COLLECTING THOUGHTS: TFNation 2023 haul (part 1)

It’s hard to know where the time goes, isn’t it?

After all, it feels like only yesterday when I sat here earlier in 2023, similarly lamenting the year flying by as TFNation was just around the corner yet again. Now, suddenly, I’ve barely blinked, and the convention was two months ago. What’s going on?

The TFNation dealer room ready for action!

In any case, I have meant to do a round-up and explore my various robot-related purchases from the show for all that time, just as I did last year, and now, here we are! For those not in the know, TFNation is Europe’s largest Transformers convention, run annually at the Hilton Metropole hotel just next to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, UK. It’s coordinated by a terrific team of enthusiastic fans and dedicated volunteers and proves to be a truly worthwhile cornerstone of the fandom calendar on this side of the pond every single year.

Getting ready for our Triple Takeover panel at this year’s TFNation

We’ve just recently done a whole deep dive into the 2023 event as part of a Triple Takeover chat, followed by a sit down with the organisers of the con themselves to find out what goes on behind the scenes for such a large-scale event, but suffice it to say, if you’ve ever been tempted to go to something like this, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s chock full of exciting events and a wonderful (and notably inclusive) atmosphere, all of which will have you actually yearning for the time to pass faster such that it will only be a short while before the next one! It’s a major social event as much as it is a more traditional convention.

Oh yes, and there are toys, too. So many toys!

I walked away with another pretty decent ‘haul’ this year, even if it was largely stuff that I can’t honestly say I was particularly looking out for. If anything, I’ve largely given up making wishlists ahead of time; so incredibly diverse and unpredictable is the stuff you’re likely to see in the hallowed dealer room that it makes much more sense to wait and see what turns up and takes your fancy! So, what’s in that little lot, then?

First up was a most unexpected acquisition in TakaraTomy Legends Megatron from 2018, something I was certainly not on the hunt for but couldn’t resist when I stumbled across. I’ve recently picked up a couple of Legends figures from this era, and they’ve all been tremendous fun and quite creative for a fairly inexpensive sum, with this homage to the Generation 2 Hero design of the Decepticon commander appearing like it might fit that same bill. The robot mode is a somewhat quirky affair with some interesting proportions, and it’s obvious just by looking at it that the intent here was always to be a ‘pretool’ of Blitzwing, but it’s enjoyable enough, nonetheless.

That’s also true because of the quite creative transformation involved here, with some unexpected twists and turns required to get you to the largely tidy jet form. As with most Blitzwing designs, there’s a bit of inherent kibble hanging off the bottom, but broadly speaking, I would consider this one a success. The Headmaster (or Titan Master, should you prefer) element is one that took me a minute to get used to in regards Legends and Titans Return as a whole, but I’ve wholeheartedly come around to it now, and I think it’s quite amusing if anything!

This being a Hero Megatron figure, you would expect it to have a tank mode, and of course, it does not disappoint. Again, the Blitzwing elements of the design are obvious, but nonetheless, I like how this form shapes up overall, especially since you can pop the Headmaster in a little cockpit-of-sorts. One of the other factors that sold me on this release is the inclusion of a small ‘drone’ figure modelled after Noble from Beast Machines, a series that gets altogether too little representation these days!

The Headmaster folds up and stows inside the drone’s chest or can ride on its back when it converts to its ‘Savage’ dragon configuration. It’s a fantastic design and arguably feels much more suitable as Noble than it did as this mould’s original Fangry release. Besides, as bizarre (and controversial) as the whole concept of the character may be to some, it’s one I’ve always had a strange soft spot for. If anything, this little thing is the highlight of the whole package for me!

Overall, this is a pretty weird release, if only for all the various disparate elements it tries to incorporate into one single package. Yet it’s largely successful, and considering I was primarily looking for a simple but entertaining three-way conversion to fiddle with, it’s more than delivered by my estimation. The Beast Machines nod was but the icing on top.

Next up was an item I have been actively hunting for in the Japanese Micromaster Super Car Patrol Team from 1990, known as Black Heat, Deadhour, Road Hugger and Gingham, respectively. These little lads are one of several Takara-exclusive releases of the era and have had a place on my wishlist for some time as I move ever closer to finally completing a full vintage G1 line-up. I immediately clocked them on one of the dealer room tables and nabbed them fairly swiftly!

This crew are repaints of the more familiar Decepticon Sports Car Patrol from 1989, although in this case, they’ve been reimagined as Autobots with very different colour schemes. It’s a strange experience, given I had the evil crew as a child, so seeing these highly familiar designs in all-new hues is a true treat at long last.

The only consideration here was that the bubble was sealed on the card and clearly had a fair bit of discolouration, with no real way of knowing if the toys inside were similarly afflicted. An educated guess and a fair bit of collaborative examination with friends suggested that there may be a smidge of yellowing on the rear of Deadhour’s car mode, which proved to be accurate once I exhumed the figures from the package. Fortunately, it’s not too bad and may even be fixable, and the other three are perfect.

It means I’m thrilled to add the miniature marvels to the ranks at last, especially as the Japanese Micromasters can be a real hassle to track down for a decent price. In this case, I’d say I lucked out on the biggest bargain of my 2023 haul, and a huge spot on the G1 roster nicely ticked off.

Speaking of small but perfectly formed things, let’s turn our attention to this rather incredible custom G1 Warpath, shall we? I’ve mentioned the outstanding work from Blueshift (aka Matt, aka Rocklordsrock) on this blog before, with his homemade Action Masters remaining a true source of wonder, not to mention a worthwhile offering for the Toy-Fu table where he works. Well, he also does a rather exceptional sideline of Minibots, as this specimen will demonstrate.

So, what’s the idea for this minty-fresh colour scheme then? Funnily enough, that was exactly what I wondered when I first saw it, although Matt was keen to point out that it was surprisingly inspired by one of my articles! Yes, this is an inverted-palette Warpath, or, in other words, Shattered Glass Warpath. Well, I just had to have it, didn’t I?

The best thing about Matt’s work is that it’s not just an old toy layered in a new coat of paint – he uses cast moulds to recreate the figure from scratch in different coloured plastics, so this is about as close an experience to getting a legit new take on Warpath as I suspect we’re going to get these days. It looks largely authentic and doesn’t feel too far off, either!

To say I’m down the rabbit hole on Matt’s work by this point is most definitely an understatement, as I’ve already amassed Warpaths in more colours than what you see above. In fact, with his help, I’ve tripled the official uses of the design and then some, building quite an adorable (and colourful) collection so far. Oh, and the best bit? It’s all for charity, supporting the exceptional Mary’s Meals. Result.

But wait, there’s more from Matt, as he had plenty of other custom goodies on the show, including this awesome armour for the 3-bot team of G1 Motorvators. For those not in the know, this 1991 crew of Autobots was a European repaint of the Takara Road Caesar team from Victory two years prior, with the individual releases now known as Flame, Lightspeed and Gripper. However, they were missing one vital element that made the Japanese original so memorable!

Yes, whereas their Takara counterparts could combine into Road Caesar himself, Hasbro Europe decided to release the Motorvators without the separate armour pieces required. Well, you could combine them… but it didn’t look very good! It was always an inexplicable omission from the time, although quite in keeping with how so many other European combiner team repaints were handled.

Fortunately, Matt saw an opportunity here and has delivered a truly striking result, making a cast mould of the Road Caesar armour in updated colours and providing a combined form proper for the Motorvators at long last. It looks terrific when stood next to so many of their early-90s European brethren, and it makes them feel almost ‘whole’ after all these decades. The only question is what the new Big Man is called – my current best take is ‘Motor Caesar’!

I’m especially thrilled with how this project has turned out, as Matt kindly offered me the opportunity to provide a suggestion on the colour scheme. Whilst the final result features a few notable changes from what I put forward, the hot pink of the chest and head and the use of baby blue were ideas I posited based on the typically over-the-top hues found on the chests of both Flame and Lightspeed. The finished product looks like something that the Hasbro Europe team might have conceived of at the time and works beautifully!

Finally, for today anyway, we come to this outrageously beautiful black repaint of 2008’s Animated Leader class Megatron. What a stunner! It’s a release I’ve long had on my radar, or at least since I started assembling an Animated collection, and it has not disappointed me in the least. I’ve passed on many copies online previously because they were always overpriced, so seeing it pop up for comparatively little at the con was a dream come true.

Of course, it helps that the design is one for the ages. I was bowled after by the classic grey and red version when I finally picked it up, having already coveted it for years. Fortunately, it lived up to even my wildest expectations, and so much so that I always knew this sultry black re-do would eventually be a shoo-in. I mean, just look at them together!

To me, this remains one of the all-time unmissable Megatron toys from over the decades, although that’s hardly narrowing the playing field by much. I know some fans think the choice of a helicopter for the alternate mode a little strange, but I can’t get enough of it myself! The maniacal despot has been a gun, a tank, a jet, a race car and much more besides, so this seems entirely in-keeping somehow, and besides, when it looks as good as this, who’s quibbling?

True, this release may not have much logic or inspiration behind it beyond “cool black repaint”, but again, with a result such as what you see here, I don’t see the need to worry about that too much. It’s a hugely desirable take on an already amazing toy design, and I couldn’t be happier to have picked it up. ‘Nuff said.

Join us for part 2 soon!


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About Sixo

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


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