transformers

#980.5: The Adventures of an Anxious Walmart Shopper on Easter Saturday

“Hey Jen, if you’re up early enough, let’s go to Walmart tomorrow morning.  I want to look for that new Coke,” I said stupidly, not thinking about what weekend it was.

“Sure,” she agreed, and that’s how it ended up that we left for Walmart at 9:45 on Easter Saturday morning.

The “new Coke” I was referring to is “Coca Cola with Coffee”, available in three different brews:  Caramel, Dark, and Vanilla.  I want to try all three.  I was a big fan of Coca Cola Blaq about 15 years ago, their first attempt to mass market a coffee/Coke hybrid.  Coke Blaq was delicious, like regular Coke but with the extra note of coffee bean.  I’m eager to try these new ones.  Coke Blaq came in a small black bottle in these come in cans, which makes me wonder if they are similar to those creamy coffee beverages, with a Coke taste?  Or something more like Coca Cola Blaq?  Inquiring minds wanted to do, and I had heard that these were showing up in Walmart stores.

Walmart was already pretty busy and then I smacked myself and realized, “Of it is.”  Ah well.

I wore an N95 mask this time; my first time.  Easy breathing but hard on the ears.  If I’m wearing one long term I’ll have to do something about the ears.  About 75% of Walmart shoppers were masked, and 100% of the staff.  This is good since virtually everybody I know has Covid, or has had a recent close brush.  I can’t believe this is my third Covid Easter.

First I made my way to the entertainment section where I picked up the newest Blue Rodeo album, Many A Mile.  On slide guitar, The Sheepdogs’ own Jimmy Bowskill, once a child prodigy discovered by Jeff Healey at age 11.  Blue Rodeo are one of those bands where I just want to own all the albums, and stay current, even if the last five or six albums have been good but not memorable.  There’s never anything wrong with ’em.  Many A Mile is as good as any.  In some regards, it’s a throwback to the classic first three Blue Rodeo albums.  Lots of awesome guitar work and hooks.  Just gets hard to remember the songs, record after record after record.

Also found in the music department were the new albums by Slash and Greta Van Fleet, but I found myself staring indifferently at them.  I didn’t even know Greta had a new album out.  Have they already dropped off the radar that badly?

Come on, where are you Spiderman: No Way Home?  Not in stock – sold out!  They had a three-fer with all three MCU Spidey films in one, but I wanted something with the bonus features that I crave.  Ah well, next time, I’ll get you Spiderman!

Finally a trip to the toy section.  No Marvel Legends figures at all, and only a couple Star Wars Black Series.  They were well stocked in Transformers and I noticed they had some reissue Beast Wars toys.  Hard to believe Beast Wars was 25 years ago.  I never bought an original Beast Wars toy, and wanted to give one of these reissues a shot.  They only had Optimus Primal and Megatron, so obviously I chose the dinosaur.  Beast Wars has always been an enigma to me.  When it was new, the toys seemed to barely transform.  The cartoon was very primitive in terms of computer animation.  But Beast Wars appealed to kids worldwide and it saved the Transformers franchise.  Curiosity got the better of me and now I am the happy owner of a reissue purple dino Megatron.

Finally, the Coke. I scoured the racks but they did not have the coffee beverages that I require.  I shall have to try convenience stores and gas stations next.  I love Coke.  I try every variety that I can get my hands on.  I have no problem with Pepsi, but it’s Coke that I want to catch ’em all.

Walmart did have two sweet looking consolation Cokes:  Quebec Maple, and British Columbia Raspberry.  Only having enough hands for one case, I chose Quebec Maple.  Upon paying, I realized that someone swapped out one bottle of Maple and replaced it with a Raspberry.  Win!  I get to try both.

I only had one panic attack while waiting to pay, and I managed to breathe my way out of it.

Walmart had run out of plastic bags and only had the more expensive cloth ones.  I could feel the tension as word spread among the customers.  I hate standing in line at grocery stores and Walmarts.  Everybody does, but I get tense.  It passed; my glasses fell off because of the way the N95 pulls on my ears, but I paid for my stuff and got out.  Didn’t need a bag.  Didn’t have the energy to look at Sunrise Records or Toys R Us.  Just came home.

Put the Coke in the fridge, pulled up a chair and started listening to the Blue Rodeo.  They’re usually pretty good for reducing the anxiety. I feel a lot better already!  Happy Easter everyone, and stay away from places like Walmart if you can!

Sunday Screening: “Fort Max” unfinished clip

On Friday night’s LeBrain Train, G1 Fortress Maximus was my #4 favourite Transformer of all time.  I don’t have a G1, but I have an (even better) Encore reissue.  I mentioned during the show that although the figure is now in storage, I did film an animated Transformers movie starring the toy.  He featured in a big battle scene with Galvatron, an homage to their original fight in Marvel’s Transformers #79.  I filmed the whole thing on the May long weekend in 2013 but lost my script and never edited it together.

However I’ve dusted off a couple shots, edited them together and I present to you a clip from the unfinished film Transformers 4:  Fortress Maximus.*  Music is “Immortal” by Max the Axe, from Trillion Dollar Threats.

* The series is as follows:

  1. The Transformers:  Death and Rebirth of Optimus Prime (unreleased)
  2. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Schnauzers
  3. Transformers 3: The Ghost of Starscream (unreleased)
  4. Transformers 4: Fortress Maximus (unfinished)

 

The History of the Transformers + Top Five = AstroLeBrainTrain Action!

A long show with lots of visuals tonight, and an absolute treat for fans of robots in disguise!  For those of you who joined Rob DanielsHarrison the Mad Metal Man and myself — thank you!  From the early Japanese origins, up to the present day, we took you on a guided tour of the Transformers brand.  Plenty of vintage and modern toys on display, and genuine toy ads from back in the day too.  (Facebook copyright strike — they killed the stream.  Sorry about that, but you can still watch on YouTube.)

Show format:  the first hour and 15 minutes are a history lesson.  The lists begin then!  Three lists, 15 picks, and no repeat!

This was an absolute blast.  Thanks for watching.

More Than Meets the LeBrain Train? Top Five Transformers Toys

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike, Rob & Harrison

Episode 90 – Top Five Transformers Toys

Let’s roll out! I know this episode will alienate some of our regular viewers, but it’s been one that Harrison and I have talked about doing for at least a year now. And since it’s Christmas time, it feels like the perfect opportunity to talk about some of our favourite toys.

Transformers toys, specifically. We’ll talk about the history of the brand, and bring us up to the present day. Comics, cartoons & movies will be discussed. But the actual Top Five list this week will be our favourite toys. Expect some show & tell, and I’ll also be running some vintage TV ads!

On the panel:

With two different generations of fans on board, this is sure to be a show of Cybertronian proportions!

Friday December 10, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on YouTube, Facebook and now Twitter!

#836: Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Schnauzers – How It Was Made & Full Movie

GETTING MORE TALE #836: Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Schnauzers

For one weekend in the summer of 2012, I put the music on pause.  Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Schnauzers was the title.  It was a series and  I made four movies in total.  Five, if you count the final one that I shot but never edited.  There’s something so satisfying about animating Transformers.  I wanted to go big or go home this time, and what I ended up with this time was a 44 minute movie (originally split into two parts for file size reasons).

It’s amazing to think I did this movie in a single weekend in July 2012.  Probably Canada Day weekend.  I filmed the whole thing in just two days.  You can see the the light change as I filmed from sunrise to sunset, in order to squeeze time out of every minute.  And this movie was just my side project!  At the same time, I was also posting 1-2 articles per day for my main gig:  reviews and Record Store Tales.

I came prepared for Canada Day weekend with my Nokia C3 cell phone as my only camera.  Here’s something you didn’t know.  Cell phones back then were so much easier to do primitive animation with.  There’s a pause button you could hit when you’re making a video, and it essentially allowed me to do the stop motion very single-handedly, very quickly, just by hitting that pause button.  Sure, I made a few mistakes along the way.  I had to reshoot entire scenes when I didn’t know I was pausing “off” instead of “on”, but it did enable me to do this entire thing in just two days.  I barely stopped to eat, and I was just wiped by the end of it.  I think it was a manic episode to be honest with you, but a doctor never diagnosed that so it’s just my opinion.

I chose the characters (and more importantly, toys) that I wanted to use for the movie.  Most of them are from the Generations lines, with some third party add-on kits for Hound and Goldbug.  Others are reissues of G1 originals:  Soundwave and his tapes, Predaking, and Ultra Magnus.  I needed figures that would be easy to transform on the fly.  Magnus and Predaking were brand new in my collection and I wanted to show them off.  I decided to bring more Decepticons with me than Autobots to give them a real disadvantage.  I built the teams and roughed out a story.  Dialogue was improvised on the spot but not fixed in place until the editing stage a few days later!

I used Windows Movie Maker, then and now, to edit.  It was much less stable then (or at least my computer is more powerful now).  The amount of edits I used numbered in the hundreds and crashes were frequent.  Even though I was essentially editing “live” in-camera as I filmed and animated, I was also tightening up those edits with Windows.  Funny enough, Windows has no more features in the current version than it did in 2012.  For the laser blasts, I added a “split” and inserted a “fade in from white” effect.  They are remarkably effective.

I originally edited the movie with mainstream rock music as the soundtrack.  I used Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, and AC/DC among others.  Needless to say, YouTube never let me upload it, so it sat on my various hard drives and DVDs all these years.  Until I recently had an idea.

Uncle Meat’s hatred of my “playing with action figures” inspired me to use his music to get around the YouTube issues.  More accurately, Max the Axe’s music (with a little of my sister’s mixed in).  It worked brilliantly.  Just as well as the original version, though with music you’re not familiar with.

Now you can hear many of these great Max the Axe tracks for yourself.  While watching robots blow each other to bits!

Sure, it was cool when I used “Accident of Birth” by Bruce Dickinson as the entrance music for the Colossus Schnauzers and….

Oh!  You’re confused about the Schnauzers.  Having grown up around the wee beasts, I realized that in action figure scale, you could use them as giant monsters if you could get them to do what you wanted them to do.  With Kathryn Ladano’s help, we used treats as incentives to chase and attack Autobots.  I affixed Decepticon logos to their foreheads and wrote them into the story as Shockwave’s latest creation:  Colossus Schnauzers.  With DNA stolen from a secret lab (named after the two doggies Laci and Ali), the Decepticons engineered giant versions of the beasts.

It’s up to the Autobots to find out what they are up to, with a small squad led by Ultra Magnus.  (I had focused on Optimus Prime in the preceding chapter with his death and rebirth as Powermaster Prime, so I wanted a different leader figure this time.)  I used two Bumblebee figures.  One was modified with a third-party head that made him into a Generations version of Goldbug, his rebuilt form.  This is all roughly based on an original Marvel comics storyline.  I also took inspiration from the TV show.  One figure that I wanted to show off next time was my transparent “Ghost Starscream”.  I didn’t have time to get into that with this chapter, so I ended it with some foreshadowing that would allow me to introduce my ghost version of the figure next time.

I coloured the dialogue to make it easier to tell which ‘bot is talking. I did an “infodump” introduction for the Predacons.  This is the much-critisized technique used by Bob Budiansky in the 80s Marvel series.  Each new toy had an introduction, because the comic was just a device to sell toys.  That was my homage to Budiansky.  The characterisations of the figures in my film are meant to be true to their toy bios and comic book appearances. Although my story takes place in a universe all its own, it’s similar to the ones you know.  The “release the Schnauzers” scene is of course a parody of the the Kraken scene in Clash of the Titans.  I wanted something that reminded me of Poseidon pulling the chain that opened the big gate.

I haven’t watched this movie for a long time. I had forgotten that I even included a “blooper reel” at the end. This is the only part of the movie that still has its original music soundtrack. Though I’ve forgotten the name of the track, that’s Kathryn Ladano’s music playing and that’s her in her only cameo!

Consider that I shot this thing in two days, sunrise to sunset, and edited it together in a couple more, all while posting new daily reviews and Record Store Tales. That’s unbelievable and probably also unhealthy. But I still enjoy the results! I legitimately like this. I also enjoyed adding the new music by Max the Axe and seeing how it worked out.  I’m proud enough to post it here for you to enjoy. And I hope you do!

Live Stream – Uncle Don Don Cutoff Shorts Countdown, Interview with Geoff Stephen, Unboxings & Guests

Thanks for watching the Saturday live stream! If you missed any of it, it is now available below via YouTube. I ran into numerous technical issues, so apologies are in order for bad audio, bad video and audio lag.

Content-wise though, woah nelly! You are in for a treat. Here are some highlights:

For a live interview with Geoff Stephen of 1001 Albums in 10 Years, skip ahead to 0:07:00!  He is doing something really special for healthcare workers, so check out what he has to say.

To check out some unboxings, go to 0:12:40 of the stream.

BONUS FOOTAGE – For a sneak peak at an animation test (not part of the actual live stream) you must go to 1:26:06.

For the Uncle Don Don Cutoff Shorts Countdown, start at 1:26:10 of the stream.

For a special Star Wars chat with all-around awesome guy Kovaflyer, go to 2:01:30 of the stream!

Technical issues aside, this live stream set one new record.  It represents the longest span of time in a single day.  I’ve done longer streams but this one had segments ranging from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, a 14 hour range.  It was fun for me and I hope you enjoy despite the quality problems.

VIDEO: LeBrain’s Birthday 2019

Music by Max the Axe.

“Overload” from the CD Overload (2008)

 

#732: Where the Hell Am I?

GETTING MORE TALE #732: Where the Hell Am I?

What is the most important information to possess when you’re shopping?  Is it your shopping list?  Is it money?

No friends, that is not what matters most.  What you need to know most of all is where the hell you actually are.

I was working at the Record Store in the late 90s.  We had big red gift certificates in different denominations.  They had our logo printed on them.  You could use them at any of our locations.  They were pretty standard gift certificates, like any other store might have.  Today virtually everybody has switched to magnetic gift cards instead, which undoubtedly saves on paper.

A family came in one afternoon looking to spend.  They had over a hundred dollars in gift certificates.  Enough for the whole family to enjoy.  Collectively they had numerous questions, but were courteous and friendly.  I spent roughly an hour with them, helping them find songs and retrieving CDs for them to listen to.  They narrowed down their pile of CDs to the discs they wanted most.  Then we got to the checkout counter.

I made sure each case had the right CD inside, and I made sure each one was clean.  I rang them up and told them the total, when the man handed me a little blue HMV gift certificate.

My heart sank.

“This isn’t us, this is for HMV,” I informed the man.

“This isn’t HMV?”  He was stunned!

No!  This isn’t HMV!  Didn’t you notice all our massive signage?  Also, all our CDs are used!  When was the last time you saw a used CD at an HMV store?  My mind was screaming all of these things silently as the man.

What bugged me the most wasn’t all the wasted time on these people, it was that he was actually angry!  Angry at who?  If it were me, I’d be super embarrassed but I sure as hell wouldn’t be angry.  I would also be sure to buy something — anything — to make up for all the time the store spent on me.  This guy escorted his family out, leaving all the discs with me at the counter.

I’m sure the boss man was thrilled when I told him this story, and how effective all our store signage was!


Now a story of my own, but without the temper tantrum.

As many of you know, my friend Jason and I collect Transformers.  There are not really any decent toy stores in Kitchener.  We have a Toys R Us and an EB Games.  Up in Waterloo, there’s a good store called J&J’s, but they don’t carry Transformers.  (I did, however, buy up their GI Joes.)  Cambridge is the place to be for toy shopping.

I took a day off work to go toy shopping with Jay.  First we hit a place called The Toy Society, which is an excellent store for vintage action figures.  A little bit of every genre.  It’s hard to leave without spending money.  But Jay and I had a specific goal that day, which was to check out our friend Dan’s new store.

Dan owns B&K Collectables, which if you collect Pops, is now the place to go to get ’em.  He also carries vintage G1 and new Masterpiece Transformers.  His prices are high but when I buy a vintage figure from him, I know it’s complete and in working condition.  He’s never let me down, and I have scored several rare boxed G1 figures from him over the years.  He used to sell by mail, but in 2016 he opened an actual storefront, in a shared space with a computer store.

Jay and I hadn’t been there yet, and so partially planned this day to check out Dan’s store.  We knew roughly where it was, on Queen Street down by Len’s Mill Store.  We parked and started looking.

“This must be it,” said Jay as we entered a toy store.

We looked and took it all in.  There was a guy working near the back.

“BIG DAN!” shouted Jay.

The guy turned around.  He was big but he was not Dan.

“Did Dan hire someone?” I whispered to Jay.

“Sorry, is Dan around?” said Jay to the started toy store guy.

“No,” he answered simply, but probably confused.

“OK, thanks,” we said as we looked around for a bit.  The store was cool but he didn’t have any Transformers.  We had to be in the wrong place.  Turns out, it was a store called Playin’ Around.  B&K Collectables was still a few more doors down!

Once we found Dan, we had a laugh at our embarrassment.  As usual, his assortment of vintage figures was impressive.  I had my eyes on a complete G2 Megatron, but Jay was more excited about G1 Blitzwing.

“Holy shit you have Blitzwing!” said an excited Jay.  A customer over in the computer half of the store was amused by his excitement.  “I can’t believe you have a G1 Blitzwing, is he complete?”

The computer customer walked over.  “OK, I have to see what a G1 Blitzwing is, if it’s this exciting.”

Jay explained to him, “He’s a triple changer!  He changes into a plane AND a tank.”

“Ahh,” said the guy.

You have to have fun with shit.  Here I am with Jay, two guys in their 40s buying toys in the hundreds of dollars.  The computer guy thinks we’re nuts.  We also walked into a store and accidentally scared a guy by yelling “BIG DAN!”  It’s funny.  The guy with the HMV gift certificate could have made that experience so much better for everybody if he just saw the humour in it (and bought something for all my efforts).

Don’t be angry.  If you’re a dumb shit, just own it and laugh it off.  Ponoby’s nerfect, nam.

 

 

 

#718: Phases

GETTING MORE TALE #718:  Phases

Do you go through phases?  Perhaps you had a Hawaiian shirt phase (I did).  Maybe you had a period when you were really into crème brûlée.  It’s alright.  Don’t be ashamed.  Lets talk about different phases.

There’s always a spark.  Look back at your own phases.  Can you pinpoint something that started it?

The first time I heard Marillion was by pure chance.  A customer who liked me came in and sold three minty Marillion remasters.  (The bosses hated this customer, but he liked me because I gave him good money for his music.  The bosses thought I paid him too much and “spoiled” him so to speak.)  The three Marillion remasters he sold were  Script For A Jester’s Tear, Fugazi, and Misplaced Childhood.  Iron Tom Sharpe recommended I buy Misplaced as my first.  I spent a weekend with it and wanted more.  “Kayleigh” was absolutely immediate.  I knew it was the hit after a few verses.

A painful breakup later that year intensified my Marillion lust.  I went to their website and was astounded by what I saw:  a dozen or so exclusive albums only available online.  Some were sold out, such as Live at the Borderline.  Those that were not sold out went into my shopping cart, and showed up at my house a couple weeks later!  I even signed up for the fan club to get the free Christmas CD, and I pre-ordered their next studio album (unheard of back then).

I wasn’t done.  I wanted to track down the unavailable things.  Ebay had some and that’s how I ended up paying $300 for marillionrochester.  Only 2000 copies of it were ever made, which were sent directly to fans who donated to their 1997 American tour fund.  It’s signed and it is a holy grail item if there ever was one.  And I have it and it’s a much-loved part of my collection.

This Marillion phase also inspired a small Scottish phase.  I’m half Scottish and Marillion’s early lyrics got me interested in exploring that side of my history.  That culminated in my Rampant Lion tattoo.  I’m sure the actual Scottish guy at work, who was born and raised there, must have thought I was a wannabe.  (I probably was.)  I’m also half Italian but all I could think of for that tattoo was a bowl of spaghetti.

The shirt phase was a real thing too.  I bought a lot of shirts and not just Hawaiian.  This phase merited its own chapter:  Record Store Tales Part 249:  The Shirts.

Ugggh.

There was a Lego phase.  This was sparked inadvertently by T-Rev.  He had a giant sack of Lego from his childhood.  A lot of it was space Lego.  We spent an afternoon organising it to sell on Ebay.  He eventually got a few hundred bucks for the sack, but that afternoon of going through it all was naturally nostalgic.  So, I bought a Star Wars Lego set.  It was the Ultimate Collector Series X-Wing fighter.  Go big or go home.

It starts with one, and it just escalated from there.

The problems with collecting Lego are multiple.  Not only is it a real rabbit’s hole, but it’s just not easy to display.  When Lego gets dusty it’s a pain in the ass to clean.  Bits and pieces pop off when you dust.  And spouses tend to knock them over and try to put them back together without you noticing.  Some of those sets are just too huge to display.

My Lego collecting ended with the Star Wars prequel trilogy in 2005.  The new releases became boring after that, and the shelf space issue had peaked.  I sold almost all of it in favour of my next phase:  robots.

Transformers were a huge part of my childhood, probably more so than Lego originally was, because Transformers had an ongoing Marvel comic series keeping me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next issue.  Transformers came back into my life in 2006, just by fiddling with a Beast Wars toy that was sitting around the office.    This phase has not really abated.  These transforming figures are more than just toys.  The high-end ones are functional pieces of art.

There were a few years of a Black Sabbath phase, where I obsessed to collect “everything” just like I did with Marillion.  I had a couple really good years of collecting Deep Purple in bursts.  The internet opened up a lot of avenues.  It was easy to get rare things like Stormbringer on CD.  You just had to be prepared to pay for it.

What about tattoos and piercings?  Were they a phase?  No — I still have one earring (left tragus) and it’s more a professional thing today.  And priorities.  My “thing” for tattooed and pierced girls must have been a phase, though.  Mrs. LeBrain has neither!  Not even her ears.

All my interests over the years have ebbed and flowed, except one:  my love of Rock and Roll.  35-odd years and we are still together.  And more in love than ever.  It’s been there for me every time.  Virtually every story on this site is associated with music.  That’s a beautiful thing.

 

Gallery: TFCon 2018

TFCon in Toronto has become another tradition of Sausagefest-scale epic-ness for me. Coming the weekend just after ‘Fest, it help blunts the withdrawal. Jay and I left Kitchener promptly at 8 am. We planned to buy the “early bird” passes that got us onto the dealer floor two hours before general admission. That’s what we did last year, though it’s not really necessary.

I hoped to pick up a specific Toronto exclusive: Maketoys’ “Maestro” (a third party version of Generation 2 Jazz complete with deco), and that was first mission accomplished ($140 from The Chosen Prime). Its lovely clamshell packaging is an homage to its 1993 “G2” counterpart. There was no line for this particular exclusive, and they had lots left by the time we departed around noon.

Maketoys Maestro (aka G2 Jazz)

As usual we had a great time, but with a couple gripes. Last year the early admission came with a shaving kit and a bottle of water — this year nothing! (I’m only partially griping, but I heard two other guys having the exact same conversation as us. And just like us, “I still haven’t used that shaving kit.”)

Our other complaint were the people with the fucking backpacks.  Everybody under the age of 30 seemed to be sporting backpacks of varying practicality, but weren’t seeming to be buying things to put in the backpacks.  Just as bad:  the people in stupid outfits that had nothing to do with Transformers.  We saw some witches and some things that were probably anime references, and a few people sporting swords.  There was only one Bumblebee, one Prime, and one Ratchet.  Optimus Prime’s dad was dressed as Sparkplug Witwicky.

Beast Wars Megatron and Sparkplug Witwicky

To us a lot of people seemed to be there to be “seen” rather than be there for the awesome Transformers.  90% of the floor space is dedicated to collectable robots that turn into stuff.  Know what kind of event you’re going to, people!

Bitching aside, we both did well.

Jay bought the cool hologram-looking lights seen in the video above, one each for his two boys. You can hear the creator discuss pricing in the video. Jay also got a great price on a black Encore reissue of G1 Ironhide, just $20.

Jay’s best score:  he picked up Fanshobby “Megatooth” (third party G1 Repugnus), a figure I had been eyeing myself. It has chromed plastic mandibles and claws, which is considered a premium finish for figure collectors.

Fanshobby Megatooth (far right)

A look at my purchases below:

  • Takara Masterpiece MP-15/16-E Cassettebots vs. Cassettetrons.  Compatible with MP Soundwave in cassette modes.
  • KFC Kingzilla (third party MP G1 Snapdragon) with headmaster and triple-changing.
  • Fanstoys Spindrift (third party MP G1 Seaspray)
  • Maketoys Maestro (third party MP G2 Jazz)
  • Hasbro Hun-grrrr, which completes the set I only began last Friday at the beginning of Sausagefest!  Hun-Grrr becomes the torso of the combining Terrorcons, forming the evil Abominus.

Check out some of the cool sights below.  In this gallery:  prototypes of figures yet to come, and some customs as well.

And finally, some of the best of the cool stuff for sale.

Jay knows how to do this stuff.  I saw him negotiate $20 on a red B.A.P.E. Optimus Prime, and it was done with…art, really.  There was an art to it and both guys were happy with the outcome.

With us, we do TFCon right.  We won’t make you dodge our backpacks.  We’re smart about it.  When we buy a couple large items, we take them to the truck and go back in.  It’s a Transformers convention, not a campout.  And I sure as fuck wouldn’t dress up as a Jedi if I’m going to TFCon.

But whatever!  It was fun as these photos show.  Can’t wait for next summer.