With constant updates for current releases by Toyhax.com and a new competitor in the sticker market showing up in the form of Ocean's Designs - the seemingly lost army (is "army" too much?) of G1 cassette collectors can find new hope in the journey to advance their collection! Today, I'll be showing off new stickers from Custranz that allow you to add an original new variant to your cassetticon squad. While essentially a perfect match for a white KO Laserbeak, these are designed to fit any cassette that is made in the G1 mold of Laserbeak or Buzzsaw - so the other KO versions of that mold are also compatible. (The oversized and 5-in-1 versions will not be compatible, for example.)
STAGE 1: Packaging
Arriving in an enclosed baggie-type "package" gives this set a nice vibe from the start. A folding header featuring the Custranz brand in one corner, artwork being the foundation of the rest of the visuals here. As far as text, you also get a clear idea of what you're in for, with the set name and the mention of custom sticker set all being presented in a simple format. Most of the art present on this header side clearly depicts what's coming for you inside the baggie, and even includes a familiar-looking symbol to the left in black, which is not a direct copy of what it looks like, lots of artistic little details have been worked into that. A single staple keeps this header and baggie connected and closed, carefully notched above the mini poster inside the baggie, and below the text description.
On the back of this header, you'll again find the Custranz name, and lots of text. The background is simply white, although the right side features a digital code-style graphic. This is a pretty sweet touch, and the newer Custranz logo stares at you between the pixels. **Scan this logo with a QR reader, and it will take you to the Custranz Facebook page!** Text takes up most of the other space, including a fun warning label.
Visible through the baggie are all the contents, and you can clearly see each and every sticker you'll be using. With what looks like an homage to the Japanese national flag, Sunburst awaits.
So far, so good. A simple packaging approach, with lots of artistic touches added, shows you that there isn't any laziness or corner-cutting going on around here.
STAGE 2: Unleashing (or opening the package)
Ok, the staple holding this together is fully in play at this point. Personally, I am taking some scissors and bending the folds out, so that I can straighten them to pull the staple out without tearing the header. I dunno, just seems right to me. With that done, the header actually can just stand there like a makeshift name tag for now. With that off, you see that the header nicely hides the top of the zip-top baggie, which you can just open up and slide out the contents. What all is in this little bundle of fun? We have:
First up, the mini poster. Duplicating the artwork on the header and sticker sheet, but measuring 3 3/8" by 4 11/32". In the past, Custranz fully-painted custom cassettes have been sold with boxes that can fold out into small dioramas, but this mini poster is as simple as they come. It fits in the baggie tight, so to me, it's almost serving 2 purposes here: As just a bonus piece of fun, and also to add to the size of the package, and keep the sticker sheet from having no flat support inside the baggie or maybe an envelope if shipped. These are just guesses, though. You could also easily find a place for it somewhere in the house or office, if the mood struck you.
The magnet? This is basically in place of a business card, as it features the Custranz name, the digital QR code graphic also on the header, and contact information. Very thin and lightweight, and otherwise not meant to be anything more than a reminder of where you got this awesome sticker set. (Again, you can utilize a QR scan here.)
Now, the sticker sheet! This is where the real action is packed, and the reason for all this extra effort! A barrage of white and red stares you down as you begin making out the line edges for removal from the sheet. Looking at it with the symbols facing you right side up, the "flag" portion of the design is on the top half, while the stickers you'll be seeing the most while Sunburst is in Alt Mode is on the bottom half. I notice that there are a couple of options for 2 places on the cassette: 2 different head stickers, as well as 3 different stickers for the center squares, or "reel window" I suppose you would call it on an actual cassette.
The physical feel of the stickers is nice. I'm not normally into applying stickers or decals, so I have no idea what criteria to even try to use here. Glossy and smooth are about all I can come up with at this point, and I don't think there's too much more to get into here.
Stage 3: Application
So, looking back at some G1 Transformers that survived my childhood, I know a few things. One being that I am not a person that has ANY business putting stickers on toys. Yikes! With that said, I'm obviously going for gold, and will be happy just to finish the event....
(I'm not going to have step-by-step photos of each placement, as it's all about the final result, yes?)
I decided to start where I deemed the more difficult pieces would need applied. A quick cleaning of the white KO Laserbeak I have, and I'm all set. I'm having to fold some spots in order to get under the stickers and begin peeling off, and my Exacto is pretty handy here. These come off the back paper to expose the adhesive underneath - so once it's off, that sucker is off. The adhesive is pretty strong, sticking to the blade pretty good already, while being a bit stubborn to come off the sheet.
(Time lapse to completion!)
WHEW! I think I made it! Starting with the underside stickers...
So, the stickers have a nice balance of being quite sticky, yet forgiving. I had a couple edges lined up incorrectly, but was able to lift back up while the sticker was still on the blade, and simply make a better placement. The lines match up beautifully!! And the ones on mine that don't line up? Yeah, that's my fault. The 2 stickers that go on the wing pieces that hinge/rotate are by far the most difficult ones, and I simply didn't want to risk damage to the cassette or stickers by trying to correct them. So the only misalignment that is more than minimally noticeable is in the text "METAL POSITION" - and again, that's on me. 1/32" up more, and I would have been golden there. Otherwise, all the lines and color edges are looking like excellent (if not perfect) matches across the board. I also creased a tiny spot on the "foot" part that swings down, but it smoothed down pretty well, especially considering I hamfisted it pretty good at first. Like I said, this ain't my normal bag, yo.
Flipping to the other side, I had a much easier time. Applying the wing stickers is a breeze, and there is even some wiggle room along the straight edges. Since this side is not reliant or designed to a specific center being essential to the appearance, you can definitely go through this quicker than the other side. The pieces above the head and metal panel are an almost exact fit, so maybe take an extra second on those. For the head sticker, I chose the black symbol option, as the small gold details in the wing corners didn't quite break up the red and white striping effect enough for my personal taste. As for the gold details, one wing sports Japanese writing/lettering, and the other wing sports small shapes that look like they are meant to be a tally marking, such as on war planes that count enemy take-outs. Pretty cool, and I like the color contrast there. Just a bit small, although in fairness, this IS a micro cassette.
Hell. Yes. Keeping the verdict to physical product quality and fit, this is an EASY approval!! The fit and quality are outstanding. Allowing for the appeal of the small details and effort of Custranz into making this set a little more fun than a routine set of stickers just advances my approval even farther.
WHERE WOULD SUNBURST FIT IN MY COLLECTION?
My first thought is anyone interested in the Shattered Glass style of G1 figures! The red and white deco match Sunburst up nicely with the SG E-Hobby/TCC Soundwave - although nit-picking this sticker set will have you mixed, as SG Soundwave sports the red Decepticon logo, while Sunburst has an opposing symbol present. An easy fix would be to apply a small symbol of your choice over just the head sticker, as that is the only place a faction symbol is present.
But even if Shattered Glass isn't your thing, anyone that has variants or custom cassettes in their collection should enjoy these. Even if you don't happen to have a white KO bird handy, you can always rip the stickers off an old G1 or reissue, and either slap this set on to contrast against the black plastic on the wings and feet - or simply give it a plain white coat of paint, and then all the coloring and details will be taken care of by this set.
NOTES FROM CUSTRANZ:
Sunburst designed by: Custranz
Sunburst sticker designs printed and "kiss cut" by: Reprolabels
HOW CAN YOU STALK CUSTRANZ???