg, and in an entirely different way than what you saw with either Transmetals I or II. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s a lot different than what any other toy line was doing at the time. 

Let’s get weird with 1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B. 

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1994 Transformers Generation 2 Bruticus

1994 Transformers Generation 2 Combaticons and Bruticus Review

1994 Transformers Generation 2 Combaticons

This is another huge review, with 6000+ words and around 60 photos. But it has to be big because we’re looking at the biggest, baddest dudicus to ever be a metamorphing Bruticus. 

Today I’m joined by my friend Dial H, who runs Dial H for Houston. If you enjoy pulpy science fiction, fantasy, and alternate history novels, check out his website immediately. He writes fun, funny, and snappy reviews of all sorts of books you’ve never heard of. His site has personally encouraged me to order a few books for The Pile. 

Dial H was nice enough to supply both photos and commentary for G2 Bruticus, as I am both missing some of the toy’s accessories and missing all of Dial H’s life experiences and insights. This is a toy that’s notoriously hard to complete, as parts and pieces almost never pop up on the secondary market. 

So we’ve united into our own ragtag combiner force to bring you this review. Dial H is going to bring you a definitive ranking for each member of the team, but I cannot bring myself to choose favorites among my brightly colored 90s children. I do mostly agree with his rankings, though. 

I’ll let Dial H kick things off. 

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1993 Transformers Generation 2 Minibots

1993 Transformers Generation 2 Minibots Review

1993 Transformers Generation 2 Minibots

Thanks to my friend Battle Armor Dad for contributing to this review!

You asked your mom for an Optimus Prime, but you got a Bumblebee instead. This happened for 2 reasons:

  1. You’re a little shit
  2. Despite working two jobs, it’s much easier for your mom to afford a Bumblebee than an Optimus Prime 

The year was 1984. Or was it 1993? 

The phenomenon of getting “the little ones” (or Minibots, or Mini-Vehicles) as gifts is something that unites both 80s kids and 90s kids. Even if the older generation is still mad about smokestack sizes and newer Megatron toys being allowed inside of airports, it’s hard for them to not empathize with our shared plight. 

If you were into Transformers in the 80s and 90s, chances are you had the Minibots. They were cool, charming, and affordable, which made them appeal to our overworked, underpaid parents. 

Unless you were a rich kid. If so, this post is not for you. Go invest in a failing brick and mortar video game store, waste your money on some poser-ass Kings of Leon adult contemporary crypto MP3s, enjoy your inherited success, and come back for the next review. 

This Transformers Generation 2 Minibots review is for the real ones. 

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THE ACTION IS ALIVE 2020 Fanzine

A Transformers Action Master Fanzine that Benefits Charity

THE ACTION IS ALIVE 2020 Fanzine

If that title doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what to tell you.

Every year (almost), Toy-Fu and TMUK produce a themed Transformers fanzine for TF Nation, a UK Transformers convention. In years past, I’ve written about Micromasters and Rock Lords.

This year I got to write about Action Masters!

There are a ton of talented people behind this full color fanzine (including the creator of JaAm himself, my friend Matt) and you can get pre-order a digital PDF copy here.

If you live in the UK, you can also order a physical copy and some awesome pins and postcards.

Toy-Fu and TMUK Transformers Action Master Fanzine Order page 

Full details below.

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2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, bagged

I originally intended this to be a short post. But, as it turns out, I took more photos than I have for any post on this silly blog. So we’ll see if I can keep the text short, too. 

For more than one reason, the set of 2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys is my favorite batch of fast food premiums ever. I think there’s a strong argument to be made about it being legitimately the best batch of Happy Meal toys ever created. Look, I love Changeables and McNugget Buddies as much as the next Dinosaur Dracula, but this set had it all. 

If you’re a Transformers fan, these should be on your radar. 

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Bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker

Let’s Take a Quick Look at this Bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker

Bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker

Bootlegs are AN ILLEGAL CRIME, but I’ve always been drawn to them. Transformers bootlegs are often presented in strange colors. They’re often over (or under)-sized, and the plastic sometimes turns to ash the moment you remove them from their shoddy blister cards. But that’s their charm, right? 

They’re a lot like one of those direct-to-video B sci-fi mockbusters (Transmorphers, Atlantic Rim, etc.)– you never know exactly what kind of treasures and/or horrors are contained within. 

Some bootlegs, though, are straightforward. They’re exact copies of the original toy and boast similar quality, construction, coloring, and size. Sometimes they’re almost indistinguishable. They’re a perfect clone, more of a Boba Fett than a Bizarro Superman. 

The ethics around these get kind of dicey. This is the case with the bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker we’re looking at today. You can lambast me in the comments and give me flashbacks to my Instagram DMs, but I won’t be too bothered– I’ve spent enough money on Hasbro and Takara products by now that I’m sure I’ve put every middle manager in both company’s kids through college. 

I picked this bootleg Sunstreaker up from AliExpress for several reasons:

  1. I’ve never owned a G1 Sunstreaker, and it hasn’t recently been reissued
  2. Many Sunstreakers on the secondary market are broken, missing pieces, or prohibitively expensive
  3. I’ve always been curious about the early Diaclone robots who became Transformers 
  4. I wanted to know if these bootlegs were good quality 
  5. It seemed like a fun thing to share with my readers 

So, let’s take a look at this Doppelganger Sunstreaker. Ending 2019 by looking at a morally-dubious copy of a beloved Autobot car robot seems like a fitting way to say goodbye to this Hell Decade. 

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