COLLECTING THOUGHTS: TFNation – a beast of a haul (part 2)

We’re back for another session of looking through my recent TFNation haul! It’s undoubtedly one of the highs of the collecting year for me, so the opportunity to savour the moment and document each toy as I go is one I’ve been looking forward to immensely.

Last time, I looked at some of the Beast Wars Fuzors I picked up over the weekend, which were entirely unexpected, given the list of what I thought I might keep an eye out for in the dealer room. Yet these things rarely go as planned!

Again, that’s far from a complaint, especially considering the range of stuff I acquired. I didn’t anticipate such a focus on Beast-era toys in general, and especially not a couple of pieces from Beast Machines! The turn-of-the-century series is much maligned, yet for my part, I’ve recently enjoyed investigating a few of the toys in my spare time. That said, it wasn’t until I saw some well-priced examples at TFN that I suddenly thought of expanding the roster.

First up is Deluxe Optimus Primal from 2000, a toy I have attempted to collect before. When that copy turned out to be unfortunately discoloured, I put it to one side in favour of eventually finding a more deserving specimen! It was far from my list of TFN wants, but it’s great to finally see him in hand, despite bearing so little resemblance to the Mainframe cartoon of the time! I think that’s what ultimately put me off so many Beast Machines toys on release. Still, all these years later, I feel like I can finally go back and appreciate some of them for what they were trying to do, even if they’re not exactly your traditional Transformers efforts.

As far as this example goes, I love the translucent blue plastic throughout much of his body, especially how it contrasts with the vibrant green highlights in the eyes and primary weapon. The transformation is surprisingly involved, too, considering it’s really just a question of re-purposing existing arms and legs, and there are a few more gimmicks built in than I might have imagined. True, the arm-flinging feature is a little goofy, and the ‘flexing’ effect is one I can live without, but honestly, I’m surprisingly taken with this effort overall. It may have taken me more than two decades, but it’s fun to finally experience him.

It’s a similar story with this next specimen, although Thrust is arguably an example that I have eyed up more than once over the years. I have a strong appreciation for the resulting cartoon model, and even though this isn’t exactly spot-on in terms of resemblance to that, the spirit is there! Again though, there’s always something that’s held me back a bit, which has meant that giving Thrust the once over at long last has been a joy indeed. He’s every bit the perverted nemesis Gizmoduck I might have hoped he was.

The vehicle form is an absolute stunner, too, effortlessly capturing the brooding biker boy vibe from the cartoon despite not being a dead ringer physically. The colours on this thing are wild, with that zinging translucent green popping hard against the main purply-pink body and gorgeous burnt yellow highlights. The chrome is also really something, adding to a real feast for the eyes. He’s a goofy old thing in many ways, but he’s easily one of my favourite Vehicons so far.

Taking us firmly back into Beast Wars territory is a sizeable handful of purchases that had at least a few fellow con-goers stopping to admire them over the weekend! First is the almighty Tripredacus from 1997, an animalistic combiner effort made up of the trio of Sea Clamp, Ram Horn and the ludicrously named Cicadacon. I had this lot back during the days of release and loved it at the time, and although I’ve since acquired the beautiful Japanese Beast Wars II recolour, I just knew it was time to pick up these Kenner examples yet again when they popped up in person.

The individuals are all varying degrees of bizarre yet surprisingly awesome, with Sea Clamp standing out as a personal favourite overall. Yet the hideous combined mode is the real showstopper here, especially how it all merges together to take shape. I’ve long maintained that the two combiners of this era are among the best and most creative in Transformers, standing up alongside stuff like Car Robots JRX as a testament to thinking outside the box. Once you finally see Tripredacus in hand, either you’ll wholeheartedly agree or you’ll be hugely put off by his unconvential and outlandish arms, I suppose! Either way, he commands a definite presence and will go amazingly well alongside his Japanese counterpart on my shelf.

Speaking of which, here’s one of my absolute favourite Beast Wars toys, although again, one that I’ve since acquired in Takara colours. Still, the Kenner release of Rampage is different enough to have me wanting both, especially considering just how magnificent he is in all his modes. Anyone who’s seen the 1990s cartoon will be intrigued by this guy, but the toy most definitely does him justice. I’ve long enjoyed how the Transmetal beast mode exterior is so robotic in nature, only for the crab’s shell to peel back and reveal a heavily organic humanoid form underneath. I think it may be one of the best realisations of the whole Transmetal concept, to begin with.

Speaking of the crab, though, it’s also one of the most jaw-dropping, show-stopping beast modes of all time, still managing to impress all these years later because of its sheer size and stunning finish. The chrome on these figures will always be a careful consideration, but so far, this copy looks absolutely perfect. This is about as good as Beast Wars gets.

What could have a chance of topping that, then? Well, I can’t go bigger, so I’ll just have to go rarer! And whilst 1996’s Onyx Primal may not be the most elusive Botcon-exclusive of all time, he’s more than good enough to be the crowning glory of this particular TFN haul! The original Basic bat mould is a personal fave anyway, but in a striking black and white colour scheme with gold trim? Forget about it.

I’ve managed to acquire a few such examples of late, and Onyx is one I’ve looked at more than once, so when I saw a copy on one of the tables, I swooped in as fast as possible. I’m delighted too because he’s utterly glorious. To say I am thrilled to have this legendary release in the collection somewhat undersells it. Just look at that sultry black bat mode, for starters!

So yes, this part of the TFNation haul may not have been entirely what I envisaged picking up, but it still feels like a suitably beastly bounty to come home with.

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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