From last night’s show Cool Collectables, here’s the animation of Transformers Earthrise Scorponok transforming from Scorpion to robot mode. This took about an hour to make. Toy includes DK-19 upgrade kit by DNA Design,
Music is “Randy” by Max the Axe.
The always difficult-to-please Chris Sarre called this a “Top Five” show last night, and I’m flattered but have to agree with him! Thanks to Rob from Visions In Sound, and Harrison the Man Metal Man for showing off your music and entertainment collectables last night. From rare CDs, autographs and Australian exclusives, to board games, books and odds n’ ends, we saw a lot of cool items with great stories behind them.
- Colm Feore autograph and story
- Custom Lego minifigs
- Stop-motion transformations
- Gimli the Cat
- Sealed action figures
- Vintage Atari games
- Fender acoustic bass formerly owned by the late Don Simmons of Helix
Thanks to all who watched and participated live in the comments. Apologies for the sniffling. Those board games were dusty and triggered my allergies.
No show next time, time for a break! Thanks for watching and we’ll see ya when we see ya!
“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!
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:
- The Transformers: Death and Rebirth of Optimus Prime (unreleased)
- Transformers 2: Revenge of the Schnauzers
- Transformers 3: The Ghost of Starscream (unreleased)
- Transformers 4: Fortress Maximus (unfinished)
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 Daniels, Harrison 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.
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:
- Optimus LeBrain (yours truly)
- Visions in Soundwave (Rob Daniels)
- MegaContrarian (Harrison the Mad Metal Man)
With two different generations of fans on board, this is sure to be a show of Cybertronian proportions!
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!
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.
Music by Max the Axe.
“Overload” from the CD Overload (2008)