Thursday, 11 October 2012

TV Review - Thunderbirds 2086

Thunderbirds 2086 was one of my favourite childhood cartoons mainly because being a little bit like Thunderbirds meant Dad tended to watch it with me (though he's more of a Supercar man). I've long been intending to do something on the site about the show but faced with some resources consisting of the 1983 Grandreams annual and about half of the episodes I've never felt particularly confident doing much.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Toy Custom - Transformers: Binaltech Trailbreaker

I've been itching to post this thing for ages but I thought reviewing my own custom would be somewhat pretentious and there didn't seem much point as the only other custom I've ever undertaken is slapping a bit of black paint on RotF Sideways. So I thought I'd just do a write-up here.

I say "my own custom" but this is probably one of the easiest customs since everyone realised turning Universe Sunstreaker's head and legs around to make Tigertrack.

The very simple steps are as follows: -

1: Pick up this Binaltech Hound knock-off. It's generally very good quality with diecast parts and substantial retooling from the original. It's basically a re-shelling to make the thing look more like a Hummer. Obviously the scale of the alternate mode is miles off in reality, being the same basic size as the original Jeep Wrangler (it's actually slightly lower). 

There are only two problems with the KO in itself - firstly it's quite difficult to get the shell of the enclosed cab all tight together, usually taking a couple of tries; secondly, the hip joints are very, very stiff which can cause some problems in terms of balancing the guy. All in all though I'd say the toy justifies its' price of $16 in itself. Incidentally I did order my example from Chimung via his site and it arrived very promptly and in excellent condition.

2: Buy a Hasbro Alternators Swindle or Rollbar. This retooling of the Jeep mould was actually intended to be Trailbreaker until some exciting copyright reason or another intervened. While the toys came out in lousy colours with random names slapped on the head cast is unmistakably based on a blend of cartoon/comic and original toy likenesses of Trailbreaker. Get one as cheap as possible - it probably won't be much because no-one liked either figure and both came out at the time the line was beginning to warm shelves. 

The only bit you'll need is the head so if you find some junker with no legs or something that'll do. The heads simply pop off both figures. There's an easily-accessible screw at the back of the Swindle/Rollbar head that allows you to open it up and remove the visor. You can then either paint it red (toy) or blue (cartoon) according to your preference and just put it back together. The generic head off the KO is all-new, so if you're a prolific customiser it can probably be used for something else.

3: Get the Reprolabels' "Classics" Trailbreaker sticker set. The Autobot symbol, windscreen decal and face aren't much use, but the doors of the Movie Voyager Ironhide toy it's intended for are so close to the Binaltech KO it's unreal. I had to trim some of the clear edges off and use a little improvisation around the rear wheel hubs but generally the fit is so good it's hard to believe they weren't designed for the process.

4: For the final touch I just added the Radar Scanner from the original toy. Well, technically it was the one that came with Encore Hoist. With very slight whittling to the width of the end few millimetres of the post it can fit snugly in the screw hole on the back of the head (if done carefully there's still enough of the post to allow it to connect to Hoist). 

It can't stay in there for transformation but it adds a lot to the robot mode. The other change I made was removing the spare tyre as with the additional roof kibble it makes the legs look a bit too cluttered and it adds a little more variety when displayed alongside Hound.

A more accomplished customiser might want to paint his legs and torso silver - I briefly toyed with transplanting these parts from a spare Hound but wasn't entirely sure it would work, besides which I've got very used to the dark green and don't think it hurts the figure. 

So there we go - if I can do it, you can do it too =)