Thursday, December 31, 2009

NEST: Global Alliance

The Revenge of the Fallen toyline has officially turned over - the newest toys coming out are now marked as ROTF: NEST Global Alliance toys.

I've managed to pick up three so far:

Deluxe Dirge

Voyager Bludgeon

Voyager Recon Ironhide

They're all pretty awesome, Ironhide particularly so. He, much like Cybertron Dark Crumplezone, is how to really do a remold.

Oh, and happy new year! This'll be the last post of 2009. See you in...the future!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Christmas Haul

Well, it's safe to say that I did pretty well in terms of TF presents this year.

That's mostly due to my wife letting me buy all those older transformers off of ebay, but I also managed to net 3 Toys R Us exclusives from my Mom - ROTF Whirl/Bludgeon, Reissue Perceptor, and the reissue Insecticons. Moreover, I also received a fairly big amount of funds - both in cash and Walmart gift cards - that will be going toward some of the new ROTF: NEST Global Alliance toys. My grandmother gave me a 100 dollar bill, which is going to be the starting point of some savings I'm going to use for this summer's Botcon. It's in Orlando, which is where my older cousin lives (no hotel fees!), and the wife gave the green light to go!

Anyway, back to the haul:


Beat Wars Transmetal II Megatron: just amazing. As great as everyone say he is. And he HUGE, too. Incredible that something like this only used to cost 20 dollars at retail.

Beast Wars Fuzor Torca: Well, I broke his tail off right after I opened him, but I managed to fix it with superglue. He's pretty cool, but after seeing how big he should be in the comics, he's a bit underwhelming. Also, his kibble really restricts his movement.

Beast Wars Fuzor Airhammer: really cool concept, but bad plastic colors and overall, just not that interesting. Most boring of the Christmas TFs. Still, it's a shark with wings.

Beast Wars Transmetal II Spittor - I wanted the original all-organic version, but this turned out to be a pretty cool toy. Even the ridiculous back-claw is kind of cool. Does a good "Spider-Man on a building roof" pose.

Beast Wars Claw Jaw - A squid! Not as nice-looking as the blue Japanese Ikard repaint, but still a surprisingly fun mold, particularly the chest/squid mouth biting gimmick. I will say, however, that his "weapon" is one of the most abstract TF weapons out there.

Beast Machines Buzzsaw - don't have the BW version of him, but this is also a toy that turned out to be way cool. It's really one of the best wasp/bee Transformer molds ever. The wings = legs bit is particularly unique and inspired.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas approaches!

With only 3 full days before Christmas (yikes! I've got to get cracking on those few last gifts), I figured I'd wax poetic on the subject. First of all, even though this is a Transformers blog, don't forget the reason we have this holiday - Christ was born, beginning the ultimate game-changer in all of history. Those must have been exciting times to live in.

Here in the present (Christmas 2009! Wow, the future is here!), I'm very excited for this Christmas. It'll be my son's 3rd Christmas, but it's really his first in a way - it's the first year that he's really understood what's going on, talking about Santa Claus, reindeer, baby Jesus, etc. He's also pretty amped about the family being together - he's been talking about seeing my grandmother for a solid 2 weeks now. I hope he enjoys it all while he can, seeing as this will be his last Christmas as an only child. Next year, he'll have his baby sister to contend with.

I'm also pretty pleased with myself - not only have a procured a lot of TFs for myself, but I'm also very satisfied with my main gift for my wife. I stumbled upon the idea of getting her customized bookplates, since we both are big readers and have a ton of books. I got her 100 bookplates with her name on them - they also have a cat on top of some books as the picture, since she really likes cats.

I'll list an analysis of the "haul" sometime on Sunday probably, but as it has been seen from my ebay posts, it'll be pretty big (my mom alone is getting me 2 pretty pricey TRU exclusives).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Best Transformers of 2009!

Copied from my thread at the Allspark:

We've got 10 days left in the year. While some releases are still squeaking out - like Legends Soundwave & Wheelie, and NEST Dirge and his wavemates - I figured we could go ahead and discuss what makes the grade in this pretty special year for Transformers.

Best overall Transformer: ROTF Leader Optimus Prime. Masterpiece-level engineering for ~40 dollars. Manages to improve in every way on the 2007 mold, which I thought was absolutely great at the time. Then there's the "Buster" versions, too.

Best ROTF (overall): Tie: Human Alliance Bumblebee and Skids. These guys manage to perfect the Alternators formula and at the same time adapt it to a very non-G1 aesthetic. The humans are a great throw-in, as is "Arcee." Bumblebee in particular gets everything right that the very expensive "Ultimate" mold doesn't.

Best Animated toy: Not many options this year, but Samurai Prowl. It shows what a remold with thought can do. It's a great toy even without the armor, managing to be worth owning in addition to the armor-less original mold. The [i]only[/i] fault is the neutered shurikens. much better sidecar than ROTF Arcee, too.

-Runner up: Electrostatic Soundwave. First - we finally get an official Soundblaster deco released in America (Titanium SB was cancelled, of course). 2nd - great new instrument/minion - Ratbat as a keytar! How many of us bought this for Ratbat alone? Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's about 100x more interesting/exciting than his wavemate Freeway Jazz.

Best Robot Hero: Jetpower Prime (from the Battle of the Fallen set). Best-looking ROTF Optimus RH, even though he's gotten quite a few new molds. Plus, it's (so far) the only way to get RH Jetfire, even if he is dead. Runner-up: the Fallen. Big, well-detailed, and in proper colors.

Ok, size class breakdown:

Best Legends class: ROTF Mudflap. Sure, his bot mode is a bit of a cardboard stand-up, but the transformation (especially the method of differentiating the hands) is really fun/innovative. And there's just something about that Trax mode - it's so damn cute. Plus, he was really hard to avoid, showing up barely altered in 2(!) exclusive sets.

-Runner up: ROTF Jetfire (Kmart repaint) - decent SR-71 mode in a real-world alternate deco, plus really good bot mode. Additionally, first super-mode buddy for Prime at the legends scale.

Best Scout class: ROTF Ransack - first WWI-era plane mode! Does a great job at it, too - minimal kibble in either mode. Plus, it's actually based on a movie design (albeit one that turned into a Model-T). Great terminator aesthetic in bot mode.

-Runner up: ROTF Knock Out. He's ROTF Wasp, first of all. 2nd, he's in my favorite colors (see avatar, Lockdown, Cyb. Downshift, etc). Also, he takes the basic design of Energon Arcee (and really, therefore, Movie 2007 Arcee) and perfects it.

Best Deluxe class: Whoo, this is a tough choice. I suppose ROTF Breakaway, if only because he began as a toy I had no intentions of getting, but ended up being one of the most fun of ROTF. Also, he's on par with Cyb Thundercracker for having low jet mode kibble while being a much better toy. I even like him better than Thrust, who objectively looks nicer and has a much "cooler" head mold.

-Runner up: Sideways. Great, solid car mode, fun transformation, unique and insectile bot mode. Actually a much better toy than his counterpart, Sideswipe. Better than his repaint/remold Dead End because Dead End's head is kind of ridiculous.

Best Voyager class: ROTF Megatron. Very solid toy, not very complicated transformation, good Mech Alive gimmicks, and very dynamic bot mode. Would only be better by actually being silver, although the green's not that bad.

-Runner up: ROTF Mixmaster - best of the "true" ROTF Constructicon toys. Really nice alt mode in both color and detail, and his bot mode is a real treat in how alien it looks and the number of cool poses you can get from it. The big negative is his inability to properly use his cannon in bot or truck mode, while the "3rd mode" is totally lacking. Fan-made third modes are easy to discover, though.

Best Ultra class: Universe Predacon Bruticus. If only because there weren't many other Ultras this year, and who would have thought that RiD Bruticus would've gotten an homage repaint?

-Runner Up: Universe Powerglide (Red WM exclusive) - like TRU Reissue Soundwave from 2007, just another way of showing that sometimes you should just wait for Hasbro instead of jumping the gun and buying from Japan.

Best Leader class: ROTF Prime, for reasons seen above.

-Runner up: ROTF Jetfire. Plenty of problems, but it's had to beat that GIANT SR-71 mode. Looks great on display. Also, the combined mode with Prime is similarly massive and can be fiddled with enough to find a suitable arrangement of kibble.

Best exclusive repaint: Animated Shockwave (Target Purple version). I was originally kind of down on this toy to begin with, seeing it as a real no-brainer toy with no thought put into it, especially in contrast to the original colors (It's in Nemesis Prime/Scourge colors! Because Longarm is the bad Prime! Get it?!). But after finally getting it last month (thanks to a fellow Allsparker), it works really well in hand. Even the Longarm Prime mode looks great if you leave him with the purple Decepticon sigil. And, of course, this repaint allows you to make the most of both releases of the mold, displaying the original in Longarm Prime mode and the new one in Shockwave mode.

-Runner up: Masterpiece Skywarp (Walmart). Looks very nice - the classic Decepticon colors work on the mold a bit more slick than the 2007 MP Starscream colors do. However, he also costs 10 dollars more due to inflation (unless you lucked out and got him for 25 or 30 bucks somewhere), so that kind of stung when purchasing him. Essential part of any Skywarp/Seeker collection (unless, again, you jumped the gun and bought the Japanese release).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An inkling of things to come

We now have a look at what next year's non-ROTF line will be like:

Pretty interesting stuff, if only because we know so little about it.

What we do know:

1. The line is at least somewhat G1-based. These could be the G1 characters Huffer and Caliburst, or they could be UT-style close homage versions (like how Armada Optimus looks like G1 Optimus, but isn't him)

2. The line is simply going to be called "Transformers." No subtitle. Last time they did this was with the 2006/2007 "Classics" line and the 2007 Movie line.

3. The "Power Core Combiners" gimmick to some extent features small, minicon/targetmaster-like partners attaching to larger robots in vehicle mode as a weapon.

Ok, speculation:

1. Not sure if Huffer here is a scout/basic or a deluxe. I'd like to think small deluxe, since this looks like it could possibly be a deluxe-sized package (think RiD, Armada, or Energon deluxe packaging - very horizontal), but it's certainly not beyond Hasbro these day to try and sell a basic and 1 small accessory TF for the cost of a deluxe, when we only payed 10 dollars for a real deluxe and a minicon back in 2002-2003 with Armada.

2. Caliburt appears to be a minicon - look at the feet. Those posts going out to the side really look like powerlinx ports. In fact, his overall appearance is kinda similar to Cybertron Shadow Recon Sixspeed - the clear blue race car minicon. Not that has much to do with Caliburst being a minicon, but still. THis has important fictional ramifications - I guess - basically, if Caliburst is indeed a minicon, that means either A) this is the first time Hasbro has designed a mincon toy to go witha G1-universe toy or B) that this is in fact UT Huffer (much like how Universe Hot Shot was the same guy as the Armada toy). Now, the TF Club has used Minicons in their G1 fiction/comics, but they have never been designed as toys before to be part of a G1 toy set. That has always been the role of Target-, Power-, Head-, and Micro-masters, which are just small normal TFs or other species, not Unicron's children (as the mincons are).

3. I'm guessing the line is going to be Universe/Classics 3.0, the one that Hasbro has been promising. The lack of a specific line subtitle is bothersome for collectors (we like to be able to say, for example, "ROTF Optimus" vs. "Energon Optimus"), but it also keeps the general public less confused. As much as I like having 3 or 4 lines at once (as we have had, even in the recent past), I'm sure it boggles the average parent shopping for a birthday or Christmas present.

4. Some are still thinking that Huffer here may actually form a Scramble City/Energon-style combiner limb, leg or arm. You know, what with the whole "Power Core Combiner" thing. I can see it happening, as Caliburst could (like the Energon combiners' energon weapons) form the hand/foot. However, Huffer's design looks pretty straightforward; it doesn't look like there's anything else going one that could turn him into a limb. That said, Energon Sledge/Bonecrusher did nothing more that add an energon weapon to vehicle mode to become a limb, so who knows.
It would be cool if these two did form a larger combiner.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I did cave and open up Megatron Megabolt yesterday. He's pretty cool. Like Armada Prime, this is a mold I've owned for a while (since 2003 or so), but I now own it in its "proper" colors.

Oh, and the TM II Megatron/BIAB Magnus & Treadshot package has arrived. Both look great. The same seller is also sending me BM Blackarachnia (I use Universe Blackarachnia as Crystal Widow; they look about the same). I'm hoping to win a bunch more BM stuff from him.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's December now! Holy crap!

So, the big BW/RiD lot came in today. I was really tempted to open Megatron Megabolt; he looks better in package that I would have thought.

Also, I finally found the new TF: Animated deluxes yesterday afternoon before class. The Walmart had 2 Freeway Jazz toys and 1 Electrostatic Soundwave. Considering that FW Jazz is boring and ES Soundwave comes with a new mold keytar/Ratbat, you can guess which one I bought.

As an aside, I'm kind of sad that I don't like the new Jazz. The original version is probably one of the most "ok" Animated deluxe molds, not being very exciting. This new one, in silver, is supposed to be Animated Jazz in Movie Jazz's colors. Which is a neat kind of symmetry, considering that Movie Jazz was available both in his normal silver colors and also G1/Animated red/white/blue/black. Since I have both of those Movie Jazz versions, it would be kind of neat to have the oppostie thing going on with Animated Jazz, but this silver version just lacks something. I'm much more excited about the upcoming new deluxe molds for Animated, like Cybertronian Ratchet, Arcee, and Rodimus Prime.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure Universe Sunstorm/Perceptor arried the other day. I haven't opened the box yet to see, though.