COLLECTING THOUGHTS: A new source of action! (part 2)

We’re back for the second part of our look at the world of custom Action Masters! What do you do when you’ve run out of toys to collect? Get new ones made, of course!

Joking aside, I explained last time that I’ve been on a real high with these fanmade efforts of late, with four examples already under my belt before even unveiling what’s to come below. They’re all the work of the talented individual known as Blueshift on behalf of Toy-Fu, and even better, they’re in support of a worthy cause! Every penny raised goes towards Mary’s Meals, a charity specialising in providing school meals to children in poorer countries worldwide.

Anyway, when it came time to head to TFNation this year, I had a definite Action Master itch to scratch, especially as Toy-Fu had already announced an extensive range of one-off examples would be available at the con. Needless to say, as soon as I could get through those dealer room doors, I was straight over there to check out the merch on offer, with six new robots having now been added to the shelf!

First up, a dose of Fire Guts! Yes, this eye-popping example is a definite homage to the legendary 2002 e-HOBBY exclusive repaint of the vintage Ginrai toy (a version of which is more commonly known as Powermaster Optimus Prime in the west), itself a nod towards the character’s powered-up ‘fire guts’ attack in the Japanese Masterforce cartoon. The colour scheme has since been brought to life in 3PMP-style too, but there’s little doubt for me that seeing an Action Master interpretation of it was just too good to be true!

The original toy is so incredibly orange that it could have been excused if this custom effort didn’t quite reach the same levels of outlandishness. Yet Blueshift has done a fantastic job matching the required hues, to the point where it’s almost an assault on your optic sensors! Better yet, he’s used a new cast of the original Action Master Optimus Prime mould instead of just applying paint over an existing copy of the toy, so it feels as authentic as Hasbro having begun production again!

Of course, for those keeping score, AMFGGG here makes a wonderful accompaniment to the custom Action Master Elite Black Zarak already in my possession (given he was the enemy that inspired the ‘fire guts’ attack to begin with)! Bizarrely, this hadn’t even occurred to me as I keenly snagged him from Toy-Fu, and it wasn’t until later that I realised what good fortune had struck. I was simply too smitten with him then for the sheer coincidence of it all to occur to me at the time!

As my third example of the Action Master Optimus design, he’s certainly given me a taste for more in the future. Toy-Fu also had a Nemesis Prime example on display which I have to say I now wish I’d picked up too, but perhaps that’s an idea for another time. For today, this beauty will more than suffice.

Next, we have a popular recolour of one of my personal favourite Action Master designs, with this grey Shockwave being a nod towards the character’s pre-Transformers roots. The original toy began life as ToyCo Astro Magnum in 1983 and was grey before it was later recoloured to become the purple Decepticon we all know today. The original colour is still one that firmly sticks in the memory, though, so a non-transformable homage is a fantastic way to go!

They make a perfect pair between them, giving off an incredibly different vibe despite there being no actual retooling in this case. I particularly like how Blueshift has opted for the vibrant red hands and chest, as opposed to the clear alternatives seen on later releases of the Astro Magnum design such as the Tandy-licensed Radio Shack Galactic Man (known commonly as ‘Shackwave’).

Bizarrely, this muted colour palette gives ‘Shackwave’ a very different vibe to many of his evil Action Master contemporaries. However, the bright red brings him in line enough to make it all work, and he looks so breathtakingly good that he slots into the ranks rather seamlessly.

Again, my brain can’t help but imagine the countless possibilities the various other Decepticon designs could hold, with Action Master versions of all the classic repainted colour schemes suddenly flooring to the fore! Even if some of those never become a reality, it’s still cracking to see this iconic piece of Transformers history done justice.

Next is one of the more well-known Autobots from early Transformers, although he was never granted an Action Master release as part of the ’90s slate – it’s Grapple! This is another example that makes full use of orange to catch your eyes, easily setting it apart from its obvious mouldmate, Inferno.

It’s funny to say this, but Action Master Inferno has actually never been one of my favourite releases in the line, despite me being a massive fan of his original 1985 toy. There was just something about it that didn’t quite win me over as much as other designs. For whatever reason, though, I am totally and utterly smitten with Grapple, and have been since I first laid eyes on him!

I’m not even sure why that is, as they’re ostensibly the same in terms of appearance save for the obvious paint changes. Yet something about Grapple charms me for all he’s worth, leaving Inferno distinctly in the shade, which is good work for a custom job! He’s also a cracking colour match to the 1985 Grapple figure.

I think what also boosts Grapple’s standing is that he’s a much-needed addition to the roster of classic characters done up in Action Master form, a missing piece of the puzzle from over thirty years prior that has now been deservedly put in place. I love the crazy stuff like Fire Guts above, but seeing a big name like this brought into the ranks is well worth it.

Still, it’s good to have a bit of fun, too, isn’t it? This brings us nicely to this following example, a recoloured version of Action Master Blaster in his infamous Shattered Glass colour scheme. Honestly, if you’d have suggested such a thing as a custom effort, I don’t know that I would have been all that excited about it, but seeing how this turned out? Incredible!

To be fair, there is something about the palette that just works, especially as it’s a clever inversion of Blaster’s classic hues. I am always taken by how stunning the 2013 e-HOBBY G1 toy is whenever I look at it in my collection, yet nothing could have prepared me for an Action Master take as fabulous as this!

It’s yet another example of Blueshift’s work outdoing the original on which it’s based, in my opinion, as the traditional red figure is fun but far from one of my favourites of the line. To my eye, the SG repaint easily outdoes it in the looks department.

If nothing else, those piercing red eyes and the beautifully captured dark blue face bring this guy to life. It’s almost enough to make me consider more Shattered Glass Action Masters in the future… almost.

Now we move onto what must surely be one of the more niche efforts of all the Toy-Fu offerings, yet one I couldn’t be more thrilled about. Yes, it’s Zoom-Zoom!

Wait, what? Who? No, don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything major, but this red Jazz effort is merely a nod towards the equivalent colour found on one release of Binaltech Meister in 2004. Mandated by the car manufacturer, the toy was later repurposed as a new character named after Mazda’s well-known phrase to describe what it calls “the emotion of motion”. I can’t comment on all that beyond Zoom-Zoom being an amusing name for a fantastic alternate paint job, so I’m happy!

Anyway, this is not a figure I ever imagined in Action Master form before. Still, I think it’s truly inspired, especially as I have previously opined that such repaint options should become more mainstream in Transformers. Pleased to see I’m not alone in that opinion!

If nothing else, Zoom-Zoom plays well into the absolute absurdity at the core of Action Masters! The whole idea and execution of the line has always been somewhat goofy, so why not have a bit of fun with it along the way? Although I will say that my desire for a Subaru-inspired Action Master Prowl repaint is now in overdrive.

All of this brings us to the very last example in our exploration of these beautiful custom specimens, at least for now. Fortunately, I saved something special for the end, as what could be more exciting than the idea of an Action Master Jetfire?

Whether it’s because of his convoluted pre-Transformers origins, the impact the resulting licensing had on his fictional portrayal or just that the 1985 toy itself is so damned good, Jetfire is undoubtedly one of the most desirable G1 toys of all. So the opportunity to own a perfectly-recreated homage to that in miniature Action Master form was one I knew I couldn’t pass up. This was a must-have from the Toy-Fu table!

Needless to say, he hasn’t disappointed in hand, with the incredible custom work on offer proving nothing shy of awe-inspiring! Featuring an unprecedented amount of new design and moulding, this thing is spot-on perfect in how it brings the classic figure to life in new form. The colours, the paint, the sculpt, the finish – all of it is sheer customised perfection. A crowning glory in an altogether awesome set of beautifully rendered toys.

So, maybe I’m not quite finished with Action Masters after all, eh? If the Toy-Fu team keep making them as good as these, I’m not sure I’ll ever be done.

TTFN

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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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