Useless Transformer Op-Eds: The Botcon 2012 boxset, part 1

So, with registration having now gone up today for Botcon 2012, we’ve finally gotten a glance at all the plastic goodies that will be in the 2012 boxset.

Albeit, in crappy thumbnail form, save for the four figures who already got complete reveals.

So, that said, as someone who hasn’t gone to Botcon, yet owns most of 2010’s set and all of 2011’s exclusives (save for the customizing class figure), what dost I think of the reveals we’ve had so far?

…well, first of all, WOW that’s a lot of blues and reds. Seriously, Ultra Magnus, Metalhawk, and Tracks all are pretty much exclusively red and blue, which adds a fairly…. well, to put it frankly, the set feels a little TOO unified in colorscheme as a result, albeit unintentionally.

But as for individual thoughts? I’ll start with them in order of reveal so far:

    • “The Overlord”, Gigatron

Gigatron’s an interesting duck in that he’s, well, completely not what I expected the mold to be. Overlord is a character I picture as tall, imposing, bulky but streamlined in a boxy way. And awesome, as Nick Roche and James Roberts made him in the “Last Stand of the Wreckers” mini.

So him being the Bludgeon mold threw me, given it didn’t fit whatsoever my image of what Overlord should be. It was too small, too bulky, and Overlord was nothing like a samurai whatsoever! And thus the Nick Roche-lips head they stuck on, though not a bad remold, seemed out of place.

Then people started pointing out that Giga, the Japanese Powermaster from who the name “Gigatron” is derived (as you can’t easily trademark Overlord) was very samurai in appearance. Suddenly, this started fitting a little better, and once I cleared out the expectation that I would be getting the badass LSOTW Overlord in this set, and instead a new interpretation of the character, I found myself warming up to what is admittedly a fairly solid mold.

  • SG Tracks, the Evil Autobot

Shattered Glass is a contentious theme among Transformers fans – some love it, some hate it. The idea of alternate mirror universe Transformers is a neat one for a set, but honestly? I think Botcon’s a bit too in love with the concept, given how every year since 2008 has had at least one Shattered Glass exclusive available at Botcon. (Plus, 2009 and 2012 both have SG exclusives through the club itself).

That said, Tracks is a nice looking homage to Road Rage – the name retroactively assigned to the original Diaclone-era deco of the toy that would become Tracks upon his release in North America by Hasbro. Altmode is gorgeous – he’s a nice looking red car.

But then we have robot mode. Where his head/arms/missiles are blue. And honestly? For me, the contrast seemed, well, out of place. Red/Blue is something that can look garish, and not in an awesome way like the insanely, cranked-up-to-11 garish decoes of Generation 2 era toys. No, this is something that just naturally seems to clash, and as such, despite it being a solid deco, toy, and homage, I’m not enthused by this figure.

More Botcon toy musings and thoughts to come in the next update!

Celebrating 5 Years of BT Toons!

(The following was originally posted at the BT Toons beta site.)

So, some of you have probably noticed that I haven’t posted a new comic yet this week. At least, I hope you have.

Tuesday I had a valid excuse, Friday’s update…..

Well, I’ll let next week’s comic speak for itself.

More importantly though, As of January 1, 2012, BT Toons has now been going for five years! So that said, I guess I should throw out some thank yous, in case those I credited ever see them:

-Sledgehammer70 – for starting the original BTT website, taking me on as a mod, and eventually running my webcomic and helping out with the initial setup/management.

-Brian_177/Payne/whatever he goes by nowadays – back in the day, he was the BTT admin who first lured and recruited me over to the BT Tournaments boards from ME-MW. Oh, what a mess that was back in the day among Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth fansites. (And holy cow, that whole fansite brouhaha which, though significant to me at the time, was a footnote in the footnotes of the internet that happened over 5 years ago now….. scary.)

-Neutralvibe and the rest of the GRGN crew for keeping the comic on after Sledge divested himself of the site. It’s really pretty scary when I think about it that of the original cast members of the comic who were loosely based on site mods and admins, I’m the only one who’s actually still affiliated with the site.

-Special thanks to everyone who I’ve messaged online and used (and hopefully not abused too badly) as a sounding board on drafts of scripts and stories. Most prominently, this category features Pikabot and Malunis.

-And on a more black humorish note, I guess I sorta need to thank that whole BFME fandom schism mess for eventually putting me on the track where I’d find myself drawing a webcomic, and not just that, but keeping with it. I honestly am still astounded that I’m drawing a comic on a regular basis 5 years later.

And of course, as I say that, here I am making this post in a week where I haven’t actually drawn a new comic…. but hey! This still isn’t bad as April 2010, when after finishing exams I found myself struggling to get back on to the comic saddle!

BT Toons can be read on the GRGN network at or at

Cinematic Torture

So last week, I discovered a new form of torture inadvertedly. And all on a whim.

I decided late one Saturday night “You know what? I should sit down and watch all the Sonic 2006 cutscenes”.

So what did I learn from watching them, aside from a bad way to waste time? Well, they taught some very important storytelling lessons just on account of how badly they handled said elements themselves:

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Tekno’s spoilery thoughts on the TF:Prime finale

As some of you may be aware, I am notoriously weak-willed when it comes to avoiding spoilers re: stuff I really like.

Especially if it’s TF-related material.

So naturally, once decent quality leaks of part 3 of the Transformers: Prime season finale aired, I could not resist.

(More after the jump – here there be spoilers!)

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RIP, Steve Jobs

So. Steve Jobs passed away.

While I’m not all that surprised it happened, STILL. It happened.

We’ve lost a great visionary. Everyone’s talking him up in their eulogies as being among Ford and Edison, and you know what? They’re right.

Bill Gates was someone who had connections and was in the right place at the right time. Sure he too was cutthroat and creative, but the main successes he had were the dominance of MS-DOS and Windows (and by extension IE and Office) that Microsoft established.

Steve Jobs, meanwhile…. what to say. Him and Wozniak got Apple going, and Jobs’ career has been filled with a lot of innovation. Though I don’t see Jobs as someone who created new ideas per say, he was the kind of guy who knew a good idea when he saw it, and knew how to surround himself with the people to make it work while applying a personal touch. Apple often wasn’t necessarily the first ones to come up with an idea, but under Jobs they were the ones who brought it to mass audiences and captured their imagination.

And the thing that amazes me the most about his career is WHEN he had his successes. Most people have their huge success before their twenties are through. As did Jobs.

Then, he came back to Apple, took a dying company, and turned it around. And had a string of huge successes while in his fourties and fifties. And though no, he didn’t personally create or develop or write code, by all account Jobs was a micromanager to the extent that he knew what he wanted, and would make sure every little thing was just right. I’ve heard stories about him micromanaging what ICONS look like – or heck, with the Apple Stores, they made a mockup prototype in a warehouse to get every single thing right down to stuff like wood color for the counters.

It’s unfortunate he’s left us, and the world is a lesser place for it. I look at tech like the recently-unveiled Siri, and wonder how that reveal would have gone had Jobs been at the helm. Surely, that would have been the Next Big Thing that changed things for ever.

Rest in peace, sir.