Friday, October 31, 2008

Longarm Prime

One week ago, i got Animated Shockwave in the mail. He's awesome.

Oh, and I found Crossovers TIE Bomber, too. He's ok.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lots of toys...

OK, so I've gotten a lot of transformers this month. This is mostly due to me having some birthday funds in addition to the monthly amount I'll spend on toys. However, most of these transformers are particularly great, even the ones that I did not expect much from.

I've gotten:

-Sentinel Prime

-Soundwave & Spacecase (old Universe line)

-Human Torch

And Animated Shockwave is on the way!

Only problem is that I had ordered Universe Legends Hound and gotten Megatron instead, who I had picked up in store at the beginning of September. So I have to repackage and return it via mail.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Animated core cast: complete!

I picked up Activators Bumblebee yesterday. I'd seen him on shelves for about two months now, but due to other characters having more interesting or exciting figures, I neglected the character all that time. The deluxe version has been available since June, and I've avoided that one still - no plans for it.

Activator 'Bee has turned out to pretty cool. Granted, it's basically a cheaper version of Classics 'Bee in the Animated aesthetic, but it still looks good next to Leader Bulkhead. Scale feels right with these two. And, along with Prowl, Ratchet, and Voyager Prime, I have rounded out the core Autobot cast! I really should pose them together.

Oh, and I gave up looking for Sentinel Prime and Swoop. They, along with Marvel Crossover Human Torch and Legends Jazz and Hound are on order from HTS. Which is pretty much my monthly budget. And it's only the 2nd.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Birthday round-up

Well here is what was obtained:

Animated Ultra Magnus did in fact come on Friday, and I went ahead and opened it then.

My wife did indeed get me Universe Onslaught.

And my parents came through with Titanium Grimlock and Prowl. This one in particular is good because they are exclusive to Toys R Us, which isn't close to here at all. Also, these toys are the size of a normal $10 transformer, but normally used to cost $15 due to the high metal content. These last two exclusive were being sold for $20 at TRU, meaning that I would have had to pay $40 for 2 10 dllar-sized toys. So go mom & dad. Dad also got me a new pocketknife since I lost mine in Ohio this summer, so I can now open TFs without hunting down the scissors. Yay!

Still trying to find Animated Sentinel Prime and Swoop, though. I checked 2 walmarts on the way home Sunday and they had about 3 Animated deluxes between them. That's one point against rural GA walmarts (especially since I have it on good authority that some even more rural walmarts do infact have these newer toys).

Friday, September 26, 2008


The B-day is fast approaching and this means that transformers are as well.

Here's the wish list so far:

From me:
Animated Ultra Magnus (from HTS, should arrive today)

From wife:
Universe Onslaught

From parents:
Titanium Series Grimlock & Prowl (TRU exclusives)

From in-laws (in the form of cash):
Animated Sentinel Prime & Swoop, if I can find them.

I will update later with what TFs actually come through.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


9/4/2008: This is a quick edit to update this lists with some recent purchases.

This has been a good summer for transformer collecting. I've gotten to see the winding down of the Movie toyline while at the same time see the launching of two of the best TF toylines in a long time: Animated and Universe. Oh, and the last gasp of the Titanium Series is now hitting certain shelves, too.

Since I haven't been updating much lately, I figured I post an assessment sort of update, talking about where I am in the current lines and what's coming up that I'm really looking forward to. So, here we go:

As stated, the two current lines are Animated and Universe. Animated came out a few weeks earlier, and is a true "mainline" in the tradition of Beast Wars, Robots in Disguise, and the entire Unicron Trilogy. Universe hit a few weeks later and has fewer molds available, mostly because it's intended to be a supplementary line.

So, what do I have from Animated now? Roll call!


Voyager Optimus Prime
Deluxe Optimus Prime
Battle Begins Optimus Prime
Leader Bulkhead
Activator Bulkhead

Voyager Megatron
Battle Begins Megatron
Soundwave w/Laserbeak
Oil Slick
Leader Megatron (added 9/4)

And for Universe:


Prowl (added 9/4)

Legends class Starscream

So, that's where I stand. While I'd like to own just about each and every TF that's released, realistically that's not going to happen. However, there are many that I definitely want, come hell or high water:


Megatron (leader class, hopefully for birthday)
Ultra Magnus (also hopefully for birthday)
Shockwave/Longarm Prime (due out by Christmas)
Sentinel Prime
Swindle (also Xmas)
Blurr (another Xmas release)
Activator Starscream and any of the repaints they do
Activator Bumblebee
Activator Optimus
Activator Cliffjumper
Activator Megatron
Skywarp (added 9/4)

Here are the also-rans that I wouldn't mind getting:

Shadow Blade Megatron (leader class repaint for Xmas)
Supreme Optimus Prime
Blazing Lockdown (repaint/remold)
Stealth Lockdown (added 9/4)

As for Universe:


Acid Storm
Onslaught (b-day list!)
Legends Megatron
Legends Jazz
Legends Hound


Legends Onslaught

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Green Machine

I picked up Leader Bulkhead the other day, using a bit of money magic to circumvent my monthly budget. Here's my review:

Bulkhead , in this form, is one of the first two Leader class ($40) toys in the Transformers: Animated line. While his character also appears in the Voyager class (which I don't have) and as a very small Activator (which I DO have), this size class is probably the most appropriate for him, as he's (other than Omega Supreme) the largest of the core cast Autobots. Even though he's packaged in robot mode, I'll start the review by looking at his vehicle mode.

In the show, Bulkhead obtains his Earth vehicle mode by scanning an blue armored SWAT truck and becoming the green version thereof. However, for his leader class toy, the designers have deviated a bit from that template. While the law enforcement connection is still there (due to the emergency lightbar), the overall vibe (already hinted at by the olive green and military-style stars on all his toys) is of a heavy-duty assault vehicle. In contrast to the show, leader Bulkhead now sports four huge missiles (called "air torpedoes" on the box) and a turret of sorts with two elevating cannons. Now, at its core, the vehicle is still a personnel carrier, as evidenced by the doors on the back of the vehicle. One fun bit is that while the doors themselves don't open, the entire back panel lifts up (similar to Movie Wreckage), so it's actually pretty easy to see how it could be a personnel carrier. Of course, there are two huge robot forearms in the carrier space, but still, it's a neat (unintended) feature. In the end, I imagine this version of Bulkhead's vehicle mode as a troop carrier with a secondary role of urban anti-attack chopper duty.

Bulkhead's vehicle mode isn't pretty like Starscream's, or sleek like Prowl's, but it is tough. It feels very solid (the only thing that doesn't really lock in place is the aforementioned rear panel) and dense, which matches the appearance perfectly. He looks like he could survive a nuclear blast. All the bolt details really help reinforce that idea. Another neat design is the stationary wheel hubs - only the "tires" move. This helps sell the "futuristic" aspect of the vehicle, as does the slim, angular windshield. It could use a few more paint apps - particularly on the fuel tanks, side doors and rear doors - but overall the vehicle looks great.

As far as features go, the vehicle mode doesn't have too many. The Primary one is the electronics. Press down on the Autobot logo, and a siren sound will go off twice, along with the lights below the lightbars lighting up. If you hold the button down, the siren will sound continuously. The cannons, as mentioned, elevate, and can be made to face the rear of the vehicle, some thing useful for a character who isn't very agile. The missiles don't launch, bu they can be removed. And, of course, the wheels allow Bulkhead to roll along the ground.

Bulkhead's transformation is a treat. Conceptually, there's not much new here - it's really about the same as Energon Optimus Prime's, with the truck front being the torso and the limbs flowering out from the back - but the relocation of the various kibble panels is pretty fun. I really like how all the wheels fold up. The front two, especially, demonstrate a lesson learned from Energon Optimus. Another nice thing is how well the turret halves connect with/blend in with the rear panel pieces. They're really not noticeable once they're in place. One last unexpected bit is how the chest piece raises to give the robot better posture (and to connect with the shoulders). I didn't notice that from any of the review galleries online.

Once everything is situated for bot mode, you've got one great, unique "little" Autobot. Bulkhead is short for a leader class toy (especially Cybertron Metroplex!), but he makes up for his height in mass. Every part of him is thick. Because of this trade-off, he relates in size to most of the other Autobot toys very well, mostly Voyager Optimus and Deluxes Ratchet and Prowl (unfortunately, I don't yet have an Animated Bumblebee to compare him to). The colors are nice, too. The military theme carries over from the truck mode, since the olive green still dominates, and there are two additional stars, this time on his shoulders. The matte plastic used so much in this toyline really does well on Bulkhead, too. Lastly, I want to say that Bulkhead's overall robot appearance is rather unique compared to most transformers. He very vaguely reminds me of a cross between the aforementioned Energon Optimus toy (the larger one) and Cybertron's Menasor. The basic body part layout is just like Prime's - truck front as torso, legs start below the bumper, arms come out of the side - even the turret halves are reminiscent of Prime's Antenna/helmet piece. However, a lot of the details recall Menasor's mech-like appearance. Both have feet with tank treads for soles. Both have vehicle kibble arching up over their shoulder like wings. They also share relatively huge arms that terminate in structures more like tools or weapons than hands. You can even make Bulkhead's head disappear under the turret if you want to complete the soulless mech look. Conceptually, he's also similar to Movie Leader Brawl, who was also large, green, had three claws per hand, and had weapons on his forearms.

Even though he looks rather monolithic, he actually has pretty good ranges of movement. In this way, he's again somewhat similar to Movie Leader class Brawl. His arms have full movement except for the wrists (even including bicep swivels), and his legs have all the necessary jointing as well. As one would expect from his design, there is no waist joint. The head is a tricky issue, though. Technically, it does move - in fact, his neck, jaw, and browline all move. However, they are restricted by one of his gimmicks and cannot hold a pose except looking forward. Ultimately, this doesn't bother me much, but it will/does irritate many articulation sticklers. For an Armada fan like me, though, I can live with it.

Now to the gimmicks. As befits a Leader class toy, Bulkhead has both lights and sounds. In bot mode, the siren does not work, and the red lights are replaced with orange lights. If you press his Autobutton, he'll speak one of three phrases: "Sorry, my bad" (or is that "Sari, my bad"?), "You can do it, buddy" (possibly directed at Bumblebee), and "Time to bring out the big guns" (appropriate due to this toy's weapon upgrades). However, the button also serves to turn the head left and pull down on the chin, which also raises his browline. The whole thing is really pretty expressive, as there's more going on with Bulkhead's mouth than you can normally see. He looks pretty alarmed! Unfortunately, you can't keep pushing the button to allow him to lip sync with the sound recording, as pressing it again will make the chip cycle to the next saying.

Bulkhead also comes with an accessory that interacts with the sounds and lights. This is the Headmaster helmet. In the show, Headmaster (aka Henry Masterson, mad weapons engineer) has built a transforming exosuit that allows him to physically take control of other robots, including Bulkhead. While the helmet itself doesn't transform into a little guy in an exosuit, it does connect to the Bulkhead toy, upon which it causes the sound chip to squeal "Ownage! Total Ownage!" quite enthusiastically. This also activates all the red lights in the torso and head. If you press the button on the chest, it does this again. This is a rather impressive feature from an engineering standpoint, but what's also nice is that it basically gives you another villain leader class toy (other than Megatron, that is) at pretty much no cost!

Lastly, Bulkhead has some mechanical features in his arms. His right hand is permanently holding a buzzsaw blade, and if you push a sliding tab on his forearm, it spins the blade. This isn't Bulkhead's characteristic wrecking ball weapon (featured on the Voyager class version), but it's nice, makes sense as both a tool and weapon and works well. His other hand is his normal tri-clawed grabber and can literally grab. Using a similar sliding tab as found on the right arm, the claw opens and closes. Pretty fun, and frankly I like it better than if the claws had been independently mobile. Bulkhead also has an undocumented "chair" mode, as seen on the show, which requires you to untransform his shoulder kibble. It doesn't look much like a chair and requires strategic positioning of the legs to work, but it's a nice thing to be able to do and adds to Bulkhead's uniqueness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's been a while, and here's the new stuff...

Hard to believe it's been almost a month since the last post. In that time period, I've spent most of my time either on the road or in classes. Since I have a few more days of freedom before I go back to work, I figured I'd try to squeeze in a few more updates.

First off, I do have a pretty decent chunk of new TFs at my disposal since the last update. Here's the list:

Animated Prowl
Animated Jazz
Animated Soundwave w/Laserbeak
OTFCC Topspin
Universe Sunstreaker
Universe Tankor/Octane
Universe Starscream (Legends class)
Crossovers Hulk
Crossovers Venom

I think that's it. They're all pretty great, too . The most recent purchase is Venom, which I got yesterday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Diminutive Superfortress

As I stated in the last post, I've recently acquired Voyager-class Decepticon Lugnut. Lugnut is an interesting toy for many reasons, one of which is all the different "source" transformers which he seems to draw from. I won't use the popular term "homage" here, as I don't think that there's any one past transformer that Lugnut is an update of. Indeed, Lugnut is one of the few characters in Transformers: Animated that is not directly based on a preexisting transformer, G1 or otherwise; Bulkhead and Oil Slick are the only other two characters I can think of at the moment that share Lugnut's "newness."

So, if Lugnut isn't an out-and-out update or homage, who does he draw from? Perhaps, at least in a toy sense, the most obvious is Movie Blackout. Like Lugnut, Blackout was intensely loyal to Megatron, to the point of having the nickname "the Hound of Megatron" (this, along with the capability to carry the smaller transformer Scorponok and soe other facts, lead to many linking Blackout with the G1 incarnation of Soundwave). As a toy, Lugnut is very similar to Blackout. Their transformations parallel each other:

1. the head automorphs up due to the tail section being pulled down.
2. the central torso is flanked by halves of the cockpit.
3. the arms and shoulders are derived from the wings and engines.
4. the tail section can be removed to become a large weapon
5. the legs form from the fuselage

Both, of course, are also patterned after large vehicles. Blackout transforms into a MH-53 (one of the largest helicopters in existance) and Lugnut becomes a bomber whose design echoes the B-29 of WWII, which was the largest bomber of that war. Blackout was also a Voyager-class Decepticon toy that was meant to represent the huge, heavy-hitter of the 2007 film's Decepticon team. Unfortunately, the Voyager size class can't exactly protray these characters' huge size because of their designs. Both Blackout and Lugnut are either matched or exceeded in height by a number of theoretically smaller Deluxe size transformers, much to the chagrin of collectors who enjoy correct scale. Many had called for a larger Leader-class Blackout and are calling for a similarly sized Lugnut, but thus far neither call has been answered by Hasbro.

Lugnut has ties to a few other transformers, though. As suggested earlier, his loyalty to Megatron echoes G1 Soundwave, even if he was never as zealous as Lugnut is. His largely purple color scheme and large primary eye bring G1 Shockwave to mind. Interestingly, both of these characters are also getting updates for the Animated line. Anothe influence seems to me to be Beast Machines Tankor, a vehicon commander who also had claw hands, a massive frame, and an elongated head/face. His blue and silver colors weren't far removed from Lugnut's (slightly different from the toy) show colors, either. His bomber mode and wing/arm transformation also reflect Cybertron Jetfire/Skyshadow in some ways. Lastly, both his color scheme and alt mode theme (i.e. WWII aircraft) are similar to G2 Ransack.

But what about the toy itself; how well does it stand on its own? First, I'll look at what I think is the strongest aspect of the toy, and that is the vehicle mode. As the title of this post suggests, Lugnut is a bomber with strong similarities to the Boeing B-29 Superfortess, a very effective bomber that was developed in the midst of World War II and helped end it by delivering nuclear payloads to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. And simply put, this is one of the most gorgeous airplane modes ever devised in the 24-year-old Transformers history. Now, while it is based on the B-29, the Transformers: Animated show takes place in the future and thus the plane has a few design choices that place it in the aesthetic category of retro-futuristic, as opposed to a stricit WWII replica like G2 Ransack. Some stand-out features of the bomber mode (obviously) include the bombs. Slung under the (very modern-looking) engines, these huge bombs have two guiding fins and hazard striping, and bear no small resemblance to the "Fat Man" bomb that was detonated in Nagasaki, even though the real B-29 carried bombs inside its bomb bay. Panels that turn out to be the robot's claws can automorph open (by pushing the fins forward) to reveal turbolasers, as Hasbro calls them. However, this sort of clutters up the bomber mode, which already has three twin-barreled gun turrets (another throwback to WWII bomber design). Perhaps the most obvious B-29 feature is the cockpit area, which is totally unlike anything you'd see on more contemporary B-1B or B-2 aircraft. There is a central window at the nose, surrounded by smaller rectangular/trapezoidal windows that extend to the top of the fuselage. It's something never seen on a transformer before, and really solidifies the retro-futuristic look. At (literally) the other end of the spectrum, the tail looks very futuristic, something that you probably wouldn't find even on an experimental aircraft today. The four tail fins are arranged in a sort of X-shape, like the S-foils of an X-wing. Each pair of fins is attached to what appear to be supplemental engines, with red intakes and molded nozzles on the rear. This is similar to Cybertron Jetfire, but like most real aircraft. The only aircraft with a tail-mounted jet engine I can think of at the moment is the Lockheed L-1011 airliner. The central portion of the tail also appears to have molded vents in front and rear, but they;re unpainted and it's not clear if it also intended to house turbojets. Which brings me back to the wings, on which are mounted the main engines. The intakes for these engines look great, but they have neither painted nor molded details toe represent the exhaust nozzles! This is probably a minor thing to anyone who's not an airplane nut like me, but for myself this is the worst aspect of the bomber mode. Another minor complaint is that the staff of the mace weapon pretty obviously sits on top of the rear fuselage; I thin it could have been possible to have it blend in better. On the plus side, Lugnut has some of the best "robot kibble" incorporation seen on an aircraft TF: his legs rather seamlessly blend in with the rear fuselage, with the only thing to tip you off being the teal-colored toes. The only TF that comes to mind that incorporates robot parts better into its plane mode would be the Cybertron Thundercracker mold (and Cybertron Evac andMovie Blackout, I suppose, but they're not strictly airplanes). Again, this is a wonderful alt mode, such that I'd by the mold at least once more because of it. It' d be nice to see it repainted in the B-29's characteristic silver, maybe as Animated Strika.

Ok, robot mode. This is where most fans have their complaints, and again it's mostly directed as Lugnut's short height. And he truly is small; like Blackout before him, Lugnut fits in better amongst deluxes rather than Voyagers. Also like Blackout, part of the reason for this is because a pretty big chunk of the alt mode does not become part of the robot mode proper, but rather becomes "backpack", part of which is removed to become a proportionally large weapon. So, because a decent chunk of the bomber's mass doesn't turn into the robot proper, the robot is pretty short. Another Voyager-class Decepticon, Starscream, is a good three head taller.

Even so, Lugnut is a pretty cool robot. Since his alt mode is so retro-futuristic, it's appropriate that his robot mode is too. From the exaggerated proportions of the limbs to the cyclopean (sort of) eye, this guy would not look out of place in an old Sci-fi film or cartoon from the '40s. It's overall a great look and really helps set him apart from the other Animated Decepticons, not to mention most of you transformers from other toylines.

Articulation is pretty good, especially with the arms. There's a lot more movement there than I expected. However, there is no waist or head/neck movement, which is a bit disappointing. The waist joint I could live without (although it looks like there was room for one), but the head is a separate piece from the rotating panel it sits on, and I'm not sure why it couldn't be made to rotate. After all, the turret that is on the opposite side of the panel rotates; why couldn't they share the same joint? It seems that Lugnut can get by just fine without moving his head, however; he's got a pair of small eyes on either side of his head, so he could conceivably be looking at three things at once. Also unfortunate to note is that Lugnut's jaw does not move, nor does his lightpiping work (would have looked great if it did).

So, if Lugnut had his height sacrificed for a weapon, it better be a good weapon, right? As the box states, the plane's tail becomes a "power mace" and actually does a pretty good job at it. In fact, the mace has quickly become my favorite weapon in the line so far, beating out some pretty great armaments like Grimlock's sword, Megatron's cannon, and Lockdown's hook/EMP. When converted to mace mode (accomplished by plugging the mace's handle into one of Lugnut's turbolasers and then pressing a small trigger at the handle's base), the angle of the tail fins becomes more severe, making it much more menacing and more convincing as a mace and not just a Airplane Tail in My Hand. There is no way to activate the weapon in plane mode, by the way. Also, more hazard stripes are revealed, thematically tying the weapon closer to the main figure. Overall, it's an imposing weapon, and if not for its relatively small size could rival Cybertron Metroplex's Sparkdrinker weapon for quantified "epicness."

A few more observations about the mace accessory: If you leave it unactivated (fins in regular configuration), the "mace" looks quite a bit like a '50s style sci-fi rocket, with the "nose" somewhat resembling a gun barrel. Because of this, I've decided that the mace can also be a small remote control/drone interceptor for Lugnut. And with the fins either in "plane" mode or "mace" mode, Lugnut can hold it so that the gun barrel of the drone is facing forward, as if he's fining it or about to throw it into flight. Conversely, you can mount the weapon in his hand upside down and position it the same way, so that the jet nozzles look like gun barrels (this looks better with the fins in mace mode). Lastly, with the fins again in mace mode, you can position the weapon (by itself) horizontally and rotate the base of the handle up at an angle, and it makes a pretty decent scorpion impression, with the fins as claws and the handle as a stinger (no legs, though). More shades of Blackout and Scorponok, if you will.

One more note about the toy as a whole: if you are transforming him from bot mode to plane mode, leave the cockpit halves deployed and you get a not-too-bad impression of Depth Charge's manta ray mode.

In conclusion, this is a great toy from a great line. Not the best of what's available so far (largely for scale issues), but a very good toy on its own merits. I'd especially recommend it, however, for those who have bought Voyager class Bulkhead; they seem to be made in the same scale and should display well together.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Battle Begins...

Ok, I've got a few more additions to the Animated collection now, namely Optimus Prime and Megatron from the Battle Begins 2-pack, Blackarachnia, and Lugnut, the Decepticon muscle.

I'll say first that I'm a little more impressed with the 2-pack figures that I thought I'd be. Now, I was going to buy this set regardless, if only to keep up the Prime/Megatron collections, but it turns out the figures in it are actually pretty darn cool. Both are deluxe scale toys, meaning that this is now my second Animated deluxe Prime, after the Cybertronian version I got over a week ago. The two Primes are similar; many speculated online that the 2-pack version might be a simple remold of the Cybertronian version. The opposite is true; while remarkably alike in appearance and transformation, the two Primes don't seem to share a single part. There are differences in color as well - Cybertronian Prime uses much brighter blue and red than his Terran counterpart. Earth-mode Prime also has his faceplate molded in place, and has black battle damage paint apps strewn here and there.

Lastly, Earth-mode Prime's axe weapon is very different; it doesn't feature any moving parts, is very large, and can't convert into a double-bladed mode or a trailer hitch disguise. However, it is much closer to the axe's show appearance; the only other Animated Prime toy with a more accurate axe will be the Supreme-class Optimus, whose axe will have a retracting energy blade, rocket flame and sounds (and maybe lights).

Suffice to say, there are enough differences between the two deluxe Primes to make them both worthwhile purchases. Some won't like Earth-mode Prime's battle damage, but he does have a strong G1 Prime vibe going for him, what with his smoke stacks and silver cab stripe.

Deluxe Megatron is also quite a treat. Unlike Prime, his toy counterpart is much larger, in the Voyager size class, and there are other marked differences beyond size. Probably the most obvious difference is in color: Deluxe Megatron is cast in a much darker grey than Voyager Megatron, which seems to be more consistent with both his show appearance and the larger Leader class Megatron toy. Like Prime, he's sporting some battle damage, but Megatron's is in a strange metallic off-white color (almost rose pink) instead of Prime's black. They look a bit like flash burns from flares or something.

The transformation is also different. Not too different, as everything (arms and legs) ends up in pretty much the same configuration as the Voyager toy, but the differences are there. The end result is a slightly more compact and solid vehicle mode. A few unique touches include having the cannon being removed and replace as part of the transformation and a torso joint that inadvertantly gives him better posture in robot mode.

The bot mode itself is pretty great; it's very posable and kibble-free. One nice aspect of the transformation being different is that the diamond-shaped knee pads actually end up where the knees actually are, instead of floating in front of the thighs like the Voyager version's do. There are also fewer clear red parts, which will make some collectors happy. The thighs, feet, shoulders, hands, and lower torso are all now solid and opaque.

I also appreciate how the cannon is a bit better proportioned to the bot mode, at least in comparison to the Voyager mold's cannon. The "sword" mode of the cannon also looks a bit nicer in comparison. Instead of the fore-blade automorphing out, the rear part of the cannon simply lifts up, and you manually swing out the blade into place. And the fore-blade does actually extend past the nose of the cannon, so Megatron can get some stabbing action in, as opposed to the chopping capability of the Voyager's cannon. Lastly, the cannon can also be stored on deluxe Megatron's back, in the same place it goes for vehicle mode, and it looks pretty cool back there. Sort of gives him a place to out it if he just want to wail on you with his fists.

Overall, the deluxe Cybertronian Megatron doesn't have the height or mass to properly go up against his Optimus counterpart, but he's a more well-rounded figure with better balance and playability. While I'm glad I have my Voyager Megatron, I think the deluxe version is a better toy. I'd very easily pick this mold up a second time, if Hasbro repaints it and ships it singly (which they likely will).

Friday, June 13, 2008

More Animated!

I managed to find a decent pile of Animated toys at the local walmart yesterday, which luckily included some of my "priority" purchases I mentioned in the previous post. Specifically, I found Voyager class ($20) version of Megatron and Starscream. Also there were Blackarachnia, Bulkhead, and the 2-pack of Optimus Prime and Megatron. I passed on those, however.

When I arrived home, I opened Starscream first. His transformation was both impressive and surprising; all the automated parts work well together fluidly, but it makes the transformation process a little simpler than you'd expect for a 20 TF. Once in bot mode, though, I noticed that Starscream was missing something; one of the arm panels that pops out to become additional weaponry.

Megatron was next, and I found the transformation here to me more involved, but not overly so. The cybertronian alt mode is also much better looking than I had expected from online images, especially if you consider the "pointy" end to be the front, which is backwards from what the packaging and directions say (the actual animation model is very different and its front end has elements from both ends of the toy; the toy's "cockpit" is present, but the cannon is also facing forwards). However, I noticed that one of the two connector tabs in his torso, made from the clear red plastic, was broken. Everything held together well enough, but it was still sort of bothersome.

So I did something that I'd never really had to to before: return "defective" transformers. Actually, I haven't returned them yet, but I did buy duplicates since I messed up the original copies' packaging. Luckily, the replacements were just fine. I was also fortunate to find a few more deluxe ($10) TFs my second time at walmart: Bumblebee, Prowl, and Lockdown. Since I already have Ratchet, I decided to get Lockdown, as Ratchet can use Lockdown's engine/EMP weapon as per the episode "Thrill of the Hunt."

So, now I've got 4 total TF: Animated toys, and it' s not going to grow much larger for now. The next one that I plan on picking up, when I see it, is the deluxe Cybertronian Optimus Prime to spar off with my Megatron.

Even so, I'd like to have most of the TF:A toys that are currently available. The only ones that don't really look like they're worth adding to the collection are deluxe Bumblebee (transformation is overly cheaty and he's a bit big) and Voyager Bulkhead, who I'll think I'll pass on for the larger Leader class version.

Anyway, here's hoping that I can find Prime tomorrow.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finally found Transformers: Animated!

I went to visit my friend Doug yesterday (remember him from the first post?) and went by a walmart in his town. I've been hoping to find Transformers: Animated toys for about a week now, and when I first got there I saw nothing but older Transformers Movies toys, much to my dismay. I kept looking, though, at at the back of one of the pegs was a lone Animated toy hiding out: Ratchet.

Ratchet was not one of my priority purchases for this line. Those would be Cybertronian Optimus Prime, Starscream, and Voyager-class Megatron. Even so, I couldn't pass up the chance to finally have one of these new TFs that we had been first shown online nearly a year ago by Hasbro at the SDCC. And I have to say that I'm glad I picked Ratchet up. From what I had seen online, he didn't look like he'd be that great, but he's actually a very good transformer. The ambulance mode is nice, clean and simple, and the robot mode has a good size, great articulation and a lot a character. Oh, and the transformation is fun too. The only drawback so far is that the left leg easily disconnects at the thigh joint. It would also be nice if his tool stored in ambulance mode, but it's not that big a deal.

So, while I still really want to find my priority purchases soon, Ratchet turns out to be a great first figure for this new line.

Also: I finally got some shelves put in the basement, along with a fan (with lights!). It makes the room look a bit nicer.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Upcoming repaints...

Saw this link to the Chinese board ACToys the other day: Springer & Ratbat.

These two transformers are part of the upcoming "Universe" line that Hasbro is unveiling/reintroducing this fall. The nice thing about these particular two TFs is that you get two for the price of one. Both of them will be packaged together and sold as a Target exclusive for only $20 - the normal cost of the mold used for Springer.

Both molds are not new - they were introduced in the Cybertron line in 2005 - but neither has yet to be repainted. The green guy (Springer) is a character first introduced in the original animated Transformers: the Movie in 1986, and the purple guy (Ratbat) is one of the old "cassetticons" - the minions of Soundwave that transformed into his cassette tapes. Springer's mold was originally released as Evac, and was pretty universally praised as being one of the best helicopter TFs ever, largely because of the transformation of the helicopter's tail into robot wings, as opposed to the robot mode simply having a helicopter tail hanging off its back like most helicopter TFs have.

Ratbat was originally released as Sideways - an agent of Unicron who somehow managed to trick both the Autbots and Decepticons to believing that he was on their sides (twice!). What makes the use of this mold for Ratbat inspired is not just that the spaceship alt mode looks like a bat - and it does - but that the toy's gimmick is that its faction sigil can change. In the now-slightly-dated Dreamwave TF comics, Ratbat formed his own subfaction of Decepticons after Megatron's disappearance, name the Ultracons. The new Ratbat toy will reportedly be able to switch his faction from Decepticon to Ultracon. Wonderful! This also marks one of the very few times that the TF toylines have received a character sporting a unique faction sigil - the only other that comes to mind is the Titanium Series Fallen toy (who incidentally appears in the same comic that is included with this set).

Anyway, it's going to be hard to resist a deal like this. Two great molds with great new color schemes, and one of them is free.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yay, transformers

Welcome to Basement Invasion. The basement in question is mine and the aforementioned invasion refers to all the little plastic robots that have conquered it. One of the other people living with me has recently started a blog and my summer class professor has started a blog for our class, so I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon.

Recently, my little boy turned one year old! In the midst of his birthday festivities, one of my old friends who I haven't seen in months informed me that he was coming to the party at our house. Doug has known me for a long time, and he went with me on my very first (albeit fruitless) transformer "hunt" as an adult collector. He's been fairly interested in my collection over the years, but he was particularly excited that I'd have an entire room to display my transformers at my new house. However, before my son's birthday, he hadn't seen the house or my TF basement yet. It wasn't long after he arrived at the party that he asked to see the basement. After some very fun present opening and cake destroying activities, I showed Doug the basement.

"Oh my god."

That's what he said. Doug, being a Star Wars fan, was particularly fascinated by the relatively large Darth Vader transformer on top of the bookcase; he was even more impressed when I revealed to him that it transformed into the Death Star.

We didn't spend very much time down in the basement due to the party, but I could tell Doug was, at the least, surprised. He's seen me buy a lot of transformers, but I don't think he was quite prepared to see so many in one (relatively small) room.