Saturday, November 08, 2014

Again a good hunt this summer (part 2)

Fly for a steal!!!
After 5 days we left Osaka and took the LCC Peach, based in Osaka. Although the bagage dropoff and all the procedures at the airport was not that smoothly, it was a nice short flight. It lasted 3 and a half hours.
It shouldn't have been longer, because the seatplan by Peach is very narrow and cramped. Most shocking was that 90% of the cabin crew was not able to speak English properly! This is really astonishing. It was overall quite a problem to get around in Japan with just speaking English. Ordinairy Japanese do not speak English.

At HKIA the aircraft was parked next to a KLM Boeing 747-400, our national flag carrier. Next to the KLM Boeing there was a Airbus A350-800 parked. Probably an aircraft for test flights around the world. 

So hot....your taste-receptors will deteriorate..
Within an hour and a half, we were checked in at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Causeway Bay (again). So there was plenty of time left to pay a visit to my grandparents in the New Territories. Later that day we had a diner at gramps.

We have had a lot of diners at the foodcourt at Times Square Causeway Bay. The court has been renovated and the waiting time for your dish is decreased with the buzzer, at least the time you spend in fornt of the cashier's desk.

At that period, the Hasbro MP-03h Grimlock was just released in HK.
Toys R Us sold it for HK$ 1199,- but there was a leader class Optimus Prima as a gift enclosed. I passed, since the Age of Extinction line sucks all the way. Even a freebee could not change my mind.
I'm glad I passed. A few days later I purchased an MP-03h Grimlock at Ins Point (Yau Ma Tei) for only HK$ 890,-. Not that I needed one, back in 2013 I hit a Takara version of MP-08 Grimlock (25th anniversary) already, but this one I purchased for sale. The retailer told me the price at TRU are always too high.

He was right. I took a picture of MP-Prowl Hasbro version TRU which costs HK$ 650,-. For example, the Takara and thus the better version will be yours at the local retailers for about HK$ 460,-. So the inferior US crap is HK$ 190,- more than the superior Takara version.....
Knee-joint issue
Same goes for the MP-Sunstorm which was released at the same time.
And people are still buying it...unbelievable

The main targets this year were some last 'big' pieces, like Masterpieces MP-09B Black Rodimus Convoy, Maketoys Gaint Type-61, the 4 cars of Fansproject Intimidator (Menasor), Some G1 reissue's and Generations FoC Bruticus Set. I found this one at Tokyo Station for a bargain. The set of 5 Combaticons (Takara version!!) was handed to me for HK$ 699,- ( US$ 90,-)

Afterwards, the MP-09B proved also to suffer the brittle knee-joints parts.
Luckily, Robotkingdom - a HK based webshop for TF, released metal knee joints for MP-09 in September, so the problem is fixed now. 
TF Masterpiece Guide!

I also got 2 DOTM Deluxe Class cards. I'm not too fond of the Movie toylines, but these 2 were cool in my opinion and they were quite cheap, so I picked them up.

The total of acquisitions was nearly as impressive as the one in 2013 (SGP/HKG).
I have anticipated on this and got myself a new travelcase. The Samsonite Spinner is replaced by the German Rimowa Salsa Deluxe 81 cm Seal Grey. I'm very happy with it!

Ow and on the very last day, I purchased the fresh TF Masterpiece Guide!! It was just released less than a week! What a luck!

Hereafter a list of acquirements and some images of the rest of the trip. Unless stated, all items are Takara versions.

- Generations Deluxe Class: TG-12 Air Raid
- Generations Voyager Class: TG-13 Soundblaster + Buzzsaw (2x)
- TF United UN-04 Megatron WfC (SOLD)
- TF United UN-05 Soundwave WfC
- TF Collection 07 Sideswipe
- TF Re-issue 16S - Megatron Special Edition (2001)
- TF Encore-03 Soundwave (SOLD)
- TF Encore-15 Cassette Volume 1 (Very hard to find!)
- TF Encore-16 Bruticus Scramble City
- 3rd party: Fansproject CA-03 Thundershred (Scrapnell)

Hong Kong:
3rd party:
- Armor accessories for FoC Grimlock Voyager Class
- Fansproject: CA-09 to CA-12 Car Crash/T-Bone/Down Force/Last Chance
- MakeToys Giant Type-61 full set

- DOTM Deluxe Class Armor Topspin
- DOTM Deluxe Class Topspin 
- Dengeki Hobby magazine September
- Generations Deluxe Class: TG-03/04/05/06/07 Combaticons
- TF Masterpiece Guide
- TF Commemorative reissue: Dirge (Hasbro)

- MP-03h Grimlock (Hasbro - SOLD)
- TF MP-15 Ravage & Rumble (SOLD)
- TF MP-17 Prowl (SOLD)
- TF MP-18S Silverstreak
- TF MP-09B Black Rodimus Convoy 

Rimowa Salsa Deluxe

Cooked Buzzer

Not all of it fitted in the suitcase...

What a wellness! A whole row just for me!

Airbus A350-800 Test Aircraft

KLM Boeing 747-400 PH-BFF 'City of Freetown'

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Again a good hunt this summer! (part 1)

KLM Boeing 777-300ER - 'Fulufjallet National Park'
It's been a while since I have had updated the blog. And as we speak, I'm back from another summer holiday trip. This year I went back to Osaka (Japan) and of course Hong Kong to pay a visit to my grandparents. The trip starts with a comfortable flight with a KLM Boeing 777-300ER to Osaka. We had a row of 2 seats at the back of the aircraft. These seats required an additional fee of € 30,00 (Thugs!). After the gate closed it became clear the seats behind us weren't occupied, so.....I moved a row back and we were both having a lot of space. From that retrospective the extra fee was a bargain to gain an extra seat! 
Hero Gangu - Nippombashi, Osaka
The focus of this story will be on the Transformer/ Collectible hunt. Since I have been Osaka earlier and Hong Kong is practically my second home, I won't do much of city-trip review. Of course I will upload some pictures of the trip itself. Should you be more curious about the cities themself, take a look at these links: Osaka; Hong Kong.

So first stop is Osaka. The hotel Kikuei is situated in Namba, the southern part of Osaka. Very crowded and from the hotel, one of the 3 centered Transformer retailer was visible: Hero Gangu, Nippombashi. (site is Japanese only)
1st batch along with me in the Rimowa
The loot here was quite good: Fansproject Causality CA-03 Thundershred.
The other two pieces were more than JPY 12.000, while this one was only JPY 5700. I tried to find out why, but there were no signs of being eventually a K.O version, so that's a bargain. Secondly I was looking everywhere for the now hard-to-find Encore 15: Mini cassettes vol. 1 consisting Ravage, Eject, Rewind and Buzzsaw. Guess what...I found it here. It was JPY 9800 (€ 71,00/ US$ 94,00). Considered the availability and the price on ebay it's a steal.
Super Potato - Namba, Osaka

Furthermore my 2nd loot from Jungle Entertainment (Site do have English!) consists: 
- TF Encore 16 Bruticus (Scramble City)
- TF Collection 07 Sideswipe (Takara)
- TF UN-04 Megatron Cybertron Mode (FOR SALE!)
- TG-14 Voyager Class Soundblaster + Buzzsaw 2x (1 for my brother)
- TG-12 Deluxe Class Air Raid
Both TG were available for a 'wooden nickel'.

The last resorts for a good hunt were both Mandarake shops in Umeda and Shinsaibashi. Thanks to the toy-shop map of Heroic Decepticon!


Furthermore we bumped in Namba on Super Potato, a shop for retro-gaming.
This is also a heaven for the good old days of the Famicom/NES/Superfamicom etc. It is really incredible when you see their inventory. Next time, I'll grab something from here!

Well, that's it for now. Part 2 will follow soon!

Hereafter some images during the Japanese part of the trip

Tsutenkaku Tower 103 m
The new Rimowa Salsa Deluxe!

Sunset during flight KL0867 to KIX
Nismo March.....(GT-R?)

252 meters of depth (or height)
Osaka Prefectural Government Sakishima Tower

Osaka by Night - Umeda Tower (173 m)
LCC from Japan: Peach - Airbus A320-200
Leaving Osaka Japan - Kansai International Airport

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Successful Dinosaur Hunt!

1st stop HKIA
As said a few months ago, I was travelling to Singapore & Hong Kong in mid August. One of the objectives was hunting for some collectible Transformers. The then (there is actual news as of September '13) very hard to find Masterpieces were among them. De citytrip started with a four-days stop in Lion City Singapore.

Botanical Gradens
My brother hasn't been in Singapore yet. Since the city has much in common with it's rival city Hong Kong, it was both a new and familiar experience for him. Aside from the usual sightseeings, we were also hunting for TF collectibles.
Our first attempt was at the Funan Digital Life Mall. Although it is a mall for electronics, there are some good shops to get some TF's. My brother got his superbargain: Encore 05 Ratchet for SG$ 25,00 (about US$ 19,00).
I also got my Encore 18 Skids.
1st batch
The next day we got our first Hasbro Masterpiece, Thundercracker at the Toys 'R Us in Harbour Front - Vivio City. We were planning to get this one in HK, but the price was also lower than expected, so we picked up this one here. On the third day we went to the famous China Square Central. This mall has a somewhat steryle impression. We got there actually too early. Like in HK, the shops aren't open untill noon. But we had to go in for some cover as it was raining outside. We decided to come back later that day/evening.
Guess what......I found my piece of gold MISB at the shop: Ace Ventura (2nd floor).
Gundam docks at Hong Kong
The same day my brother found his MISB MP-08 Grimlock at the MRT location of Simply Toys! We were both very happy to get these MP's since they are hard to find in MISB for half the price on ebay! After these acquisitions, our city-trip was a success already and there was much more to come.
Barely surviving the shipment per AIR!
The total amount of collectibles is quite a long list. I'll put it on the bottom of this blog. In Dragon City Hong Kong we bumped on the Gundam statue at Times Square (Causeway bay). The project Gundam docking at HK was running from July 26th till the 1st of September. We got a lot of TF's and Gunpla hobby stuff at Mongkok area (Hobbybase at Sino Centre) and at In's Point (Yau Ma Tei). Our main targets are Masterpieces (from MP-08 on till current issues. The pre-MP-08 issues are in my opinion not worth collecting, since I want them all in de same scale), TF Encore G1, Generations/United, Henkei and Classics. I also picked up a few MP's I already owned, but this was just for my webshop Morgenroete Inc. to resale.
Totalled box of MP-12, shame on you HK Post!
The MP-09 Hotrod/Rodimus Convoy was also a bargain in a set of 2 consisting MP-09 & MP-10. The most valuable items were carried in my suitcase, but a large batch had to be shipped per Airpost by HK Post. They have dissapointed me. The M4 package arrived in terrible condition and the box was nearly totalled although the box was very strong by itself. Luckily, my brother advised me to let the items in their respective plastic bags!!! So the damage was reduced to some Encore boxes (Devastator) and 1 MP-12 Lambor. This was a bummer, because it was an item to sell. I had to reduce my asking price since the item wasn't MISB anymore. The outerbox was damaged, but luckily the item itself was in perfect condition. 

Aside from the TF huntings, I got some other stuff like MGS - Legacy Collection for PS3, Some Gunpla, an extra battery for the DSLR and a 1:43 scale model car of the Super GT - Xanavi Nismo Z.

So the conclusion for the hunt this summer is a successful one. Especially my hunt for the Dinobot Grimlock MP-08! It was truely a good Dino-hunting!

Below are some impressions and items acquired.
You can click on the images to enlarge.Sorry for the last picture which is somewhat blurry.

HK skyline seen from ICC (Kowloon West)

CBD Singapore
Comfortable flights

Encore & Giant Type-61!
Dutch glory Doutzen Kroes!


Size difference G1 & Giant-Type 61!
Generations VC + DC & G1

2nd batch!
Whole bunch (both)



TF Masterpiece
- MP-08 Grimlock
- MP-09 Hot Rod/ Rodimus Convoy
- MP-10 Convoy (for sale)
- MP-12 Lambor (for sale)
- MP-12T Tigertracks
- MP-14 Red Alert
- Hasbro MP - Thundercracker

Encore/G1/Classics/Universe/Commemorative series
- Devastator (Encore 20)
- Skids (Encore 18)
- Hoist (Encore 14)
- Insecticons (all 3 - Universe G1)
- Astrotrain (Commemorative)
- Wincharger (G1 loose)

- Tracks (United)
- Warpath (United)
- Springer (voyager class)
- Sandstorm (voyager class)
- Jazz (Deluxe class)

3rd party & misc.
- TFC - Uranos : Blackbird + Phantom ray
- TF Autobot bag

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Golden Security

G1 / Encore
In a few weeks I'll travel to Singapore & Hong Kong for a vacation and pay a visit to our grandparents (HK) with my brother. Of course the vacation isn't complete without a good hunting for Transformers G1/Encore and especially Masterpieces. Lately I've been scouring around on the internet and was wondering how our heritage from the Golden Age of the 90's would perform on such platforms as e-bay or our own Dutch

Well......after doing some searches the results were incredible. The G1 was performing outstanding. For instance, my G1 Dinobot Slag's condition is Mint In Box (No insert card although), but the asking price is about up to US$ 140,00 sometimes. My grandmother bought it for me way back in 1989 for HK$ 139,00 which is in nowadays currency US$ 18,00.
G1 Ratchet about the same story, it was a birthday present from my father in 1987 when I turned 10. It costs in those days HFl 45,00 (Dutch Guilders) - US$ 29,00. That was typically for an medium Autobot Vehicle. The modern reincarnations known as Masterpieces are even more jawbreaking. MP-10 Convoy is already up to € 250,00 to € 300,00 and still rising. The only one which is being out of this world is  MP-08 Grimlock, the current bids are topping on more than a Grand.....

Zelda - A link to the past MIB
So....the coming weeks I should probably hunt for  dinosaurs.......perhaps MP-08 might be as even extinct as it''s real counterpart....I'll let you know if my hunt is succesful.

There is also another from the 80's & 90's. As some followers may know that we played a lot of games in the 90's and went hunting RPG's around the end of the SNES' lifespan.
Somehow I never managed to get the 2 classic Super NES systempushers 'Super Mario Kart' and 'Zelda - A link to the past'. Why I didn't? Don't ask....I don't know myself either......on the Dutch site Marktplaats (Marketplace literally) I found a US version of Zelda - A link to the past in very mint condition. The only thing missing was the map. But hey....e-bay has everything!! It cost me a few bucks, but the result is that I've composed a MIB Zelda for SNES!!!! 
More Gold!!!
I prefered the US version over the PAL version, since the US card runs 15% faster than it's European counterpart. (60 Hz vs 50 Hz). During those days NTSC - PAL regionlock was still an issue.

I did the same way for Super Mario Kart. I purchased it at a retailer which is also selling 2nd hand and retrogames. The condition was very good, so I am very happy with both new acquisitions! I know it's a shame to get these game only in 2013, 21 and 22 years after their respective initial releases. But hey...better late than never.

Running another e-bay test and research resulted that most of these precious 'gold' is skyrocketing nowadays. You should try a few of the games shown on the 4th picture and don't forget to support your jaw to prevent it from dropping on the ground......Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy III are sometimes going all out for a mindblowing US$ 800,-!

Protection for SNES games
To protect these golden pieces I purchased some neat stuff at retro-retailer named The RetroGameFreak. Got some dustcovers for the US cards, some paper inlays to refurbish my old game-packs and....25 (together with my brother) so called Snug-fit box protectors. These transparant protectors are made from Polyethylene which has the size of a SNES game pack. This prevents the paperbox from scratches, dust, bumping and crashes.

Most of the games are covering a story. When and why I purchased it. How come that it is invaluable to me.
Nearly every game-pack has a story. So it's not the economical worth that I cherish, but it is - like many - the emotional worth of an item. How much the price is rising, these games and TF's will never leave the establishment where I also live..... 

As a result all of the precious gold from the Golden Era of the 90's is secured now........A Golden Security! 

Hereafter some pics.

Do you have similar items you cherish that much?
US cards now with dust covers

Chrono Trigger 1995 - MI(S)B with snug-fit protector.