And the prize for most unexpectedly cute Transformer goes to…

When I think of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies lots of words come in to my mind. Many of them have four letters. None of them are the word “cute.” Here at Addaltmode we’re not really fans of either the Bay movies or the more Giger-esque aesthetic of the film-inspired Transformer lines (despite being Giger fans). And yet Hasbro works in mysterious ways because one of the cutest ‘bots in our collection is actually a “Bayformer.”

Meet Revenge of the Fallen Nightbeat:

RoTF Nightbeat is bizarrely cute

RoTF Nightbeat: He just wants to be loved.

Free Comic Book Day 2016

So another annual staple of the Geek calendar has been and gone. What does Free Comic Book Day mean to you? To me, well obviously it’s a welcome opportunity to score some free comics, whether that means a few more gratis pages of franchises and characters I already know and love;  the chance to sample something new (or at least new to me); or just a one-off wildcard, it’s a fun way to expand my comic reading horizons. It’s a day to celebrate comics, yes, but more than that, it’s a day to celebrate the geek community in general and to have a little fun while supporting local businesses. I love going down to my local comic shops on Free Comic Book Day, more for the atmosphere than for the freebies even – since so many other people make a point of doing the same it’s a great way to catch up with old friends and make a few new ones a long the way.

Not just free comics, free cake!

Not just free comics, free cake!

The Guardian newspaper ran a preview feature on 10 of the best places to enjoy Free Comic Book Day in the UK. The event we attended, at Exeter’s Moving Pictures, actually came in at number 8 on the list, so that was pretty exciting (especially given the typically London-centric focus of that particular publication). It was also pleasing that the article mentioned Exeter’s “big cosplay community.” Those three words are all deserving of equal weight: for a fairly small city we are big on cosplay here and there’s definitely a big sense of community spirit, something for which I’ll always be grateful. Saturday was a prime example of this in more ways than one….

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Toy Review: Combiner Wars Legends class Shockwave

Remember back in January when we ran our Bruticus Week feature? Well, here’s Bruticus Week Redux, because, yes, it’s taken this long for us to acquire the final piece of that particular Combaticon puzzle: Bruticus’s gun, who comes in the form of a Legends class Shockwave. This dinky Decepticon has proven frustratingly tricky to source and, much as we wanted him, we weren’t prepared to pay the ridiculous scalper prices for which we’d seen him going. So we had a bit of wait to find him for a reasonable rate. Still, here we go at last: Bruticus Week Day 8: the Day Everyone Got Shot.

Looking down the barrel of a gun / Son of a gun, son of a bitch / Getting paid, getting rich

Pew! Pew!

Was he worth the wait? The only logical choice is to read on and see…

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Toy Meets World Magazine: Brand New Old School Cool!

Today we’re taking a peek at a brand new magazine on the geeky block, Toy Meets World!  This shiny print publication is clearly an immense labour of love (and probably blood, sweat and tears too, because a project like this is one hell of an undertaking) from the good folks behind the Toy Meets World Blog. I’ll admit it’s been a while since I picked up any kind of glossy-print magazine so the leafing through this bumper debut issue managed to be at once a satisfyingly novel experience and a blast from the past in more ways than one…

Rodimus is a big fan!

Rodimus is a big fan!

Check out our further thoughts on why you should check out this magazine!

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Book Review: Beautiful Intelligence by Stephen Palmer

Robo Reads

Title:  Beautiful Intelligence
Author: Stephen Palmer
Publisher: infinity plus
Date: 2015

Quotation: “For the nexus was heavy. It bore down on humanity, never sleeping, spying into every crevice – no respecter of privacy, which was a ridiculous, old-fashoned concept anyway.”

One of the many things I enjoyed about this dystopian novel was its pacing, which manages somehow to be ponderous and frenetic at the same time. Palmer’s examination of the different potential pathways for creating sentient machines, and his wider meditations on environmental collapse, on the perils of religion and on the consequences of the modern networked life as an over-sharing cult of extrovert personality are thoughtfully rendered, expressed in passionate terms that could feel overly didactic if they weren’t constantly interrupted by the pure adrenalin rush of the book’s many heart-thumping chase scenes.  It’s a great mix of deliberation and danger.

Beautiful Intelligence book cover

Beautiful Intelligence book cover

This duality permeates the whole book. Palmer’s tone mixes the colloquial and the clinical while his narrative flits between two fugitive researchers, each employing different strategies not only to create a sentient machine intelligence but also to evade recapture by their former employer…

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Rodimus and Brainstorm go to Optimus Con, Bristol

The weekend of April 9-10th was Optimus Con, held at the UWE Exhibition and Conference centre in Bristol. B and I went along for the day on the Saturday and had a great time. Our original cos-plans for this event had been to give a second airing to our Borderlands Tannis and Salvador costumes, but that was before I got utterly obsessed with working on our Transformers MTMTE-inspired human(ish) Rodimus and Brainstorm cosplay. These only really needed to be finished in time for TFNation, which isn’t until August, but once I started building and sewing these I got so into the project that I just wanted to work until they were done. So I figured I’d set myself an earlier deadline and get a few wears out of them before the Summer’s big robot party. And hey, what’s an event called Optimus without some good old Transformers representation anyway?

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

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Off to Optimus…

Hi folks! It’s been a while hasn’t it? We had such great plans for this blog at the start of the year and precisely none of it has come to fruition. Apologies for that. The truth is I’ve had a few health problems this year and I just didn’t have the energy to blog for a couple of months so I had to give myself a break. Sometimes in life you just have to admit that you can’t do it all and give yourself permission to take a step back. It’s a healthy thing to do but – if your personality is anything like mine – often a very tough call to make. I’m doing a lot better now, though, and am keen to get typing here again so hopefully our normal geeky service will resume here soon.

I may not have been blogging, but I certainly haven’t been idle in the past couple of months. Rather, it’s been full steam ahead when it comes to cosplay creation. I’ve been working on our humanised Transformers More Than Meets The Eye costumes. These are really for TFNation but I figured it might be fun to finish them well in advance of that gathering and take them out to a few other events too…. starting tomorrow. So if you’re heading to Bristol’s Optimus Con on Saturday then do watch out for B and I as we début our Brainstorm and Rodimus respectively. These cosplays are a bit more stylised than my Slipstream or Arcee costumes but I had a blast making them and I hope they’re true to the much-loved characters if not to every aspect of their design. I’ll be posting photos and also a bit more of a ‘cosbloggy’ write up on the trials and tribulations of #ProjectMTMTE after the event.

But in the meantime, if you’re heading over to Optimus do watch out for us and come and chat if you see us! You never know, I may even award you a Rodimus Star

2016-04-06 17.32.44

Yes I have spent most of the past week brandishing scissors and sticky-back plastic!

Video Post: Transformers Gacha Arms Micron blindbags

Addaltmode open Gacha Arms Microns

We’re making good on our new year blogging resolution to try the occasional different post formats over the coming year, so here’s our very first video post! In it we are opening and discussing some Gacha-pod style blindbags containing more of those funny Japanese Arms Micron Transformers with which we seem to have a bit of an obsession here on Addaltmode! Did we manage to expand our collection with some of the toys we wanted, or — as is so often the way with blindbags — do we now just have a clone army of just one character? Check out our video and see…

So yeah, we’re not going to win any Oscars are we? But if we did, our speech would thank our pal Sadie B who helped us film and edit it, and of course the good and very witty Ashens whose YouTube channel we love, and whose hands-and-sofa ensemble style we ripped off, uh, homaged.

Bruticus Week: Toy Review Combiner Wars Blast-Off

Bruticus Week!

Bruticus Week: day 5

Blast-Off, Aloof Astronaut

Every family has its black sheep, that’s even true of over-aggressive-giant-combining-robot families. The black sheep of the Combaticons is undoubtedly Blast Off. Despite being part of a combining team, here’s one Decepticon who very much goes his own way. This is evident from his very first appearance in the G1 Cartoon. In Episode 61, Starscream steals the “personality components”of 5 renegade Decepticons from the filing-cabinet in which they’ve been incarcerated and fits them into abandoned WW2 vehicles to make his own personal army. As the freed personalities vivify each of the rusted hulks in turn, so those vehicles change. In most cases this involves updating from vintage 1940s machines to their more modern (by 80s standards at least) equivalents. Except Blast Off, who – without explanation – promptly turns from a B-17 bomber plane into… wait for it, a space shuttle. Oooo-kay.

Combiner Wars Blast off

Combiner Wars Blast off

Despite his predominantly camo-brown paint job (because they totally have mud in space, right?) Blast Off has never really fitted with the military aesthetic of the other Combaticons, in appearance or behaviour. Sure the Eagle will land every now and then for limb duty but his favourite company is his own and he’d rather fight at extreme long distance – ideally a laser strike from orbit – rather than getting up close and face-punchy à la Brawl. Even in space you can hear the roar of this Con’s superiority complex. But does his Combiner Wars incarnation still leave Blast Off feeling so superior? Let’s survey the situation….

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