Ok, coming to you from January 2008:
Friday, January 11, 2008
It's been quite a while since Hasbro has released any substantive new toys from their current Transformers Movie line. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the last time I bought a new-mold release was back in August or maybe early September. Now, there has been a few new things here and there, but Hasbro had pretty much put everything for the first half of the movie line out on the table by August.
Now it's the new year and we're finally moving into the last half of the Movie line, subtitled "Allspark Power." Now, there's a theme tying just about all the Allspark toys together: they all have soe light blue/neon blue paint apps in robot mode to suggest a power glowing from within, a power derived from the movie's Allspark. That said, most of the Allspark Power line is made of repainted toys from earlier Movie toy waves. The first Allspark deluxe wave has only one new mold, and the Voyager wave has no new molds (although one is a remolded figure). One new size class has been introduced for the Allspark Power line - Allspark Battles. This is basically a changing of the previous Legends class, now set up so that instead of getting one Legends figure for roughly $5 you get two for about $7. Pretty sweet deal, and even sweeter is that not all of them are repaints - there are three new molds released so far, with at least one more down the pipe.
I have managed to acquire some of these new toys in the past week. First I ordered Deluxe Landmine from HTS, which arrived this Monday. Yesterday, I managed to pick up four of the Legends Allspark Battles sets at Walmart (including these figures: Stealth Starscream, Bightwatch Optimus Prime, Jazz, Bonecrusher, Rescue Ratchet, Brawl, Ironhide, and Desert Blackout). Today, the same Walmart got the new Voyagers in, and I picked up Evac (an Autobot remolded from Blackout) and First Strike Optimus Prime (with a G1 referencing color scheme).
Here's some brief comments on each figure:
Landmine: Basically, this toy has one of the best alt modes in the deluxe transformers size class. Landmine transforms into a very realistic "assault buggy" of some kind, specifically the one driven by two of the Movie's human heroes. It should be noted that this is a Sector 7-owned car, which makes Landmine the first new-mold Sector 7 transformer. His transformation scheme is relatively simple, but has some neat details that keep it interesting. Of note are his unique head sculpt (looks like a skull/hockey mask) and his gun that is ....and actual gun. Yes, finally a movie TF that uses and alt-mode's gun as the robot's weapon. Also, real spring-loaded shocks on all four wheels. A lot is happening with this mold to up the ante for the deluxe class.
Nightwatch Optimus Prime: nice dark blue-green, black and silver colors, The mold itself is ok but has a very interesting and unique transformation for an Optimus design.
Stealth Starscream: Basically, take the previous Legends Starscrem and give him a black hoodie. The only thing changed on this figure has been swapping the metallic tan plastic for black. Looks pretty nice anyway, though.
Jazz - apparently a slight repaint from the previous release, but I don't own that version, so I couldn't say. Not a bad mold, but the leg design could be better, the the chest/grille chest majorly, to the detriment of the car mode.
Bonecrusher - pretty great, basically a shrunken version of the deluxe mold with a very similar transformation. There's a lot of good movement from the "death tail" weapon, and the head sculpt is very nice.
Rescue Ratchet - repainted to match the Voyager-class repaint, in G1 Ratchet's red and white colors. Not bad, but pretty low in articulation. Still, there's a fun transformation and the amusing fact that the roof-mounted spare tire is in fact a separate wheel that can spin. Good alt mode, too.
Brawl - GREAT. Nice tank mode with all the weapon details of the larger design, and a powerful-looking bot mode that deviates a bit from the film design but still lookd good. Good articulation too, he's on of the few Legends to have head movement. The only weak aspect is the relative lack of paint apps, but I fixed that by giving his treads a silver coat.
Ironhide - another fun new mold, he's also low on the paint apps. However, his black color scheme sort of lets him get away with it. I love the cannon details and the transformation. I also like the open truck bed, even if the robot arms are lying in it.
Desert Blackout - Great repaint of a great mold. What's more fun is that the purple paint apps in bot mode give him a resemblence to Blitzwing.
First Strike Optimus Prime - As stated, this is a G1-themed repaint. There's a LOT of red, similar in tone to last year's repaint of MP Prime, but the blue is satisfyingly dark and similar to both Movie Leader Prime and G1 Prime. The Allspark blue is a bit of a contrast but still manages to fit in. The truck mode is much classier with its single silver stripe rather than all the flames, and overall I have to say that I like this version over my Robovision Prime. It's also the only distinctly different repaint of this mold, which is significant when there are two others.
Evac - great way to take a mold and use color and a few new part to completely change it. The coast guard motif is great, as is the new rescue raft/gun accessory. I really liek how the Allspark blue only shows up in bot mode; I also enjoy the vehicle mode's Autobot sigil. Thankfully, this version of the mold feels a bit more solid than the original, and the Automorph seems to work more smoothly too.