9 Years of Blogging

Wow! 9 years to the day. It all started because I had a lot of toys and I wanted to talk about them. Back then I was just taking pictures with the poor light of the little room I was in. Over time I built a shed into a hobby room. I started to get more serious about my collecting, and focused on my choices.

Most recently I took a hiatus from the blog, not the collecting. My sister, who was dealing with some mental issues came out to live with me at the same time I was getting ready to move 300 miles North. Uproot my whole life and start a new one. New job, new house, new everything.

I was fortunate to move into a house that has a strange room downstairs that is kinds of like a living room. Well it became my new hobby room. Unfortunately, it is also the main thoroughfare to get from the inside of the house to the outside, so there are people and a dog wandering through all of the time.

Lots of life happened all at once and it was quite overwhelming. But I have come out the other side, seemingly more prepared to continue on with life, and ready to really get this blog back on track. Over the 9 years, I have posted 820 posts. Everything from Transformers to Minimates, Legos to Hot Wheels. And everything in between. I still love toys, the fun and the engineering of it all. I look forward to the future and all that comes with it.

Currently I am in the middle of a new building project that I want to post more about. It is a HUGE 2 foot cube diorama of a factory set for Minimate scale, about 1/35.

That is a 21 inch T-Rex on the bottom level. This thing is huge.

From my time of making dioramas I have found that the 1/35 scale is really great for many different toys. Minimates, LEGO and Transformers all fit in well in this scale. So I figured if I am going to go for a new diorama that will cover a lot of different aspects of toy collecting, I might as well go for broke and do it up right.

I am very excited for what the future holds. As I get rolling on the restart of the blog posting, I have the new Transformers: War for Cybertron: Siege Deluxe figures to take a look at. And we will go back and revisit all of wave 1 as we go along to catch up. I look forward to what is to come.

Dodge and LEGO, a match made in boxy car heaven

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the new LEGO set 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and 1970 Dodge Charger R/T 75893 for purposes of review. I have been going through a lot of Speed Champions lately. Building the nicely scaled cars for photography with MiniMates. It just happens to be the time when all of the new sets are dropping and they are coming on the tail of one another.

The Dodge lineup of cars has always been a boxy style of vehicle (besides a few notable examples). This is a new drag setup that pits old against new. We have the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon verses the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T. Two cars from the Dodge family that could not look more different, but somehow still look related.

The Demon totally fits the modern take on the Speed Champion line. New super fast cars that are easily recognizable. This yellow beast is no different. It sports black highlights and graphics. The side decals could easily be left off as the 1:1 car does not utilize the decals. There are a number of decals that make up the front end, and those do have to be used to make the recognizable grille and light package. One thing I was concerned with was that on the real car, there is a special set of wheels that you get in the Demon Crate to make a drag car. I was hoping that since this was a drag set, that we would not be stuck with some skinny tires for the front. What LEGO did was really cool. They left the front tires the way they are, but they added side walls to the back tires to make them fatter and look like drag wheels, without changing a whole lot about the wheel. Pretty neat.
The build of the Demon is really fun. There are a lot of tricks in play, and you have to flip parts all over the place to get it together. Nothing is too tricky, and the directions on this one are super straight forward.

The 1970 Dodge Charger R/T is a classic car like no other. The Charger has been a mainstay in Hollywood for decades. This one comes all black. When you look at it alone, it looks gigantic. The front end looks like it goes on forever. It is a trick of the build, as it is only about a stud to a stud and a half longer than the Demon.

As with many of the Speed Champion sets, there is a way to change the design of the Charger. Push lightly on the middle of the hood, and the piece comes out. Change it over for a blown engine, and you might have a chance against the Demon. Probably not, but at least it will be a fun race to watch. There are also enough parts to change out the stock looking hubcaps for fat drag tires and more modern black wheels in the front that match the Demon. Stock or drag, whatever your flavor, you can make it with this set.

This set comes with the two cars, a female driver for the Demon, decked out in a Demon race suit. There is a male driver for the Charger. He looks more like a weekend warrior with a Dodge t-shirt on under his jacket and blue jeans. This set comes with a third figure, a woman in sunglasses and a grey hoodie. She looks like she would be in charge of a street race. There is also an official looking “Christmas Tree” to get the race started. It would have been cool enough just to have the starting lights, but LEGO went ahead and made it work, where you push down on a slider on the back to raise the lights in the sequence to start.

This is a fantastic set. It is a nice change from all of the curvy European cars we have been seeing as of late. This set stands apart from the rest with the bold boxy shape and more standard street car. This is great for collectors of classic cars, LEGOs, and people looking to fill the streets of their LEGO City with some good looking Speed Champions.

LEGO Speed Champions McLaren Senna

McLaren Senna Side

Well, how about that, two LEGO sets in two days. I was at Target this morning wandering the aisles, and I saw the new McLaren Senna. I had so much fun building the Ferrari F40 the other day, I jumped at the chance for a second build of the week.

I had built the McLaren 720S a while back, but I was not terribly impressed. I felt that there was a lot left to be desired with that build. but I could tell there were some pretty neat parts being utilized with this set. What a difference two years makes.

Senna with 720S

I think one of the best parts of the build was the color choice. LEGO could have gone a lot of ways with the build, but they decided on grey with a touch of orange. Now grey is a bit of a risky move, since it can be a bit on the boring side. But the orange was a nod to the earlier release of the 720S and the car the Senna was based off of.

Senna with wind tunnel fan

The build went really easily. It was a lot of fun, especially at the back end. It took a huge number of parts to make the whole rear of the car. So much detail. There were not too many stickers. 20 for the whole car. One of the best is down at the bottom of the door. In the 1:1 car, there is a window down there. LEGO took a short windshield, flipped it over, added stickers and it is held in place with a piece locked on top of it. Someone sure did have fun working outside the box on that one.

Many of the Speed Champions vehicles either come with a way to change race cars into street cars, or they come with some sort of accessory. This one came with a wind tunnel fan. Not the most inventive, but I don’t think my Ferrari team will let McLaren use their big one, so this one will have to do.

A lot of fun to build and a great looking model when finished. A lot better than the 720S with more of a dynamic feel all around. Get this one for sure.

LEGO Speed Champions Ferrari F40 Competizione 75980

Competizione version.

I absolutely love the Speed Champions line. Engineering in toys is one of my all time favorite aspects of collecting, and seeing how the LEGO designers take their little blocks and turn them into recognizable real cars is always amazing to me.

This particular Speed Champion is the Ferrari F40 Competizione. The Competizione was a special version that only saw 10 having been built based on requests from normal rich people that did not necessarily want to race the cars. The first two were called LM (LeMans), while the rest came with the Competizione name.

F40 Competizione Side

The build of the F40 is pretty straight forward. Since the Competizione was a street car, kind of, they did not come all decked out with sponsors. So this is one of the few Ferraris in my collection that had relatively few stickers. Only about 14 or so. They aren’t too tricky to place either. The stickers are mostly air intakes and badges for the front and back. They could certainly be left off, but you would be missing all of the vents that the F40 is known for.

F40 Competizione Rear

As with most of the Speed Champions single packs there are some variations that can be made. Most have something like a change in the hood or a switch from track to road. Well, this one is no different.

F40 Competizione with parts for standard F40

There are enough parts to change out the Competizione for a standard F40. Smoked headlights, a red spoiler, new exhaust package, and new rims. Not to mention a whole new hood section. Take off the windshield, flip the car, and the Competizione hood falls off and the new hood falls into place. Easy change. The only difference is that the standard F40 had smaller air intakes on the hood. A very minor difference, but LEGO was willing to throw in all of the parts to replace the entire hood section. Very cool.

Standard F40

So, track or street, you take your pick. Two versions in one. This is another great set from the Speed Champions line for LEGO. I have a lot of LEGOs, but I am not a crazy collector. I am very specific about my purchases. In the case of the Speed Champions, I have not come across I have not liked, and most I have loved. This one is no different. Great for all ages to build, and it looks great on display too. The Ferrari collection grows.

Starscream – Transformers: Generations – Power of the Primes – Voyager Class

Well, hmmm. I think I was expecting more from a big Voyager Class Starscream. What we ended up with was a guy that looks like he is standing on his tiptoes. He has giant Popeye forearms, and a tiny head.

I am not sure what version of Starscream they were trying to go for here. He looks a bit like the small Legends Class figure from the Thrilling 30 line.

Well, as a Power of the Primes Voyager Class figure, Starscream comes with a pair of feet for the eventual transformation into a Combiner that for some reason has no name. It should be made up of all jets. Starscream is the body, while Blackwing and Dreadwind can make up two of the 4 limbs. They only need 2 more jets and we are good to go. I am sure we can pilfer some from the Combiner Wars line if we need to.

Transforming him into jet mode is not a big deal. Pretty straight forward. I am bummed that such a big figure has the arms handing off the sides like it does, and the feel stick down off the engines. This whole thing feels a bit lazy to me. We have seen some great transformations with these combiner type figures, but this is not one of them.

The profile of the jet is really weird. The landing gear at the front is REALLY far forward. And then back end is really fat.

The top profile of the jet is nice. It looks like a European fighter with the extra winglets near the cockpit.

Then there are the feet. What to do with the giant feet. They are supposed to hang off of the wing. Yuck! That looks horrible. But if he ever wants to combine, he needs to bring some feet with him.

As a combiner, he transforms into the torso. The cockpit opens and allows the Seeker Enigma to be placed in his…stomach. The new head that flips out is better suited for the larger figure, and way better than the pinhead he comes with in his regular robot mode. People seem to always be on opposite sides of the argument when it comes to Starscream having a crown.

I think it is much better that Grimlock has the feet than Starscream. For Grimlock, they work pretty well. They are too bulky for Starscream. I think the pieces made to be either hands or feet worked better for the Combiner Wars line, where a figure was either given a hand or a foot. This time around, they are able to color coordinate the hands to the figures, but to what end? Is it better this way with giant armor?

The journey continues. I have been getting some of the bigger figures, and a few smaller figures. We will see what is what, and finally put together a combiner in this crazy Power of the Primes line.

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