For folks not following the crew's misadventures on TBDX, this'll come as a big BWAH!?
But first, let's take it back a few months. I gotta tell ya, the Gin Gin hustling wears on a brotha. I needed a fun side-project. Something light. Something that wasn't gonna make me wanna pull my hair out...or demolish my bank account! Well, last year saw the re-release of an already amazing toy: the TakaTomy 2010 Universal Dominator Unicron, a G1-inspired recolor and minor remold of 2003's Armada/Micron Legends Unicron.
Hmm...how do I summarize Unicron for newbies in a nutshell? Okay, I'm an 80's child (well, born in '78). I was at the "perfect" age for the early G1 Transformers, whose culmination was arguably the '86 animated movie, "Transformers: The Movie" (creative title, no?). The movie was obviously a vehicle for toys sales, but at least it featured dope hand-drawn animation, hilarious 80's hair-metal, and a passable Hero's Journey plot.
Well...Unicron wasn't so much the main antagonist--more like the omni-present "oh crap" looming in the background. He was kinda like an anti-god (not unlike Marvel's Galactus), incarnated in the form of a giant metal planet that ate other planets...and ultimately transformed, itself, into a titanic humanoid robot. WOW. 8-year-old mind=blown.
For years, America's collective youth dreamed of getting Unicron toys for Diwali, Chanukah, Christmas, Atheist-day, whatever...who really needed a reason!? But alas, it was never to be. The toy gods can be fickle.
We got older. Toys gave way to chicks and drugs...and Unicron slipped from our consciousness. Then came the internets. And we found our nerd again. Pics of G1- (and even Beast Wars-)era Unicron prototypes surfaced. Still nothing in stores.
Then suddenly in 2003, we were given a Japanese-made cartoon that actually involved Unicron!! The bad news? Well, the show sucked. Good news? We finally got a toy! Yeah, it didn't look perfect...but who cared? It was *plenty* good enough. And all was well.
I mean, who the hell was gonna argue at this point?? We'd been waiting for a Unicron toy for over a decade and a half! Any shortcomings were easily dismissed. That said, there was one common gripe...with a theoretically simple solution. See, planet-mode is kinda THE mode for this guy...and THE iconic image of Unicron is him floating "ahead" through space, with the glowing mouthy bits pointed forward and the orbital ring vertical.
But with the orbital ring in the way, you can't "stand up" the planet to face straight ahead. The intended solution was actually to leave him on his back. This facilitated the toy's use as something of a playset, featuring interaction with minicons and other various gimmicks. Yeah, aiight...clever workaround that I'm sure lots of kids and minicon collectors enjoyed...but still a workaround.
Fortunately, we live in the era of unlicensed (heh) "upgrades" for Transformers toys. Dozens of small companies--really, clumps of enterprising fans, rather than businessmen interested in actual profit--producing dope add-ons and accessories to make the play experience better. Jerks like me.
Well, along came aptly-named Unicron.com. They produced an alleged stand for Unicron's planet mode to allow him to be displayed "properly" (in other words, the way an 80's nerd would). Again, theoretically simple solution to a common gripe. Solid concept. But, oh, how the execution went so very wrong. Awful...like, 'what the hell were you thinking?' Well, rather than dwell further on the negative, I'll link you to this young lad's amusing youtube rant. :)
^^By the way, points for the creative cutouts on the base...but my camera wasn't tilted when I took the side-shot--the damn thing just leans that far forward, ever-threatening to snap like a twig. The toy is just too heavy for that narrow post; it just wobbles up there precariously. And yes, there's been a couple shelf dives. FAIL. Well, whatever. I just resigned to display the toy in robot mode...
Anyway, to make this long story longer, TakaTomy dropped the movie-inspired 2010 version of Unicron a few months ago, and I gotta say, this version is TIGHT. I mean, it looks killer. The molds for a lot of the reused bits are clearly tired, resulting in some fitment issues, and other minor glitches here and there...but this is clearly the 80's nerd version for me. There was much rejoicing.
In that discussion, you'll note my displeasure with the subpar effectiveness of the Unicron.com stand. But the new 2010 Unicron was just too good to let it slide. As a result--and to take my mind off the ever-secretive Gin Gin drama for a bit--I decided to make my own. A completely "open" project, I posted my ideas in real-time on the board to elicit feedback.
The result is what I have to offer today: the Throne of Chaos
The Unicron.com piece of crap retailed for $15. Mine unfortunately goes for over twice that...and it can't be shipped flat. :/ But it has advantages. Chiefly, it it does not suck. Not only does it get the job done...but as far as display stands go, ya kinda can't ask for much better.
The 3/16" thick acrylic base and cradle (all fabricated in the USA by good people) are crystal-clear and have a brilliant polish on the edges...so the last thing you wanna do is scratch it up. The first thing ya gotta do is attach the bumpons. Do this first--I made the mistake of putting the unprotected bottom surface of the prototype stand on a slightly dirty work table...and it scratched the hell outta the bottom!
Next, just throw on the cradle. It takes a little finagling to get it on because of the awkward shape, but you'll understand once you have it in hand. Just flex the acrylic of the base a little bit to make some clearance--don't worry, it won't break!
And you're done! No tools or adhesives required. Just toss that badass beachball up there, and you're ready to rock out to some Spectre General!
With the toy on top, there are NO worries of this thing taking a tumble. It's pretty much earthquake-proof. The size and angles of the cradle are perfect. The notch in the front matches the orbital ring pylon very closely, so even though toy's plastic is slippery against the top surface of the cradle, it's not going anywhere. You can even pick up the whole rig by the base and "fly" him around your room looking for tennis balls to gorge on [though I don't recommend this...'cause I know some clumsy jackass out there's gonna try it, drop their toy, and blame me].
The bumpons obviously protect the bottom, but they also provide slip-free stability. So go on...toss this guy high up on top of a detolf or your favorite display case. Go nuts!
Now, I can just hear y'all screaming over the internet, "WHERE DO I BUY ONE???" As it turns out,
But by all means, if y'all have feedback--positive or negative--keep sending it my way. You can hit me up here or at the "**Contact Brownnoize**" link over on the right. And if you send me pics of how you have your Unicron and other TFs displayed, I'd LOVE to post them on the blog!
Edit: Whaddup, folks? Just a quick update for Summer 2014. The stands are BACK for a limited time! They're no longer being carried by BBTS, but big homie, Matt "Dead Presidents" Walker, has taken up the mantle. You can now pick up a stand from the Monster Kolor website. Like I said, I'm not sure how long these will last, so if you're planning on getting one, please try to order as soon as possible. Any questions, as always, just hit me up! ;)