Monday, June 29, 2009

Some random images...

Decided to put up a few pictures I liked. First, we have most of the TFs I own that are NOT on display at the moment (along with my ham of a son):

Here's ROTF Ramjet. He's actually really nice. Skywarp seemed objectively nicer, but I've really taken to Ramjet. I think he may be more attractive to the eye than any other version of this mold. Of which I have five now, by the way.

ROTF Mixmaster is a triple changer. Mostly because he has a giant cannon that can't be correctly used in either robot or cement mixer mode. The official cannon mode is rather ungainly and unstable, so I found this much simpler cannon emplacement mode:

All you do is split the cement drum/rear wheels, flip the cannon up and over, and rotate the smoke stacks a bit forward for some tiny guns.

I have my ROTF movie review partly finished. I'll post it soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Revenge of the in theaters!

So, ROTF finally hit theaters at 12:00 AM today. Unfortunately, I'm no longer at a point in my life where I would have gone to see it locally at midnight (I even saw a ~3:00 am listing!), nor can I see it later today - I have to go to class soon, then immediately to the dentist afterword. In the afternoon, I have to help get the house cleaned because we're having a double helping of company tonight: the couple fixing up our new piano are coming around five and at seven we're hosting bible study for our church.

Not that I would really want to see it locally, anyhow. I've never been to the in-town theater since moving here nearly two years ago, and even the next closest theater - near my parents, almost an hour away, wouldn't do. No sir, because I'm going to see this sucker on the IMAX screen. Luckily for me, my aunt lives very close to the best IMAX in the state, so she's ordered tickets for me and at least two of my four cousins (the ones that belong to her, at least). The two that are definitely going range in age from 10 to 23 (the other two are in between), but we'll still have a good time. I'd like to pick up a ROTF toy (maybe a legends, scout, or deluxe) for the youngest before or after the movie (and maybe, just maybe, one for myself - Walmarts are reportedly putting out pallets with the wave 3 deluxes and wave 3 voyagers that I haven't seen yet).

However, because of my responsibilities tonight and the fact that I have to go to class tomorrow morning too, we're waiting until tomorrow night to see the movie. I'm pretty excited, and I'll post a review on here either after the movie or (more likely) Friday sometime.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Legends Class Starscream comparison

Most people probably aren't interested in this, but I was struck by how much better ROTF Legends Starscream appeared to be compared to his 2007 mold-brother. You can tell it's ROTF Starscream due to the presence of the tribal scarring deco (they're not tattoos, at least if you go by the comics). More importantly, they finally put him in some decent plastic colors. His main color is now a very pale tan that's almost silvery. It's much more believable as a fighter jet color than the out-and-out gold form the 2007 version. Also, the arms now match the body and legs (although I think they're slightly different), so Starscream is no longer wearing a wife-beater. It also makes the arms less conspicuous in jet mode.

edit: By the way, here's my review of the 2007 version from the first time around:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Small stuff!

Ok, so it's been a little while since my last update. This is mostly due to me being busy, but part of it is due to the relative slowness of Transformer releases at the moment. The thing about the current movie line is that Hasbro wanted to get a majority of the toys available during the summer so that they would be on shelf while the movie would be receiving the most attention. What this means for TF collectors/fans is that at this point in the Movie line, which is about 5 months in, we would only now be seeing some of the toys that were released as long ago as July. So, in the case of most TF lines, we're used to seeing new toy releases spread out over periods of a few months, whereas with this line there is only a relative handull of toys left to be released.

Anyway, this current lull in normal TF toy releases means I've only been picking up a couple of small things here and there, since I've been avoiding eBay recently. Lately, Hasbro's online toy shop was kind enough to make available two of the newer Legends class Movie toys. The Legends size class, for the uninitiated, is a pricepoint/size of transformers that are relatively small, usually measuring about 3 inches in height. They are small representations of characters that have all received toys in larger size classes, and as such the Legends versions tend to be simply in detail, transformation complexity, and range of movement. Even so, they are usually still fun toys and a must for any collector who has the "completist" mentality. Without further ado, here are my reviews for Movie Legends class Starscream:


For this year's live-action Transformers movie, Starscream was one of the characters whose design received a very significant updating. The update to his vehicle mode was not too surprising - Starscream has been changed from his Generation 1 F-15 to an F-22 before, both in toys and comics - but the visual changes to his robot mode were definitely a step in a new direction. Movie Starscream is a massive, hulking robot with a large upper body and a relatively small upper body, resulting in an exaggerated appearance that some love and many have deplored. Well, like it or not, this is the design that Legends Starscream is modeled off of and also the mode he is packaged in.

The robot mode is a pretty good representation of what Starscream looks like in the movie: avian legs, massive torso and long arms, topped off with a rather insectile face/head. Like the larger, Voyager-class ($20) toy, this Starscream has a "realistic" muted color scheme. Most of the plastic is molded in a light tan color that is a bit metallic but still close to the larger toy's main color. Why they chose this color for these toys is unclear to me, as Starscream appears grey/silver in the movie, but it does look pretty nice regardless. This tan color appears on Starscream's torso, head, waist, and legs. The arms are molded in a light gray plastic that's not very metallic at all, as are the tailfins which appear above his shoulders. Most of the torso is covered in acoat of paint - either silver or bronze depending on the area. The silver is concentrated in the center while the bronze is near the shoulder areas. The eyes are painted red and the mouth area and abdominal cockpit are yellow in color; the shins are the same silver that appears on the torso. There is extensive molding on the torso and an aperture so that you can so the aircraft's cockpit through his abdomen. The head molding is good, although pieces molded to be the jet's thrusters are on the rear of the head and make it seem to have small horns or ears that the movie design does not possess. The arms are notable for having actual hands; the larger Voyager-class toy has arms molded to be permanently deployed in a missile-launcher mode seen in the movie. As far as articulation is concerned, there's of course not a whole lot. The arms are pretty good; both shoulders and elbows are ball joints with a pretty good range of movement. The hips are ball joints, but they are limited in motion; the selection of a ball joint here seems mostly to facilitate the rotating of the legs during transformation. From the back, it's pretty obvious that Starscream is a pile of jet parts, but the vertical stabilizers projecting from the shoulders look like small wings, and the nosecone sticks up like on the Voyager class toy. Overall, Starscream is pretty good looking in robot mode with the articulation you would expect for most Legends transformers. The main detractor is probably the bland gray plastic used for the arms; they could have used the same silver paint treatment that the legs got.

Starscream's transformation is pretty unique. In some ways it mirrors the Voyager class toy's, but in other ways it is a transformation that is completely new and has never been used on an aircraft transformer. Here are the basics: upper arms fold over the top of the torso and the forearms stick out behind the thrusters. The legs rotate outward and the waist/nosecone complex rotates forward, pulling the legs up under the fuselage where they peg together. Lastly, you rotate the rear horizontal fins backward to their correct positions (although, if you leave them folded in, you end up with a sort of delta-winged F-22. Kinda neat.). However, this describes the "official" transformation found on the package. I don't like the hands sticking out behind the jet, so I tried rotating the opposite way so that they would sort of be stuffed between the legs under the fuselage. You have to unpeg the legs to do this, however, and the peg on the one leg sort of gets in the way. I decided to cut the peg off, as the leg joints are stiff enough to hold htem in place. I'm pretty satisfied with the result, as I don't have hands hanging off the back of the jet anymore.

Again, Movie Starscream's vehicle mode is a Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter plane. Fans who have the aforementioned Voyager class toy know that it is not a particularly good representation of the sleek and angular fighter. Luckily, the Legends version fares better in this regard. The jet mode here is much better proportioned than its larger counterpart, and has very little robot kibble visible from the top, even compared to the Energon series Starscream. Of course, the underside is a Robot Body Parts Nightmare©, but that is almost par for the course for aircraft transformers. My only real complaint is in regards to the color scheme: the forward fuselage, nosecone, and wings are all tan whereas the vertical & horizontal fins are light gray. It doesn't really look bad, but it's certainly weird and not a scheme you'd see on a regulation F-22. The point of the nose and the leading edges of the wings have some nice silver paint on them; there is some on the edge of the yellow canopy as well. It helps lend definition, and I added some more silver paint myself to the hollows of the intakes and the edges of the tailfins. There are some other oddities to the mold - like the shoulders' ball joints on the wingtips and the huge aperture in the middle of the fuselage, but they are not very distracting. In the end, it's one of the better F-22 modes in transformer history, and certainly better than either larger version of this same character (the $10 Fast Action Battler version or the $20 Voyager version), something that seems to be the case with another prominent movie Decepticon (read: Megatron).

In any case, this is a pretty great little transformer. I recommend him, especially for the hardcore Starscream fans, Legends class enthusiasts, and aircraft TF enthusiasts. Here's hoping that like most Starscreams he gets repainted ad infinitum.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ok, picture time

Like I said, I reorganized the collection. The centerpiece, seen below, is where my Prime/Ultra Magnus/Optimus Primal collection is showcased:

Altogether on that shelf are these transformers:

Commemorative Series Generation 1 Optimus Prime
Commemorative Series Powermaster Optimus Prime w/Apex Bomber & Hi-Q
MP-01 Convoy (Japanese 20th Anniversary Prime)
Classics Voyager Optimus Prime
Classics Deluxe Optimus Prime
Alternators Optimus Prime
Titanium War Within Optimus Prime
Universe Spychanger G1 Optimus Prime
Titanium G1 Optimus Prime (3")
Robot Heroes (RH) Supermetal G1 Optimus Prime
RH G1 Optimus Prime w/Matrix of Leadership
Cybertron Leader Class Optimus Prime
Cybertron Legends Class Optimus Prime
Energon Leader Class Optimus Prime
Energon Deluxe Class Optimus Prime
Armada Supercon Optimus Prime w/Overrun
Robots In Disguise (RiD) Optimus Prime (in normal robot mode)
Titanium RiD Optimus Prime (Supermode)
RiD Spychanger Optimus Prime (Supermode)
Movie Leader Class Optimus Prime
Movie First Strike Optimus Prime
Movie Protoform Optimus Prime
Movie FAB Optimus Prime
Movie Legends Class Optimus Prime
RH Movie Battle Damage Optimus Prime
RH Movie Protoform Optimus Prime (really Jazz)
RH Movie Allspark Optimus Prime
RH Movie Sword Optimus Prime
Animated VoyagerClass Optimus Prime
Animated Deluxe Class Optimus Prime (Cybertronian)
Animated Battle Begins Optimus Prime
Animated Activators Optimus Prime
Animated Legends Class Optimus Prime
Beast Wars 10 Anniversary (BWX) Ultra Class Optimus Primal
BWX Deluxe Class Optimus Primal
Titanium Optimal Optimus (same guy as Primal)
RH Optimus Primal
Crossovers Captain America (he looks just like an Optimus toy)
Galaxy Force Vector Prime (Japanese release)
Cybertron Metroplex
Cybertron Scourge
Cybertron Evac
Cybertron Override
Commemorative Series G1 Ultra Magnus
Universe Leader Class Ultra Magnus
Animated Leader Class Ultra Magnus
Armada Overload w/ Knockout (to me, he's the UT analog to G1 Magnus)
Classics Ultra Magnus
Titanium War Within Ultra Magnus
Titanium G1 Ultra Magnus
RH G1 Ultra Magnus
Movie Legends Class Ultra Magnus (really Nightwatch Optimus Prime)

Hanging above all of those are Movie Scorponok, Energon Insecticon, and BWX Tarantulus.

Just above those guys is the Megatron shelf, and at the very top are the Starscreams:

On the Megatron shelf:

MP-05 Masterpiece Megatron
Classics Voyager Megatron
Classics Deluxe Megatron
Universe Special Edition Deluxe Megatron
Universe Legends Class Megatron
Titanium Megatron (Cobra version)
Titanium War Within Megatron
Machine Wars Megatron (really Megaplex)
RH G1 Megatron
RH Supermetal G1 Megatron
Cybertron Leader Class Galvatron
Cybertron Legends Class Galvatron
Cybertron Legends Class Megatron
Energon Megatron
Armada Megatron
RiD Megatron
Movie Leader Class Premium Megatron
Movie Voyager Class Premium Megatron
Movie Legends Class Megatron
RH Movie Megatron
RH Movie Supermetal Megatron
RH Revenge of the Fallen Megatron
Animated Leader Class Megatron
Animated Voyager Class Megatron
Animated Battle Begins Megatron
Animated Activators Megatron

And on the Starscream shelf:

Masterpiece Starscream
Commemorative Series G1 Starscream
Classics Starscream
Titanium War Within Starscream
Universe Legends Class Starscream
RH G1 Starscream
Armada Starscream
Energon Starscream
Energon Energon Starscream (not a typo...)
Galaxy Force Starscream (Japanese release)
Cybertron Legends Starscream
Botcon Shattered Glass Starscream
Movie Deep Space Starscream
Movie Starscream (G1-style version)
Movie Protoform Starscream
ROTF Legends Class Starscream
Movie RH Starscream (missle arm version)
ROTF RH Starscream
Animated Voyager Class Starscream
Animated Activators Starscream
Animated Legends Class Starscream

Off to the side I have a few Jetfires in vehicle mode:

Clockwise, starting with the space shuttle:
Armada Jetfire
Titanium War Within Jetfire
Energon Skyfire (officially Skyblast)
Classics Jetfire
Beast Machines/Universe Jetfire (officially RiD Storm Jet. Also my first eBay TF purchase)

Here's some of my Seeker collection:

Left to right, back row:

Cybertron Dirge (officially Universe/G1 Dirge)
Animated Sunstorm
Animated Skywarp
Armada Skywarp

Middle row:
Movie Overcast
Titanium War Within Sunstorm
Titanium War Within Thundercracker
Movie Thundercracker
Universe Skywarp (in vehicle mode)

Front row:

Classics Ramjet
Universe Acid Storm
Cybertron Divebomb (officially Movie Divebomb)
Cybertron Deluxe Class Thundercracker
Cybertron Legends Class Thundercracker
Cybertron Skywarp
Classics Skywarp (in back)
Titanium War Within Skywarp

Here's the work in progress Giant TFs/Movie/Revenge of the Fallen display:

At the very top I have 3 of my biggest transformers, Cybertron Primus, Energon Omega Supreme, and Armada Unicron (with the Dead End minicon). Also up there is the Headmaster unit from Animated, Cybertron Deluxe Class Unicron, the Unicron head that came with Primus, and RH Unicron (who's molded to resemble his original G1 appearance, not the Armada or Cybertron versions).

The next shelf down (the first proper shelf) is, right now, just an unorganized random smattering of (mostly recent) transformers. Left to right:

Classics Cliffjumper
Classics Mirage
Universe Galvatron
Universe Cyclonus (no, Nightstick isn't with him)
Universe Octane (officially Tankor)
Universe Inferno
Universe Hound
Animated Blazing Lockdown
Classics Astrotrain
Titanium War Within The Fallen
Universe Silverbolt
Cybertron Sideways

Second shelf: Also a bit unorganized, but it's got more Movie stuff than not. Left to right:

Movie Protform Bumblebee (from the 3-D card game)
Turtle shell
Lego shark
Movie Landmine
Starwars Death Star Darth Vader (Death Star mode)
Titanium War Within Grimlock (vehicle mode)
RH ROTF Springer
Movie Stockade
Movie Silverstreak/Bluestreak (really Camshaft)
Movie Voyager Class Megatron
RiD Scourge (the full-size version)
Movie Incinerator

Third shelf: Ok, here's where the movie stuff starts in earnest. Left to right:

ROTF Deluxe Class Sideswipe
RH ROTF Sideswipe
Movie Voyager Class Robovision Optimus Prime
Movie Deluxe Class Premium Jazz
Movie Legends Class Jazz (Allspark Battles version)
Movie Legends Class Rescue Ratchet
ROTF Legends Class Optimus Prime
Movie Legends Class Ironhide
Movie Legends Class Cliffjumper
ROTF Legends Class Springer
Movie Legends Class Bonecrusher
Movie Legends Class Brawl
ROTF Legends Class Jetfire
Movie Legends Class Skywarp (really Stealth Starscream)
Movie Legends Class Blackout
Movie Legends Class Barricade
Movie Legends Class Recon Barricade
ROTF Scout Class Ransack
ROTF Leader Class Megatron
ROTF Voyager Class The Fallen

Fourth shelf, left to right:

Movie Longarm
Movie Voyager Class Ratchet
ROTF Wasp (really Knock Out)
ROTF Deluxe Class Skids
Movie Deluxe Class Bumblebee (original Concept Camaro version)
Movie Wreckage
ROTF Deluxe Class Rampage
Movie Deluxe Class Bonecrusher
ROTF Deluxe Class Soundwave
Movie Deluxe Class Brawl
ROTF Voyager Class Demolishor
Movie Dropkick

Bottom shelf, left to right:

Movie Final Battle Jazz
Movie Evac
Movie Deluxe Class Cliffjumper
Movie Voyager Class Ironhide
Movie Arcee
ROTF Chromia
Movie Voyager Class Blackout
Movie Legends Class Scorponok
Movie Deluxe Class Premium Barricade w/Frenzy
ROTF Voyager Class Starscream
RH ROTF Sideways
ROTF Deluxe Class Sideways
Movie Leader Class Deep Desert Brawl

Reorganizing the invasion....

So I've finally got the reorganizing of my collection pretty much finished. I also finally took some pics to send in for that CNN iReport thing, so I'll post those here too. I also have a few comparison pics of 2007 Legends Starscream and ROTF Legends Starscream. The new one is much better, I'll tell you that. If you like the tribal scars, anyway.

Anyhow, I'll get some of the pics up (hopefully tonight). I've got a fairly nice ROTF collection going, with the most recent acquisitions being Leader class Optimus Prime (he's amazing) and the Walmart exclusives Skywarp and Ramjet, who are repaints of 2007 Thundercracker and Starscream, respectively. I initially only wanted Skywarp, and went to pick him up today (I bought him online with site-to-store) and caved on Ramjet too. Honestly, one of the best things about these two is the cards they come with. The art is great, lenticular, and the back are Simmon's notes on the robots, which are amusing, to say the least.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Review: ROTF Knock Out

Knock Out is one of the wave 1 scout class toys for the Revenge of the Fallen line. He's an Autobot and transforms into motorcycle ("street"/"racing" type, whatever you want to call it. It's not a Harley, anyway). This is kind of nice, since we haven't had a scout/basic class motorcycle in quite a while now - not since the Cybertron line with its Ransack (Velocitronian cycle) and Lugnutz (Harley-Davidson style) molds.

He's packaged in bot mode, but I'll begin by covering the motorcycle mode:

One of the nice things about scout/basic class motorcycle TFs is that they're closer to being in scale with other, namely automobile, TF alt modes. Knock Out's particular cycle mode has a really nice color scheme - mostly green and black (a favorite combo of mine) along with a decent helping of neon green, a few white stripes and some grey parts. Oh, and a bit of skyish blue and a weird cross between brass and gunmetal on the tailpipe. His one Autobot sigil is on the fuel tank right behind the cap and is made from black paint. It's superimposed on the neon green color, so there's good contrast that allows the sigil to stand out well. I should also mention that the black plastic is matte, not unlike a lot of the plastic featured on many of the TF: Animated toys. This helps the look quite a bit.

This nice color scheme is wrapped around a very sleek motorcycle. The front section with the headlights and windshield (what would be the hood of a car) is formed from a roughly triangular shape that comes to a point at the front. It looks a bit like the head of a wasp, actually (something that I'll come back to later). The detail level is pretty good, as you would expect from the movie line, but not over the top. Actually, it could fit in with some other TF lines, such as Energon, Classics/Universe 2.0, or Cybertron. Truth be told, it's about the same size and style of bike as Energon Arcee, a similarity that will carry over in bot mode. One nice touch that many bike TFs don't have is steering. The front wheel can be rotated to simulate a change in direction, and while it's not linked to the handlebars, the handlebars themselves form a small dial (speedometer, presumably) where they meet together.

Before I cover the robot mode itself, though, let's look at how to get there: the transformation.

First of all, the large side panels disconnect, bringing the legs that were largely hidden along with them. The heel spurs of the feet will need to be unfolded. At this point, the front wheel can be folded back, but you'll need to rotate it so that it will rest horizontally against the robot's back. It wont' naturally do this; there's a bit of plastic that prevents the wheel from goign completely horizontal. However, it can be forced, and in this case the bit of plastic adds friction to keep the wheel in place. Next, the handlebars are rotated forward a bit to allow the "hood" to be separated. Each half of the "hood" is pulled to the side and then back to partially cover the fuel tank/chest and reveal the head. The last major step is splitting the rear wheel/tailpipe assembly and swinging each half 180 toward the head. Rotate the two tailpipe pieces to reveal the right arm's gun and the left hand, and then position the wheel halves that are now on the shoulders however you like. One last optional step makes Knock Out a partsformer - the bike kibble on the legs can be removed and pegged into slots just above the front wheel to look like wings. However, I aesthetically don't care for this, so I just leave them on the legs.

Ok, robot mode. There's a lot of neat things going on here, especially in comparison to certain other TF toys and characters. A similarity to Energon Arcee (a mold that was reused twice during the original 2007 movie line) was mentioned above, and that similarity is even stronger in bot mode. This is largely due to the whole front wheel resting on the back with the rear wheel halves floating above the shoulders. Also, the general body shape isn't too different, although obviously more masculine (since this isn't a fem-bot). The head is a big divergence, though - on fist sight, it brings Marvel's Wolverine to mind, since it has a black "mask" with blade-like projections above the eyes. The underlying "skull" is neon green and the eyes are blue. Where there would normally be a mouth, there are parts that look somewhat somewhat similar to Bumblebee's mouth design; that is, more like a breathing apparatus. There are also exhaust pipe-looking tubes projecting from either side from the mouth area and toward the back of the head, somewhat similar to Armada Blurr. Aside from the head, however, it's hard to deny that there are superficial similarities to the Energon Arcee mold. Really, it's more like Knock Out's design is a perfection or improvement of that mold. What I mean is that Knock Out doesn't have many of the problems that Energon Arcee does, such as:

1. High heel foot design that makes for unstable standing poses
2. No thigh rotation in the legs
3. Front wheel sticking straight out of the back
4. Shoulder-mounted wheel halves that don't really do much
5. Elbows that only bend inward
6. Small, gimpy-looking hands

Knock Out dispenses with each of these problems.

The torso is formed by the fuel tank, but due to the transformation the tank is covered on its sides by the halves of the motorcycle's "hood." Because of the way the tank and hood halves are painted, this ends up making a sort of striped appearance on the torso. The Autobot sigil is front and center, just below the fuel cap.

Overall, the robot mode's design elements - colors, cannon arm similar to Bumblebee, and insectoid face with "wings" - make it so I can't help but feel that this is intended to be the Movie version of Waspinator/Wasp. Waspinator was a Beast Wars Predacon, and in Animated Wasp was an Autobot who was framed as a Decepticon spy, imprisoned and went crazy. He eventually was mutated into the technorganic Waspinator by Animated Blackarachnia (herself also based on another BW Predacon). It's easy to imagine, especially after reading him in the ROTF Prequel novel, that Knock-out is a young Autobot recruit eager to prove his mettle and regarding himself as an equal to battle-hardened soldiers like Sideswipe and Bumblebee. He would compete with the other Bumblebee fanboys, Skids and Mudflap, who he'd regard with disdain (despite thrir apparent effectiveness in combat). I don't see this "Wasp" going bad like the Animated version, though.

In summation, great little transformer. Visually striking with a good alt mode & transformation with a bot mode that really improves on a previous & very similar mold, Energon Arcee. It's also much better than the later red repaint named Reverb (unless you're just a gobot freak).