I hate missing out on a mold altogether, but will skip one if there is just no difference between it and a larger and/or better release. Once I get the proper coloration in one size for a character, I try to get any different molds/sizes for that same character with an alternate head if available or at least a repaint. In some cases, it’s darn near impossible — such as the many, many identically coloured releases of Movie Optimus Prime. In a… possibly exaggerated to the point of lunatic attempt to prevent this from happening with Transformers Prime, I have strategically designed my purchases. Just to add to the already confused First Edition vs. Robots in Disguise differences in molds, Takara has decided to release a mish-mash line using all of the mold types and adding in exclusive “Micron Arms” Mini-cons. This is basically going to leave me with a Prime collection that is part First Edition, part Robots in Disguise, part Micron Arms.
Here’s the breakdown of what I have figured out so far:
Arcee – Right off the bat, I had it figured out, I would own one First Edition, one Robots in Disguise mold and be done with it. My First Edition would be the pink San Diego Comic Con exclusive version. With HobbyLink Japan selling the Arms Micron versions for only $20, my Robots in Disguise version would be the Takara release so that I would also get the Mini-con. Then I saw her R.i.D. release at retail… and bought it. You can bet I am still keeping my pre-order with HLJ for the Takara version (I neeeeeed that Mini-con!) but, hey, it’s Arcee. You can never have enough Arcee in your collection.
Bulkhead – This one breaks my heart. Bulkhead is my favourite Transformers Prime character. Having completely missed the regular retail release of the Hasbro First Edition line, I thought I was being smooth with my pre-order for the Takara First Edition Bulkhead through HLJ. They had him $20 cheaper than everyone else! What I didn’t know is that because I made the order so very late, they would eventually mark him as “Discontinued” without fulfilling my order. In the meantime, I passed up an opportunity to get him for $60 plus shipping which is the limit on how much I am willing to spend on him, favourite character or not. With his First Edition mold going for $100+ regardless of Hasbro or Takara release on Ebay, I am resigned to just getting his admittedly-not-as-good-looking Robots in Disguise release when it hits retail. That and keeping my fingers crossed that Hasbro’s recent promise to get the First Edition molds released to us somehow actually means something. *sigh* Oh, they are going to have some explaining to do at Botcon.
Bumblebee – Another easy one like Arcee, only this time I am actually sticking to my plan. My First Edition is the Taxi-cab themed San Diego Comic Con exclusive and my pre-order for the Takara release with the Mini-con takes cares of the Robots in Disguise release. I actually owned the retail release of his Robots in Disguise mold but sold him to a friend (for the exact amount I paid for him, take that scalpers!) when I made my Takara pre-order. Except there’s going to be a repaint of his Robots in Disguise mold with a new headsculpt as Hot Shot. Which I will buy. So maybe I’m not sticking as close to my one version of each mold plan as I thought…
Cliffjumper – Oof. I don’t even know where to start with this one. Dude is only in three episodes and he’s caused me no end of consternation toy-wise. Robots in Disguise mold is easy at least. When I missed the $20 pre-order for him on HLJ — every other site has the pre-order for the Takara releases at $38, which is too much for a Deluxe even with a Mini-con — I bought the retail release. [SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN SEASON 1 OF TRANSFORMERS PRIME YET!] His First Edition mold, however, comes in two flavours: regular and undead. I went back and forth for a while but then HLJ made it easy by having the undead Zombie version or “Terrorcon Cliffjumper” for the $20 price. Now Zombie Cliffjumper, being mangled and generally zombie-like, isn’t exactly the same as his regular First Edition mold release but that, like Bulkhead, I’ll have to wait to see if Hasbro fulfills their promise. Also, pictures a purplish blue Zombie Cliffjumper has recently circulated. If this means the Takara release of Zombie Cliffjumper (a.k.a. the ONLY release of Zombie Cliffjumper) only comes in a strangely not-very-Cliffjumper colour scheme is unknown as far as I can tell. [END OF SPOILERS.]
Megatron – I already picked up the Robots in Disguise retail release. Another one that I missed out on the HLJ $20 pre-order for, if it eventually gets re-released as part of Hasbro’s attempt to get the First Editions back out there, I might consider it at a low enough price point. However, there’s not really a difference between the toy from Deluxe to Voyager size so I might not even get it then.
Optimus Prime – I missed out on the First Edition, and even HLJ’s prices on the Voyager sized Takara releases are too much for me (almost double the retail release price) which leaves me with the Deluxe sized SDCC exclusive Matrix of Leadership Optimus Prime, the Voyager sized Robots in Disguise retail release, and the hope that Habsro’s First Edition promise includes Optimus. It would have to… wouldn’t it?
Soundwave – Finally! Someone nice and easy. No First Edition to worry about. Just a retail Robots in Disguise release, which I bought, blogged about, and then sold; and a Takara release which I have a pre-order of through HLJ.
Starscream – Starscream is one of my favourites to deal with because his First Edition mold is being released by Takara with Mini-con and painted as Skywarp. Joy! I don’t know if I have said it enough times, but Skywarp is my favourite Decepticon. That only leaves his larger Voyager release to get when it hits retail as part of the Robots in Disguise line.
Vehicon – Unlike all of the ‘bots above, the First Edition mold in this case isn’t actually as good as the Robots in Disguise mold. Unless Hasbro re-releases the First Edition mold at normal retail prices, I have no interest in it. Retail Robots in Disguise release it is! Being army-builder compatible, if I can find the Takara release at a reasonable price I might pick that up too, mostly to get the Mini-con, but also to have a couple Vehicons that are at least slightly different!
Wheeljack – One release. Robots in Disguise. No Takara release announced yet. Bought. Blogged.
Transformers Prime, the toyline at least, might just reduce me to a gibbering, brainless mess very soon if Hasbro and Takara keeps this up.